The Church’s One Foundation…

…is Jesus Christ her Lord,” as the old hymn goes. So many of the commenters here on this page, on my Facebook page and other sites around the web share a sure foundation on Jesus Christ our Lord. I am so grateful for that. We are in agreement. I never intended or asserted to judge if someone is or is not of the faith based on their church attendance.

Clearly some of us have very different and passionate opinions on ecclesiology (the doctrine of the Church), discipline within the Church and the fellowship of believers. This dialogue is healthy, but I wish it was happening within the context of a local community of believers.  If there is any one thing proven by this article and response it’s this-we have much to improve upon. But I still strongly believe that these discussions are best held privately within “the family.”

My general concern is that publicly criticizing the Church does little to change the hurtful, dismissive leaders of unhealthy churches. I can’t imagine a leader, who up to this point has been ignoring the complaints of their membership, reads a blog or post and suddenly feels shame, regret or sorrow for their behavior. If this happens, it would be in the extreme minority.

But overwhelmingly, I think the impact that is more sure, more pervasive is that those on the periphery or outside our churches leave with a jaded (at worst), negative (at best) impression of churches at large. This is sad for the HUGE numbers of loving, tender, Christ-focused churches that long to reach those exact people. Interestingly, most critical commenters assert that they are desperate for the Church to change so that these “outsiders” are welcomed in. And yet it’s this audience that is likely turned off by our criticisms.

I am certain that abuse exists within the Church. I am certain that individuals have been hurt. I said as much in my article. Those arguments are valid. But when one church fails, I believe we can find a host of other churches willing, ready and biblically capable of helping one find healing.  Where one turns a deaf ear, many others offer an open heart and helping hand. This is the place to share hurt and the need for restoration. This kind of change builds up the churches that are biblical, healthy and effective.

Finally, I’m not addressing those who leave “a church” in this article. I was addressing those who claim to be leaving “the Church,” and quite frankly kick her on their way out the door. From the responses I’m reading, most critical commenters don’t fall in this category. If you are still looking or have found a church to invest in, I applaud  your passion and grace. Thank you for sticking with us. Thank you for letting someone be the version of the Bride you long for.

Those are the stories worth publicizing, “liking” and “sharing.” These kind of stories edify and make the Bride more radiant to our world.

For those of you who are interested, I’ll be posting a video response tomorrow to some of the more theological challenges asserted here. I’ll also be sharing a bit of my personal story. I hope it helps offer some much needed context to this discussion.

“The Best Yes” is her BEST YET!

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  I won't try to pretend I'm not biased. I am. I'll own it. Lysa TerKeurst is my leader and friend. But it's not hyperbole or hype (wait-is that where "hype" comes from..."hyperbole?") to say that you must, truly must purchase and read Lysa's newest release (and New York Times Best Continue Reading

“You’re Going to Be Okay”

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I am so excited to share with you today my friend, Holley Gerth. We connected through Proverbs 31, but have remained friends, well, because she's so awesome. (I was going to list the things we have in common, but she's so much cooler than me that the list started to make me feel bad about Continue Reading

Join us on the front lines!

  Join us on the front lines! from Proverbs 31 Ministries on Vimeo. For a few moments each day, women all over the world hit the pause button on their busy lives and connect with God's truth through our devotions, Online Bible Studies, and radio program. God is doing incredible work at Continue Reading

Winding down and ramping up

from More than Enough

Can you believe it's December 2013? It seems impossible that the year is almost over. We've just packed away Thanksgiving, have barely begun Christmas but the New Year is breathing down my neck. I don't know why I feel it more this year than in years past-the turning of the page. It's weird because Continue Reading

A new season is here.

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Our family decorated for Christmas the day after Halloween. Yes. Yes we did. Before I had kids, I swore I'd never, ever decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Now eight and a half years later it's come to this. We had Halloween candy out and a Christmas tree up. It made me twitch just a Continue Reading