What if the values of my church are starting to look more like the values of the world?
What should you do if your church is moving away from biblical views towards views of the world? That's the question I was asked recently, and I have three thoughts about this.
The first thought is about setting expectations. There's no perfect church. If you find the perfect church, don’t join it because you'll ruin it. The reason I say that is because all churches have problems. All churches have flaws, and the reason is because all churches are composed of human beings that have problems and flaws. So, it's not possible to find a church that is going to be free of those problems and flaws and other mistakes, especially in theology. So yes, all churches will, at times, move away from biblical views towards errant views.
Having said that, I think it's still important for us as believers to remain committed to a church, to participate in church membership, and to be submitting to church authority and to the leadership of the church. Now, that doesn't mean that you accept everything they say. The Bereans would receive what they heard and they would test it according to the Scriptures to make sure it was true. Generally speaking, even though all churches are flawed in some way, even my own church, we should still make participating in church and church membership a priority.
The second thing I would say is if you discover that the church is moving away from biblical views towards views of the world, I would suggest your initial inclination not be to leave the church. Rather, I would say stay at the church, and do what you can to try to correct the errant views that they hold. Speak up. Say something to the pastors. Say something to the elders or the leadership in some way to make them aware of what's going on. After all, you're in the best position to do this. You're the one who's recognizing something’s mistaken and amiss, and you want to tell them to fix something about it.
If it doesn't work by simply telling them, perhaps you could take up a position of authority yourself. If you can’t become a pastor, maybe you can join the elder board, or become a deacon, or take some position of leadership so that your voice has greater weight to correct the problem.
Bottom line is: Don't make your initial inclination be, “There’s a problem with what the church is teaching, I have to get out of here.” No, stay and try to do what you can. Don't we as believers want churches to be on course biblically speaking? If so, one of the best ways we can do that is to stay at the church we’re at and try to encourage them to adopt a more biblical view.
Third thing I’d say is there might come a time when, yeah, the church is going towards a view of the world. You’ve spoken up, you've done what you can to try to help them to correct their course towards a biblical view, but they just won't listen. They've heard what you said, but they're still moving towards a worldly view of theology or whatever it might be. Then yeah, at some point there might come a time where if their position and their theology are errant enough, if it's serious enough, then perhaps you should leave the church. I would say that this would be especially true if you have young children who are a part of the Sunday school program or some other church program where they're being influenced by that teaching. Then I’d say all the more reason why you might want to find another church that isn't going to influence your kids in a negative way.
Again, my point simply is to remember all churches are flawed. They're all going to have mistakes. They’re all going to have some types of problems, but we should still try to do what we can to remain at a church and help it to correct course whenever we can. If there comes a point when that isn’t possible, there might come a time when we do need to leave the church, but don't make that your initial inclination. Try to stay first, and do what you can to try to help correct course.