Well a year into writing this blog it has become clear to me that it is principally about processing the experiences and the lessons we have learned from confronting and ultimately leaving a corrupt church.
I am a Recovering “Church” Member.
This blog is for people who are going through waking up to the rampant corruption in the “church” today. It is not a huge audience, but unfortunately a growing one as more and more faithful believers flee what were once faithful congregations.
Those who know something is wrong, but quite can’t put their finger on it, or those who got hit by a truck, and never saw it coming.
Or those who are staring full in the face their own church falling into apostasy as it embraces worldly wisdom and know that they are fighting a loosing battle.
Refugees of Church Growth Movement churches, Purpose Driven churches, Emergent churches, dead and disobedient mainline denominations, Cult of Personality churches, churches that have become country clubs/rec centers/entertainment complexes/political bases/business networking locations, churches where repentance of sin has ceased, and on and on…
All different sets of symptoms of the same disease… corruption in what was supposed to be the Body of Christ.
Buildings so overwhelmed by goats and false shepherds that the sheep flee.
It is traditional, when talking about a corrupt church or pastor, to not write about it completely openly, rather couching it in more anonymous terms, but early on when writing about our experience, I asked the question, “Why should I do that?”
We went through an earnest and lengthy process to try to confront sin in our former “church”, using biblical instruction and seeking wise council all along the way. So in refusing to respond biblically, said institution proved that they are not really a church, but merely a corrupt 501C3 corporation. “Sardis, Inc.” if you will. Christ, his disciples and the prophets, both in the old and new testaments lead by example in calling out apostates boldly, and warning people about corporations that don’t live up to their agreements with their ‘customers’ is being a good citizen; so it occurred to me that when the scripture gave the instruction in 1 Timothy 5:20 that in reference to church leaders :
“Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning”
…not only was I allowed to name the church whose leadership was in unrepentant sin, I was actually required to.
So we have eschewed the idea that it is poor taste to mention the church in question, or that it somehow makes us look ‘bitter’ (as one member said it did when I tried to sort through what happened there with her), and have decided to freely and openly dissect it so that we can process it, and encourage others to openly process the corruption of their “churches”. (Providing of course they have gone through a Matthew 18 or a 1 Tim 5 process of confronting the sin in question. if you have not, we encourage you to do so, and if you want help on doing it well, get in touch and we will offer what we have learned on how confront sin biblically.)
Had sexual abuse victims felt the same freedom to openly talk about what was done to them in the Catholic church, then how many subsequent children would have been saved from pedophile priests? If those before us who had been mistreated by Bel Air Presbyterian felt the freedom to talk openly about it, would we have naively been caught up in their trap?
And why have those who have been mistreated by pastors and elders been made to feel that they are to cover the unrepentant sin of those who claim to be the church? Jesus sure didn’t feel the need to cover the sins of the Pharisees!
So if you have been sinned against by your church or their leadership, and you have biblically filed a complaint with the pastor/elders/synod/presbytery/Rome or whoever was supposed to accountable for such actions, feel free to talk openly about your experience. Why fear the bully?
We have to be able to discern the difference between God’s will and sin if we are to live a life that is honoring to God. This should be a place that we can do that.
UPDATE May 28, 2009: I received a request for a more detailed account of what happened at Bel Air. Before I started this blog, we had fulfilled our 1 Tim 5:20 obligation by posting the formal letters that we sent to Mark Brewer and the elders on session on my autism blog. I didn’t repost them here because I thought it might be overkill.
For those of you specifically involved with Bel Air who are deciding whether or not to get involved there, or those who are members and need to know the kinds of things the staff is doing behind closed doors, you can find our letters to the church here:
There is more to the story than is contained on the page, but there is more than enough information there to give you a picture of what happened.
For the record, we never received any response to the letters, and we have never been told by Bel Air what it is we have done wrong, or what sin we have committed, that they believe warranted the actions they took. We continued to be estranged from several of my husband’s family members because of the lies that were told about us so that Bel Air could cover their sin.
If you are a member, we strongly encourage you to hold your pastors and elders to the biblical standards that God has set for them, and for all believers, so that they may be saved on the day when God judges us all.