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I’ve Been Hurt by the Church and I'm Afraid to Go Back. What Do I Do?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
March 15, 2023 7:09 pm

I’ve Been Hurt by the Church and I'm Afraid to Go Back. What Do I Do?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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March 15, 2023 7:09 pm

Episode 1184 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes


Questions in this Episode


1. In Numbers 14, did Moses persuade God to change his mind?

2. Did the coming of the Two Witnesses in Revelation already happen?

3. How can I combat the constant doubting of my faith?

4. I’ve been hurt by the church and I’m scared to go back. What should I do?

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I've been hurt by the church, and I'm afraid to go back.

What do I do? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now with your question at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. We'll be taking your calls for the next 25 minutes or so. And, of course, you can always email us your question at

Hey, Bill. I was just talking to our producer earlier today, and he was asking me a question about one of the questions that we got yesterday. I don't know if you remember. We were talking about God changing his mind and whether or not our prayers can effect a change in God's mind. And he brought up a number of passages. I mean, you think of Moses' intercession for the children of Israel, for example, after they committed idolatry, and it seemed like God was going to destroy them, but then Moses intercedes, and it seems like God changes his mind. And so I just wanted to kind of open up the broadcast today by addressing that question. I mean, just something that we wrestle with, you know, as we're reading the Bible, because it's one thing to say, and we do say, you know, God doesn't just change his mind.

He's not fickle. But then you do read these passages, and so how do we make sense of them? Well, we know that God knows all things, that there isn't anything hidden from God, that he's omniscient. And so when we factor that in, right, we have to make sense of these texts in the light of who God is and how he's revealed himself. And in one sense, what they're communicating to us is the fact that our prayers truly are effective and that God listens to the intercessions of his people. In particular there, Moses serving as this mediator between God and man. They're the mediator of the old covenant, and I think that should give us confidence that we have an even better mediator in Jesus who makes a case on our behalf.

He's our advocate, as John says in 1 John chapters 1 and 2. And so, you know, we're allowing the scripture to speak to us. One thing that theologians have said about this is that, you know, God's revelation is sort of like an analogy for us.

It's analogical. That is to say that when the scriptures talk about God having love or wrath or God changing his mind, we have to understand that in the light of the fact that God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. And what we mean when we say that God is love is not the same thing that we mean when we say, you know, that I have love or that I am loving. It can't be the same thing because God is qualitatively different than I am.

I'm a creature. God is the creator, unknowable in his essence. And so, you know, so God in his revelation is speaking to us by way of analogy, if you will, communicating true things to us about himself that don't exhaust who he is, that don't fully box him up, if you will. And so I know that that's kind of getting into some deep theology, but hopefully we're encouraged by two things.

One, the fact that God does hear our prayers, and two, the fact that God is unchanging, that he knows all things, that he's not caught off guard by the things that catch us off guard. And so those two truths I think are really important for us to hold on to. You know, I always love it when you go into the deep theological weeds. It just really is. Sometimes I get lost there and then we're all lost together, you know, trying to find our way back. Just don't do it from the pulpit on Sunday morning because your congregation, their eyes will glaze over. Is that what's been happening?

Is that why that's happening? I love it. Well, let's go back to the phones. We have James on the line from Tennessee. James, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?

Hi, Adriel. I got a question about the two witnesses in Revelation. I also want to know if you thought that the appearing of the two of the two witnesses were at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, or is that some future thing? Boy, what a great question, and as you can imagine when you open up the book of Revelation, there are quite a few different interpretations on these two witnesses. I think that the two witnesses are a symbol of the church, if you will, prophesying throughout this entire age, and so I don't think that it's just a couple people that were around during the destruction of Jerusalem or something like that.

Let me just read some of the texts. We read in Revelation chapter 11 verse 1, then I was given a measuring rod like a staff and I was told rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple, leave that out for it is given over to the nations and they will trample the holy city for 42 months. That number is going to be significant because we're going to hear it repeated again in this chapter and then in chapter 12 for 42 months and I will grant authority to my two witnesses and they will prophesy for 1260 days clothed in sackcloth.

So there you have again 42 months but then described as 1260 days. These are the two olive trees and two lampstands. Now earlier in the book of Revelation, James, you may know that the lampstands were symbols for the church. Jesus is speaking to the church pictured as the seven golden lampstands and so right there you have a connection between the two witnesses and the church.

The two lampstands stand before the Lord of the earth and if anyone would harm them, fire pours out from their mouth and consumes their foes. Now I made the case that these two witnesses are prophesying during the entire church age leading up to the final judgment. You do see in the very next chapter in Revelation chapter 12 verse 5, this same number described with regard to these 1260 days, we read in verse 5, she gave birth to a male child, this woman, probably a picture of Jesus here, one who is to rule all nations with the rod of iron, that's the confirmation that it's Jesus, but her child was caught up to God, there's the ascension, and to his throne and the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God in which she is to be nourished for 1260 days. There I think the woman is a picture of the people of God, the church, and so this period of time starts there with the ascension of Christ, but I think that period of time is the whole church age.

Let me give you a couple of reasons. One, 42 months parallels the period of time that Elijah was prophesying in the wilderness, we read that in James chapter 5 verse 17, it also seems to be symbolic of the 42 encampments that Israel had while she was in the wilderness, and 42 months, three and a half years, is the period of time that our Lord Jesus prophesied if you will, had that earthly ministry, and so this period of 42 months is a picture of the church's prophetic ministry on earth proclaiming the gospel as sojourners, as pilgrims in the wilderness headed towards the heavenly Jerusalem. That's how I take Revelation chapter 11. James, thanks for your question, and I don't know, Bill, is that getting into the weeds there?

Are we live now? You know, I love the fact that you're preaching through a revelation because you offer clarity on a lot of these questions about the end times and John's vision that I think a lot of us have struggled with over the years. By the way, I want to mention that we do have that great resource. It's called Five Things You Should Know About the Bible's Final Book. It's one of our core guides, and you can find that by going to forward slash guides, a great offer to just help you understand more about that sometimes confusing book of Revelation. And by the way, I should mention I got a chance to hear Adriel preach in person on Revelation about two weeks ago, and there was a lot of blood in that particular sermon. I must say.

Well, every sermon that I preach, Bill, I try to make sure that I'm including a lot of blood, you know, just illustrations and stuff like that. I want people to take it seriously. You know, this is life or death stuff. All right, I got it. I got it. All right, let's go back to the phones. Taylor is on the line from New York. Taylor, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, can you hear me?

Hey Taylor, I can hear you. I just, I don't know. I've been struggling, I guess, with my faith, and I've been having, experiencing a lot of doubts, and doubts that like, I know, like, I know what the truth is, but like, it's, I don't know, I guess it's just stressing me out that I'm having all these doubts, and that I kind of feel like my faith is kind of hanging by a thread, and like, I don't even know if it's real or not. Like, I don't know if I'm even making sense, but I just don't know what to do about that.

It's like, it just won't stop. Yeah, well Taylor, if you don't mind me asking, are there doubts about something? I mean, is it just doubting the existence of God generally? Is it doubting whether or not Christianity is true? What, what specifically, maybe, are some of the doubts that, that are coming into your mind? Yeah, it's like, like, God's not real. Jesus isn't real. Like, I'll be reading the Bible or something, and like, these thoughts will just come to me like, none of this is even real. Just forget about it. Like, go live your life.

It's not real. Just like that. Okay, well the first thing I want to do for you Taylor is just pray. Thank you for your honesty, and I know that this has got to be really hard as you wrestle through some of these questions, and so I want to take a moment to invite all of our listeners to pray for you and to pray for you right now.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Taylor. Thank you, Lord, just for her being transparent right now, and I pray that your Holy Spirit would comfort her. God, I pray that when she opens your Word to read it, that your Spirit would illuminate that Word for her, that she would receive it, Lord God, not as the Word of mere men, but for what it is, your very Word to her. I pray, Lord God, that you would strengthen her faith and her confidence in Christ and his work on her behalf, that her sins through Jesus are truly forgiven by faith, God, and that she would rest in the fact that Jesus is risen from the dead, seated at your right hand, and that he ever lives to make intercession for us, to pray for us. I also pray, Lord, that you would surround her with godly influences, Lord, people who can encourage her in her faith and who will help her in getting answers to some of the questions that she has, Lord, and I pray that we might be able to do that even right now.

In Jesus' name, amen. First, Taylor, let me say that those doubts, those thoughts that we have, you know, it's easy to just feel shame and guilt and to feel like everything is crashing down. I love that story in the Gospel of Mark where there is a man who comes to Jesus looking for Jesus to heal his boy, and he's telling Jesus about what happens to his son, and he says, if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. And Jesus said to him, if you can, all things are possible for the one who believes. And immediately the father of the child cried out and said, I believe, help my unbelief.

I think that's a totally legitimate prayer to pray, Taylor. I think that you can come to God honestly with your questions, with your concerns, with that, with that one, okay, God, I think I believe, do I really believe? But just to be able to say to Jesus like this man, I believe, help me, Jesus, help me, Jesus, help my unbelief. And I think a part of that in terms of getting help, quote unquote, I mean, obviously it's the work of God's Spirit, but also being willing to dig deeper. You know, when you have these kinds of doubts, God just doesn't exist, you know, Jesus isn't real, whatever it is, I think digging deeper and thinking about, okay, why is it that we believe in the Christian faith?

It's not just because it makes us feel good. You know, when people come to me and they say, oh, that's, that Christianity thing is, is just a crutch, or it just makes you feel better about yourself. I say, look, I don't believe in the Christian faith because it, it just makes me feel good and makes my life easier or something like that.

No, I believe in the Christian faith because I believe that Jesus truly rose again from the dead, that he is alive, that he's real, that what he preached was true. Because I mean, I've just, I've just seen it, experienced it in my own life, but there's, there's a lot of good reasons to believe as well. There's evidences for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, for the historicity of the gospel message. And so I think that there are things that we can look at there that can help to strengthen our faith, but ultimately it is, Taylor, that, that work of the Holy Spirit. And so I want to give you just two, I think really important pieces of advice as you're, as you're wrestling with these things. One, don't isolate, don't isolate. It's really easy for us when we start to have these questions to sort of pull back away from church, away from Christian fellowship, to be alone with our thoughts in the darkness.

And I think that's where things get worse and worse. I think you need to be as you wrestle with these questions in a place where you're also being encouraged, encouraged, and nourished by the words of scripture and by Christian community. So maybe I can just go back to you really quickly, Taylor, and ask you, are you, are you a member of a church? Do you go to a church anywhere consistently, or do you just have these kind of thoughts on your own? Yeah, I do go.

Okay. Well, I, I, I ask because, like I said, it's, it's just so important for us not to be alone with these kinds of things, but really to be able to wrestle through them with others and to be encouraged and prayed for and, and again, to have, have people in your life who you trust with whom you can dig deeper into some of the questions that you, that you might have. And so I would just say, please don't isolate, maybe even immerse yourself more into the life of the church, into community with other believers, especially under the ministry of the word, because Paul said in Romans chapter 10, faith comes by hearing the word of Christ. In other words, God, by the Holy Spirit, works together with his word to create faith in our hearts and to strengthen our faith. And maybe you think, well, well, but that's the very thing that I'm struggling with is, is questioning the word of God.

And I would say, okay, that's all right. I mean, again, we continue to pray, Lord, I believe, help my unbelief, but I'm saying don't cut yourself off from that Christian community and from hearing that word, because the spirit works through those means to strengthen you, to keep you, to build you up in your faith. And let me just say to you, sister, that Jesus truly is risen from the dead, that he has conquered sin, death, and hell for you. We can have doubts. We can, we can, we can wrestle with those questions. And, and all of us will at times, even as genuine believers, but we take those to the Lord and we say, God, I believe, help my unbelief. And we search the scriptures. And as we do, I believe that the Lord is going to continue to work as you do. I believe that the Lord is going to continue to work in your life to strengthen you and your faith, even through these questions. But don't just leave them hanging.

Don't just isolate, as I said, but dig deeper into the word. And I hope that you'll stay on the line. I think that there are probably some resources that we can put in your hand that really dig into some of these practical questions that many people have, maybe that you have, that will help to build you up in your faith. Taylor, thank you again for calling and we'll continue to pray for you.

God bless. Adriel, just a follow-up question for you. This would be for Taylor or for anyone who is struggling with doubts. What would you recommend if, and Taylor did say she's attending a church, but let's say she's attending a church where if she asks questions, if she raises doubts, she has told things like, well, you don't have enough faith or you're not really filled with the Holy Spirit. If you were, you wouldn't have any doubts.

What do you do in a case like that? Well, yeah, and I mean, that's the tragic thing is, you know, we encourage people all the time you be in church, but what about an instance where maybe the church is not willing to come alongside and help and answer some of these questions? And I think if that's the case, well, then maybe it's time to find a church where they're going to walk alongside of you and care for you and help you with some of these serious questions. But I do hope, Taylor, that as you get connected in the local body and maybe have conversations with your pastor, the leadership of the church, I hope that there's opportunity for that. And you can say, I'm wrestling with this. I need prayer. I'd like accountability. I'm wondering about this question or that question that they really would come alongside of you with prayer, with God's word, and encourage you and continue to encourage you in your faith.

We all need that. The author of the Hebrews said in Hebrews chapter 3, and encourage one another day by day, while it is called today, lest we're hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Apart from the body of Christ, church community, that type of encouragement, when we're all alone wrestling with sin, with questions, with doubts, whatever it may be, it's there that we begin to drift further and further and further away. And that's why I said you got to be rooted in the local body. You got to be grounded in the word.

You got to continue to press in. As difficult as it might be and as much as we might be tempted to pull back, I would say, no, dig in and cry out to the Lord. I believe, help my unbelief.

Some great counsel. Thank you for that, Adriel. And Taylor, we'll be praying for you and pray that you can get those questions answered at your church.

And if not, find a church where you can express those doubts in a safe place. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you're new to this program, we want to let you know that we don't play commercials. We don't receive money from a church or denomination or radio station. We count on people just like you to make donations to keep us on the air. And if that's something that you feel God might be calling you to do, we have an easy way to do that. It's to go to our website,, click on the donate link. And we also have a group of people that we want to tell you about.

They're called our inner core and Adriel will fill you in on that. Yes. If you've been encouraged by the work that we do here at Core Christianity, would you consider joining? Would you join?

I just want to ask you to join the inner core. It's a monthly donation of $25 or more. It's a way that you can partner with us to continue to spread the word of Christ and hopefully encourage people who are struggling with questions, with doubts, wondering about different passages of scripture, wondering about their own lives and whether or not they're in a right relationship with God. We want to encourage people.

And so would you consider joining the inner core? And again, it's a monthly donation of $25 or more. You could do so by going to

Well, we do receive email questions here at Core Christianity and here's one from one of our listeners that came in this week. They say, I've been going to church for 15 years and I've been abused there almost the entire time. I keep going and I keep forgiving them each week, but I keep experiencing people's cruelty and judgment. I know I'm supposed to count suffering as joy for the sake of Christ, but this keeps happening and I'm tired of feeling so awful.

What do I do? Man, my heart breaks for this person. I mean, Bill, we were just talking about the importance of being in a good church where you're going to be cared for and encouraged with the word. But of course, we've all heard stories and here's another one of an individual or individuals in churches where instead of being built up in the word, they're torn down and sinned against. And so look, I mean, this is first and foremost, you know, ordinarily in the life of the church when something like this happens, if someone sins against you, whether it's a member of the church or leadership in the church, you confront them and you go through the process that Jesus outlines in the Gospel of Matthew of church discipline, especially though when it's leadership in the church, that can be a real problem because if there isn't a strong structure of accountability within the church, if there's no quote unquote court of appeal, well then it can just be something where the abuse continues and there's no way of really stopping it.

And in a situation like that, I mean, that's a very unhealthy environment. And I would say you need to find a church where Christ is faithfully proclaimed and where the leadership is accountable, where Jesus is treated as the head of the church and where the leadership is there to serve the people within the church. Now, part of the way leadership serves the people in the church is by calling all of us to faith and repentance. And that can be hard. I mean, that can sometimes, you know, when sin is being addressed, or we're being confronted by a particular sinful behavior, that can be difficult.

But I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about, and it seems like what you're talking about is you're being sinned against and you're trying to forgive, but people are being cruel to you. Well, if that's the case, if that's the culture and the atmosphere of the church, I would say, well, you need to find a place where the word of God is faithfully taught and where the sheep are being cared for by pastors, elders who have a heart for the ministry and have a heart for the people there, a love for the church. And so may the Lord be with you, give you wisdom, and may the Lord bring healing in your life after these 15 years. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-15 20:39:09 / 2023-03-15 20:49:12 / 10

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