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When Is It Time to Leave a Church?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
March 24, 2023 1:30 pm

When Is It Time to Leave a Church?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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March 24, 2023 1:30 pm

Episode 1191 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

Questions in this Episode

1. Did Jesus ever say "It is better to give than to receive"?

2. How were people saved before Jesus accomplished the work of salvation?

3. When is it time to leave a church?

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Core Question - What Do I Do When I’ve Been Hurt by the Church?


When is it time to leave a church? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. 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. Of course, you can always email us your question as well. Here's our email address.

It's We'd love to hear from you. Let's go to Raquel from Missouri as we open up the program. Raquel, what's your question for Adriel?

Hi, thank you for taking my call. I was just asking about Acts 20, 35, where Luke references Jesus as having said, it's more blessed to give than to receive. I just wanted to know where Jesus said that. And before you answer, I want to just say thank you. Every time I hear you flip your Bible pages, it makes me feel good about the fact that I still use an actual Bible. Oh, yeah. I love to hear those pages flip when you're looking through Scripture.

Thank you, Raquel. I mean, you just can't replace the real thing. And there's something more spiritual I would say about using a real Bible as opposed to an iPad or the ESV app on your phone or whatever it is.

I mean, we could talk about that more and more. But great question. Acts 20, verse 35, Paul is speaking to the Ephesian elders. This is honestly one of my favorite passages in the Bible because you can just hear Paul's heart as he's pleading with these Ephesian elders to stay firm in the faith, to remember all of his exhortations and warnings and so on and so forth. And there in that context, he says, verse 33, I coveted no one silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me in all things.

I have shown you that by working hard in this way, we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said it is more blessed to give than to receive. And the question is, where did he say that? I don't remember Jesus saying that in the gospel. It sounds like something he would say.

But where did he say that? And how did Paul know that Jesus said that? And the answer is, well, we don't have, I think, a clear reference in the Gospels. Raquel, there are a couple of different ways we could look at this.

One, I mean, this could have been some kind of an oral tradition, if you will. We know that Jesus said many, many things that weren't recorded in the Scriptures. I mean, John says as much at the very end of his gospel, that if all the miracles and sayings of Jesus had been recorded, the books in all the world could not capture the things that he did. And so we know that there were a lot of things that Jesus said that we just don't have. Some people think, well, maybe because Paul received his apostolic ministry directly from Jesus, we don't think he had these visions.

I mean, he was knocked off of his horse, called into the ministry by Christ. Maybe it was something like that, where Christ spoke to him. Or maybe it was just this was something that Jesus said that the apostles knew that they would talk about, but was not recorded in Scripture.

I think those are the two best ways to answer. It's not that there's any contradiction. It's not that he's saying, you know, this is recorded in the Scripture, but we lost it or something like that. It's just he's sharing with us something that was well known that Jesus said. And certainly it doesn't contradict anything that we do have in the gospels. And so I was sort of teasing when I said it sounds like Jesus would say that, but it certainly is modeled by Jesus. You think of what the Apostle Paul says in places like Philippians 2, have this mind in you, which was also in Christ. He didn't consider his own needs, but the needs of others, giving himself fully, totally, for our sakes to make us rich.

And so I think that's the best way to understand this. It clearly doesn't contradict anything that Jesus said. In fact, it's right in line with his entire life in ministry and the other sayings of Christ. And either this was some sort of oral tradition that the apostles had, or it was something that Christ revealed directly to the Apostle Paul in that same period where he was calling him into the ministry, I would say. I was just thinking too about the story of the widow's mite when Jesus commends the widow for giving her pennies, basically when the religious leaders all around are giving all, you know, supposedly all they have.

Yeah, that's right. Yeah, I mean, so that the call to generosity, certainly something that we see from our Lord. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, maybe theology, doctrine, maybe there's a passage of scripture that's always kind of stumped you and you'd like to get some clarification on it. Adriel would be happy to talk to you. Our number 833-843-2673. And you can also feel free to leave a voicemail at that number as well. Let's go to Holly calling in from Nebraska. Holly, what's your question for Adriel?

Hi, thank you so much for your show. And my question is, I'm scared of losing my faith because of the world and because of a friend's influence. He's not a Christian, even though he was raised Catholic, he no longer believes. And he showed me a documentary on archaeology about people that lived supposedly millions of years ago and, you know, worship the sun and moon.

I just wondered how can that be according to the Bible and also just it makes me scared about people not going to heaven. Well, Holly, first thing I want to do is pray for you. Thank you for giving us a call and how important you mentioned just being afraid and your faith having been shaken by this documentary that you watched and this friend.

So I got some thoughts about that. But let's pray for our sister Holly right now. Father, we come before you right now. Thank you, O God, for the truth of your word. Thank you, Lord, for your son Jesus who you sent into the world, who lived the perfect life of obedience to your holy law and then suffered and died, Lord, in our place so that our sins might be forgiven rising again from the dead for our justification.

We know, Lord, that he was seen by many, many witnesses and that those men and women were willing to go to their own death for the testimony of Christ, for his resurrection. Lord God, thank you for the rock-solid ground of the gospel. And I pray for my sister Holly, Lord, that you would help her to stand on that, to experience your grace, to sense your presence, and to act wisely, Lord, in these relationships, Lord, to know how to continue to follow you and to be faithful to you, Lord, in these days. And would you strengthen her faith, Lord, I pray, in Jesus' name, amen.

Holly, there are a number of resources, I think, just to say, I hope you stay on the line, because there are apologetics resources that I think we could get in your hands that will help to encourage you in your faith and continue to build you up. With regard to this question, you know, what about all those people that lived long, long ago before Jesus was even born into the world, people who were worshiping the sun and the moon? Well, the Bible actually talks quite a bit about that. In Genesis, for example, get this, the early chapters of the Bible, there is this argument, a polemic against the pagan deities of the world at that time in the ancient Near East, people worshiping the sun and the moon and so on and so forth. Actually, there are many people who say, you know, early on where it talks about God creating the sun and the moon, even the language that's used there in the early chapters of Genesis is a critique of the pagan gods because, you know, it depicts them as just these sort of lamps in the heavens that God just turns on. He's the sovereign Lord, don't worship the lamps, don't worship, you know, these things that God has set in the sky, the stars, for example, you see this in Genesis chapter 1 verse 16, God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night and the stars. Oh yeah, and the stars. Well, in the ancient Near East, astrology was big and people thought that the stars were gods, that they determined your destiny and here Moses, the author of Genesis is saying, no, God is the one who made all these things. You know those stars that the nations of the world are bowing down before?

God just sort of placed them there. And so the Bible speaks to this, yeah, there were all sorts of people doing all sorts of things and worshiping all sorts of things, but the true God calls us to worship him and he's given us his word, his promises, his gospel. He called Abraham out of, you know, worshiping the stars and the moon and so many people think that Abraham was a moon worshiper. Out of that and gave him these promises, ultimately, the promises of the gospel.

Well, how could I say that? Well, listen to what the Apostle Paul said in Galatians chapter 3 verse 7, Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the scripture foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles, that is the nations of the world, the pagan nations, the Gentiles by faith preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham saying, And you shall all the nations be blessed.

So then those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham the man of faith. Now, having said all of that, Holly, I just want to give some maybe some practical thoughts and Bill I'd love to hear your advice here as well. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 quoting from the Proverbs says that bad company corrupts good habits. And I think, you know, when we think about our relationships, our friendships, I think it's wonderful when we're able to have, you know, friendships with people who don't believe the same things that we do and we can sharpen each other. It's great to ask questions to seek answers and and to be willing to listen and to be open.

I think I've always felt this way. I mean, one of the things I appreciate about, you know, some of the pastors and teachers I've had over me over the years has been that they'd always encouraged me to dig deeper. If you're questioning something, if you're struggling with some doubts, you don't have to just brush that away and pretend like it's not an issue or not look into it. I think that's a sign of a cult, you know, when I'm talking to Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, a lot of times when they begin to question, they're just okay, shut that door.

Don't go there. I would say if you have questions, dig, find the answers because there are answers and the Word of God, the promises of the gospel, they stand up to scrutiny, I would say. And so I think that's important, but you need to be around people who are encouraging you in your faith too. You need to have a solid community of believers around you.

So Holly, I want to go back to you really quickly and ask you this question. Are you in a church? Do you have solid Christians, you know, people that you can talk about these things with, a pastor, maybe elders? Yes, I do go to church and have my whole life and this person even tells me the Bible is not true. I don't know what to say to him about that.

Yeah. Well, you can say it is true. I mean, what are the reasons that he tells you that the Bible isn't true? I mean, it's one thing to just say, well, the Bible is not true or the Bible is full of contradictions.

I mean, I hear this over and over again. A lot of times people are just saying these things, but they're not backing it up. So what is he saying isn't true about the Bible? He says like, oh, it's been interpreted over and over, like kind of rewritten or something, and he said he was taught to take things with a grain of salt.

And that's not what I learned at all. It's like the Bible is all true and you don't just take it with a grain of salt. It's serious. It's the truth. Yeah, it is. It is the truth. And so what I would say, like, so just maybe touching on that one thing that he brought up, it's just been interpreted over and over and over again. And so we've lost the Bible, whatever the Bible was and what we have today are two different things.

That I would say is just factually incorrect. We have manuscripts dating back thousands of years, Old Testament manuscripts, New Testament manuscripts. When you take them together, they really help to corroborate the fact that what we have here is the word of God. We can compare these various manuscripts. Sometimes people think that the way we got the Bible is sort of like that game telephone.

One person got it and they shared it with another person. And then, you know, you go down the line and by the time you get to the very end, the original message was totally lost. That's not at all how the Bible was transmitted, we might say, down the ages. No, it was this revelation that came to many people. And they're passing it down through teaching, through speaking, through scribes and so on and so forth. And we have manuscripts, thousands of manuscripts that we can look at and sort of compare to each other. So even just that idea, you know, him saying that, I mean, that's just not true in terms of how we got the scriptures. There are a number of, if you're looking for some good resources, there are a number of good books on how we got the Bible, on the formation of the canon. Michael Kruger is one guy who we've mentioned his name before.

He has some books. But again, if you reach out to us, I think we'd be happy to put together a list for you. Let me just encourage you by saying, this is the Word of God. You can trust it. You don't need to be afraid of asking questions. I just want you to be in a place where you're going to get good answers, where you're not going to be told, oh, don't ask that question or, you know, no, because this is an opportunity for you to grow deeper in your faith, to strengthen your faith, to really dig into what you believe and why you believe it. Don't just assume that this guy is telling you the truth.

That's an issue. It sounds to me like he's just saying things, but he's not really providing significant evidence. He's saying, well, you know, just the way it was translated or it's just not true or there are contradictions. I hear people say that all the time, and frankly, most of them have not spent a lot of time really digging in. A lot of the people just who are out there sort of repeating these things.

And so I would say, take that with a grain of salt. Stand firm on God's Word and what God's Word says, but don't feel ashamed about asking questions and digging deeper. And as you do so, make sure that you're not doing this in isolation, that it's not just you trying to figure out the Bible by yourself and then you have this guy sort of whispering in your ear. You need to have a solid connection there in your church where you're with other believers working through these things, asking questions, and your pastor there is able to encourage you and help you and help you get good resources that will provide the answers that you're looking for. Holly, thanks for your question.

May the Lord bless you. You know, my prayer would be that they are giving her the answers at her church because if they're not, if they're not open to questions, if they're not providing those solid answers, maybe that's not the best church for her. I mean, the fact is, we want to go to a church where we're fed spiritually and where we can grapple with these things because we know there are answers.

That's right. And it's just such a sad thing when we don't as pastors or parents, for example, like when your kids are asking questions, if we just shut it all down, well, what does that communicate? It communicates, you know, you can't go there because... We don't have the answers.

We don't have the answers, you know, this is a no-fly zone. And what that does is it just sort of feeds doubt and unbelief and makes you feel like you're, you know, you're just, you're just being directed, you know, in the wrong way. And if you say, okay, let's reason, let's look at this, let's think about these claims, these arguments, and let's do the hard work of studying and searching the Scriptures and coming before the Lord humbly, that's a good thing. And like I said, that is a real opportunity for the strengthening of your faith. And we're certainly called to that in Scripture, and Peter tells us to always have a defense at the ready, to always be prepared to, you know, be able to defend the faith that we believe in, right?

Absolutely. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can always email us at questions at, and you can leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day. Here's our number, 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Here's a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners earlier this week. Hi, my friend, she and her husband go to a church, a Christian church, and she doesn't trust the pastor or the elders. The husband insists on going to church because he believes that he can help the church and he can make a difference, even though his wife told him repeatedly how she truly feels. She believes that he's being selfish.

How would you advise her and him in this situation? So this is a really complex question, I think. It's hard to give an answer, but let me just go through some of the scenarios and hopefully this is helpful. First, I know how difficult it is to be in a church where you have a hard time trusting the leadership. It's almost impossible to really glean from the ministry there, I think. I mean, if you're always questioning everything, if you're assuming that there's some sort of sinister motivation, or maybe there is and maybe you're totally right, right?

These people are supposed to be caring for your soul, and so if you don't trust them, it just puts you in a very difficult position because here you don't trust the pastor and the elders who you've entrusted your soul to. You see how difficult that is? And so it's not okay to continue in that kind of a situation. There needs to be a resolution.

Now how do you get that resolution? I think you have to be honest. You have to be honest about why it is that you feel this way. And again, this is where it gets complex, and this is where the issue just needs to be addressed. Maybe it was a sin, maybe it's something in the teaching, maybe it's a relational conflict. But unless you address it, what's going to happen is you're just going to continue to exist in this state of I don't trust the people who are entrusted with my soul.

And so there just needs to be movement there. If there can't be, for whatever reason, maybe the leadership at the church is corrupt, truly. I mean, this can happen. Maybe they aren't, maybe they are.

And the fact of the matter is they ought not to be entrusted with the souls of men and women. And this wife sees that. And the husband can't see it, but he's thinking, no, I'm going to fix this.

Well, let me just say, usually, in any situation, when you're in a church and you feel like you're there because you're God's gift to the church who's going to change the church, the direction of the church. That's just a really don't do that. That's just not helpful.

And you're going to be beating your head against the wall. That's not going to work. But I would say, look, it should be something that you just address. And if it can't be, if it's just the case that we're not going to be able to, we can't do this. Well, then, yeah, I mean, that husband has to think about, like, for my spouse's ability to be able to worship God and confidence in the ministry.

Just the ability to, I mean, I think of the people that are preaching the word of God to you, but you're not able to receive that word for whatever reason. Right. That's just there. There are all sorts of this has to be dealt with. This has to be addressed. I've also seen instances, I think, where you have somebody who just wants to leave a church, doesn't want to be there, and maybe the issues come up, but they're not really addressed as sort of like a smokescreen. You know, like I just sometimes it's like I don't have legitimate reasons for not trusting you.

I just don't like you. Well, that's a problem, too. And so that's why I said this is a tough question to answer because there's so much beneath the surface there. But what I will say is, well, you need to be in a church where you do trust the leadership. They've been entrusted with the care of your soul. And so if you're just always sort of like, no, can't, don't want that, any question they ask, just sort of recoil, that's just not going to go well. That's not going to turn out well. Just to bring God's word to bear a little bit here, think of what the author of the Hebrews said in Hebrews 13 verse 17.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy, not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. It sounds like with this couple, though, based on what you've said, there might be some other issues, you know, maybe in the marriage where the husband, there's this selfishness there that also needs to be addressed. And certainly this idea that maybe he has where he's going to fix whatever the problem is, maybe he sees the problem, but he sees himself as the solution. Yeah, just would say that's not the right approach. And so I think it sounds like maybe you need to sit down with the leadership of your church and bring these things to the table and have an honest conversation.

And if there really are these deep issues, well, then maybe it is the right time to part ways. Brothers and sisters, thank you so much for listening to the broadcast. So grateful to get to serve you in this way. And may the Lord bless your weekend. This program and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-24 18:50:51 / 2023-03-24 19:00:43 / 10

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