I attended the same church for forty years. I grew up there, got saved there, left there as a foolish prodigal, and returned there. The people were fantastic. The fellowship was warm and genuine. We spent many shared evenings in the company of other members. We had those famous potluck suppers and fun-filled picnics. My wife recommitted her life to Christ and got baptized there. Our son, at the age of nine, believed on Jesus as his Savior and got baptized there. Eventually, I wrote a monthly column in the newsletter, served on committees, turned out for most Bible Studies, and became a deacon there. Then we (my family, even my parents) left that church.
Why? The answer starts with the scripture above. I began to read the Bible. I kept reading the Bible over and over. Soon my little family and my parents were doing the same. Our departure from the church seemed rather sudden but had been advancing for almost a decade. I had begun to question why we weren’t being taught the whole counsel of God. I would hear sermons and teaching from other sources expounding on God’s Word. It was very apparent we had a substantial lack of the same at our church. I brought this to the attention of our leaders on several occasions and encouraged them to change course, but all for naught.
As I said, the answer of why we departed started with the scripture above. The other reason relates to the four verses following verse 27. The Apostle Paul pleads with the Ephesian leaders to declare the whole counsel of God. Why? Paul explained that wolves would come from outside the church and ravage the people in their ignorance. Likewise, from within the church, men would lead the people away from the truth by aberrant teaching. That happened at our church. A steady progression away from Biblical truth took place.
When it became known that we were leaving, the wife of an elder inquired as to why. Our response concluded with “these things are not lining up with what we’re reading in the Bible.” The dear woman’s response sadly encapsulated the situation. She said, “Well, stop reading the Bible!”
We are very blessed to be at Calvary Baptist Church in Irwin. There is no lack in declaring the whole counsel of God here. Wolves do not have a place here. Nor do we play footsie with our culture at the expense of Biblical truth here. We have every opportunity to know Him and thereby grow in Him here. We are knowing and growing together as His Body here.
I am grateful for my former church. They laid the foundation of my faith. God did use His people there to impact my life in a tremendous way. And not only my life, but my family as well. However, they never had a willingness or perhaps even understanding that the foundation was the beginning, not the end. We will explore that next time. Stay tuned.