Why People Leave/Change Churches

For those deep thinkers out there.

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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by coco » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:30 pm

serapion wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:24 pm
I think the title of the thread and the OP are somewhat discordant. My thread-jack is my humble attempt to get us on track.
I see your point.
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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by FredS » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:47 pm

UncleBob wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:18 pm
FredS wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:17 pm
UncleBob wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:31 pm
serapion wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:23 am
A more important question, gentlemen, is why people in the millennial age bracket and down (30 - 18) are staying away from church.
I wish someone could or would study this. There are many theories but few solid trends. For example, when I talk with young people about why they may not attend church anymore, they almost always bring up stories like this: Once zealously controlled by a religious sect, a small town tries to rehab its image — with beer. But, upon further conversation, they almost always give some other reason later.
The Barna Group has done hundreds of studies and surveys of the church in modern America over the last 30 years. Their website is an eye opening look at our thoughts and practices.
Yeah, I am familiar with them. The problem is in research methodology: when one looks at their methodology they have a problem with measures and population for this research question. They are positioned to look at religious folks in general and probably evangelicals specifically but to approach this question one needs to look at general populations. This is a major hurdle due to self selection and convenience sampling. It may be that religion is only important to religious people (or ex-religious people) or it is only important through the lens of politics (at least in America) or even through the aegis of social programs--at least to a general population. Also, what role in cultural expectation influence church attendance? At some times and in some locations the church one attended had ramifications to one's social standing and economic potential. These possibilities are all problematic to religious, laic, and non-religious groups. To gauge this issue one would most probably have to piggyback onto some study that effects a general population.

Many of the studies I have read allow self selection which fosters biased results depending on who generally participates. Suppose Gen whatever really is ambivalent towards church or religion and yet the majority of participants are invested through some agenda.. how does that influence results? What steps are taken to minimize or identify this bias? This is just one problem.

It may be that they factor for this somehow but their reporting on research structure and evaluation is lacking, IMO.
Dang man. Do you gather and compile data for a living or something?
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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by UncleBob » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:31 pm

FredS wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:47 pm
UncleBob wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:18 pm
FredS wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:17 pm
UncleBob wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:31 pm
serapion wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:23 am
A more important question, gentlemen, is why people in the millennial age bracket and down (30 - 18) are staying away from church.
I wish someone could or would study this. There are many theories but few solid trends. For example, when I talk with young people about why they may not attend church anymore, they almost always bring up stories like this: Once zealously controlled by a religious sect, a small town tries to rehab its image — with beer. But, upon further conversation, they almost always give some other reason later.
The Barna Group has done hundreds of studies and surveys of the church in modern America over the last 30 years. Their website is an eye opening look at our thoughts and practices.
Yeah, I am familiar with them. The problem is in research methodology: when one looks at their methodology they have a problem with measures and population for this research question. They are positioned to look at religious folks in general and probably evangelicals specifically but to approach this question one needs to look at general populations. This is a major hurdle due to self selection and convenience sampling. It may be that religion is only important to religious people (or ex-religious people) or it is only important through the lens of politics (at least in America) or even through the aegis of social programs--at least to a general population. Also, what role in cultural expectation influence church attendance? At some times and in some locations the church one attended had ramifications to one's social standing and economic potential. These possibilities are all problematic to religious, laic, and non-religious groups. To gauge this issue one would most probably have to piggyback onto some study that effects a general population.

Many of the studies I have read allow self selection which fosters biased results depending on who generally participates. Suppose Gen whatever really is ambivalent towards church or religion and yet the majority of participants are invested through some agenda.. how does that influence results? What steps are taken to minimize or identify this bias? This is just one problem.

It may be that they factor for this somehow but their reporting on research structure and evaluation is lacking, IMO.
Dang man. Do you gather and compile data for a living or something?
Maybe.

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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by Del » Sat Jul 07, 2018 3:32 pm

tuttle wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:18 am
According to this study, most people who leave their church do so, not because of a new preacher or they don't like the music, but because the theology has changed.

I'd throw in there that new music and a new preacher might reflect the change in theology, but when given a choice theology changing was the main issue.

Image

(Edit by coco: Here is the article that goes with the graphic above. The research methodology is given and you can download a pdf explaining the data.)
I can only think of one denomination that has "changed" its theology -- Episcopalians/Anglicans.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker (a former Anglican priest) told me how many priests (like himself) left the denomination after they began ordaining women as priestesses. It was a large number -- like 600 or 800 -- and the denomination is still paying out many $millions to "retire" them.

One of those Anglican priests is now a Catholic priest in Madison Diocese.

I can't find the exact number, but this old article talks about 400 Catholic priests in England who were former Anglican priests. (A great many more Anglican priests around the world quit and did not become Catholic priests.)
http://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/1028/ne ... -anglicans
(Note: The Tablet is fake Catholic news in England, just as National Catholic Reporter is not respected as faithful news in America.)

Many thousands left the Anglican communion because they could no longer sustain the pretense that they were part of the Apostolic Church, established by Christ -- what CPS likes to call "cathanglodox."

If these former Anglicans are well-represented in the survey, then it could spike the result.
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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by CodeMonkey » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:19 pm

To me the obvious answer is because the service was over.
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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by harkpuff » Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:42 pm

I think when folks refer to the term "changes in doctrine" they are not talking about the basic foundational points of the salvation process, but are referring more- so to a church that is taking on, along with the foundational, the views and doctrines of the world. In many cases there are church congregations that have allowed the philosophies of the world to overpower the doctrine of the church. Basically allowing the wolves of the worlds value system to infiltrate the church. Jesus and the apostles teach and warn that the church is to guard against this.

Several years ago my wife and I began attending a congregation that appeared to be a fundamental Bible believing church and all evidence indicated this was the case. After we were there a few years and had placed membership, I was asked to become an elder in the church. One Sunday morning an elderly lady approached me and said she wanted to talk to me in private. She asked me if I were aware that we had three male members in the congregation who were regularly serving communion, taking up the offering, giving communion meditations, singing in the choir, and serving in other areas while at the same time were shacking up with girlfriends while not married to them. Not knowing everyone in the church, I was not aware of this but after investigating I found that what the lady told me was true. I had been an elder for eight years in another church and had never been faced with such a delima before. After much prayer and consultation I was told that I had no choice but to address this issue with the leadership. The final straw took place one Sunday morning when one of the men in question went forward with his girlfriend during a alter call and announced that his girlfriend wanted to be baptized and that he was going to do the baptism. Needless to say, at the next elders meeting I brought up this issue with the rest of the elder and senior minister staff and received the shock of my life. After stating my concerns, I was greeted with comments like...."Sooooo, whats the big deal about that?.... cohabitating with girlfriends out of wedlock is common practice in America today, probably 25 percent of the men in our congregation are living with girlfriends". Or, We are all sinners, so what's the difference between their sin and ours?" Or, from the Senior minister himself..."Well, we already know about these men and they have valid situations for doing so and we would rather error on the side of grace than appear to be legalistic". And from the oldest elder with the most grey hair and quite vocally...."WELL... THESE ARE SOME OF THE FINEST MEN IN THE CHURCH WHO GIVE A LOT OF MONEY AND TIME TO THIS CHURCH and besides that...Scripture does not even deal with this issue, so we don't either".

Needless to say I was absolutely floored by the entire experience. I felt I had truly stepped over into the Twilight Zone. The more I learned as a result of this experience it became very obvious to me that this was not a church at all....but simply a country club disguised as a church.

It's this kind of stuff I believe folks are refering to when they say "changes in doctrine" along with other things like congregations ordaining openly gay ministers, to preach or teach among a host of other things.

My grandparents would be spinning in their graves if they knew what kinds of things were taking place in churches today.

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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by DAN » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:02 am

I guess I've been carrying my notes on this around in my pocket for about 2 weeks. There are actually more notes than what I am about to touch on here, but I decided to limit my commentary to things that I have actually seen with my own eyes, heard with my own ears, or on which I have reliable testimony from others. Please forgive typos and my seemingly stream of consciousness Prose; I am using speech to text.

1) shallow teaching. I don't necessarily mean poor Doctrine, I mean that doctrinal teaching, period, is lacking. When you have a calvinist pastor who will not so much as mentioned predestination, you may have a problem. People have actually left over this. They got tired of being expected to eat curds and whey because the pastor was afraid that new people might be scared off. As if, in a dying church, we had seen any new people.

2) leadership failure to pay attention to members. Some who have left did so partly because they felt like when they did bring concerns to leadership, they were politely dismissed. This is annoying when it comes from people who do not actually have a track record of success. People leave over this sort of thing.

3) some who have left have left partly over the fact that there has been no discernible plan from leadership. Prior to our church merging with another church, leadership presented at least three or four plans to turn the church around in the space of six years. None had the slightest effect whatsoever, yet no one said, " we have no idea what to do." It's bad enough for people to be winging it without a plan, at least any sort of real plan, but it's absolutely a disaster when they wing it without a plan and won't fess up to not having one.

4) some left because all their friends had left. I am perilously close to this point myself.

5) other people left because they wanted to" do something," by which they meant something other than lay down wood flooring and install a coffee bar, about which they were supposed to tell all the other citizens in the city. What they wanted to do was actively participate in evangelism, for the most part, but we don't have so much as a visitation program and have not in years.

6) sheer outrage. When leadership tells you up front-- well, it was a private conversation, but still-- that they have absolutely and utterly no intention whatever of evangelizing the neighborhood, because the people in the neighborhood consume more in services and Ministry than they give, well, some of us are a little bit outraged.

So there's a few more reasons for you.
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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by Roadmaster » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:24 am

Politics.

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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by sweetandsour » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:33 am

Roadmaster wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:24 am
Politics.
Yep. And control freaks.
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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by Goose55 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:17 am

I'm not sure where it is in C.S. Lewis's writings but he said that if a youth, for example, decided to leave church, for good reason, that that youth is actually in better spiritual health than a person (of any age) who remain in the pews, but have no Life in them.

"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." John 10:9

God has a plan.
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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by Jocose » Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:27 am

Why people leave church?

I usually leave church after Divine Liturgy. Sometimes I'll stay for coffee or for theology 101 class.
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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by Roadmaster » Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:53 pm

harkpuff wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:42 pm
I think when folks refer to the term "changes in doctrine" they are not talking about the basic foundational points of the salvation process, but are referring more- so to a church that is taking on, along with the foundational, the views and doctrines of the world. In many cases there are church congregations that have allowed the philosophies of the world to overpower the doctrine of the church. Basically allowing the wolves of the worlds value system to infiltrate the church. Jesus and the apostles teach and warn that the church is to guard against this.

Several years ago my wife and I began attending a congregation that appeared to be a fundamental Bible believing church and all evidence indicated this was the case. After we were there a few years and had placed membership, I was asked to become an elder in the church. One Sunday morning an elderly lady approached me and said she wanted to talk to me in private. She asked me if I were aware that we had three male members in the congregation who were regularly serving communion, taking up the offering, giving communion meditations, singing in the choir, and serving in other areas while at the same time were shacking up with girlfriends while not married to them. Not knowing everyone in the church, I was not aware of this but after investigating I found that what the lady told me was true. I had been an elder for eight years in another church and had never been faced with such a delima before. After much prayer and consultation I was told that I had no choice but to address this issue with the leadership. The final straw took place one Sunday morning when one of the men in question went forward with his girlfriend during a alter call and announced that his girlfriend wanted to be baptized and that he was going to do the baptism. Needless to say, at the next elders meeting I brought up this issue with the rest of the elder and senior minister staff and received the shock of my life. After stating my concerns, I was greeted with comments like...."Sooooo, whats the big deal about that?.... cohabitating with girlfriends out of wedlock is common practice in America today, probably 25 percent of the men in our congregation are living with girlfriends". Or, We are all sinners, so what's the difference between their sin and ours?" Or, from the Senior minister himself..."Well, we already know about these men and they have valid situations for doing so and we would rather error on the side of grace than appear to be legalistic". And from the oldest elder with the most grey hair and quite vocally...."WELL... THESE ARE SOME OF THE FINEST MEN IN THE CHURCH WHO GIVE A LOT OF MONEY AND TIME TO THIS CHURCH and besides that...Scripture does not even deal with this issue, so we don't either".

Needless to say I was absolutely floored by the entire experience. I felt I had truly stepped over into the Twilight Zone. The more I learned as a result of this experience it became very obvious to me that this was not a church at all....but simply a country club disguised as a church.

It's this kind of stuff I believe folks are refering to when they say "changes in doctrine" along with other things like congregations ordaining openly gay ministers, to preach or teach among a host of other things.

My grandparents would be spinning in their graves if they knew what kinds of things were taking place in churches today.
Your points are well taken and the only answer to my way of thinking is to go back to Paul's teaching on church leadership. I'm now married but I divorced my first wife and the reason was not Infidelity. So I am damaged goods and I am first to say so.

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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by joegoat » Sun Jul 29, 2018 1:52 pm

serapion wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:23 am
A more important question, gentlemen, is why people in the millennial age bracket and down (30 - 18) are staying away from church.
I'm 27. I unfortunately fall into the millennial bracket and all the embarrassing stereotypes that come along with it. I'm turned off by many churches' attempts at attracting me. The coffee bar and jump around, whoopie woo worship is extremely off putting to me. The watered down message of God loves you no matter what, so live however you want and if you're really saved, things will just be swell with not so much as a bump in the road.
When I moved away from home, finding a new church was a very high priority for me. I found a home with the Anglicans. I love worshiping in a liturgy! Partaking in Holy Communion every week as a body of believers is wonderful. It's simple straight forward Christianity.
I've since moved again and I'm still on the hunt. I've recently found an Anglican congregation that we've attended and both liked it, but my wife grew up in this area and has roots in a church here so we go there by default. I'm not particularly fond of them and we both understand this. Their worship is of the aforementioned type and though I Iike the pastor and think his head is on straight, they have a lot of folks who take what he says in a message and just take it to the point of no return. "No condemnation" is a catch phrase that seems to mean do whatever you want to some folks. They're big on "healing." I very much believe that there are miraculous healings through The Spirit, but they seem to believe that our earthly bodies will never be inflicted by so much as an ache. Even if someone is clinically ill, once hands are laid on them they are healed. They might still be taking the full dose of medication to keep the symptoms mostly at bay and the tests are still coming back very positive, but they are healed... The shame is, there are some great people there! I've never had that good feeling of, "this is home" there.
Maybe I can't speak for my entire generation, but I just want something real. All I want is a hearty piece of cake. There is no need for two inches of icing piled on top to make it look better. It doesn't need to be a new recipe either, Good ol' fashioned vanilla is fine by me.
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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by serapion » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:53 pm

joegoat wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 1:52 pm
serapion wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:23 am
A more important question, gentlemen, is why people in the millennial age bracket and down (30 - 18) are staying away from church.
I'm 27. I unfortunately fall into the millennial bracket and all the embarrassing stereotypes that come along with it. I'm turned off by many churches' attempts at attracting me. The coffee bar and jump around, whoopie woo worship is extremely off putting to me. The watered down message of God loves you no matter what, so live however you want and if you're really saved, things will just be swell with not so much as a bump in the road.
When I moved away from home, finding a new church was a very high priority for me. I found a home with the Anglicans. I love worshiping in a liturgy! Partaking in Holy Communion every week as a body of believers is wonderful. It's simple straight forward Christianity.
I've since moved again and I'm still on the hunt. I've recently found an Anglican congregation that we've attended and both liked it, but my wife grew up in this area and has roots in a church here so we go there by default. I'm not particularly fond of them and we both understand this. Their worship is of the aforementioned type and though I Iike the pastor and think his head is on straight, they have a lot of folks who take what he says in a message and just take it to the point of no return. "No condemnation" is a catch phrase that seems to mean do whatever you want to some folks. They're big on "healing." I very much believe that there are miraculous healings through The Spirit, but they seem to believe that our earthly bodies will never be inflicted by so much as an ache. Even if someone is clinically ill, once hands are laid on them they are healed. They might still be taking the full dose of medication to keep the symptoms mostly at bay and the tests are still coming back very positive, but they are healed... The shame is, there are some great people there! I've never had that good feeling of, "this is home" there.
Maybe I can't speak for my entire generation, but I just want something real. All I want is a hearty piece of cake. There is no need for two inches of icing piled on top to make it look better. It doesn't need to be a new recipe either, Good ol' fashioned vanilla is fine by me.
Well said! And you are confirming something I suspected.
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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by joegoat » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:27 pm

serapion wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:53 pm
joegoat wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 1:52 pm
serapion wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:23 am
A more important question, gentlemen, is why people in the millennial age bracket and down (30 - 18) are staying away from church.
I'm 27. I unfortunately fall into the millennial bracket and all the embarrassing stereotypes that come along with it. I'm turned off by many churches' attempts at attracting me. The coffee bar and jump around, whoopie woo worship is extremely off putting to me. The watered down message of God loves you no matter what, so live however you want and if you're really saved, things will just be swell with not so much as a bump in the road.
When I moved away from home, finding a new church was a very high priority for me. I found a home with the Anglicans. I love worshiping in a liturgy! Partaking in Holy Communion every week as a body of believers is wonderful. It's simple straight forward Christianity.
I've since moved again and I'm still on the hunt. I've recently found an Anglican congregation that we've attended and both liked it, but my wife grew up in this area and has roots in a church here so we go there by default. I'm not particularly fond of them and we both understand this. Their worship is of the aforementioned type and though I Iike the pastor and think his head is on straight, they have a lot of folks who take what he says in a message and just take it to the point of no return. "No condemnation" is a catch phrase that seems to mean do whatever you want to some folks. They're big on "healing." I very much believe that there are miraculous healings through The Spirit, but they seem to believe that our earthly bodies will never be inflicted by so much as an ache. Even if someone is clinically ill, once hands are laid on them they are healed. They might still be taking the full dose of medication to keep the symptoms mostly at bay and the tests are still coming back very positive, but they are healed... The shame is, there are some great people there! I've never had that good feeling of, "this is home" there.
Maybe I can't speak for my entire generation, but I just want something real. All I want is a hearty piece of cake. There is no need for two inches of icing piled on top to make it look better. It doesn't need to be a new recipe either, Good ol' fashioned vanilla is fine by me.
Well said! And you are confirming something I suspected.
My age, premature curmudgeonous, or love of icingless cake?
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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by DepartedLight » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:29 pm

tuttle wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:18 am
According to this study, most people who leave their church do so, not because of a new preacher or they don't like the music, but because the theology has changed.

I'd throw in there that new music and a new preacher might reflect the change in theology, but when given a choice theology changing was the main issue.

Image

(Edit by coco: Here is the article that goes with the graphic above. The research methodology is given and you can download a pdf explaining the data.)
Hello. I've held off coming in here until tonight.

I was hesitant to be faced with my own self imposed exile from the Roman Rite that has been weighing on me recently. Ready to come clean; I read the OP.

Sorry.

I'm Catholic, the worst one ever even, and without any malice to brother tuttle; this doesn't happen in the older Liturgical communities. If a theological shift is felt in a community, you bet yer ass people leave.

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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by UncleBob » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:19 am

Many Skip Religious Services to Practice Faith in Other Ways
Practicing faith in other ways is the leading reason U.S. adults do not attend religious services regularly, according to a Pew Research Center report released on Aug. 1.

This was cited as the basis for non-attendance by 37 percent of respondents, followed by “I am not a believer” (28 percent), “I haven’t found a church / house of worship I like” (23 percent), “I don’t like the sermons” (18 percent) and “I don’t feel welcome” (14 percent).

Practicing faith in other ways was even more common among self-identified Christians, with 44 percent saying this was the basis for lack of regular attendance.

Catholics (47 percent) and evangelical Protestants (46 percent) were more likely than mainline Protestants (39 percent) to give this response.

A majority (59 percent) of those who practice faith in other ways said religion is “very” or “somewhat” important in their lives, and daily prayer was reported by 48 percent of this group.

Religious service attendance correlated to higher engagement in community service and charitable work, with 63 percent of regular attendees engaged in these activities compared to 50 percent of those who don’t attend because they “practice faith in other ways.”
Report
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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by Cleon » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:21 am

Could it be due to the prevalent use of social media? No need to be around other people, even for worship, if you can get all your needs met online.
"Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven" - Jesus

"More people need to put their big boy britches on." - JMG

"Dang, a pipe slap." - JimVH

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Thunktank
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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by Thunktank » Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:16 am

Cleon wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:21 am
Could it be due to the prevalent use of social media? No need to be around other people, even for worship, if you can get all your needs met online.
Maybe Jesus knew what he was doing when he instituted requirements for Presbyters, Holy Orders and Grace filled Sacraments?
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” -Yoda

“I grew up in a church with Ned Flanders. Down to the mustache. But so did a bunch of people I assume, which makes it so fun-diddly-unny.” -tuttle

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Goose55
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Re: Why People Leave Church

Post by Goose55 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:18 am

sweetandsour wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:33 am
Roadmaster wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:24 am
Politics.
Yep. And control freaks.
I think the truth of whoever offers the most hope has the most authority is dead on. We saw this in the earthly ministry of Christ, and how such hope stirred the ire of those opposed to Him. Those who are filled with real hope can't be spiritually manipulated.
"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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