#107 Should I Leave My Church?

The following transcript was automatically generated by Otter.ai, and as such will contain inaccuracies. In fact, it will often be comically inaccurate.

Barry 0:07
Hello everyone is Barry Cooper here speaking to you from Deland in Florida. And over there 4000 miles away in Yeovil, England is none other than James Cary. How is Yeovil currently performing James?

James 0:21
Yeovil is still very much pronounced Yeovil by people who live here and go Ville, from people out of town. So you’re about as far out of town as it goes. Across the Atlantic, it is unseasonably chilly for April, I am told it is, it is pretty cold, but it’s glorious way below average rainfall for the year.

Barry 0:40
Well, listen, I as fascinating as all of this must be to people who listen to us regularly. The reason we’ve gathered here today is to talk about a subject which we suspect if our Discord server is anything to go by, is gonna be of interest to quite a few people. And the question we are asking is what James?

James 0:58
Should I leave my church?

Barry 1:00
And by the way, just to be clear, we’re not answering the question, should James leave his church? We’re broadening it out. I’m trying to establish some possible parameters. Why you dear listener, if you are thinking about leave your church Good, good reasons for doing so maybe bad reasons for doing so. And so on. And so,

James 1:17
yes, so I think we’ve got good reasons and bad reasons to leave. And then we’ve got good reasons and bad reasons to stay. I think that’s frankly, as good a way of thinking about this as any and I was just reflecting earlier, that this is not a question I’ve asked myself, since about 1998,

Barry 1:38
what’s significant about that particular year,

James 1:41
that was when I decided to leave a church to go to another one, I also have sort of preference rather than I’ve moved house or, you know, yeah, I’ve left or we’ve I’ve left this church in order to plant a new church, from this church or whatever. And then when we left London in 2012, we moved to this church, where we are in yeoville. Yeah. And we’re perfectly happy there. And

Barry 2:06
so what was the nature of that? Well, we obviously going to get into this in more detail. But that was actually one of my questions. James, have you ever left the church? What was the nature of the preference that that meant that you did leave that church?

James 2:19
I think I was. So I wasn’t at this church for very long, I first moved to London and went to a church where it was quite big. And it was a little bit charismatic, more charismatic than I was kind of comfortable with, but not not much more. So I had some new some people there, they’re very nice. And I just felt a little bit lost in it, it felt like they’d started without me some time ago. And people were perfectly nice, but I didn’t quite feel part of it. And I felt the Bible teaching was wasn’t it wasn’t expositional or rigorous. So the preaching was mostly was true. I don’t think they said anything. That wasn’t true. It’s just I was struggling to see how what they were saying was from the passage that we were looking at. So there was a bit of a disconnect there. And that that can lead to trouble. But it hadn’t, in my case, particularly. But yeah, I just thought so I think in a way before I even settled there properly. I just thought, you know what, I don’t think this place is for me. So there was another cut church, which was actually quite inconvenient for me to go to, but I did. I visited a friend there. And just thought I like it here. This feels right. And so that’s why, and the Bible teaching was excellent. I knew some people, it was very mission minded. It felt like there were people doing stuff, and that I could contribute in some way. Yeah. And so yeah, so I switched. And then eventually, I moved house from where I was on the wrong side of London, to where that church was in southwest London. Yeah. Yeah. So So yeah. What about you very Have I ever left a church?

Barry 3:58
I did. Just the once, I would say, as an adult human being. And the reason for that was not because I thought, you know, it was a really bad place or anything, but just because, and again, question for another podcast. But for me, because I become convinced of the of the, my position on baptism, which is as a creative Baptist. I just wanted to be able to celebrate baptism in my church without having my fingers crossed, if you know what I mean. Right. And there were some other issues as well, which were largely to do with they were largely to do with membership and discipline, really. So on the one hand, I knew that they had admitted into membership, somebody who was clearly not a believer. And I also knew that and many people did that there were two small group leaders who were sleeping with each other, not married, and nobody had said anything about it. There was no quarter a payment. I wasn’t brought up. So again, it felt to me as if the front door was being left wide open. And the back door had been locked shut. And it seems to me that churches ought to be the reverse of that. And maybe we’ll get into that a little bit more as we

James 5:19
would say talk about then let’s let’s get into that. Now. What do you mean by that? Because I’ve heard this expression before, and I’m just trying to work out. Yeah, it is it did. You know, you keep using that word. I don’t think what? Yes, we talk about frontals and backdoors. within the church. Yeah. So what is that? Well, so

Barry 5:36
when I’m thinking about the way that we fenced the table for the Lord’s Supper, we talk about fencing the table, right? So there’s clearly a biblical there’s there’s a blueblood biblical injunction to take care as to who takes communion and who doesn’t. We shouldn’t we eat and drink judgment upon ourselves if we take the Lord’s Supper in an unfitting way. In the same way, there are biblical principles, it seems to me about who should be considered a member of a church. And there are also biblical grounds for church discipline. So think of Paul in First Corinthians five where he talks about expelling this particular person for sexual immorality. So when I say I think the door was open too widely, and the back door was locked sharp, what I mean by that as an inversion of Scripture is that in Scripture, I think what you say see is we ought to take care, in terms of who is a member of our church, are they actually a believer. And we ought to also have a mechanism for expelling or excommunicating whatever word you want to use. where a person is not living a faithful Christian life where there are where it’s bringing the Gospel, bringing the crop bringing Christ into disrepute. The key

James 6:55
there is not so much it’s not faithful, it’s unrepentant is exactly, just

Jingle 7:01
good words.

James 7:04
That’s where ideas begin, maybe you listen to so people can make a mess of things is I mean, it doesn’t have to be sexual sin normally is. But let’s say that your it turns out that one of your church members is committing fraud, is doing something dishonest, is running some kind of fraudulent scheme. And they’re challenged about it. And they say, Well, what do you It’s my business? Yeah, you can say, No, that’s kind of, you don’t get to do that and turn up to our church. And so you you warn them once or twice. And then you have to say, you’re no longer welcome at this church. It does go on in our mind, my church, by which I mean, my Vicar has had a couple of conversations with people and said to them, you know, we’ve got a problem here. And on one occasion, they’ve left and they’ve gone away and another case, and they repented and come back. So there is discipline is used, but it is very reluctantly used. Whereas there are other nonconformance traditions like bredrin, and exclusive Brethren, as the title would suggest, where church membership is really, there’s a much higher bar to entry. So maybe, could you say a bit about that? And also how Surely, we want everyone to come into our churches. We want unbelievers to come in. We want the service swing wide the door for those guys. Right? Well, yeah, so

Barry 8:26
that’s where it’s important to make the distinction. When I talk about the door being swung wide open, I’m talking specifically about membership. So we absolutely want to be fully and freely extending the invitation. I’m delighted when non Christians come to our church clearly, and I want them to be there. But this is a slightly different issue. This is alright. Membership, do it. How easy do we make it for people to become members of the church, not just people who happen to attend? Yeah. And interestingly, our friend Aaron Rennes has written a bit on this. He talks a little bit about weak community in churches, and how that how that leads to low group cohesion. We’ll link will link to an article about this. It’s really interesting. But in a nutshell, I think many churches make it far too easy to become a member far too hard to get kicked out by going put it that way. And I think what that does is it breeds a sense of consumerism and people. So it’s very easy, calm. And if it’s easy, come, easy go. You know, I feel free to just drift from one church to another if it’s not meeting my needs, because it’s all about me. It’s not really about me, looking to serve the body as well as be served. Now. Yeah, I know there’s so much nuance we need to add to this, which is difficult when James and I think that nuance is a small town in southern France. But it is important to stress this there’s so much more we could say and I’m very aware. There’ll be a lot of people listening maybe who are currently thinking about maybe leaving a church and I want to stress that none of what James and I are going to say in this episode constitutes power. Astrid advice? I think we ought to put that in capital letters at the top. And that’s partly because

James 10:05
it is it is legal advice and financial insurance, not pastoral advice. cannot stress that enough.

Barry 10:10
It’s not possible advice. And the reason for that is a we obviously don’t know your very specific situation. And be because James and I can be idiots. So there’s two very important things to keep in mind there.

James 10:22
Yeah. And fundamentally, we we don’t fully agree. Because Barry once were happily went to a very well known as successful Church of England church, and he left. And to be honest, round about that time, I was probably not particularly bothered one way or the other, about the Church of England. And I went the other way, and especially since moving out of London. Well, towards the end of London when I was living in Fulham, and our pastor became the vicar of St. Peter’s Church in Fulham having we were previously like an Anglican sort of floating, you know, fresh expression missional community around it. Yeah, you’re free range.

Unknown Speaker 11:04
Yeah.

James 11:06
So we So anyway, we we see style wanderings in the deserts of Fulham, and we took up residence in the tabernacle of St. Peter’s I see. And it’s really interesting how that suddenly a lot of things change. The most noticeable thing was and I spoke to spoke to Tom part about this. Tom Parker, I spoke to you for the Kazakh convention podcast, which just dropped today at the time of recording. And he noticed and I noticed that he’s from, I think he’s got lots of nonconformist brothers, and cousins and family, and who are ministers and pastors. And the thing that you notice being in a Church of England church is that people just walk in, in the way that they just kind of don’t in the alternative. This is in the UK, in America, you don’t have an established church anymore. Yeah, states used to have established churches. But I think a lot

Barry 12:11
of that actually is down to buildings, isn’t it? Because if you’re very identifiably a church, rather than let’s say you’re meeting in a school or something. Yeah. Yeah, you are going to there’s going to be a lot more footfall isn’t there?

James 12:24
Yeah. And actually, that reminds me, I mean, if you if you do meet in a school, suddenly, you’re a bit weird. And I spoke to, oh, who was it? Andrew Sach, I think was Andrew says. And he said that so that they charged me to the university, lecture hall or something like that. Yeah. And there was a lady who came along, who I think had been invited, but she didn’t really know much about it. She’d be looking to Christian things. She’d found them through lockdown. And she said to her son, I’m going to this church thing. Call me in an hour and a half, because it might be a cold.

Barry 13:02
If I’m not.

James 13:04
Yeah, kinda. And she found it fascinating. Yeah. And I think she might have even turned the phone off, or the sound off on her phone. And she stayed for a q&a afterwards, I need to realize she got a series of increasingly panicked messages from her. Because this is where church had adopted. Yeah, mother. Yeah. So anyway, so we are slightly deviating. But just to round off that thought, I guess, the Church of England has a position as the National church whereby people can sort of wander in and almost become involved in a way that makes them feel like they’re members. And, and, and going forward to receive Communion. And I would argue,

Barry 13:47
actually, that that, and by the way, I think that not only is communion, a part of that, but actually baptism as well, isn’t it? My argument is that, you know, obviously, if you take the Peter Baptist position, you are sort of making certain assumptions about who’s in and who’s out if you like, Yeah. Which would be different from, as you say, a creative Baptist or maybe a nonconformist position.

James 14:09
Yeah. And so when, through my General Synod kind of stuff and you end up in scenarios where you have these passwords, you know, occasionally is like, here is a pastoral situation, usually around same sex stuff when we did a series of workshops and stuff on that. And normally the problem was, as far as I could see, nobody had the conversation at the start with these people who walked in that this is what the church is more it stands. Yeah. And if you wish to be involved in particular way, yeah. You need to agree to the following things. In the same way that people who cohabit just sort of drift into some form of marriage and they’re miserable because one, one agrees to live with the other because they think this is going to make it permanent, and the other one agrees to move in because they aren’t going to where else to go. Yeah, and they’ve started out with completely different expectations of what the relation kingship is totally. And I think it’s the same with a with a church. And I was just gonna go back to what

Barry 15:05
I was just saying to tie that bow on that. That’s why I think it is so important to have some sort of people think membership memberships not in the Bible is it but I think there is a clearly delineated sense of like, this is the body of believers. And there are definitely going to be people who coalesce around that who don’t yet believe. And it’s great, lovely to have them come on in. But there needs to be some way of distinguishing between the two. Otherwise, it makes a nonsense of the New Testament injunctions to actually, you know, you’re not called to judge those outside the church says, you are called to judge those inside the church. Why? Because they’re supposed to be believers. They’re supposed to be reflecting Christ. They’re supposed to be loving one another and doing all of that stuff. If you cannot make a distinguishing the two, then you simply can’t obey half the New Testament is my

Unknown Speaker 15:53
argument. Yeah.

James 16:16
I just wanted to go back to what you were saying about church membership and community. And I mean, you’re the guy who wrote the God of open options. And in a way, I think, therefore, let’s just go back to bad reasons to leave the churches. I feel like my, my preferences aren’t being fulfilled as well as my needs are not being met. Yeah. And I guess a bad reason is Yeah, I just, yeah, I think I’m done here. Is that no, that’s not really good enough, is it? That’s not really you. And you what you may need to do therefore is to reflect carefully, think carefully. What exactly is the problem here? Rather than just like, Oh, well, I’ll try the other one. No, no, that’s not a thing.

Barry 17:08
Yeah. And I think that’s partly because the paradigm that we have, in our minds when we think about church, is very often not a biblical one at all. So that the typical paradigm that we tend to have in our heads when we think about church, is it’s and I saw you using this analogy, I think is exactly right. It’s a kind of a bit like a gym. So you basically see all right, how much does it cost to join this particular thing? What are the benefits I get? Seems like good deal I’m in and then equally,

James 17:37
and then I’ll ever go

Barry 17:38
Yeah, and then I’ll never go, or at least I’m out if I anytime I want with no penalty to pay, right. And, of course, you can search in vain. Connie James, in the New Testament to try and find any mention of church being like a gym. It’s not like a gym.

James 17:55
It is the Romans had gymnasium. I mean, that was what

Barry 17:58
they did. So they could have done, they could have used this as an analogy. And he didn’t. But instead, what we’ve got is, is a family. It’s one side of a marriage, it’s the bride. And the thing about those, it’d be good to unpack those a little bit. But one thing with the family is you don’t actually, you do get to choose who shepherds, you. And we’ll again, we’ll get onto that and the importance of that. But you don’t get to choose who your who your family is, in the sense like brothers and sisters. So when you go to a church, this will come as a newsflash to a lot of people I know. But when you go to church, there’s a lot of weird people there. There’ll be a lot of weird people, you can’t if I find it really hard to get along with them don’t understand where they’re coming from, that maybe they take radically different views for new, perhaps politically or otherwise. And you’ve got to get along with them. You’ve got to you’ve got to love one another. That is very different from a gym where it’s just like, I don’t like the dumbbells here. I’m off. You know, it’s a family. So there’s that the marriage thing is really interesting as well, as an analogy. I think there are far fewer reasons for divorce, biblically speaking than we than we think there are. And I think that’s true with the church as well. We think there are Yeah, there’s lots of legitimate reasons for leaving, I think there are probably fewer than there actually are. Again, we can get into that. The other analogy, of course, the Bible talks about is the body. So a church is a body. Again, it’s really problematic if you’ve got members of the body parts of the body deciding I’m just going to amputate myself. I’m off. So you know, suddenly, you’ve got no feet or you’ve got no hands. That’s like the impacts on other people is huge in a way that it would not be from leaving a gym, let’s say

James 19:42
yeah, I think that’s really such a challenging thing. I mean, first you go back to what you’re saying about the church is full of weird people. It’s like, just take a moment to realize that they might think you’re the weird one.

Barry 19:55
I was gonna say if you think there are no weird Biblical church, it’s

James 19:59
Yeah. Yeah, but we all know that there will be more than one weird person in your church. And I’m one of them quite possibly, hey, you’re the one that listens to podcasts. This particular podcast and this particular podcast, you know. So I think I think the thing that is much neglected when it comes to church membership is the fact that it’s, it’s not just you. And so occasionally, I’ve had a conversation with my daughter about youth group, where sometimes she wants to go, sometimes she doesn’t. I don’t make her go every time because I want to choose. But sometimes when I say to her, when she’s thinking about going, I say, it would be great if you went for the sake of your friends, because you might not feel like it. But you know, being there might actually be a real downer for them. Yeah. And it may mean that they didn’t come next week, because you were there is our client. So you know, no, no, man is an island. I think it says somewhere, not in the Bible.

Barry 20:59
That’s right. There was a great story I heard Mark devere tell about I think a church he went to in Cambridge when he was a younger man. And there was a guy there, a friend of his who started coming along to church, and he started noticing, Deborah, that this guy would just turn out for the sermon and then leave. And you know, tennis was flaky and devastated. Well, what, what’s going on there? And he said, Well, it’s just that I’m not really, this was a very sharp, smart guy. He’s saying, I just feel like these guys, if I join hands with me that if I join hands with them, they’re going to kind of slow me down. To which dev said, Well, yeah, that may be true, but if you join hands with them, you’re gonna help them speed up. So there is definitely that. I think that is a whole paradigm shift times time shift for many people thinking of church in those terms.

James 21:45
I mean, I think he was very kind on that person. And it may be because, you know, I’ve recently been reading a bit. I mean, I haven’t been reading nature, but I’ve been reading books about nature. I mean, no one reads nature. Right. It may have been Carl Truman’s book, but I think there are one or two others as well. So I feel like I’ve read quite a few books in this area.

Barry 22:05
Is it about parenting?

James 22:06
Yes, that’s right. Nietzschean parenting. Wow. Now that’s a book that I would actually read. is certainly better than Rousseau parenting anyway. Oh, yeah. I mean, the whole essence of that way of thinking that was espoused by political parties that we don’t like, possibly in the Rhineland area, is, is the fact that despising the control that the weaker have over you? Yeah. And that three, we really can’t slow down. Yeah. Because of, you know, if these people get their hooks into you, they’re just going to make your life an absolute misery. Yeah. And in one sense, we don’t want to be naive. But also, as I think I heard Keller preach at one point as well. But love costs you something. And so you can’t protect yourself. Yeah. And therefore if you’re part of a church, you are part of something that isn’t you, and you are part of something you are you are giving of yourself.

Barry 23:03
Yes. And if you don’t want anything to do with that, I, I have grave reservations that you’ve really understood what it is to follow Christ. Exactly. And to say also commensurate with that is that there is a risk for you, when you join, you could end up getting your heart broken. There is a real risk there. But again, it’s CS lewis’s thing of Well, what’s the alternative? You’re just going to lock your heart up in a box and never love? You know, this is what church demand, this is what Christ demands of you. Now, again, I think it’s important to dis when we’re talking about weak, weaker people, I think you don’t you don’t want to be led by those people. And I think there’s an important distinction to make there. One thing I would say about good reasons for leaving, which we’ll get to is, you know, you want to be looking at who’s going to be shepherding you rather than necessarily the congregation members, you know, how’s it being run the elders, the the senior pastor, someone that is critical, clearly.

James 24:02
Yeah. So therefore, the obvious thing is always to think how, you know, how could I serve better in a different church? How can I say is like, you’re still at the center of that, how can I How can I? So you know, so I think overall, our headline on this part is just checking your motives. Are you trying to break free of people who you find to be a burden? Yeah. Because that is the Christian life is, is carrying one another’s burdens. Yes. And that goes back to that family thing. If you know you do not choose your family just weren’t.

Unknown Speaker 24:42
Maybe you should listen to them.

Barry 24:48
Yes, it’s true. You could leave your spouse for someone else because you don’t like certain things about them. Maybe several things, but something else to bear in mind is that the new person And we’ll come with a whole heap of new baggage, most of which you cannot see from the outset. Yeah. And from a church perspective, it can be very, these people are just hard work. I’m going to go over there, that looks better. But of course, it looks better because you’re not there. But then when you do get there, you’re I mean, it’s full of human beings, of course, it’s going to be difficult.

James 25:21
And I think that’s true. On a wider denominational level as well. So I think it’s always tempting to think that the grass is greener. That church looks nice. They look like they got their act together. You know, I’ve heard of the past. Oh, great if I get to go to that one. And I think that’s probably it’s, it’s a real mixed blessing that you can hear, really charismatic, small see preaching via YouTube and podcasts, and be drawn to the ministries of really gifted teachers and the music as well, of course, well, and I’m sure we’ll get into that could be a big draw for people. And you’re seeing that on it is, yeah, it’s never it’s never been the deciding factor. For me, even though I have strong views on music, but

not everything, of course.

Barry 26:12
But just just sort of wanting to drill down a little bit in terms of practical bad reasons for leaving. Yeah, I think it’s worth saying that something I’ve noticed, and I think something I’ve been tempted to as well, is you it’s a bad reason for leaving, if you are you’re leaving or thinking of leaving in order to avoid dealing with difficult relational issues that need dealing with. It’s kind of like the equivalent of walking out during a disagreement and slamming the door. You know, it’s not, it’s not good. It’s not healthy is obviously you want when you do leave, if you do leave, you want to leave on good terms, it seems to me you want to have spoken to people in a in a balanced and careful way. Try to have tried to reconcile if there if there are issues there, rather than just using leaving the church as a way of just ducking difficult conversations.

James 27:03
Yeah, I think it’s just worth Yeah. Why are you leaving? If it’s a person that you’re trying to avoid? Then you just want to check Why Why am I trying to avoid them? Yeah. And it would probably be good, albeit painful, or difficult to have a conversation with that person. Yeah. And you don’t even need to Yeah, I don’t want to engage. They talk me into staying or whatever is ended. Well, that’s, you know, you can make a decision to leave and just but you still want to end? Well.

Barry 27:30
Yeah, definitely. And it’s fine. And you want to have had a good chat, if at all possible with with the pastor. So there is that there’s an unfortunate habit that people have just stopped going to church without actually even thinking that they ought to talk to the pastor about why they’re thinking of leaving. And again, I think that’s partly to do with if the barrier to entry is very low than the barrier to exit is very low as well. But if you’re a pastor, you really most I think most pastors really would like to have that conversation. They’d like to have an exit survey where they kind of know, right, this is maybe something we could do better, something we’ve overlooked. Now, it may be that when you go to the pastor, they react in such a way as to actually confirm your decision that leaving is a good idea. But again, that’s good information to have. That’s a good data point.

James 28:18
Yeah, data point, as the Apostle Paul himself said, get the data point. Yeah,

Barry 28:23
that’s right. First Corinthians chapter four.

James 28:37
We’ve talked about bad reasons to leave, there are probably more, but we should probably grind down and we might, we might go back and touch on them as we go. But what

Barry 28:46
what are good reasons to leave was you touched on one earlier, geography i think is a good reason to leave. Actually, if you drive past a good Bible preaching godly church to get to the church that you currently attend, you should consider going to that church instead. Hmm, I realized there’s a bit of a can of worms. But is there any way I

James 29:07
can open worms everywhere? The Yeah, because you want to just ask yourself, why are you driving all that way to that other church? And it may be that historically used to live there, and this is where you serve and all that kind of stuff. And maybe that’s fine, but it may also be that that is your preferred church, which has a rich provides a theological service to your liking.

Barry 29:36
Yes. And also the you will find, I think there is again, I keep using this word, but a commensurate connection between how far away you are from your church, and the ease with which you can do the one anothers of the New Testament. Yeah, I think one of the reasons so many of us struggle to do evangelism or struggle to do discipling or you name it, is because we have to drive for it. Five minutes to get to church. I mean, I used to do that when I was in London I would because yeah, it takes 45 minutes to get anywhere, doesn’t it? I was living in rather highs driving to Central on w one. And just on a basic level evangelism really difficult. I could speak to my next door neighbor and mother. Hi. She was coming to church with me. Yeah, great. All right. It’s like a 15 minute drive. Is that right? Yeah. Not really. Yeah. So it’s it just impacts everything geography?

James 30:27
I think. Yeah, those city center churches are weird, because obviously, nobody lives in w one in central London, without, you know, working for an investment bank for 15 years, and finding a huge briefcase full of money. So yeah, the two might be linked. But But yeah, so that, and I’ve been part of those churches as well. Yeah. right about the time that you were doing that I was going to another central London church, although actually, the there was a morning congregation, which did have a more local field. So we had people coming down from like the American Embassy, and other sorts of places. So there was an attempt at the local which which is admirable. But actually, we felt the moment there was talk of a sort of a more rooted geographical plant somewhere rather than a strategic central London, sort of ground. And that no, I think there’s some wisdom in the when people are in their 20s, they’ve just moved to London. They want to go to a church where they’re going to meet others in that sort of situation because they want to get married.

Barry 31:33
Yeah. And actually, I was going to talk about that later. But this is a good place to talk about it. I actually perhaps controversially, think that that could be a very good reason for leaving one church and joining another stage of life. Yeah, if you I do you think that it ought to be the default attitude of most younger people that they ought? I think most people should get married. There are clearly exceptions, but I think most people should. And, and, again, I realized big can of worms. Some people can’t for various reasons, even though they want to, but if you can, you should. And I would argue secondly, that the local church is the best place to find that spouse. And if you are in a church where there’s there’s just nobody of marriageable age, then that’s not a good situation to be in. And I do think you should take steps to redress that.

James 32:20
Wow. Okay, so you’re being this time? Yeah. Why don’t we go? Yeah, me. Finally it comes. Yeah. Episode 107.

Barry 32:30
The email to Cooper And Cary, Have Words g model calm

James 32:32
for the attention of Barry. Barry Cooper. Yeah, I did. I mean, there’s a case to say, you know, stick it out in that church. I mean, I think we mentioned Aaron Ren earlier. And actually, he is, he is quite critical of the sort of the city center churches, the big famous ones that we’ve heard of not because they are, you know, inherently wicked and corrupt, but because it kind of skews the message. And there is a sense in which he’s written in the new rights newsletter called the masculinity, which is kind of interesting. It’s not as masculinity sounds a bit like, it’s a little bit manly. Sort of Mark. Yeah, it’s not the mark Driscoll you know, Pep Talk stuff.

Barry 33:17
Yeah. It’s not cigars and whiskey all the time. It’s

James 33:19
no, no, no, no. But he does say that there is a kind of a version of city based theology, which tells people to stay put, you know, and if anything, the church worship marriage too much. And so therefore, you should stay in this church and not pursue marriage and your noble for foregoing it and stuff. And he says, in that kind of amazing voice of his that it’s actually a bit of a self serving doctrine, as far as that church is concerned. And it’s not. UK, you can find bits in Scripture, but it’s not the overall emphasis. Yeah. Yeah. Well, that kind of stuff. But we we have, I’m sure we have people yelling at their devices right now.

Unknown Speaker 33:59
Yeah.

Barry 33:59
That’s right. There’s worms everywhere. And again, many of these things will be subjects for a future podcast, hypothetical podcast, just to be assured.

James 34:09
Yeah. So let’s have some other good reasons to leave. I’d imagine fairly. I’ve not seen your list in detail, but I’d imagine false teaching should come fairly high

Barry 34:18
theology pretty high up our biblical sermons being preached every week. Is the pastor always on the same hobbyhorse is no matter which text you are teaching he is teaching from? Yes. Is it a is it what we might call? I know, this is kind of a big loaded term, but gospel centered church by which I mean that the view of the gospel is not just that it’s the way to get people into following Christ the gospel is also the fuel for everyday Christian life. I think that’s uh, you want to go to a church where that is the conviction, I think, and that just has a why apparently a wise and godly leadership and I think part of that would be Having elders or whatever the denominational equivalent is your mileage may vary. But people who have been chosen, I would say men who have been chosen because of their character first and foremost, because of passages like First Timothy three and Titus one, rather than their their status in the world. Yeah. And I think again, you do unfortunately see, you know, this person is on this, this elder board because there are well respected businessmen or whatever. That’s not a good enough reason on its own. You want obviously, men of character who you can trust to, to shepherd the flock wisely.

James 35:39
I mean, you’ve just mentioned male eldership there can of worms number five. I think it’s complementarianism. One for a future podcast.

Barry 35:48
Well see the stats plummeting?

James 35:49
Yeah, we should we should do that just right out to the young earth creationism one. And then we should just do another one on homeschooling that went in rage anyway. So So yeah, we’re finally we get to the you know, your friend. I love it. Yeah. We are both big fans of the Brian Hansen show. And the the the Brandon Sherry podcast is the is the podcast version of it. And he always jokingly refers to himself as a shock jock. And I love the way he’s always sort of he comes up with so I shock people with facts. So, so yeah, it feels it feels like we’re sort of shocking people when it’s like, oh, wow, you believe that to do? Okay. But I mean, in a way, I think we are expressing historic orthodox views. It’s just it’s often a bit surprising to hear people believe all of them. I stand still, you know, and that is true. And obviously, we know the great argument against any of these views is of course stating the year. Come on, Barry, is 2021.

Barry 36:54
Yeah, that’s Oh, that’s a good argument. I’d not thought of that, too, which I want to reply. It’s like 1517 never happened.

James 37:01
And they never use it against Jesus. And it would help us date the Gospels if they had they never say to Jesus, Yeah, come on. It’s it’s ad 31. For heaven’s sake, words.

Unknown Speaker 37:15
What is a word? You just said for of that? Or, where is a word in a dictionary dictionary words, were whispering word why I don’t words, the new fragrance from Cooper and Carrie,

Barry 37:30
this is a this is such a contested area. But clearly there are reasons just as there are very good reasons for leaving or leaving a marriage if the leadership is is abusive in some way, or manipulative or bullying. Now, it is that in itself is quite, you have to be careful about how you evaluate that. Just because a leader might have hurt your feelings by saying something that you disagree with, doesn’t mean that they’re that’s abusive, right? I think really what you’re looking for is is some sort of sense of a pattern where this seems to be a hallmark of their character. So it’s not just with you, it’s with other people as well. But yes, of course, if there’s been some sort of ghastly sexual abuse or whatever, then, you know,

James 38:18
it might even be the first people you call is the police exactly, have committed a crime. Well said, yeah. And so you know, just to, you know, state the obvious, which apparently, isn’t as obvious as you might think, not

Barry 38:32
that obvious?

James 38:33
Well, because in that situation, there’s that kind of we’ve just said earlier about how the Apostle Paul says, sort this out amongst yourselves without taking it to the courts. I mean, that’s kind of more of the civil suing each other business, not if you commit a crime, you know, that the magistrate needs to know about, then yeah, if you hear of one, you do actually need to report it to the magistrate so that they can do do the right,

Barry 38:58
yes. Right.

James 39:00
And obviously, no one’s gonna thank you for that. Because it’s like, I just feel like you could have sort of had a word with somebody else. And obviously, you want to check that you your facts are right, and that you that you want to go down this road. Yeah, but equally, it would be better to, to have the discussion. But you know, but I think in a way I think the difficulty is, is that people are very rarely sure about the really extreme stuff, I think and the really extremes i think is quite rare. I think the bullying thing is probably more common. Or just the the cult of leadership and and where that and earlier you mentioned hobbyhorses as well. So I think it’s quite tricky when you you’ve got someone who’s, you know, sort of neither one thing nor the other. They they explain the Bible, okay. The same subject comes up quite a lot. You Even when it’s not in the passage, when you challenge them on it, they don’t really respond very constructively. You, you know, you notice that one or two staff members have left relatively recently. You just think, is that? Is that bad? Is that? Is it like you? Well, you don’t, you don’t really know there is a, there are a couple of flags there. But you know, these flags are there. They’re not necessarily connected, and you might want to dig into them. But it’s really good. And the problem is, and the reason that people agonize over this, and we’ve we’ve had had some online discussions with one or two people in that situation is there’s this this racks self doubt of is this enough? Is this bad. This is this fold, you know, once or twice you hear in a sermon, suddenly, we just think, really, I think that and you just think we’re not going to leave over that. So we’ve mentioned young earth creation. And a little while back, there was a sermon preached by someone not my Rector, but I don’t think he disagrees with it. Just assuming that everyone here thinks that the world is millions of billions of years old. And I thought that was annoying. You didn’t stand up and go, good day to you, sir. And storm out of storm out of the church. Well, I would have been storming out of my living room, because it was on zoom, so

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Copyright © James Cary and Barry Cooper 2021