Monday, September 26, 2011

Dismay Over Church Politics

Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham, shares about the deep heartache that she and her husband went through several years ago. There is no burn like church burn, but as she discovered, there is no God like Jehovah!

Recently my husband, Danny, experienced inexcusable treatment at the hands of church leaders. After four years of meeting with a group of men to pray regularly for God's leadership and blessings, he joined them as they incorporated into a church body. We were part of the new church fellowship for several years, during which time he served in a leadership role as Sunday school teacher and elder.

During that time, he was dismayed as he witnessed what all too often takes place behind the closed doors of religious institutions - hypocrisy and piety, politics and pride, manipulation and meanness, control and cliques, self-promotion and status-seeking, truth-spinning and arm-twisting. His heart was shattered - and mine along with his.

While the people who attended the church were very dear, good people, they were prevented from knowing what was taking place behind those closed doors. What Danny saw and heard was so grievous, he exclaimed that if he didn't know God, he wouldn't want to know Him, and if the leadership in that church represented genuine believers, he would never want to be one.

Finally, he walked out with the young pastor the elders had humiliated and sought to drive away. For one year as a result of his experience, he and I did not attend any church. We became believers in exile.

But the interesting discovery I made during that time was that rather than hinder the magnificent obsession [desire for God] in my life, the experience totally intensified it. More than ever before, I wanted to embrace a genuine God-filled life. And I want to know Him for Himself, not for the tarnished reflection that can sometimes be seen in those who call themselves by his name.

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