In case you missed it, there has been a flurry of public figures in evangelical Christianity who have announced publicly that they are either leaving the faith or are losing the faith. A quick google search would reveal their names. I’m not interested in the Who. I’m interested in the why. Why are so many people who called themselves Christians leaving the faith?
Before answering the question, it helps to put these high profile apostates in perspective. Apostacy is on the rise in the church. Period. Despite a recent book coming out and attempting to dishonestly manipulate data and say that the church is growing, anyone who has been around most churches knows they are aging and dying. Since the church itself is dying and people are walking away, it should be no surprise that some of the prominent leadership is doing the same.
That said, there is no one reason people leave the church. This makes sense. After all, no two people are identical or have the same thoughts on any given topic. In one recent case, one of the cited reasons was science was undermining the truth of religion. This particular apostate backtracked almost immediately when the news gained legs on the internet and announced he is studying leading apologists to try to reconfirm his faith. The cynic in me leads me to think he recoiled at the possibility of a loss of profit from his lucrative music deal, but I digress. Regardless, in his search for answers, every single apologist he announced he was reading is compromised on Genesis. Every single one. They don’t have the answers he is looking for on why science does not disprove the Bible.
Unfortunately, the case of this musician, along with dozens of others like him, is not unusual. He was promoted to a position of a thought leader within the church despite having about as much theological depth as a puddle. However, because he could, in this case sing and lyric write, in other cases deliver a great sounding sermon or address a particular topic well, this minor failing was ignored. He caused people to feel good about themselves while they were ostensibly worshiping Jesus and thus he could do no wrong. Never mind that he promoted bad theology, never mind that his denomination was blatantly un-orthodox on a number of points, his music/speaking/teaching felt good! So for years, he was promoted to the church, all while preaching/singing/teaching false doctrine. Unfortunately, the church does not tend to have good discernment when viewing people. It tends to make decisions based on either temporal benefit or personal feelings rather than the Word of God.
However, none of this tells us why this is happening. This paragraph will likely offend some people but then that’s what I do. There are two reasons why people leave, which really tie back into one. People who truly are Christians are confused on the foundation of the Bible. So many of the churches leading figures are compromised on so many issues, usually including Genesis which is foundational to the Bible, that many true Christians struggle to understand Scripture because they have been taught false doctrine. This isn’t the only reason though. 1 John 2:19 tells us “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” In other words, many people sitting in the pews, and behind the pulpits of even churches which preach orthodox doctrine are not truly saved. People who go out from the church and pronounce themselves no longer Christian never were.
I can already hear people telling me to stop judging people’s hearts, that I don’t know what they believe and so on. The funny thing about that, is that the judgement is not mine. It is the Scriptures. If people want to take issue, take issue with the plain text of Scripture. People who leave the faith, never were in the faith to begin with.
This has not been a pleasant article to write. I do not want to question the faith of others, but I am compelled by the Scriptures to do so. We should expect this apostacy so long as we continue to live in relative abundance, with an excess of shallow, watered-down doctrine readily available. Until such time as evangelical Christianity returns to the foundation of the Word of God and depth of doctrine, this trend will likely continue.