Biblical Compromise in Your Church? Take It to Church Leaders, MacArthur Says
by Jim Brown and Jody Brown
(AgapePress) A well-known Christian pastor is offering advice to born-again believers who find themselves concerned that important standards are being loosened in their church.
Dr. John MacArthur, host of the syndicated radio program Grace to You, says when an evangelical church changes its music, standards of modesty, and approach to Bible teaching in an effort to conform to the world, there is only one way to effectively confront that. The pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, says instead of sowing discord among the members and creating factions, the key is to go directly to the leadership of the church.
"I always encourage people to go to the leadership," MacArthur says. "Ask for an appointment with the pastor or pastors [or] write a heartfelt letter. If you know there are other people who feel the way you feel, have them write or have them go to the pastor and plead the case from a biblical standpoint."
MacArthur says the effort may or may not have an effect, but if there is a response or an awakening to what is right, one has pretty much "won the day." If things do not change, he says, one has to look at the "alternatives."
"I don't think it's going to be edifying or helpful to a serious Christian to remain in that kind of environment if there are other options," he says.
On his website (gty.org), MacArthur acknowledges that some believers choose to leave their church over "petty reasons," suggesting that disagreements over simple matters of preference are never a good reason to leave a sound, Bible-believing church. But he says there are times when it becomes necessary to leave a church "for the sake of one's own conscience, or out of a duty to obey God rather than men."
Among those reasons, according to MacArthur, are heresy being taught from the pulpit, toleration of errant doctrine from those given authority as teachers, wanton disregard for scripture, toleration of "unholy living" in the church, and "giving lip service to biblical Christianity but refusing to acknowledge its true power."
Two years ago, MacArthur wrote a book on the issue of compromise in the Church, titled Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World. In the book, he offers a biblical analysis of the "user-friendly philosophy" of ministry and church growth that is sweeping through many congregations.