walking-awayWhen I think of the reasons that have led me to pen this letter, I get sad.

I never intended to walk away from the faith. There is so much about Jesus that I like: his personality, his teaching, his example.

I never wanted to walk away from Jesus or his followers, but I feel like I’m left with no choice.

Based on the testimony of others my age, I know I’m not alone. There are people like me walking away every day. Why? Here’s my attempt at giving an answer.

First of all, I get this feeling that I’m not good enough. That I’m lacking something. That I don’t measure up.

This is altogether frustrating.

I’ve been an upstanding citizen, moral and decent from the time I was a kid. That’s the way I was raised – to be a good person who loves other people. The last thing I want to do is harm or hurt anyone. I am honest. I honor those in authority over me. I try to be life-giving in my conversations. I would never steal or cheat anyone.

Despite all of my good qualities, I feel like there’s this strange fixation on my financial choices. It’s like… everywhere I turn, here we go again, harping on my finances.

There is so much I have to offer. Why do my personal decisions carry this much weight? What does it matter what I do with my finances, as long as I’m showing love to those around me and no one gets hurt?

It’s like I’m supposed to give up the core of who I am – to exchange my identity somehow. I’m weathy, yes, relatively speaking. But I give when I see a need. Isn’t that enough?

Besides, I’m not always sure that the people I’d give to (the poor, religious people, charities) would make good use of my gifts. Better to invest wisely so I can do more with my money in the long run. Why this strange fascination with my personal choices?

I could be wrong, but it seems like this whole religion thing has become far too demanding. More and more people are likely to give up completely if the bar is set this high.

It’s nearly impossible for me to join the followers of Jesus if this is what is asked of me.

So, sadly, I walk away.

And I feel like Jesus is sad too.

Signed

The Rich Young Ruler

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118 thoughts on “Letter from a Millennial Who Walked Away”

  1. Great re-telling of the account of the Rich Young Ruler. Some points:

    “First of all, I get this feeling that I’m not good enough. That I’m lacking something. That I don’t measure up.

    This is altogether frustrating.”

    Yeah, well, get over it! None of us are “good enough” (Jesus said, “No one is good except God alone”). We’re all “lacking something.” We all “fall short of the glory of God,” according to Romans 3:23. None of us will ever “measure up.” THAT is one of the reasons why salvation is by grace alone. God saves those who don’t deserve it, haven’t earned it, aren’t entitled to it, etc. It’s exactly because we aren’t good enough, because we are lacking, because we don’t measure up, that God sent His only-born Son to die on the cross in our place.

    Why is Jesus “harping” on the young ruler’s finances? Because those finances are his god. Because we are, in fact, called to give up the core of who we are (totally depraved sinners deserving of eternity in the Lake of Fire). We’re called to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Him. We are to die to ourselves and live to God (“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” – Colossians 3:3 ESV). We don’t get to withhold anything from Him.

    1. Lucy says:

      It’s people like you that made me leave too. Jesus was cool & made people feel good about themselves. You sure don’t. Pity Christians were not more like Christ. There is no love in the church, none whatsoever. Call yourself totally depraved if you want, I’m not. Nor did Jesus say I was. Your Pauline scriptures that were cannonised in the FOURTH century say so. Do your research and stop throwing nonsense at people who have enough crap to deal with in this life without worrying about your interpretation of what happens at death.

      1. James E says:

        Lucy I have felt like you do about the church before. But as I have travled and visited with many churches and Christians I have found ones who really express Godly love. If you would like to hear more about them and the hope and encouragement they gave me my email is [email protected]

        1. Lucy Hamilton says:

          Thanks James, it’s nice to know there are some Christians that are Christlike, you are one of them. May your God bless you for your kindness. If there were more churches filled with people like you I would never have left,unfortunately most of them are filled with people who seem determined to break folk down even further than they already are. I stuck at it for over 10 years, mainly from fear – not love so by the time I left my self esteem was so badly damaged I know I will never set foot in one again. I still have some lovely Christian friends though, but put too many of Christians together and they to often turn into a wolf pack. Thanks for your kindness.

      2. Actually, Lucy, Jesus didn’t go around making people feel good about themselves – and definitely not good about themselves in their sins. How He dealt with the rich young ruler is a prime example as He went directly to the heart of the matter: the man’s wealth was his god. What Jesus did certainly didn’t make the rich young ruler feel good about themselves. There are other examples I could cite (like where Jesus told his disciples “unless you repent you will all likewise perish”), but I’m not sure you even want to get the point.

        It is scripture that teaches all humans are totally depraved, entirely worthy of eternity in the Lake of Fire. Jesus Himself said that there is no one good but God (let that one sink in). For you to say that you’re not totally depraved, not deserving of the Lake of Fire, that there is something in you that is deserving of God’s love, is to call God and His word liars. God loves and saves people who don’t deserve it, which is why salvation is by grace alone. Christ died for the ungodly.

        As for the Apostle Paul, even the Apostle Peter referred to Paul’s writings as scripture.

        1. Lucy Hamilton says:

          You know what? You should take a leaf out of the guy James book rather than quoting some mis-interpretated scripture that you obviously haven’t bothered to research for yourself (even although your bible tells you in Luke to do so) Of course you would say ‘i don’t want to get to the point’ that’s what people like you do – attack with desenters. Shame on you.

          1. Lucy, maybe you should take a closer look at your hostility and ask yourself why you’re having such a visceral reaction to what you think I wrote. Why does the idea of every human being – you, me, James, everyone else on the planet – being sinners deserving of the Lake of Fire so offend you? Why do you hate the idea that we’re sinners in need of a Savior?

            I challenge you to show me where Jesus went around making people feel good about themselves. I challenge you to show me that Jesus didn’t say the Aramaic equivalent of “there is no one good but God.” I challenge you to show me that grace is something we deserve, are entitled to, have owed to us, etc. I challenge you to show me where scripture teaches that humans are essentially good by nature (which is what you seem to have implied when you insisted that you aren’t totally depraved). I challenge you to show me where the love Jesus commanded us to show means we go around making people feel good about themselves or we go around affirming them in their sins. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend,” King Solomon said. Sometimes love means telling someone things they really don’t want to hear, things that make them angry, things that initially offend. Jesus loved the rich young ruler enough to get to the heart of his problem and offer him the radical solution of selling all that he had in order to follow Him. Jesus certainly didn’t hate the woman caught in adultery when He told her to “go and sin no more.” He wasn’t preaching hate when He went around preaching “Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Was He being hateful when He said to the disciples when they told Him about how Pilate had mixed the blood of some dead Galileans in with his sacrifices, “… unless you repent, you will all likewise perish”?

          2. Steve says:

            Good and thoughtful words Roberts.

            Lucy, Roberts is exactly right. The joy of the gospel of Jesus isn’t marvelous if you don’t understand the plight of man. Total depravity didn’t stem from Pauline teaching (he quotes a Psalm of David in Romans 3) but it’s the revelation of God.

            And frankly speaking, Proverbs says it well “Pro 27:6    Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy”. A true friend, a true Christian who loves you isn’t not going to tell you what you want to hear but what you need to hear. Our sinful depravity, when we come to understand our lost ness, stings. But how loving is it for a true Christian to ignore sin which is so harmful and hurtful to you?

  2. Annita Parmelee says:

    Convicting. Reminded me I must also “die” to my rights to whatever I cherish more than a relationship with Jesus.

    1. Dying to our “rights,” to whatever we cherish most, etc. is hard for many of us humans to hear. Some of us would prefer to have a Jesus that just goes around making people feel good about themselves.

  3. Jack Vosteen says:

    Using the noun Millennial as an attention grabber and then dropping the “rich young ruler” into a bit of Christian fiction is better left to the likes of a Bunyan, Caldwell, Lewis or Tolkien

    1. Bob says:

      Hey Jack… would you like a coffee and some conversation?

    2. Julie says:

      I thought it was well-done and gave fresh insight to the Matthew 19 passage.

    3. Tim says:

      And of course, if C.S. Lewis or Tolkien had done it, you’d have told them that they should have left it to Bunyan.

    4. Melody says:

      So incredibly mean spirited, hurts my heart to read it.

      1. Joe says:

        So true.

        “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

      2. Caleb W says:

        I completely agree.

        Always picking on the “millennials.”

      3. Was Jack’s comment really “mean spirited”?

  4. H says:

    Brilliant, and I have to confess, you had me at first. I thought “Oh, no, not another ‘hit piece’ on the church and why Millennials are leaving.” Do we or do we not preach a “glorious Gospel” that is completely relevant to today’s world, despite what the “experts” are telling us? Then I read the sender of the letter! Well done, good job, and totally true.

    1. Dan says:

      Did you read who the letter was written by or am I missing something?

  5. I’m sorry but you lost me. You say you love Jesus and it certainly appears that you have lived and are living a life of virtue and then the financial issues comes up. Are other people harping you on your finances or are you saying you are consumed with the management of them? Yes religion can be demanding, a relationship with Jesus is not. If your finances are your idol then yes there is a problem. If others are telling you you should not be financially well off tell them to mind their business ( assuming you have worked hard and honorably to achieve wealth). And by the way we all fall short my friend so do not dwell on that
    Identityfulfilled.com

    1. A relationship with Jesus is most certainly demanding! It demands that we die to ourselves, deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Him.

  6. Igy says:

    The good news is Jesus will make new brand new! Old things pass away!

  7. Roger Sharp says:

    I had a discussion on this passage the other day with friends. We discussed the implications of irresistible grace and Jesus’/Holy Spirit’s call. It was lively discussion :)

    Roger Sharp
    Confident Christianity Apologetics Ministry
    Texas

  8. James E says:

    Fictinal letters cannot factually addess why people are leaving the church. If we want to compare people to the rich young ruler. Look at your church budget and see how much of it goes to helping those addressed in Matthew 25 or Isaiah 58.

    1. eric newport says:

      AMEN!! We commit tooooo much to building funds and other non-essential things.

    2. David says:

      If he wanted to “factually address” the topic he would have, but that was not his intent. Besides, the rich young rulers don’t always run based off of “facts” but rather feelings, fears, and frustrations. I think the article did a decent job expressing those things.

      1. James E says:

        That people are leaving the church is not fictional it is a fact. Until the church is willing to really listen to the reasons people leave the church and consider if the complaints are valid they will continue to leave. And the fact is scripture teaches to go after those that leave. Jesus by being there where the rich young ruler could walk up to Him only happened because Jesus lowered Himself to come to us. Jesus told us when you lose a sheep you leave the 99 and go find the lost one. Not make an excuse why it is lost.

        1. JohnM says:

          The complaints might sometimes be valid (and might not be) the leaving never is. I frankly don’t believe the reasons for leaving have anything to do with the church failing to help ” those addressed in Matthew 25 or Isaiah 58.”. Christians don’t – by definition can’t – leave the church. Non-Christians aren’t overly concerned with anything taught in the Bible in the first place – except to the extent they are offended by it. Go after them? Yes, in that we are to evangelize the world. But no one comes on their own terms, that would involve a contradiction.

        2. David says:

          I believe every word you say James. However my attempt is not to contradict the truth that you speak, but rather to say that this article is not a waste. It is an attempt to get into the minds of some people who are leaving. To create a fictional address to this affect, the author must have those facts in his head, and he is applying those here, rather than stating them. A factual address would be for another article, and there have been some of them on TGC in the past. But this was not an attempt to give facts or to degrade facts, but rather to apply them in a non-traditional way. The fact that it’s a fictional article does not mean that the mindsets he’s presenting are. They are real.

        3. Lucy says:

          About the only decent comment I’ve read so far James – well done. Most of you Christians just want to show off your biblical knowledge and use if to bash an already bruised world. As for the comment below yours, yes Christians can and do leave the church. I used to run a prayer fellowship. Now I hangout with Pagans who are at least filled with love for others and for nature. Your Jesus said something about a house divided cannot stand, most of you lot rip the hell out of each other let alone the rest of us. The Christian ‘Army’ is the only army to shoot its wounded. Pity, as Jesus was lovely.

        4. Alan says:

          Well, I’m think you’re missing an abvious point. In the parable of the sheep, the 1 lost sheep actually belongs to the shepherd. In many churches today, lots of people are there who don’t actually belong to the faith (by their own choice). Secondly, the 1 lost sheep was actually, you know, lost! It didn’t look at the shepherd and proclaim “this place is a joke, I’m outta here!”
          @ James and Lucy, I’m sorry that this seems harsh. But there are so many today who don’t wish to submit to the clear teachings of Christ. That’s why we have this blog post to remind us of that point. Many today want to re-make Christ and the church according to their own beliefs. But God doesn’t give us that choice. We either come to Him on His terms, or we reject Christ.

  9. Well played. Thank you for giving a fresh perspective on a well-known passage.

  10. Don Sartain says:

    I’m sorry, Trevin. I love TGC and normally love your writing, but I can’t get past this post.

    Are some millennials walking away because they don’t want conviction? Sure. But there are just as many who walk away from being legitimately hurt by a local church and are honestly too scared to even try walking into another. Much like an abused spouse wouldn’t feel safe trusting herself to another man without some serious heart work and counseling.

    I’m all for the local church, and I do believe that Christians need to be in a local church where the gospel is proclaimed and where we live in glad submission to the wisdom of the elders. But posts like this come across as trite and unhelpful because they minimize the real pain that people have experienced, and the real faith struggle many people currently experience.

    That’s not ok.

    If we want millennials, heck – people in general, to feel safe to join a local church again then we desperately need to stop making it about whether they are in a local church and start pointing to how much they really can trust Jesus with their hearts and lives. Because that’s what this is about in the end. One of Christ’s ambassadors burned them, so now they have a hard time trusting God. This is both normal and natural, and it’s something we should help them work through, rather than just pointing out how wrong it is for them to not be in a local church.

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      Don,

      Thanks for writing. I agree that there are those who have left the church because of past hurt, and I am not seeking to minimize that. At the same time, I think it’s safe to say that plenty of people leave the church simply because they want to follow Jesus on their own terms (such as the rich young ruler, or those who walk away in John 6, etc.). In all the discussion about the first group, I worry that we’ve given short shrift to the second group.

    2. Michael Herrington says:

      Don,

      Your last paragraph is the tension I feel. Hurt is real and shouldn’t be minimized. Yet at the same time, I don’t think people really are trusting Jesus if they refuse to trust people. Maybe that’s off, but I think about John’s statement that if we don’t love our brother, we can’t love God. Yet, I certainly can’t love my brother unless I understand God’s love for me. Thus the tension. And being hurt by the church can make it difficult to understand God’s love. So, I agree that the key is helping them work through it.

      Yet I know people whose hurt is more along the lines of the hurt felt by the rich young ruler: They proclaim it loudly to anyone who will hear, yet the “hurt” is simply a consequence of the church calling them to abandon selfishness. So first, we need to define the hurt. What actually happened? Hurt is too vague a word for such a serious charge against the church.

      Then the gospel is necessary regardless of who is actually at fault. If the church is at fault, the gospel sheds light on how that particular church is not acting like the bride of Christ and allows the hurt individual an avenue to evaluate the health of a future relationship with a body of believers. If the hurt is a selfishness hurt, then the gospel exposes that as well. I would love to see pieces like this move the conversation toward the process of bringing wholeness to people’s lives. I also believe that can happen.

    3. Christy says:

      If people are walking away from Jesus, they were never WITH Jesus to begin with. We just discussed this yesterday at Sunday School. We accept Christ’s salvation, but we do not get to give it back. We are NOT in control, God is. So if people are “walking away from Jesus” they were never WITH him to begin with.
      If one feels the church they’re attending is not being with the finances entrusted to them, they have 2 options: Take it up with the elders and Pastor or find a new Church where they are truly following the Lord, being open with all things in the church.

      People make excuses constantly on how others are letting them down, how God has let them down. No, they let themselves down, they remain in Sin. When we give our lives completely to the Lord, when we accept HIS FREE GIFT, the majority of our sins will fall away, because we’ve changed, HE changed us. We will still have sins we battle, because the Lord wants to keep us humble and keep us coming to Him. If we have no needs, we need no Savior.
      If people would stop making excuses and behaving like spoiled brats and realize that this life was not promised to be easy, was promised to be exactly the opposite, their relationship with the Lord would be in a different place.

      1. Phil says:

        Christy: If they are walking away from Jesus for life, then yes, the were never with Him. But, like the prodigal (who was *always* his father’s son) some do walk away for a time, but are still the Lord’s. The doctrine of perseverance of the saint refers to the whole life, i.e., that the elect will persevere to the end, in spite of days, weeks or whatever of unfaithfulness.

        But more importantly, many are leaving the church as an organization/institution… but are still doing their best to hold on to, and wrestle with, individual faith in Christ in their life.

      2. Nowhere in scripture does it ever say that WE “accept” Him, but there are scriptures (e.g. Acts 10:34-35) that say God “accepts” us. It is a doctrine of devils that places man in the position where he, acting as the superior, “accepts” Christ instead of Christ accepting him. It’s God who elects, God who draws, God who regenerates, God who gives faith, God who grants repentance, God who saves and justifies, God who sanctifies, God who glorifies. We can only trust and obey – and even the ability to do that comes from God.

        1. David Powell says:

          John 1:11-13

          1. It doesn’t say we ACCEPT Him, David Powell. The word used there is more akin to take to yourself or get hold of.

  11. Eric Newport says:

    Although I hope not to be a brutally honest as some here I will confidently echo their sentiments. This letter from a Millennial cries out for the one thing that the all of the human race cries out for. It is the one thing that can fill that God shaped hole in our soul; God. Not saying the church as lost God but that is what everyone seeks, even the atheist. Truly saved Christians are the ones who feel and understand the contentment that this Millennial seeks. He is not running from the church, he is running from God while blaming the church.

    1. It’s part of the standard of people trying to come to God on their own terms instead of on His terms.

  12. David says:

    I think it’s interesting to realize that the rich young ruler was not even a believer in the Messiah when Jesus told him to sell all that he had and follow Him. If Jesus told that to some of our “on fire for Christ” church members, they’d have a similar reaction. And I think God does, through the Spirit, call many of us to do outrageous things like this, however we justify NOT doing them on terms of it “not being the wise thing to do” or “that’s not really conviction, it was just a good thought but it’s really not practical” or “I have a family to provide for. Surely God would not want me to do x” and other such excuses. It’s not like we all have to sell everything in order to call ourselves a disciple. But I do think that we underestimate the call to discipleship and end up something that easily or semi-easily fits into the life that WE want to live. And when we do something “hard” like bring up Jesus in a conversation or put an extra 5% into the offering plate we say “how great of a disciple I am! I truly love God more than I love myself!” I do not judge anyone in particular, but we would do well do discern whether or not we would really be willing to sell all and follow Christ. To go out without staff, purse, or extra clothes to preach the Kingdom. To put our hand to the plow and never look back. After all, Christ said that those who do look back are not even worthy of the kingdom. Those who are too tied to their earthly kingdom and not fully dedicated to the work of Christ.

    1. As someone who lives, works and serves the Church cross-culturally, I can tell you that I wrestled with the whole “not being the wise thing to do” issue. God does expect us to exercise wisdom. However, we often think that “wisdom” means not taking risks, means not giving up the American dream; but that’s really nothing more than being like the rich young ruler, unwilling to let go of certain things – even things that aren’t bad in themselves, even some things that might be good. What are we willing to let go of to follow Him?

  13. Rochelle says:

    I wish I could talk with this person and talk about Matthew 19: 20-24. Also I believe if we’re honest like this person we can all relate to….”First of all, I get this feeling that I’m not good enough. That I’m lacking something. That I don’t measure up.”

    I would respond kindly…Yes! Exactly. We are all to feel/experience this. This is what the Holy Spirit allows us to experience so that he gives us eyes to see our inadequacies. Only then we can put our trust in him to follow him. Otherwise we would continue to think/ believe that we don’t need him and we are self made men.

    1. What makes salvation something that is by grace alone is that we don’t deserve it, we’re not entitled to it, we don’t have it owed to us, and it is something we can’t do anything to obtain. Even the faith necessary to trust in Christ is the gift of God and even repentance is something that is granted to us.

  14. Mike says:

    I’m trying to appreciate the creativity that went into the post, but the analogy isn’t clear. By saying rich young ruler = millennial who walks away from the church, you are saying Jesus = who, Jesus? It’s not clear whether this is a critique of the millennials who whine at the cost of discipleship or a critique of current day Christians who set the bar too high. If the former, it needs to be more clear and less veiled as to your intentions. As you can see, most of the commenters understand it otherwise. If the latter, you’re not giving Jesus a very good review for his interaction with the rich young ruler. And would you really intend that Jesus drove someone away from himself by making the bar too high?

    1. Joe says:

      The biblical rich young ruler was also asked to give up ALL of his wealth and follow Jesus. It’s a story that speaks to each and every one of us – asking us to identify and surrender that one thing “we won’t give” to follow Christ.

      Here the young man’s complaint is that his church has made him feel like he doesn’t measure up. Following Jesus and joining the followers of Jesus are two very different things.

      1. That’s the point: he doesn’t “measure up” – and neither do we. That’s why salvation is by grace alone. And, yes, we are all called to give up everything to follow Him. We are to die to ourselves. We are to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Him. It’s a hard thing to hear, especially in the ears of someone who has so much to give up.

  15. Elgin Bailey says:

    These and recent posts about “Millennials” leaving the church (as if they are the only ones)….are short sighted and missing a very important ingredient, and that there is something seriously wrong with the “church”, far too often, there is a huge leap taken that those whom choose to walk away from the “church” are walking away from Christ…when that is the furthest thing from the truth. Many, myself included have walked away from the “church”, right into the arms of Jesus. Our pain is often over-looked,minimized, and targeted as the REASON folk have left the building. Oh how I yearn for a time where men such as Bro Wax would address this issue without placing all the blame on those of us whom have left and look at the full picture…instead of pointing the finger. There needs to be an open dialogue between those who have left and those whom are still there…without underlying motives, and stereotypes. Sadly this rarely happens….

  16. John Carpenter says:

    The problem with this is that it fails to tell us that Jesus is the One who set the standards that drove the man away. He’s presented as the attractive One at the beginning and the saddened One at end but never as the Holy One calling the rich young ruler to forsake everything and follow Him.

  17. Cameron says:

    I thought this was real until I got half-way through :(

  18. Jesse says:

    Based on the millennials I know, the above “letter” is pretty inaccurate. I’ve found that millennials really do want to involve God in their work and finances, but they become disillusioned after getting more involved with the church. I’ve never met anyone who left the church because a focus on finances, in fact I’d wager that very few churches even teach on the topic. My own pastor has never given a sermon on finances or tithing.

    People leave the church because they are hurt, more often than not it’s the people in leadership inflicting the pain. People are valuable as long as they are volunteering…I mean serving, and keeping the machine in motion. Stop serving, question leadership decisions… generally the response is anything but graceful. Having been involved in a church planting movement, I know plenty of people who have left the church, and there are two common denominators. One is that they have been hurt, and the second is that after leaving the church they never hear from any of their church family. The Christian “I love you” that we throw around every Sunday turns out to not mean much, it’s just something that we say to people that we go to church with, but it means very little in actual practice.

    An illustration that I hear many pastors use in the context of church criticism is to compare the “Bride of Christ” to their own wives. Essentially, we wouldn’t criticize his wife the way that we criticize the Christ’s bride. Maybe not, but if the pastor’s wife treated me the way Christ’s bride has treated me, I probably wouldn’t want to spend much time with his family.

    1. Elgin Bailey says:

      “they become disillusioned after getting more involved with the church.” Jesse, that is what seems to be missing when those whom leave the church are addressed…”what is going on with the church?” That makes people want to leave?

    2. Jesse, you’ve raised some valid points, but it isn’t enough to merely “involve God in their work and finances.” We must fully surrender these (and every aspect of our lives) to Him to do with as He pleases, which was, I think, part of what Jesus was saying to the rich young ruler.

      Elgin, people become disillusioned with the local church because they (and most Christians) don’t really understand God’s design for the local church (or, for that matter, the Church as a whole). The Church is what we as Christians are collectively – the body and bride of Christ – and the local church is an expression of that. Christianity is a communal faith, one that is lived in community with other believers (though, not necessarily in the commune-type set-up they had in the first century Jerusalem church).

      As someone who likes his alone time way too much, the communal nature of Christianity has been extremely difficult for me to embrace. There was a time when I even resented Jesus’ statement that where two or three are gathered together He is there in the midst. Simple things like fellowship with other believers after the church service are really hard for me, but I force myself to do them because I understand the necessity of it. We can’t do the “one another” stuff taught especially in Paul’s epistles if we refuse to take our place in the community of faith.

      I live in a country where churches are required to be registered with the government (and have to have at least 50 members in order to register, though meeting together when you have less than 50 members is a crime) and where simple things like praying over your meal in a restaurant is considered “unregistered religious activity” (and, therefore, also a crime). So, I’m taking this community of faith thing a lot more seriously now.

  19. Michael says:

    I have to admit, when I got to the end I didn’t see it coming. Well done.

  20. Hanno van der Bijl says:

    Oh and one more thing, I just realized Jesus never asked me about the 10th commandment. Not sure why but let the record show that I’ve never broken that command either.

  21. marshall says:

    How disappointing. I thought we might actually have an interview with a Millennial. Instead had a creative retelling of the Rich young ruler. Nice prespective, but bait and switch!!! this is the reason why the church will not grow. The church is not really wanting to hear from Millennials. Labeling a story that is 2000 years old, a story about Millennials is pure propaganda and shows a brained wash mind set. Why are we failing to attract the young, it is their fault. Instead of asking Millennials why they are leaving you want to play games, and then pat your selves on the back. SAD, SAD, SAD!!!!

    1. Alan says:

      The church is not listening to Millenials!?!?!?!?! BWAHAHAHAHAHHA!!!! That’s the most ridiculous statement I’ve heard about the church in my entire life. Only a person from the most self-absorbed generation in the history of the planet could make that statement. Seriously though, thanks for giving me a good laugh. To your point (still trying to stop laughing), try to find me one Evangelical church that isn’t run by a guy wearing skinny jeans with messed up hair and black rimmed glasses (non-prescitpion of course) who mindlessly utters one buzzword after another. Not listening to millenials?!?!?! Those are the ONLY people Evangelical churches are listening to.

  22. Christine LV says:

    The Rich Young Ruler walked away sad from Jesus because he loved his money and possessions more than he loved God – which broke the first commandment – of which HE said he had kept all of them all. Jesus exposed his idolatry.

    1. John Carpenter says:

      Yes, you’re right. Excellent. Things haven’t really changed.

  23. Andy says:

    We only see the rich, young ruler at a point in time. I think, too often, like we do with other brothers and sisters, we are eager to determine their eternal destiny at a point in time. The rich, young rulers story is unfinished. Much like many, including certain millennials, are with being disillusioned with the church at a point and time. #justsaying

    1. Christine LV says:

      Yes, but it is this point in time that GOD wants us to see. If there was more, He would have shown us, I believe. I am not saying he is in Hell, no one knows if he repented. But, Jesus made His point and there isn’t room for “interpretation.”

      1. Andy says:

        “But, Jesus made His point and there isn’t room for “interpretation.”

        I agree. Jesus loved him. Mark 10:21.

        1. Yes, Andy, Jesus loved him enough to show him what was in his heart. May He do that to all of us!

    2. Hal says:

      It doesn’t matter whether one is illusioned or disillusioned. The church exists to make disciples by calling sinners to repent and follow Jesus. You didn’t find the early church wringing their hands over people walking away. People come to the light if they will … or they walk away from it if it doesn’t cater to them. Like the rich young ruler, it’s their loss.

  24. David says:

    Trevin, I think you hit the nail on the head. You could probably exchange the money in this letter with ‘sexual freedom’ too. I recall hearing Tim Keller say recently that if he talked with a kid who was considering leaving the church after a few semesters at college, he’d ask them “So who are you sleeping with?”.

  25. PeanutsMom says:

    The only time I questions some one’s finances, as a Christian specifically is when I see priorities out of whack. Paying for a huge bday party for your child (like thousands) when the dog you adopted is awaiting for life saving surgery because you “can’t afford it”. When you complain to me about wanting to help another family, but you can’t because you “can’t afford it” yet you just paid hundreds of dollars for a purse.

  26. Lynn says:

    I AMA Christian born again Loving Christian. That doesn’t make us perfect.. That makes us forgiven
    .i am a spirit filled Christian… Still not perfect but filled with the spirit…I’ve seen what walking away felt feels. The Lord works with all of us differently w different things at different times. I love him as her elks away. I don’t profess to not be sad… But I profess that hopefully he will see he’s talking about religion. Coming to Jesus is spiritual not religion. It is hard sometimes churches do ask a lot of us because that is what Their Christian agenda..is.Pray, find your wisdom n confirmation in the bible… Not some church… The answer is Jesus Christ .. Not a particular church or Christian.,though we all must… Find our way to a earthly Christian minister or pastor ,church per say….because we need authority. It isn’t easy choosing Christ
    … The Christians heart, faith or lifestyle … But it is only way to haven n salvation…I pray for all who walk away… Believing The Lord….will draw themin in his time… Pray love..set an example n witness that is our job… It is God job to save them… Xx my heart love to you… I hope you continue being that good person n one day be saved!! It is difficult being in the non Christians position… Have compassion !!!!

    1. Lynn, you wrote, “Coming to Jesus is spiritual not religion.”

      I’m really so sick of hearing people say that! I just want to Gibbs-slap everyone who does say it. (If you’re unfamiliar with the NCIS reference, Google it). Why? Because the BIBLE disagrees with you. In James 1:26-27 ESV we read “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” The Greek word used in James 1:26 for “religious” is one that, according to Thayer’s Greek Definitions, means “fearing or worshiping God; to tremble.” Another form of the same word is used in James 1:27 for “religion.”

      Do you worship God? Do you have a reverential fear of God (the kind the Bible commands us to have)? If so, then you are religious and you have a religion!

      It has become trendy today in the West for people to say they’re not religious, but are “spiritual.” They say they reject “organized religion” (as opposed to, say, DISorganized religion perhaps). They don’t want to be part of the Church. They just want their own sort of private thing where no one holds them accountable, no one holds them to a standard, and where it’s all about what makes them feel good.

      The rich young ruler wanted to come to Jesus on his own terms and not on Jesus’ terms. He wasn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last. The message to all of them is the same: you don’t get to set the terms, God does.

      1. David says:

        Roberts, I agree with your view on religion and I too have found the statement to have gotten kind of old and annoying. However, there is a valid point to it, and the point isn’t really contained in the raw format of “religion” but rather the cultural visualization of it. People associate “religion” with a dry set of do’s and don’ts, harsh standards, unsociable bigots, a sense of brainwashing, etc. rather than the valid, Biblical definition of religion that you’ve spelled out. The cliche is not definitively accurate, but it serves the purpose of communicating the fact that we don’t fall in line with the typical cultural perception of “religion.” If you were to say that to a young African church you’d confuse the daylights out of people because from what I’ve seen they have a much purer perception of “religion” than the average American does. The cliche means nothing there, but it means something more here because America has as a whole attained a false perception of “religion.”

        1. David, we as Christians should be using terms the way scripture uses them (when scripture uses them), not the way the world or “tradition” uses them. Let’s embrace the term “religion” and continually educate our brothers and sisters regarding how scripture uses it. In so doing, we will change the church culture (which could stand significant changing).

          1. David says:

            That’s just it, it’s not about brothers and sisters – it’s about how the world views us. I’m not saying we need to rely on the crutch for the rest of our lives, but a crutch is not a bad thing, just necessary until we are healed. But the goal is to be healed. In the mean time….

          2. David, it doesn’t matter how outsiders view us – they’re almost always going to get it wrong anyway. It’s our brothers and sisters who are wrongly saying they’re not “religious” or that they don’t have a “religion.” Then, of course, there’s this more recent trend of people going around saying that they’re not religious, but are instead “spiritual.” It’s bad doctrine, bad theology, whatever you want to call it.

      2. Ryan says:

        Fervently agreed. “Christianity is a relationship, not a religion” is a nonsensical mantra that needs to die out. I’m not even entirely sure what it was supposed to accomplish. I, at least, have never heard of a non-Christian being fooled by it, just as I’ve never heard of anyone saying “Oh that place is called a Christian Fellowship rather than a Church, so it must be alright then.”

        However, I do think that your response, while quite valid, glosses over many of the issues that are being presented. The reality is that while yes, there are some who avoid church because they want to make Christianity about them or they feel that attending church isn’t trendy enough, there are many Christians who avoid church for serious reasons that need to be considered. Abuse is arguably at the top here – certainly sexual abuse, but I would say that this isn’t nearly as prevalent as spiritual abuse, with people fleeing the church due to pastors or leaders misusing their authority – or in many cases, attempting to wield authority they haven’t actually got. Similarly, in a society saturated with televangelists, there’s a lot of cynicism towards the church. It’s seen as just a way to make money, a scam. Of course, as most pastors know all too well, no one in their right mind would go into pastoral ministry if their primary goal was to make money. However, a few rotten apples have, it would seem, spoiled the bunch – at least in the eyes of the mainstream.

        In any case, my point is that just because some of the “love Jesus hate the church” types are misguided doesn’t mean they can all be written off.

        1. I don’t deny that there have been serious abuses going on in some churches. However, that’s no excuse. Christianity is a communal faith (something that’s been hard for me to embrace; I like my alone time way too much), and by saving us, God has made us part of that community – not to be served, but to serve. We can’t do the “one another” stuff taught especially in Paul’s letters if we’re focused on what churches can do for us. We’re to esteem others as more important than ourselves. We’re to die to ourselves, deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him. We aren’t doing that if we’re focused on what others in the local church have done to us. The New Testament tells us how to deal with those who’ve sinned against us – and leaving the church isn’t it.

          1. Ryan says:

            I don’t disagree with you, but at the same time I think you are downplaying the emotional aspect of these situations. I think that while, yes, the actions of others are not a good reason for us to cut ourselves off from the Body, at the same time there is a distinct healing process that needs to take place there, and I think that when someone is hurting in that position, to bludgeon them with Scripture isn’t an entirely constructive way of addressing the problem.

            Yes, there needs to be forgiveness and healing – however these things can often take time. I think we need to be more patient and understanding of those who have left the church.

          2. Ryan, I admit that I tend not to look too much at the emotional aspects. However, the reason for this is because emotions are the realm of what we call “the heart,” about which scripture says it is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. We can’t rely on our emotions. We can’t trust our emotions. I disagree that we “need to be more patient and understanding of those who have left the church.” It isn’t about us. It isn’t about whether we’ve been hurt or what people did or didn’t do to us or for us. It’s about why God established the Church and the church and the place God has for us in it. There is nothing in scripture that teaches forgiveness and healing “can often take time.” There is nowhere in scripture that says we’re allowed to take time in forgiving others. We are to forgive others the way that God forgives us – and He doesn’t take His time forgiving us, He does it instantaneously.

            If we’re dying to ourselves; if we’re denying ourselves; if we’re considering others as more important than ourselves; then we’re not going to go around saying “that person or church body hurt me; so, I’m going to disobey God by resenting them, holding it against them, and leaving them behind.” Scripture tells us how we are to deal with those in the church who sin against us: if we don’t do it that way, then we’re in rebellion against God. And, sorry, rebellion against God isn’t something for which someone needs our understanding.

            The very fact that people do suffer hurt in the church is a reminder that we’re all human and we’re all very far from perfect. We don’t always get it right. However, that doesn’t excuse the person who was hurt doing wrong because, as you’ve certainly heard at least a few times in your life, “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Very often, however, the reason we’re hurt by something we think someone did or said (or that they actually did or said) is because of our own flesh, our own pride. If we’ve been “hurt” by others, we might want to take a look at our own hearts to find out exactly why it is we feel hurt.

  27. Dan Trachl says:

    This same conversation happened almost 2000 years ago in Luke 18:18-30 and Mark 10:17-31. Christ gave all for us – and the same commitment is required from each and every one of us. Repent in Spirit and Truth, Kneel and offer up ALL that you have, all that you ARE and all that you EVER will be – only then will you KNOW that HE IS THE LORD FOR HE SHALL DWELL WITHIN YOU!

  28. Linda says:

    This “letter” is so similar to the one I just received from my adult son a few weeks ago. He has completely rejected our faith and us as parents for the same reasons. He let us know he was and never has been one of us, just faking it until he moved away and got a life of his own. Our hearts are broken and I am sure Jesus’ is, too.

  29. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Young Millenial: “I could be wrong, but it seems like this whole religion thing has become far too demanding. More and more people are likely to give up completely if the bar is set this high.

    It’s nearly impossible for me to join the followers of Jesus if this is what is asked of me.

    So, sadly, I walk away.”

    So when people ask me if I worship God in a local church, I say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.”

    1. I’m hoping your last line was meant as sarcasm. If not, then do you worship God? Do you have a reverential fear of God (the kind the Bible commands us to have)? If so, then you are religious and you have a religion!

  30. James says:

    In today’s economy so called preachers, or self proclaimed men/women of God have an agenda that says they should not work. They have good ideas to help others but want other people to foot the bill. The Holy Bible says there are those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing, and those who make merchandise of men. We are not called to support the world. But, to make a difference when we can. Please reexamine your faith. Walk with the Lord. If you are presented with a need, do not let yourself be made feel guilty, but pray and ask God for insight. Let Him lead you to give or not. The Bible also says a fool and his money are easily parted. You are not a fool or you probably wouldn’t have enough to give to a need in the first place. God does NOT expect one to give what he does not have. Be wise as serpents. Ask for wisdom. Do not give up on Jesus.

    1. James, I appreciate what you’re saying, and Paul did teach the necessity of working for a living (and did so himself, as he explains in 1 Corinthians 9 and elsewhere). However, Paul also taught that those who minister in the gospel have the right to make their living off the gospel (though, again, he emphasized that he and his team didn’t exercise that right themselves).

      1. James says:

        Those who minister in the gospel do have a right to support. But those who only speak to a congregation and are not out ministering to people do not. There are a lot of Fat Cats, even some millionaires, who use people for gain. The Bible instructs us to take heed and not be deceived. We are not merchandise. Jesus cleared the temple of the money changers who were there for the profit (not Prophet).
        The writer of the article above wrote: Despite all of my good qualities, I feel like there’s this strange fixation on my financial choices. It’s like… everywhere I turn, here we go again, harping on my finances.
        My point is that many church leaders are more concerned these days with the money than with peoples spiritual needs. This is an issue. I know of evangelists who want to come preach for a price, rather than trust God for their needs. If that is their motivation I do not want to hear them. People in many churches hear more about money than the Word of God. This is where many lose sight of the reason for fellowship and end up leaving.
        Jesus said it is better to not give if you cannot give from a willing heart.

        1. James, I won’t deny that in many churches there seems to be this “fixation” on money. Of course, it takes money to operate what we call the local church, this non-profit organization that one pastor I know brags about running like a business. Maintaining church buildings, providing all the things that people have, sadly, come to expect in a church takes money. My home church in the States had a congregational meeting in 2012 and we unanimously decided to sell our building so that we could devote our resources to missions and other ministry. We decided that we didn’t need to be in bondage to a building that we were only using once or twice a week.

          I once visited a church where – from Sunday School to the church service – they had five separate offerings. The way they took the offering was that a couple of elders stood in the front of the church below the pulpit while each row of pews marched to the front and put their money in the basket.

          In many churches, one of the first things new believers are taught – even before being fully taught what God did in them when He saved them – is tithing. The money thing is one of the first things unbelievers notice about many churches. So, I hear what you’re saying.

          However, I urge you to look at what Paul was saying in 1 Corinthians 9 when he wrote about the right of those who minister to make their living off the gospel (and notice that he was writing to a church). While I agree it doesn’t teach what is practiced in so much of the Church today, neither does it teach that pastors are not entitled to make their living off the gospel.

  31. reformed says:

    Leave the faith is impossible,and by your comments , you were never in christ, untill christ draws you to himself we remain in bondage to our sinful nature,because being in christ or living for christ is the work of God in us,all along as you explain you have been living by the law, you think your a good person ,your attributes and you fit Gods bill, but it is in Christ work that a christian should rest alone,Philippians 3:8- Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

    When the time comes when God draws us to himself and we realize the sins in our lives and we fall at our knees with a contrite heart and realize how sinful we are infront of a just and rightous God and then go on trusting in the complete work of God in our lives can we then say we are folowers of christ,NOT JUST A FAN OF CHRIST, God bless

    1. I think that we so often miss the meaning of grace – that it really is something that we don’t deserve, can’t earn, aren’t entitled to, don’t have owed to us, etc. It’s true that once God brings someone to salvation that person can never become “unsaved” again. God chose those who He would save even before He spoke Creation into existence and God WILL accomplish ALL His purpose (as He said in Isaiah). Since God does all of the work of salvation, it only makes sense that He is able, and that He absolutely will, ensure that He loses no one. “Saved” is not only our standing in Christ now, not only what God did to us when He caused us to repent and put our trust in the gospel (see Mark 1:15), it’s also something that will be completed in us when He takes us home to be with Him. The New Testament tells about salvation as being a past, present and future event.

  32. Amanda says:

    Good grief, I think some people did not read the whole thing?…….Anyway. My feeble attempt to read Trevin’s mind would be just that. But what I came away with is one would be Millennials leaving may be due to the fact Jesus says (paraphrased by me) even in all your “good doing” I KNOW your heart and it is far from Me…….and it made him sad because he knew it to be true. And thats that. Human nature expressing itself apart from Christ. I thought it was a spectacular letter, and I did not see that coming at the end either………

  33. James E says:

    I have spent the last 3 years listing to people who have left their church fellowship and the proplem with many is not that they have petty problems with the church (there is nothing petty about anything that keeps people from church fellowship) or that they don’t have the love of Christ in them. They read the bible and look at the modern church and do not see it reflecting the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. Until the church address that issue and is willing to repent of where we have gone wrong and gone astray they will continue to leave and tell the world the church can do nothing for you since in doing what the church askd them to do it did nothing for them. John 13:34&35 tell us that disciples will be known by their love. As the rich young ruler was loved by Christ have the people who left your church been loved by you or have you decided doctorinal statements or more important than being known by love as we are commanded to do?

    1. Maybe the solution is for these people to stay in the local church and model what they understand scripture to be teaching.

    2. Ethan says:

      “They read the bible and look at the modern church and do not see it reflecting the teachings of Christ and the Apostles.”

      The modern church? How about the Church Universal? Apostles like the Paul, who called himself the chief of sinners? Or Peter, who would not associate with Gentiles? Let’s go further back. How about David? Joseph? Jacob? Is there room in the church for repenting adulterers, murders, deceivers, and braggarts?

      While there is sin involved, mankind will never look like God’s standards. That’s where Christ comes in.

  34. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    James E.: “They read the bible and look at the modern church and do not see it reflecting the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. Until the church address that issue and is willing to repent of where we have gone wrong”

    Are these leavers judging their local church or are they also making sweeping judgments of all churches in America?

    Furthermore, what issue(s) are they demanding that the church (or all churches) repent of?

  35. Ryan, people who have left the church because of

    1. MODERATOR: please delete the above post.

  36. Ryan, those who have left the church because of very real hurts (I’m not downplaying them at all) are in rebellion against God. The local church is an expression of the one universal Church of which every Christian becomes part at the moment of salvation (and cannot cease to be part). God ordained the local church to be the means by which the Great Commission and the Great Commandment are carried out. For any Christian to refuse to be part of the local church is for that person to reject God’s design for the church.

    We are commanded to forgive the way Christ forgave us. (Hint: scripture says that God chooses to remember our sins no more). This is not optional and there is nothing in scripture that says this takes time. As for the healing of the hurts, that’s up to God and will occur when the hurt person surrenders fully to Him.

  37. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    James E: “They read the bible and look at the modern church and do not see it reflecting the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. Until the church address that issue and is willing to repent of where we have gone wrong and gone astray they will continue to leave and tell the world…

    Hi James, here’s a timely post which you might choose to use with those leavers you listen to:

    “If you’ve spent much time in youth ministry, you’ve probably heard the claim at least a few times: “Nine out of ten youth walk away from the church after high school!” But, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, there’s good reason to doubt this claim.

    The infamous nine-out-of-ten dropout statistic was always a false alarm. Most likely, your congregation loses far less than that, and about half of the dropouts return within a few years.

    But let’s suppose for just a moment that your ministry actually does have an abysmal attrition rate. What if your church really is losing nine out of ten attendees when they graduate from high school? Would that provide a sufficient motive to realign your congregation around an entirely new ministry model?

    Here’s another way of asking the same question: Is ongoing church involvement really the right yardstick to measure a ministry’s success?

    When I look at the ministry of Jesus, my answer to this question quickly becomes, “Probably not.”

    During his days on the dusty roads of Judea and Galilee, Jesus of Nazareth seemed to have been notoriously unconcerned about retention and attrition rates. At one point, “a large crowd” of well over five thousand was so wild about Jesus that they pursued him all around the Sea of Galilee (John 6:1–25). In contemporary terms, Jesus was well on his way to leading a mega church. Then, after one particular teaching session, the numbers of paparazzi took a nosedive from several thousand to a single dozen—an attrition rate of well over ninety-nine percent!

    And what did Jesus say to the handful who remained?

    “Okay, guys, what can I do to improve my retention rates? If I don’t come up with a new ministry model, my Father will be so displeased with me! Let’s brainstorm a bit to figure this out.”

    Not even close.

    “Do you want to go away as well?” was what Jesus asked his closest companions as thousands of former followers filed away; then he added, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil” (John 6:67, 70). A couple of years later, one Passover eve in the Garden of Gethsemane, even the dodgy dozen deserted their Lord, and the divine dropout rate veered toward one hundred percent (Mark 14:50–52; John 16:32).

    At this rate, Jesus would likely have failed as a minister in many contemporary churches. Yet, in all of this, the service of God the Son infinitely and perfectly pleased God the Father. Jesus remained the beloved one in whom the Father was well pleased (Mark 1:11; John 10:17). Even in the moments when his closest companions abandoned and denied him—in some sense, especially in those moments when “he was despised and rejected by men”—Jesus fully fulfilled his Father’s will (Isa. 53:3–11). It was our sin that spiked Jesus to the cross, not his attrition rates.

    So what’s the problem with allowing retention rates to drive revisions in a ministry model? Simply this: It turns the visible growth and maintenance of a local congregation into the primary focus instead of Jesus and the gospel. When retention rates determine how we envision a church’s future, we have made too much of our own visions and dreams for the community of faith and too little of the One in whom we place our faith.”

    Read the rest.

    1. James E says:

      Truth unites and divides
      I do not know who you are but you seem to think you know me. As to the repentence I refered to my statement said why we needed to repent. The church is not known by love as Christ said his disciples would be. I work as a long haul truck driver (one of over 3 million) yet today I have driven by 50 plus church buildings none which offer any parking for me or my fellow drivers who would want to stop and worship with them. In fact many churches will have my truck towed if I came onto their property many have already posted that me and my fellow drisvers are not wanted. So is a church model that requires a life to be changed to first hear the gospel or feel the love of God the model Jesus made in His ministry?
      So as to your evaluation after 20 years of several differnt forms of youth ministry my view on the attrition rate is from experience and me going to those kids to find out what happened.
      I do not like getting into a back and forth in this setting if you want to know more about me my email is [email protected]

      1. Do the local governments allow them to offer parking for semis? Very often, churches are located in residential areas and sometimes the big rigs are prohibited. So, before you go around accusing churches, you might want to find out whether there’s an ordinance issue. If there isn’t, then is there an issue of sufficient parking space? If there isn’t, then you might question why these churches don’t want your rig in their parking lot and question whether that’s really a church you want to go to anyway.

  38. Ethan says:

    I think many here take themselves too seriously. Appreciate this post for what it is.

  39. James E says:

    One last thought has anyone mentioned what Jesus told His disciples after the rich young man left? If Jesus told the truth that with God all things all possible, then why settle for rejection of the gospel? Even the 12 would abandon Christ at His arrest. Peter even cursed Him in his denial. Yet the resurected Christ did not wait for them to return but went to them. If many of the first church were those who yelled for Christ to be crucified do we know for sure what happened to the rich young ruler?

  40. James E says:

    CR. You may want to take your own advise and learn some facts before you comment. I know not all churches could accomidate trucks. But I drive primarly in the bible belt region of the South Eastern United States on the I20 corridor from Texas to Atlanta. And I have never found a church that had minisrty for drivers but many churches that were glad I took the time to stop and visit with them even though they could not accomidate my truck. SO CHURCHES CANT LEAGUALLY ACCOMIDATE TRUCKS BUT STRIP BARS AND CASINOS CAN?
    So you condemn Lucy for leaving church and then tell me I shouldn’t go to them?
    You said it does not matter how people view us but Jesus said ALL WOULD KNOW WE ARE HIS DISCIPLES BY OUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER! But to those who claimed they preached about Him, He warns they are in danger of Him saying He never knew them.
    I wanted to be througb with these comments but CR you really need to think about what you say in light of all scripture.

    1. James, I was asking questions about your situation. Every church situation may very well be different. However, as I said before, ” If there isn’t [an issue with ordinances, etc.], then you might question why these churches don’t want your rig in their parking lot and question whether that’s really a church you want to go to anyway.”

      Yes, Jesus said that His disciples would be known by our love one for another. However, He also said that the world would hate us and persecute us because of Him. Very often, though, people have a wrong understanding of what love looks like. They think that love means we don’t tell the truth about their spiritual state (as Lucy seems to think). They think that love means welcoming and affirming people in their sins and making them feel good about themselves. Well, Jesus loved the rich young ruler and He certainly wasn’t trying to make him feel good about himself.

      Yes, James, I do criticize (not condemn) Lucy for her rebellion against God in leaving the church (and, worse, following after the pagans) and her rejection of basic biblical truths (like how we are all totally depraved and entirely undeserving of salvation, and her apparent rejection of the vast majority of the New Testament, i.e. Paul’s epistles). Her situation, however, is far different from yours. You are out looking for a church to go to while you’re on the road. And, yes, sometimes local laws do restrict where semis can go (they’re very often relegated to commercial districts, whereas churches are very often in residential districts). Sometimes church parking lots are too small to accommodate a rig. HOWEVER, there are just sometimes when a local church, for whatever ungodly reason, simply doesn’t want certain kinds of people attending their church or certain kinds of vehicles in their parking lots (because of appearances or whatever). Where that is the case, you really should ask yourself whether that’s a place you want to be. Of course, you could park your rig at a truck stop or motel (the ones that allow semis) and take a taxi to church, but why should you have to when you have a vehicle? So, I was looking at the various reasons why it might be that “I have driven by 50 plus church buildings none which offer any parking for me or my fellow drivers who would want to stop and worship with them. In fact many churches will have my truck towed if I came onto their property many have already posted that me and my fellow drisvers are not wanted.” You seemed to be accusing all of those churches of not wanting you or your fellow drivers, whereas there may actually be valid reasons why your rigs aren’t “welcome.”

  41. James E says:

    What comment have I made that says I do not believe a minister should not be supported? For the record though my last paid staff job I tried to refuse my salery since I did not need it when the church was using desinated funds for Lottie Moon to pay bills that could not be paid from general funds. So guess what those who say the church does not proplerly handle the offerings may be talkin from experience not hear say. Also read 1st Corinthians 5 where Paul plainly says we are to judge those who call themselves brothers but not those who are not known as brothers. Therefore Lucy or anyone like her who claims not to beleive in the same Jesus or has left the church should not be judged by the church. And for all those thay we see in sin Galatians 5@6 teach us who is in flesh and who is of the Spirit so that those who are Spiritual can with gentleness help those in Sin and fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1-2). And goes on to say that those who teach the law do so because they will not suffer for the Cross of Christ (Galatians 6:12). The fact that so many on hear would rather pass judgement and condemn those who openly say they are not a part of the church is appalling. When they turn around and want their own sin excused. JESUS DID NOT SAY WE ARE PERFECT WHEN WE DO NOT SIN HE SAID WE ARE PERFECT WHEN WE LOVE OUR ENEMIES AS God does (Matthew 5:43-48). I have found out the hard way what happens when I didn’t do that. Yall do not have to. Ps I am through with this thread email me if you want to address me please.

    1. James, I was responding to your earlier statement “Those who minister in the gospel do have a right to support. But those who only speak to a congregation and are not out ministering to people do not. There are a lot of Fat Cats, even some millionaires, who use people for gain.”

      I agree that there are lots of churches that don’t handle their finances properly (by which, I’m going to take the risk of presuming that you mean “handle their finances biblically”).

      As for Lucy, I’m not prepared to make the assumption that she is not a Christian. She was part of a local church (which doesn’t, in itself, mean she was a Christian, but I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt; consequently, if God did, at some point, bring her to salvation, I pray that He will soon bring her back from her backsliding, though He certainly will do it when He takes her home to be with Him, since a person whom God has saved cannot become unsaved – yes, I believe in the Calvinist doctrine of perseverance or preservation of the saints). Regardless, I was criticizing her bad theology, criticizing what she wrote; I wasn’t saying anything about her personally – there is a difference.

  42. Hal says:

    Did you guys see the CNN article about how hateful commenters on Christian sites can be?

    1. Does anyone really care what CNN has to say about anything? It isn’t like CNN is exactly an unbiased bastion of journalistic integrity (not that there is such a thing today). These are people who believe that saying anything that even remotely criticizes anyone from a politically correct group is “hate speech.”

      1. Hal says:

        But the point of the article is accurate. The caustic bickering in response to this blog post is a perfect example.

        1. Hal,

          Perhaps you could post a link to the article so that we could read it for ourselves.

          1. Hal says:

            http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/10/05/holy-trollers-how-to-argue-about-religion-online/.

            It was linked from TGC a few days ago, so somebody else must see some relevance as well.

          2. Hal,

            Thanks for the link. I obviously disagree with the following statement from the article: “Not everyone who disagrees with you deserves eternal torment.”

            We ALL deserve eternal torment. Christ died for the ungodly and the salvation that His death purchased is by God’s grace alone (meaning it is something we don’t deserve). In my first response to Trevin Wax’s blog article, and in some subsequent responses, I said as much. Of course, the point about God’s grace was summarily ignored as I was viciously attacked.

            There are Christians who say some, well, “unfortunate” things in response to blog articles. (To say these things are “unfortunate” is being charitable; some of these things are just plain evil).

  43. Mine was the first comment in response to the blog article. I dealt with the statement “I get this feeling that I’m not good enough. That I’m lacking something. That I don’t measure up. This is altogether frustrating.” I responded, in large part, “Yeah, well, get over it! None of us are ‘good enough’ (Jesus said, ‘No one is good except God alone’). We’re all ‘lacking something.’ We all ‘fall short of the glory of God,’ according to Romans 3:23. None of us will ever ‘measure up.’ THAT is one of the reasons why salvation is by grace alone. God saves those who don’t deserve it, haven’t earned it, aren’t entitled to it, etc. It’s exactly because we aren’t good enough, because we are lacking, because we don’t measure up, that God sent His only-born Son to die on the cross in our place.”

    Consequently, I was attacked for it by someone who has some very bad, very dangerous theology: the notion that Jesus made people feel good about themselves (or, to put it another way, boosted their self-esteem) when, in fact, He called people to repentance. He didn’t “welcome and affirm” them (to use the modern parlance) in their sin, but told them to “go, and sin no more.” He loved the rich young ruler enough to show him what was really in his heart and the man didn’t like it, which is why he walked away sorrowful. Further, the person who attacked me showed that she clearly believes Paul’s writings are not to be considered scripture (never mind that even Peter referred to them as such, and never mind that the gospels were also canonized in the fourth century). If she ever was saved, God will bring her back from her backsliding. If she wasn’t, then may God grant her repentance and bring her to salvation.

    We so often forget that there was a point in Jesus’ ministry where everyone except his closest disciples (perhaps even only the 12 whom He designated apostles) left Him. He didn’t change His message. He didn’t strategize to find out how to bring these people back into the fold. He let them walk away and even gave the few that remained (at the very least, the 12) the opportunity to do likewise.

    Grace means God giving us something good (salvation) that we don’t deserve. Mercy is God not giving us something bad (eternity in the Lake of Fire) that we deserve. Christ died for the ungodly. He died for people who, at the very least, deserve the punishment He bore in our place. He didn’t merely atone for our sins, He appeased God’s wrath over those sins.

    There’s an erroneous notion that love means we affirm people in their sins and that we make people feel good about themselves. Self-esteem may very well be the idolatry of our day. At the very least, it is utterly contrary to scripture (which commands us to die to ourselves, deny ourselves and to esteem others as more important than ourselves). There’s also the erroneous notion that to criticize or say anything negative is “judging” people. Clearly, Jesus didn’t make the rich young ruler feel good about himself, didn’t boost his self-esteem. Instead, as I said in a previous paragraph, He loved the rich young ruler enough to show him what was in his heart.

    I wish Trevin Wax had actually made the connection between the rich young ruler and the “Millennial” in the blog article’s title. Regardless, Millennials aren’t alone in leaving the church. In fact, I remember similar discussions going on regarding Generation X (the latch-key kids, the so-called “slackers”). I suspect there were similar discussions about baby boomers as well.

  44. GM says:

    Trevin I think this post is spot on. As a millenial I recognise this behaviour in myself and find it all too common in my peers.
    We feel like we have to have it all together before we come to Jesus. On the flipside there are times when we are all too ready to follow Jesus provided he meets our “needs” like a stable career, wealth, nice friends and a good life. But when that doesn’t happen we walk away. It’s like Jesus is not enough for us, it’s always Jesus plus my agenda.

    I caught up with a couple whose Church attendance had seriously slipped. In fact they weren’t even coming to Church anymore. We got chatting and they said “Yeah, we’ve been running on Sundays”. That was it. It was a pathetic excuse. Could they not have run some other day? Was running more important than their Church family? No one had hurt these people, in fact we’d gone out of way to welcome them and make them feel at home.

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Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, husband to Corina, father to Timothy, Julia, and David. You can follow him on Twitter. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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