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5 Stupid Things The Church Needs to Stop Doing to Make Progress

The church has more than its share of critics these days.

Sometimes the criticism is unwarranted. People project their issues onto a congregation or onto the church, which is never healthy.

And, of course, the church will inevitably run into criticism.

What we’re doing is counter-cultural and will never be met with universal applause. The Gospel, even when powerfully shared, got John the Baptist, the Apostle Paul, Jesus and the prophets killed, just to name a few. While it seems strange to say it, even love, when seen fully and magnificently, gets rejected.

But other times we absolutely deserve the criticism that comes our way.

Often these days, it seems, we’re not ridiculed or persecuted because we’re fighting nobly. Nope, sometimes we just shoot ourselves in the foot.

Here are 5 things that, in my view, would help the mission of the church become more authentic and more effective if we could just stop doing them.

1. Being So Weird Online

Too many Christians come across online as either

Toxic (Hello angry ranters, trolls and haters);

Cynical (Yes, we know you’re disappointed with everyone all the time and no one gets it as right as you); or

Syrupy (So sweet we can’t stand the taste and are not really sure you live in the real world)

Why do so many Christians think their social media feed is a place to show the world their weirdness?

It gives the impression that if you’re going to follow Jesus you also need to become socially awkward.

I know people might say “no, I’m just being authentic”. But being authentic does not mean being weird. (I shared my personal criteria for what I share online in the name of authenticity in this post).

I think a general rule is if you can’t imagine saying it in real life to a person, you shouldn’t say it online.

If you go to post something and you think, well, that would be braggy if I said that to someone, that’s a healthy check. It means you’d be bragging. So don’t post it.

Similarly, if you think “Well, people would just walk out of the room if I said that in real life,” then maybe don’t say it.

If you’re always angry or cynical or all you do is complain online and you think “well, I wouldn’t want to be friends with someone like that in real life,” then that’s a clue that maybe you shouldn’t say it, or be like that.

And if you think “well, then I’ll have nothing to post,” then you’ve likely put your finger on a deeper issue.

Christians, let’s just stop being so weird online, okay?

2. Commenting on Politics

Part of the weirdness is political.

God is not a Republican or a Democrat, or in my country, a Conservative, Liberal or New Democrat. Nor is God an independent.

God is God.

When your church becomes a mouthpiece for a political party, you cease to be the church.

Your job is to share the Gospel, not to change the government.

As I shared in more detail here, Jesus and Paul spend surprisingly little time trying to influence the government. Jesus completely rejected the idea of becoming the government when people asked him to become their political leader.

I know some will say “well, God has opinions about things happening today”.

I’m sure he does.

But when authentic Christians sincerely share different views on subjects, we should be very careful about speaking for God.

And, after all, when God happens to have all the same opinions you do, you’re probably not even worshipping God anymore.

You might be worshipping yourself.

3. Handling Conflict So Poorly

The church should be the best in the world at handling conflict. We were taught by Jesus exactly how to do it.

Yet we often side step. We gossip. We talk about other people rather than to people.

We avoid conflict. Or we run into it like a bulldozer claiming we’re all about truth.

If we just handled conflict humbly, gently, introspectively and bravely, we would be so much better.

If you really want to see how to restore someone in love, listen to this message by Andy Stanley on judgment and helping others who are sinning. It’s brilliant.

If we handled conflict more healthily, our churches would be so much healthier.

And a healthy church is a church that can help other people get healthier.

4. Ranking Sin Selectively

Christians have become fairly good at focusing on the moral failings of others while ignoring their own.

We pretend that the worst sin you can commit is sexual. And—don’t get me wrong—sexual sin has serious implications.

But so does gossip. And divisiveness. And quarrelling—sins Christians routinely ignore. Mostly because we commit them.

I would suggest that just as many congregations have been ruined by gossip, divisiveness and quarrelling as have been stained by sexual sin. But you’d never know it given the way we talk about sin.

I’m all for surrendering our sexuality to Christ. But I’m also all for submitting our propensity to gossip, our divisiveness and our quarrelling to Jesus and dealing with that seriously.

Imagine what the church might look like if that happened.

And we haven’t even touched gossip, gluttony or envy yet, all things with which Christians routinely self-medicate their pain.

Maybe if Christians humbly confessed their sins first, the world would be more likely to come to terms with their sins.

So here’s an idea. Instead of pretending someone else’s sin is worse than your sin, confess your sin.

You’ll be in such a better place if you do that. And so will they.

You might actually be able to help them.

5. Judging Outsiders

This is a pet peeve of mine.

As I outlined here, we in the modern church have largely ignored Paul’s injunction to stop judging non-Christians.  Even Jesus said he didn’t come into the world to judge it, but to save it.

I completely get the urge to judge our neighbours and even the world. Things bother me too.

But I have to refrain. Our faith in Christ demands it.

Before ministry, I was a lawyer. In first year law, I remember having a crisis because I couldn’t imagine representing a client I believed might be guilty.

I stayed after class one day to talk to my criminal law professor about it. He assured me of a few things. First, if your client tells you he’s guilty, you can’t ethically enter a non-guilty plea.

That made me feel better.

But then he told me that almost every client says they’re not guilty.

I got nervous again.

“Well what if you think he’s guilty but he says he’s not…doesn’t that put you in a horrible bind?”

I’ll never forget his answer.

“You’re confusing you’re role, Carey. You’re not the judge. You’re his lawyer. Your job is —ethically, morally and legally—to give him the best day he can possibly have in court. The judge will decide whether he’s guilty or not.”

I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.

So…Christians, the world has a judge. And it’s not you.

He’s fairer than you. More just than you. More perfect than you. And far more accurate.

In the meantime, do your best to help reconcile your brothers and sister in the world to their heavenly father through Christ. That’s your job.

Take some comfort in that. And for all these reasons and more, stop judging.

What Else?

Any other self-defeating, stupid things you wish we’d stop doing in the church?

I’d love to hear from you. Scroll down and leave a comment.

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  • Great article, Carey! If we would engage church outsiders with the goodness of God rather than judgment, more of them would be interested in what we have to say.

  • diana

    In my experience most christians are decent people who love God and do their best.

  • A lot of good thoughts here Carey, well shared. Like you I share a concern for the overt politicization of the church – from both the right and the left of the spectrum. We tend to spot the over identification with politics when the church leans right, but we tend not to spot it when the church leans left. When your concern for ecology is more evident than your concern for evangelism you have been co-opted. I also like what you said about social media use. Social Media is the new public square – particularly in Canada when it is too cold to sit in the actual public square 5 months out of the year! Christians should be present with purpose without being “weird” as you say above. I love the rebuke of the “humble brag”. There is so much of that and there needs to be so much less. “So humbled to have won the pastor of the year or book of the month award” – ugh! No one says that in real life and you shouldn’t say it on line. There is nothing wrong with straight up rejoicing – “Hey everyone, I won the sales person of the year award! Wahoo!” That is real, human emotion – go with it rather than trying to cloak it in awkward “Christian-ish” sentiment. Also LOVED the distinction between judging outsiders versus insiders. This one is SO CLEAR in the New Testament. Paul said: “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:12–13 ESV) Hard to imagine how that could be clearer: practice discipline INSIDE the church, extend grace and mercy OUTSIDE the church. Why do we get that exactly wrong? Appreciate you pointing that out – we need to be reminded. I also appreciated the point about ranking sin. Some sins have greater personal and social costs – of that there can be no doubt – but all sins are significant and there is always the danger of giving our sins a past while we hammer away at the sins of “others”. Good reminder there too. Blessings.

  • Rob Adams

    1: In other words….be like the world. Don’t talk about God, because you’ll be labeled as one of those three

    2: Yes, we can talk about politics. Politics affect us all. Yes, God is non-partisan, but God does care about what goes on in our country and who’s in leadership.

    5: In other words….don’t call sin “sin” Be like the world. If I’m riding in a car with my friend and he’s driving 60 mph in a 25 mph zone and I tell him to slow down because it’s illegal, that’s ok. If I tell my friend to stop cheating on his wife because it’s wrong….that’s judging. Hmmmmm

  • Mike Hassett

    You’re right on with your piece! There are so many “Christians” (I was one of them once) who think that being a believer means hating the sin and the sinner, and are great at hitting people over the head with the Bible on hot button issues. Great to have someone like you to point this thing out!

  • Thomas Holloway

    Love the lawyer and judge illustration. So true. It’s not our job to judge, but to lead people to Christ. The picture of God as judge and Jesus as our Advocate is one of my favorites in the Bible. There we stand condemned, but our Attorney not only defends us, but takes our place so that we can be pardoned. Love it! Love your blog and you podcast. Thank you for being a blessing to Christian leaders.

    • cynthia

      I am sorry but you see that is this is another problem of Christians. you do not have a job. you do not need to “lead” people to anything. What you need to do is look to yourself and work to keep the values of your religion. People can access the information if they are interested. It is everywhere. Because then what is your interpretation of everything and the person should have the same views as you? Let them access all religions, you do not need to recruit like the army. If they wish to follow they will. No, keep to your own walk with whatever and do not lead anyone. Let them follow whatever they wish. You want to educate then educate all religions not just one.

      • Kenneth Mitchell

        Unfortunately Cynthia, you are incorrect about this. Jesus told us “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.” Luke 14:23 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15 and then Paul tells us “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” Roman 10:14-15

        • cynthia

          LOL. You are quoting something written in a time when people did not know. OK, TRUST ME it is 2017.PEOPLE know! They can make their own decisions in this information supplied world!!. Stay in your little confined brainwashed system and let people discover what they want for themselves without condemnation, judgement, and bullying. Do you think that telling little children that if they do not behave they will go to hell is right? Scaring them to the point of having nightmares and peeing in the corner of their room because so scared is a good thing??? Strangers do not need to tell my children or anyone what to believe is right or wrong!! You know what there is a multitude of other thoughts in the world. SCIENCE FACT, we actually know since the bible was written. Don’t quote to me from something that has no relevance to today except as in how it tries to control morality.., lol

  • Stephanie Numan Scholman

    I wished I could quote this whole article when I shared it. Thank you! Things that needed to be said. I have gotten to know some atheist colleagues of mine recently, and I have to say, this all rings true. I have had some pretty challenging discussions with them, and I have learned a lot. I believe that sometimes God teaches us through people who are not part of our belief system. He used warring nations to show the Israelites the error of their ways, and I think it’s still possible that He does that even now. I have had my faith tested, challenged, to the point of questioning my own beliefs. I regret none of it, because in the process, I have learned so much about myself, and also about God. I learned about the extent that God will go to to prove His love to those who are searching for him. I learned that if we ask Him, He will prove Himself in inexplicable ways. I learned that my mission here on earth is to know God fully, and intimately, and that if I am to love others, I must learn to love myself. And to know how to do that, I must ask God to show me how He sees me, and not rely on what others say to, and about me. If God truly loves me, more than I can ever comprehend, then I am trying to prove Him wrong by not loving myself. The greatest commandment Jesus gave us was to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. And to love my neighbour as myself. How can I love my neighbour if I don’t love myself?!?!
    To answer your question – What else do I wish the church would do, or stop doing? I wish that Christians would be more willing to explore different interpretations of scripture. Why are we so afraid of looking at what the Bible says from a slightly different angle? Do we always have to be right?! We do ourselves such a disservice when we are so dogmatic in our way of understanding. One thing that stood out in my recent discussions with my friends who reject God, is the fact that Christians are so quick to say no, and reject challenging questions. How is our faith to grow if we have a fixed mindset, rather than a growth mindset? How can we ever learn if we are not allowed to question what we believe? Atheists complain about how we “indoctrinate” our children. What that means to me is that we tell our children what to believe, and how to believe it, and we don’t allow them to think critically. Let them ask questions! And don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know. I will think about that some more.” or “I don’t know, let’s explore that together.” And this goes for having discussions with our peers as well. We need to explore the hard questions. Together. Life is hard. It’s not easy to explain why things are the way they are, or why the bible is so brutal. It’s not easy to explain the genocide we read about in the Old Testament. And frankly, it’s not easy to love each other! Love is beautiful, but it is also very ugly when we allow fear to cloud it. There is no fear in love (from 1 John). Fear and love are both irrational, and unreasonable. The two cannot coexist. Perfect love drives out fear. So don’t be afraid! Love. Love each other. Love those who hurt you. You’ll find that it changes your perspective.

  • Eric McBride

    I followed a link here from a pastor at a church I used to attend. I say this not to be “that guy” but to share my perspective. I no longer believe in God. With that being said, you have hit on several key points that the atheist community uses to berate the “church”. I can’t personally say that #1 has been an issue with Christians I know, but the others are spot on. Well written article. If Christians truly want to grow the church they should take heed of what you have written.

    • Eric…thanks for the comment. Man, that’s heartbreaking. I’m sorry for your experience. Have you tried talking to the church you ended up leaving, or another one? I really hope your faith sparks again. I do.

      • Eric McBride

        I am sorry, I didn’t want that part of my statement to be paramount. I merely mentioned that for you to understand my perspective for the statement. I really wanted you to take away from this the fact that you addressed key problems with religion today. The issues with the church I attended were only a part of my change in belief. However, I will say this, with your level-headed way of thinking (at least by what I can tell), you are exactly what religion needs today. So once again I give you props!

        • ChuckAddison

          Nice to see good people from opposing viewpoints having a logical discussion. Love it. And agreed, great article.

          • Eric McBride

            Absolutely. At the end of the day we may not agree with what feel is true regarding religion, but that does not permit us to be disrespectful. In fact, once a month I meet with a group of Christians who sit around, have a beer, and talk about anything that comes to mind. We never get heated with each other. That’s what happens when people don’t act like jerks 🙂

  • Carey – Love the article and the reminders.
    I totally agree that we in the church stink at conflict resolution.

    One thing I’d like to suggest, however, is that we should consider NOT using Matthew 18 as “the” conflict resolution passage. While I’m not saying it can’t “guide” a conflict resolution discussion, Jesus is talking about when “someone sins against you.” Not all conflict is based in sin; sometimes people just disagree.

    There are other passages that speak to how to do conflict (“Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths….”, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”…., “Be at peace with everyone. ..”

    Yes, we need to get better at resolving conflict in the church. And I think there are principles from Matthew 18 that can inform the process. But I think one reason we may do conflict poorly is because we’re not looking at other passages to guide the discussion. Just a thought. …

  • william jason o’neal

    A pastor blocked me on Facebook in 2012. His wife did as well. His wife’s sister however have dated random high profile sinners such as guys that want to be big time. I talked about wanting to sin but tried to hide those posts from him. He never even personally talked to me and knew I wanted to talk with him. They seem like they judge the people like me who struggle in life(no money, no job, no healthy eating) more than those that have those things like what I mentioned above. They may not outwardly judge but their facebook friendslist gives them away or who they simply associate with. I feel its not right.

  • Suzan D Reed

    Maybe churches could stop trying to so “authentic” and just be churches. God is eternal, His love is eternal, the Bible is eternal, the message of Jesus dying for our sins is eternal, & the need for repentance is eternal. All of these things are eternal and unchanged. I am so sick of Dumbed down Common Core Christianity.

  • Poodz

    WOW! Amazing article Carey! The lawyer and judge paragraph is so true.

    • Thanks. PS. Love your Instagram pics. That’s you, right?

      • Poodz

        Haha I just saw this. Yes that’s me, thanks!

  • Hey Carey,
    You say stop judging outsiders and I totally agree, but what about judging insiders. I’m talking to a church that’s having trouble growing and from what I can tell they’re doing a lot of things right. However, they have a strict membership system which requires you to agree to be accountable to the church according to Matthew 18. If you refuse to repent you can no longer be a member. I have limited knowledge of churches who take church discipline this seriously, so I was hoping you could speak to this. Thanks.

    • Travis…that’s interesting. Without knowing the details, I’d saying judging insiders is quite biblical. I preferring discerning and helping believers, but there is the idea in Paul’s writing of holding each other accountable by ‘judging’ or discerning the hearts and lives of fellow believers in order to help them stay on the path toward Jesus. Outsiders is really off limits though!

  • Garry Macintosh

    Some really great points Carey, I think the biggest problem by far in the modern church is practitioners whom attribute their worldly successes to God, via either
    blessings or the “anointing”. Let us not forget that long-suffering is a fruit of the spirit. Also, doing so is not only a form of boasting, but may push people away who are going through a rough time as they may feel like God is not with them, or wonder why they aren’t getting a piece of the blessing pie.

    Life can be hard and full of ups and downs. Performance based spirituality that seeks reward for service from God is contrary to the message of hope found in the Gospel. We should be utterly motivated to help others and make a difference out a deep and compelling love for people and God, not out of a desire to seek a particular status or anointing.

  • Wesley

    the worst sin a church or “Christian” can commit is to misrepresent Christ and God. that is why God judge Israel so severely although the nations around them were involved in more debauchery then them. Christ told his followers that to whom much is given much is required.

  • Jason

    About a year ago, I started attending church with my girlfriend. I have never been much of a believer, and still consider myself to be “on the fence”. I don’t mind going to church though, because it’s important to her and I want to support that. But nearly every Sunday I find myself almost resenting certain things that our minister says. One day in particular, he delivered an entire sermon that was laced with subtly masogynistic comments. He was talking about (in a very old-world fashion) the role that a woman should strive for in a mans life. I’m almost 30, and this guy isn’t much older than me. To someone already a little weary of religion, it is certainly discouraging. Especially when I’m trying to be more open minded about faith. And I also think that, being in an influential leadership position, he should be a little more mindful of what he’s saying.

    • Thanks for sharing this Jason. Missing the implications of our words on people like you is definitely something we should all pay attention to.

    • Peter Skov

      Hi Jason. Thank you for your honesty. I know what I write will be a tough challenge, because your girlfriend probably has friends in her church, but I’d really encourage you to see if there could be other churches in the area that have a better way to explain things? I might be able to help with that. Write me on and I’ll see what I can find in your city 🙂

  • John Miller

    Wow Carey! Thanks for writing this! I appreciate your input and hope that people will truly live confessing his or her own sin because its easy, even for me, to start thinking “I know who NEEDS to read this!” What if we live these principles and make it the culture of each of our local churches? I can only imagine a place where people can come to belong and set free rather than a place ether you need to meet certain requirements to belong. Thanks again Carey!

    • Thanks John…that’s so true. The look inward is always the toughest. Good for you!

  • Krys VanSlyke (VS)

    Agreed. I would add ignoring/villainizing science.
    Much of Genesis is clearly poem and not to be taken literally. Insisting on a young earth makes it harder for others to take the rest of your case seriously.

    • RWilliams

      Would you say the same about the resurrection? Insisting on that is quite a claim. thoughts?

      • Krys VanSlyke (VS)

        I guess since there is no body to point to, I’m a little less particular about arguing the physical evidence on that one 😉

    • Cheryl

      Krys, I don’t have any problem with people believing in the literal or the poetic jist of Genesis, why should you? Isn’t Protestantism great for promoting the individual relationship one has with our Creator? I don’t see one single comment here from a Christian criticizing scientists or their theories, but I did find your comment. What do you believe? Do you believe it enough to teach in love, mercy, and forgiveness? Then do that. If not, that’s okay too. Those values and beliefs are yours and Genesis is not clearly a poem to everyone. Love your God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbour as yourself. If you’ve got that as first goals, then whether some people take Genesis literally or figuratively will bother you a lot less 🙂

      • Krys VanSlyke (VS)

        other people on the thread may not have been talking about this, but the article talks about things the church at large needs to stop doing. I encounter many people taking the literal genesis view (one many bible scholars would say is not consistent with how it would have been originally received). Further, many believers act as if to believe any differently is stupid.
        I’m ok with people believing it to be literal, but to impose that on others or act as if any other conclusion is unintelligent goes against the love, mercy and forgiveness of which you speak.

        • Cheryl

          I agree Krys. But we can really only testify to our own experience. I don’t believe I’m called to go out and lash anyone’s beliefs out of them. My experience, however, in church, in Christian Society and in secular society is that it is the non-believers who are doing the lashing. If you’re in the deep south or maybe in some pockets of the US Bible Belt, that might be a common experience. In liberal British Columbia, however, in 34 years I have never once been accosted by or even heard of anyone trying to shove a literal translation of Genesis down my throat. I know, though, if I started talking about anything related to a christian belief system while out and about in the general public, I had better have a body guard. To think that, generally speaking, it is anything otherwise, means you likely don’t travel very much (that’s not in anyway meant as an insult – I don’t travel much, I just live in the middle of it). Discrimination as far as belief systems go is a very scary deal.

          • Krys VanSlyke (VS)

            Having been to BC, I agree that yes it is far from AZ in many ways.
            Though I’m sorry you misunderstood; I was speaking of the way (primarily evangelical) Christians communicate in their churches and online. I’ve not been questioned about my take on the origin of the universe in public either. 😉

        • Kenneth Mitchell

          Hello Krys, as a Christian I used to think this same way..But it is very important we understand the importance of the validity and history of Genesis, as being accurate or it would totally crumble the reason for salvation and all that Christ came to do and why! Just a thought..thanks

  • Sara Bloom

    All very nice but the church will never release its stranglehold on morality even though Jesus clearly states he doesn’t judge by what he sees or hears but with right judgement of what goes on within the hearts of men. The church will never let go of the ideology that it is God’s representative on Earth, as if he needs one, no matter how lousy it makes that representation appear.

  • stevedawe

    Though the people of first century Palestine didn’t have a duty to vote for the emperor, and we do vote for our political leaders. God isn’t NDP, Conservative or Liberal, but my vote is still something I have to be faithful with, because it is a place where I have a partial role in the leadership of my country.

  • Best Mom

    Wow, I found this totally inaccurate and non biblical especially historically biblical. God puts leaders in power. Mentioned numerous times in the old testament. Our laws are to be based on the ten commandments. Also, mentioned numerous times in the OT. In Jesus’s day Jewish law ( God’s law) ran the communities as they were being overtaken by the Romans. And even then as Jesus was fulfilling OT law and writings, He was actively changing hearts politically as were his disciples and followers. Their boldness to spread Jesus’s teachings to all including the current Jewish LAWS and political leaders is an example of how to live your faith. I respectfully believe that a Christian should walk the walk and talk the talk in every part of the world God gave us ….that is his final mission to us. That includes laes, politics, communitues, families and individuals.

  • Gilchrist

    Another “Don’t judge” lesson. Discernment and the ability to guard against darkness is a key attribute of one of the greatest icons of a pastor, the Shepherd. It has become such a quick way to shut down communication, to simply cry out how Christians should not judge. Ignore the poor example being set, institutionalized or breaking apart the church, or thou shalt be judgmental. That is hardly following the examples set by Jesus Christ and his Apostles.

  • Tammy Middleton

    I’ve read all the comments regarding #2, and maybe I am misunderstanding, but how I read what Carey is stating isn’t that we shouldn’t stand for issues, it is more that we should not be a mouthpiece for a specific political party or person. I believe (to paraphrase Reggie Joiner) if we are not careful, we will move our lampstand to illuminate something other than Christ. Carey, please correct me if I am wrong. 🙂

    • Kathie

      I think it is more that we shouldn’t speak for God. Our understanding of what God/Jesus, would or wouldn’t do isn’t definitive. I think we can talk about issues and even discuss which party we think would be the greater one to vote for, but we shouldn’t equate our opinion with God’s opinion. Anyway, that’s my own humble opinion of what Carey was saying.

  • bushrat49

    I heartily disagree with #2. The church stood silently by in Germany during WWII and see where it got them. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the few that stood against the evils of the Third Reich. His book, “The Cost of Discipleship” is a reminder of what happens when the church ignores the political reality going on around it out of fear. Bonhoeffer was one man, who took a stand against the evil of his time, even unto death. Sadly, we have returned to those days, in our nation this time. I see nowhere in scripture where we are told to stand by and be silent as the unborn are murdered, or where homosexuals and transgendered people are dragging down a new generation of youth into their world of sexual confusion and pain. In what use to be the greatest nation on earth, a nation unique in the history of mankind, which offered people the hope of a better life, we have now created an environment where more and more are being dragged into and trapped in a life of poverty, instead of helping them to lift themselves up and out. Jesus called us to be “World Changers,” yes, through the Gospel which changes hearts and teaches love for one another. Yet, what do you do when you love someone? Do you stand by as they starve, or are beaten, or robbed? Is that what Jesus meant by “Love your neighbors?” Do we stand by as our nation is brought to it’s knees through an ever increasingly immoral government, and a society caught up in it’s own slowly boiling pot of selfishness, immorality, and apathy? No! May God never find me only concerned for my own well being, hiding behind lovely sounding platitudes that tickle the ears of men as we play our fiddles and watch Rome burn. Never! I will stand for freedom for my fellow man, and I will stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Each of you reading today, God has placed you here for a time such as this. And what we must ask ourselves is this, not what would this man or this church have us do, but what would Jesus Christ have us do. We may not like what we hear, but our discipleship has a cost. The question is, are we willing to pay the cost?

    • Sarah Cochran

      As Christians we are not here to be a great nation and God is not only, if at all, ON OUR SIDE. We are here to love people into loving Jesus Christ, who never condemned a person for who they were, never talked about abortion, never discussed homosexuality and certainly never condemned one. Jesus is the one who welcome people as they were, forgave them and told them to sin no more. That is our call as well and yet I will always remain a sinner. One that is always seeking forgiveness and mercy and being grateful for receiving it. Just as all of us are called to do. I’m not called to judge you individually or anyone else and neither are you. Please stop. Thank you.

      • Sarah Cochran

        As the author says, “When your church becomes a mouthpiece for a political party, you cease to be the church.”

      • bushrat49

        The fact that Jesus did not directly speak to certain issues does not mean it was not important to Him, or He didn’t consider it a sin. His goal was in introducing the arrival of the kingdom of God, and teaching His disciples to carry on when He returned to heaven. He had to establish the teaching of the gospel during His short time on earth. And the rest was up to the disciples to write down through the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come and teach them everything they needed to know. They then wrote these things down so we would have the scriptures today. The Apostle Paul spoke clearly on the issue of homosexuality, and the principles guiding our lives in other areas are discussed at great length. And yes, believers are called to “judge” other believers. If you honestly seek the truth, then I would like to recommend this blog on judging according to the scriptures. Be sure to have your Bible handy as you read this blog. Always bathe the topic in prayer, and then check out what you read according to the scriptures.

    • Christina Maria

      Thank you for saying this bushrat49. I agree 100 percent and would love to share your response.

  • Pastor Hal

    I love your comments Carey. I just need some clarification.
    I know the command of Jesus is to love our enemies and those who persecute us. I get that and accept it. What do we do or say with regards to the abuses inflicted on the vulnerable in society? For example, unborn children are not only murdered now but their body parts are being sold by organizations like planned parenthood. The elderly can now be terminated by the will of others. Muslim believers praying in public at university while Christians are scolded for the same activity. Do we not have a role to play in defence of the defenceless as Jesus proclaimed? Finally, do you purport those involved in public unrepented sin continuing in church leadership and ministry positions? It seems to me that a leader is in more danger of censorship over proclamation of biblical truth in a non-politically correct way than he does for sinfulnbehaviour. Interested in your expanded views on these.

  • John

    Carey, I read your stuff regularly and it’s been a proven benefit to me. Maybe it’s just me, but I think this article was a notch or two higher. Very well said.

    To those who disagree with #2 (politics): it really comes down to what we want to be known for. Sure, issues matter, but when people identify us with that message more than (or instead of) the message of the cross, we’re failing as Christians.


      John, we can do both.

      • John

        . . . and now we’re proving point #1. 🙂 The fact is, if we were sitting face to face, in a conversation, we’d probably realize pretty quickly that we’re on the same page, or at close enough to walk together. The point that I’m making is that the world has heard so much of what we as Christians are against, rather that what we are for. Interestingly, you mentioned the civil rights issue, which is really more of a “for” rather than “against” expression of faith. That’s not what I’m talking about, nor do I believe it’s what Carey was thinking when he wrote #2. But that’s just my guess.

        • Ann Ciaccio

          I think that we hurt ourselves as Christians when we constantly state what we are against and critical of. We come across as judgemental snobs. We would make so much more progress if we stood up for what we are FOR in a positive, loving way.


    I disagree with #2. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. let the African American Church in the U.S. out of the pew and into the street to get our government to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1968. That is the best example on my lifetime of the church getting involved in politics. The worse example is the inactivity of the church today that is surrendering our 394 year old Christian Consensus to an anti-Christian culture. You are wrong on 2. Billy Falling, age 75.

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  • Brett

    I agree with all wholeheartedly except # 2. Respectfully, I believe 1 stupid thing that Christians can do and have been doing is be apathetic or indifferent to the culture changing around us and not recognizing that politics plays a huge role in that. I’m not saying that you are apathetic but when you say that it’s stupid to stand up for the truth in our culture on social media I take issue with that and encouraging others to do the same is dangerous. With the downward trend in our culture over my lifetime (I’m in my 30’s), the silent majority so clearly needs to be a thing of the past unless we want to continue this spiral downward. I’m not saying rant with anger but being active and saying what you believe and who you support in politics is not something we need to shy away from anymore in my opinion. It’s come to that…

  • Cheri Vislay

    This is a great article. I especially love #5. It’s not our place to judge others. Let the Holy Spirit work in people’s hearts to convict sin. It’s what I say to my students, worry about your self. That’s enough to worry about.

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  • Samuel Rodriguez

    Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?

    • Once we’re in heaven we’ll be in a great position to do that.

  • Single Mommas Struggle

    Treating single mothers and their kids as if they carry the stain of sin and must be treated while protected behind superior spirituality. Just because you managed to stay married does not mean you’re the perfect lamb for sacrifice, although I often find myself thinking you are just that.

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  • Brandon

    Carey, thanks for the blog. I have gained some much needed insight as I follow your posts and appreciate your sincerity. As a pastor I have come to realize that over the course of several years I have grown to resent many in our church. The most significant reason (or excuse) has been their apathy and unfaithful attendance, especially during the summer months. While I have been so burdened to share the Word with truth and clarity, many have responded less than enthusiastically. In this post you discuss the burden of attempting to be both lawyer and judge. Thank you! To my shame, and almost unknowingly, I have judge our congregation. In acknowledging my own sin and in being reminded again of what precisely I am “called” to be of God (certainly not a judge) I have been greatly refreshed in my desire to patiently love people. He has, after all, patiently loved me. The task appointed to me is to boldly preach His Word. What others choose to do with it, or not to do, is not in my control. His Word does say that He must provide the increase……and, I faithfully trust in that! Thanks again. And may He bless you, your leadership, and His church which you have been appointed to lead.

    • Thank you Brandon. Really appreciate your comment. Means a ton!


    Do you really believe that gluttony does equal damage to person as much as a sexual sin?

    • Tiffmichn

      Sin isn’t sin JUST because of the damage it does to others. Sin is sin because it separates us from God.

    • Dustin

      In the spiritual health, yes. In the physical health, yes, in the long run, if you commit the sin for most meals.

  • Jennifer Sweet

    And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
    Matthew 22:37
    For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
    Matthew 12:34
    Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
    Romans 12:2
    If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
    John 15:1

    And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
    Matthew 11:6

    • Mike Rogers

      Thanks for demonstrating #1. Nothing like quoting random scripture verses to straighten out a sinner.

  • David Nelsen

    Try reading the Didache sometime. It’s a list of rules and sins the Apostles taught. Abortion and supporting it is one of them mentioned. Not everything taught by the Apostles made it into the Bible. It was assembled by man. More documents are kept by the Majesterium in Rome.

  • Zachary Verbracken

    I would add that the church should stop expecting unchurched people to come in and immediately conform to their unspoken rules, traditions, and ways. Instead, the church needs to do a better job to meet people where they are. When we expect them to adapt our foreign Christian language, our beliefs, and our “rules” before they truly encounter the grace of Jesus and before they begin to belong in the church community, we are just setting ourselves up for failure.

    • Agreed Zachary. 🙂

      • VB501

        How should the Church address sin in believers? I totally get not judging those outside the Church? But how are we to deal with those inside the Church – even in our own families. So many young people- even those who have grown up in Church seem to have lost their moral compass. Among my 3 adult kids, only one of them has held to the moral teaching of the Bible. They all do what is “right in their own eyes”. A friend told me that a pastor at a local non-denom. Church in our city recently addressed the cohabitation of the young people in their Church and said that it needed to addressed and stated that it was not ok. I get it that they have seen divorce rampant in our culture and their own parents, separated and divorced. What does God want us to do? Embrace them and say that– hey, it’s all cool. I have kept silent, but I wonder if I am giving tacit approval to their lifestyle. My kids were raised in the Church and in a believing family. The “world” appears to be winning our kids. Even if they are “in” Church, they don’t want anyone telling them they are wrong and the concept of self denial seems to be have been lost. I grieve for my own sin and that of my children. Whatever happened to the virtues of self denial, obedience, repentance. My children who are living as in the “world” consider themselves believers, but they prefer to live according to what the world teaches rather than what God’s Word says. Can we have it both ways? I think not.

      • VB501

        I agree that it is not our place to “judge” nonbelievers, but what about immorality inside the Church? Many young people attending Church, raised in believing homes, consider themselves Christians, but do not want to observe a moral code that tells them they are wrong. Everyone does what is right in his own eyes. Most of them are cohabitating–a friend told me that an elder at her church is living with a woman who is not his wife and that her pastor is okay with it. My sister’s husband brought his girlfriend to their Methodist Sunday School class that they had attended together for ten years–while he was still married. Two people spoke up, but most said “Oh, well, they are at least in Church.” My sister left the Church, but her now ex is still there with his live in girlfriend. Is to be silent giving tacit approval?

        • Zachary H

          If they claim to be members of the church: I Corinthian 5:9-13. “9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a
          reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. 12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

  • Shiela Heather

    I can see the points, but with the church at risk, it is time to speak up. For so long,

    I’ve been afraid of offending… or being laughed at. I want to see the lost saved. Mission

    work has become more vocal and proactive. A peculiar people. Lifestyle evangelism is no

    longer as effective. Telling the truth out loud is. They say it takes seven times hearing

    the Gospel message of salvation before it begins to truly sink in and grow as a seed does.

    Yes, Christians are weird, angry, political, and sinful. Most honest Christians are the

    first to admit that. In fact, Christians often post on FB and other social media not as an

    act of evangelism, but for accountability, I know I do! I need my Christian brothers and

    sisters to be involved with me in prayer, in exhortation to me to others, to themselves.

    Maybe online posts that request prayer, offer scripture, criticize candidates and

    illuminate sin are JUST what America needs to stop the insanity that is ripping us all

    apart at the seams. The last thing we need is to come apart as a faith by pointing out our

    faults. I found this article to be incredibly judgmental (ironically.)

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  • Hawkeye

    I appreciate these reminders. Well said. However, I do disagree with some of your points in #2 “Commenting on Politics”. Whereas I don’t think we should be supporting one political party vs another in the name of Christendom, Christians do have an obligation to be salt and light to our world, even in the public square, in the public places and cultural spaces.

    I don’t get interested in politics so much (it’s too broad a term) but I am very interested in the development of public policy. Too many Christians have abdicated the opportunity to have their voice heard in the public square. I’m glad William Wilberforce didn’t heed the advice of his church-going friends who encouraged him to drop his fight to abolish slavery in England in the 1800’s.

    In today’s more “enlightened” culture Nobody would say that Wilberforce did a bad thing by helping to bring about the changes in public policy and legislation which ended institutionalized slavery in Britain. It was the right thing to do. Yet today many Christians still are advising others not to get involved in politics.

    I do caution that waving signs and shouting across the great divide of polarized ideologies is not the way to go about it. We can have a reasoned and civil debate about our concerns. Polite and respectful discourse is possible and we should seek to have fellowship with all people, even those with whom we disagree.

    I think the idea that we shouldn’t comment on politics because it inhibits church progress is an overly broad concept that needs a nuanced qualification. Such a prohibition neglects the truth that Christians can and should be positive influencers for the Kingdom whether we are commenting on art, poverty,the Maple Leafs or politics.

    In all things, even our comments on politics, let our speech be seasoned with grace.

    • VB501

      Yes, we live in an evil age and although I understand that judging unbelievers is not our purview, standing up to evil in the culture is. I remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s quote: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak, is to speak. Not to act is to act.” The world is not going to love us for speaking truth. Peter said we were a peculiar people- so if I am weird, so be it. We cannot shame our brothers and sisters in Christ to silence them from speaking truth.” Remember Jesus said if the world hates us, to remember that it hated him first. Yes, we should seek to live in peace with all men. Not that we seek to be deliberately hostile or “toxic”, but if you speak the truth, they are going to hate you regardless of the intent. My teenage grandson has been struggling to find a group of friends. The youth group at his church doesn’t interest him too much–he doesn’t think they are cool. He has been stretching his wings in an attempt to “fit in” with a group of music people, and to his mother’s chagrin has been expressing some what she considers “socially liberal” views. Last night he came to her feeling lonely and depressed. He was rejected when he tried to join their FB music group–He said that at a recent gathering when some kids said they did not support gay marriage, the majority of the group lit into them calling them bigots and hatemongers. My grandson said the kids being attacked remained civil and polite. In an attempt to be diplomatic, my grandson spoke up and said “Well, everyone has a right to their personal opinion”, but did not side with either group. His friend request was rejected because they said he was passive in not rejecting those who did not support gay marriage, so he is out. So much for tolerance, huh?

  • Wow! I couldn’t agree more! Thank you for your “real-ness” …much needed today. I really appreciate you, listen to your podcasts faithfully every Tuesday, and we discuss your blog and podcast content at our weekly staff meetings for the church we pastor. You help so many of us church leaders/pastors (pardon the bluntness) “grow a pair”. Kudos/Blessings!

  • Denn Guptill

    Thanks Carey, great stuff as usual.

  • Sharon Tankersley

    Great points, all!

  • Jevin Caras

    Love God, Love others, Reach the world.

  • evilbusinessowner

    I agree with most of what you said, but I have to strongly disagree with the politics part. The anti-Christian movement has used politics the last 55 years to wage war on Christians and the Church. They have been successful in creating moral relativism and removing any vestige of the Christian Faith from public discourse. The writing is on the wall! Before long, the Church will be running for its proverbial life. It is time good Christians and the Church engage in the political arena or we will be meeting in basements at night! It’s time to speak up or sit down! I’m reminded of the words of Pastor Niemoller: First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    • evilbusinessowner

      “The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs, is to be ruled by evil men.” —Plato (429-347 BC)

  • Charles

    6. Counting heads and counting money… as a sign of God’s pleasure with us.
    7. Insisting that non-believers speak fluent Christian in order to have access to the gospel
    8. Swapping sheep and calling it “growth”.

  • patrick mayer

    Carey, it is like you are reading my mind, except you articulate it better. You said it better than I ever could.

  • Tom Snyder

    Great article.
    #6 Dethrone Constantine
    (See Church 3.0 or Pagan Christianity)

  • Matthew Randles

    When attempting to proselytize, and the person says, “no, thank you,” accept it as honest, and continue the conversation civilly, with the changed subject. The most effective preaching is living an example.

  • Kyle Dunn

    Carey–you make great points; each worthy of a sermon or series of sermons. I frequently interpret those who are weird online or politically hostile as confused about what it means to “contend for the faith” (Jude 3). They assume God needs defending or that non-Believers need to be corrected before they are converted. Thanks for the inspiration toward specific teaching topics for my church.

  • Tami Miller Skinner

    Very well said !

  • nomoredevil

    Reading the comments section. I keep telling myself I’ll stop, but every time I just get sucked back…

    …dang it.

  • Timothy Fish

    If I had a lawyer who knew I was doing something illegal but he didn’t tell me because he “isn’t the judge,” I would fire the guy and find someone who would. You’re right, I’m not the Judge and I can’t send anyone to hell, but I wouldn’t be much of a Christian if I didn’t warn people that the Judge will send them to hell if they don’t repent.

    • George

      I think you missed his point. Go back and read that section with an un-biased eye.

      • Timothy Fish

        No, his point is clear, but his analogy is way off base.

    • Mark Nowakowski

      Not only missed the point but misunderstands “the Law”.

      • Timothy Fish

        How so?

    • shae

      Maybe introducing people to Jesus’ love would be more influential than introducing people to the wrath of God. Telling people they are wrong, first, isn’t usually a good start to change.

      • Timothy Fish

        I don’t disagree, but there are many people that we wouldn’t encounter at all if they weren’t pushing their ungodly agenda on the Internet. There’s little opportunity to show love to these people, but if we are silent, the only message that is on the Internet is one that promotes unrighteousness.

      • ppRESTON

        And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

  • Glenn Z

    I might have enjoyed this post, but it was too negative, cynical, churxhy, preachy and just plain weird. Sound familiar?

  • Dave

    Reader boards. We should definitely get rid of those.

  • Todd

    Congratulations, you have completely bought what they want you to do. Don’t say anything and just think we live in awesome town. People are trying to wake the zombies up and get people out of the Matrix because things are about to change pretty dramatically in the world. And most people will be completely caught off guard. I agree, don’t be weird about it. But truth is what sets the captive free. As a pastor I can tell you multitudes of people that were convicted by a post a bold Christian or man like Franklin Graham put up-so they came to church and wanted me to tell them more. Again, yes, don’t be weird, but my goodness don’t be silent either! We need more people to be out there fulfilling the Great Commisiion and the web and real world are both in major need of truth! Don’t be silent!

    • George

      I don’t see any calls to inaction here. Just a call to a more effective and scriptural type of action.

      And btw, in one man’s opinion, your reference to the “Matrix” comes across as lunacy. Might want to tone that down a bit.

      • Angela Smail

        You made me lol with those last two sentences. Thank you.

    • Mark Nowakowski

      We often find that these “bold” leaders suffer from foot-in-mouth disease, many times doing far more harm than good. I am also struck by how many of the responses posted validate everything said within the article.

  • Randolph Abrams

    Very good, especially the part about judging outsiders. However, I’ve also seen the judging of insiders. I’d be interested in seeing a post regarding the various ways people tend to judge others.

  • Den Hussey

    Great post. The only thing I’d add is this…we need to stop arguing with other genuine Christ followers who happen to believe differently about non essential beliefs than we do. Arguing makes the church look foolish. And when I begin to believe that my beliefs about the gospel are the only ones that are correct, I’m on dangerous ground.

    Keep on posting! Your insights are truly helping this pastor lead better!

  • Andy Racer

    Yea, the bulk of Church people have more characteristics of Pharisees. Evaluate the scope of Christ’s pro-test heart against the establishment and look at how that establishment acted in realms of taxes, wealth, boasting in values, and what you discover is a deep disturbing phenomena of masses of people today identical in giving lip service to Christ but displaying characteristics of those who shouted for Christ’s death.

  • Greg Williams

    Outstanding piece, sir! One addition to the list, perhaps. The church should cease operating as a business, focusing with such intensity on raising money, offering insane salaries to minister staff teams, building larger and larger facilities, etc. and re-focus on the real purpose of the church. The direction my own church went on becoming a professional fund-raiser is what steered me to worshipping at home. Obviously, churches need money and many do a wonderful job of balancing the gospel with the financial realities these days. But many, including mine, have lost their grip on what makes a church a church. That’s my two cents.