Chrissy Stropp, over at Religious Dispatches, wrote a great article about how Evangelicals are responding to the “problem” of Exvangelicals.
Stroop points out that Evangelicals tend to dismiss people who leave the church or the faith with old canards like, “They left so they could have unbiblical sex.” Having been on various ministries’ staffs since I was seventeen, I have heard plenty of accusations against those who dare leave the Evangelical churches.
“They were never really Christians, to begin with.”
“They were country club Christians who didn’t want to make real commitments.”
“They were like the seeds that fell on rocky soil.”
“They chose a sinful lifestyle over Jesus.”
“They are just church shoppers looking for entertainment.”
All the excuses I have heard focus on blaming the person who left. Don’t get me wrong, in our consumer culture, people leave churches for some pretty petty reasons. However, when a person leaves a church, and especially leaves the faith, shouldn’t the leadership know why?
If the “shepherds” of the church don’t know why someone chose to abandon ship, that’s a problem. Somewhere amongst the pastors, elders, deacons, ministry leaders, group leaders, and attendees, someone must know the story.
Stroop argues that Evangelicals need to engaged Exvangelicals as people and not problems. She further contends that the only way they can do that is to step outside the Fundagelical bubble of patriarchy and decenter themselves from their supposed “Biblical Worldview.” You know that “Biblical Worldview” John Piper wants to brainwash kids with so they don’t think.
That’s one of the biggest problems Evangelicals are having. People have access to the marketplace of ideas, and they are receiving information outside of the Fundagelical bubble. In a recently published journal article by John H Evans in Sociology of Religion, Evans points out that it isn’t the evil Fundagelical boogeyman SCIENCE leading the kids astray; it is any discipline that requires students to engage in inquiry.
Evangelicals who present as having the answers are losing people to questions. Evens says that “learning to inquire secularizes.” Evangelicals, through isolation, and intimidation have kept people toeing the line and never questioning the predigested answers they are taught. Now, they are being trained to think and ask questions, the Fundamentalist/Evangelical system of thought is revealed to be lacking. The straw man arguments used to create Evangelical apologetics are revealed as flimsy reasoning under the microscope of inquiry.
Stroop lets Evangelicals know that with a simple google search, you can hear the authentic voices of people who left the church and the faith. Evangelicals don’t want to listen to those stories of spiritual abuse, hypocrisy, and lack of credibility. They prefer to control the narrative and label Exvies as weaklings who choose to sin.
Thanks for reading! Please take a moment to like and share this post. Don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already. You can watch my vlog at Rev’s Reels on YouTube. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Join me and a bunch of other former Fundagelicals at Open Door Ministries OC at the Westminster Mall. Yep, I left Fundamentalism. I took the fun and left them with the mental.
I left the evangelical church I was attending because no-one cared. Simple as. Sure – they cared for the ‘unchurched’ – but for their own flock? Not if you weren’t one of the select few. I wasn’t able to reach out due to my own depression but no-one reached out to me either. Learning to love myself and find a more nurturing community.
Thanks for commenting. The larger the church, the more likely you are to get lost in it. Churches are notorious for not knowing how to deal with people struggling with depression. Take car of yourself and consider a microchurch
Micro-church? Another one to look up (although I get the concept) and explore – thanks!