Have you been hurt by a church? If so, you're not alone. As a pastor of a church, I've heard stories from people who have found church confusing, contrarian, or even damaging. Not every church hurts people, but most churches have hurt someone at some point. Some people are hurt through their own mistakes, others because of sin committed against them, and still others because of failed leadership. This reality can leave them reluctant to re-engage, afraid of being hurt again, wanting to protect themselves, and questioning the place of church in their lives. The good news for the hurting is that God has spoken to your pain in the Bible.
Most of the writing in the New Testament about how to live in a church exists because the church has never been perfect. Most, if not all, of the letters were written to solve problems in the church:
- Galatians to solve legalism (Galatians 1:6–7, 3:1–3, 4:9, 5:1).
- Colossians to solve heresy (Colossians 2:4, 8).
- 2 Timothy to solve tension in succession (2 Timothy 4:9–16).
- Philippians to solve conflict and selfish ambition (Philippians 2:3–22).
- 1 and 2 Corinthians to solve a whole host of problems centered around the issues of human pride in gifting and speaking that led to loveless and arrogant religious activity.