Love Christ, Leave the Church?

The big news recently has been the announcement by Anne Rice, the famous author, that she has left Christianity. According to her statement, she remains committed to Christ, but has left Christianity. Here is part of her statement:

For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.

Now, my first response was, “I don’t blame her. Catch me on the right day, and I’ll leave with her.” Anyone—and I mean ANYONE—who has worked in a local church will tell you that sometimes Christians are anything but…

Of course, her announcement was celebrated in the world. “See,” the columnists and bloggers wrote. “No one with any conscience can be a member of the church or a part of Christianity—certainly no one with talent, sophistication, worldly savvy and intelligence like Anne Rice.” Well, of course, the world celebrated. They just wanted another bullet to put in their gun to shoot at the faith.

For the record, it is important to understand that Anne Rice still considers herself to be a believer in Christ, just not a believer in the church.

I would agree with Ms. Rice in this point: the church is not a perfect place. We are made up of imperfect people who bring their issues, brokenness and open wounds into the church every week. If the church was a perfect place, we wouldn’t have let Ms. Rice in—or me or you, for that matter.

Also, she really didn’t say anything new. Prophets and preachers have been condemning the same behavior for generations. Church is what happens when you open the doors and don’t charge admission.

We are all on a journey together. Yes, it’s slow and frustrating, but together we learn and love and in general—though it’s often one step up and two steps back—learn to become more like Christ.

I know her frustration. I know her anger. I can’t tell you the number of times I have prayed Jesus would let me go do something else. But He won’t. I am called to serve the church. I know that. So I stay. I love Jesus. That means you love His body the church. That means you honor His Bride, the church.

As long as the church opens its doors to sinners, we are going to be a messed up place. That means sometimes, people like Ms. Rice, will get disgusted and leave. But Jesus has stayed with the church through worse. I think I’ll stay too.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “Love Christ, Leave the Church?

  1. The world is messed up and crazy. She is probably in the wrong church. She was probably in one of the churches that is in the 2nd chapter of revelation. God bless her heart. I hope and pray that the holy spirit intercedes – brings her back into a church that is faithful, loving and accountable. Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

  2. Thanks for putting this disturbing article in a believer’s perspective. I love the statement that “we open the doors to all and don’t charge admission; so what do you expect?”

    I think I loved the Church before I loved Jesus, because I learned about Him at the Chruch, and have loved both through many years!

    thanks, Mike!

  3. I know that with Jesus all things within his will can be achieved. This subject is very hard for new Christians and young Christians and usually with a lot of hurting Christians.Mike,Jesus has spoken through you to me and many Christians how we find our way to him. I hear you both and what I hear is the only way is simple obedience with a complete surrender to Him. The will of God for his children is not a relationship without the Church. I wrote in your blog last week that without the Church and Fellowship in my life, my wife, and my children we have slowly moved away from his will without realizing what was happening because of our busy life.(this is an example of “If the devil can’t make you bad he will make you busy”so beware of a busy secular world that sucks you in). We go to Church on Sundays but we are not involved in Gods work at Church with Gods people. We are not using the gifts he has given us. We have been arrogant to our Lord to say the least. With that said, my repentance with His forgiveness has allowed me to see how he is doing everything we need to come back to complete surrender and stop being a hypocrite by allowing us with his opened arms saying come back and I will use you,I will teach you and I will never stop loving you. I know Jesus and I know he is hurting for what this woman has been through at the buildings and places of worship but to not be a believer in the Church hurts him more. The Church is not a building or a Country Club you join it is his Body of Saved Christians and it is His Bride the he will be joined with in Eternity. Eternity is forever it is not a bad experience of messed up people that we can be.Some may even perish. It is Jesus allowing his Church to be with him forever through his righteousness not ours. So I pray that Ann will learn what I have learned from my time away from my Church of saved Christians. Even though my relationship with him is secure my walk has not been his will. Lord please forgive me and others that have not been faithful to your Church. You are our Shepherd and you will show your sheep the way because we are The Body of your Church. Amen I wish you would put a spell check on here. Thank you Mike.

  4. Mike…great comments and certainly understand and relate to your explanations of serving in ministry! However, we may have the “reverse”! We have to re-teach and re-train the “good people” who are in the “club” or the “church” that just being “in” and comfy is not all there is! And, we need to go out to intentionally build relationships in our neighborhoods with the hope we may be able to share Christ with them; OR we may demonstrate such a servant heart that they will be prepared and ready when God sends whomever He chooses to share Christ. We are NOT here to just get them in our Church. We need “believers”; not more church people! It would great if they could be one and the same…but sad to say, as scripture says that many who are “good people” who think that is going to get them to Heaven…will not see the Kingdom of God! I am always blessed by your thoughts!! Even if it has been 20 yrs!! Really?? God Bless You All!