“If Everyone Left Unhealthy Churches, Wouldn’t Many Shut Down?”

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Dear Mr. Zukeran,

I recently came across your article Abusive Churches: Leaving Them Behind.” In it, you state that “it is best to leave an abusive or unhealthy church.”

Why is this a necessary step to take? If everyone were to leave churches considered unhealthy, many churches would shut down as a result. Can you clear this up for me? Thank you.

I stated that leaving an abusive church was the best thing to do. The reason is that it is very difficult to recover or worship the Lord when you are in an abusive church that is dominating your life. Being surrounded in such an environment constantly is not healthy and the atmosphere will affect your outlook. It is like being a fish swimming in an unhealthy aquarium. The more you remain in it, often the more unhealthy you get.

It is also very difficult to change an abusive church since it is structured with no accountability on the leader so it is very unlikely to change. So for your personal health, mentally and spiritually, it is best to leave and enter into a healthy environment and church.

You asked, wouldn’t the abusive church shut down if people left? That is correct and that is the best thing that could happen. Abusive churches do a lot of harm to people and to the name of Christ. We do not need abusive churches growing and spreading. We need unhealthy churches to shut down and healthy churches growing and planting healthy churches. That is why I say it is best to leave an abusive church.

Patrick Zukeran

© 2007 Probe Ministries

Dr. Patrick Zukeran

Patrick Zukeran, former Probe staffer, is the founder and Executive Director of Evidence and Answers, a research and teaching ministry specializing in Christian apologetics, the defense of the Christian faith. He is the host of the radio show Evidence and Answers (www.evidenceandanswers.org). Pat is the author of several books including The Apologetics of Jesus co-authored with Norman Geisler; God, Eternity, and Spirituality (ed.); and Unless I See . . . Is There Enough Evidence to Believe? Pat is a popular conference speaker and he also serves as an adjunct faculty for several colleges and institutes worldwide. He earned a B.A. from Point Loma Nazarene University, a Master of Theology (Th.M.) from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Ministry (D.Min.) in Apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary. Pat lives in Honolulu, Hawaii and can be reached at pat@evidenceandanswers.org.

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