Can You Walk Away From Church Without Walking Away From Jesus?

The Gospel Coalition recently came under fire after publishing an article written by Trevin Wax titled “Prone to Dechurch, Lord I Feel It.” In the article, Wax suggests that the scandals and abuses that have taken place within evangelical institutions aren’t as responsible for the dechurching of America as we might think. Instead, the cultural move away from church attendance is best explained as outright disobedience to Jesus.

While Wax’s claim is backed by recent statistical data that indicates more people are dechurching because they moved to a new city than because of abuse or scandals, his words raised the ire of abuse survivor advocates online. Some accused Wax of gaslighting victims and circling the wagons.

On this episode, we discuss Wax’s article and the arguments it contains. We highlight the ways in which Wax’s words may have been taken out of context, while also offering a nuance critique of the perspective his article puts forth.

We also discuss the relationship an individual Christian should (or must) have with the church. Can you walk away from the church without walking away from Jesus? If not, what even constitutes “the church,” and how can we hold space for people who have been severely wounded by organized religion but who are still clinging to Jesus?

RELATED RESOURCES

READ: 3 Reason To Invite Friends to a Church You Have Mixed Feelings About
READ: Maintaining Hope in the Church in Light of Sexual Abuse Scandals
LISTEN: Sex as an Icon for Salvation?
LISTEN: Ecumenism: How United Should the Global Church Be?
LISTEN: Church as a Business?

REFERENCED IN THIS EPISODE

7 Things Christians Can Learn from Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour” by Blake Glosson
Prone to Dechurch, Lord I Feel It” by Trevin Wax
WATCH: John Piper on Dechurching
The Great Dechurching: Who’s Leaving, Why Are They Going, and What Will It Take to Bring Them Back?” by Jim Davis, Michael Graham, and Ryan Burge

 

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