Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Signs of a Sick Church

There is a fair probability that nearly every week, amongst every single COG congregation, there is at least one member who stops listening during the sermon to entertain that element of doubt that rises to the surface now and then.  Next come the questions... "Am I really in the right place?  Is this really the one true church?  If not, why do they continue to state this directly or indirectly so often?  How can it be the true church when there has been so much division?  How can it be if the leaders seem more interested in tithes than the members?  How can it be where so many 'truths' have changed over the years?"

Well, for anyone that may wonder whether they should continue attending their specific congregation(or organization), the folks at Bible have identified three signs that identify sick churches (which should be avoided).  The following comes directly from their website (posting titled "Signs of a Sick Church"):

1. Separation

The first characteristic of a sick fellowship, church or even religion is that it tries to separate people from one another or even tries to separate themselves from the world. One way a separation of people takes place is when a church disfellowships a member or members (throws them out and tells them never to return). Those remaining in the group are then strictly warned to STAY AWAY from the disfellowshipped or else THEY TOO will be thrown out!

2. Taking more than giving

The second characteristic of a sick church is that it TAKES more than it GIVES. I have witnessed people who were so pressured by religious leadership to give, give, GIVE that they gave to the point of poverty. Members may be harangued to 'sacrifice' for a denomination all the while the leadership leads a life of relative luxury. There have also been cases where brethren were encouraged to donate such a significant amount of their time in order to "serve" the church that it jeopardized their marriage, family, finances and even their health.

The purpose of a true God-focused church is to ENLARGE and ENRICH the lives of those they are blessed to serve. Jesus made it crystal clear that those who are TRUE leaders in God's eyes are those who serve the needs of others (Luke 22:24-27). One of the purposes of Jesus coming to the earth was to show humans not only how to live, but to do so more abundantly (John 10:10). One must be very wary of sick churches or groups who take far more than they give.

The Fear factor

The third and final characteristic of a sick church is that it encourages fear more than courage and even love. When was the last time your pastor or minister encourage you to do great things for others? A true godly group appeals to your love so that you are motivated to feed those in need, clothe those who are in want, visit and take care of the sick and do good to your neighbor (Luke 10:29-37; Mark 12:28-31).

Beware of any church, fellowship or even religion that appeals to fear. The only 'good" fear is that of God.

The three cures for a sick religion:

1.    Do not let a religious leader or church separate you from those you love, such as spouses, friends, family, or whomever.
2.    Do not let a group make you worse off than when you arrived! If you find that they are taking from you far more than they are giving back then it might be time to leave.
3.    Love is the cure for fear (1John 4:18). Do not let fear discourage you from fulfilling your responsibilities as a believer in Jesus Christ. A church or group is SICK if it feeds you more fear than the love of God.

 Guest column by Alan


Connie Schmidt said...

I believe that another sign of a sick church is one where there is to much "permission requesting".

Meaning, that you can't even "pass gas" without asking permission of the "church authority" about anything that exists outside of the church walls.

Anonymous said...


I have read so many stories (and I am sure they are valid from witnesses) about many split groups. And the Armstrong thing?? I probably should not be saying this but sometimes I wish I were hypnotized to forget all of the ______(you can fill in the blank and you can use nouns or even action verbs if you wish) from scaring me to death with things that did not happen and just plain fear. That's...the plain truth how I feel.

Having said that and you do need to (however possible and I know it is a challenge)move ahead and get to "liv'n". I have not found much if not any of the above in COGWA...a relationship with a church...not God in my view...that is being...pondered. Most including pastors and elders have always been caring. To's the people that make up the church. I do feel so sorry for those that have been on the receiving end of Armstrong influenced or negative influenced groups.

Take care

The Wanderer

Anonymous said...

Connie, there should not be any permission requesting at all. 'Adults act by right, not by permission,' a famous saying . A right means a responsibility is 100% under ones control, zero % under another's control. A dictionary definition of ownership is control. This agrees with the Bible 'can't I do what I want with my own money' in the parable of the workers in the field. Members acting by permission means that ministers own members lives. They do not. Restating this, the talents that Christ gives to every person in the parable of the talents, does not belong to lustful, greedy, thieving ministers. Exercising these talents is life itself, and stealing these talents is cold blooded murder. People cannot even qualify for eternal life if robbed of these talents. I recommend people read books on assertiveness, since rights and assertiveness are taboo in the churches. Even the comment of too much permission searching shows the typical church lack of understanding.

Cheers TradingGuy

Ralph said...

from the topic Header:-

"A church or group is SICK if it feeds you more fear than the love of God."

That would have to describe most, if not all of the COG splinters today. But then again most, if not all of the splinters also teach "the love of God". viz. 1John 5:3

on Skype @ ralph.ford35

Free from that cult said...

Those signs fit the living church of god perfectly. The ministry is in charge and not GOD.
The ministry in lcg hold the key to salvation, Obey, pay and stay is the way to salvation. Sad but true.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Absolute indicators of a sick church are the narcissistic leaders, insanity with distorted perceptions, extremes, selfishness, particularly of the leadership and absolutely crazy belief systems.

Armstrongist churches also have the background of being totally dysfunctional by maintaining a belief in British Israelism which has produced a prophetic record of near absolute zero over a period of 80 years or so. It wouldn't be so bad if they could even get to like, say, 10% or 25%, but no, it's just zero or thereabouts.

Excessive demands for money and high impact on the resources and lives of members is also a pretty good indicator, as are the lies and broken promises. Excuses along with silence and cover ups of serious problems is indication of sickness.

If the church is filled with alcoholic boozers from the top down, it is time to leave the environment. Anyone who stays is at risk.

Ministers who commit adultery, incest or are pedophiles, along with felony convictions should at least raise some flags.

And if people just sit around and tolerate any of these, it is a sure indication that the church is not just sick, but it is crazy and dysfunctional as well.

Ralph said...

on May 22, 2016 at 8:51 PM
Black Ops Mikey wrotye:-

"....maintaining a belief in British Israelism which has produced a prophetic record of near absolute zero over a period of 80 years or so...."

How so? What prophetic recordings do you suggest have not come to pass?


Ralph said...

on May 22, 2016 at 11:36 PM
I responded to Black Ops Mikey:-

"How so? What prophetic recordings do you suggest have not come to pass?"

I have since found that, apart from myself and innumerable others in the "Christian Realm", there appears to be some Judaic elders that also reject the theory that UNSTABLE DNA refutes the "British/Israel concept."

ps. Thought for the day: "Be kind to all those you meet. You just don't know as to whose authority you may be subject in the world to come."

Anonymous said...

One of the last times I encountered a COG 'minister' (at a reunion event), I told him he might want to hold his nose because I had just cut a big fart.
It was nice knowing my bowels had done 'the right thing' in that particular situation!
(It was actually a function of getting my meds right) but was priceless seeing the look on his face when I gave him the 'fart news'.
-Sir Fartsalot

Anonymous said...

Ralph, are you a proponent of British Israelism?
If so, can you link to places you like that are pro British Israelism?
My friend has looked some for those, but hasn't found much, and frankly, I think his searching skills are limited.

Ralph said...

on May 23, 2016 at 11:17 AM
Anonymous wrote:-

"Ralph, are you a proponent of British Israelism?
If so, can you link to places you like that are pro British Israelism?"

Yes to both.
and look for the e-book "The Lost Ten Tribes Of Israel...Found".

and most recently

The acceptance or rejection of the British/Israel concept is entirely a personal matter. Obviously I accept it. There are many who suggest that DNA denies the concept however, it has been proved that DNA is UNSTABLE. How can any unstable element be used to prove or disprove anything?

on Skype @ ralph.ford35

Ralph said...

on May 23, 2016 at 11:17 AM
Anonymous wrote:-

"If so, can you link to places you like that are pro British Israelism?"

In addition to my response, which hasn't been published yet, I neglected to post one other link. 'It is this one', If your friend has a convincing story he/she may be able to persuade the author of the book to provide a free copy - as long as they don't mention my name.