10 Wrong Reasons to be in the Church
Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23
Estimated reading time: 4 min.
Smartphone Users, Try our mobile friendly version!
Years ago, Mr. Armstrong would thunderously ask, “Why are we here?”
Mr. Wakefield recalled that Mr. Armstrong asked brethren at Holy Days, “Why are we here?”
It is a powerful question that can be extended beyond why we keep God’s Holy Days. It can apply right down to the fundamental question, “Why am I in the Church at all?” And that, as Mr. Wakefield explained, is worth examining.
Reasons, Reasons, and More Reasons
If we look closely at our motives for any action, we find a lot of them, ranging in importance and relevance. This is true even with our reasons for being in the Church. Mr. Wakefield explained that we can have subjective reasons and objective reasons. Reasons that are strong and ones that are weak. We have many good reasons, and if we’re honest with ourselves, we may even have bad reasons. These also have different levels of importance to us. Some are primary reasons and are fundamental to why we are in the Church, and others are additional, almost bonus reasons.
There is no use denying the reasons that are truly most important to us because God knows our every thought and intent (Genesis 6:5), and there is danger in having weak or bad reasons for being in the Church; after all, many people leave the Church because they lose their primary reason for being there. Our main motive for being in the Church should be unshakeable.
Some OK Reasons
Mr. Wakefield explained that there are some reasons that are good, but only as supporting motives. They cannot be the main reason we are in the Church. He proceeded to give 10 “OK” reasons and explain their weaknesses.
- Because we grew up in the Church. If we are in the Church only because it is habitual, we may fall away when our life changes due to going to University, starting a career, or getting married.
- To avoid the Tribulation. This is weak because we can be convinced that the Tribulation is far-off and not a present issue.
- To be a Philadelphian. While this is a good consideration, it is a bad central reason as it becomes a matter of pride, which leaves people vulnerable to deception.
- To avoid the Lake of Fire. This fear can and has been twisted to get people to accept wrong doctrine out of fear of being in the Lake of Fire.
- To get salvation. Keeping God’s laws only to get salvation leads to a legalistic view and a grudging attitude that is looking for excuses to stop.
- For social reasons. God’s Church has and should have a good social environment full of encouragement and compassion, but we should not attend only to have our emotional needs met because our calling includes persecution and hatred!
- For intellectual stimulation. This often leads to an unhealthy desire for “new truth” and itching ears. As Mr. Wakefield eloquently stated, “We grow deeper, not different.” The truth does not change; it merely sinks deeper in.
- Because of a particular minister. This is a good reason, but not suited for a central reason. What if we had to live somewhere with no minister at all? We must be able to manage.
- Because of Church culture. Church culture—routine, services, events, and organization—are good but are not the most critical aspects of true Christianity.
- For stability. The Church does provide good stability in daily life, but one day, true Christians will be attacked and hated (Luke 21:17); will we leave then?
Mr. Wakefield then explained some primary reasons we should be in the Church that are unshakeable and stable. We are obedient to God. We follow God from our heart. We don’t have to be convinced or bullied into it. God’s Church has the truth. We recognize a church as God’s because it teaches the whole counsel of God. Sometimes, what a church does not say is important. The truth has been questioned and battled against for years, but we should be in the Church because it possesses the unalterable and objective truth. God’s Church does the Work. The work goes right up until the end of the age. Mr. Wakefield pointed out that “the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth in the body” (Ephesians 4:15-16). We are in the Church because it is doing the Work of God.
Mr. Wakefield concluded by saying that God may allow us to be challenged, testing our reasons and pushing us to build better and right ones. We must ask ourselves, “Why would I stay here?” We must stay in God’s Church even though we will face tribulation, offenses, disagreements, and many other challenges. We must have stable reasons that are the foundation of why we are here.
Mr. Peter Nathan also gave a forum, asking not “why are we here?” but rather “what’s your world view?” He also discusses the importance of self-exanimation and understanding our inner-motives. Read about this forum here: What’s Your Worldview?
Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content, videos, and helping with a variety of other projects.