When I Had No Church-Part Two: Ignoring the "Church-Hopper" Label

Stephen Sanders
Stephen Sanders
2012 11 Dec

I have learned to take the warnings of the Bible seriously. Failing to do so is a key reason why so many people end up in bad church situations. For those of us who didn’t get the memo, it’s not too late! There are very good churches out there with a very clear and biblical vision.

The Bible warns us in multiple passages that there is a difference between biblical teachers and compromised ones. In Matthew 7:15-20 says,

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Colossians 2:8 says,

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

2 Peter 2:1-3 says,

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.

Now that we’ve clarified from scripture that there are supposed to be teachers in our midst that hold a false doctrine, let’s touch on the term, “church-hopper.”  I don’t know what pastor originally came up with this evil word, but if you are going to survive your bad church situation, you need to treat it as if it never existed. When church leaders begin tossing this word around, it’s basically a way to guilt people into not leaving their church. It is an unedifying and cruel thing to call someone not only because it’s selfish, but also because you don’t know the details of their situation.

There were many times in our transition where my wife and I felt like we were disobedient Christians because we hadn’t yet found the church for us. I can’t help but imagine that this is a point where many people give up on church altogether. Leaving an unhealthy church requires a lot of patience. It requires a great degree of un-learning false doctrines.

A recent google search revealed to me that there are approximately 38,000 denominations of the Christian faith. That is a lot of perspectives! If an unhealthy church is all you’ve ever known, then discovering a healthy church is going to require doing a little “church-hopping.” But that’s okay! Keep on searching! God has a body of believers that is just right for you.

I can attest to this because after searching for over two years, my wife and I have finally found a church that fits. It took us sampling a few different denominations, but we feel right at home at our current church. And if God did it for us, he can do it for you as well.

Did you miss Part One of this series? Find it here.