There are many people who seem to have grudges against the churches out there. Some of them go beyond condemning a single church and translate their issues to all churches. It is this group Im asking about. For those who condemn all churches based on things they were offended by, what is the appropriate response? What should those who are offended do?
I need to go back years ago for my story. Years ago, I worked for a large corporation and knew several Christians who also worked there. (By the way, I was a member of a Charismatic church). In my conversations with two ladies, they mentioned having questions and needing to go to their Pastor for answers. Since these questions were more theological, and questions on meaning of scripture, I said that scripture says 'My sheep know my voice', so they should read the scripture, and then pray to God to help them understand. With the indwelling Holy Spirit, and sheep knowing Gods voice, which to me means, we can 'hear' from God since we know His voice, I believe God desires us to look to Him to lead us, and teach us.
Well, these young ladies went home and read scripture, prayed for understanding, and came back convinced that God will answer and that they can hear from God. Unknown to me, these ladies pastor claimed to be the annointed leader, who heard from God for those He pastored. He heard about what I told them, and came after me. He spread to other pastors all kinds of stories about me. I was working in a small group dedicated to sharing the gospel with the Jewish people, and the pastor went to one person who was part of the group and part of his church, to get me kicked out.
This pastor taught and worked to spread the shepherding movement to the other pastors. When it hit my church, I listened and thought there was something wrong with the theology of the shepherding movement, but as I watched everyone falling in line, I was struggling to think, how could all of these people be wrong, and I'm the only one who sees this as bad. My own pastor became friends with the pastor of the ladies, and started to pressure me to 'toe the line' because if I didn't it was clear I was rebellious, had a Jezebel spirit, was going against God's annointed servants (touch not Gods annointed), failing to submit to the Godly leaders, etc etc etc. Shepherding spread quickly to every Pentacostal and Charismatic church in my area.
At that time, I started to be involved on the internet, and came across a Charismatic forum which happened to have at least 3 pastors. In the process of conversations, I mentioned the shepherding movement in my area, and just about everyone on that forum were shocked. I guess the originators of the shepherding movement had been challenged, many had shown severe controlling error in the movement, a lot of abuses, and even the originators had repented and renounced shepherding. Those on the forum thought it was gone. Well, I had never heard anyone say that the shepherding movement was really bad. I thought it was, but I was talking to the first people who thought the same as I did and realized that there were a whole lot of people out there who had come against that teaching.
Now, one of the pastors told me something which is absolutely true, but I never realized it before. Someone might do something offensive, but being offended is our choice. We do not have to be victoms. We do not have to be offended. We can choose not to be offended.
So, is it possible for a whole bunch of churches to be wrong? Yes. Is it possible to not be aware of what other churches do or believe? yes. I thought I was alone in my belief that something was seriously wrong with the shepherding movement. I thought all churches practiced this.
Guess what? In my area, the churches which were shepherding no longer say they are part of the shepherding movement. They are now a part of the 'New Apostolic Reformation' movement. And guess what? Their teaching has not changed. Some of the pastors now claim to be bishops, and a couple claim to be apostles. Of course, everyone is to have a bishop or apostle and submit to them, the same way as the shepherding movement. But, to gain unity, they have now joined in a group with non-Charistmatic pastors. And this group has agreed that they have to have a united front against 'church hoppers' and trouble makers, like me. (Yes, that first pastor who got angry at me way back when, is one of the leaders of the pastor group, and one who claims to be an apostle, and still dislikes me intensely.) So, I am banned from almost every church in my area. There are two or three exceptions which have not joined their group. One church is an emergent church, one is IFB, and the third is seeker friendly.