“I can’t find a solid church”


I recently received an email that has become a common heart cry for those hungry sheep who are not being fed a solid diet of pure milk and meat of Scripture:

“I am finding it difficult to find a congregation in my area that is not filled with compromise. I currently attend a Vineyard church where the ministries have adopted programs and teachings of Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, and others. I want to leave without rocking the boat, but where do I go? I’ve visited other churches, but find doctrinal issues with them also. I have been saved for years, but only recently have learned to discern, thanks in part to your ministry. Please give me some guidance.”

When I get letters like these, I am so saddened that the visible church has taken a worldly, carnal direction. At the same time, I am encouraged that God is opening the eyes of His children who love Him and seek to learn in truth and spirit from those who rightly handle His Word.

Here is part of my response to this dear person who wrote that letter. It’s advice I’ve given many:

“Leaving is not easy. You could leave without saying anything, but I think you must. It doesn’t have to be a big meeting, but a short letter letting them know of your painful decision and your love for them. Then let them know specifically which things prompted your decision.

It’s not likely leadership will listen, but at least you’ve done your part.  And this is important: God has opened your eyes for His glory, and your new mission field is the dear ones who are still attending your soon-to-be former church. Many of them will reject you, but there will likely be a few who are growing uncomfortable and will hear.”

If you are in the same boat, let me encourage you. Finding a new church that doesn’t compromise isn’t as hard as it might seem, although these are becoming rare. The good news is that they’re still out there. You may need to drive more than 30 minutes to a church that teaches the Word without compromise.

There are some good church-finder tools online, but it helps to first study the Word diligently to clarify what kind of doctrinal distinctives best suit you. For instance, I would stay far away from charismatic churches that do not hold to Sola Scriptura. Almost all of them are leaning NAR now, or are full-blown into it.
Some of the sound church finders helping you search by zip code are found here. Try them all and see if you can find a good fit.
Once you find a church that looks promising, keep in mind that your research is now just beginning. Start by checking out the website of this church, but keep in mind that even a solid statement of faith can (and often is) be copied and pasted – then ignored when it comes to the actual teaching. Listen to the sermons, if they are available. Then browse the site to see if there are other telltale red flags or signs that you should keep looking. (Female “pastors” on staff, books from false teachers being studied in the men’s and women’s ministries, etc.)
Visit a few times and ask questions. (See, Church Shopping? 35 Key Questions to Ask the Church. More resources below.
In the meantime, because this does take time, fill your soul with good podcasts and livestreams of trusted pastors who rightly handle God’s Word.
God bless you in your search.
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12 Responses to “I can’t find a solid church”

  1. Melvin Partido September 7, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

    An example of the “Church of Philadelphia” (Revelation 3:7-13) is one that teaches the whole counsel of God. What is the whole counsel of God? A church that teaches the whole bible from Genesis through Revelation, book by book, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. In Acts 20:27, the Apostle Paul said “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.

    What does Jesus Chris says about reading and teaching the whole bible? In Matthew chapter 4, verse 4 Jesus says, “It is written Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

    You can add “Prophecy update” in these last days.
    Calvary chapel is one church that teaches the “whole counsel of God” as well as prophecy update. A Calvary chapel church that resembles “The Church of Philadelphia.” Locate one in your area.

  2. Tammy September 7, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

    I’ve left the Calvary Chapel I’ve attended for the past 10 years because of their slow slide into compromise. I believe it started with our widowed pastor marrying a woman with a charismatic background. Then a new worship leader was hired with a charismatic background, who sings almost exclusively Jesus Culture/Bethel and Hillsong music. He introduced the practice of repeating the same lyrics over and over, creating a hyper emotional worship state. Then this same pastor introduced a Marriage class taught by Jimmy Evans, a Prophetic Elder from Gateway church. Gateway teaches that all believers can and are possessed by demons and must be “delivered”. Our pastor has brought in other pastors who’ve written new books, to literally teach their books, not the gospel. These pastors travel on book tours, hawking their books.

    There has also been major shifting and shaking in Calvary Chapels across the board as Brian Broderson has become more and more engaged and partnered with NAR and prosperity gospel teachings.

    Calvary Chapels used to teach through the bible word for word, but there is a current of false teaching running now. I would not blindly recommend a Calvary Chapel to anyone anymore.

    We are indeed in the last days and thankfully, many eyes are being opened!

  3. Darrel September 7, 2017 at 7:59 pm #

    “Churches” in America are a joke and an insult to the Lord Jesus. 90%+++ teach false doctrine; ‘another gospel’ as per Gal. 1:6-9; they demand money and lots of it to fund their ever new “programs” that usually originate in hell and pay their resident hireling that claims the title “senior pastor”—aren’t you impressed? They mock the God they say they love and serve with their ‘fall festivals’ which translates to a halloween bash; then there is the obligatory “Christmas celebration” where the “Christ” they worship never makes it past the manger and simply because he was born all mankind is now safe, all are saved in the end—it’s called universalism. Let’s not forget “Easter” (a pagan festival) where these “Christians” finally and only once a year make mention, albeit only in passing, of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus when it is the Resurrection of Christ that is mainstay of real Christian Doctrine. Why would you want to be a part of something like this, something that goes out of it’s way to insult the Trinity on a regular basis, make fun of the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus and mock His total Sovereignty by saying that a man has “free will” and can do as he pleases—just like Cain did—and God had better accept that man on that man’s terms, or else! What a joke, what a mockery, what blaspheme, and all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. NO THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Sheryl September 8, 2017 at 5:32 pm #

      In my area, I’m startled to see local churches advertising on TV. And I don’t assume that air time has been donated to them. That’s GOT to be expensive. I can imagine the pressure and guilt that’s imposed on the people to “give” so that they can “stay on the air advertising” and “grow” their church. They have no confidence at all that Christ will send inside their four walls whomever he pleases, exactly how many he pleases, whenever He pleases. No thank you, I don’t trust I’d hear the gospel preached there. I know they’re depending on man-made marketing techniques to draw in the goats and no telling how they entertain them to keep their interest once they arrive. No wisdom of Christ in their planning, as far as I’m concerned. Pity. But the norm.

  4. Mary September 8, 2017 at 10:02 am #

    Recently I have had a heaviness of heart regarding the Presbyterian church I attend. They have split from the PCA and are not part of the ECO Presbyterian, however they also have women interns preach. I have also been made aware of the famous preachers, Max Lucado, Greg Laurie, Joel Osteen that are part of the Faith movement. I am loosing heart that anyone actually adheres to God’s word these days everyone seems to make compromises. Is there any hope for God’s people?

    • Q September 8, 2017 at 11:41 am #

      Yes there is hope for the church! The “Blessed Hope”.

      I would get out of ECO Presbytery, unfortunately it looks like the are into the Social Gospel.

  5. Mary September 8, 2017 at 10:03 am #

    Correction to my previous message the church I attend IS PART OF THE ECO PRESBYTERY.

  6. Doug D. September 8, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

    It should come as no surprise that Jesus posed the seemingly rhetorical question aloud, “When the Son of Man returns shall he find faith on the earth?” Along those lines, Jesus compared the day of his return to the days of Noah and Lot … how many people were actually saved during those episodes? Not many! Remember his parable of the leaven … it was hid in the flour and eventually spread until the whole thing was leavened. Even though he told us this was how it was going to be, it is indeed hard to believe nonetheless. I guarantee you can do a cursory glance through Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Church” (don’t spend too much of your precious time reading it) and find that nearly every megachurch in this country (and many others as well) fall right in line with the things he lays out in there to attract people to your church. Verbatim! That is one of the classic examples of following the teachings of men.
    If anyone is interested, read the biography of Chinese evangelist John Sung. He was one of the main preachers involved in the Chinese revivals of the 1920s and 30s, in the years immediately before Communism took control. He had his character flaws, as any man does, but his zeal and boldness were such that God used him mightily. He spent time in an American theological school prior to being born again and noted even back then how compromised things were becoming in this country. A few highlights from his life … he read the Bible 40 times in a six month period after being institutionalized by his school. He threw most of his academic achievements into the ocean on his way back to China because he had such a desire to see his countrymen saved. Revival services nearly everywhere he went featured two things commonly missing today in American churches: confession of sins (usually with weeping), and repentance. He spent hours in prayer and Bible reading (oftentimes 11 chapters a day), asking God to show him hidden sins in his life. I don’t recommend many books outside of Scripture, but his biography and even diary would be a worthwhile read.
    I would also recommend keeping up with persecuted brethren in other countries. Believers in those places often laugh at what we in America call church. The one book that they can’t wait to get a hold of, the one they weep over when they get, is not one by Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen or even a Beth Moore study guide. No, it’s the Bible. They recognize, as John Sung did, the power in the Word of God. The Chinese witnessed the power of God through the Holy Spirit … they witnessed the miraculous gifts of the Spirit because they studied at the feet of Jesus and wept over their sins. In America, we have arrogant, pompous pastors and so-called experts who refuse to be questioned about their teachings or what they preach. Many celebrity pastors refuse to be called to task because of the extravagant wealth they fleece the people into sending them. Many refuse to preach the full council … instead choosing to preach topically because they can avoid certain chapters and verses of the Bible. I have seen in my own church a number of times verses used horribly out of context (often in a wretched version of the Bible like The Living Bible) to try and proof text the topic, rather than try to teach what that part of Scripture is really saying. I could go on but many of you already know this. From what God’s Word seems to indicate we shouldn’t expect this to get better as we get closer to Jesus return. Let us spend time on our knees in prayer and diligently reading/studying God’s Word so that we are ready when he returns, instead of being caught without enough oil in the lamps!

    • Manny1962 September 8, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

      Amen Doug, amen! We need less feel-good, social justice compromised theology. Revival happens when the genuine object of the focus is a Holy God and our miserable sinfulness and genuine repentance, unless God Himself moves the hearts, stirs the spirit, the revival will not materialize, I see the Great Apostasy unfurling before our eyes, it’s amazing how fast the bride is being seperated from the shell of churchianity, this was foretold to happen, evangelical churchianity, or how I call it Neo-Laodicea is beating a path straight to the pope, Rick Warren leading the way.

    • G J September 9, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

      If we fear the Lord and accept His Word… we act on it… then…

      Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. Mark 4:19-25

      Obedience leads to revelation and the power to act on it. Hebrews 1:8-9; Proverbs 8:16-18

  7. Elizabeth September 12, 2017 at 6:41 am #

    My husband is a Pastor. We’re family integrated, reformed theology, and my husband exposits the scripture. He preaches that all scripture is breathed out by God and to stand steadfast in The Word. Yet we have one of the lowest attendances in our community BC most people attend the churches that have “fun” children’s programming, lots of activities, a watered-down message that makes them “feel good”. I hope those people looking for a church that stands on the authority of the Word of God, find one. Sadly, they seem rare. Its nice to actually hear of people desiring to find depth.

    • Alice Wright October 25, 2020 at 3:50 pm #

      Hi Elizabeth,
      I just wanted to encourage you. We are a family with children, and I wanted you to know on the parental side, we have the same problem, only reversed. We wanted to find a church that fully follows God; that gives more than it takes; that isn’t about the building, or a hierarchy, but rather where everyone works together to serve God, minimally taking, maximally giving, abstaining from the entertainment of the world, genuine and sincere, full of not just knowledge but practical application of that knowledge, full of real, deep, human relationships. Sadly, when we do go to a church, we generally find spiritual shallowness. There is so much emphasis on the building (gorgeous bricks with pillars and fences, right next to where homeless and poor people are), so much emphasis on singing empty songs with uber expensive equipment next to stained glass, that – it all becomes empty. Sometimes women are even wearing dresses literally as short as their behinds, and this in a fundamentalist church. We try to overlook this, and that, and this and that, but eventually we have to ask, what are we really here for? Oh, our children want a social life. And we live in a place where everyone socializes through church. Great, where does that leave us. I try to explain to my oldest child why it would be hypocrisy to go to church, but I’m not even really sure in my heart whether I am being selfish and self righteous and over judgmental, or just standing on the truth. Do you know how hard it is to stay socially isolated and alone with just your children? To have no community? To feel like you took something possibly good away from your children? To face the choice between being a hypocrite or leaving your children totally alone besides their brothers and sisters? It’s an awful situation. And most parents do flock to these places with outrageous investment in children’s equipment; I mean thousand dollar “game rooms” complete with “video games”. Other places have inflatables, and festivals catered to Halloween and “children’s activities”. One pastor is delivering his service from a stage that still has the “children’s play” on it where children smash pies into their parents’ faces. I am judgmental, and I don’t know how to stop being so. It is horrible and isolating. Trying to participate in a church is hell.