Question: What should an earnest Christian do in a day when the churches are so full of worldliness and error as they are today? Should he join the church?
Yes. I fully recognize the worldliness that is in many churches today and the error that is taught from many pulpits. But after all is said, the church is the best organization there is in the world. What would the world be today if it were not for the churches that are in it? The churches, even with all their present imperfections, are the institutions that are saving society from utter corruption.
Any Christian can accomplish more for the salvation of souls and the upbuilding of Christian character and the good of the community by uniting with some church than he can by trying to live a Christian life all by himself. There may be times when a person has to voice his protest against sins of a glaring nature in some individual church, and, if his protest will not be heard, it may be necessary for him to withdraw as a testimony against that church. But these occasions are comparatively rare.
Great corruption - unspeakable immorality, in fact - had crept into the church in Corinth, and yet Paul did not hint for a moment to any of the members of that church that they should withdraw from it. He did write to them that they should judge the person who had committed sexual immorality with his own father's wife, and to put him out of the church, but he never suggested that they should withdraw from the church. (see 1 Corinthians 5:1-13). Even Jesus did not withdraw from the synagogues of His day until He was put out of them. (Luke 4:15-30). Synagogue worship had become full of formality and error, and yet it was the custom of our Lord to attend the synagogue on the Sabbath day (v. 16). The apostle Paul followed His example in this matter. (Acts 17:2). There are many earnest Christian men and women today who have lost all power and influence for God and good in the community by abandoning their fellowship with other believers who were not as well instructed as they, and by giving themselves up to harsh and condemning criticism.
Some Christians justify their actions by saying that the Book of Revelation tells us to "come out of Babylon." (Revelation 18:1-4). Th word "Babylon" is used in this context to symbolize the spirit of immorality and idolatry that will culminate in the antichrist. While it is true that the Bible says to "come out of Babylon," Babylon, in this ultimate sense, has not yet been formed. Everything in the Book of Revelation after the first verse of the fourth chapter describes the time after the Rapture of the church, not the present time. To apply this command to "come out of Babylon" to the present time and the present state of the churches is to handle the Word of God deceitfully and not rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
~R. A. Torry~