Zeal For God’s House

And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple … His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume me.” – John 2:15-17

Zeal for God’s house has led many a well-meaning Christian to avoid and even expel persons from fellowship in the interest of keeping their congregation clean.

Under the impression that expulsion benefits the person they view as a wrongdoer, Jehovah’s Witnesses practice disfellowshipping and shun those who don’t align with their current teachings.

“We do well to remember that disfellowshipping is Jehovah’s arrangement and that it benefits the congregation and may benefit the wrongdoer. If an unrepentant wrongdoer were permitted to remain in the congregation, he could be a corrupting influence. (Galatians 5:9) In addition, he may not recognize the seriousness of his sin, and he may have little incentive to adjust his thinking and actions so that he can regain Jehovah’s favor.” – Watchtower Feb 2022 p.6

After such a “loving arrangement” extended to them, it’s understandable why so many disfellowshipped former Jehovah’s Witnesses are hesitant to commit to any church. And yet, many do find a church to call home. And many also get fed up and leave. 

Whether or not to attend a local church is a topic that comes up frequently in online discussion groups. I’m Facebook friends with a pastor from New York who often posts about the importance of being part of a local fellowship regardless of doctrinal differences. Comments from his friends range from not feeling welcomed in their local church to being asked to leave as a reason for staying home on Sunday mornings. Even so, this pastor still encourages us to push past that discomfort and find a church. It’s that important!

September 18, 2022 marked National Back to Church Sunday and as usual this particular pastor invited his Facebook followers to visit their local churches. A week later, he suggested September 25th as “Visit Another Church Sunday” to encourage his own congregation to visit a different church to appreciate the diversity of worship and preaching in the body of Christ.

This pastor, whom I’ve always viewed as polite, prayerful, and prepared to defend his beliefs, took that Sunday off from preaching and visited a different church with his wife and 5 year old step-son. They were not welcome. Apparently, the pastor there recognized my friend from his YouTube videos, and as he was listening to the sermon come to a close, a tap on the shoulder was followed by an escort from their assembly. 

Can you imagine? My first reply to him was
“and ya wonder why so many of us don’t attend church.” 

As I followed the comments in his thread, the above mentioned church gave their own explanation for his expulsion.

We are a confessional church that holds firmly to what we see Scripture teaching. As I explained, if this was a case of someone believing false teaching, they would be welcome and we would try to show them truth from Scripture. However,  this was a rare case of someone who is a false teacher as defined by Scripture (specifically 1 Tim.18-20; 2 Tim. 2:15-18) who had come into our church. 

The Scriptures make it abundantly clear about how we are to view and handle false teachers (Matt. 7:15; Acts 20:28-30; Titus 1:9-11; 2 Peter 2:1-22; Jude 1:1-22…to name just a few) 

However,  as those who seek to faithfully abide by the Scriptures, we are under obligation to the Lord to protect the flock from wolves in sheep’s clothing. 

So by merely visiting this church, he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing? This pastor went on to call my friend a false teacher several times in his explanation. Then assured the readers of this:

If he was questioning his doctrine and wanting genuine discussion I told him we could meet and discuss,  but we couldn’t allow him to pretend to be a fellow believer with the doctrines he actively teaches. 

Our prayer is that he will repent and come to a true understanding of Christ and His Word.

There now, you see, all it takes is to repent and adhere to their brand of truth. Can we say trigger? Needless to say, I exercised my spiritual gift of sarcasm to let that church know my heartfelt thanks. 

Thank you so much for clarifying this. It brings back memories when I began to stray off in my own course and read the Bible in a fresh way while in a religion that held tight to it’s standards. My speech and the way I handled Scriptures had become noticeable to my elders enough to call me into a hearing. They said I’d begun to interpret the Bible for myself and used much of your reasoning here to discipline me. Ultimately I was considered an apostate for believing in Jesus Christ. As you may know, Jehovah’s Witnesses consider themselves to be the mouthpiece of God Himself and by my shameless conduct of saying we are saved by grace, well they were perfectly right in kicking me out, labeling me as bad association, and lest I infect the rest of the flock with my aberrant belief in grace, they disfellowshipped me from their membership. Sure, I went through some depression, even thought about killing myself, it was lonely. But along the way, I continued to pray to this God everyone was telling me I either shouldn’t believe in or because I wasn’t in favor with the right organization was not even allowed to pray to. I read my Bible and took notes. My faith in Christ was confirmed and without my planning it, I landed in ministry to others coming out of cults and toxic religious environments. I’ve seen many give their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord. But ya know what? I’m so done with organized religion because of attitudes and behaviors like yours. I’ve been part of several churches and I’m not saying all is bad. I’ve met some wonderful people and heard some powerful sermons. But I have to say the number one reason I began to avoid churches is to protect my relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the one who comforted, taught, healed, accepted, and delivered me. I run to His arms because when the church wounds me where else can I go? I BLESS churches like yours by staying home. I already know I’m not welcome, considered as a heretic, unless…. unless… I can just sit quietly and swallow whatever they have predetermined is “the truth.” Been there, done that. Keep your cult.

As you can see, I was ANGRY at what happened to my friend and his family and it brought up some bad personal memories. When it comes to core doctrine, there is no doubt that my pastor friend is a Christian. He simply has a different end time view than the pastor of this church he visited and for that he’s not considered worthy of their fellowship unless he “repents and comes to a true understanding of Christ and His Word?” Ugh!!! This is too familiar. Since when does a person’s end time view determine whether they belong to Christ? 

But while walking the dog the next day, the Lord calmed my fire by bringing back to mind a lesson He’d taught me before which I put into an article titled When the Church Wounds You and it is this:

Peter was a very PASSIONATE follower of Christ. His desire was to defend his Lord. Same with this church elder. I’ve no doubt he was passionate for the things of God also and seeing my friend stirred up his personal agenda to keep the house of God clean. And so, he reacted and wounded my friend in the process.


Peter wounded the slave of the high priest in his passion too (John 18:10).


But you know what’s so beautiful about this story? Jesus HEALED the slave’s ear. He continues to heal whom the church hurts today too.


So we each need to be careful of judging others even as we passionately desire to defend God’s holiness. He can take care of Himself and doesn’t need us cutting anyone’s ear off or wounding someone with our comments. And since we’re human and bound to screw up, let’s be quick to forgive ourselves and others when it does happen.


I think about the slave of the high priest and his ear. He knew a follower of Christ wounded him. But he also couldn’t deny that Jesus healed him. I don’t know what became of him but I do know in that moment, he was given a choice. He could focus on his wound and remind everyone around him how that wacko, over zealous Christian named Peter hurt him or he could show his friends his restored ear and relate his testimony of miraculous healing from Jesus.

In addition to THAT lesson God laid on me, He reminded me of the dialog between Peter and the resurrected Christ at breakfast in John 21. Isn’t it amazing that impetuous Peter was asked to feed His sheep? The Lord knew full well who He was dealing with and yet still chose Peter as a prominent apostle. Even so, at John 21:18 Jesus addressed Peter’s IMMATURITY. I don’t think Jesus was merely addressing Peter’s age. He knew this man He’d chosen was prone to foolish mistakes in his young Christian walk. And can’t we relate? Most new believers are overzealous talking about Jesus in inappropriate settings or demanding holiness at the cost of wounding others. Like Peter, we tend to think we have to defend God as if He couldn’t call on myriads of angels Himself. In our zeal for God’s house, we all have a bit of Peter in us don’t we? So Jesus points out to Peter that in his immaturity, he leads himself where he wants to go. Yet Jesus is so confident that over time Peter will mature to the SAME LEVEL as Christ Himself in stretching out his hands in death. Peter will learn not to lead the battle but give it over to God. 

To sum up, in our Christian immaturity we fight.
In our Christian maturity we lay down. 

My friend was humiliated by this pastor who kicked him out of the church. A great potential to strike back like Peter is there. Two zealous men battling to defend God’s house. It’s rather ridiculous to think about. So as I prayed for the situation and the wounds suffered, the Lord led me to ask that those wounds serve to MATURE my friend rather than cause him to be defeated or retaliate as if vengeance belonged to him. As for the pastor who kicked him out, Jesus had already exposed his immaturity and I pray he will be directed to see how each individual part of the body builds one another up in love for the growth of the church. This is zeal for God’s house that ought to consume us.

but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. – Ephesians 4:15-16 

Keep yourself in God’s love,

For more information see:

When the Church Wounds you

Guidelines to consider in finding a church

Church Issues: How Does the Past Affect the Present?

Honoring Those Who Shepherd


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Author: Julie

As a convert to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Julie believed she had found “the Truth,” but when she was “disfellowshipped” for “apostasy” when she questioned the organization's policies and refused to trust the organization over Jesus as her ONLY mediator, Julie left to find true freedom serving the REAL Jehovah God in joy and truth! Call Julie at 719-355-7164 ext 113