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Featured I'm having a bout of cognitive dissonance

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by richie111joy, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. richie111joy

    richie111joy Newbie

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    I don't know what to believe anymore. I grew up in a particular denomination all my life and never questioned any of their teachings. This is probably the largest pentecostal denomination in India. After reading scripture with an open mind in the past few years I have seen many unbiblical rules and regulations in the church. To give you an idea here are some.

    1. Taking medicine will defile your body. I didn't for most of my life and there were many instances where I was healed miraculously after the church leaders/believers prayed.
    2. Ban on getting married to a person from another denomination. If you do, you'll be excommunicated for 6 months and will not be let in unless you ask forgiveness before the congregation.
    3. Ban on wearing jewelry
    4. Ban on wine/alcohol
    5. Ban on attending other churches
    6. Television is banned
    7. Church leaders must be unmarried and this is mandatory. If a married couple steps to do full time ministry, they'll be kept apart in 2 different churches.
    8. Ban on publishing church materials like sermons online.
    9. Ban on sharing photographs of church leaders online/whatsapp
    10. They have a doctrine called "doctrine of Zion" where they claim 1,44,000 church leaders like themselves who have given up worldly possessions and live as celibates will inherit a place in eternity called "Zion" which is closest to God and the rest of the believers will inherit a place called "New Jerusalem".
    11. We look down on other Christians as not having the "complete truth" and think we are the best church there is.
    12. I was conditioned into thinking any believer who wears jewelry was a "worldly christian".


    But the problem is most of these things aren't in writing. All of their sermons are about how to live a holy life and how to be like Jesus. All of their preaching is always centered on being like Jesus. If you read their publications, you will not see what's said between the lines unless you're a member. They never explicitly say they are the best church but say any church with leaders who are consecrated (celibacy, giving up earthly possessions, leaving earthly relations etc) will be the best church.

    I can't argue with them because they will quote 1 Cor 7 where Paul says those who are married will be worried about pleasing their wives and so the best church is the one where ministers are unmarried and can give full attention to the believers. They will also quote Jesus says some have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of God. They will ask me to show any other ministry with such a consecration.

    I have never had a bad experience with them. Whenever I was sick they've come and prayed for me even in the dead of night. They are the most loving people I know.

    But then I think of some of their teachings and elitism I feel like they're wrong.
     
  2. Ken Behrens

    Ken Behrens Well-Known Member

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    You need your own relationship with God. It's part of growing up. Take these problems to God, and let Him instruct you. Then you will see this (and all) churches int he proper context.
     
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  3. brinny

    brinny everlovin' shiner of light in dark places Supporter

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    This, in particular caught my eye.

    Kept apart?

    And what happens if they have children?
     
  4. THE W

    THE W Active Member

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    there's no biblical basis for any of those restrictions.

    you need to leave that congregation.
     
  5. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Compassion is the basis of the teachings . Supporter

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    Whoa that's like a 1970s version of pentecostalism, I thought they stopped believing like that.
     
  6. dhh712

    dhh712 Mrs. Calvinist Dark Lord

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    Those rules that you mentioned should not be imposed upon any member of that church since they are not biblically based. Their sermons seem to be Christ-centered, but do they teach from the Bible? Even if they do, then they definitely have some kind of dissonance between that and the rules for church members. The rules and their teachings should be the same.

    I think it would be best for you to leave that congregation and find one that is based entirely on the teachings of the Bible.
     
  7. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

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    This isn't biblical. Paul wrote to Timothy to take some wine for the sake of his stomach and his "often infirmities." (1 Ti. 5:23) Clearly, Paul was suggesting a medicinal remedy for Timothy's physical issues. Why would he do this if taking medicine defiles the body?

    This is the tactic of a cult. This sort of control is not biblical. No where in the New Testament will you find any parallel to such a prohibition.

    Again, cult-like control. No where in the New Testament is the wearing of jewelry strictly and explicitly forbidden. Peter urges women to focus on their inner person, their character, rather than on outward appearances, (1Pe. 3:3) but he does not go so far as to say "women must never wear jewelry."

    While I have never imbibed alcohol, what the Bible explicitly and repeatedly forbids concerning alcohol is that no one become drunk by it. I think alcohol consumption is a foolish thing, but I find no grounds in Scripture for calling the drinking of a glass of wine or a bottle of beer a sin. Inasmuch as this is so, your denomination goes too far in banning it entirely.

    Here, again, is more cult-like control being exerted upon members. I was a martial art teacher for many years. I encouraged my students to train with other teachers as widely and as often as they could. In my experience, when a teacher demands his students not train with anyone else it is always ultimately because they are insecure about their abilities as a teacher and skills as a martial artist. By demanding their students not interact with other teachers, inept and ignorant teachers protect themselves from being exposed as such. So, too, with pastors (or denominations) that demand their congregants attend only their church. They are protecting themselves, not their congregants.

    I am sympathetic to such a ban. But, again, it is too controlling.

    This is entirely unbiblical! What does Paul write to Timothy about bishops in the church?

    1 Timothy 3:1-5
    1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.
    2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;
    3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;
    4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence
    5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)...

    Rather than urging celibacy upon church leaders, Paul here explicitly stipulates that a "bishop" (overseer/episcopate/superintendent) of a church (ie. pastor/elder/presbyter) should be the husband of one wife and the father of children so that he might demonstrate in ruling his own family well his ability to do so in the Church!

    More cultish protection of the leaders and teachers of your denomination.

    And yet more cult control.

    For which there is no clear, explicit scriptural support whatever.

    This is not surprising in light of what you've already shared. This is just another strategy for securing the fidelity of the members. It's manipulative and helps protect the leadership from challenges to teaching and criticisms of conduct from entities not under their control.

    Using the word "conditioned" should alert you to the character of the denomination under whose control you presently are. Look, if the Holy Spirit is in control of you, there is no need for control exerted upon you by others. If the Holy Spirit is not in control of your heart, no amount of external control by others can make you who you ought to be.

    I think your feeling about this is correct.

    Selah.
     
  8. smithed64

    smithed64 To Die is gain, To Live is Christ

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    Is this oneness Pentecostalism? or a branch of it?
     
  9. richie111joy

    richie111joy Newbie

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    Yes, the husband is ordained as a pastor in one church and the wife will be ordained in a different church maybe in a different city. They are forbidden to continue as husband and wife. These cases are very rare. 99% of the ministers are those who have chosen to be celibates.

    If the couple has children, they will live in the church (again not in a church that either the father or the mother serves) and the church will undertake their studies/marriage etc.
     
  10. richie111joy

    richie111joy Newbie

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    No, this is a sect that began in India in the 1920s. They believe in the trinity unlike oneness folks. They have zero online presence and so getting hold of what they believe online is impossible. The denomination has around a million members in India. They go by the name of "The Pentecostal Mission". Though in other countries they go by different names. In UK it's called "Universal Pentecosal Church", in the US they're called "New Testament Church".
     
  11. brinny

    brinny everlovin' shiner of light in dark places Supporter

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    Doesn't this break up families?

    It seems the children are rendered for all intents and purposes "orphans"?

    Regarding the husband and wife....is this in essence a "divorce" and/or in essence a "death" of each to one another?
     
  12. richie111joy

    richie111joy Newbie

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    It does but they quote Matthew 19:27-29 and say Jesus expected his disciples to forsake wife and children for "full time ministry".

    "Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life."
     
  13. brinny

    brinny everlovin' shiner of light in dark places Supporter

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    It means that they put God/Jesus first, but they surely did not forsake their families. It is very clearly written that any who do not care for their own are worthy of having a millstone around their neck and cast into the sea.

    In addition, Jesus Himself secured his own mother's future, that she would be cared for by John, who at Jesus death, adopted her as his own mother.

    Do you know where i'm going with all this, brother?
     
  14. richie111joy

    richie111joy Newbie

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    Yes of course that is my understanding as well. I even quote 1 Cor 9:5 which says the apostles had their wives travel with them during their ministries but they dismiss it saying they didn't live as husband and wives but only traveled.

    The problem is I lived my whole life thinking leaving this church is "backsliding" coz that's what I was taught. I feel like I'm going against God if I leave.
     
  15. Goodbook

    Goodbook Reading the Bible

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    Hmm well..sounds like a cult to me.
    Read your bible. Search the scriputres daily and see if the things they say are so.

    Im not sure how to exactly leave a church you grew up in as never grown up in church but am sure that it can be done.

    Pray and ask God to show you where to fellowship so you can worship him in spirit in truth with other believers.

    The other thing is I would be wary of any church thats brandishing the star of david. This is a political symbol also associated with witchcraft (its a hexagram) if you are to support those living in israel believers recognise the menorah...the hexagram has nothing to do with christians.
     
  16. brinny

    brinny everlovin' shiner of light in dark places Supporter

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    God's view on marriage and families is quite different. As a matter of fact, the husband and wife become "one". The Bible speaks of God's delight in children and goes to great lengths to the importance of raising them and nurturing them, and that they are a gift, a blessing from God, and a father's quill should be full of them.

    Proverbs, as well as other places throughout the Bible emphasize the importance of family, and that NOTHING should come between the husband and the wife.

    In the very beginning God created Eve for Adam, because He Himself said that it is not good for Adam to be alone. He Himself BROUGHT Eve to Adam.

    God DELIGHTS in family. It is written all through His Word.
     
  17. Goodbook

    Goodbook Reading the Bible

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    In book of revelation read about the seven churches. Jesus admonished those who said they were jews but werent. He was even saying they were from the synagogue of satan.

    He did give instructions for believers to leave false churches and religions so as not to receive their plagues.
     
  18. richie111joy

    richie111joy Newbie

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    Oh no. I just uploaded a random picture as my avatar. Nothing to do with my beliefs. I never knew that about the star of David. Thanks. Changed it now.


    Yes I'm praying about it. I have begun to attend a non-denominational church the past few weeks after 6 years of wrestling with this issue. I haven't informed my church yet. I'm sure they'll call me a backslider and make an example out of me.
     
  19. smithed64

    smithed64 To Die is gain, To Live is Christ

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    Yeah,
    I've heard of them. The are an branch off of the Congregational Holiness Church out of Griffin, Georgia or the other way around, can't remember. But do know they share evangelist between Congregational and New Testament.
    My Pastor, when I lived there and attended the Holiness Church, used to tell me stories of the Church and there extreme legalism.
    I've spoke to evangelist, who go to the New Testament Church to preach revivals. The evangelist always call ahead of time and ask this one question, "Hair up, Hair down, white shirt, pink shirt?"
    Kid you not.
    You can go to one of their churches and if the evangelist hair is up, they won't allow her in unless she puts it down, if he is wearing a white shirt, they don't usually say anything, but if he is wearing a shirt of any color they will ask him to change it, because of their vanity rule.

    The used to real bad about caffeine My old pastor did his ministerial studies with the New Testament Church. And He is a huge Dr Pepper fan. One day while they were in a bible study class, he had a dr. pepper in his coat pocket and it fell out and rolled across the floor. Well, that was a big no no. So after class they were to meet in the cafeteria, while He was waiting the elders of the church started lecturing him on the sin of caffeine. Now while a few of the elders were doing this, my Pastor noticed they were eating chocolate cake...lol. So, he just politely asked them if they had considered the sin that they were committing?, They didn't like that of course, they didn't understand where He was coming from. My Pastor pointed at the chocolate cake and reminded them that cocoa has caffeine in it, that it was kin to the coffee bean. Let's just say, My Pastor decided to go to another church to finish His ministerial training.

    But I say all this, to tell you, we aren't to be lead by Man, but by God. I understand why the New Testament Church does what they do, they are trying to help their fellow brethren and sisters to keep the faith. In some instances it can be ok, like the unequally yoked rule. It can be hard on a Child of God of one faith to married to someone of another, due to conflicts in their beliefs and maybe even worldview.
    Should they separate married couples. No. Marriage is a God given right and to interfere with it is likened to interfering with God working in their lives.

    Legalism is never good. It's geared to more of what man thinks than what God tells us.
    If these things are a stumbling block to you, then you might want to find another church that still preaches the truth of the Gospel, not a seeker church (these are churches that preach what the people want to hear, to make them feel better...basically called friendly seeker churches)

    You may be called to go out and start a new church. Keeping with the Gospel, dividing the Word rightly and loosening some of the legalism and traditions that have confused you.

    If it's not backed up by scripture, get rid of it. Because that is of men, not God.
     
  20. brinny

    brinny everlovin' shiner of light in dark places Supporter

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    What stood out for me is the huge hypocrisy regarding the Dr. Pepper condemnation with the simultaneous hypocrisy of the chocolate cake, and their reaction to you pointing it out.

    This is a HUGE red flag.

    For many many reasons.

    [​IMG]