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Featured Should I change churches?

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by Sam91, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. Sam91

    Sam91 Child of the Living God Supporter

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    I am at a Church where I have many peers and it has a good Sunday school for my children. I have few friends outside Church and no relatives.

    I liked my Church because it was a Bible preaching church. I liked the way that preaching was based on the Bible and not on what others make of it.. eg Calvin.

    I have in recent weeks been aware of Calvinistic teachings being uttered more than once. I've read a book on Calvinism and fail to see how Calvin concluded what he did. I look at the same verses and see it differently. Should I ignore this? I'm a huge fan of Proverbs 3:5-6 and trust more what the Lord teaches than any doctrine of man. I also don't want to have itchy ears and seek out preachers who say what I want them too.

    Please advise and pray for wisdom. There aren't many options of other Churches around.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
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  2. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Offhand, I think you might be well-served by Methodism. But what are your choices, even if they are few? Knowing that might help us provide an answer to your question about changing churches.
     
  3. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    When we moved into a new area that didn't have the kind of church that we would have preferred, my wife sent me on "reconnaissance missions" to various churches to feel them out before bringing our whole family there. If I liked it, I would bring home a recording of the sermon for my wife to weigh in on.

    You should pray and see what options God may offer you. Talk to the other pastors. Be willing to accept "some" doctrinal differences, as long as they are fringe doctrines.
     
  4. Sam91

    Sam91 Child of the Living God Supporter

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    There are many dying church's around. Mine has a large congregation. It is Baptist.

    Previous church was a Pentecostal. I've never spoke in tongues or prayed properly for it. They failed to support me and I was shocked that an elder admitted that the whole week goes by without him opening his Bible. There have also been a few deaths from members misusing drugs etc.

    There are many Church of Scotland churches. My local one does a lot in the community but has a small congregation. I visit this church at Christmas because it is very close. It, however, has a female priest and I don't feel sure about her and the hymns are really high pitch. It doesn't feel like people are worshipping but just singing.

    There is a methodist Church. I think it had the rainbow symbol in it's window.

    There is a big Church (non denominational) that has a healing ministry. I have heard good and bad about that Church. People have ended up in psychiatric wards after attending there. I attended three weeks in a row 3 or 4 years ago. Each time my child cried too much so I had to leave before the sermon. I took that as God not wanting me there.
     
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  5. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Remember, Calvinists believe in the key Reformation doctrines: justification by faith, the authority of Scripture, etc. And churches from Calvinist traditions don't always approach Calvinism the same way. To some, God's election is the key to all of Christianity. To most others, it's one point among many.

    You're never going to find a church that agrees with you completely. So first I'd suggest that you look at whether the Calvinism in your particular church is actually a problem for you.
     
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  6. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Thanks. It looks like none of those would do. But I was also thinking the same as Hedrick that you probably have only a beginning knowledge of Calvin's teachings, so it might be a good idea to study his theology more closely before deciding.
     
  7. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    If you have one, I recommend trying a Vineyard church.
     
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  8. Sam91

    Sam91 Child of the Living God Supporter

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    I liked that I didn't know whether the Pastors were Calvinists. I did not appreciate on Sunday hearing while the sermon was on Luke 11:33-36 needing to hear that not everyone can be a Christian. (Forgotten what it is called 'election of the Saints'?) It was irrelevant. I just can't believe that the offer is not open to all. I know His ways are higher than ours and that we can never understand Him. I get that we are sinful and it is not natural to come to Him. But I genuinely believe that He has given all of us many chances (or at least one) to accept His gift of salvation and to come to Him.

    Something else was said a few weeks ago. It just worries me because this is superfluous doctrine that is not necessary for salvation and is based on what theologians say rather than God's message to us. I could understand if it was related to the verses and the pastor was explaining say the beginning of Ephesians.

    I'm bogged down too because they like to do a book at a time. Which was all well and good when it was Romans. But all year we have been going through Luke and we are only at chapter 11.

    I find the mum's Bible study group on a Wednesday great and we have covered a lot. It is supportive and we have a nice time of prayer too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  9. Hazelelponi

    Hazelelponi Well-Known Member

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    If your attending a reformed Baptist church it's totally my faith. perfect.

    But if you don't understand the theology, you can do a couple of things. First, you can purchase Wayne Grudem's book on Systematic Theology, in order to learn more from the Bible, you can ask the Pastor for a deeper understanding and share your concerns..

    or, you can love the people and attend anyway even though you don't agree with every single point of theology.

    If you find yourself unable to attend then change churches, but reformed churches are good Bible believing churches, and every point of theology taught is biblical.
     
  10. Sam91

    Sam91 Child of the Living God Supporter

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    Yeah, I'd rather avoid it for now and rely on the Lord to grant His wisdom as I prayerfully read His word. Too many of us have different opinions and I worry about man's wisdom and interpretation. I do know that there is much more to understand in learning to be obedient to His word than trying to gain in knowledge for knowledge sake. I noticed I get distracted by the pursuit of knowledge.

    Proverbs 3:5-6
     
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  11. Sam91

    Sam91 Child of the Living God Supporter

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    Yeah, I have been planning to keep attending anyway. However, I keep having the inclination to find a Church more actively serving the community. My Church does support a few missionaries, two plants and local groups. I guess many members volunteer with other organisations, I know I do.

    My pastor avoids me (I think) possibly because I'm a single woman. I couldn't ask Him about theology. I've been there for over 2 years and have only had a handful of one minute conversations. Whereas others get longer conversations. There are a few female Bible scholars I can consult but I doubt I could find out what theology he subscribes to without setting up a meeting and having a third person present. (These female scholars like John Piper and I'm not sure about everything he says either.)

    I am blessed at this Church with many female peers who are gentle women with a love for God. That encouragement is what I could lose and is hard to find.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
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  12. Hazelelponi

    Hazelelponi Well-Known Member

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    it seems to me that you've described a reformed Baptist church.. all reformed churches whether Baptist or Presbyterian or or or, have some shared theology.

    I think if you want to understand it better, the Systematic Theology book by Wayne Grudem is the one to get. It's written in a manner that the layman can understand it even though it's written for seminary students, and it's VERY indepth.

    It's in sections so you can just read certain portions, and not be missing anything for not reading the sections that came before. Very well done book.

    It's helpful. I bought it myself. I'm a former Muslim, and after I was saved I had this understanding of scripture, but can't always explain what I understand to others correctly (? for lack of a better words) so I bought the book and it's been great.

    Yes, as a single woman it's probably easier for the Pastor to attempt to avoid uncomfortable situations, but you could perhaps speak with his wife?
     
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  13. Sam91

    Sam91 Child of the Living God Supporter

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    I think she may be shy or just unavailable to chat to. I spoke to her for the first time at an event a couple of weeks ago. She smiled and hardly replied and then the pastor came and I left. I've smiled at her a few times over the last couple of years but never got passed hello. I'm an introvert so find it difficult to strike up an ordinary conversation. I'm not shy just a little bad at small talk with someone who is not taking the other half of the conversation.

    I'll think about getting that book, thank you, but I have many books already that I don't consult.

    I think I've made up my mind to stay where I am for now. I'll trust that the Lord will lead me right if He does want me elsewhere. I'll treat this as a temptation for now and keep my faith in God and not my church.

    Thank you to everyone who has contributed helping me to work through my thoughts and for any prayers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
  14. Hazelelponi

    Hazelelponi Well-Known Member

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    I'm different than you, I can talk anyone's ear off.. lol.

    I will certainly keep you in my prayers, hopefully you will figure this out.

    God bless you sister.
     
  15. Sam91

    Sam91 Child of the Living God Supporter

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    Oh I can talk peoples ears off! I give way too much information too! People who know me don't believe that I'm an introvert but they don't see the me who is exhausted by the effort of chatting to people in group settings. It's this small talk which is the worst. I'm bad at it and never know what to ask to keep the conversation moving. My deceased partner used to chuckle at how awkward I make things :D People also don't think I'm bad at conversation... but they're not the ones exposed to the chats that fail haha. I'm used to this and it doesn't stop me trying again... I hope that one day I'll figure it out with practice, practice and more practice!

    Thank you very much for your prayers. God bless you too sister :)
     
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  16. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    There is no such thing as the perfect church. If your church is a Bible-believing one, and no one is trying to control, manipulate or intimidate you, then why leave it? It is not actually the church that we go to, as long as we have Christ. As you can see by my ID that Pentecostalism is my foundation, but I have been a Presbyterian for the last 23 years and have found it the most supportive spiritual home of all the churches I have attended. We can be a bit selfish sometimes and want the church that suits us, but as Esther was told about going to see the king about the plot to murder the Jews, "Who knows that you have come into the kingdom for such a time as this?" So, in the same way, your association with your church may not be everything you may want in a church, but there are others, because of the Christ-likeness of your faith and contact who may see you as everything they want in an example of a genuine, supportive and loving fellow church members.
     
  17. Philip_B

    Philip_B Let all mortal flesh keep silence ... Supporter

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    Amen
     
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  18. -57

    -57 Well-Known Member

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    I think when you make statements like this you fail to realize you can insert Arminian or even Plagian. All 3 might say their preaching is based upon the Bible.
     
  19. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    When I first left my Pentecostal church after 11 years, in 1978, I started attending my local Anglican church. It was a church that had an archdeacon, so it was pretty traditional, just short of a cathedral. I found the liturgy something that I could worship
    God in, and when I became confirmed in 1979 (I was baptised as a baby), at the age of 30, I walked up to the altar between the choir singing "Hallelujah!" on each side of me. That was an amazing feeling! I found it a bit strange having the bishop lay hands on me, but I didn't break forth in tongues! Hahahahaha!

    I was told by the deacon who visited me that once I had been fellowshipping at the church for three weeks, I would become as mad as the rest of them! And I did. I discovered a group of loving, supporting Christians who accepted me as one of them right away. I spent three years with that church and left it only when I changed cities and made friends with a group in a local Baptist church. The only reason I started with the Presbyterian church in 1996 when I arrived in Auckland was that it was 5 minutes walk from home and I didn't want to go travelling to a church.

    My wife and I are planning to relocate to Christchurch later in the year, and if there was a good Anglican church within walking distance from where we buy our new home, I would have no trouble joining it because I know that I would be joining a group of good, supportive people, as there are in most Anglican churches I know of.
     
  20. Sam91

    Sam91 Child of the Living God Supporter

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    Not really. I haven't tried to read up on any of those. You see that I am distrustful of man's wisdom and feel that any doctrine that needs to be justified by interpreting a number of verses in a way that has small differences from what it actually says and linking them together to make it have a little more (like when I tried to understand Calvinsm) makes me nervous.

    I would prefer to hear what the Bible says with reference to what other verses say, with an additional knowledge perhaps of the time period. Something that isn't a different gospel from the one I was given in my Bible.

    I say further on in the thread that people believe different things from each other and I don't want to rely on man's wisdom. Look how wrong the Pharisees were. They were very knowledgeable about scripture but lost sight of God.

    I do know my Bible well, I'm not saying anything against scripture and the need to understand and obey it. Familiarity and God revealing His understanding is my preferred way. Also, of course, me not relying on my own understanding but living, trusting in Him.
     
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