Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I think this is a most important consideration. This describes the context of our churches in our day very well. In this description you can see the modern trend in our churches to confuse matters of conscience with doctrine, corporate discretion with personal discretion, and other such comparisons where they have become points of division instead of expressions of unity. And we're only becoming more divided as time goes on.However, this could apply to several other elements in the worship also.
Suppose the preaching is not sound doctrinally. Should I not return again? Certainly I will speak to the pastor and get clarification. But suppose he preaches amil, and I believe postmil?
What if the pastor does not give the admonition for those who are not believers to not partake of the Lord's Supper, and I know a person who is a non-believer sitting in the pew ahead of me and partakes of the Supper. Should I still partake, or should I let the elements pass by?
The point is there can be numerous instances where one's conscience could potentially be violated in almost any given worship service....
I think that the best one can do is know that which his conscience is bound to, work toward unity in every area, and be open to correction, praying for the unity of the body, and hoping that everyone will approach matters of unity with the same openness to the Spirit's leading. Submission to God starts in our own hearts.
Our churches are in trouble; EPers and non-EPers agree on this. It is the Spiri who will lead us through this. We know that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church, even though we see fallenness all around us in the churches.
I'm non-EP, and I would insist on the same commitment to the truth in myself that I would expect from others. But I would also insist that I give the same grace to others that God has given to me. I've had to be corrected, so God has not rejected me but instead corrected me; He has shown grace in receiving me into the fellowship of His Son. I'm not accepted because my worship is holy. My worship is holy because I've been forgiven and accepted. Therefore I try to worship Him with thankfulness, expressing my thankfulness by conforming ever more to His Word, how I worship and how I live.
That's what my own conscience demands now too. I can make no demands on another's conscience. That's the Church's province. The churches' leadership must be clear on what they may not violate in matters of personal conscience (so for the sake of personal conscience there is to be no preaching Amil or Postmil because they're not doctrine) and where they ought to call people to the proper subordination of their consciences.
My advice is to submit to the Spirit's leading. If that means that you embrace EP, then embrace it. But also respect that it may be that others disagree with you because of conscience. And you must respect that every bit as much as you require respect for yourself. If you don't give respect you should not expect it either. "Do unto others...." You can embrace EP, even as doctrinal, and still respect those who do not embrace it. You can believe they're wrong, even that they are in sin, and yet respect that they are trying to follow their conscience. Who of us is perfect in understanding God's Will? There has always been in the Church those who understand more and those who understand less, and yet in this context we are called to unity.
Let the Spirit do the leading in the Church.