Attending a Non-Reformed Church: Good Reasons or No Excuse?

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by Jonathco, Feb 20, 2020.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Jonathco

    Jonathco Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi everyone,

    I hinted at this in my introduction (here), but I've got a bit of a dilemma that I'd appreciate some insight and wisdom on. I am hoping for some constructive and edifying advice, and not a lambasting for currently attending a non-reformed church. ;)

    I, along with my wife and children attend a mainline baptist church in our town; we've attended for about 2 years now, since moving to the area. The preaching is biblical, I've never heard anything heretical taught or preached, and my wife and children are growing in their faith like never before. Having said that, in the past few years, as I have become more convinced in my understanding of reformed theology and have embraced the 1689 LBCF, I've come to feel we should attend a church that is reformed and confessional (which our church is not).

    Challenge 1:
    In my searching, it does not appear that there are any Reformed Baptist churches with an hour drive of where I live. Certainly, there are a few that are farther out than an hour drive each way, but that is problematic with little ones and would create challenges with being able to be active in the church throughout the week, at that distance.

    Challenge 2:
    My wife and children are indeed growing in our church; there is fruit in their lives and their walks are deepening with God through church teaching as well as our family studies at home (which I lead and ensure doctrines of grace, depravity, election, etc. are taught). I am hesitant to uproot my wife and kids over things that perhaps I need to humbly not allow to become a stumbling block for me, especially when they are clearly growing in their faith.

    Things that concern me with our church:
    1. It does not practice the regulative principle (LBCF, ch 22). Our church is not charismatic nor do we use lights/fog machines or anything of that sort, but certainly we sing modern songs that I do not believe to be theologically deep, and little concern is given for how we worship God.
    2. Formal church membership does not exist (LBCF, ch 26). If you attend regularly, you are a "member", which means nothing in our church.
    3. In general, "no creed but Christ; all you need is the gospel" is taught from the pulpit often. I embrace and submit to the inerrancy and sufficiency of scripture, but struggle to think we must therefore not study sound theological works from the reformers and the puritans because of this.
    So what would you do in my situation?
    • Stay put, embrace the fruit in my family's life, and teach reformed truths at home (to compensate what is not being taught)?
    • Find a Reformed Baptist church no matter how far the drive required?
    • Something else altogether?
      • We know several other Reformed Baptist families in the area in our same boat; perhaps the Lord will lead us to be a part of a RB church plant eventually?

    Thanks in advance for the advice everyone. Like I said, I am truly looking for counsel, as I am unsure what to do.
     
  2. David Taylor

    David Taylor Puritan Board Freshman

    Just curious, is your concern about music only or are there other issues in worship? The reason I ask, the LBCF would align with songs from any time period as long as they were not in error.
     
  3. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    This question, whether to go find a Reformed church or stay in one that isn't has come up before. Perhaps one of the members who recall them can put links here. I'll try to search when I have more time. Only one observation on your list. I'm surprised you did not mention the issue of the Lord's Day as the LBCF is just as strong as the WCF on that and I would suspect in this day and time most non Reformed SBC churches are not Sabbatarian. Most who come to that position have that as one of the determining factors since the church is not building them up in that regard but rather the opposite forces are at work.

     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  4. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Here at this link are some search results for threads (you will note one is titled "not another should I leave my church thread" so I'm not kidding when I say this subject has come up before).
     
  5. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    These kinds of issues are seldom easy, but I am glad to see that you are treating your duty to be a servant leader to your wife and children as an important part of the equation. Be sure that, whatever you choose, you are considering their needs ahead of your own. That is always a godly course.
     
  6. Jonathco

    Jonathco Puritan Board Freshman

    Sorry, allow me to clarify. My concerns are around theologically weak music. We've been known to sing Hillsong music, as well as other questionable artists with ties to doctrinally unsound teaching.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  7. Jonathco

    Jonathco Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks, I'll read these over. I appreciate it!
     
  8. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Hope they help; you'll see a range of opinion I'm sure; but it comes down to how bad things are, are you being asked/expected to sin (at which time you have not choice), is sound doctrine you are seeking to teach your family being undermined and your family's spiritual health jeopardized, etc. It sounds like given what you have described, given the options, how things are going, etc., there is certainly not any urgency. That can change if a church opens or some of those serious matters open up.
     
  9. Jonathco

    Jonathco Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks Jack, my family is my biggest concern. I appreciate your kind words.
     
  10. BLM

    BLM Puritan Board Freshman

    I would stay put where you are at, continue to be the spiritual leader in your home like you're doing, and network on the side with other like minded families. Perhaps you will have the opportunity in the future to help organize the first confessionally reformed Baptist Church in your town..you never know. In the interim you might also consider creating a website, blog, or something else on the internet that is discoverable by others that explains the mission work you are hoping to start in your area. You don't need to leave a bio of yourself...just give people a means to get a hold of you through a "contact us" option. If you're "googling" for a reformed church in your area there are no doubt going to be others either now or in the future who will do the same.

    Is your church in the American Baptist Churches USA? Another association?

    [Edit: I'd also recommend becoming a Founders Alliance Member and immediately purchasing this and this to use with your children. I use them and they are wonderful resources.]
     
  11. David Taylor

    David Taylor Puritan Board Freshman

    Ah ok.
     
  12. Wretched Man

    Wretched Man Puritan Board Freshman

    Take the Founders listings of churches with a grain of salt. I went through a recent search for reformed baptist churches and was quite disappointed in most of them. The few that were actually reformed, had decent preaching, and seemed doctrinally strong had almost no one attending, which is tough for our situation (I also have a wife and young children who will be homeschooled whom we want to have some fellowship with other children in the church)... welcome to the world of reformed Baptists.

    I ended up choosing an OPC church which I’m quite happy with, paedobaptism not withstanding.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  13. BLM

    BLM Puritan Board Freshman

    Very true indeed, which is why this blurb on the Founders website is important to keep in mind:

    Our desire is to help you get connected to a healthy, biblically-grounded church. Search below to find a gospel-preaching, Christ-exalting church near you. The churches appearing here are listed voluntarily, and Founders Ministries is not able to evaluate and endorse each church individually.
     
    • Informative Informative x 3
    • List
  14. BLM

    BLM Puritan Board Freshman

    I would also like to add that there are many brothers and sisters who share your same story only on the Presbyterian side (adopting the WCF) who also struggle to find a confessionally reformed church. Oftentimes it seems as if this is an issue only Reformed Baptists are faced with, but I know many Presbyterians are faced with the same dilemma. The absence of confessionally reformed churches presents a challenge to both Baptists and Presbyterians alike.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  15. PaulCLawton

    PaulCLawton Puritan Board Freshman

    Leave, move house if possible.
     
  16. Jonathco

    Jonathco Puritan Board Freshman

    This is definitely something I am prayerfully considering, given the clear need in my area, and the growing desire in my heart. Through prayer, and godly counsel, we will see what happens here.

    No, given the "no creed but Christ; all you need is the gospel" mentality, we are independent, with no association.
     
  17. Jonathco

    Jonathco Puritan Board Freshman

    @PaulCLawton, Should I physically move my house or just move houses? :think: :stirpot:

    In all seriousness though, I would appreciate some clarification (unless this was just meant in jest).
     
  18. Timotheos

    Timotheos Puritan Board Freshman

    May I ask, where in MI are you living. Private message me if you would prefer not to share your location.
     
  19. PaulCLawton

    PaulCLawton Puritan Board Freshman

    "Move house" might be a Candian-ism, you'll have to forgive me. My main point is not in jest, others here can (and have in the linked threads) said it much better than I can, but in short: one should be willing to forsake almost all to join a true church. Historically there have been three marks that designate the "true church" over against all others; pure preaching of the word, administration of the sacraments, and church discipline. I would argue that a baptist church by definition is going to fall short on point 2, but I digress. At the very least, your current church would fail at point 3, since there can be no church discipline where there is no church membership.
     
  20. Jonathco

    Jonathco Puritan Board Freshman

    PM sent. Thanks!
     
  21. Jonathco

    Jonathco Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks Paul, I appreciate the clarity. I do not disagree with you on the marks of a true church. Honestly, the membership issue (and thus lack of church discipline) is one of my biggest concerns - hence why it made my top 3 concerns in my original post. There are other points of concern I have with my church, but I did not want my post to come across as a 10 part manifesto, thus I kept my concerns to the top 3 for the moment.

    You make a valid point; finding a church that is sound all-the-way-around is extremely important. You and I may have to disagree on whether that means I uproot my family immediately to do so, or wait upon the guidance of the Lord as to whether that may mean a church plant with some of the like-minded RB's in our area. I very much appreciate your sound advice; this is certainly important and is something I am taking serious.
     
  22. BLM

    BLM Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm not downplaying the importance of the marks of a healthy church at all, but at the rate things are going for Christianity in the West it won't be long before you need to sell your house and purchase a Winnebago for your family to live out of if you live by Brother Paul's advice.

    I pray you'll have wisdom and reflect long and hard on the points Jack raised.

    Blessings to you brother.
     
  23. Jonathco

    Jonathco Puritan Board Freshman

    This is accurate and sadly true. I imagine most of us know at least someone (reformed) who criticizes every church they've attended as "not reformed enough" and discredits their church because of XYZ.

    Thank you for your prayers, brother; I appreciate it more than you know.
     
  24. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    I may be able to help also. You can send me PM if you like.
     
  25. CalvinistBaptist

    CalvinistBaptist Puritan Board Freshman

    Very good advice here towards our brother, as does seem that he and his family are growing and maturing in their walk with Christ now in that church. I would also suggest getting a small group together of like minded Christians who are desiring to explore the 1689 LBCF and other Reformed works.
     
  26. Jonathco

    Jonathco Puritan Board Freshman

    This is actually something I am prayerfully considering. You and BLM have made similar suggestions to start something in my home town among the like-minded brethren.
     
  27. CalvinistBaptist

    CalvinistBaptist Puritan Board Freshman

    You could even pursue doing that in the local church currently attending, as that just might be a way to have Calvinistic theology discussed in your church in a non threatening way to other members.
     
  28. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Are you the same person as David Chase who was previously a member here under the account Dachaser?
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • List
  29. CalvinistBaptist

    CalvinistBaptist Puritan Board Freshman

    What is interesting is that did know a David Chase while in Owosso high school though!
     
  30. Jonathco

    Jonathco Puritan Board Freshman

    Interesting suggestion, Donald. I am not sure that would be embraced, given my church's stance on things like that, but I definitely know some families in the area that are in the same boat. I am considering a website or possibly just a FB community group to gauge interest in a Reformed Baptist church in the area.

    Hey, I see you are from the Owosso area; I hail from the Linden! We're not too far from each other.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page