Greetings. In need of wise counsel.

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blvck2gold

Puritan Board Freshman
Greetings my fellow pilgrims. I'm Tony and i'm a newbie, both to Puritan Board and to Reformed Theology. I could really use some Christian counsel. I'm wanting to leave my current church. This is the only church I've been a part of, I've been going to this church for as long as I can remember. I say that to say I'm not "church shopping". I want to be in a church that is more reformed, I don't believe in the things my current church does, at least not the way they do and it's really hindered any potential growth fellowship-wise with that particular body. On what basis do I have a Biblical warrant to leave? Statements from the pastor in sermons that scripture deems false? Do I go to him or do I just leave (after informing him of course)? How do I go about this?
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Hi Tony, welcome to the PB (and to Reformed doctrine)! Many of us have been in the uncomfortable position you now find yourself in, and the board is a wealth of good information and advice (and comfort). My initial advice is to be patient with your current church and never bring reproach to Reformed doctrine by any immature or unloving words or actions toward the church you’re now in. As far as practical advice for where you are right now, more probably needs to be known and hopefully some of our RE’s and TE’s (and those on their way into the ministry) will chime in with our other “wiseheads.” May the Lord bless and help you!
 

blvck2gold

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi Tony, welcome to the PB (and to Reformed doctrine)! Many of us have been in the uncomfortable position you now find yourself in, and the board is a wealth of good information and advice (and comfort). My initial advice is to be patient with your current church and never bring reproach to Reformed doctrine by any immature or unloving words or actions toward the church you’re now in. As far as practical advice for where you are right now, more probably needs to be known and hopefully some of our RE’s and TE’s (and those on their way into the ministry) will chime in with our other “wiseheads.” May the Lord bless and help you!
thank's for the response Jeri I appreciate it. As far as more info goes, for starters, it's a pentecostal church and people speaking in tongues is a common thing (I'm not so sure about that, and even if it was still an okay thing for today wouldn't it be with it's guidelines? i.e. not everyone at once and only with an interpreter as to not cause confusion?) I just heard a statement from the pastor this last Sunday that didn't sit right with me at all (things that don't "sit right" with me seem to be piling up). He said, in the context of evangelism, "nobody deserves to go to hell.". Granted he said this in passing but it was said nonetheless. The super emphasis on physical healing being a guaranteed "benefit" for every believer on this side of heaven is really bothering me. This is just a couple of things. I don't have any unloving words or actions towards these people, I love these people, that also adds to the difficulty of the situation, but for the sake of growing more within a community of believers I feel like I've hit a wall with all of these theological riffs adding up. Again, thanks for the advice and I look forward to reaping the benefits of a site such as this, God bless.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
The practices and teaching you’ve mentioned are definitely not biblical. It does sound like you need to start looking for a biblical Reformed church.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
The closest reformed body to you appears to be an ARP church in Johnston. Since the link on the denominational site doesn't seem to work, I'll paste one here for future reference if you decide to go that route:

http://www.johnstonpresbyterianchurch.org/index.html

That being said, I know nothing about this body other than that ARP churches are generally theologically safe options.
Anything else looks like it would be down near Augusta or Aiken.

That non-responsive response out of the way, at some point you need to deal forthrightly with your current leadership. Some pastors (the smart ones) will offer to assist you in locating a congregation more in keeping with your developing views. Some will get hostile, which doesn't do anyone any good. In either event, go for the high road (it's not you, it's me) and don't accuse him of preaching heresy in his sermons (even if he is). 'My views have changed and are changing, I'm not in accord with this body any more, and I don't want to be disruptive, but I didn't want to just disappear and give rise to gossip either'.
 

blvck2gold

Puritan Board Freshman
The closest reformed body to you appears to be an ARP church in Johnston. Since the link on the denominational site doesn't seem to work, I'll paste one here for future reference if you decide to go that route:

http://www.johnstonpresbyterianchurch.org/index.html

That being said, I know nothing about this body other than that ARP churches are generally theologically safe options.
Anything else looks like it would be down near Augusta or Aiken.

That non-responsive response out of the way, at some point you need to deal forthrightly with your current leadership. Some pastors (the smart ones) will offer to assist you in locating a congregation more in keeping with your developing views. Some will get hostile, which doesn't do anyone any good. In either event, go for the high road (it's not you, it's me) and don't accuse him of preaching heresy in his sermons (even if he is). 'My views have changed and are changing, I'm not in accord with this body any more, and I don't want to be disruptive, but I didn't want to just disappear and give rise to gossip either'.
Edward, thank you for your advice. I knew, regardless of the route I decided on, I would have to deal with this head on but I wasn't sure how to go about it. I wasn't even sure if any of my reasons gave me biblical warrant to leave. I sincerely appreciate the feedback and will follow up on the link. I was looking into a PCA church in Augusta which is about the same distance from my current church but I won't venture that route until I deal with this.
 

TheInquirer

Puritan Board Freshman
I would not feel bad in the slightest for leaving and actually encourage you to do so.

A peaceful departure could be as simple as thanking them for the positive (biblical) ways they ministered to you over the years and letting them know your convictions have changed.

It is really hard to find churches that have everything you want but for me, doctrine and preaching, along with leadership integrity, are at the top of the list.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Ed has some good advice. I would also suggest finding a new church. Blessings in your search!
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
There is a member here who is PCA in the Augusta area. He might be able to give you some insights into the local PCA churches. While ARP and OPC are generally known quantities, PCA covers a much wider range and takes a bit more research and discernment.
 

blvck2gold

Puritan Board Freshman
I would not feel bad in the slightest for leaving and actually encourage you to do so.

A peaceful departure could be as simple as thanking them for the positive (biblical) ways they ministered to you over the years and letting them know your convictions have changed.

It is really hard to find churches that have everything you want but for me, doctrine and preaching, along with leadership integrity, are at the top of the list.
Thank you for the encouragement sir, it is well received. I feel the same way you do. I'm not expecting to find a church where I agree on absolutely everything but like you, doctrine and sound preaching are most important.
 

blvck2gold

Puritan Board Freshman
There is a member here who is PCA in the Augusta area. He might be able to give you some insights into the local PCA churches. While ARP and OPC are generally known quantities, PCA covers a much wider range and takes a bit more research and discernment.
That sounds great. How would I go about finding him on here?
 

Chad Hutson

Puritan Board Freshman
I just heard a statement from the pastor this last Sunday that didn't sit right with me at all (things that don't "sit right" with me seem to be piling up). He said, in the context of evangelism, "nobody deserves to go to hell.". Granted he said this in passing but it was said nonetheless. The super emphasis on physical healing being a guaranteed "benefit" for every believer on this side of heaven is really bothering me. This is just a couple of things.
The more you learn from historic, Reformed theology the more you will disagree with the doctrines of that preacher, church, and denomination. That charismatic type of church doctrine has veered from the faith long ago and you will never again be satisfied with it. Thank the pastor for the love and care he has shown you and explain why you are leaving, then go! My heart breaks for sincere people who are in these churches and are being misled. God in His Providence has opened your eyes, be thankful.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
I feel for you brother. I grew up in a Pentecostal church, went for 20 years, and at what could have been conversion I knew that I was not worshipping the true God there, and knew that if I didn't leave I would shrivel. Some Pentecostal churches are good, but you seem to be in the kind where I was with a healing gospel et al. There was so very little substantial teaching.

I don't have anything to add, but my prayer is for a godly exit on your part.

And welcome!
 

PaulCLawton

Puritan Board Freshman
Greetings my fellow pilgrims. I'm Tony and i'm a newbie, both to Puritan Board and to Reformed Theology. I could really use some Christian counsel. I'm wanting to leave my current church. This is the only church I've been a part of, I've been going to this church for as long as I can remember. I say that to say I'm not "church shopping". I want to be in a church that is more reformed, I don't believe in the things my current church does, at least not the way they do and it's really hindered any potential growth fellowship-wise with that particular body. On what basis do I have a Biblical warrant to leave? Statements from the pastor in sermons that scripture deems false? Do I go to him or do I just leave (after informing him of course)? How do I go about this?
I have done many things that if I could go back and do differently I would (particularly how I handled leaving my first church after being converted as a teenager) but one thing I am glad I did is that before visiting the church for the first time of which I am now a member, I met with an elder of my then current church and told him what my plan was. I told him the name and location of the church, the date my family would be visiting it and why we were doing so. He disagreed with my reasoning of course and because of personal relationships it was a difficult conversation, but looking back I am glad I did it. That may not work in every situation, but you might consider it.
 

blvck2gold

Puritan Board Freshman
The more you learn from historic, Reformed theology the more you will disagree with the doctrines of that preacher, church, and denomination. That charismatic type of church doctrine has veered from the faith long ago and you will never again be satisfied with it. Thank the pastor for the love and care he has shown you and explain why you are leaving, then go! My heart breaks for sincere people who are in these churches and are being misled. God in His Providence has opened your eyes, be thankful.
You described it to a T sir. And that's what I'm going to do. I'm extremely thankful for God opening my eyes, I look back and I can see how it literally took a miracle for God to bring me to the point I'm at today. If God has done it for me there's hope for others, we must keep them in prayer. Thanks for the response brother
 

blvck2gold

Puritan Board Freshman
I feel for you brother. I grew up in a Pentecostal church, went for 20 years, and at what could have been conversion I knew that I was not worshipping the true God there, and knew that if I didn't leave I would shrivel. Some Pentecostal churches are good, but you seem to be in the kind where I was with a healing gospel et al. There was so very little substantial teaching.

I don't have anything to add, but my prayer is for a godly exit on your part.

And welcome!
Wow, well you of all people definitely understand. I can relate on the "shriveling" part. I started getting all of my sound teaching and preaching from reformed podcasts and ministries, it was all God. My prayer is the same, and I'm thankful for yours.
 

blvck2gold

Puritan Board Freshman
I have done many things that if I could go back and do differently I would (particularly how I handled leaving my first church after being converted as a teenager) but one thing I am glad I did is that before visiting the church for the first time of which I am now a member, I met with an elder of my then current church and told him what my plan was. I told him the name and location of the church, the date my family would be visiting it and why we were doing so. He disagreed with my reasoning of course and because of personal relationships it was a difficult conversation, but looking back I am glad I did it. That may not work in every situation, but you might consider it.
My plan is similar. But I'll be speaking with my pastor and most of the elders and also telling them where I'm going. It's not going to be easy being that I do love these people but I'm definitely not leaving on any bad terms.
 
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jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
Greetings,

I'm having a bit of trouble placing your location. I've seen Augusta and Aiken mentioned, but you are from Trenton in NW Georgia? I may be able to help with church recommendations if you're near Augusta.

And bravo for what sounds like a good plan on engaging your old church as you leave :)
 

blvck2gold

Puritan Board Freshman
Greetings,

I'm having a bit of trouble placing your location. I've seen Augusta and Aiken mentioned, but you are from Trenton in NW Georgia? I may be able to help with church recommendations if you're near Augusta.

And bravo for what sounds like a good plan on engaging your old church as you leave :)
Thanks for the assurance in regards to my plan, I'm praying it goes well.

I'm from Trenton in SC. But just 10 minutes out from North Augusta SC so I'm not far from Augusta or Aiken for that matter. Thanks in advance.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
The PCA Savannah River Presbytery is generally very strong.

First Presbyterian Church Augusta had its challenges after losing John Oliver, long time pastor, but I believe that's been resolved. He was part of the Wheaton crowd which leans more broadly evangelical.

It would be a hike, but a one-off visit to my old church, Trinity in Statesboro, might give you insight because you'd see an excellent church in action, and secondly because that session helped form the Presbytery around you.

I'd be curious about Christ Church in Evans. Their approach to worship sounds generally strong but they've run through a lot of pastors.
 

blvck2gold

Puritan Board Freshman
The PCA Savannah River Presbytery is generally very strong.

First Presbyterian Church Augusta had its challenges after losing John Oliver, long time pastor, but I believe that's been resolved. He was part of the Wheaton crowd which leans more broadly evangelical.

It would be a hike, but a one-off visit to my old church, Trinity in Statesboro, might give you insight because you'd see an excellent church in action, and secondly because that session helped form the Presbytery around you.

I'd be curious about Christ Church in Evans. Their approach to worship sounds generally strong but they've run through a lot of pastors.
This was very helpful, thank you
 
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