Reformed in a non-reformed church....

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by BlackCalvinist, Mar 5, 2009.

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  1. BlackCalvinist

    BlackCalvinist Puritan Board Senior

    In the process of writing an article on this issue and posting it.

    So what's a reformed person in a non-reformed church missing ? What ends up happening to them ? What are the implications of their actions ?

    Discuss. :)

    I already have a few things written up, but I'd like to see what else is on everyone's brains (I may have missed some things).
  2. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    Likely, the doctrines of grace, covenant theology, and a systematic theology of all of scripture that binds people together and forms a basis for their unity.
  3. BJClark

    BJClark Puritan Board Doctor

    Church discipline when it's needed
  4. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    It felt to me like fellowship was impeded. Yes, I took a non-argumentative stance, but there was a constant feeling that we were always looking at the world differently.
  5. Mayflower

    Mayflower Puritan Board Junior

    Regulative principle of worship!!!!!
  6. Ezekiel3626

    Ezekiel3626 Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree with Scott, and also I noticed that my worship was hindered. I must be the first to admit that the fault was my own, though. I was constantly frustrated, because I was missing out on the things that Scott has mentioned. Yet in all honesty, I knew those elements would be absent when I went there. As JWithnell said a moment ago, they viewed the world differently. I would listen to every word, and subconsciously pick apart every sentence, as if I were looking for them to say something "wrong". I believe it creates an attitude in one that they have "compromised", or "settled" for less than they believe in ("they" here meaning the reformed person attending).
  7. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    I suppose it depends upon the reformed person. I'm currently attending a non-reformed church, but I'm hoping that it won't be non-reformed for long. I'm already seeing some progress. :)

    Why move from a non-reformed church to a reformed one when you can just ask God to reform the one you've got?

    Of course, if it's a church which isn't particularly focused on the Bible(not so in my case, thankfully), you may have to leave anyway--which, personally, I think I would do whether it was reformed or not.
  8. Galatians220

    Galatians220 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Sometimes, in attending a non-reformed church, one misses the preaching of assurance and gets the idea inserted into one's "mental hard drive" that, as I saw and heard one man around here dramatically lean over his pulpit and yell (with regard to not doing certain things such as reading your Bible, etc.): "Folks, you can lose your salvation!"

    No, sir, you cannot.


    I don't ever want to hear that coming from a "Christian" pulpit again. Nor do I want to hear altar calls anymore, either.

  9. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Plenty, but there is no perfect church out there. I would venture to say that all true churches, even 'Reformed' churches have strengths and weaknesses. Most of church history is non-Reformed.

    Assuming you are talking about believers, they are all preserved to the end. Although, depending on the preaching/teaching/disciplining/worshipping, they may be tossed to and fro.

    Whose actions?
  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Of course this depends a lot on how narrowly one defines "Reformed."

    I have been in some non Reformed churches that were sounder in some respects than some Reformed ones.
  11. Ezekiel3626

    Ezekiel3626 Puritan Board Freshman

    This is very true, Chris. As you may know, in our area, if one mentions "depravity", "election", or any other buzzword while in an SBC Baptist Church, that person all too often has to find an exit, and quickly. I have also been part of a group that was literally expelled from an SBC church, and the accompanying association, and yet that group eventually became, at least in the opinion of some, hypercalvinist. This taught me to exercise discernment and caution, internally and externally.
  12. SemperEruditio

    SemperEruditio Puritan Board Junior

    It starts there but I guess the issue is how we define reformed. I was fine in the non-denomination church I was a member as a Calvinist. I was argumentative at first but then just resigned myself to the idea that God had yet to reveal the truth of the doctrines of grace to them. However as my reformation became more than just in soteriology but crept into my ecclesiology I had to go. I believed that weekly communion was vital. I believed that instead of having the hierarchal structure of the pastor being top dog I saw that a plurality of elders was essential.

    I cannot see how someone who is reformed can remain at a non-reformed church. It would have to be an extreme form of cognitive dissonance. I left a church where I was a leader in the church and was actively pursuing licensure/ordination to join a PCA church where I had to start from scratch. I went from having an ordination examination that would have been about as easy as reciting the Lord's prayer to now what the BCO says I have to do. :eek: Needless to say I believe that if a person has a reformed church where they can worship then they must make the switch. I hear too many say the same I was saying which is "I will convert them from within".
  13. Classical Presbyterian

    Classical Presbyterian Puritan Board Junior

    Hey, I manage to minister in a non-Reformed denomination and still survive!
  14. Scynne

    Scynne Puritan Board Freshman

    As a person who is currently reformed in a non-reformed church (Mennonite Brethren), allow me to offer my personal experience.
    At first, it was good. I was baptized into the church shortly after my conversion, and I became reformed shortly after my baptism. It started off with me being all guarded-like, and ripping apart every sentence the pastor said to find error and cry, "Heretic!" Luckily, he's a decent preacher, and his occational quoting of various Puritans earned my respect. After some time, I became a sensible person, and stopped looking to pick fights with anyone not wearing John Calvin t-shirts. I kinda found my place and settled down (although I found the worship to be...horrendously shallow).
    Then, I signed up with a Mennonite Brethren missions agency for a 10 month short-term missionary training thingy. It started off well...but only because I was still ignorant of much doctrine. I assumed that the people around me, with great experience, would also be trustworthy, so I (lazily) accepted the things they 'taught' me with glee. I had plenty of free time to read my Bible and "Calvin'n'friends".
    Long story short, I slowly began to realize that most everything (there was one man who was a thoroughly godly exception) I was taught fell handily in the the category of either 'terrible doctrine', or 'downright wicked, God-hating/dishonouring doctrine'.
    And I'm currently in the market for a new denomination:(
    Anyway, that's my :2cents:
  15. Jimmy the Greek

    Jimmy the Greek Puritan Board Senior

    I am a Reformed Baptist in my theology and remain in an Independent Bible Church. Since things vary from one non-denominational church to another, my situation may be somewhat unique.

    *Since I am baptistic, there is no basic issue here.
    *I am a soteriological Calvinist as are many if not most in this church.
    *We have a plurality of Elders overseeing the body and a Teaching Elder. No problem here.
    *We observe the Lord's Supper weekly, which I prefer and deem most biblical.
    *We exercise church discipline according to Matthew 18.
    *We emphasize expository preaching and teaching.
    *We encourage servanthood, personal ministry, and the excercise of individual gifts in the body.
    *We are conservative in our worship, though not RPW.

    What is missing? I would desire one change:
    *An acceptance of Covenant Theology. Moderate dispensationalism prevails, although not required by our Statement of faith.

    I was saved into this church 33 years ago. I moved to a Reformed Baptist position as the years went by through personal and formal studies. But the relationships, Christian love, and opportunites for service at this place have prevented us (as a family) from moving on.
  16. cih1355

    cih1355 Puritan Board Junior

    This is true. There is a big difference between a church that agrees with some of Reformed theology such as the five points of Calvinism and the regulative principle of worship and a church like the Wesleyan church.
  17. Albatross

    Albatross Puritan Board Freshman

    Maybe this is another thread and I'm not assuming you have hatched a plan to purposefully convert the church and this is a genuine now that I've clarified myself, onto the question.

    Should there be any efforts to influence non-reformed churches to reformed stances outside of general interactions with members?
  18. DonP

    DonP Puritan Board Junior

    Wow, its hard been there done that, but thank God only for a short time. I moved to 7 cities in a couple years looking for a good reformed church when I first got out of college and got married. It was that important to me.

    Later in life I went to a Baptist church where the pastor held to the 5 points and was transitioning his church. But it was still tough. He wanted to, but his deacons wouldn't let me be a member because I was presbyterian. Helped out for a couple years then found a new Free Reformed work starting.
    The worst is listening to altar calls, the carnal Christian heresy, and not hearing he clear distinctive covenant presentation that we are are Israel. I wouldn't want to bring up a child regularly hearing that false gospel of decisional regeneration.
    Also went for a few months to an Evangelical Pres church that had merged with an independent baptistic church and the pastor sought to keep all together by avoiding good teaching, just philosophizing about a moral life. He was an eloquent ear tickler with a PhD in philosophy, and what ended it for me was though the adult Sunday school was trying to introduce the doctrines of grace to those few who attended, he did a baby dedication one day from Samuel and I asked Him what that was. He said he had people question him on infant baptism but never on dedication. When asked why he used that passage since it had nothing to do with what these parents wanted, he was being dedicated to be sent off to the priesthood, he said, well I couldn't think of any other scripture to support dedication. I said then you shouldn't have perverted the word of God and just done the thing apart from the word. He was smart enough to be convicted. But I knew I needed to get with a less ecumenical church. I am not sure if it is good to be that patient with people or just call them to the truth and let the haters of it leave. So I yielded to my conscience in meekness willing to be corrected on this.

    I will ask God to help you find a good church that worships in purity and truth and sustains you in His word in the meantime. I mean this as no alternative but you can listen to some great reformed preaching on - faith cometh by hearing I particularly like L Bilkes, Joel Beeke's and Archie Alison's preaching and find it to be practical applicatory and discriminating preaching. Fully adherent to the Confessional understanding of Scripture and our historical faith.

    In his Service,
  19. ReformedChapin

    ReformedChapin Puritan Board Freshman

    I've attended Calvary Chapel for about 3 years. I loved it the first year because it was nice change from my first all hispanic church which I was saved. But quickly after studying church history and reformed theology I found the preaching shallow and a basic "be good theology." I'm sick and tired of it. I am currently looking for a new Reformed Denom, visiting URCNA churches around my area.
  20. The Deeps

    The Deeps Puritan Board Freshman

    I think counseling from your pastoral staff is greatly effected for a reformed person in a non reformed church. The counselors worldview has a big effect on their reality skew in counseling. It could lean toward a hyper practical, existential, Freud filled hour of self-talk.
  21. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    What was missing for us in the Non-Reformed Church was:
    True Communion
    Regulative Principle of Worship
  22. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor

    What was missing in my case, for almost 5 years, :eek: was growth in grace and understanding. I was stagnant in my understanding of the scriptures all that time. Once we got into a true church, I started growing in grace almost immediately. We have been here only 4 yrs and I have learned more, and grown more in that time than in all my 25 yrs in a pentecostal church.
  23. SemperEruditio

    SemperEruditio Puritan Board Junior

    Amen to that! I couldn't leave our church now if I wanted to. My wife feels as though every sermon is raw meat. She tells me she feels full after every sermon. I remind her that it is probably the yeast in the communion bread. :lol::wow:
  24. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor

    Raw meat is exactly right! That is perfect. My husband and I have been ravenously feeding ever since we got here. It truly is our spiritual meat and drink. :up:
  25. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    I've also found a few pastors that were willing to be more open and connected with the individuals in their congregations. On the other side though, we've had a harder time connecting with people IN Reformed congregations.
  26. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    Well, I think brothers and sisters in Christ should always seek to "sharpen" each other, and instruct one another on points where we/they are unbiblical. So while I wouldn't go for a hostile takeover bid and make a dash for the pulpit, spewing Reformed theology as I go, I do think it is possible and right to attend a church, build up a friendship with the ministry, and seek to show them where their theology is off. I would say that, as a member of the church, I will talk to the elders first, not go around to random members of the congregation and tell them all the things that the preacher just said that were wrong.

    I think that paragraph may have been a little helter-skelter. Sorry. :)
  27. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    Many prayers for you, Jonathan. I know what walls you have and will have. May the Lord tear them down.
  28. SemperEruditio

    SemperEruditio Puritan Board Junior

    Interesting. Care to elaborate why you think that might be. I kinda figured it was because we are a latino couple. Actually come to think of it I didn't have a great experience at a restaurant in Lancaster, PA might just be PA people. ;)
  29. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    The pastors that are most open, most down to earth, and most willing to tell it like it is without worry of politics, etc are the older ones (and we LIKE this!).

    The congregational issues are probably mostly cultural differences.

    (care to pm me which restaurant?)
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2009
  30. steven-nemes

    steven-nemes Puritan Board Sophomore

    It kinda stinks, hearing sermons on one Sunday that "on the pathway of the Lord, he will guide you till the end" and the next that "limited atonement is a lie verging on blasphemy" and the next "salvation can be lost if you do not work for the kingdom".
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