Where to draw the line

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by CIT, Dec 22, 2008.

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  1. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I see that a few of us here are attempting to find a new church home and I know of others here who go to a church that they do not completely agree with, so it got me wondering.

    What are some things that you would disagree with, but would overlook and still become a member?

    And what are some things that you would disagree with, and would cause you to never become a member?

    I do not think there are any right or wrong answers here. I am just curious what others think.
  2. Jimmy the Greek

    Jimmy the Greek Puritan Board Senior

    I have found that it is almost impossible to find a local church that one is completely satisfied with. We often simply trade one area of dissatisfaction for another. We must find a church that meets the essentials and gives an overall good impression. Then be willing to compromise in non-essential areas, participate in the function of the local body, and work to make changes that might be appropriate.
  3. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    This would not always have been something I knew to look for in the past, but now would need at least:

    "five points doctrines of grace" + "covenant theology" + "confession"

    Good quality exposition of God's Word, all of it, from the pulpit would cover a lot of other deficiencies including people who were not immediately outwardly welcoming.

    Sometimes, God calls us to focus more on serving than being fed by others through fellowship so with good teaching, administration of the sacraments, and prayer could go a long way toward spiritual growth.
  4. Tim

    Tim Puritan Board Graduate

    I would also say reverent singing worship is a must, but unfortunately that seems to be the first to "go bad" at many churches. So you can't always look for that criteria.

    Some deal-breakers:

    Drama in the worship service
    Alpha course
    Women elders
    Self-identified as a seeker-sensitive church

    But it really depends on your choices. I have had to relax my standards greatly where I am right now.
  5. moral necessity

    moral necessity Puritan Board Junior

    For me, it was a church that never fed you with the comforts of the Gospel. All I heard was "do, do, do........or else you aren't, aren't, aren't". I was so tangled up that I had no more sight of grace and the work of Christ. My faith was not being fed, and inward scraping to the nth degree became the dominant thing, (and me being more of a perfectionist, believe me, I scraped myself raw). Church was no longer a hospital for sick sinners, but was rather a line up for execution, where you came to get your weekly beatings. It was absolutely miserable, so much so that I hated it. It was not healthy. So, for me, when the gospel was no longer present, then neither was I to be.
  6. nicnap

    nicnap Puritan Board Post-Graduate

  7. Zeno333

    Zeno333 Puritan Board Freshman

    Here comes the prude in me I guess...but i think woman church attendees should dress modestly....

    I went to one to be un-named church locally, and lets just say it was not a center of modest dressing for the woman there...

    In my opinion, one of the reasons God forbids woman from being teachers and preachers in the NT, is to prevent men from potentially looking at the woman speaking with "non-noble" intentions"....(yes even in that type of setting that potential is there).
    So if God does not want a woman preaching partly for that reason, how much more would God not want immodest clothing on woman in church???
  8. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    That is a bit one-sided. Women are capable of having imperfect thoughts just like men. Some women find a nice looking man in a suit as a turn on. So I respectfully disagree that the reason why women are not allowed to preach is because they make men sin.
  9. Jimmy the Greek

    Jimmy the Greek Puritan Board Senior

    Where would I draw the line? I could not personally tolerate:

    - a synergistic doctrine of salvation.
    - a contemporary rock-band seeker-friendly worship.
    - a liberal view of the role of women in the church.
  10. Zeno333

    Zeno333 Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, I agree it is one sided, since I feel that the potential of what I speak of is greater in men than in women...(It is of course as you pointed out, a potential in woman also, just not as great). Just my opinion of course...but I feel that God of course knows of this greater potential in men, and gave appropriate commands as a result in the NT.
  11. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    You assume that it is greater in men than women. It may be greater in some men vs. some women, but you cannot give a broad stroke generalization and form your theology on it.

    My personal opinion is that God has hierarchial tendencies. Just look at the food chain. So it would only make sense to create a hierarchy in men vs. women. In God's Perfect Will, He chose to put man over woman. He could have just as easily decided to have women rule over man.
  12. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor


    I think all of the meals I was served as a bachelor after service played a big role in my joining an OPC church a few years ago.

    -----Added 12/22/2008 at 02:12:33 EST-----

    I don't think any list of things at which I would draw the line would be exhaustive, but off the top of my head, the following are a list of things that I'd draw the line at, or in some cases would at least cause me to look elsewhere:

    1. Lack of emphasis on preaching the Word. Some churches will lay aside preaching for weeks at a time in favor of various entertainments or singing, etc. The preaching must also be textual, but not necessarily expository in that every message has to be dedicated to preaching verse by verse through a particular book. Spurgeon was not an expository preacher in that sense.

    2. Lack of commitment to congregational singing. In many churches this is due to having several choral anthems, solos, etc. that crowd time out of the worship service.

    3. Use of manipulate practices.

    4. The church having no statement of faith or confession to which the officers adhere. Or, if there is some kind of confession, the officers clearly having little or no regard for it i.e. what is taught or practiced is clearly at odds with what they say they believe.

    5. On the other hand, I also draw the line at confessionalism taken to such an extreme that the confession and not the Bible is effectively seen as the final authority. I'll also include any church that is more bound to their traditions (whatever they may be) than what Scripture has to say on a particular issue.

    6. A church that doesn't preach the whole counsel of God. Often this is because they are riding some hobby horse or movement, perhaps taking it to an extreme and neglecting other vital truths. Sometimes the thing being overemphasized is itself a vital truth that has been neglected, or it may be a pernicious falsehood. Today this could include the homeschool movement, KJV only, every sermon ending up being on the 5 points, overemphasis of a particular eschatological view, charismaticism and so on.

    7. A church that is too inwardly focused and has no vision or effort toward evangelizing their community beyond bringing in a few other people who are also disgruntled with other local churches. On the other hand, a church that is so focused on bringing in new converts that it neglects discipleship and continued growth of the existing members is unacceptable as well.

    8. This isn't a baptism thread, but as it is a non-negotiable for me, I'll also list that I would not consider a paedobaptist church. Other things I would look for are a church that is committed to Regenerate Church Membership i.e. one that practices redemptive church discipline. A lot of Baptist churches also practice what has been termed a late stage paedobaptism where children of 4 or 5 are baptized for the flimsiest and most unbiblical reasons.

    9. Egalitarianism.

    10. Of course all of the above assumes looking for a church that preaches and believes such vital truths as inerrancy, the substitutionary atonement, Christ's Virgin Birth and bodily resurrection, his personal return to judge the living and dead, etc.
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