Why attend a deformed church?

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by Neogillist, Jan 17, 2009.

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  1. Neogillist

    Neogillist Puritan Board Freshman

    I have often wondered what prevents so many Christians who are reformed in their doctrine to attend a church that is reformed. Is it because there is no such church in their town, or that they don't want to move to another place because of work, or that they still like many things about their church although it be unconfessional? I have seen people on this board who attend fairly liberal churches like PCUSA, United Methodist, SBC, and many other congregational baptist churches that have become removed from Reformed Orthodoxy.

    Mainline Reformed Churches include those that are:
    1) Confessional
    2) Calvinistic (doctrines of grace, etc.)
    3) Conservative (do not allow women in office, and hold to biblical inherancy)

    Yet, there are many Calvinists who keep attending those so-called churches that share little with them in their thinking, and yet continue to put up with Arminianism being preached at the pulpit, or all sorts of unbiblical practices or teachings that they themselves disapprove.

    I myself once attended a Wesleyan church for several years after having just become a Calvinist. It eventually got to the point that going to church was depressing to me, not only because I could not agree with much of the teachings, but also because I could not meet people who thought, practised and believed the same things that I did. It was quite a relief to join a URCNA, so much, that it felt like I had been fellowshipping with people from a different religion.

    If you happen to be in a church that do not teach the things you believe, then what are you doing there? Are you trying to evangelize the members or win them to your side? That is not going to work.

    Of course, there may always be a few secondary issues that you may disagree with in a Reformed Church (i.e. Exclusive Psalmody, Infant Baptism, etc.) but as for the issues that you consider to be primary, you should ensure that your church holds to them.

    I may go to church only one day a week and go to work five days a week, but I think that a good church is more important than a good job, so if I have to move to a different town, or find employment elsewhere, I will first look for a sound Reformed Church where I can have my membership transferred rather than moving elsewhere before trying to find a new church.

    I would be interested to know what you guys think.
     
  2. SemperEruditio

    SemperEruditio Puritan Board Junior

    I became a 5-pointer and remained at my previous church for another 2.5 years. It was alright at first because it was like a game of spot the error. However the more and more I learned about the doctrines of grace and the Reformed hermeneutic my "game" turned into torture. It eventually got to the point that I was depressed to go to church. I was the pastors assistant or in Baptistese I was the pastors armorbearer. It was great because I saw firsthand how brutal the life of a pastor can be. We shared a lot and it was quite the learning experience. I began to question why we had deacons and no elders. I questioned why the deacons did nothing except want they wanted to do. Their call to service was more like a call to supervise others doing the service. I took issue with the pastor being the "CEO" of the church. While the members of the congregation "voted" it was without question in the direction of the pastors "vision." I questioned the "vision." I questioned why the church had to vote on issues which were as basic as the maintenance of the building.

    I received the call into the ministry and began attending seminary. Things got worse. I heard and still hear heretical stuff at seminary and then again at church. Prayed that God would "release" me from that church. The pastor and I were great friends but the theology and everything else about the church were like sand in my shorts or crackers in my bed...irritating.

    Began the ordination classes and continued praying. One day out of the blue I was instructed not to attend the class. Then the following Sunday and the next. Finally I asked what was going on and the pastor tells me that he's rethinking whether or not he should ordain me because I disagree with the theology of the church. Recommended that sense I had Presbyterian leanings that perhaps he would model my ordination like a Reformed church.

    To shorten the story I left that church after another 4 weeks of prayer and joined a PCA church of a brother I met at the Miami Pastors Conference. He and I met every month to talk about theology and was the first call I made when I was told my ordination was on hold. I was not upset my ordination was on hold. I took issue even with the ordination because the questions all 25 of them were basic and I believed that ordination should involve written tests, oral exams, and schooling.

    I thank God how it all went. Still trying to seek wisdom on lessons learned but thankful for the move. Now I'm undercare of the session and after the Presbytery meeting should be undercare of the Presbytery. Praying for a 2011 ordination and then into the military.....

    Sheesh...didn't think I'd post this much. :um:
     
  3. Neogillist

    Neogillist Puritan Board Freshman

    That sounds like my personal experience, too!
     
  4. Hippo

    Hippo Puritan Board Junior

    The move away from Churches being based on locality is very very regrettable, while it may in certain instances be necessary due to the ruin of the Church and the end of direct Apostolic authority a demand for purity in the Church can verge on Donatism at times.
     
  5. Neogillist

    Neogillist Puritan Board Freshman

    It must be hard for you to be back in full-time studies and have to look after a family with four children! When I was doing my B.Sc. I was studying, doing assignments or attending classes for 10-12 hours a day, 6 days a week.
     
  6. Grymir

    Grymir Puritan Board Graduate

    Some of us have no choice because we live in a liberal wasteland. So we do and find the best we can.
     
  7. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    :ditto:
     
  8. Neogillist

    Neogillist Puritan Board Freshman

    I am not sure if I understand your sentence. You mean that it is a sad fact that many believers can no longer attend the church that is closest in location. I guess that is especially true for you, since in the 1600s virtually all churches in Scotland were orthodox, and so people simply attended the one nearest to them. (I know you live in London, but your denomination is from Scotland).
     
  9. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    There really is no easy answer to the questions posed in the OP. What are the minimum acceptable doctrines that a church holds to that would qualify it as legitimate? Is Calvinism, baptism and the Lord's Supper enough? I'd have a difficult time if I had to find a new church home in this area. I'd either have to drive more than an hour one way or go to a Presbyterian church. Neither option would be my first choice

    Work is another consideration. It's not always about the bigger house, boat or luxuries of life. Sometimes it's simply being able to support your family.

    Like I said, there is no easy answer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  10. Neogillist

    Neogillist Puritan Board Freshman

    I am pretty sure that being a chef yourself, you could easily find employment in another town where there is a church that you would love to attend. You can't imagine how much you are missing out. Another possibility is that you could drive farther out. If you attend service only once on Sunday, it would not be too big of a deal to drive for 90min to and 90min fro. There are people at my church who do it.
     
  11. Hippo

    Hippo Puritan Board Junior

    Too many splits in the Univeral Church have come about due to a desire for purity. This is just plain wrong unless the error amounts to apostasy. It is as a result of sin that the Catholic Church fragmented and degenerated following the Apostolic era.
     
  12. Neogillist

    Neogillist Puritan Board Freshman

    That's what I personally find surprising about you and other Baptists on this board. They hold so strongly to believer's baptism that they would rather attend an Arminian Baptist church than a sound Presbyterian church like PCA or OPC, etc. In the end, it simply boils down to what you personally see as "primary" and "secondary". Although you should never go against your conscience in the end. I myself would rather attend a sound Reformed Baptist church than a liberal Presbyterian church, or a Wesleyan church where they also accept infant baptism.
     
  13. Hippo

    Hippo Puritan Board Junior

    There you have a problem in that a confessional Baptist church would often not allow you to partake of the sacraments which rather rules it out as your Church. Saying that for long periods of time Toplady used to attend dissenting Chapels but only took Communion at the C of E churches whose preaching he abhored (although this was more for his own scruples than due to a refusal by the dissenters to let him partake).
     
  14. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    Some people believe that it is wrong to leave a church if there is any sign of [spiritual] life in it.
     
  15. ManleyBeasley

    ManleyBeasley Puritan Board Junior

    I attended a PCA church for a little while and loved it. Also, I wouldn't say the SBC is liberal. It's certainly not as reformed as when it started but belief in inerrancy is in the Baptist Faith and Message. The Founders (Reformed) Movement is growing more than ever also so its becoming less arminian.
     
  16. Whitefield

    Whitefield Puritan Board Junior

    I'm sorry, I find this personally offensive. As a 5-pointer (and I will defend my bona fides any day) I find it offensive that you would state that the church I pastor is only a "so-called" church because it doesn't meet your definition of a church. If we Calvinists are not to enter into Arminian pulpits and teach there because they are not churches, then who will take the gospel to them in ministry?
     
  17. PresbyDane

    PresbyDane Puritanboard Doctor

    I live in a country with no reformed churches, so I would have to move out of te country-
    I can be lucky and sometimes find pastors who are leaning toward the reformed theology, but that is as good as it gets over here.
     
  18. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    You're making the wrong assumption that baptism alone would be the driving force behind whatever decision I would make. And if you read my post you would have noticed that I said neither (driving an hour one way, or attending a Presbyterian church) would be my first choice.
     
  19. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    zero? I am so sorry to hear that. We need to pray for that country.
     
  20. Grace Alone

    Grace Alone Puritan Board Senior

    We originally were in the PCUSA, and when the Lord allowed us to see the sickness in that denomination, we and a few others connected with a PCA church who helped us start a mission church here. So if a reformed person knows any others who might be like-minded, you may be able to get help starting a new church in your area.

    At this point, I'd have to go to a conservative Arminian Baptist church over a liberal presbyterian church if those were our only two choices. But in reality, we currently drive 25 minutes to a conservative ARP church.
     
  21. PastorSBC

    PastorSBC Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you. I was about to say the same thing.
     
  22. Beoga

    Beoga Puritan Board Freshman

    I currently attend a non-Reformed church. The reason I am doing so is because as a student at a secular university, I was craving Christian fellowship and friendship with people my age. I went to a school where I didn't know anyone, and so I wanted to surround myself with christians my age.
    When I checked out the local OPC, there was no college students (it has since grown to include 6-7 students). I checked out the church I currently attend and they have a college ministry of about 20-25 dedicated college students. Most of the students are serious "about their faith" and show depth and desire when it comes to study the Scriptures. This is a blessing for me because I had been so use to Christianity lite all my life when it came to youth groups.
    We all don't agree when it comes to Calvinism, and the Pastor isn't Calvinist (though he is sympathetic toward the Doctrines of Grace), however I have highly valued surrounding myself with these people. Plus, I get a ton of good Reformed teaching from all the sermons and radio programs I listen to throughout the week.
    When I do come home on breaks, I do attend the local PCA, and when it comes to the preaching, it is like a breath of fresh air.
     
  23. Grymir

    Grymir Puritan Board Graduate

    It's easier said than done, finding employment. I have a family to take care of. We've only got 5 years left to pay on our home, and it does set us up for our older years. And our home is very energy efficient. And on a lake! :cool: I'm not gonna put my wife out of the home and into the work force. We would have enough $$$ to do what ever we want, but at what price?

    The reformers taught that it is a sin to leave a 'sinful' church and goto one that we thought was 'less' sin-full.

    I'm also the spiritual head of my family, not our church. They get more from me during the week than the 20 minutes at church. Hence we talk about what was said at church, and not just absorb it. Plus, as my tag shows, I do have influence. And of the right kind.

    That being said, Things could get bad enough in the local church for us to leave. I learned long ago not to judge a local church by what the 'national' people are saying/doing. No church is perfect. All Church's have problem areas. So when I joined and gave my oath, I take it seriously. Look at the bright side. I annoy them alot more than they annoy me.

    Driving 90 minutes to church and 90 minutes from church is too long. Going to a local church with people that live in your area is important. When I bump into people from church when I'm at work is interesting and useful.

    All of these things are things that a family has to consider. And as the leader of my home, I'm responsible for us. Financially, how we live out our marriage, and Spiritually. And like I said, I live in a liberal wasteland, so I have to deal with the best I can find.
     
  24. shackleton

    shackleton Puritan Board Junior

    The churches around where I live, up to 25 miles, are all RCC or an atrocious variety of Baptist or Pentecostal. We have the option to drive 30-50 miles to go to church but then it is hard to get to know anyone there and at that point you are not getting much out of church that you can not get from the internet or by doing your own studying. So for us we are probably going to have to sacrifice what we would like to have for the sake of fellowship with believers. Even if they are not like minded.
     
  25. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Fair enough, so you stay and fight. But I think that as a pastor it is easier to do so than when you are a layman or office holder.

    I was in agony for years at the church I attended because as a deacon, I could only fight just so much before I was soiling the nest in a very non-Christian way. You can look back at certain posts of mine over the last two years and see the schitzophrenia (sp?) over staying or running. None of my children are baptized because I would not have them dunked by an elder board who were in serious error. The ONLY reason I stayed is because there was not another supervised congregation within 100 miles. There were house churches, sure, but that's it. No pastoral care, no direction given by elders, nothing. It was a Hal Camping field day.

    Those who head into this sort of thing as a 'mission' are in need of serious support - these are mission fields full of vipers. The lies are so much more infectious when they are sprinkled with what looks like truth.

    I don't mean to be trite, Pastor Marshall, but I will be praying for you. If this is the situation you are in, it is a hard row to hoe, and not for a lone gunslinger.
     
  26. Theognome

    Theognome Burrito Bill

    Sounds like a good reason to fire up a reformation! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

    Theognome
     
  27. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Drive to Friesland, you'll find plenty of them. Even Groningen has some good ones. I'd venture to say that Germany has more than a few, and they're closest of all (though many Frisians say that they understand Danish OK because the languages are so close. Give it a try - it's only a few hour commute!)

    -----Added 1/17/2009 at 10:37:00 EST-----

    Yeah, never mind, Martin. The idea above will save a bundle in gas money, and is probably more scriptural anyway.
     
  28. Whitefield

    Whitefield Puritan Board Junior

    Believe me, I don't discount the struggle and have counseled Reformed people to find a Reformed church. My objection was only to the broad brush being used. Thank you for your prayers.
     
  29. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    It's obvious that a person that thinks the churches in the SBC are liberal knows very little about the SBC.
     
  30. cih1355

    cih1355 Puritan Board Junior

    I believe that only believers should be baptized, but I would rather go to a Presbyterian church that is a member of the PCA or OPC than an Arminian Baptist church. Even though seeker-sensitive churches and Pentecostal churches practice deny infant baptism, I would not go to those churches.
     
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