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Mrs. Hound

CC-Leaving our church (questions/ramblings)

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I have gone to the same church my entire life and we are now leaving it. I realize how damaged my thinking has been by this long time exposure to bad teaching. Long story.

 

Skipping to the good part! I am so excited for these changes. I am having to basically relearn everything but it is so refreshing. We are free.

 

Now for the questions..

What is your denomination and what differentiates it from others? I realize this can be pretty lengthy but if you’re able to give a simple answer, the jist, if you will.

 

Also (may seem odd) but do you/your church believe that Satan was never in heaven?

 

Also if you have any similar personal experience with leaving a church or having to totally relearn everything, I’d appreciate advice/encouragement. (Growing up from a child to an adult under this same bad teaching you find how really deeply ingrained this is,and how damaging. Which is why when the Lord removed these blinders we have taken our children and RAN.)

 

Note: we aren’t necessarily using this info to “pick†a new denomination. We are simply curious as to the distinctions and plan to do further research. During our search for a new church so many different denominations pop up and although we are feeling pretty good about the church/theology we are hearing, this is just an interesting topic to us.

As for the second question, I am realizing just how different from most churches our doctrine was. This is one example and I’m curious if anyone else was taught this.

 

I feel angry and frustrated of so much time being wasted and being taught such damaging untruths, but also as we are relearning everything I am feeling so excited and so free. And praising God for being so so good.

 

Sorry if this is a mess, I’m holding a baby!

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We attend a non-denominational church, which has been a good change after being raised in a denomination where some things persisted because of traditional that couldn’t be defended from scripture. Our churches have all been five point Calvinist bodies and in fellowship with many other churches, but not parent church organization. James White, John MacArthur, S Lewis Johnson, etc, are pastors, apologists, theologians, and authors who’d reflect the general theological thrust of the bodies we join. They vary on some secondary and tertiary points from one another, but have the same essential hermeneutic and perspective on the inspiration and authority of scripture in truth be the life of the believer.

 

We do believe that, pre-fall, Lucifer was in Heaven as an angel, yes. But that’s the extent of it.

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I left my church and my tradition (Protestantism) after going through a long period of searching and learning.    There was a period of meandering (trying to find a fit - long story).    My dh and I met at a church I started attending in high school.  We went from there to a sister church plant  - so many friends from previous church came with us.  We were there through the birth of all but one of our kids, started homeschooling, etc. etc.  Lots of long-time friends.   When we changed churches it was hard to fit in.  And I realized then (at the new church) that it wasn't right and THAT's when I started a years long soul-searching look into the historical church.   I was pretty disillusioned by my previous tradition and wanted to know "what they [Christians] believed and when they believed it".  

 

That led me to the Orthodox church.   That was a lot of unlearning and relearning.  But it was like all the pieces of the puzzle were coming together.  Things I didn't even realize about started to make so much sense to me.   During that period I read SO much about church history and historical doctrine and practices.  I  look back now and can't believe how obsessed I was with figuring this out.  I doubt I could keep that same stamina up today.  :laugh:

 

But, I do remember the low times.  I remember being pregnant and feeling pretty lost without a church family.   I remember my dh saying to me as I sat on the bed crying, "Remember, His sheep hear His voice."   It gave me a lot of comfort at that time.  I also remember a time when I had a very scary "visit" (spiritual).  I remember just knowing it was because I was without an anchor or spiritual home.  I started saying the Lord's Prayer over and over.

 

My advice would be to start looking for prayers from the early church and just pray every day - maybe each morning.  Don't do too much.  One simple prayer *plus* the Lord's Prayer.  Also, pray before you read anything related to your search.  Just something simple like "Lord have mercy upon me and help me to hear your voice."    I would not rely only on one person's interpretation of doctrine or theology.  Go to the sources as much as possible.  Read the Apostolic Fathers, read the early Church Fathers (Athanasius the Great, Cyril of Jerusalem, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, etc).  "On the Incarnation" by Athanasius is less than 100 pages long... some of them are more approachable than people think.  

 

And finally, be gentle with yourself.  It can be a very exciting time.  You're going to learn SO much and grow a lot through this, but it may take longer than you realize.   It's not always an easy and straight road from point A to point B.  I meandered 6yrs or so before I finally came home to the Orthodox Church.  I'm still learning.  I'm still trying to throw off some of my previous tradition because it is so ingrained in my psyche. 

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And - I’m glad you are free! The church is an immense blessing when it is walking in holiness and centering itself on Christ, but it can be absolutely scarring when it is subsumed with other motives than that. I was away from corporate worship for a good chunk of time as a teen because of emotional burnout and trauma from a bad church (and the subsequent split). Finding another body is SO healing.

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We are non denominational. We left our beloved church 2 years ago after it went towards theology we didn't agree with. I miss the community, but I am glad to not be under the teaching any longer.

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I wanted to clarify one point about going to the source.  If you want to learn about Lutheranism or Calvinism.  Read Luther and Chemnitz or Calvin and Zwingli... don't only read *about* them and their theology. 

Edited by PrincessMommy
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What is your denomination and what differentiates it from others? I realize this can be pretty lengthy but if you’re able to give a simple answer, the jist, if you will.

 

I'll answer for the different types of denominational churches we've attended as adults. We also attended two non-denominational churches.

 

We currently attend a Wesleyan Church and are looking forward to becoming members. We have found them to be a very Scripturally sound denomination, faithful overall to the Bible. They are Arminian (they believe anyone can be saved, not just those who are predestined, and they believe that it's possible to choose to abandon one's faith). They have a greater emphasis on loving and helping our neighbors than other churches I've attended. We sing a mix of hymns and choruses. I can think of two areas of disagreement I have with them: they ordain women, and they don't allow leaders and teachers to drink alcohol. Neither keep me from being willing to join the church.

 

Independent Baptist: We were pleased with the sound, conservative Biblical teaching, but found the particular church we attended to be too legalistic for our taste. They added rules for members not found in Scripture (no drinking, etc.). They were Arminian. We sang hymns. They were not as warm and welcoming as the Wesleyan church, but they tried. :)

 

Reformed Baptist: This was a more intellectual church, devoted to the exploration of doctrine. They attempted to be very faithful to the Bible and succeeded in large part. The believers there were more mature in their character than I've seen in other churches. However, Reformed means they were Calvinist--they believed only those who are predestined to be saved are saved and they believed it is not possible for a genuine believer to lose salvation. We disagreed so strongly with this that we chose not to become members. We still loved them and stayed until we moved away.

 

The non-denominational churches we attended were both fairly faithful to Scripture. One was Arminian-leaning and one was Calvinist-leaning. We sang a mix of choruses and hymns in both. Neither tended towards legalism.

 

If I had to pick a church with doctrine closest to my understanding of the Bible, I think would choose an Anabaptist denomination. They are Arminian and have a strong emphasis on charity and peace. However, some are too legalistic for my taste (Amish, conservative Mennonite). There is a very good Brethren in Christ church in my area that we may have tried if it wasn't too far away.  

 

We have an only child and needed a warm, welcoming church with a good group of kids and good doctrine, and we found it in our current church.

 

Also (may seem odd) but do you/your church believe that Satan was never in heaven?

 

None of the churches I attended teach that.

 

Also if you have any similar personal experience with leaving a church or having to totally relearn everything, I’d appreciate advice/encouragement. (Growing up from a child to an adult under this same bad teaching you find how really deeply ingrained this is,and how damaging. Which is why when the Lord removed these blinders we have taken our children and RAN.)

 

There were points in my life when I did have to reinvestigate many things I had assumed were true. The best advice I can give is to read Scripture as written, without inserting preconceived notions about its meaning. Let it speak for itself. It is living and active! 

 

Also, it helped me to understand that as Christians, we are no longer under the law given to the Israelites. The Old Testament Scripture is useful for learning about the nature and character of God, but as Christians, our instructions are found in the books of the New Testament.

 

I feel angry and frustrated of so much time being wasted and being taught such damaging untruths, but also as we are relearning everything I am feeling so excited and so free. And praising God for being so so good.

 

Many blessings to you and your family. I'll pray you find a church in which you can learn and grow and love and be loved. God is so good!  :grouphug:

Edited by MercyA
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Our church is Wesleyan and we love it. The church body also consists of many people who lean more Calvinist reformed. I would say my DH and I fall somewhere between Wesley and Calvin if such a place existed. Our interpretation of Scripture does tend to fall closer to 5 Point Calvinism and much of our own interpretation incorporates our understanding of quantum physics. As scientists we approach scripture in a way that makes absolute congruent sense to us in light of what we know and believe to be true in both walks of our life. For us, that is a more reformed interpration. Our church believes Satan was in heaven pre fall as an angel.

 

I think sound biblical teaching is a must so I am glad you are being called away from your current church if you feel your teaching has led you astray. Our pasture is brilliant, I trust his knowledge whole heartedly and he is humble. Our kids church is amazing and meaty in apologetics and we love our community. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else :) I hope you find a wonderful fit!

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I'm Anglican, since university, though I grew up Lutheran with Catholic family as well.  And I wasn't religious as a teenager.  So, part of the Anglican Communion, like the Episcopal Church in the US (though at the moment they are in a sort of impaired communion.)

 

I became Anglican as a student, however, rather a particular sort of Anglicanism - very liturgically oriented, very orthodox, with roots in the Oxford Movement.    In terms of belief, probably more like the Orthodox Church than what you'd see in the Episcopal Church.

 

The downside of this is it's hard to find Anglicans like that, and it isn't always well-supported by the Anglican institutions.  The up-side is the strong tradition of scholarship, and very strong liturgical, musical, and artistic heritage, in my native language and culture.

 

I have never heard anyone say that Satan was never in /heaven - that sounds like a rather impossible teaching to me - is the suggestion that God made him like he is?  

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Our church is Wesleyan and we love it. The church body also consists of many people who lean more Calvinist reformed. I would say my DH and I fall somewhere between Wesley and Calvin if such a place existed. 

 

Yes. I dislike the most rigid forms of five point Calvinism, but if pressed, I suppose I would say that I am about a 1.5 point Calvinist. ;)

 

For those who wonder what we're discussing, the five points of Calvinism are TULIP--total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints. Really, though, these points of doctrine don't much affect Christian life. A person could live a rich, full, holy, loving Christian life without ever even delving much into these particular issues, IMO. 

Edited by MercyA
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Yes. I dislike the most rigid forms of five point Calvinism, but if pressed, I suppose I would say that I am about a 1.5 point Calvinist. ;)

 

For those who wonder what we're discussing, the five points of Calvinism are TULIP--total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints. Really, though, these points of doctrine don't much affect Christian life. A person could live a rich, full, holy, loving Christian life without ever even delving much into these particular issues, IMO. 

 

 

Let's not hijack the OP's thread, but I will say that all 5 of those doctrines affect my Christian life deeply every single day.

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Let's not hijack the OP's thread, but I will say that all 5 of those doctrines affect my Christian life deeply every single day.

 

You know what--I think you're right. I guess I was thinking a Calvinist or an Arminian might both volunteer in a food pantry, or pray for someone, or worship God, and do those things in similar ways. But my beliefs about those doctrines do affect my inner Christian life and decisions, deeply.

 

Sorry, OP, not trying to hijack at all. In thinking about *differences* in the churches I've attended, those doctrines are one of the first things that come to mind. But in the most basic of essentials (what they believe about the person and role of Christ, for example) the churches I attended were all in agreement.

Edited by MercyA
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Let's not hijack the OP's thread, but I will say that all 5 of those doctrines affect my Christian life deeply every single day.

Me too, and I agree. I could go to the theological mattresses with glee on the subject but we should probably start a new thread if that’s the case. And unfortunately I will either have a ridiculous amount of time on my hands in the hospital the next few days or be completely slammed, so I can’t promise my participation if there’s an offshoot. Sorry ladies :o

 

I’m not sure where Mrs Hound falls on all this, but if you want to PM me, OP, I’d be happy to discuss in more detail whenever time allows

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Arminian.  With an i.  Armenia is a country.

 

Also, not all non-Calvinists are Arminian by default.  Just posting for clarification.  :)

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I was raised Episcopal, moved to evangelical Anglican when I became a Christian. 

When I was in college, I attended and joined a PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) congregation and have been in two PCA churches since.

Reformed and evangelical. Calvinist, for sure. 

 

My particular church has formal worship, expository preaching, and a variety of music with a leaning toward hymns. Lots of modern hymns like those written by the Gettys, Sovereign Grace and Stuart Townend. Also many old hymns with new tunes. Many churches in my denomination have more casual worship with the same doctrinal beliefs. Here is a summary page of our non-negotiable doctrines. 

 

We do believe that Satan, who was called Lucifer, was created by God and therefore good, and in fellowship with Him before the Fall. Nothing exists but by God's creation and God is not the author of evil. Boy, could this be a rabbit trail! The origin of evil is not a light topic for a random Thursday morning during school time... :svengo: 

 

Examples of very readable books that would line up with our theology are:

Putting Amazing Back Into Grace by Michael Horton

Knowing God by J.I. Packer

True Spirituality by Francis Schaeffer

 

(though none of the authors are/were Presbyterian!) 

 

Edited by ScoutTN
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Arminian.  With an i.  Armenia is a country.

 

Also, not all non-Calvinists are Arminian by default.  Just posting for clarification.   :)

 

:o Thanks for nothing, spell checker. I'll fix that. And thanks for the clarification, 6pack.

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Arminian.  With an i.  Armenia is a country.

 

 

I think more people mispronounce this than get it correct.  ;)

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I’m not sure where Mrs Hound falls on all this, but if you want to PM me, OP, I’d be happy to discuss in more detail whenever time allows

 

Same here, Mrs. Hound. Probably no time for an online debate this week, though!

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I always find threads like these interesting!  Thanks for sharing.

 

I grew up in a Lutheran church, and I loved it and it was a very important part of my upbringing.  It shaped my faith... That, and my dad's simple, non-judgmental, and steadfast faith.

 

I went to a Lutheran college, and that's where I met my Catholic dh.   :)  But, he was pretty much an agnostic intellectual when we first started dating.

 

However, his faith evolved, we got married, and we determined to have our faith in Christ as the foundation of our marriage.  We attended many different churches.  We attended Methodist to Catholic and back to Lutheran again.  We attended the Lutheran church for about 15 years, and for awhile we really liked it.  But we discovered that something seemed to be lacking.  (Did we really need to take a whole class series on the meaning and importance of the communion chalice?)

 

From there we went to a rather progressive, very small and very sweet, Baptist Church.  We went there for several years until my dh's major medical event, which threw our lives upside-down.  That's where I went through a real crisis of faith.  It wasn't just the medical event...  I think it was also just the point I was at with my faith.  I pretty much left it altogether for some years, as did a couple of our kids.  That was when I decided I'd either need to ditch it completely, or start over. 

 

Over time, we discovered a theologian at a church that held some very radical ideas of Christ's message. It's a non-denominational church, probably closest to the Anabaptist.  It really mostly focuses on loving one another, wherever the person is at, and not getting hung up with the details.  The pastor is highly intellectual too, and really digs into the historical content and understanding of Scripture, which is very important to me.

 

So yes, I've had to start over again too, and I realize that even though my church background was not a bad one, I don't think it helped me really grasp Christ's message well.  But, it was a gradual evolution, and I think every step was important!  I feel very peaceful about where I'm at now, though I'm certainly still learning.

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I wasnt raised in church. I've visited Catholic, 4 Square (Pentecostal), Independent Fundamental Baptist, Southern Baptist and non denomination churches in my adult life.

 

My current church Southern Baptist is a change for me. They are solid biblically, kind, non-judgemental and my DD5 is happy with her classes. They help serve the community and work with other churches and organizations to do it. My DH and I like the church as well.

 

Much better then the last one.

 

The last church our daughter would cry hysterically EVERY time we mentioned or went to church. She said teachers were fine but the kids were mean. I would ask the teachers and they were clueless.

 

I wasn't happy because my child wasnt. The church was very judgmental about that, clothing and so many other things that aren't biblical.

 

The clothing issue wasnt about modesty.

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...

 

If I had to pick a church with doctrine closest to my understanding of the Bible, I think would choose an Anabaptist denomination. They are Arminian and have a strong emphasis on charity and peace. However, some are too legalistic for my taste (Amish, conservative Mennonite). There is a very good Brethren in Christ church in my area that we may have tried if it wasn't too far away.  

 

.

 

 

...

 

 

Many blessings to you and your family. I'll pray you find a church in which you can learn and grow and love and be loved. God is so good!  :grouphug:

I think the Christian Church (but not one of the Disciples of Christ Christian Churches) would also fall under this description of being Anabaptist and Arminian. They are non-denominational.

 

I would LOVE to attend a Mennonite church because of their doctrine and their stance on social issues, but there aren't any in my area.

 

Changing churches can be really hard, both in the leaving and in the finding of one that fits your beliefs and your needs. My advice is to not commit too early, to give it time and make sure you are comfortable with the dynamics in the new church.

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Me too, and I agree. I could go to the theological mattresses with glee on the subject but we should probably start a new thread if that’s the case. And unfortunately I will either have a ridiculous amount of time on my hands in the hospital the next few days or be completely slammed, so I can’t promise my participation if there’s an offshoot. Sorry ladies :o

 

I’m not sure where Mrs Hound falls on all this, but if you want to PM me, OP, I’d be happy to discuss in more detail whenever time allows

 

This would be a very informative thread. Years ago, I remember a very good discussion with Heather in Malaysia regarding some differences between Calvinism and Arminianism. I wish Heather popped in more often these days.

 

To the OP:

 

Many hugs for what you have experiences and congratulations on your courage to move on when you felt it was not the right place.

There is a book by Stephen Arterburn titled "Toxic Faith." Arterburn is a believer so it's not a slam on Christians, just how to recover from something "toxic."

 

Our church is actually founded on Nazarene principles. I do not agree with all of them but they are not the big dealbreakers for me. On all important points, I agree with them. Maybe I have become more relaxed and more confident in knowing God so some things are not such a big deal to me anymore. We believe Lucifer is one of the fallen angels - so he once was in heaven but chose to become Satan and go against God.

I am not sure I have advice on how to choose a church. Sometimes we had to visit several places and decide. Attending a "newcomer class" - where offered - can be a good way to get clarity on their beliefs.

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I have never heard anyone say that Satan was never in /heaven - that sounds like a rather impossible teaching to me - is the suggestion that God made him like he is?

They claim he has always been here. Since the beginning. Just like God.

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They claim he has always been here. Since the beginning. Just like God.

Oh yikes! I’m so glad your family is ready to move on from that, it’s pretty straightforwardly in contrast to scripture. Hugs!

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Me too, and I agree. I could go to the theological mattresses with glee on the subject but we should probably start a new thread if that’s the case. And unfortunately I will either have a ridiculous amount of time on my hands in the hospital the next few days or be completely slammed, so I can’t promise my participation if there’s an offshoot. Sorry ladies :o

 

I’m not sure where Mrs Hound falls on all this, but if you want to PM me, OP, I’d be happy to discuss in more detail whenever time allows

 

 

:o Thanks for nothing, spell checker. I'll fix that. And thanks for the clarification, 6pack.

Ack - I quoted the wrong post by you and don't know how to fix it. I wanted to quote where you said something like "We should have a discussion but maybe not this week...:)" Are we all reeling from a certain other thread? ;)

 

It could be a very informative and interesting discussion if people explained some of the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism and other points of their faiths/ beliefs. There is so much to learn.  Mercy, is next week better for you?

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Me too, and I agree. I could go to the theological mattresses with glee on the subject but we should probably start a new thread if that’s the case. And unfortunately I will either have a ridiculous amount of time on my hands in the hospital the next few days or be completely slammed, so I can’t promise my participation if there’s an offshoot. Sorry ladies :o

 

I’m not sure where Mrs Hound falls on all this, but if you want to PM me, OP, I’d be happy to discuss in more detail whenever time allows

I would be VERY interested in a s/o thread especially since the church we visited last week was Reformed Baptist!

A wonderful friend of mine has been such an influence on me as of late and she is Reformed Baptist. I am so so intrigued with the family worship at home and the family integrated services. I have also been enjoying sermons she has suggested to me via sermon audio.

 

Some of their beliefs are so wonderfully refreshing although some I do not think I can agree to. I understand there are also folks that are not full 5 point calvanist but 4 point or so on.

 

I struggle with the limited atonement and the idea of only certain ones being chosen to be saved. Although their perseverance of the saints is quite a nice change when coming from a legalistic/threatening you with loss of salvation church.

 

Can’t tell you how many years I’ve spent praying to be saved every other day because I messed up yet again so it must not have been real. Their view on sanctification was that it did not happen over time but it was a second work of grace that when you prayed to become sanctified it would remove your temptation to sin and you would sin No more.

 

As a child I was always scared that I wouldn’t be aware of a sin I committed and I would die before I could ask for forgiveness and therefore I would end up in hell.

 

I won’t give the name of the church but it was a non denominational Wesleyan Church.

 

Again sorry if these replies are a mess. I’m nursing my youngest.

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They claim he has always been here. Since the beginning. Just like God.

 

Interesting. So they think God did not create him like he created the rest but God and Satan are equals that appeared "on the scene" at the same time?

 

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I would be VERY interested in a s/o thread especially since the church we visited last week was Reformed Baptist!

A wonderful friend of mine has been such an influence on me as of late and she is Reformed Baptist. I am so so intrigued with the family worship at home and the family integrated services. I have also been enjoying sermons she has suggested to me via sermon audio.

 

Some of their beliefs are so wonderfully refreshing although some I do not think I can agree to. I understand there are also folks that are not full 5 point calvanist but 4 point or so on.

 

I struggle with the limited atonement and the idea of only certain ones being chosen to be saved. Although their perseverance of the saints is quite a nice change when coming from a legalistic/threatening you with loss of salvation church.

 

Can’t tell you how many years I’ve spent praying to be saved every other day because I messed up yet again so it must not have been real. Their view on sanctification was that it did not happen over time but it was a second work of grace that when you prayed to become sanctified it would remove your temptation to sin and you would sin No more.

 

As a child I was always scared that I wouldn’t be aware of a sin I committed and I would die before I could ask for forgiveness and therefore I would end up in hell.

 

I won’t give the name of the church but it was a non denominational Wesleyan Church.

 

Again sorry if these replies are a mess. I’m nursing my youngest.

 

So sorry. I don't like it when kids get scared. Seems in total contrast to what Jesus wanted. Isn't it nice though to find out that He has so much more grace than we think?

 

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My non-denominational church that we currently attend was reformed Baptist until they decided to go non-denom. They still effectively are, but because it merged two slightly different churches they found it was easier to blend the two without the overarching denomination. We love it as well.

 

I can really empathize with you on that fear you had as a child - I did as well. The sinless perfectionism thing is where I really have a bone to pick with Wesley. Some churches are better or worse on that doctrine though, it varies SO much by congregation and the pastor. Just like conservative Presbyterians - we are much more similar than we differ on many points, and it just depends on the church.

 

I’m going to be slammed until at least Sunday night because of inpatient hospital stuff, and have quite a roster of therapy and appointments next week if the weekend goes well and they don’t keep us longer, but I could potentially be available Monday or Tuesday for a monergism/synergism discussion. I really enjoy it too, it’s just a bad time right now. But I may be able to swing in here and there even when I’m busy, I just can’t reliably go back and forth and don’t want to over promise :o

Edited by Arctic Mama
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They claim he has always been here. Since the beginning. Just like God.

 

Oh my.

 

They are dualists, then - arguably not Christian at all.

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I would be VERY interested in a s/o thread especially since the church we visited last week was Reformed Baptist!

A wonderful friend of mine has been such an influence on me as of late and she is Reformed Baptist. I am so so intrigued with the family worship at home and the family integrated services. I have also been enjoying sermons she has suggested to me via sermon audio.

 

Some of their beliefs are so wonderfully refreshing although some I do not think I can agree to. I understand there are also folks that are not full 5 point calvanist but 4 point or so on.

 

I struggle with the limited atonement and the idea of only certain ones being chosen to be saved. Although their perseverance of the saints is quite a nice change when coming from a legalistic/threatening you with loss of salvation church.

 

Can’t tell you how many years I’ve spent praying to be saved every other day because I messed up yet again so it must not have been real. Their view on sanctification was that it did not happen over time but it was a second work of grace that when you prayed to become sanctified it would remove your temptation to sin and you would sin No more.

 

As a child I was always scared that I wouldn’t be aware of a sin I committed and I would die before I could ask for forgiveness and therefore I would end up in hell.

 

I won’t give the name of the church but it was a non denominational Wesleyan Church.

 

Again sorry if these replies are a mess. I’m nursing my youngest.

 

This is something that can crop up in different ways in different groups.  You have experienced it one way.  But when you are talking some types of traditional Calvinism, the worry for some becomes "am I really one of the elect?"  Because of course, perseverance of the saints or not, you just don't know for sure.

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Hmm, hubby and I have attended many different denominations and have come to the belief there is no "right" one.  We've found good and bad churches under many names.  It seems to depend upon the specific church more than who they align with.

 

We consider ourselves independent and definitely do not fall in line with 5 point Calvinists, esp with limited atonement and the "once saved, always saved" part.  We don't believe one loses their salvation over sin (or all of us would be in trouble), but one can give up their faith if they so choose, just like they choose it to begin with (as we see it).

 

We loved our time in a more modern Mennonite church (Anabaptist).

 

I suggest you mainly go where God leads you and stay away if God is seeming to tell you that.  It's worked for us.  God is who we are aligned with, not any particular church (when it comes down to the most basic).  We definitely like having a church that mostly matches our beliefs to worship and fellowship with though.

Edited by creekland
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I think the Christian Church (but not one of the Disciples of Christ Christian Churches) would also fall under this description of being Anabaptist and Arminian. They are non-denominational.

 

I would LOVE to attend a Mennonite church because of their doctrine and their stance on social issues, but there aren't any in my area.

 

Changing churches can be really hard, both in the leaving and in the finding of one that fits your beliefs and your needs. My advice is to not commit too early, to give it time and make sure you are comfortable with the dynamics in the new church.

 

I don't know much at all about the Christian Church (the denomination), but yes, I love the Mennonites. So much to admire there! 

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I can really empathize with you on that fear you had as a child - I did as well. The sinless perfectionism thing is where I really have a bone to pick with Wesley. Some churches are better or worse on that doctrine though, it varies SO much by congregation and the pastor. Just like conservative Presbyterians - we are much more similar than we differ on many points, and it just depends on the church.

 

We actually have a sign on the wall of our youth area that says, "No perfect people allowed" or something like that--so, yeah, it does depend a lot on the pastor and congregation! Our pastor thankfully strikes a very good balance between grace, truth, and love. All three are essential for a healthy church. 

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So sorry. I don't like it when kids get scared. Seems in total contrast to what Jesus wanted. Isn't it nice though to find out that He has so much more grace than we think?

 

 

Yes, and in any case, I believe children are innocent before God. 

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Ack - I quoted the wrong post by you and don't know how to fix it. I wanted to quote where you said something like "We should have a discussion but maybe not this week...:)" Are we all reeling from a certain other thread? ;)

 

It could be a very informative and interesting discussion if people explained some of the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism and other points of their faiths/ beliefs. There is so much to learn.  Mercy, is next week better for you?

 

No problem, Liz!

 

Yes, still reeling.  :)

 

I wouldn't be able to join in much until Wednesday, and then my time would be still limited. I'm sure it would be an informative discussion, though!

 

I do wonder if this type of discussion might be better in a private social group? Thoughts?

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Can’t tell you how many years I’ve spent praying to be saved every other day because I messed up yet again so it must not have been real. Their view on sanctification was that it did not happen over time but it was a second work of grace that when you prayed to become sanctified it would remove your temptation to sin and you would sin no more.

 

As a child I was always scared that I wouldn’t be aware of a sin I committed and I would die before I could ask for forgiveness and therefore I would end up in hell.

 

I won’t give the name of the church but it was a non denominational Wesleyan Church.

 

Yes, I'm reading through the Wesleyan Discipline, and when I came across a mention of sanctification as a second work of grace I thought it was, for lack of a better word, weird. It's not a teaching I have really seen before. However, we've been at the church for about six months now and it's not something I've heard taught at all.

 

PP's who have said so much depends on the individual church are absolutely right. 

 

Based on your other comments, your former church does not sound at all orthodox. I'm glad you're getting out of there!

 

I struggled with scrupulosity (an OCD form of religious fear) much of my life and I know how difficult it is to be scared like that. I'm so thankful for the "peace that passeth understanding" that I now have as a believer.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

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Same here, Mrs. Hound. Probably no time for an online debate this week, though!

 

Not really a need for debate for me.  I am Wesleyan and I have reasons for being so.  A well meaning Calvinistic friend felt it her duty to argue with me for YEARS in our homeschool group essentially telling me I am not really saved if I don't believe in it the way she does.  

 

Finally we were in a co-op together for a couple of years and actually studied some of this......she gained a deeper appreciation for the way I think about this issue and finally decided that maybe I was indeed saved.

 

Here is the crux for me:  None of these issues are salvation issues.  If you want to argue salvation issues, those are "worth it" to me, but not points of Calvinism.  My friend actually said she is a 7 point Calvinist, but I argued that points 6 and 7 are just reiterations of other points and she backed off.  HA!

 

We are still good friends by the way.

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No problem, Liz!

 

Yes, still reeling.  :)

 

I wouldn't be able to join in much until Wednesday, and then my time would be still limited. I'm sure it would be an informative discussion, though!

 

I do wonder if this type of discussion might be better in a private social group? Thoughts?

 

Whatever works for you all.  If someone establishes one, please post on Chat Board that it's up and running.

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Yes, I'm reading through the Wesleyan Discipline, and when I came across a mention of sanctification as a second work of grace I thought it was, for lack of a better word, weird. It's not a teaching I have really seen before. However, we've been at the church for about six months now and it's not something I've heard taught at all.

 

PP's who have said so much depends on the individual church are absolutely right.

 

Based on your other comments, your former church does not sound at all orthodox. I'm glad you're getting out of there!

 

I struggled with scrupulosity (an OCD form of religious fear) much of my life and I know how difficult it is to be scared like that. I'm so thankful for the "peace that passeth understanding" that I now have as a believer.

 

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

This is some weird stuff that I don't agree with that is Wesleyan but our church has never talked about it at all either. Again though, we have enough Calvinist members that I think it is more of a comfy blend. We share enough in common that it doesn't come into conflict and we agree to disagree on open handed issues.

 

We have to remember that Wesley, Calvin, and the like were all flawed humans interpreting scripture the way that made sense to them. It seems silly for Christians to get caught up in those nuances arguing with each other. The only time I might talk with a CLOSE friend about things like this is if he or she is being taught something completely counter to what all Christians hold as truth. Otherwise it is not worth it to me. I believe what I believe for my reasons and others interpret it differently no big deal. If God wanted us to know he would have been more clear :)

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Yes, I'm reading through the Wesleyan Discipline, and when I came across a mention of sanctification as a second work of grace I thought it was, for lack of a better word, weird. It's not a teaching I have really seen before. However, we've been at the church for about six months now and it's not something I've heard taught at all.

 

PP's who have said so much depends on the individual church are absolutely right.

 

Based on your other comments, your former church does not sound at all orthodox. I'm glad you're getting out of there!

 

I struggled with scrupulosity (an OCD form of religious fear) much of my life and I know how difficult it is to be scared like that. I'm so thankful for the "peace that passeth understanding" that I now have as a believer.

 

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

This is some weird stuff that I don't agree with that is Wesleyan but our church has never talked about it at all either. Again though, we have enough Calvinist members that I think it is more of a comfy blend. We share enough in common that it doesn't come into conflict and we agree to disagree on open handed issues.

 

We have to remember that Wesley, Calvin, and the like were all flawed humans interpreting scripture the way that made sense to them. It seems silly for Christians to get caught up in those nuances arguing with each other. The only time I might talk with a CLOSE friend about things like this is if he or she is being taught something completely counter to what all Christians hold as truth. Otherwise it is not worth it to me. I believe what I believe for my reasons and others interpret it differently no big deal. If God wanted us to know he would have been more clear if it was necessary for salvation. I think we just take Jesus at his word until told otherwise ;)

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Whatever works for you all.  If someone establishes one, please post on Chat Board that it's up and running.

 

 

Exploring Orthodox Christianity is a social group that is open to any to read; to join the group and engage in the conversation, PM the social group's moderator (her name is on the forum intro page).  

 

This group has been running for several years now, and cycles through busyness and quietness,  but there are plenty of threads there just for the reading for any who are interested in learning more about Eastern Orthodoxy.  Just an FYI.

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/forum/140-exploring-orthodox-christianity/

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Now for the questions..

What is your denomination and what differentiates it from others? I realize this can be pretty lengthy but if you’re able to give a simple answer, the jist, if you will.

 

Also (may seem odd) but do you/your church believe that Satan was never in heaven?

My "denomination" is a loose affiliation of non-denominational churches without any kind of over-structure or formal organization. The churches involved are variously called "Christian Churches" or "Churches of Christ" or similar variations. These are churches that have resulted from the "restoration movement" or the "Stone-Campbell movement". (However, there is a spiritually abusive church/cult/group that shares overlap with the name that isn't us. They do have an over-structure, and are officially called "International Church of Christ". Also, the "Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints" is not us.)

 

The most obvious thing that differentiates us from other churches is the rejection of any over-structure or other denominational trappings. Congregations are independent but cooperative.

 

Another key attribute is the claim/slogan, "Unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, in all things love." While we have a history of totally ignoring that value and making mountains out of molehills, we have good intentions. Many congregations are living it out admirably... others show signs of extremely narrow thought and a tendency towards legalism.

 

We are, in general, Protestant evangelicals. We have a lot in common with Baptists, including adult baptism by immersion. We tend to be theologically conservative. (Politically conservative is common too, but not universal.) Calvinism is rare, but not unheard of. We value the Bible highly, but are often guilty of oversimplifying it, or of living more by proof texts than by sound interpretive practices.

 

As for Satan and heaven:

 

Because that issue is 'non-essential' anyone would be free to form their own opinion. As a generalization, you would probably find 'respect for the Bible' leading most folks to take Job seriously as a discription of actual-heaven (with Satan present) as well as taking a literal view on the statement in the gospels about 'seeing Satan fall from heaven'. Therefore I consider it likely that most people would be of the opinion that Satan has been 'in heaven' at some point.

 

The other opinion would involve respect for the Bible's use of symbolic language, artistic genres and metaphors as strategies for communication of inspired truth. This approach might lead to non-literal interpretation of those relevant passages.

 

Both opinions would be welcome and individuals might enjoy a debate without much animosity. 'The church' would be unlikely to take a position, but the pastor or other leaders' opinion might have extra value (equivalent to 'the Church' having an opinion) in some people's eyes.

Edited by bolt.

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You know what, guys? I love you all and think we could have a friendly and respectful discussion about the C/A issue, and there was a time when I would have jumped right in, but I think I’m going to pass on a debate, too. As others have said, it’s not a salvation issue, and I’m maybe a little old and tired, too. 😉 I’m happy to share my perspective on any specific questions via PM. I’m sorry, Liz and Mrs. Hound, and hope you understand!

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Another key attribute is the claim/slogan, "Unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, in all things love." 

 

 

The EPC, Evangelical Presbyterian Church, also has that excellent motto. I wonder how many other churches or denominations do?

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I was a MethoBapTerian (sequentially) when we entered the Orthodox Church 10 years ago.  

 

I had a sort of soft-pedal, years-long faith ... I don't think it could technically be called a *crisis* but I don't know exactly what TO call it.  Maybe faith exploration.  Theological positions stopped making sense, or when the position was taken to its logical conclusion, it was repellant.  The dogmas didn't match up with experience or they were so forced--like making a puzzle fit together by using a hammer.  

 

When we were homeschooling, I wanted to add a catechism into my son's education.  So I started reading one after another.  I found I agreed - and disagreed - with something in each of them.  So I started writing my own.  Then is struck me how ludicrous it was for ME (of all people, against all the people of not only the past 500 years in the Reformation, but of the 1500 years preceding that) to be writing the Truth about Christ.  It was a crystallizing moment for me, and I realized that I could not trust in my own fallen reason to discover, uniquely, all by myself, the Truth.  Tthis was the key question:  Who can I trust to be my teacher?  

 

The "teachers" I had trusted in the past had changed so much from the time they had been my mother's and grandmother's teachers.  The "teachers" I had trusted had profound disagreements about key dogmas.  If something is capital-T Truth, how can it change so much that my own grandmother wouldn't even recognize the church she used to take me to?  How can it be Truth when others who hold Truth are completely contradictory?

 

So that was the question I had to answer.  CS Lewis said something along these lines (I can't locate the exact quote, but I will attempt to capture the spirit of what he said):  That it is not up to us to find a teacher who believes what we believe, but to find a teacher who will tell us what a Christian believes.  It is up to us to conform to Truth, not to conform truth to what we think.  (He said it a LOT better than that!)

Ben Jonson said this:  He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master.  

 

I wanted to be other than a fool, and I wanted to follow Christ, the way, the truth, the life.

 

There is a hymn we sing on Good Friday; the words really got to me one year and I have made it my prayer ever since:  

 

Come, let us bless Joseph of eternal memory, who came by night to Pilate

And begged for the body of the Life of all.

"Give me this stranger, Who has no place to lay His head.

Give me this stranger, Whom the evil disciple betrayed to death.

Give me this stranger..." and more....

 

The repetition of the word "stranger" really got to me--because I do not want the Christ of my own invention, but Christ as He is, as He revealed and reveals Himself.  And it seems to me that the ones who love Him best (as shown by their becoming like Him) are the ones to be my teachers.  The humble, the meek, the ones who love even unto great sacrifice, the ones who obey Him...those are the Teachers, because they are like Him.  

 

That is (believe it or not) a very short snippet of a jillion other things that came into play.  The full version (which I wrote up at the request of a priest) is 13 pages.  I think he was a little dismayed when he got THAT document. Haha.  

 

It is so interesting that in the Scriptures, Pilate asks Jesus, "What is Truth?"  And it is not very far down the page where he answers his own question:  "Ecce homo. (Behold the Man)."  

 

God be with you as you leave this cult behind you and seek Christ truly.  The reaction of those around you will vary--some of us have had a very smooth transition; others have been rejected by family, friends and employers.  There is not a standard reaction...but the point is to behold the Man.

 

 

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My "denomination" is a loose affiliation of non-denominational churches without any kind of over-structure or formal organization. The churches involved are variously called "Christian Churches" or "Churches of Christ" or similar variations. These are churches that have resulted from the "restoration movement" or the "Stone-Campbell movement". (However, there is a spiritually abusive church/cult/group that shares overlap with the name that isn't us. They do have an over-structure, and are officially called "International Church of Christ". Also, the "Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints" is not us.)

 

The most obvious thing that differentiates us from other churches is the rejection of any over-structure or other denominational trappings. Congregations are independent but cooperative.

 

Another key attribute is the claim/slogan, "Unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, in all things love." While we have a history of totally ignoring that value and making mountains out of molehills, we have good intentions. Many congregations are living it out admirably... others show signs of extremely narrow thought and a tendency towards legalism.

 

We are, in general, Protestant evangelicals. We have a lot in common with Baptists, including adult baptism by immersion. We tend to be theologically conservative. (Politically conservative is common too, but not universal.) Calvinism is rare, but not unheard of. We value the Bible highly, but are often guilty of oversimplifying it, or of living more by proof texts than by sound interpretive practices.

 

As for Satan and heaven:

 

Because that issue is 'non-essential' anyone would be free to form their own opinion. As a generalization, you would probably find 'respect for the Bible' leading most folks to take Job seriously as a discription of actual-heaven (with Satan present) as well as taking a literal view on the statement in the gospels about 'seeing Satan fall from heaven'. Therefore I consider it likely that most people would be of the opinion that Satan has been 'in heaven' at some point.

 

The other opinion would involve respect for the Bible's use of symbolic language, artistic genres and metaphors as strategies for communication of inspired truth. This approach might lead to non-literal interpretation of those relevant passages.

 

Both opinions would be welcome and individuals might enjoy a debate without much animosity. 'The church' would be unlikely to take a position, but the pastor or other leaders' opinion might have extra value (equivalent to 'the Church' having an opinion) in some people's eyes.

 

I'm a little curious how it would be a non-essential issue?

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Congratulations on your freedom! I've been going through that too! I was raised in a very conservative denomination popular in the South. Once I hit my 40's, I realized that I really didn't believe the way I had been brought up. I'm 51 now and still coming to terms with the damage that I feel was done during the years I held such rigid beliefs. Since then, I have attended a Presbyterian and Methodist church in places where I have lived. Now, we are on the lookout for another church after recently moving to a new area. I am very interested in Orthodoxy and hope to find a congregation nearby soon. 

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