I agree with you. In today's Christian world, churches can appear to be sound from their statement of faith until they actually unpackaged what those statements actually mean to them. The church is also trying to get away from biblical words in their statements that unbelievers will not understand, so their statements of faith are much more user friendly per se.
As for me I would like to see a little more "flesh" added to them.
Well I saw a few red flags so to speak. The teaching of baptism in order to be saved is something my old church taught--that you do not receive the indwelling Holy Spirit until after you submit to water baptism by immersion and then you are born again. That is another controversial and highly debated subject that tends to divide the church instead of unify it. Also, the man who planted this church, which is an independent Christian church and the Bible is it's only authority (he answers to no one and is the highest authority in the church other than God), is also the pastor of it, and he does not teach eternal security, so all the "serving"--I wonder if that is to maintain being saved. He told me yesterday as we talked that he believes we can walk away from God and it doesn't mean we were not initially saved to begin with--it just means constantly sinning can harden one's heart. But once again that is a highly debatable issue that divides the church instead of unifies her.
Nevertheless God is definitely using this group to do good works in our community. They do seem to care about people and I know Jesus said,
'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'--Matthew 25:45
However, the slogan that People Matter Most--it doesn't sit too well with me either. It's all about God, isn't it? God matters most.
Yet, I know I will never find a perfect church. Maybe I am too picky. I am very traditional as far as worship in church goes. In fact, the thought of drinking and eating during worship service--unless it is Holy Communion--does seem of the "flesh" to me--disrespectful maybe. Yet, I often have a cup of coffee while I am reading and studying the Bible at home. Maybe I am a hypocrite. I like the old hymns and I also like having special music of worship and praise in addition to the whole congregation singing together the old hymns, Just As I Am and There is Power in the Blood and Blessed Assurance.
Maybe I just need to loosen up. Or maybe the church is looking more and more like the world. And too many "Christians" like it.
I guess I really am in limbo--caught somewhere in between. :'(
Well there you go. If I have to be Baptised in order to be saved, then my salvation depends on me. All of Heaven has to wait while I decide whether I want to be Baptised or not.
One can raise a lot of stupid notions when the doctrine of "Baptism before salvation" is promulgated.
Below are some of the ridiculous assumptions that would naturally follow if I believed in Baptism before Salvation:
1) Should I through repentance suddenly discover that I have a relationship with Jesus Christ, well then this relationship is out of line. Jesus had better wait until I get Baptised first.
2) Despite this relationship with Jesus that I have just discovered, should I die before being baptised, well tough luck Jesus you have lost out.... I'm sitting in Hell.
3) Lord when you said "Whosoever cometh unto me I shall in no wise caste out"
You made a mistake Lord you have forgotten that I have to be Baptised first..
Finally it is not my faith in Jesus that has the final say, but only my willingness to be Baptised that will get me to heaven. I CAN GO ON AND ON WITH THIS FORM OF STUPIDITY ......................
But I will conclude this nonsense with the following scripture:
"Sir, what must I do to be Saved?" And they said: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." Acts 16:30-31 I don't see Baptism mentioned here.
Before closing Amanda, Yes men have been known to consider themselves above other church members and insist that they are the final authority. Usually they end up encouraging all their members to drink poison as happened in America a year or two ago.
Also Thank you for including me amongst your friends.
If you notice under salvation, what this church teaches regarding salvation is a list of things that must be done as outlined for "in receiving this gift of grace [salvation], an individual will respond in faith (James 2:14-26)"
Therefore works are included as to "Live and Love by the example of Jesus (Matthew 25:31-46, Philippians 2:12)"
It makes me wonder "To stay saved? Or because they are saved?" Having already fallen into that trap, I am very leery.
It may not be fair for me to say that the lead pastor answers to no one but God--perhaps they do all meet and discuss issues and answer to each other, as he leads them, and they do say that the Bible is the "final authority" and that may not mean the "only authority" because of course I am sure the lead pastor wants the members to submit to church leadership. He does quote Hebrews 13:17 on his web site and says we must have accountability to church leadership. I just question who the church leadership has accountability to--and perhaps it is the Bible as the final authority, since there is no denominational organization or alliance.
He's just a guy on a mission I guess and they are growing. They've been there 4 years.
WE ARE THE TEACHER AND EXAMPLE OF TOMORROWS CHRISTIAN GENERATTIONS IN ALL ASPECTS...
Do we expect the new babe in faith to dress in the way we dress?
Do they understand things in the way we do?
Do they comprehend the decency and respect when we teach the word of God when in swimming trunks, shorts - when something might accidentally be revealed or is it the best for the Lord or is just what we want not what needed?
Do we designate the coffe table differ from the pulpit area, a church of God from a Bar?
Do we see the reverence from reading the word of God from reading a commentary books?
Many things are going into decay... So as beliefs, fundamentals, standards, rules, thinking, understanding, music, decency, respect, rights, freedom, and etc...
Many things in christian world today has influenced of worldly things just to adjust Gospel from where the people are... is the WORD OF GOD become less powerful or is it the new ministers that become less powerful, busy with the kingdom not with the KING?
Ministers become more studious, detailed, learner but never learned, never have that ear to hear, just a handful of mouth to speak or write. Dividing not uniting. Conselling not caring. rebuking but never loving and often have so much but never had an open heart to share a life. Showmanship on the TV's. where are the saved people on the big and lively gatherings?
Guide become lousy in his calling, what do you expect from the novice.
We can't expect them to look only on the author and finisher of our faith when we ourselves are the blockade. We are not perfect but don't use that as a scapegoat... DON'T JUST BE AN EXAMPLE BE AN ENSAMPLE...
DO YOU EXPECT A PANTS FROM SHORTS? A BOXER SHORTS MAYBE... just my thought... tnx
Your quite right in many of the points you make and ask. In fact it is extremely difficult to present the Gospel today, even to the converted.
So much of what is false, has crept into the Church at this present time. In fact those who uphold simple basic truths, that are unquestionably correct, will find that they have opened themselves to criticism, by those who in fact should know better.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Eph 6:12
When it comes to the interpretation of difficult portions of doctrine, one has to walk circumspectly through the different views and beliefs. Even then, one can find a challenge where second thoughts arise, because their interpretation may appear or even be better, than your own.
The TV Evangelist can be something else. One does not need to have too much Biblical insight to realise that you are listening to a charlatan. In fact, because there are so many of them who behave like Judas, one can't help but improve one's ability to "Finger" them the moment they have made two sentences or statements.
So what do these men prove? They unwittingly show that the Bible is correct when it says:
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." 1Tim 3:1-5.
Good to "see" you here on AAG.