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Author: payumoff Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 196111  
Subject: Church questions Date: 10/18/2001 4:15 PM
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What do you look for when choosing a church?

What do you expect from the pastor of the church you attend? From your fellow parishioners?

How do you determine when it's time to leave your present church?

How do you know if the denomination you've chosen is right for you?

What suggestions would you offer to a couple where one partner felt comfortable with the church they were currently attending but the other partner was unhappy with it?



Can you tell I'm currently having issues with my home church?

Just looking for some insight on how other Christians decide on their place of worship. For a bit of background to my problem, I was raised in a Catholic church but not on an "in church every Sunday" basis. I met Jesus outside of church through personal study and a friend's testimony about 12 years ago. My husband was raised in the Methodist church (his dad was a pastor) and we are currently attending the church he grew up in. He feels most comfortable there, knows everyone, participates in the choir, etc and really doesn't want to consider leaving it.

I, on the other hand, am not happy there. I'll admit that in the past year I have not attended and participated as much as I should have but lately I have absolutely no desire to attend the services because... "????" I can't even put my finger on exactly what it is that makes me feel uncomfortable there. I love the people but honestly, I don't feel that we're being 'fed' there spiritually. I can't see any growth there, not in the church or in us. The 2 pastors that we've had in the past 8 to 10 years as well as the one we have currently have preached sermons that just put me to sleep and at times just made me cringe. For the longest time, I thought it was just the Methodist religion that I was having difficulty with but in early September we attended revival services at the same church and I got more from what that visiting pastor (Methodist as well) had to say than I ever have from the many other speakers that I've heard.

Anyway, I'm interested to see what other Christians have to say about how they found their church home and what they expect from it.

Or at the very least, the various diagnoses of what is wrong with me! ;-) I'll check back later tonight.



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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62686 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/18/2001 4:53 PM
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Excellent questions!

What do you look for when choosing a church?

A) Doctrinal essentials
1) Jesus Christ was both God and man, died on the cross to redeem
mankind for God's glory.
2) We are reconciled to God solely by His grace, and not through any
works we may do ourselves.
3) Christ is the only path to God. Though containing some elements
of truth in various forms, no other religion is accepted as
teaching all essential truths that point to Christ as savior.
4) The Gospel of Christ must be spread. An emphasis on
international missions and community evangelism is an integral
part of Christian belief.


B) Unity/signs of obvious and frequent Christian fellowship


C) An intelligent pastor i can respect, learn from, and enjoy listening to on a weekly basis


D) A style of worship that facilitates my own worship experience on a regular basis


E) A "warmth" among the people of the church that leads to enduring friendships
1) If it is any bigger than a handfull of people, some sort of small
groups are necessary to develop a closeness among the people.
Preferably, this should be some form of Bible study. My church
has Sunday School.
2) My church also encourages participation in what we call "Covenant
Groups," which are groups of only three or four people who meet
regularly to be transparent with one another, hold each other
accountable, and study some relevant material.


F) Sincerity/lack of "showiness" in all aspects of the church


G) ...i may have forgotten something : )

What do you expect from the pastor of the church you attend? From your fellow parishioners?

I expect my pastor to be a gifted teacher and shepherd. He should be able to provide insight into scripture and life itself. He should care for the spiritual health of the members of the church, and care about their physical well-being too. And let's face it, no one wants to be put to sleep on Sunday morning. A pastor should be a good speaker.

I expect other people in the church to love me as Christ first loved them. They shouldn't be judgemental. The ones who know me well enough should hold me accountable, but there should be no condemning stares if they know i or anyone else has commited a particular sin. They should be eager to worship God and serve as part of the Body of Christ. We should all experience genuine Christian fellowship whenever we gather together in Christ's name. I also don't want anyone telling me i'm not a Christian because i don't believe exactly as they do on a particular issue. God should be the first priority.

How do you determine when it's time to leave your present church?

That's a real toughie. I can't imagine my wife and i leaving our present church unless we move. I don't see any "chink in the armor" that might lead to it veering substantially off course. That said, if it did veer off course, for example, if our current pastor left and a new one was hired who started preaching that we must give 10% of our gross income in order to get to heaven, i'd leave. I guess if anything i consider to be fundamental in a church were to change for the worse, i'd have to leave.

How do you know if the denomination you've chosen is right for you?

Not sure. I think you're better off focusing on individual churches, rather than entire denominations. There can be vast differences from church to church even within one denomination. Maybe visit around to some other denominations and see if they fit with your criteria. I guess you should first develop your own criteria for what you consider to be fundamental for a good church. Then you'll know once you find one.

You might start by writing down exactly what you believe, what you consider to be most important to your own Christian belief, and then do some net searches on various denominations and see what their web sites say about their beliefs. If one denomination is way off from something you consider essential, then you might be hard pressed to find a church in that denomination that fits you.

What suggestions would you offer to a couple where one partner felt comfortable with the church they were currently attending but the other partner was unhappy with it?

That's gotta be the toughest of all. I don't have any experience with that, so take my advice with a grain of salt. If your spouse is happy but you're dissatisfied, i'd reccomend you talk to him about. Explain your feelings about the church. Find out exactly what he likes about it, and what, if anything, he dislikes. Ask if he wouldn't mind visiting around to find someplace both of you can be happy together. Above all, be open-minded and respectful, and make sure he knows you value his feelings on the subject.

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Author: HisDelight Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62699 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/18/2001 6:08 PM
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Hi Allison!

I know we're not supposed to covet, but this one brings to mind something I've always wanted--a husband who prays, and who prays with me. Do you pray with your husband? I hope so, that would be sooo awesome and definitely in order here. Have you been able to talk with him about it? I'm sure it could be a little difficult (maybe not?), but if you pray about it first, I'm sure God will bless your efforts--and I'll be praying! Have you felt that you can talk with your pastor about it?

I know with me, when I changed, it was a combination of things. I was disillusioned in that I began to see, and hear, what I perceived to be discrepancies between the talk and the walk of the church, pastor included. I didn't feel fed. It also came about at the same time that I saw what I perceived to be shortfalls in what my church was teaching, so it all came together for me that way. Look for a church, with members, who love you and feed you the Word. Members who support each other and encourage each other to grow.

I know you have the additional responsibility of needing to be submissive and receptive to your husband on this, but it's my prayer that he loves you as Christ loves the church and therefore your concerns and your desire to grow are as important to him as his own. Since he's grown up there, it's bound to be a bittersweet subject for him--and probably you, too!--but I hope you can express your feelings to him and pray together about it. *LOL* Praying together...oh boy, what a wonderful thing to be able to do.

Please keep us posted and I'll be sure to keep you in prayer for this, too!

God bless you,
Pam


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Author: OKlady8 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62701 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/18/2001 6:18 PM
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Payumoff, you have certainly raised a lot of questions and I'm sure you'll get a lot of different answers, but it really is a very personal thing with each of us, I think. My personal experience has been different from a lot of people's. I left the church I was raised in and lived a life of sin for 10 years. When I was at my lowest, ready to commit suicide, a friend recommended that I talk with an Episcopal Priest. Reluctantly, I did - explaining to him that I didn't believe in his church or in what he taught! (I was quite hostile but he saw through me.) One year later I was confirmed in that church. About 15 years later after having sat through about 4 subsequent Priests, I realized that I was no longer being fed spiritually, so I looked for another church - Episcopal, of course. I finally found one - a small parish that I just loved. Many of the people were spirit-filled and the Priest could preach a good sermon which is rare in the Episcopal Church. After about 8 years, the church blew up! They ran the Priest off and it was an awful mess. I just despise church splits and problems. The next Priest ran off all my friends, so I left also. During the next few years I would attend various churches, including Methodist, but never really felt drawn to become a part of a congregation. Several months ago I asked my daughter if I could go with her. She has been attending charasmatic(I guess)church which is quite large for my taste - 6,000+ members with 4 Sunday morning services. The have a "freedom" that I'm not completely comfortable with, yet. This isn't what I would normally pick out to even visit, but I knew that I could no longer sit home and attend church on TV! I love the singing and the preaching. The church is alive! Every service I have attended is full of young people and lots and lots of babies. (This is one thing I look at, for if it's just old people like me, then something's wrong with that church.IMHO) This seems to be the place for me at the present time. I really miss the ritual of the Episcopal Church, but I need more than that. I continue to ask God to lead me to where I'm supposed to be and so far, he seems to be telling me I'm there!

I pray that you will find that place where you can be fed.

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Author: OKlady8 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62702 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/18/2001 6:23 PM
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Excellent answer, Bon.

Helen

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Author: KingMullet Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62706 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/18/2001 8:53 PM
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<<Anyway, I'm interested to see what other Christians have to say about how they found their church home and what they expect from it.>>

I suppose this won't be a very popular thought, but I don't expect anything from my church. Church is a place for communal worship of God. If I get something out of it, great, but that's not the major purpose. Some people might say you get out of a church what you put into it. I don't know about that either. Maybe God just wants you to put a lot into it. Faith isn't always a fair market transaction.

I think your question about denomination is a good one. I've seen people adopt a consumer approach to church, and go shopping for one that makes them feel good ('good' in this usage could mean 'soothing' or 'challenging', depending on the perspective of the individual). Oftentimes that means changing denominations, without any particular regard for whether or not they like that denomination's theology. That scares me a bit. Are we Americans so inured to our consumer culture that we incessantly shop for transient happiness? I hope not.

Anyway, down from the soapbox (hey, cut me some slack, I was a Soapbox author). I don't think from the sound of it that has happened to you. It isn't surprising that you like one Methodist pastor and perhaps dislike another. That seems very typical. However, if you sense a deeper unhappiness, perhaps you have a theological issue. I can relate to that because for a time I went to Episcopalian services. They are very similar to Catholic services, but I never felt exactly right. When the preaching was good, I felt better, less so when it was bad. But on the whole, I felt out of place.

Then one day I woke up and simply realized that I was Catholic, partly by virtue of my baptism, partly my nature, I guess. So even though I hadn't attended Catholic services for several years, I went back. Since then, I've been through two parishes (as a result of moving), and probably 12 different priests.

I tell you, some of them give really bad homilies. But even so, I am there because that's where I belong. If I have a right to expect anything from the Church, it is the Sacraments, and by the grace of God those work whether or not the priest is particularly inspired.

But it wasn't until after I completed the adult initiation that I fully appreciated, from a theological view, why that was the right change for me. I guess what I'd recommend is asking yourself some hard questions about what it is you truly believe. Perhaps it might be a good time to explore some sort of adult Christian education, starting with your current church. Once you feel a part of your church, whatever happens on any given Sunday (hehe) doesn't matter so much.

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Author: rev2217 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62710 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/18/2001 9:35 PM
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payumoff,

What do you look for when choosing a church?

What do you expect from the pastor of the church you attend? From your fellow parishioners?

How do you determine when it's time to leave your present church?

How do you know if the denomination you've chosen is right for you?

What suggestions would you offer to a couple where one partner felt comfortable with the church they were currently attending but the other partner was unhappy with it?


The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (http://www.billygraham.org) publishes some excellent materials on how to find the right church. If you don't find the information on their web site, call their toll-free information line (1-877-2-GRAHAM) and ask for materials on finding the right church.

Can you tell I'm currently having issues with my home church?

It's really unfortunate that you and your husband did not resolve this before your marriage. It sounds like you entered a situation in which he's attached to a faith community that isn't working for you -- in short, a sort of unequal yolk. Unfortunately, your marriage is caught in the middle of the spiritual divide.

Since you can't put your finger on exactly what's wrong in your present church, it would be worthwhile to sit down with a pastor or spiritual advisor and talk about it. A competent spiritual counselor or "spiritual director" will be able to ask the right questions to help you clarify what's happening. When you understand why something isn't working, the corrective steps generally are pretty obvious.

May the Holy Spirit guide your search for a spiritual home and guide you through the difficult decisions that lie ahead!

Norm.


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Author: Urban123 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62715 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/18/2001 11:08 PM
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I've been torn myself lately. As I've stated before, the Holy Spirit only recently moved in me and awakened me to a life with Christ... I'm newly born again! Anyway, I realize that church is not necessary for my salvation, but can be and really always has been a help in THIS life. Think of the role of the early church... it wasn't to redeem because Jesus had already done that, but to provide the believers with a community of fellow souls that they could rely on against the outside forces who sought to imprison and silence them.

Anyway, I'm off topic again.

The first Sunday of my new life, I simply took out the ol' Yellow Pages and asked God to guide me. I wasn't that thrilled with the church I attended. The next week, I began listening to a local station broadcasting the Calvary Satellite Network feed.

I was impressed and could feel God's Word was reaching me in the many Bible studies they broadcast throughout the day. I couldn't tear myself away, even listening at work on their webcast (http://www.calvarychapel.org). I longed for that kind of fellowship and spirituality in a church environment. Then, they announced that there was a local Calvary Chapel affiliated with this national network. I attended, and have been quite pleased.

Always remember, of course, that no organization or activity in which humans are involved is going to be perfect. If its perfection you want, then seek God! {;~ ) I know that's what you're doing!

One more point... the story doesn't end with CSN and the Calvary Chapel I'm attending: God has also called me to a ministry of serving the needs of homeless in the downtown area where I live. One night, while out, I came across an old catering truck (i.e., "roach coach") stopped near a small downtown park. These guys that looked like the came straight from Hollywood casting under the category "bad biker dudes" got out, called out to a large (30-40) group of homeless people, joined hands with all of them in a large circle, and began to pray. The prayer was Spirit-filled and heartfelt. Then the circle broke, the bikers opened the truck and began ladling hot soup from a big pot for a long line of hungry homeless folks.

I spoke with them and learned a little about their ministry. I found out they also run a homeless shelter near downtown. The next day, I went and talked to the founder and pastor, a biker dude named Jim.

Brothers and sisters, I have not met many men as filled with faith in the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit as Jim. He is a typical apostolic story: 7-8 years ago, God called him to leave his successful construction business to come to live in a VERY humble little house next to the railroad tracks and an old building he bought and turned into a shelter. It is run by him and his band of Christian bikers. You've never met a friendlier and more loving group of men and women - true brothers and sisters in Christ. The shelter is not a United Way agency; no federal funding; it doesn't charge the residents to stay: God provides all they need. How? In the way God ALWAYS provides exactly what we need. People don't go hungry there. The food is good, prepared by humble believers. The beds are clean. The residents are loved and safe. They live and, yes, die there. Two passed away in the last week, one from a long infirmity, the other was mysteriously killed by a train.

Lest you think this is only a mercy mission, each resident is required to follow strict rules, one of which requires them to work if they can; a minimum of 35 hours a week, or regular attendance at the day labor sites looking for work. Not all can work, and they stay there during the day, but the rest must go out by 7:00 a.m. and cannot return until the early evening.

Final chapter! *s* Jim presides over a Sunday church service (old and various Bibles; rows of pews lined up next to the rows of bunks and in front of their dining tables where Jim sits on a folding chair) that all residents are required to attend. As I said, he is Spirit-filled and I was almost to tears of joy at the sermon/ preaching talk he gave regarding the love of Jesus Christ and the perfection of His sacrifice on the cross. He also spoke of the Apocalypse and implored them in the most loving terms that, if the time came during their lives, they not take the mark of the beast.

After the service ended, I stay silent for a long time simply basking in the glow of the Holy Spirit that filled my heart. The residents then line up for Sunday lunch. Jim asked me if I would like to serve the food. Later, I broke bread with those homeless folks.

In my personal ministry, and now in my call to assist Jim's work, I have met the most fabulous and holy people living on the streets. Intelligent, caring, warm-hearted, loving, selfless, generous, these people are so close to God because He is so close to them. They have no bills, no mortgages, no cars, no televisions to separate them from the one who provides for all of our needs, not just those of the homeless and oppressed.

So, while you may not attend there every Sunday, I suggest you find in your community a church ministering to the less fortunate of our society. You will come to truly know what "revival" means. Perhaps it's because of Jesus' promise that the "last would be first" that you'll find such powerful pastors spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to the homeless and the poor.

I started by saying I was torn. I want to stay with biker Jim's church, but I have a great appreciation for the Calvary Church and their pastor, also named Jim. In God's wisdom, I do not have to decide: Calvary has an 8:30 service, and the biker church is at 12:00 noon. I can do both! *s*

With Christ's love for all of you, and for my friends of the street,
Urban

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Author: glampig Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62717 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/18/2001 11:33 PM
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payumoff,

Before asking how one chooses a Church home, you might ask yourself why you attend Church at all. Simply make a prioritized list of your reasons and then compare that list to the choices you find available. I've shared my list before. Maybe it's time to do so again.

I attend Church:
(1)to corporately worship God (required faithful assembly)
(2)to be of service to God and others
(3)to be fed

My experience has been that if I diligently apply myself in the first two items, the third one takes care of itself.
Rick, the glampig


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Author: beejous Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62718 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/18/2001 11:36 PM
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<< I attend Church:
(1)to corporately worship God (required faithful assembly)
(2)to be of service to God and others
(3)to be fed

My experience has been that if I diligently apply myself in the first two items, the third one takes care of itself.
>>


Well stated, Rick, and I think this is a test that all of us could take from time to time to ensure that we do not become lukewarm.

God Bless,
Bryan

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Author: DiabloQueen Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62720 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/18/2001 11:40 PM
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<< I attend Church:
(1)to corporately worship God (required faithful assembly)
(2)to be of service to God and others
(3)to be fed

My experience has been that if I diligently apply myself in the first two items, the third one takes care of itself. >>


Well stated, Rick, and I think this is a test that all of us could take from time to time to ensure that we do not become lukewarm.


I thought what Rick meant by #3 was that he made sure to attend church on pot luck Sundays. :)

Guess I'm being too literal tonight.



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Author: beejous Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62722 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/18/2001 11:45 PM
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<< I attend Church:
(1)to corporately worship God (required faithful assembly)
(2)to be of service to God and others
(3)to be fed

My experience has been that if I diligently apply myself in the first two items, the third one takes care of itself. >>


Well stated, Rick, and I think this is a test that all of us could take from time to time to ensure that we do not become lukewarm.


I thought what Rick meant by #3 was that he made sure to attend church on pot luck Sundays. :)



Well, on the other hand, it is good to check the potluck to make sure it has not become lukewarm ;-)

In Christ,
Bryan
Putting off writing a paper tonight.

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Author: hermonster Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62748 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/19/2001 3:33 AM
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Payumoff:

Adding to the great advice and insights given in this thread, let me share a tidbit that helped me in my journey.

I noticed you mentioned you grew up Catholic. If the Catholic faith happens to still be a consideration for you, I found a book very helpful that helped me in my return to my baptismal faith: Could You Ever Come Back to the Catholic Church by Lorene Hanley Duquin. It's a quick reading book that helped dispell for me much of the misunderstandings I had about the Catholic Church that kept me away.

Just a helpful suggestion if you happened to be searching back on your early faith experience.

Take Care,

Jon

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Author: SupplySider Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62751 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/19/2001 8:09 AM
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Payumoff,

1) The most important thing for a church is the preaching of the Gospel. Are you getting the Gospel, or just a bunch of "house rules"?

2) The second most important thing for a church is doctrine. Does the doctrine of the church conform to what you believe? I strongly believe that attending a church whose doctrine you agree with is much more important than how the church makes you "feel". If you don't know the doctrines of your church, they should be able to provide you with a list.

Most importantly, I would pray for guidance.




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Author: payumoff Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62801 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/19/2001 4:04 PM
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I apologize for not having more time to reply sooner today. I'm busy running errands before a last minute trip out of town for the weekend. But I did want to touch base with the board to let you know that I have read all the great replies to my questions. I plan on responding again when I return Monday.

You all have brought up some excellent points...many of which I had not considered. DH and I have not really sat down and discussed just what we want from a church or what type of ministry we'd like to be involved in. I think that may be a key factor in helping us decide the next step.

I also realized when reading the posts that one reason I may feel out of place and unfulfilled right now is that I've yet to find "my" place in God's service. DH's role in the church was easy because of his history there. He has participated in the music ministry since he was a child and now performs as a soloist. I feel like I'm still stumbling around, trying to find where I fit in. (And I KNOW my place is NOT in the choir...lol. DH always jokes that my sisters and I should start our own group...The Monotones! Oh well, all God said I had to do was make a joyful noise)


Again, my apologies for such a rushed reply and my thanks for your insights.

God bless and have a wonderful (and safe) weekend,
Allison







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Author: tedhimself Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62803 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/19/2001 4:09 PM
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Payunoff: I feel like I'm still stumbling around, trying to find where I fit in. (And I KNOW my place is NOT in the choir...lol.

I can identify with that! My wife sings in the choir and I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. And it did take me a while to find out where I could fit in and be a part of things. Keep looking, there are lots of opportunities in most churches.
Ted

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Author: rev2217 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62819 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/19/2001 10:42 PM
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SupplySider,

The second most important thing for a church is doctrine. Does the doctrine of the church conform to what you believe? I strongly believe that attending a church whose doctrine you agree with is much more important than how the church makes you "feel". If you don't know the doctrines of your church, they should be able to provide you with a list.

This statement begs the question of whether one should attend a church that conforms to one's own personal beliefs, already formed, or rather one should attend a church to be formed according to God's ways. I rather submit that the mission of the church is the latter, and thus that conformance of the church's doctrine to divine revelation (scripture) is much more important than conformance of the church's doctrine to one's own beliefs. Indeed, if one's own beliefs don't agree with the doctrine of a church that claims to be Christian, one ought to question both in the light of God's word -- and I do mean the entire deposit of scripture rather than just one or two short passages -- to see which is true.

Norm.


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Author: rev2217 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62820 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/19/2001 10:49 PM
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Allison,

(And I KNOW my place is NOT in the choir...lol. DH always jokes that my sisters and I should start our own group...The Monotones! Oh well, all God said I had to do was make a joyful noise)

I can relate. I'm not a monotone, but I have a penchant for composing new harmonies on the fly, some of which can be quite dissonant, when I try to sing on pitch....

Seriously, though, even a choir needs its support staff -- somebody to organize and distribute music, handle correspondence, serve refreshments after rehearsal, etc.

Then again, I'm wondering if there isn't something seriously wrong with a community of faith that has not reached out to you to make you feel welcome and to invite your participation in various ministries and study groups to help you find your niche... or you declined such invitations?

Norm.


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Author: tedhimself Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62824 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/19/2001 11:12 PM
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A good church will preach and teach the whole bible. Churches in which the minister or pastor or priest are free to pick their topic each and every week tend to fail in this regard because they tend to stay in their particular area of interest. I like the ones that use the three year lectionary.

A good church will give fairly equal respect and time to all three aspects of the holy trinity. (Many of the most rapidly growing ones seem to me to give more emphasis to the spirit (holy ghost). This can give a high energy service that leaves one feeling exhilerated, but poor in biblical knowledge.

Just my thoughts.
Ted

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Author: beckyz51 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62844 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/20/2001 6:44 AM
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Keep looking, there are lots of opportunities in most churches.
........................
Hi Ted!

I never felt like I fit in anywhere either. Then I read about intercessory prayer. I had been doing it for years as I had a job with lots of drive time and talked to God a great part of the day and also could listen to Christian music for hours.

I never realized that could be one's service! Also, we had an Evangelist come one time who was so funny!!! But he hit us right in the gut with his message of doing the little things. Things most of us took for granted--the nursery, we found had the same people working most of the time because no one ever signed up! We had a massive sign-up after the service! Those poor people hadn't heard a service in ages! We also made it a "couples" duty and added workers to both services. We used to sit around in a BIG circle and get to know each other during quiet times and take turns problem solving, diapering, and holding the babies. It was fun! And only about once every 6 to 8 weeks!

Think of some other stuff, this guy had a billion of them. We all felt very "holy" doing these things that most people never noticed, all because of a great speaker with a great message.

Becky

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Author: beckyz51 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62848 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/20/2001 7:24 AM
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This statement begs the question of whether one should attend a church that conforms to one's own personal beliefs, already
formed, or rather one should attend a church to be formed according to God's ways. I rather submit that the mission of the church is the latter, and thus that conformance of the church's doctrine to divine revelation (scripture) is much more important than conformance of the church's doctrine to one's own beliefs.

..........................
Norm,
How can this be?

If my beliefs are based on years of study and prayer, why would I want to have a "church" change it? If I hear a teaching that's different from mine--I go home and do a Bible Study on it with the Holy Spirit by my side.

This happened in my favorite church, it's charismatic, and I was told my whole life they were heretics. In fact, when I wrote to have my membership changed, I got a pamphlet back that was very disturbing. I came to find that the things I was disturbed by weren't preached in this church.

TV preachers have a lot to do with these goofy beliefs, like "Prosperity teaching"---Pastor once said, and I may be repeating here, that "prosperity" is having enough for yourself and some extra for others. I like that! I DO NOT believe I need a brand new car to consider myself prosperous, or, as I heard an Evangelist say once, a jet because he had places to go and wanted to get there FAST! I don't care if he has a jet, I just doubt it was God's priority.

Reading the 'Church' Covenant(or whatever they call it) to be sure they believe in the diety of Christ, the resurrection, etc.--the BASIC BELIEFS THAT MAKE US CHRISTIONS. THAT is important. Then, check out the rest to see their priorities, feeding the poor and having day-care for the poor. Or evangelizing, supporting lots of Missionaries and making blankets and stuff to send to them and the people they minister to. Are they active with any other groups? Street Ministry, etc.

Your statement infers, IMO, that all churches are right and if you join one, you should just sit back and let them program you in their doctrines. I mean, how many denominations are there? They can't ALL be right (probably none is) but they are still Christian. Did I misunderstand you???

Becky



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Author: glampig Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62854 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/20/2001 10:29 AM
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rev2217,

< one should attend a church to be formed according to God's ways. >

AMEN!!!

Rick, the glampig



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Author: LUC95 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62855 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/20/2001 10:38 AM
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If my beliefs are based on years of study and prayer, why would I want to have a "church" change it? If I hear a teaching that's different from mine--I go home and do a Bible Study on it with the Holy Spirit by my side.



Becky,

Excellent point. Too bad I could only rec it once.

Charlie

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Author: rev2217 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62885 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/20/2001 10:54 PM
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Becky,

Your statement infers, IMO, that all churches are right and if you join one, you should just sit back and let them program you in their doctrines. I mean, how many denominations are there? They can't ALL be right (probably none is) but they are still Christian. Did I misunderstand you???

Yes, I think so. I'm one of those techie types who tends to write very concisely, so you have to read every word carefully in order to understand what I'm saying. Let's see if highlighting the parts of the post to which you are responding helps. Here's the text of that post, with the parts that you seem to have missed in boldface.

"This statement begs the question of whether one should attend a church that conforms to one's own personal beliefs, already formed, or rather one should attend a church to be formed according to God's ways. I rather submit that the mission of the church is the latter, and thus that conformance of the church's doctrine to divine revelation (scripture) is much more important than conformance of the church's doctrine to one's own beliefs. Indeed, if one's own beliefs don't agree with the doctrine of a church that claims to be Christian, one ought to question both in the light of God's word -- and I do mean the entire deposit of scripture rather than just one or two short passages -- to see which is true." (Italics in original; boldface added.)

If my beliefs are based on years of study and prayer, why would I want to have a "church" change it? If I hear a teaching that's different from mine--I go home and do a Bible Study on it with the Holy Spirit by my side.

Where did you learn the basics of the gospel -- what you call the essential truths?

Where did you learn how to go about studying scripture?

Where did you learn to pray?

Where do you turn to confirm that you are hearing God clearly and getting the right sense from a difficult passage of scripture?

In some sense, the answer to all of these questions is the church -- not necessarily your present congregation, but nonetheless God's servants. Young Christians need mature believers to nurture them in the Christian faith, and the church is the place where one finds those mature believers. Even mature believers benefit from the insights of other mature believers.

It strikes me as rather arrogant to presume that I have perfect understanding of scripture and complete knowledge of God, to the point that other belivers can't help me to discover more, even after several decades of walking in faith. God is infinite, and my knowledge is finite. There's always more that other believers can help me to learn.

This happened in my favorite church, it's charismatic, and I was told my whole life they were heretics. In fact, when I wrote to have my membership changed, I got a pamphlet back that was very disturbing. I came to find that the things I was disturbed by weren't preached in this church.

It's really sad to see any person who professes to be a Christian resort to tearing down other Christian congregation. When we're tearing down others, we are not fulfilling our mission of preaching the gospel and we are not building up the body of Christ. In most instances, an assembly or a preacher who resorts to such tactics really is fulfilling his or her voction.

TV preachers have a lot to do with these goofy beliefs, like "Prosperity teaching"---Pastor once said, and I may be repeating here, that "prosperity" is having enough for yourself and some extra for others. I like that! I DO NOT believe I need a brand new car to consider myself prosperous, or, as I heard an Evangelist say once, a jet because he had places to go and wanted to get there FAST! I don't care if he has a jet, I just doubt it was God's priority.

Yes, the world is full of charletans -- and the new testament carries many warnings about their false gospels that will mislead many. That's precisely why I said, in the earlier post, that it's imperative that a church's teaching be authentic, in line with the Gospel.

Norm.


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Author: SupplySider Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62902 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/21/2001 8:54 AM
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Norm,

This statement begs the question of whether one should attend a church that conforms to one's own personal beliefs, already formed, or rather one should attend a church to be formed according to God's ways. I rather submit that the mission of the church is the latter, and thus that conformance of the church's doctrine to divine revelation (scripture) is much more important than conformance of the church's doctrine to one's own beliefs. Indeed, if one's own beliefs don't agree with the doctrine of a church that claims to be Christian, one ought to question both in the light of God's word -- and I do mean the entire deposit of scripture rather than just one or two short passages -- to see which is true.

I agree completely. The point I was trying to make is that doctrine is more important than how a particular church makes you "feel". You should test what the church teaches and your own beliefs in light of Scripture.

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Author: frindon Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62906 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/21/2001 10:09 AM
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It strikes me as rather arrogant to presume that I have perfect understanding of scripture and complete knowledge of God, to the point that other belivers can't help me to discover more, even after several decades of walking in faith. God is infinite, and my knowledge is finite. There's always more that other believers can help me to learn.



Very good post Norm.

Do you recall a thread from a while back which I seem to remember was called "Church Shopping" about looking for a church that suited you, the person who was looking. This person wanted a church where they felt at home, where the congregation was welcoming etc. While these are good things to want, by far the most important is to find a church where the teaching is in conformity with the bible. When I say in conformity, I mean where the teaching is directly from the bible and not some cleverly though up reason why the bible did not mean what it said. At the time I instanced Jesus saying unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you shall not have eternal life and followed that up by showing what He meant at the last supper. So any church that does not have the eucharist at the center of its services is definitely not following Jesus and is not good for your chances in eternity.

Frindon


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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62916 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/21/2001 2:06 PM
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<<So any church that does not have the eucharist at the center of its services is definitely not following Jesus and is not good for your chances in eternity.>>

Hmm I have had the eucharist in my life and probably never will?

I do participate in the Lord's Supper on a weekly basis. However participating in Lord's Supper can also be hazardous to your "chances in eternity"!
1 Corinthians 11:27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.



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Author: OKlady8 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62918 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/21/2001 2:18 PM
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I don't recall reading where it says The Holy Sacrament must be offered at all services. I do seem to recall that Scripture says something to the effect that as often as we do it, to do so in remembrance of Christ.
At the church I now attend, it is offered before every service, but it is not *central* to the service.

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Author: Urban123 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62946 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/21/2001 8:58 PM
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For OKlady8:

"For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.'

In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.'

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes"
(1Cr 11:23-26)

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Author: beckyz51 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62950 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/21/2001 10:01 PM
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If my beliefs are based on years of study and prayer, why would I want to have a "church" change it? If I hear a teaching that's different from mine--I go home and do a Bible Study on it with the Holy Spirit by my side.

Where did you learn the basics of the gospel -- what you call the essential truths?
Sunday School, Mormon's, JW's, Baptists, Methodists,Dispensationalists, and various Summer Camps. All churches "claiming" to be Christian--how was I to know? All were different in HOW to do things and what was important.

Where did you learn how to go about studying scripture?
By learning about Bibles and books to help you find things in them. I also read books on it and listened to "Through the Bible" with Rev. Mc Gee on the radio.

Where did you learn to pray?
I honestly don't know. I can't remember a time I didn't pray. I was a very frightened child.

Where do you turn to confirm that you are hearing God clearly and getting the right sense from a difficult passage of scripture? Books and reading every verse that pertains to it. I follow the verses in the center column until they end, and do a similar word search, also write it in the back of my Bible so I can add verses over time as I read them.

Norm,
I know where you were going with this, and I WISH the "church" was able to do the things you say---it SHOULD. But, in my experience, the "churches" I went to, with one exception, only frustrated me. I'd ask a question in one "church" and be asked why I was so worried about it!!
Hello! I'm not there for therapy! Another told me Adam and Eve were myths and MAYBE Abraham was a real person! I asked why I should believe Jesus then, if HE lied about Adam and Eve and Jonah and Noah and whoever else. He said--faith. AGH!!!!!!! In WHAT? In WHO? He said, I shouldn't read the Bible anymore if I got so upset about it!!!
Norm, you just don't realize how many "churches" claim to be true! I've for some reason, met them ALL! And, they WANT you. They will follow you to your grave---PRAYING for you! Warning you! Looking sad at you!
If I hadn't trusted the Holy Spirit to teach me, I'd be dead. Seriously. I was not very stable in my 20's and people were pulling me in all different directions. JW's say heaven is only for 44,000 people and if after the millinium, I sin--POOF! I'm annialated!(?) Mormon's say, if I OBEY!, I'll be Goddess and give birth to a whole world!!
Dispensationalists taught me we don't need to be baptized or take communion--that was for the early church, not us. I could go on and on.

Maybe in a perfect world, Norm. Mine wasn't. And the Holy Spirit was the one I decided to trust. And I'm so grateful HE took the time for a screwed up kid like me!

Sure, I have verses I wonder about. I talk to mature Christians about them. Individual people that you can get to know and trust are a blessing, as are you and many others on the board. But, "churches" can be a curse rather than a blessing to someone searching alone.

Becky

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62961 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/21/2001 11:12 PM
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<<Maybe in a perfect world, Norm. Mine wasn't. And the Holy Spirit was the one I decided to trust. And I'm so grateful HE took the time for a screwed up kid like me!

Sure, I have verses I wonder about. I talk to mature Christians about them. Individual people that you can get to know and trust are a blessing, as are you and many others on the board. But, "churches" can be a curse rather than a blessing to someone searching alone.>>

Jeremiah 17:5 This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."




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Author: beckyz51 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63015 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/22/2001 1:11 PM
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Jeremiah 17:5 This is what the LORD says:
.....................
Nothing like an answer directly from God!!!
Thank you L. for your "inspired" scriptures--you always seem to have just the right one.
Have I told you lately that I LOVE you??

Your friend,
Becky

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Author: frindon Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63022 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/22/2001 1:55 PM
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I do participate in the Lord's Supper on a weekly basis. However participating in Lord's Supper can also be hazardous to your "chances in eternity"!
1 Corinthians 11:27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.



Yes, of course and this further emphasises that the bread anbd wine become truly the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Frindon



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Author: frindon Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63023 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/22/2001 1:57 PM
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I don't recall reading where it says The Holy Sacrament must be offered at all services. I do seem to recall that Scripture says something to the effect that as often as we do it, to do so in remembrance of Christ.
At the church I now attend, it is offered before every service, but it is not *central* to the service.


Consider what it says if you do not have the Eucharist, don't you think that is somewhat central to your existance.

Frindon



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Author: frindon Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63025 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/22/2001 2:06 PM
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Sure, I have verses I wonder about. I talk to mature Christians about them. Individual people that you can get to know and trust are a blessing, as are you and many others on the board. But, "churches" can be a curse rather than a blessing to someone searching alone.

Becky


Becky,
If someone in your town said they had had a revelation and they were starting a new church(there are over 1000 denominations in the US, so this has happened many times), would you say OK I believe you or, would you say what is your revelation, or would you say Jesus said there would be false prophets and I know that I must not listen to them. If you are now in a church that started like that, do you say at what point did the religion I am trying to follow, actually have the authority Jesus gave to man.

Frindon


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Author: beckyz51 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63035 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/22/2001 3:00 PM
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Becky,
If someone in your town said they had had a revelation and they were starting a new church(there are over 1000 denominations
in the US, so this has happened many times), would you say OK I believe you or, would you say what is your revelation, or
would you say Jesus said there would be false prophets and I know that I must not listen to them.

.................................
Frindon,

Are you kidding!!! He'd be lucky to escape ALIVE!!!!! I would follow him around shouting, "BEWARE! FALSE PROPHET!!!" until I got arrested or he saw the light!
After all the cults, I have found the truth. I don't mean I have stopped learning and growing, but no false prophet is getting me again. I want to add a "Lord willing" here.
I'm grounded. Until the day I finally understood the Trinity, I was like those people in the Bible, being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine---I wanted all the answers!!

Now, I know I may never have all the answers, and am happy as a clam for every new revelation I get as I read the Bible. Some things are for God alone and I am thankful for everything He has given us to know. I stand amazed at his mercy and long suffering.
When I gave my heart to Him, I KNEW who I believed in. THAT was the problem. Every question I asked about the Trinity was blown off! I couldn't figure out how Jesus could be God's son AND God. The one preacher who had the guts to preach it, was a man I hadn't met yet. He was Baptist! I never would have gone to a Baptist church! Rules!! I couldn't abide rules which at that time were against movies, playing cards, dancing--what else was there? That was where I was. Luckily the rules got more reasonable and I grew up a bit. And God sent them to my door when I felt all was lost.

In heaven, as I've already done at my baptism, I will stand and testify my love and thanks to both those women-- one, who didn't want to go out that day and the other who just showed up with out calling and dragged her out! Everyone will know what they did for me--forever.

Becky

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63058 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/22/2001 5:26 PM
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Have I told you lately that I LOVE you??

Probably but sill nice to hear! Thank you. {{{{BECKY}}}}

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Author: Urban123 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63059 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/22/2001 5:27 PM
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Sister Becky said: "Until the day I finally understood the Trinity, I was like those people in the Bible, being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine...

Amen, sister Becky. Amen. Over the past few weeks since my baptism in the Holy Spirit every day has been filled (and I mean FILLED) with a deeper and more profound understanding of each part of the Blessed Trinity. Like you, I believed, but I didn't. It made sense, but it didn't. That confounding reality was bound to be the case as long as I kept trying to understand with the mind what must first be understood by the heart. Once that Holy Spirit baptism occurred, it was like "trying to take a drink from a fire hydrant." The Love, the Truth, the Way, the Light, the Peace... they have simply flooded into my heart.

God the Father.
Jesus the Son.
The Holy Spirit.

It doesn't just make sense, it MAKES SENSE! Once it does, there is no confusion in doctrine. There is no doubt about the Truth. The clear and shining message is simply GOD LOVES ME.

I know He loves you too,
Urban

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63060 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/22/2001 5:34 PM
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<<Yes, of course and this further emphasises that the bread anbd wine become truly the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
>>

The body is also your brothers and your sisters with which you share the bread and the cup. I am not sure if the recognizing includes the whole body .... But I do not share in the meal if My brother or sister has something against me or I have something against him. I have went to someone in the middle of service before to ask for forgiveness before I take the bread or to tell them why I have something against them. Every time it has been settled in time for us to share the Lord's Supper together. It is the closest thing to an altar that we have in the New Covenant.

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Author: frindon Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63065 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/22/2001 6:07 PM
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When I gave my heart to Him, I KNEW who I believed in. THAT was the problem. Every question I asked about the Trinity was blown off! I couldn't figure out how Jesus could be God's son AND God. The one preacher who had the guts to preach it, was a man I hadn't met yet. He was Baptist! I never would have gone to a Baptist church! Rules!! I couldn't abide rules which at that time were against movies, playing cards, dancing--what else was there? That was where I was. Luckily the rules got more reasonable and I grew up a bit. And God sent them to my door when I felt all was lost.


I accept what you say about God, of course.
So Joseph Smith says he had a revelation way back. How do you know he didn't. You say "False prophet", and I agree.
So John Smyth said he had a revelation way back in 1609. How do you know he didn't. You say "False prophet", many would not agree as he started the Baptist church.
What is the difference between Joseph Smith and John Smyth?
Go back another 500 years which church was following Gods path to heaven?

The Holy Spirit will guide you. Just as all the various and different denominations say He guides them with all their differing paths. No I don't disbelieve in the guidance of the Holy Spirit I just believe He guides one church and any that differ from that differs away from what God wants.

Remember Jesus will be with His church until the end of time. If a particular church has not been in existance from the time of Jesus then what chances are there that that is the church Jesus said he would be with.

Sorry to upset the applecart, but do think as well as accepting what you are told.

Frindon


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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63068 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/22/2001 6:50 PM
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<<Remember Jesus will be with His church until the end of time. If a particular church has not been in existance from the time of Jesus then what chances are there that that is the church Jesus said he would be with.>>

The orthodox and the Catholics have been around since Apostolic time. The Coptic too I think. so there are still at least 3 to choose from! :-)

Seriously, there is one Church, there has never been but one, there is only one head of that church and there will never be another. The Lord Jesus is head of his Church. All Christians belong to His church.
That is the only church that I have any interest in being a part of. I attend local congregations and participate and have taught classes and led segments of worship. I am a member of the local congregation. That fellowship grows out of my connection to the head. My connection to the Lord does not depend on the local congregation. I love them because God loved me and commanded me to love them. I have so little in common with most of them that there is nothing but our mutual love for the Lord and each other that holds us together.

I see an arrogance in your post that disturbs me. Are you better than me because you are Catholic? Am I better than you because I only follow Christ? Is Eric better because he is Baptist? What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided?


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Author: beejous Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63071 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/22/2001 8:23 PM
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<< Seriously, there is one Church, there has never been but one, there is only one head of that church and there will never be another. The Lord Jesus is head of his Church. All Christians belong to His church. >>


lhaselden,

I have seen you post this remark before, but seriously, I do not understand your reasoning behind it. How can "upon this rock I build my church" (singular church) mean all denominations, especially since denominations did not come about until the Protestant Reformation, and have since grown into 28,000+ all claiming to be teaching the correct message of Jesus Christ?

All I am trying to get at here is your logic behind your statement. Please do not mistake this as an inflammatory post à la GoldRushs ;-)

In Christ,
Bryan

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Author: beckyz51 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63080 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/22/2001 10:32 PM
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Sorry to upset the applecart, but do think as well as accepting what you are told.
.....................
frindon,
You lost me here.

Are you meaning, we should think as well as what we are being told?
I guess I need to know that before I go any further.

Also, are you saying only one church has the truth?

You have to realise that the Bible was not available for years to the average person. All they could DO was what they were told. The church even told people NOT to read the Bible because only the church could interpret it properly. Much mischief going on in those days.

I see the church as individuals whose names are written in the book of life. They come from many churches. We won't know who they are until we get to heaven.

Becky--please reply to the first two questions?

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63081 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/22/2001 10:32 PM
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<<I have seen you post this remark before, but seriously, I do not understand your reasoning behind it. How can "upon this rock I build my church" (singular church) mean all denominations, especially since denominations did not come about until the Protestant Reformation, and have since grown into 28,000+ all claiming to be teaching the correct message of Jesus Christ?>>

I see the denominations as artificial worldly barriers to unity. I include it that statement the Catholic and Orthodox denominations. Read I corinthians 1:10-17 and for Cephas name substitute Catholic, For Paul substitute Orthodox, for Apollos substitute Baptist, for Christ substitute Non-denominational.

But to answer your question about the particular verses in Matthew 16: 15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

LONG REPLY WARNING:
Some would tell you that the name Peter means pebble, that the rock on which the church is built is the statement "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
I think Catholics believe that because Peter was given the keys to the Kingdom of God that these have been passed down by Apostolic succession, so that this authority still rests in the papacy of Rome.
I do not believe that God's Authority is inherited. I do not believe God has grand children. Jesus was the first born of many brothers.
Romans 8:28-30 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
We are heirs of God, Co-heirs with Christ.
Romans 8:16-18 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
I am sure that Peter was given the keys to the kingdom, I do not think that the church was built on Peter. Other verses speak of Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone. So Jesus is not even always given credit for being the whole foundation. What arrogance to assume that the church rests on one man other than Jesus. I do not think Peter thought this. But as the Bishops of Rome became corrupt I can see why they claimed the authority of Peter. Because God had given them none. What is the foundation?
Ephesians 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household,
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit

This is what I think the Rock is:
Daniel 2:34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
...
44 "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands--a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. "The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy."

But instead of growing together in unity and love we have let ourselves be divided by the names we go by. John 13:34-36 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." I have been in congregations where some members would not speak to another. I have seen preacher preach against the church across the street when He needed to get logs out of his congregations eyes. I have mourned and wept for the church. So many time when Jesus speaks of Jeruselem I think of the church. When He speaks of the scribes and pharasees I look at myself and the leaders of the churches.
If someone has the Spirit of Christ, he is my brother. This should be my attitude: Romans 12:9-11 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. If he is a preacher or a elder or the pope I am to do this. I will not submit to the pope because he is the pope or because he has the mantle of Peter but I will gladly submit to my brother in Christ who just happens to be the pope. We should submit to one another not because the other is greater but because we have reverence for Christ. ( eph 5:21 ) This is the first pope that I have respected. I could envision him washing the feet of the college of Cardinals. I think that the Catholic Church will make him a saint one day, God has already. His spirituality was not inherited from Peter. He aquired it by serving and by suffering for the name of Christ long before he became Pope.







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Author: Urban123 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63094 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/23/2001 12:02 AM
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*sigh* All this infighting and debating over who is more right than the other. Can't more than one Christian be right? What if we're all wrong in our doctrinal analyses of the application of the scriptures? God's Love, His salvation for us sinners is really pretty basic at its core.

Want your denomination to be the most favored in the eyes of the Lord? He gives this guidance:

Serve all:
"And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." (Mar 9:35)

Keep God's Word and show this through works; do not deny His Name:
"I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name." (Rev 3:8)

Persevere in the faith, and in faith:
" Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Rev. 3:10)

And what is God's promised outcome? His Love upon that church:
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee." (Rev 3:9)

Not a bad deal!

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Author: beejous Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63133 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/23/2001 9:56 AM
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<< I see the denominations as artificial worldly barriers to unity. I include it that statement the Catholic and Orthodox denominations. Read I corinthians 1:10-17 and for Cephas name substitute Catholic, For Paul substitute Orthodox, for Apollos substitute Baptist, for Christ substitute Non-denominational. >>

I don't understand this logic. At the time of Christ there was only one church. Orthodox did not come along until it split from the Catholic church in 1054, Baptists were started by John Smyth in 1610... how can you claim that several denominations represent one church, especially since not all of them existed at the time of Christ? Christ did not say, "on this rock I establish denominations separated by worldly barriers". All of the different denominations represent a disunity and since many have completely different teachings on how justification and salvation, among other things, is achieved, I do not see how you could lump them all together in one group.

In Christ,
Bryan

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63138 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/23/2001 10:21 AM
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<<I don't understand this logic>>

Did you read 1 corinthians 1:10 - 17?

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Author: beejous Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63141 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/23/2001 10:48 AM
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<< Did you read 1 corinthians 1:10 - 17? >>

10 I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose. 11 For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by Chloe's people, that there are rivalries among you. 12 I mean that each of you is saying, "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apollos," or "I belong to Kephas," or "I belong to Christ." 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I give thanks (to God) that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one can say you were baptized in my name. 16 (I baptized the household of Stephanas also; beyond that I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.

This passage does not support your argument. In verse 10 St. Paul says that we are to be united in one mind and in the same purpose. How can you say that because as denominations we all believe in Christ is being united in one mind and one purpose? If each of these denominations has a different teaching on many aspects of Christianity, such as justification, salvation, eschatology, etc, how can we say that this is one mind and the same purpose? Again, I will reiterate that Christ Himself said that he established a church on earth. St. Paul is saying that we are all to be unified in that one church, not in 28,000 churches all claiming to be followers of Christ yet having different and often conflicting teachings. Therefore, since Christ said, "[B]ehold, I will be with you always, until the end of the age" (Mt 28:20b) we know that the church that he established on earth will always exist until the time that he comes again. It is our responsibility, then, to find this one church (in other words, seek the truth), and not load meaning into the words of Christ to back up a claim that all denominations represent one church.

In Christ,
Bryan

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Author: beejous Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63143 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/23/2001 10:52 AM
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<< "[B]ehold, I will be with you always, until the end of the age" (Mt 28:20b) >>

This is a typo. It should "I am with you...",  not  "I will be...". Excuse me.

In Christ,
Bryan

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63147 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/23/2001 11:28 AM
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All denominations to not belong to the ONE CHURCH. All Christians do belong to the ONE CHURCH. Christ is not divided. However if you wish to claim that the Catholic Church is that One Church then I must disagree.

I know of no denomination that could represent the ONE CHURCH, because I know Christians in several of them including the Catholic Church. I have never claimed "that all denominations represent one church". We are not communicating because I see the ONE CHURCH as the body of Christ. It includes every Christian. You may think that is many people, while I think it is few. I do not think it includes every Catholic or every Baptist ....

The Church He established does still exist. If I am in the ONE CHURCH and fellowship with someone else that is in the ONE CHURCH. Then I have just found the ONE CHURCH. Matthew 18:19-21 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.". When 2 or more of us are together and the Lord Jesus is there with us then we have found the ONE CHURCH!
.

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Author: frindon Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63173 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/23/2001 3:30 PM
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I see an arrogance in your post that disturbs me. Are you better than me because you are Catholic? Am I better than you because I only follow Christ? Is Eric better because he is Baptist? What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided?


You don't see arrogance here, I will admit I am a sinner. But you must appresiate that if Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses are not on the right track and they proceded from Seventh Day Adventists and other churches, then at what point did they cease to be of Jesus's Church. Follow that back one step at a time. At what step did any church stop being the church of Jesus? There has to be a dividing line, which side are you on and do you seek safety or temporary comfort.
I wish you only the best, I would like to see all churches as one and under the guidance of the apostles successors. Those who say I am now a priest or a prophet or a minister without being ordained by someone with authority are not authoritative. Jesus gave authority for His church.

Frindon



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Author: frindon Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63175 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/23/2001 3:38 PM
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Are you meaning, we should think as well as what we are being told?
I guess I need to know that before I go any further.

Also, are you saying only one church has the truth? Jesus only started one church

You have to realise that the Bible was not available for years to the average person. All they could DO was what they were told. The church even told people NOT to read the Bible because only the church could interpret it properly. Much mischief going on in those days. But that does not mean that someone else starting up a new church has it right. It does mean that the true church did not have everything right

I see the church as individuals whose names are written in the book of life. They come from many churches. We won't know who they are until we get to heaven.

Becky--please reply to the first two questions?



A church has to have authority. "You are Rock, and on this rock I will build my church". Where does a church get it's authority from, I suggest Jesus. It's not going to happen that all the churches are going to meld into one, but which churches have split into 10,000 denominations or more, such disagreement, no authority.

Frindon



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Author: frindon Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63176 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/23/2001 3:44 PM
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I do not believe that God's Authority is inherited. I do not believe God has grand children. Jesus was the first born of many brothers.
Romans 8:28-30 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
We are heirs of God, Co-heirs with Christ.
Romans 8:16-18 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
I am sure that Peter was given the keys to the kingdom, I do not think that the church was built on Peter. Other verses speak of Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone. So Jesus is not even always given credit for being the whole foundation. What arrogance to assume that the church rests on one man other than Jesus. I do not think Peter thought this. But as the Bishops of Rome became corrupt I can see why they claimed the authority of Peter. Because God had given them none. What is the foundation?


So you do not believe that Jesus will be with His church until the end of time. But, you do believe that Peter, anglised name for Rock, had authority but now no one does. How does that all fit together.

Frindon


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Author: frindon Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63178 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/23/2001 3:49 PM
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Christ did not say, "on this rock I establish denominations separated by worldly barriers". All of the different denominations represent a disunity and since many have completely different teachings on how justification and salvation, among other things, is achieved, I do not see how you could lump them all together in one group.

In Christ,
Bryan


Someone is bound to come up with On this beach I will build my church. I have read some quite involved explanations of those parts of the New Testament that people did not want to accept. And lets be clear if you do not accept the word of Jesus then you are sufficiently well read to know the consequences.

Frindon


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Author: frindon Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63179 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/23/2001 3:59 PM
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1 Corinthians 1
1
Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
2
To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ--their Lord and ours:
3
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4
I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.
5
For in him you have been enriched in every way--in all your speaking and in all your knowledge--
6
because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you.
7
Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
8
He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9
God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
10
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
11
My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.
12
What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas[1] "; still another, "I follow Christ."
13
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into[2] the name of Paul?
14
I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius,
15
so no one can say that you were baptized into my name.
16
(Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.)
17
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
18
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19
For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."[3]
20
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
22
Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
23
but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
24
but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25
For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
26
Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.
27
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
28
He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are,
29
so that no one may boast before him.
30
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
31
Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."[4]
[12] That is, Peter
[13] Or in; also in verse 15
[19] Isaiah 29:14
[31] Jer. 9:24


This is St Paul talking to the Corinthians. They belong to the one church and he is telling them not to split up into factions. We in the one church follow Jesus and are baptised in His name. Note he refers to St Peter as Cephas or Rock. We are therefore to follow Jesus in the one church He authorised under the leadership of the one He authorised.

Frindon


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Author: frindon Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63180 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/23/2001 4:05 PM
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The Church He established does still exist. If I am in the ONE CHURCH and fellowship with someone else that is in the ONE CHURCH. Then I have just found the ONE CHURCH. Matthew 18:19-21 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.". When 2 or more of us are together and the Lord Jesus is there with us then we have found the ONE CHURCH!
.


So when two or more Mormons gather in Jesus name, then that is the one church? There must be more to it than that. What about those who cry Master, and to whom Jesus replies "I knew you not", When they gather in Jesus name then it is the one church?

Frindon



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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63181 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/23/2001 4:10 PM
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<<So you do not believe that Jesus will be with His church until the end of time. But, you do believe that Peter, anglised name for Rock, had authority but now no one does. How does that all fit together.>>

Peter is the anglicised name for pebble!
I believe that there is one church and Jesus will be with the CHURCH because The CHURCH is the body of Christ.
I do not beleive the One Church is the Catholic Church or any other denomination!


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Author: frindon Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 63272 of 196111
Subject: Re: Church questions Date: 10/24/2001 4:29 PM
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Peter is the anglicised name for pebble!


You caught me there for a minute, I thought you really meant that and was about to come back at you with Rock Hudson, rock salt, and all the other derivatives of Peter, all meaning to do with rocks. You must think my brain is petrified, ha ha, turned into a mass of pebbles. No, you are right, every other time peter is rock but on this one occasion it is pebble. :-)

Frindon




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