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Joined: 2011/5/24
Posts: 138

 Trying to find godly fellowship...(long one)


I am struggling at the moment and would appreciate prayer.

We are a small family living in a small island community. We attended a church for 1.5 yrs. There were serious problems there - spiritual abuse, really bad doctrine & properity doctrines etc. We tried to stand up for the truth and it reached the point where we were in small group when we used the Bible to explain why we didnot agree with some of the teachings that we were told to no longer use the Bible in group & to disagree with the leader's teaching.

- cut long story short, we struggled with being in this church, the abuse was so clear cut (the leadership didn't even try and hide it) and dodgy doctrines and and eventually we were actually asked to leave as they did not like us asking questions.

So we have been meeting with another Christian couple (who also left the church) for home church, for the last year or so. We download a sermon (from a church they went to) and we listen, pray and talk about it. We do this fortnightly. They are in the middle, conservative and super conservative in terms of they like hymns, no loud music, but them wife speaks in tongues and interprets (she hasn't done this in the group yet). They are very against Pentecostalism in general, apart from the wife and her tongues.

BUT...I am really struggling. I homeschool our daughter and I am very lonely. I don't see people that I know for sometimes weeks. No-one from the old church wants to really have contact with us anymore - this is generally what happens in abusive churches. I know I should not be lonely, as the Lord should be my everything, but the truth is I really desire true proper godly fellowship.

The other couple we meet with are wonderful BUT...when it comes down to actually going out and sharing our faith in the streets, or giving up of one's personal time to serve others or even come around for fellowship, they just don't seem to be "put out". They say their ministry if their secular jobs, so they didn't like serving in a church, but it seems to go further than this. When we meet occassionally for a precept Bible study, the study has to be finished by a certain time, if they call on the phone, there is set time frame we can speak and they hardly ever come around to "hang out", if I invite them, then it has to be booked in weeks in advance. They appear to love Jesus but then they are out to dinner alot at fancy restaurants, both their children are super worldly and don't seem to be on fire for the Lord, or trying to live a life that pleases the Lord. My husband invited the man to go out witnessing with him and he declined saying it was not his style. So we are feeling very *down* about the only couple we have fellowship with.

The small island ocmmunity we live in has no "normal" churches. They are all Pentecostal. Hence why we were almost forced into doing a home church. My husband leads towards cessationlism, I do not, but I understand why be believes what he does. I do not believe that you have to *have* a compulsory subsequent Holy Spirit baptism, I also do not believe that The Holy Spirit baptism means you *will* speak in tongues. When I was radically born again, I felt the Holy Spirit fall upon me at my conversion, so my understanding is from that...conversion = Spirit baptism.

BUT in terms of Christian fellowpship, all I care about is whether someone is passionately and wholeheartedly wanting to serve and love the Lord and feel convicted to preach the gospel and want to be used by the Lord to bring more people into His Kingdom.

So here we are with a home group that is not passionate enough & don't seem to want to do anything that requires an effort of them, and all the rest of the churches have dangerous doctrines and prosperity doctrine teachings. We just cannot sit under a leader who preaches this stuff and pretend that we can support them, when their teachings are bad. We feel hypocritical doing this and very uncomfortable in our spirits.

I feel like it is almost impossible to find fellowship with Christians who are passionate, but not in the extreme Pentecostal of dangerous manifestations and not on the other hand super conservatives who are legalist and not passionate enough!

Going this our last church (Pentecostal/propersity doctrine/demon-obssessed) we read Charistmatic Chaos and we found alot of to be truth about what was really going on. So I have steered almost away from Pentecostal churches now and would not be happy attending another one. Of course my husband believes this.

I know I have shared alot but I would really appreciate some thoughts from other brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Here are my questions:

1. How do I view what happens in our old church?. We know it to be a dodgy, bad doctrine church, with pastors how make any real Christian feel sick. BUT we still have people we know in there, who won't leave as they feel that there is no-where else on the island to go to church and they hope they can make a difference. They feel it is the only church that is exciting and vibrant. This "friend" of mine emails me from time to time to tell all the amazing things she is doing in the church & how God is giving them favour and blessings....this annoys me as I can't accept that alot of good can come from this church (the abuse is incredible) but I do understand that God can bring someone to salvation through a bad pastor...but, I feel very angry(if I'm honest) about this church, and wish God would destroy it. They appear on the outside to be passionate about God, and apparently people are getting saved, but then they never stay passionate for God long. This church in particular has people running up the front for prayer sna blowing by the pastor but then they go back to their partying lifestyle etc. We have seen the abuse from the top firsthand and it is incomprehensable.

2. Should we consider *trying* one of the slightly Pentecostal churches, so that we can at least be around other passionate Christians? When is the line crossed between supporting bad teachings and wanting to have fellowship with other believers? Is it actually possible to be able to attend a church that you disagree doctrinally with and actually be ok with that? I just can't seem to be able to do this...I feel like a fraud...

3. There is a chance in the future we would move back to a place where there are other churches that we can attend. But after a year or so being out of church we are nervous about where to pick to go. My husband and I enjoy listening to JOhn Macarthur's teachings - they are incredible BUT then everyone we talk to about John Macarthur do not really like him 100%?? Why is this? His teachings are awesome!

- one the churches we may attend if we move away from here, is linked to John Macarthur's church. BUT I am nervous that the place may be filled with too conservative legalistic people who really are not passionate at all for Christ, but just look the do you really know?

4. In finding a new church I wish to stay away from all the extreme Pentecostal stuff as it is infiltrating everywhere. We take a strong stand against teachings from Bill Johnson, Jesus Culture, Kim Clement, Todd Bentley, Rick Joyner and those types of movements. I was involved in that sort of *movement* b4 and I was actually delivered out of it, so I know I need to stay away from it. BUT it seems to have crept into every "normal" Baptist church we know of. We emailed about 100 churches of an rea we we may move to and 80% of them we OK with these sorts of teachings and open to the manifestations (and we emailed NO Pentecostal churches - that just shows how much this stuff is infiltrating everywhere).

5. We are raising our daughter so differently from pretty much every other parent on this island! It is just unbelievable. I have tried having parents with children my daughters age come to visit and their behaviour is just so bad it is impossible to invite them back. For example, out of desperation for my daughter to have a playmate I invited a Christian woman's daughter to play. Normally kids are kind of nervous and at least well behaved at a stranger's house BUT this kid would not even listen to me. She glared at me and pouted when I aksed her to pack up & help my daughter in the packing away. I then had to ask her about 7 times to pack her bag so I could take her home. This is pretty typical of the kids here on the island. They are disrespectful and sometimes physcially hurtful to my daughter. It is just crazy, we are not "over the top" just normal Christian parents who want to be able to have well behaved kids come to play, there are none!!! The best play friend my daughter has is my "friend" in our old church. This "friend" is the one who is into the holy spirit manifestation stuff and big into people like Joshua Mills etc.

We are just so isolated. The good side to this is that my daughter has not grown up worldy, and we are closeknit as a family. BUT i crave other friendships and to be around parents who are trying to raise their kids in a godly manner.

I know a problem shared is a problem halved, so I would really appreciate any prayer and words of encouragement and support.

Thank you
The Carters

Mrs Carter

 2011/5/25 18:09Profile

Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37214
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 Re: Trying to find godly fellowship...(long one)

BUT...I am really struggling. I homeschool our daughter and I am very lonely. I don't see people that I know for sometimes weeks. No-one from the old church wants to really have contact with us anymore - this is generally what happens in abusive churches. I know I should not be lonely, as the Lord should be my everything, but the truth is I really desire true proper godly fellowship.

Dear brother,

I am not sure where you specifically live but you have made pretty clear your situation. I would recommend in your situation that moving to find a good local church would be worth it for your family, your spiritual walk with the Lord and your personal encouragement. God would bless such a move.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2011/5/25 21:25Profile

 Re: Trying to find godly fellowship...(long one)

Hi Dear Sister. All that anyone can do is give you an opinion only but not solve your problem. Only GOD knows where He wants you and your husband and daughter to be.

I could answer just from my own experience. You asked if we could go to a church where we don't fully agree with them - and I'd say, Definitely yes - but I need to clarify.... The example you gave about moving and finding a church like MacArthur's sounds like a good plan.
I'm pentecostal, but I quit trying to find a good pentecostal church a very long time ago.
I'd rather have good teaching than manifestations that are not from Him. Although I'm not Calvinist - I am a member of a Calvinist Church - a Presbyterian-PCA Church and have been very happy there and they don't demand I agree with them and I've never tried to change them - though they know I'm a pentecostal-freewiller [for a lack of a better term].
So these are just my opinions. Calvinism I can take - but I've found most pentecostal churches have either shut off the Holy Spirit or have 'another spirit' operating and have gone off doctrinally as well.
Quite a dilemma, but I've truly enjoyed the strong love and caring for the community and world missions in my Church. I believe my Pastor and his wife and others are 'spirit-filled' and have been given many good reasons or proofs for believing such.
But, having said all of that - I've since moved and haven't really found a church home as yet neither. Have visited some but I don't feel lonely, except for missing the Church that I had to move from.

I believe the LORD puts many of us through years of isolation so that we learn at His feet - so that we will not be deceived and tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, etc.. I was isolated from having a church for many many years [as I am again now] and I just continue to study The Word because we can never know too much or study His Word too much. It gives strength and discernment of right and wrong.

"Wherever two or three are gathered together in My Name - there am I in the midst of them." -- so even if it's just your husband and you - it's "Church". Make the best of every day that you have to get close to Him and Know His Word and eventually, somehow, He'll lead you where you ought to be or lead you to evangelize or have a ministry yourselves, helping people and could bring people to you for guidance and fellowship, if you've determined to study and know His Voice for yourselves first.

We'll be praying for you & your husband.
The LORD doesn't always do what 'we' think we need - but what He knows that we need.

I pray you'll both get very strong in His Word and in the knowledge of Him and His leading in your lives, so that you'll be ministers in one way or another yourselves, in the days to come. Guiding and helping others get through.
GOD Bless!

 2011/5/25 23:59

 Re: Trying to find godly fellowship...(long one)

Dear Mr & Mrs Carter,

Couple of things. First, it is written: "Rebuke a heretic once or twice, and after that have nothing more to do with him, for he is self-condemned..." (TITUS) Forgive my poor memory on verse numbers. (Christ didnt quote numbers either, he just said, It is written...)

Secondly, Christians misunderstand the verse "And do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together". What do i mean by that?

What i mean is that nowhere in the ENTIRE Bible, let alone the ENTIRE New Testament does it say that you HAVE to assemble for fellowship in a church building. It also does NOT say HOW OFTEN you must assemble, WHAT DAY of the WEEK you must assemble, or HOW MANY people you must assemble with. On the contrary, what scripture does say is this:
"Where two or three are gathered in my name, THERE I am, in the midst of THEM" (capitalization mine).

So, if the only person or people you have to assemble with is your spouse and or children, then that is CHURCH.

If the only PLACE you have to assemble is in your garage, in the jungle, in a closet, in the basement, in the backyard, in a park, on the roof, or in a barn, then THAT is CHURCH.

The true CHURCH of Jesus Christ is NOT a building. It is a SPIRTUAL BODY of Believers that transcends Time or space. It is not a physical place,nor an organized religion with human credentials.

I am saying this because you are tortured with the very same conflict that so many well-meaning true Believers (like myself once) are tortured with: they want to obey God and have fellowship but cannot find a healthy and Godly church to attend anywhere. Pray to God to bring you the fellowship He wants you to have and then leave the ball in His court; once you pray that the responsibility no longer lies with you and you can stop running around franticly searching.

I read the biography called "Rees Howells, Intercessor" by Norman Grubbs and in there it said that God called Rees and his wife out of organized church services for a whole 5 years (for reasons i can't recall).

In this day and age, with every mainline denomination having already apostasized, i think God is calling more and more of His people out of those cesspools. Hope this helps.

Also, you might check out this website:

They offer online fellowship service for people just like you. Very Christ centered.

 2011/5/26 3:27

Joined: 2011/5/24
Posts: 138


Thank you so much for replying.

We are seeking the Lord in this and will leave it in His hands.

I agree that church doesn't have to be in a building, but LOL , I so dearly desire just one like minded believer, so that I can encourage and be encouraged with. This is what I miss.

I have had to personally try and change my thinking, as I know when we did attend church you sorts of feel like you are going on fire for the Lord, yet after a few months I would be honest to say I would step back and realise that it was a feeling of thinking I was going hard for the Lord but in fact it was not really going hard for the Lord, but rather thinking that I was because I was "doing" things in a church setting, talking the talk and looking the part.

I have come to realise that real Christianity is how you are in your home when no-one watches you. I guess I have realised too that I was looking the part and pretending, when inside my heart I was not fully living 100% for my Lord. So I am glad that outside of attending a "church" has done this for us, we are focused on the right thing.

We are not in short supply of good sermons, that at least is easy.

My husband prayed for me today and already I am sure the Lord is bringing my thinking into a better place on this issue. If John could cope fine on Patmos then surely I can LOL. Yes I am finding it difficult without being around the godly fellowship I would like BUT this is nothing compared to the suffering that Christians who are being persecuted for their faith are going through. I guess I need to toughen up!

I believe we are walking the right road with the Lord, rather be separated and living a holy life with the Lord's grace and mercy than attending a church with suspect teaching and let my daughter make friends with kids who are not being brought up in a Christlike manner.

I know I need to trust the Lord, so I would really appreciate any prayer that anyone feels willing to say for us.

Thank you so much for listening and for answering. Bless you 3 :)

in HIm

Mrs Carter

 2011/5/27 2:10Profile

Joined: 2009/12/4
Posts: 1860

 Re: Trying to find godly fellowship...(long one)

Hello Sis!

I know this all to well, I grew up going from church to church and eventually landed in a Pentecostal church. I am a "hybrid" Christian I hold to some of the Pentecostal teachings but in reality I can't call myself a full blown Pentecostal simply because I disagree with some of their doctrines. I am more of a Bapticostal or a Pentapist :)

I am not sure about culture there on your small island nor do I know about your relationship with your husband but what I found when I left the Pentecostal church was it is so very important for the Family in and of itself to be the church. See I don't believe the building blocks of the church are individuals BUT Families. It has taken awhile but my Wife and I are slowly learning what it means to be a Church within ourselves.

We currently attend a very open minded Baptist church and while we have run into some flack from some of the old time members the Pastor and his wife have been great friends, if you plan on finding a church the first thing to do is get to know the pastor and his family well. This for the most part will tell you how the church is. Be careful in doing this though because I have met some very manipulative pastors as my wife and I sought a church building to attend :).

Its of my opinion the Home church thing would work, as I read your post something that I picked up maybe something you need to deal with still is the hurt feelings of the spiritual abuse. I picked up a hint of a critical and judgmental spirit from your words, again from your words maybe not for you or your intentions. I did a very neat study of Obadiah and it talks of watching your Brother fall and doing nothing to help but joining in on the beating. I assure you if the churches you see rising up are false ones God will tear them down with His own Hands.

I know the pain of isolation and lonliness as well my wife and I left the church because we disagreed with them on just one doctrine of "tithing" we didn't see it as a biblical practice by their definition so we were asked to leave. I have no desire to be apart of a church that has poor doctrice and so I developed my own or at least what I feel is the most biblically accurate and what has been the overflow of my relationship with Christ and I found a church who would tolerate a "free thinker" I highly warn against churches that don't like questions if you ask a question and they don't seem happy about it, don't attend that church no matter how wonderful the worship maybe.

I actually strongly desired to start a home church not to long ago but my wife didn't believe we were ready for such a task, after evaluating everything we came to an agreement. For a house church to work properly unity is almost vital, not on all matters but on the majors. You and your husband must be in complete 100% agreement on whatever you do or it just doesn't work. Also the attitude I had for starting a house church was one of bitterness as "I will do my own church thing and do it better!" Poor attitude I know but we need to always remember we are people with feelings. Be careful of the criticalness towards the couples you fellowship with as well I am all to familiar with it and its a dangerous road, if you disagree with what they do simply be living witnesses of what you believe the bible asks you to do.

Every church is going to have its nuts so don't be discouraged when you run into those people just smile and tell them of the wonderful Love of Christ who changes hearts and then let Christ take the reigns from there, He will convert them to what He desires.

Music is a sticky situation in ALL churches, I know from experience as a former worship leader no one seems to agree on what music God likes to listen to ;). He is pleased with the heart that Loves Him and is Honest with Him in Spirit and Truth. I went to a Super Ultra Pentecostal church and I honestly was scared the whole time not knowing exactly what was going on, people loudly praying in tongues and running around I couldn't even focus on Jesus it was so distracting.

But I guess my only words of wisdom I have for you from my exodus of the "organized religion" is keep guard against the spirit of critism and judgment. Keep in mind the people that attend that church may very well be brothers and sisters in Christ but just misguided, Love them despite the failings.

Matthew Guldner

 2011/5/27 2:59Profile

Joined: 2011/5/24
Posts: 138


HI there, mguldner

Thank you for your honest words of encouragement.

I agree that I have a critical attitude at the moment. I already felt alot of peace yesterday when I realised this too and went to the Lord with this.

Please keep us in your prayers.

Thank you

Mrs Carter

 2011/5/28 2:22Profile

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