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Discussion Forum : General Topics : Grieved Over Divisions Among Denominational Churches

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Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Grieved Over Divisions Among Denominational Churches

Greetings brethren, it's great to share here again after a lengthy hiatus. I decided to share from my heart on this topic here because it’s what I’ve been having to deal with lately.

When I decided to take a hiatus from the SI forums over a year ago, I was attending a Baptist church in Bellflower CA which seemed pretty solid to me. The problem was that I could not fully get involved there because I believe in Amillennialism and they officially hold to Premillennialism (it’s on their statement of faith, as I’ve found is the case with many churches). So afterward I began attending another Baptist church (affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention) in Hacienda Heights CA which did not make any issues over differing end times views (the lead pastor held to Premil but the associate pastor held to Amil).

However, this church is Calvinistic when it comes to salvation. When I first started attending there I didn’t have a problem with that because I personally was leaning back toward that view (I say “leaning back” because I’ve been a staunch Calvinist before). And at first the lead pastor told me that they don’t claim to be either Calvinist or Arminian. But after revisiting and studying the Cal vs Arm debate in recent times, I was convinced of the Arm position on free will in salvation (again). So I shared with the pastor where I ended up landing after studying this issue out again (I felt I had to be honest with him about it). I also shared with him that I wasn’t 100 percent sure where I stood on the issue of whether one can lose their salvation (eternal security is the official position of the SBC). So after I shared those things with him he recommended I look for another church, which was sad and grieving to me but not too surprising.

So that happened pretty recently and that’s where I’m at right now, asking the Lord to help me find fellowship where I can fit in and where they don’t make non-essential doctrines a matter of division. Before those two churches, I attended a Calvary Chapel but it didn’t work out there either because I held to the Amil position and because the lead pastor there had a problem with me endorsing the Principles book put out by brother Greg Gordon and others.

All that to say this brethren (and thanks for your patience with my "venting" here), it is indeed sad and grieving to see so much division among denominational churches over petty differences in certain finer points of theology. It seems that the Lord may have allowed me to experience all that to smooth out some of my own rough edges in terms of being divisive over non-essential or non-salvific points of doctrine (though we must draw a line when it comes to the essentials of the faith).

So I ask for your prayers in this regard brothers and sisters, as I know it’s not ideal for Christians to walk alone without accountability to others.

I think I can see and understand more now at least one reason why some Christians are leaving the denominational churches and seeking fellowship outside of them.

Personally I like the idea of house fellowships but I don’t have any qualms or issues regarding certain “patterns” of gatherings (whether in buildings or in homes) as long as the Lord is present and there is worship in spirit and in truth.

So anyway, again, it’s great to be back. But though I haven’t posted for a long while, I have to be honest about periodically browsing through the forum discussions like a fly on the wall :)


_________________
Oracio

 2017/9/7 13:15Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5236
NC, USA

 Re: Grieved Over Divisions Among Denominational Churches

Hey Oracio- welcome back.

I am curious as to how things have "come to a head" doctrinally speaking in the churches you have attended. Did you approach pastors about various items in their statement of faith, or did it just arise naturally in the course of conversation or a class?

I ask because I have attended a couple of churches in recent years where I am sure I would have some doctrinal differences, but I've never sensed the need to express my disagreement for 2 reasons: 1) I knew what I was getting into because I had already read their doctrinal statements and 2) the overall bible teaching and classes were so solid that it far outweighed any doctrinal differences I may have had on non-essential issues.

Of course I was not asked to sign on dotted line affirming a certain set of doctrines because I never became a "member" of either church.


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Todd

 2017/9/7 14:13Profile
dolfan
Member



Joined: 2011/8/23
Posts: 1632
Alabama

 Re:

We are attending a church that has about 8000 in weekly attendance.

I never thought I would do that.

But we took stock of ourselves before diving into it. And we know what we believe. We can read the bible. We have the Holy Spirit within who speaks to us and guides us. We have met with few others in prayer group or small group who have a similar passion and understanding of who God is as we do even if our views on what church should "look like" differ. And the primary teaching is quite solid. So I am not going to trip over what 7995 other people may understand and what 6995 may be doing to mature in the faith. I will take those folks at face value because, frankly, I have zero control, influence or relationship with them. As far as I am concerned it is a church of 50. With really a big parking lot.


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Tim

 2017/9/7 15:09Profile
twayneb
Member



Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 1971
Joplin, Missouri

 Re: Grieved Over Divisions Among Denominational Churches

Oracio: I am curious about the title of your post, and I have a question. Please do not misunderstand my question as I am absolutely NOT trying to be confrontational or say anything at all negative. Just some food for thought as you process what is going on here.

Quote:
The problem was that I could not fully get involved there because I believe in Amillennialism and they officially hold to Premillennialism



It seems to me that you have a pretty solidly formed doctrinal position that you hope to find mirrored in the fellowship you attend, yet your title
and your comments suggest that you recognize that divisions are not good in the body. Are you willing to fellowship with others who have a different doctrinal view from you on issues such as election and eschatology?

I hope that question is not offensive. I don't mean it to be.

I honestly believe that God has a place in the body for each and every believer and that we should seek to find His will in where we connect ourselves. Obviously we don't connect ourselves to heresy. But I cannot conceive of a fellowship where everyone will see it the same way I see it in every aspect of doctrine.

I guess that is why I like SI. I have been able here to fellowship so to speak with people from many different doctrinal streams and it has driven me to scripture and helped me to knock off some rough edges. The same will happen in a body of believers where God has placed you by His will.

I would encourage you to pray earnestly about where God wants you and seek Him until you know. Then I would say to attend there until He tells you to leave, regardless of whether you are in agreement with their eschatology or any of the other non-essential doctrines.

Welcome back. It is always good to hear your input in the discussions.


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Travis

 2017/9/7 15:26Profile
Heydave
Member



Joined: 2008/4/12
Posts: 1306
Hampshire, UK

Online!
 Re:

Oracio,

Really good to have you back here. I sympathise with where you are at in this, I see things much the same.
I sense you are like me, in that it is not that you cannot fellowship with folk holding differing doctrinal positions on non essential, but the fact that they make these part of their doctrinal creed and will not tolerate alternative views and if you are honest in explaining you don't hold to their particular view then you are either side lined or limited in how much you can be a part of the church there.


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Dave

 2017/9/7 15:41Profile
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Thanks Todd; Good question and points. In terms of Calvary Chapel, they do not have official membership or an official statement of faith one can look up online. I attended a mega Calvary Chapel for several years as a newer believer and really had no issues there because I did not have firm beliefs about certain end times views. But when I came to hold to the Baptist Covenental Amillennial view I knew I couldn’t get that involved with any Calvary Chapel as they take that issue quite seriously, therefore I looked elsewhere for fellowship.

When I started attending the Baptist church in Bellflower CA the first thing I did was look through their statement of faith, but I missed the part where they said they believe in a “Premillennial return of Christ.” So I went through the membership class there and afterward noticed that part of their statement of faith. When I noticed it I asked the senior pastor why they include that in their statement if it’s a non-essential. He said that he and the other elders wished it wasn’t there, but since it’s a congregational church, any changes to the statement had to come about through a certain amount of votes. In that church you had to agree with everything in their statement of faith to become a member. So I decided to look elsewhere for fellowship because I wanted to find a church where I’d be more fully welcome as a member, to be able to get as close and involved as possible without feeling like an outcast.

When I started attending the SBC church in Hacienda Heights CA I didn’t think it was staunchly Calvinistic and divisive over that though I knew it had leanings toward Calvinism at the very least. And again, the pastor told me at first that they do not claim to be either Calvinistic or Arminian. While attending the membership class, as the pastor explained certain portions of their statement of faith I did get the impression of Calvinism being his view. So I asked him if one had to be a five point Calvinist to be a member and he said no. I told him that I personally wasn’t convinced either way in terms of the Cal vs Arm debate at that time. He said that as long as one doesn’t have any “settled convictions against” anything in their statement of faith one could be a member. So I became a member and remained one for several months. But I certainly found out how staunchly Calvinistic the senior pastor was when I shared with him about my view on free will.


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Oracio

 2017/9/7 16:02Profile
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Tim, I can certainly understand how one can view things and be in fellowship in your type of situation and I’ve also thought about being open to something like that. My concern is that sometimes, once one starts getting to know a lot of folks and sharing their “non-essential” views it can become a problem if they have strong convictions in some of those areas of doctrine.


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Oracio

 2017/9/7 16:02Profile
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

By the way Todd, I sincerely apologize for having posted about questioning your salvation a long time ago on these forums. I never apologized for that and feel I should have done so a long time ago.


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Oracio

 2017/9/7 16:07Profile
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Thanks Travis. Yeah, I think you misunderstood where I was coming from. I certainly would not expect or demand every Christian or church I fellowship with to agree with me on these non-essentials. My problem is that they are the ones choosing to divide over them and they are the ones that do not welcome me.


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Oracio

 2017/9/7 16:12Profile
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Dave, thanks for the encouragement brother.


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Oracio

 2017/9/7 16:14Profile





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