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Old 01-09-2013, 08:28   #1
GLWyandotte
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Should I Change Churches?

The answer is pretty much a foregone conclusion, but my story-
My family and I went to a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Church for years. We were heavily involved, had many friends and agreed with the Pastor's interpretation of the Bible. The LCMS is a more conservative branch of the Lutheran Church btw.
Things happenned staff-wise there and about 1/3 of the congregation left. Financial shenanigans and such.

We decided to try an ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America). Things were fine at first. Again, we became involved, me being the priniciple guitarist in all worship functions, which was great.
Soon after, the Pastor left and was replaced.
The new Pastor after 2 years now has become extremely vocal and political from the pulpit. She preaches gun control, women's rights (read:abortion) and approval of gay marraige because "the Bible doesn't say anything specifically against it, so..." She of course preaches tolerance, yet is totally intolerant of anyone that has a take other than her's on God's laws.
I'm not here to debate the issues that she preaches, I'd like advice on what the heck to do. The congregation itself is extremely left-wing, the Pastor's Bible interpretations are not even close to what I believe and she arrogantly challenges anyone (meaning all 10 of us conservative congregation members) to a debate.
It's like the gossip mill has started and we walk into Church and people part like the Red Sea. Used to be, before everyone found out our dirty little (conservative) secret, we had many friends.

I hate the idea of changing Churches and not really sure if challenging the Pastor on her turf is even ethical- I mean, everyone there seems to agree with her...not unlike sheep.

So I'm pretty torn up about this. Any advice would be great and thank you.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:37   #2
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You don't have to "choose" a church. Spirituality comes from within. Examine your own views first, THEN go see if some "church" feels the same or close enough for you.

800 years ago Rumi said, "There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground."

Besides, the platypus is living proof that God must be a committee. Where ever you pray and how ever you pray - with or without a church - it all goes back to the same place.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:49   #3
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Just so you know where I'm coming from, I'm atheist.

It's sad that they are mixing religion and politics, seems to me finding a group of people that agree on both would be a challenge.

I was going to say it depends on how often political issues are mentioned, but "extremely vocal and political from the pulpit" answers that question. I can't imagine going back at all. (assuming for the moment that I didn't find church in general extremely uncomfortable)
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:50   #4
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Sure, try a bunch of churches.

Should be freeing.




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Old 01-09-2013, 09:13   #5
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Hmm, as a Christ follower, yeah I'd find another one. That said, our pastor likes to say - if you find the perfect church, leave because you will mess it up.

Measure the church by His word. The church isn't a yacht or a place to have a holy huddle. It's a rescue boat sharing the life preserver of the Gospel to a bunch of sinners drowning in this world.

Free bump for my church: Fellowship Church. 7 location, 1 church.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:14   #6
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In my opinion, there is one question you need to answer:
Does this church continue to provide an environment for you and your family to grow closer to the Lord?
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:15   #7
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If you don't believe your church is teaching the truth, it seems foolish to belong to it. Isn't that the purpose of a church?
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:16   #8
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First, you have to ask yourself, what are your reasons of going to a church. Is it for the need to belong to a group of people or club? Is it for the "feel good about myself" concept? Is it for the charismatic aspect of enjoying yourself in music and chanting? Are you expecting something in return from the church(counsel, peace of mind,religious knowledge, etc..etc)for your monetary offering?. Believe it or not, many people make their choice of what denomination and what specific church to go to based on these factors. I even hear some of my catholic friends talking about moving to another church because the priest was too harsh on his homily!. In my opinion, church is a spiritual ritual/celebration of the dead and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In such celebration we the people have the opportunity to bring our "baggage" and spiritual offering to the Lord for Him to renew us, and nurture our soul with the flesh and blood of Jesus thru the Eucharist. Only then is that Jesus can be IN us and us IN Him. As a recent Catholic convert, that is my belief. Whatever church or denomination you choose to go to, make sure is for the right reasons; To Honor and Serve the Lord.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:18   #9
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A red flag pop up really fast when I read this: a woman pastor. The scripture presented clearly that women shouldn't lead the church.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:23   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glock30Eric View Post
A red flag pop up really fast when I read this: a woman pastor. The scripture presented clearly that women shouldn't lead the church.
This post is going to drive this thread off topic if people let it.
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The constitution is not, nor was it meant to be absolutely literal.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:29   #11
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Find a church that teaches something called the Bible.

Most Christian churches today either have drifted away from the Bible, or only preach certain selected Bible beliefs and teachings.

Get as close to the fundamentalist Christian teachings as you possible can. The Bible is clear on its teachings, no interpretation is necessary on the preacher's part.

A woman pastor? Seriously?

..

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Old 01-09-2013, 09:30   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syclone538 View Post

This post is going to drive this thread off topic if people let it.
But he's right, read the Bible.

A woman should keep her mouth shut in church. If she has any questions, she should wait until she gets home and ask her husband.

Also a woman should keep her head covered in church as a sign of respect for God. How many women preachers do you see with their heads covered?

..

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Old 01-09-2013, 09:30   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syclone538 View Post
This post is going to drive this thread off topic if people let it.
Yes, only if they don't want to live to the scripture. If they don't then they shouldn't go to a church. What's point to obey God while he/she refuses to obey His words.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:34   #14
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If I wasn't comfortable with a Church I'd look into others in the area.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:35   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GLWyandotte View Post
....... I'm not here to debate the issues that she preaches, I'd like advice on what the heck to do. ....... So I'm pretty torn up about this. Any advice would be great and thank you.
My friend, you have my sympathy. This is a common dilemma; and the need for you to be able to differentiate between true spirituality, and social religion is (I think) obvious. Without quoting it, I'm going to refer you to the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.

I've, now, read your question twice. With respect for your wishes not to get into any of the specific issues I'm only going to point out that you've presently got a head full of social obligations and political issues rather than: (1) simple, (2) straightforward, and (3) scripturally correct spirituality.

For example you have stated that the Bible says nothing about homosexuality. It does! You have, also, failed to grasp that - in strict accord with the Apostle Paul's teachings - a Christian church cannot endorse a female pastor. (I'm not telling you this; the canonized Holy Bible is. You either accept it, or you don't.)

I am, however, going to encourage you to remember, 'Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life; and few there be that find it.' In my own life, mixing social activities with religious study and behavior has NEVER worked. The deeper you get into true spirituality, the more estranged you're going to become from your fellows.

In my experience, True Faith only reveals itself while you travel along a very lonely (intellectual) path. Nobody, but The Spirit, is going to be there to hold your hand. Politics, social enterprise, and hard conscious reasoning are incompatible with, both, genuine spirituality and personal religious investigation.

If it gives you any comfort there have been many times in my own life when I wished things were otherwise; but, on this planet, that ain't going to happen. (Yet!) The person telling you this once went to college to become a Presbyterian minister. After a prolonged course of popular academic study (At which I excelled!) I, damned near, left college as an avowed atheist.

One of the hardest and most difficult-to-accept lessons of my own life was the (somewhat forlorn) realization that I could neither rely upon nor trust my fellowman to, 'tell me the truth about God'. Genuine spirituality is something that you're going to have to acquire the hard way: ALL BY YOURSELF! So, how do you validate?

THE SAME WAY THAT THE BEREANS DID - THAT'S HOW! *



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Old 01-09-2013, 09:49   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arc Angel View Post
...
For example you have stated that the Bible says nothing about homosexuality.
...
I'm pretty sure the op is saying the pastor said this.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:59   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syclone538 View Post
I'm pretty sure the op is saying the pastor said this.

Correct.

By and large the answer I sought is here in different forms in nearly all posts-
If Church isn't bringing me closer to God, it's not the right Church for me.

My view of the Bible is no matter how soft and immoral society becomes, the Bible does not waiver on it's words.
So yeah, she's full of beans.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:04   #18
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There are many fine outstanding churches and pastors. Sadly occasionally one encounters a pastor or staff member who acts without integrity. The same occasionally occurs within congregations. The reality is that people are imperfect. Following Christ in character is hard regardless of who one might be. Happily the overwhelming vast majority of serving vocational pastors and churches lead and act with remarkable fidelity to Christ. Those instances in which that fidelity fails are inexcusable.

Typically the ELCA is fairly conservative. But that is within a range. Across the range of theological and political perspectives there are many fine pastors who serve faithfully. Over time it is not unusual for a person to see their views develop/refine. That may be the case with the pastor currently serving your congregation.

As to politics, etc., there are those who opine that no pastor should ever address such issues from the pulpit. They consider that a pastor should only preach the Bible and let people make whatever applications they feel are appropraite. That is a failicy. The Gospel speaks to people at their point of need. It is not possible that one can preach the Gospel and ignore the social, political context in which people live. This was the method of Jesus. It was the method demonstrated in the early primitive Church.

The rub comes when a pastor allows their own personal political/social perspective to inform their understanding of and interpretation of Scripture and their preaching of the Gospel rather than Scripture and the Gospel being the principle concerns informing a pastor as they apply that Gospel and the Scripture to the issues of everyday life.

Your experience of fellowship fractured by political and social issues is one that has been experienced by many. It has even happened in families. In my extended family we do not have discussions about some political/social issues as we consider our family more important than "winning" an argument over some particular issue. A pastor does not always have such leeway. For instance, during the era of school integration many pastors were fired, etc. for addressing the issue of segregation. I was among them. The consequences were at times severe. But, that's the way things go. You act with integrity in faith to the Gospel. You don't water things down to suit the proclivities of someone on either one side or the other.

It is likely that the pastor considers her positions on these hot-button issues to be fully in harmony with the Word and witness of Christ as found in Scripture. She likely considers her positions to be fully reflective of the Gospel. For her to act otherwise would be a failure of integrity. If she is only using the Scripture, the Gospel and the ministry as tools by which to advance a political or social agenda, then she is rightly to be criticized. The same is true of those who with the same rational support her.

From your perspective, you consider that the pastor and congregation are not walking in harmony with the Word of God much less the Gospel as expressed and and enunciated by Jesus. It sounds like the time has come for you to make a change.

Change is hard. In the situation you describe, it is very hard indeed. Change means consequences. And there will be consequences regardless of what you choose to do. In the above mentioned instance touching upon segregation it became necessary for me to resign that church and ultimately leave that denomination. Happily I found a denomination that in that era came to embrace the universal nature of the Gospel that was contrary to then current social views. Over the subsequent years that decision proved to be incredibly wise. It proved a blessing in ministry and it proved a blessing to my family.

May God bless you and your family as you seek to make a decision that will be best.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:15   #19
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The "Church" is by definition a place of one accord and safety in The Lord. Politics are divisive of the fellowship in the Church. In fact satan claims the politics of this world as his so you know the source of the division you are feeling.

Luke 4:5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
Luke 4:6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

Church fellowship is to be based upon our citizenship in heaven. We are in the world but not of the world.

There are always going to be differing opinions on what the Bible says. Some things the Bible is very plain about if an overall view is looked at. Some things seem more ambiguous. To be a good Christian it is necessary that you have a standard of Truth in the Bible which is your sign of loyalty to God alone and not man.

If you cannot remain in peace with your Church then you need to find a congregation where you can be True to your principles without compromising them.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:09   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syclone538 View Post
I'm pretty sure the op is saying the pastor said this.
Yes, I'm well aware of this. That's, 'Why' I used the expression, 'You have stated.' I phrased my reply this way because no strong exception was made by the OP until AFTER I posted; e.g., 'I'm not here to debate the issues that she preaches.' (Without additional information I don't know what that means?)

Anyway, the question has now become moot. The OP seems to have a pretty good, 'handle' on things. I wish him and his family well.
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