I’m grateful I was able to escape denominational thinking, finally, a few years ago. I would say any assembly that pushes membership, “tithing,” baptizing in water or anything that you must “do” other than to show up interested in learning about your KJ bible is on the wrong track. I meet several times a week with a group of likeminded believers in a rented union hall a few times a week. On a “good” Sunday we have as many as 40 people show up. We don’t “do” entertainment (no talking in tongues, no “special” singing, no special programs for the kiddies), we’re there to study to show ourselves approved, and any saved man prepared with a doctrinally correct lesson is welcome to teach. And no, we are not a cult. We sing congregational hymns that have correct doctrine. Sorry, no choir, no celebration of xmass or other pagan holidays, either. We do a carry-in dinner once per month. We know we’re unique, and none of us would return to what was before. I’m a saved former roman catholic, then spent 20 years in independent baptist churches. Baptists claim you’re saved by faith alone, but you WILL be pressured to be baptized and “join” so you can “tithe,” so I now question that most baptists truly understand salvation by grace, frankly. — CM
Yes, it’s time to dig in for a major ugly rant.
Answering the last point first… WHAT DOES CHURCH MEMBERSHIP AND TITHING HAVE TO DO WITH SALVATION????
Answer: NOT A THING!!!
CM apparently doesn’t understand salvation herself, and I therefore question if she is indeed saved???
If you’re saved, you should have absolutely no hesitation about wishing to be publically identified with the death, burial and ressurection of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are hostile to that… I question your salvation.
If you’re confusing sanctification – the setting apart of a Christian and the maturing and growing in the faith – with Salvation, then you have a very warped understanding of Salvation, the very thing she questions Baptists of.
Trust me, I hear it taught every time a new believer is baptized. “This is an outward symbol of a new inward birth.” Symbols don’t save us. It merely points, like a sign. The sign pointing the way to Interstate 95 is just that – a sign. It is NOT Interstate 95! Baptism is exactly the same thing. It points to something. It’s a symbol, not the substance.
It’s obvious CM is EXCEPTIONALLY weak doctrinally. I commend her for a desire to have a Biblically-based Church. but there’s some areas here she’s obviously strongly deluded about.
She talks about “Denominational thinking”. I wonder if she is aware that strictly speaking, Baptists are not a denomination? At the very least, we are not Protestants. Denominations separate away from the faith as practiced in the early Church – Baptists are the descendents of that Church.
The entire system she’s practicing is Quaker-ism, but without speaking in tongues or the doctrinal errors of most forms of Quaker-ism (Because of the nature of Quakers, one cannot definitively say “This is how they are”). In essence, she is a non-Charismatic Quaker. Quakers sit in silence until one stands and begins preaching. The SOS (Saved On Sunday) worldly Christians lately are captivated with the Amish for some reason, not knowing or caring they teach Salvation by Works, which is no salvation. Not surprisingly, some are turning to Quakerism, a form of the Home Church movement.
“any saved man prepared with a doctrinally correct lesson is welcome to teach.”
The Biblical office of Pastor is well-documented in the New Testament. She talks about doctrinally correct, but in this major first case, they are NOT doctrinally correct.
Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Cor 14:40 (KJV)
By waiting until every Sunday to see who will teach, her congregation is most definitely in violation of this. God set up a pattern in the Old Testament of a High Priest officiating in the Tabernacle. The Pattern was not abandoned in the New Testament. Pastors are called by God at the moment of their salvation, and trained and sent.
Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. 1 Tim 2:7 (KJV)
These men may mean well… and possibly are doctrinally correct (hold that thought…) …but they are not called. They are not ordained. They are not trained. It also violates another Biblical commandment…
This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 1 Tim 3:1-7 (KJV)
If “Any Man” as she says, has a doctrinally correct lesson – but Paul enjoins Timothy not to ordain a man until such time as he is no longer a novice. As the Apostles were on their own after 3 years, it is likely that this is the biblical requirement, a minimum of three years training. Are all the men in that congregation saved, called, ordained and trained pastors? She may disagree and say they are,
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 1 Cor 12:27-29 (KJV)
But – and here’s a point she cannot argue with – the Bible clearly disagrees with her. Paul asked the Corinthian Church, “Are all teachers?” the answer, obviously, is “No.”
Let’s lay it out logically.
- Are all apostles? No.
- Are all prophets? no.
- Are all teachers? It is obvious from the preceding two questions, that the Apostle Paul is telling us, “no.” CM may say “yes”, but God says, “No.”
- Are all workers of miracles? No.
So if the answers of 1,2 &4 are “no”, then by implication #3 is also “no.”
Being a Pastor, an Apostle, a Prophet, is not something one does temporarily. It is a lifelong calling (Although today the offices of Apostle and Prophet have ended). “Who’s going to take their turn being a prophet today???” The idea is ludicrous. WE see, then, from the context of Paul’s rhetorical questions, that obviously not all are teachers. Which means not all are called to be Pastors. (A Pastor who is not a teacher is no pastor.)
I invite “any Man” to get up, without any training, and teach for 30 minutes on propitiation. Or try to make sense of Romans 5-6, or romans 11-12. I can say before I was trained I would have difficulty being “doctrinally correct.” Indeed, there are some chapters in the New Testament that are so complex, that the problem today is that many wrest these Scriptures unto their own destruction. See Rob Bell as an example. Or perhaps not – I’m talking about saved Christians (which Rob Bell obviously is not) wresting for example, Hebrews 6, or possibly the lesson on “The Unforgivable sin”.
I’ve heard people preach on the unforgivable sin, and speak as if it can be done today by a single spoken statement. If so, then anyone reading those verses out loud could possibly “lose their salvation”. A trained man who interprets Scripture with Scripture would immediately understand one cannot “lose their salvation” – and thus the interpretation of this verse is obvious in context that today the unforgiveable sin is that one who rejects Christ’s invitation over a lifetime has committed the unforgivable sin.
And this brings us to the “doctrinally correct” issue. Who determines what is doctrinally correct? She specifically says “any saved man…” well – that’s an issue. “Any saved man” who’s been saved three years? Two? One? Six months? A month? two weeks? a week? Three days? Since yesterday? six hours ago?” As you can see, the system breaks down rapidly under cursory examination.
Any “saved” man. with nobody at the helm that’s had a lengthy study of correct doctrine – how will they determine who is saved? This is a very politically incorrect question, but rather to offend people than coddle them only to lose them to Hell.
Errors in salvation could take an entire blog entry (indeed, a month long Sunday Morning sermon series could be done easily on this subject). “Who Is Saved?” can go from the Universalist “Why, everyone!” …to the Roman Catholic “Those in the Church” to the Mormon/SDA/Jehovah’s Witness/Roman Catholic/every other cult “salvation by faith AND works” …to Hyles-ist easy believism …to the Campus Crusade “Four laws walked-the-aisle” salvation …to John MaCarthur’s Lordship Salvation error, to the Rick Warren “water down the message” proclamation professors. So, as you can see, “Any saved man” quickly falls apart under examination as well! Indeed, CM claims to understand correct doctrine, but again… she’s in error, and reveals it to be so, by connecting “joining the church” with “salvation”. it shows that unconsciously, the Roman Catholic doctrines are still bubbling under the surface. Pastors like Marc Monte show that a former Roman Catholic can indeed be purged of incorrect doctrines and heresies. But without that training, it can resurface easily.
And it may be “any saved man” today. but I guarantee that “Any saved man”, in a church with no Statement of Faith, no Church Constitution and no Believer’s Covenant – will within turn into “any saved person.” Absolutely. Women will be preaching in that church by 2022, if not much sooner. Why? Well, with no Pastor to say who is right and who is wrong, without a statement of faith, without a church constitution to safeguard it… it allows ANY wolf in sheep’s clothing to cleverly argue with a subtle tongue – and now your comfortable little Baptist/Quaker church is United Methodist in theology, if not Pentacostal (because that will be the next error). And/or eventually Emergent or Unitarian.
One of the functions of a Pastor is to prevent heresy from creeping in (1 Tim. 1:3, 2:2, 6:14, Titus 1:9), and false doctrine. The Congregation in this case sounds like they want to be strong in this – but without a Pastor to safeguard it, the inevitability of error creeping in is assured, guaranteed. I cannot emphasize this enough! And has already crept it, without they’re realizing it, as I have demonstrated above.
Good men bring in good men into the Church… but sometimes Evil men (and women) creep in undetected (Acts 20:29). And evil men and women bring more evil men and women. If you rely upon the democratic process to save your church, you’re only one vote away from losing it. A trained and called Pastor, who takes the time to carefully construct a statement of faith, can spell the difference between yet another apostate congregation (not a church) and a true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This congregation seems to be founded upon pride and rebellion… the very air of the blog comment reeks of it. The Scriptures say that pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. 16:18) What they sow, they shall reap. A congregation founded upon rebellion, the attitude of “Well, I think any believer should be able to stand up and say whatever he wants” or “We don’t need some money-grubbing pastor” – that spirit calls other people with the same spirit. So far, you’ve been protected by God. But alas, eventually wolves shall creep in. It is inevitable. And I’m telling you, your little congregation already has at least one, you just don’t realize it.
I’ve dealt with this, “I believe any believer should be able to stand up and say whatever they want” spirit in the past, and I came right out and countered that person with, “You mean you believe that YOU should be able to stand up any time you want.” He agreed. I then asked him to show me in his Bible where that could be justified. He hemmed and hawed on it, and finally I heard no more about it.
Moving on to Church membership and baptism, I could speak for weeks on this. Let’s face it. the local Church is God’s chosen institution for the New Testament believer. It is to be a place of gathering, of worship, of teaching in doctrine, of fellowship of believers, the location for a base of evangelism. If the church does not have membership, then it is a body without believers, merely visitors.
Some believe that Baptism is the door to membership, saying we are baptised into one body. if thats the case, again, this congregation (it most definitely is not a church) again has no members – as they oppose Baptism.
How anyone who reads a Bible can oppose Baptism is beyond me. Modern translations misrepresent it and downplay it, while purposely present it as being essential to salvation (how can they justify downplaying it, I wonder???). If you’re reading the King James, as they say, then how can you possibly justify a stand AGAINST Baptism??? How can you take a stand against something the Bible commands or speaks of over 90 times in the New Testament alone? See Matthew 3:6-7, 3:11, 3:13-14, 3:16, 21:25-26, Mark 1:4-5, 1:8-9, 10:38-39, 11:30, 16:16, Luke 3:3, 3:7, 3:16, 3:12, 3:21, 7:29-30, 12:50, 20:4, John 1:26, 1:33, 3:22-23, 4:1-2, 10:40, Acts 1:22, 2:38, 2:41, 8:12-13, 8:16, 8:38, 9:18, 10:37, 10:47-48, 11:16, 13:24, 16:15, 16:33, 18:8, 18:25, 19:3-5, 22:16, Romans 6:3-4,, 1 Cor. 1:13-17, 10:2, 12:13, Eph. 4:5, Colossians 2:12, Gal. 3:27, and 1 Peter 3:21. If after reading all that you still question Baptism, I question whether or not you are saved! Because then there obviously is a rebellion issue against God, and the Bible describes this attitude as being the fruit of being unsaved.
Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. Matt 12:33 (KJV)
Nowhere does the Bible speak of a saved person evidencing the fruit of rebellion, denying Scriptures, divisiveness, pride and haughtiness, but rather love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, righteousness and truth. Those who are contentious, and obey not the truth, the Bible says(not me – don’t get angry with me!) in Romans 2:8-9 await tribulation and anguish after death. Now, if CM looks at all those verses and thinks, “Oh, wow – we might be wrong”, then she simply has been deceived, and merely needs to repent and get back to the Bible and a Bible-believing church.
That matter is settled. If you cannot get a simple thing like Baptism right, I worry about what you agree constitutes “correct doctrine”!
Tithing is the sorest dead horse in all the Bible. Some say, “show me ONE VERSE where tithing is commanded in the New Testament?” I usually counter that with, “If I show you, will that change you?” Because Pastors have been showing rebels – yes, rebels – for CENTURIES these same verses, and it changes nothing. Rebels continue to rebel.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and Faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Matt 23:23 (KJV)
There you go. There’s one. There are others. It would require three months of Sunday sermons to accurately address in detail ALL of the errors of this congregation (again, it is not a church). Indeed, I would probably start by teaching on correct doctrine, because they’ve got a spirit of pride, rebellion and haughtiness that would effectively block almost anything I taught!
I would definitely place a in-depth study of Ecclesiology at the top of the list, delineating a correct understanding of the Church, the congregation, and the Pastor as the servant of the congregation, not the ruler. However, the congregation should obey the Pastor as a type of authority over them. This is what’s commanded in the Bible. And I’m sure the congregation would fire me long before the sermon series was done, I might add – due to the rebellious spirit and pride that seems to rule them.
Again, I commend CM for wanting a church that is doctrinally pure. However, they’re so far off the mark that I recommend they:
- begin praying for true understanding of the Bible
- seek a good pastor
- and start over.
Most definitely all these in that order. They need complete instruction in correct doctrine, and probably in-depth Bible study as well, to fix all the problems they have. Materials from Way Of Life could go a long way towards fixing all of this. Things Hard to Be Understood, and the Way of Life Encyclopedia would be a good start. And perhaps a quick phone call to David Cloud or Marc Monte to have them come teach would help as well.