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And the saga continues…

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Martin-Luther-1526-1The Church I attend has gone ahead with the move to the new place of gathering. I had expressed my orignial views on this move in an earlier post that can be found here. I have not attended these meetings since the move last week. I know through emails that many are saddened by my current conviction although many are in agreement with my stance. There is no question that many are seeing this as a blatant act of rebellion against the decision of the gathering and the responsible men. As I had mentionned previously, my intentions were never to go against any decisions of the gathering but to be honest with myself and my conscience. I thougth today about Martin Luther’s words during his trial at the diet of worms when they desired him to recant from his teachings and convictions.  He stated: my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.” These are very similar words penned by Luke when it was said “I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men. (Acts 24:16) I just don’t feel I can keep such a good conscience by associating myself, whether directly or indirectly, with this organization.

Am I being too extremist in my disassociation with these religions? Should I see this meeting place as simply a building? I probably would see it as such should it not have the name of the organization directly fixed on the front of it. It has been expressed how much I am needed at the gathering  and I have been appreciative of all the concerns that have been expressed. I continue to seek the will of the Lord through His holy word.

Written by shawnkjmcgrath

September 12, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Posted in Church Issues

The Headcovering Re-Examined

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Head-Covering-2I had written an article awhile back in relation to the defense of the biblical teaching of the headcovering. For those who are not familiar of this particular teaching (which is most of Christianity today) it is a doctrine or practice found in the text of 1 Corinthians 11 which demonstrates Godly order and headship. In other words a woman wears a headcovering while a man doesn’t in order to show honour to their head! Some would see this as sexist in light of our culture today however it is merely a means of order that God has chosen to have order and respect among those in the body of Christ. The headcovering being a symbol of subjection in the order of the gathering.

I have been very confused lately regarding what is referred to as “assembly practices” in my “local church”. I have not been attending my meetings at all over the past few weeks due to issues discussed in earlier posts. I did receive an email from a sister whom I cherish deeply who wrote to the effect that there is no other place that honours the Lord in keeping to the New Testament Principles like these churches. I have made it known to her that I do agree that much of the practices involved with the gathering are scriptural. I have attempted to look a little further at the issue surrounding the headcovering since this one seems to come up each and everytime. There are many churches that practice the headcovering and indeed I do see scriptural support for this practice.

There are many however that don’t agree with this practice and they have come up with some different interpretations regarding this text. I want to post a portion of the article that I had written in response to four of the objections presented by critics of this passage. With that said, the fourth argument on this list I wish to detract and re-address. Why you might ask? After looking at this text and my argumentation, I feel that my position has changed on this key point. Here are the three first point and a response to the fourth point:

The cultural argument

When studying scripture I have often found some benefit to have a good understanding of the culture of the day in which the passage or book was written. I have taken great pains in order to appreciate or have a better knowledge of the Jewish culture since the apostles had such a strong Jewish background that some elements of what they wrote had Jewish rudiments. Obviously to read scripture with only a historical analysis would be only receiving a fragment of the value of the whole Word itself. We must in essence always focus primarily on the spiritual aspect of scripture and utilize the study of scripture to accent this.

Because of our feministic generation, the teaching of the woman’s head-covering has been minimized in order to conform to the norm of this movement and even bible believing churches have shied away from the usage of head-coverings for the sisters. One main argument used by those who would have the head-covering of the woman thought of as non-exigent is that the head-covering was simply a historical citing by Paul as to the culture of the day and should not apply to the believers of today! While this may sound appealing to some, in order to be consistent, we must however ask what other passages of scripture would be effected and non-essential.

The bible says that “All scripture is inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16) and if we are to have a consistent method of biblical obedience, we must absolutely adhere to all of God’s revelation as “God breathed”. Notice how Paul expresses the totality of scriptural inspiration without leaving out a single passage or word. To use this type of argumentation in brushing aside this teaching is simply limiting the extent of inspiration of the scriptures. Everything in scripture is there for a reason and profitable in some way or another to the believer. God has used the woman’s head-covering for a purpose; as a symbolic truth to remind us of the lineage of subjection. V. 10 confirms the usage of the covering as such when Paul states that it is a “symbol of authority on her head”. This was done to preserve order in the gathering of the people of God. Notice how Paul expresses how we are to “hold firmly to the traditions, just as I have delivered them to you”. (v.2) There is a sense of urgency in Paul’s statement and he seems to be issuing a convincing statement not merely a verse to give the cultural conditions of the time. Vines writes:

The “Traditions” consisted of apostolic teaching concerning believers in their assembly…the word has a wider scope than “ordinances” (as in the A.V.). The definitive article used with the word here shows that these were of apostolic authority in general for all churches. (The Collected Writings of W.E. Vine, Vol.2, W.E. Vine, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996, Page 75)

 

If Paul’s intentions were simply to give a glimpse into the culture of the day, it would seem quite odd that he issued such an importance in the opening of this chapter. It would also be unusual that such a large amount of the chapter is dedicated to the expression of cultural definitions while using as many verses to the significance of the Lord’s Supper. Notice how both are purposely expressed as remembrance objects. Would we be inclined to say that the bread and the wine are merely mentioned due to cultural information? Although it is with sad admittance that I must convey that the essential and beautiful truth of the Lord’s supper is in some circles becoming trivial as well. The thought that Paul’s statement as to a woman having her head covered is somehow not essential to Christian woman today due to it having only educational information is astounding. Much like many other symbolic truths, the Lord has chosen this as a remembrance to Christian order yet, much like the Lord’s supper, it is being tarnished with lack of reverence for the great Master.  

 

The prostitute argument

The City of Corinth was the capital of a Greek Province named Achaia and was rightly established as a well-situated trading place for a variety of commerce. Obviously, like many other large cities (even in this age), immoral standards were the norm and Corinth was established as a place of freedom for wickedness. Gaebelein comments:

The whole city was steeped in immoralities of various kinds. Drunkedness, gluttony, and above all religiously licensed prostitution were at their worst in Corinth. The Greek worship of Aphrodite was of the most degraded nature. So great was the moral corruptioin that the Greek word Corinthazesthai, which means “to live like a Corinthian,” had become a byword of shame and vileness among the profligate heathen of that time ( 1 Corinthians-Ironside Commentaries, H.A. Ironside, Introductory notes by Arno Gaebelein, Loizeaux Bros.,2001, Page 8)

Our second example of reasoning by those who would challenge the teaching of the woman’s head-covering is as followed: It is supposed that Paul is referring to a specific group of prostitutes and were well known to have their heads shaven and uncovered. It is argued that Paul is asking these specific prostitutes, who were new converts, to cover their heads until their hair was long enough to serve as a covering. Henderson explains:

The vestal virgins of the temple of Aprodite were prostitutes and were known to be such because their heads were shaved and uncovered (supposedly). Therefore, when the women of the Corinthian church had their liberation movement and cast off their coverings, the saved temple prostitutes in the assembly were left completely uncovered (having neither hair or a veil) and thus needed some covering. (Glories Seen & Unseen, Warren Henderson, Living Stone Bookshop Ltd., 2002, Page 107)

 

This is probably the most preposterous of the four arguments since an effortless evaluation of the text refutes the reasoning put forward. Notice in v. 4 how the man is addressed and not the woman, if this was simply proposed for a specific group of female prostitutes, why is Paul bothering with the masculine side of this concern? The fact is that Paul is not writing to a specific group but in a general sense to the Corinthians. It should be noted that Paul’s flow of deliberation isn’t brought to a halt with the head-covering issue yet continues into his writing about the Lord’s Supper. Are we to suppose that the Lord’s supper was intended for converted prostitutes as well? Paul in addition gives his reasoning for this teaching since, in v.12, he argues the order of creation not that of prostitutes with shaved heads waiting for hair to grow or even for them to wear a covering as a sign of dissociation with the Corinthian temple of Aprodite. If we keep with the text and let it firstly explain itself previous to beginning with historical data that is somewhat irrelevant in this case, we find that this passage has to support the symbolic truth of the woman’s head-covering and that the logic understood but the denier simply strays too far away from the text of scripture.

The Eisegetical argument: The long hair suffices for covering argument

I have often defended, to a certain degree, the New International Translation of the Bible yet with time I have come to be more critical of this translation due to the freedoms taken by the translators. In the footnote for 1 Corinthians 11:6 in the New International Version, we read:

If a woman has no covering, let her be for now with short hair, but since it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair shorn or shaved, she should grow it again.

This is unfortunately either a very flawed translation of the text or, as I would be incline to affirm, an interpretation of the passage found in v.6 and unfortunately ghastly deceptive. The NIV has taken the liberty to interpret the passage to denote the covering as hair. This is but an example of the extent of the ambitions of people who refuse to take this passage with any sort of literal reading.

The third argument in our short series is to interpret this passage to mean that the long hair of the woman serves as a covering for her hence there is no reason for a woman to wear another covering on her head. It is based on verse 15 where we read “For her hair is given to her for a covering”.

We must begin by stating that there is a difference in function between the hair and the covering. The woman’s long hair is “a glory to her” hence we can acknowledge that it is brilliance and splendor to the Lord. The lineage of glory goes from God, to Christ, to man, to woman since “he is the image and glory of God” (v.7) and the woman is “the glory from man”. The man having short hair and the woman having long hair physically portrays this glory. We can now associate hair with glory!

This chapter begins with the understanding of subjection, how Christ is subject to God, man is subject to Christ and the woman is subject to man. The manner in which a man physically shows his subjection to his head is by not wearing a covering and the manner in which a woman shows this subjection is by wearing a covering. This is really no different than Rebekah who veiled herself to go meet her husband and showed her humility to him by covering her head (Genesis 24:64-65). She was showing her submission to him by covering her head. 

But the question lies in, is this covering simply her hair? We must address what the term “covered” actually implies. The word is from the Greek term “katakalupto” which is defined as “to veil or cover one’s self” (J. Thayer) yet the opposite is used as “akatakalupto” which refers to no covering. If we are to use simple logic, we must conclude that the hair is not the covering spoken of in vs. 5,6,7 & 13 since if the hair serves as a covering for the woman then by common sense a man must have no hair at all for he is to be left uncovered. We know that a man must have short hair yet there is no reason for introducing baldness in this passage.

Another point that should be addressed is that in v. 15, the term “covering” is a different word used in the Greek. It is the term “peribolain” which refers to the action of covering. If the hair is simply the covering, then how does one cover and uncover since hair is fixed on a person’s head? The point that Paul was writing about to the Corinthians is simply that a woman’s glory should be veiled in order to show her subjection to her man and in doing this is showing honour and glory to the Lord in respecting her place in the gathering.

The argument as to when praying or prophesizing

The final case I will address in this short but important blog series is the argument that the headcovering is only to be worn when a woman is leading the assembly in prayer and teaching. The evidence used is from v.5 where we read:

“But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head.” 

Keeping insistently to the context we must evaluate the purpose of Paul’s writing this passage. The entire motivation of the passage is subjection to your head and in keeping with this respects how we honour our head. The point of praying and prophesying is not meant to somehow condone the preaching of women in the assembly since it is clear in other portions of scripture that the woman are to be silent in the gathering. 1 Corinthians 14:34 reads:

“The Women are to keep silent in the Churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says.”

Clearly Paul was not condoning the public audible teaching or prayer of a woman. Such is also stated in 1 Timothy 2:12 where we read:

“ Do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.”

As we can see, Paul had no intention to promote an audible female teacher in the gathering of the Saints. What Paul is trying to focus on in 1 Cor. 11:5 is that a woman must respect her head while praying, does this necessarily mean audible prayers? The women are always taking part in silent prayer while gathering with fellow believers hence when we take scripture as a whole, we must conclude that it is silent prayer given to the sister to pray. If we address the issue of prophesying, which essentially means to “teach”, we know that a woman can’t teach a man yet a woman is free to teach other woman (Titus 2:3-5) and also children is the Sunday School.

Now, the problem with point #4 I am having is that originally I had not taken into account the text in v.4 where we read: “every man who has something on his dead while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. There is a paralell with v.5 where the same phraseology is used for the woman. Paul is specific about the time or situation when a woman is to wear a covering over her head. The common practice is that a woman wear it whenever she is in church or during any church activity however the only time specified by Paul is when she is “praying or prophesying”. The point of fact is that if the text in v.4 is stating that a man prays or prophecies in an audible fashion, then the same must be said of the woman! My references to 1 Corinthians 14:24 & 1 Timothy 2:12 are essentially speaking of a woman teaching a man hence woman’s prayers and prophesying are something completely different.

I am on a quest to re-examine these church principles and I ask the reader to keep me in their prayers!

Written by shawnkjmcgrath

August 11, 2009 at 4:03 pm

My brother the heretic?

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Broken-wine-tI have spent quite a few sleepless nights over the last little while pondering, once again, issues relating back to the church I am in fellowship at. I believe the issue that I find the most perplexing of all three I had recently addressed here on this blog is the thought of moving to a facility owned by a heretical group and essentially receiving a freebie from them. I have been praying for some clarity over the recent week since it has been announced that our move will take place as of the first Sunday in September. Recently, a church leader, while praying, thanked the Lord for “our brothers” in this “church” for letting us use their facility free of charge. I can’t even imagine referring to an organization that is under the anathema of God for preaching a false gospel (Galatians 1:6-8) as my “brothers” in the Lord. Needless to say this was quite a blow to the testimony of the church especially in light of what I had said previously that we are giving credibility to that organization. What greater credibility can we give to a group than to call them “brothers”? When the apostle John wrote to the “elect lady” in his 2nd epistle, he told the recipient to not “bid him God Speed” (2 John 10 KJV) who teach falsehoods concerning the faith yet we have a situation here where we are publicly calling them “brothers in the Lord”. I must come, in a sense, to the defense of this church leader because the unfortunate fact is that he is ignorant of what this organization believes and no one is educating them. There has been no warning of their teachings or even the slightest hint of educating them in order to understand what these folks teach. Of course, since he is a church leader, he should be educating himself or accumulating information in order to warn the flock but this is not what is happening. You might be thinking: “why don’t you warn them of their teachings?” To this I reply that it is not my place to do so! I know it would cause an immense uproar if I attempted to send out information about these folks to the gathering.

So why am I still so perplexed? Isn’t it obvious that I should refrain from assembling there? Well, once again, I love the people and the gathering itself. I feel like I’m abandoning them by not going. I have been speaking with a brother on this matter whom is continuously trying to present biblical reasons to attend such as Hebrews 10:25 and arguments such as our subjection to our elders. I can appreciate these arguments but to what degree are we to have subjection? Are we to continue on with the assembly when there is evidence of unfaithfulness? The truth is that I cannot help but see the testimony of the church as being ruined by this move and I can perhaps see the Lord taking away His blessing upon the gathering due to this very reason. (Rev. 2 & 3)

Written by shawnkjmcgrath

July 29, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Posted in Church Issues

The Good Gathering

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fellowshipI had spent three whole posts on issues that I’ve been having with the church I am in fellowship with. I did not mean this as an attack on this church in any way, shape or form but merely as a means of expressing what has been on my conscience for quite sometime now and continues to this day. I would like to point out however that there are many good characteristics of the church I attend that cause me week after week to gather for worship and teaching. I know that where I live there are a number of churches from many different denominations however I have not found one as of yet that I would leave my current church for. What made me begin to think as of the last day or so is what exactly are the characteristic of a good church. What makes a particular church a good place to grow and does the church I attend meet these criterias. Let us begin in answering these important questions by attempting to demonstrate what makes a church pure and a good place for spiritual growth?

Firstly, I am a huge proponent of doctrine. If a church doesn’t have good doctrine then there can be no growth or blessing. Sound biblical doctrine is key to presenting every man mature in Christ (Col. 1:28) and it should be our goal to “be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it” (Titus 1:11) Fundamental beliefs such as Sola Scriptura, Salvation by grace through faith alone, a proper view of holiness and sanctification, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the virgin birth are all fundamentals that should be the core of the churches teaching among other important doctrines.

Secondly, a good church should focus upon practicing the “sacraments”. In other words the Lord’s Supper and Baptism should be a regular exercise for those in fellowship or coming into fellowship. These are important in the worship of a believer especially if we want to promote genuine worship (Ephesians 5:18-20). A good church encourages the participation of these wonderful commandments of our Lord and the heartfelt worship of our king and Saviour.

Thirdly, collective prayer should be a focus among all those in fellowship. We should always express our dependance on the Lord. We live in a world that is hostile towards us and we are weak and needy. To pray is to acknowledge this and our desire to be conformed to something better, mainly the image of the Son. So a good church is given to consistent heartfelt collective prayers.

 Even though this one isn’t always easy to address, a good church is one that protects its people especially from doctrinal and moral impurities. Any church that is a healthy church must practive church discipline. I will not get into the nitty gritties of it but I have written  an article on the subject for those who desire more information. There are many more that could be discussed in lenght. Wayne Grudem, in his systematic theology, lists a total of 12 which are as followed:

  • Biblical doctrine
  • proper use of the sacraments
  • right us of church discipline
  • genuine worship
  • effective prayer
  • effective witness
  • effective fellowship
  • Biblical church government
  • spiritual power in ministry
  • personal holiness of life among members
  • care for the poor
  • love for Christ (Systematic theology, W. Grudem, P874)

The list goes on and on regarding these characteristics. Of course, no church is perfect but we need to see that these particular “signs” are found and if the church strives for purity in these categories, we are given a beautiful place to worship, grow and especially find a common love for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Written by shawnkjmcgrath

July 8, 2009 at 2:15 am

Posted in Church Issues

Priestly Functions: Issue #3

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high_priestI would like to perhaps now address the third issue I’ve been having with my church. I don’t want to seem negative and an opposer of the gathering. Remember, this is primarily a personal blog hence I could be wrong! This is merely my expression to which I feel might benefit some. You’ll notice with all these issues coming up that I’ve not left the gathering. I don’t believe that leaving should be something that is taken lightly at all and reasons for an exodus should be grave enough that one cannot continue. I don’t feel that the climax has come where I would exit and there are some great reasons to stay as well. Perhaps to balance the materials I have posted thus far, I will offer a positive side of the fellowship as well.

The third issue stands as a means of governing an issue that came up about 1 1/2 years ago or so. I don’t want to be too critical here because for the most part I believe it was dealt with very well. Let me give a general background in order to offer some context. We were informed awhile back that a situation had arisen between a member of the church and someone who frequents our gathering with their parents. We were informed in a meeting that the member of our church was being investigated by the police and that he and the other individual were involved.  This gentleman has a very “public” employment hence the newspapers could be involved as well. The leadership in our gathering took the time to investigate the situation yet they found no evidence or grounds to make a formal accusation and to discipline this individual. The accusing party however went to the police which began a saga in our church to say the least. Now, the leadership, I feel, did the right thing in that they couldn’t discipline or stop him from his priestly functions in the gathering. The issue I had, which I suppose might be minor to many, is that when the police were involved that he should have been limited in his ability to function as a priest. This would mean no public speaking, no public prayer and no participation in bible studies or any other functions. Why you may ask? Well, think of the other party in our gathering and their parents? The accusations were quite bold! I think also of the priests in Leviticus 13 where they were told by Yahweh to take one who has leprosy outside. Not only was he to be taken out if they knew he had leprosy but even if they suspected he had leprosy. (Lev. 13:1-6) The sad part is that this man is a very proud man and hence he continued even more boldly than usual. The truth is I can’t say whether he is guilty or not since I really dont know but he should have humbled himself and also, I believe, should have been humbled. It is my understanding that the leadership did make an attempt to quiet him but it didn’t work overly well. I suppose that perhaps they should have been more firm but I can’t expect them to rule with a metal rod.

As you can see, the issue doesn’t really become a problem for me regarding the means by which were taken to deal with the situation as best as we could but I feel that he should have been silenced and his priestly privileges put on hold until the situation is dealt with. These are situations that can have grave results to a church and often splits occur however I have to say that I am happy to see that there is still much unity within the gathering even though it is our natural tendency to pick sides.

Written by shawnkjmcgrath

July 5, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Church Issues

Point #2

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calvinI truly hope that my previous post wasn’t too harsh. I still feel that I am a part of the church and that I am responsible along with them for the decision to meet in the future at this establishment owned by this organization. As I had said previously, I truly love the people there and enjoy their fellowship. Perhaps I shouldn’t make such a big deal out of meeting in such a place but when you’ve been an apologist then you understand the need for consistency and testimony.

The second issue I’ve been having as of late is probably a little more difficult to deal with. The issue of meeting place will eventually be dealt with when we move into our new building hence there is an end in sight to my contention. Unfortunately, this next issue is doctrinal and I can’t see any true resolution in sight. The Church I frequent is basically one that is what I would refer to as a traditional evangelical church in their soteriology. In other words they are far more Arminian than Calvinistic. I’m not going to expand on the definitions of these two theologies and trust that the reader will do the searching for him or herself. I should probably mention that the church I frequent are definetly not entirely Arminian but would be more of a 4 point Arminianism where they would still hold to the doctrine of eternal security. I, on the other hand, am a 5 point Calvinist. I have embraced this soteriological position probably about 3 years ago and even though it has been a tremendous blessing all around, I have kept these beautiful truths to myself. Why you might ask? Well, it’s pretty simple, the doctrines of grace tend to cause this strange emotionalism in those who don’t hold to them. In other words whenever I have discussed these issues with others, there has been more heat than light that has surfaced. I have no problem in agreeing to disagree yet the other side has always been more particular about their condemnation of this biblical view. I had decided to simply let it go and if someone actually asked me I would certainly be happy to share what I believe. Recently, during a bible study at our church, the text of 1 Peter 1:1-2 was presented. It reads as followed:

1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Generally the issue of election is skipped because it is felt that no one has a really good understanding of it. This night however it was spoken upon believe it or not. During the discussion one brother spoke about election meaning that God has chosen Christ as His elect and when we choose Christ, we become the elect. He argued that we are chosen unto blessings but never unto salvation. Of course this is the view of “corporate election” to which the Lord Jesus becomes a “corporate entity” or the body of the church. When we believe in Christ, we enter into Him or the body and because He is elect then we become elect. Interestingly enough the entire argument went into Ephesians 1 rather than 1 Peter 1. The principle statement was that we are chosen “in Christ” and not “to be in Christ”. I couldn’t hold myself back any longer since the tone that was used was less than respectful hence I finally spoke up. I pointed out to him that in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 we read that “we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginningfor salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.” I then pointed out that part of the blessings we are chosen unto is the election and predestination. These things were purchased at the cross as well. I pointed out to him also that even though the text doesn’t say we were chosen “to be in Christ”, it also doesn’t say that we were chosen “because we chose to be in Christ”. The outflow of Christ are the blessings found in Ephesians 1:4-14. I pointed out as well that in 1 Peter1 the only reason that any of them would have had any hope in persevering as commanded by Peter was that they would have known they were the elect, sprinkled by the blood and sanctified by the Spirit. This would have given them much encouragement!

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Written by shawnkjmcgrath

July 4, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Where is your Allegiance?

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faithfulnessThere has been some very difficult situations that have arisen in my life as of late in respects to the church I frequent. I have been quite perplexed to say the least about some issues that have been brougth up including some decisions that I have not been entirely in agreement with. I’m not going to write this and attack my church, far be it, I love the people and cherish their fellowship immensley! but I see that there are some pretty big concerns that I have and unfortunately I’m never sure what to do about them. I’m not going to mention any particular details here but when situations arise that we must ask ourselves whether we are being faithful to God or faithful to ourselves.

This is the first issue, I will post about the two other issues a little later. All I will say is that we are moving and , before we get to our new building, we are going to be meeting in a place of worship that is basically Pseudo-Christian if not a Christian cult. We are getting this facility for free and hence my brothers and sisters feel it is a good step to save money and have a temporary place. People sometimes think this being faithful to God and faithful to ourselves is interchangeable. In other words  when a church is being faithful to their needs then automatically they presume they are being faithful to the Lord. I would unfortunately disagree that this is the case at all because we must always place doctrinal and moral purity above our financial needs. When we begin to associate with others who are not doctrinally pure, whether directly or indirectly, then we are in danger of losing the light of our testimony and the blessing bestowed upon us. How many times did the Lord chastise the Israelites for association with other gods? The scripture states we are to “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess 5:2). Would this not fit the bill?  What if an unbeliever was to see me enter into that building and at the same time he saw the name of that particular church, would he not associate me with it? Further, this would definitely give the impressing that I am o.k. with this place and hence giving it credibility. I think of the apostle John when he wrote his second epistle to not let a gnostic into their houses (or places of worship) and would he have allowed the recipients of his letter to go into theirs?  Highly unlikely! I know we are all fallible men who are trying as best as we know to follow the will of the Lord. I mean, maybe I’m completely off on this issue.  It is certainly a big issue to which I feel that I need to continue in prayer. I am convinced at this time that I will not attend the meetings until we are in our final place.

I know, I know, some of you are thinking “well, you’re a Calvinist, don’t you believe that everything is going to happen regardless and that all that is happening is the Lord’s will?” The fact of the matter is that because I am a Calvinist, I am also a compatibalist! Let me give an example I had written awhile back of what “Compatibablism” is:

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Written by shawnkjmcgrath

July 3, 2009 at 2:27 am

Posted in Church Issues