Sunday, September 14, 2008

I am leaving my church...pt.1

This has been one of the most difficult summers I've had in awhile. I mean, in the beginning of May, right after my college graduation, I was part of a great church fellowship in Virginia and had a great circle of friends. I was going to forsake coming back to the comforts of home and stay and be apart of the ministry.

Oh how God derails the plans of man.

Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.


Now some of you may ask, what would cause you to leave your church. I'm one of those people who agree that church membership is not something to be taken lightly and it's not something that you can just hop from church to church because "the pastor made you mad" or "you don't like the songs they play". If someone is going to leave a church, and renounce their membership from a particular ministry, there has be things going on that clearly do not line up with the Word of God and it is clearly affecting your walk with God. Or of course you should leave if plain outright heresy is being taught.

Well in my particular situation, I realized that my church although non-denominational, fit into the charismatic movement. It was a very difficult decision for me because although they fit into the charismatic movement like I just stated above, they have not been touched by any of the Toronto Blessing, Latter Rain, etc. type of things (If you are not familiar with these things in your church, praise God...now go and do some research so you can have discernment if it tries to come)

But the other things such as the way spiritual warfare is taught, speaking in tongues, teachings on salvation, new and direct revelation, claiming that true believers can miss the will of God if they are seeking Him, slain in the spirit, and drunk in the spirit, it was enough for me to say that I cannot return. Another major things for me was that one of the churches that was planted by the main church which I fellowship at, was indeed very interested and exhibited some of the same characteristics of the Latter Rain and influences of people like Mike Bickle and Lou Engle. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a cessationist or anything. I believe that if God choses to do so today, tongues can still be spoken but it is VERY rare and more the exception to the rule...but that's a post for another time :)

No I know some of you may think I'm overreacting, and I thought so myself. During the whole summer when I was finding these things out, I said to myself that I could still continue to be apart of the church, but just not take part in these things. But the Lord brought back to memory many things during my two years at the church (mainly this past school year) in which there would be times when I would get "checks" in my spirit about some of the things going on.

People listening to "God" telling them to step out blindly on faith or do something as if it were a direct command at times would bother me and I didn't know why. I'm not talking about you know how at times we as believers may get a burden or desire to serve such as a particular place to witness to, or a desire to serve full time in ministry. I'm talking about these words were taken as binding and direct commands from God, that if they didn't do them, they would be out of God's will, or even a slight judgement on them. Eventually I started thinking the same way. I would be sitting down, reading my Word or maybe even just walking around campus, and I'd hear all sorts of things like "Don't walk that way" or "Go to Wal mart at 5 pm to witness" Now again I'm not saying that the Holy Spirit doesn't give us leadings and promptings, but to take thoughts and "voices" in your head as well as subjective impressions as authoritative and binding from God is not cool.

God has specifically laid out the commands and guidelines we are supposed to follow in His written Word. THAT'S how we hear His voice and stay in His will. Again, this goes back to my previous posts on the will of God.

Now even with this, it's still not enough to leave a church fellowship. But this was just a starting point where I believe God started to lead me to discover other things that didn't seem quite right. Come back for part 2 of my story.

2 comments:

Donna said...

It's so interesting that you mentioned the Bickle teachings. I just received a newsletter this week describing his teachings, about which I was unaware. (Critical Issues Commentary) It goes back to the importance of staying in prayer and studying to show yourself approved, in order to recognize the problems with some teachers who probably seem okay initially.
Having been in a church years ago that started off on what I thought was a good foundation and then moving so far off the track later on, you just become more aware it's something you have responsibility to keep your eyes open for. Thanks!

Nathan Alterton said...

Great points! I'm right on the same page as you on the seriousness with which we should approach leaving a church. Very glad to see you approaching such a serious decision carefully and thoughtfully. So far (I haven't read the rest of your post on this issue yet, but I will) it seems that you're on solid ground for a least raising doubts about what the church is teaching, and that teachings harmful influence on the Church body.

Every church I have been to subscribes, at least in word, to this "felt led" doctrine you're writing about. It sounds like the difference between what you're experiencing and what I have experienced at my churches is that when the rubber hit the road my congregations really practiced something more like the "wisdom model," whereas you're seeing the "felt led" model in both word and deed.

Keep up the writing. I like what you have to say.