Thursday, October 03, 2013

Beginning to Question...

BEGINNING TO QUESTION...
 
You believe on Jesus and are born again. If you are the child of Christian parents you arrive spiritually already with an evangelical conveyor belt called the local church. If, like me, you get saved outside the church it takes you a while but eventually you are assimilated into that same local church structure. It is a place that operates like a well oiled machine and they feed you what they believe in a consistent manner. Any who dare to question are quickly identified as trouble makers and soon disappear into the room of the rejected where the church awaits your reprogramming at which time you will be re-assimilated.

But one day you begin to hear a very, very small voice within you. At first you can barely hear it and the communication is muffled. At first you can only feel that something is wrong. Perhaps something very small. You begin to see some differences between what your church is teaching and practicing and what the Scriptures clearly teach. Don’t get me wrong. You learn a lot of wonderful things in many churches and things which are of Jesus. And you meet some great and sincere friends.

But you still are hearing something within your heart. Yes, something just is not right. You begin to feel somewhat discouraged because you feel a little restrained in corporate worship. You are beginning to lose the sense of abandoned joy you once had. It soon reaches a point where others see it in you. You slowly begin to share your feelings and insights with a few friends. Most attempt to soothe your conscience and help you disregard what you see and feel. After all nothing on this earth is perfect.

But the inward leading continues unabated. Yes, sometimes you feel like just a critic or even a hypocrite since your own spiritual walk is far less than perfect. It is quite discomforting and either leads you to delve deeper or quit altogether. Many leave the organized church system and spiral downward spiritually or grow personally. This scenario is rampant and observable across the western hemisphere.

So you find yourself in a complete quandary. Should you leave the local church structure or should you stay and “gut it out”? But no matter how you try and how you pray you cannot escape that feeling, which is now a conviction, that something is very wrong. How could you not have seen it before even while reading just the Sermon on the Mount? And then you discover a small group of people on the internet feel and see the same things. Ok, now what?

You began with some questions and those questions led to other questions and now you have gone too far. You can really never go back. You are in evangelical no man’s land. Gone is the fellowship. Gone are the church activities. Gone is the swelling music. Gone is the ecclesiastical ambiance you once enjoyed. You have entered a lonely country where you must seek the Lord more fervently than you ever have before. This is a time of great challenges and also of great opportunities to live the cross.

But the further you go the more you see. Perhaps the entire church structure in the west was entirely wrong and unscriptural and the feelings you have are a result of being in that system and becoming used to it. These questions you have are disrupting your entire spiritual life. Many of your friends have taken a few steps back from you. And believers you know and respect and who love Jesus do not see what you see. It is a ball of confusion. But somehow the Spirit strengthens and nourishes you in spite of your uncertain journey. You now see Scripture for what it says and teaches without the western influence.

And then you find you are losing your patriotism. Oh no! It is amazing that believers might endure certain question about church structure but when you deny your allegiance to any nation you now find friends walking away from you. It seems that denying allegiance to anyone but Christ brings persecution within the church. Politics now disgusts you, elections are a waste of time, and you have been released from worrying about the economy. And what a great surprise! The Spirit has given you a love for Muslims and gays and liberals and all sorts of sinners that the church seems to hate. Yes, the Spirit is molding you into His image and not the image the church has designed for you. You now are experiencing a freedom that had long been unknown to you. Jesus is now Lord and not the church. Wow!

And where do you go from here?

(To be continued.)

15 comments:

Rick Kincaid said...

Rick,

This post describes what happened to me almost word for word and in the same sequence. That small, still voice asking me to give an answer as to why I believed what I had been taught and then showing me the Truth. It was disheartening at first and as time went on it became a thorn in my flesh until I finally relented and exited the institutional fellowship I belonged to. At that point I began a journey with Christ and found out what it means to be conformed into His image and not the one the culture dictates. And I have no regrets.

He has shown me that I am free. I am free in Him to submit to His will with the assurance that all that besets me will be for my benefit because He operates for His children's benefit and theirs alone. The days of being alone, (unable to explain to those who still called why I wasn't in "church" every time the doors opened)stretched to weeks, then months and now years (though I am still rebuked for not going to "church" on Sundays)are being paid back pressed down and overflowing. I no longer speak as brass but have learned to love my neighbor as myself and to rest in the comfort and security of His Kingdom and not the kingdom of this world. I believe I now know what it means that Love never fails.

My identity is no longer American, Republican, Christian or any other label that the secular culture or the religious culture wants to pigeonhole me into. My identity is that of a son by adoption and joint heir of all things with Christ. My sufferings come upon me from Christ Himself, not to punish me but to mature me so I may be ready when He reveals the work He planned for my life so that I may be able to hear Him say well done.

I believe you have submitted to the work He has prepared for you. The season has changed and the institutional church has run its course. Through you many will hear what the Spirit has been saying to them and will turn to Him and Him only so that they may be ready as well. He has begun to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers. I pray for you to keep the course.

Godspeed my brother.

Rick Kincaid

Chris Baumgart said...

I believe I've heard a term called, "Nones", those who are not a part of any specific fellowship but remain true to their walk in Christ. As I have mentioned before to you Rick, for years I was devoted to the study of teachings from Charles G. Finney. Prior to that, Leonhard Ravenhill... Other books by associated teachers to the Last Day Ministries that was started by Keith Green and his wife, Melody. For years I also studied the Wesley's, the era of the Reformation to get a better sense of the history of the Western Church. It has been pressing in to the Holy Spirit that brought and still brings scriptural clarity. I will say also that you have blessed me with some new insight pertaining to "nationalism" and taking another look at the heart of The New Covenant position on utilizing faith when exercising love toward those who hurt us. I have been involved in public ministry through music here in the Midwest and being part of leadership seeing first hand the discrepancies of certain church leaders, questioning their motives. I have also paid heavy personal prices being the target of Satan and still move in his direction as the Lord leads hoping to do damage to the lies he has instilled in the church and tear down the strongholds of deception over the minds of the saved and unsaved. I contend with my flesh and temptation daily, but my walk grows ever so much closer to that of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thanks to the Spirit of God I have done my greatest growth outside the four walls of the church, but I do and have gone back at times for motives pertaining to my children and fellowshiping with those I have a bond with. I am right now at this time working on a web ministry to teach what I am learning. Will it take any other shape outside of this(?) - I do not know.

Rick Frueh said...

I do not agree with many of Finney's theology. However I am exhorted by his prayer life, evangelism, and commitment to personal holiness.

Cherie c. said...

This is Me!!!! But I find myself in a quandry. How do I do the work Jesus has told us to do? Teach young women when I do not meet with any. Fellowship with the Brethren as the day approaches.

Where do I go from here???????

That is a question I have been seeking answers to for so long. Cannot wait for the post. There are many more questions I seek answers for, but I am content.

To Chris Baumgart:

I have listened to Ravenhill too! He has some great sermons. I recently found Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones from listening to Chris Roseborough's radio broadcast. So I went to the Jones' site and his sermons are there. He is also wonderful on his teachings of law and grace.

Pastor Rick, can you disagree with someone's theology and still co mend other parts of his life? Isn't someone's theology important to their walk? How can one's prayer life be correct if their theology is in error? This is what I mean when I say I am confused. What is theology? I have never heard of this preacher. Is Finney an early church father like Calvin and Luther? I keep running into Calvinist blogs and websites, should I be concerned? When is your next Post? Pastor Rick, I have seen you mentioned on a few blogs and websites too, some weren't nice. Are you aware of this?

Thanks.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Cherie c. said...

LOL, Charles G. Finney and I share the same birthday.

Cherie c. said...

Charles G. Finney, the one born in 1792, not his grandson.

Cherie c. said...

I have read some of the history on Mr. Finney and I am disturbed by what I read. I feel like giving up already.

Is there anyone or any group of saved people that emulate the early church? Law and Grace, sin and repentance and the forgiveness of sin. Justified by faith alone in Christ alone. Is there anyone left in the world who preaches that or is it just something of the past?

What is refreshing is I have had the pleasure of corresponding with Pastor Ed from the Berean Call and he agrees that no one is without error, not even him. But, how much error is okay, and where is the line drawn.

I questioned my old church and God the Holy Spirit has helped me see the truth. Now I am filled with many more questions. Could this be a hunger for more truth and to go deeper with the Word? Or is it my flesh never satisfied with the answers I think I already know but need confirmation? Just trying to get it right, avoid deception, error and hell. Failing miserably, I think? So afraid of hearing those words, "depart from me I never knew you." So very, very worried about that. I don't think I will ever measure up. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Wow!

Yes, where do we go from here? Was just pondering this today. I found myself, unchurched, needing fellowship in 2008. I had dislocated my shoulder and couldn't do much. I started to get interested in the dynamic of the 2008 election because of the christian element and the supposed christian VP nominee. I was still in that mind-set of believing that God had a destiny for the U.S. specifically. But I saw a side to those who professed their christianity who were only motivated by power and greed and it revealed to me that we were all being conned by many. So a change in me happened after seeking and seeking like-minded christians who were fed up with the politics infiltrating the church. I needed confirmation from others. I could see a pattern where christians were fleeced by leaders urging them to vote and put patriotism and the Constitution as their second bible, much like Mormoms with the Book of Mormon.

This blog and a few others I found seemed to see the apostasies. So now we know. And how or where do we go with this knowledge? Is this knowledge something to be spoken as a warning in a corporate way or just speak to individuals as we meet them on our journey. Maybe this knowledge is too difficult to bear because it's something that will draw persecution from those wolves who say they love Christ.

There are so many voices, so many theories, ministry agendas, and works of godly men who wrote inspirational writings and such, but we're coming to a time when we can only give Jesus the glory, not man's ministry. Not even Wesley, or the Azuza Street revivalists, or even the translators of the King James bible. There are all these people who contributed but I just can't use them as my banner to bring people to Christ anymore. It's just Jesus or nothing, or no one. Because the people I meet are unbelievers and they are not interested in one man's unique interpretation of the bible. They are thirsty for a real relationship with the One true God. I can No longer can I say I am a "pentecostal" because it doesn't matter what I am, it only matters what He is. I don't think we even have time to do exegesis (although it's very important). But if we find ourselves in catastrophes, there won't be any time to give each person drawn-out bible studies.

Still, I haven't even answered my own question as to where do we go now? Can't wait for the second part of this post.

J.


Rick Frueh said...

Can you disagree with someone's theology and still appreciate their walk and ministry?
Sure. I love Spurgeon and I strongly disagree with Calvinism. I love David Wilkerson and yet he was too Pentecostal for me. Finney has some exotic ideas about theology however he was used mightily by God in revivals throughout the northeastern United States. If I had to agree with all of anyone's beliefs before I could be ministered by them I would not be edified by almost anyone.
There are some foundational doctrines about which we can never compromise.

brcorcoran said...

Thanks for the post Rick...I'm going through the exact thing...

I'm finding the "Church" (the ones I've attended) do not teach the full "Revelation" God gave to Apostle Paul...

Jesus' words are always challenged with a hypothetical situation when talking about -

- Loving your Enemy
- Doing good to those that use you
- Never holding account a wrong suffered
- Imitating God and loving as Christ loves
- forgiveness (especially when talking about militant muslims)

I feel like I'm doing something wrong yet I see the scriptures that many see as though they just don't seem to apply today...

Grace is taught only to be threatened with Malachi three (tithing)...

I don't fit in and it is heart-wrenching. Nobody wants anything to do with you because you hold fast to every word of Apostle Paul...

Thanks Again...

Your post has given me some relief...

p.s. I've been placed outside with many of my brethren that embrace "Nationalism"...I say love your enemy, they say "kill" your enemy...

Chris Baumgart said...

Adding to things here, our Chief Teacher should be the Holy Spirit. Discerning what comes from books, from tv, the radio, from the pulpit are subject to Him and God's Word. Prayer is critical, quiet time with the Lord a must. The in filling of the Spirit also guides us through day to day life. I have have walked now over 34 years with the Lord and He has had to "undo" some teachings I embraced or should I say reshape my understanding of certain scripture. I am a freer man now because of this. The Holy Spirit has allowed me, like Rick said earlier, to take various aspects of others ministries balanced against the Word and open my heart to learning. I want to be more like Jesus. The Holy Spirit has a hand in fulfilling this.

Cherie c. said...

So then I am not in error Chris/Pastor Rick in occasionally visiting these other sites? I have read Spurgeon and MacArthur and other ministries, Dave Hunt etc and I have learned from them. I should probably check the Scriptures against what I hear and read, but the checking I have done all measure up to Scripture except for those few I asked Pastor Rick about.

Like the radio program Fighting For The Faith, some of what he says on this radio show really is true, not only that he always quotes Scripture, tells his listeners to go to Scripture when listening to anyone. He also says to listen to his program with a closed mind. Close to anything but the true Word of God, but he is a Lutheran who believes in infant baptism etc. I don't see infant baptism in the Bible with the exception of the description of people getting baptized. I can't imagine adults with children would skip having them baptized, but we really don't know.

I still live my life with a discomfort in the back of my mind. This keeps me from getting complacent. I don't think I will ever, in this life feel completely relaxed in the Faith. Not that I don't believe Jesus, but that I am afraid that if I do, I will error.

I so worry about doing something wrong. I worry about shaming Him all the time. I repent for repenting incorrectly. I know that is weird, but I also know I have to calm down. See what happens when you don't have fellowship or good expository teaching from a godly Pastor.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Chris Baumgart said...

Cherie, -Again what comes to mind is that we all have access to the Holy Bible. This laid out in front of us daily offers us a foundation to "spiritually stand" on. As one continues in their walk, the Holy Spirit gives light to parts of scripture that you may have read already, but all of a sudden it appears fresh, and your heart and faith seem to expand. That's what exciting about the Word. Addressing the "how to's" as to the application of what we learn are also found in the examples of the expression of Christ and his disciples love toward the non-believer and the believer. A basic principle for me is, if sin separates me from God, then the less sin I exercise the closer I will be to Him. But I take action through faith which is driven by my love for Jesus. I obey God's Words this way. I am not bound by measuring works of righteousness but rather my obedience comes from my loving desire to abide in the Person of Jesus. So His goodness becomes mine.

Cherie c. said...

Thank you Chris for your comment. It has helped a great deal. I rely upon the Word of God to sustain my faith and to measure what man says the Word says.

I do love Jesus and I endeavor to obey even if it means uncomfortable living for me. I never read anywhere in Scripture that life was going to be easy as we pass through this place. It has been such a roller coaster for me since the summer of 2010. God has really been correcting me so I guess that means He loves me. This may sound so weird to others, but that is why I love Him so much. He doesn't leave me in my sin. He corrects me and shows and speaks to me (via the Bible only) what I need to know. I just allow doubt in at times, much to my shame. He has also blessed me to embarrassment, but I am grateful nonetheless. He has allowed me to help others and I see that as a blessing. He has opened my eyes and heart to the Truth of His Word, and to what is to come and I am so unworthy. Disgusted I am at my sin, but I know He is sanctifying me. I so can't wait for Him to come again. To see Him in His Glory is a privilege I do not deserve, but my hope is in Him.

Thanks again dear brother in Christ to take the time to talk to and teach a sinner only saved by Grace and who looks to the godly men of the Body of Christ for preaching and teaching especially when apostasy is so widespread.

May God continue to Bless you and Pastor Rick.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

R JP said...

9 hits out of 10 in my personal experience. Jesus is with me, but I still walk in the desert. Even so, the manna is pretty good (no complaint there at all). The neat thing about walking in the desert is that there is no one telling me what to do. Jesus takes my hand and that's all there is to it.
and that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...