May I ask why? A kindly intended "devil's advocate.

Posted by BWSmith on Friday, 13 February 1998, at 12:36 p.m.

Dear Michele:

First, let me say in years past we have left two churches -- once as unbelievers, we left a liberal denomination and once as believers we left because we disagreed with the direction of the church and believed we might become part of the problem rather than co-laborers for Christ, even in an uncomfortable vineyard. In sympathy for the anguish of breaking fellowship in one body oy believers, I therefore write you . . .

You wrote, "Here is my dilemma......"
If you and your husband are like-minded about this question of where you should worship, remember that you must go to your pastor and explain your reasons for breaking fellowship. (Matthew 18)
You do not mention if your pastor is preaching the word of God or not --

Actually, consider prayerfully discussing your objections with his wife -- many women simply DO NOT KNOW how to become keepers at home -- many women welcome a gentle reproof and steady instruction how to be Proverbs 31 women, even pastors' wives.

You are doing well to try "to go back to a more traditional way of thinking and of life." Are you certain whose tradition you are emulating and why?

Some of my brothers and sisters in Christ make me squirm because of "external" differences.[lifestyle choices] Some precious saints make me squirm because I am NOT walking obediently to the walk Christ calls me to.

Some homeschoolers (present company excluded, of course!) can project a holier than thou attitude, and we must guard against judging how another family [even homeschooling] live their lives --
[I assume you know that I do not condone willful, persistent rebellion against God, nor am I advocating your ignoring ungodly behavior.]

Good for you that you are "making a special effort to change myself and teach my girls to be 'keepers at home' This includes a more conservative and tradional appearance and way of life." I pray God enables you to be discerning and careful. "Conservative" and "traditional" are not the only
adjectives to describe lives lived for the Lord Jesus Christ.

As a hopeless C-span junkie, I can see that cutting back on TV is definitely a wise decision.
And God will bless your efforts to draw closer to your family in play and work "instead of going our seperate ways." And you are wise to redirect your children now while they are young.

[Let me hasten to say to any woman reading this, if God is telling to change something in your family life - DO IT - and don't worry if your kids are too old to change!]

Now, you wrote: "The problem is our church." You did not describe the preaching, but the pastors' wives and their choices to work outside the home.
"Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand." (Romans 14:4)

NO WOMAN IS UNGODLY SIMPLY BECAUSE OF WORKING OUTSIDE THE HOME. [Or puts her children in public or christian schools!] She might have some great lessons to teach -- Give her the benefit of the doubt! Are WE willing to be taught? You don't KNOW why she and her husband have made these choices.

You describe a traditionally solid denomination --
but there are cracks in even the best churches which are built on the Solid Rock -- How are you praying for your pastors and elders? Have you spent time time, asking God to address this issue in their hearts, or prepare the pastors hearts to discuss this issue. If we do not take seriously
Paul's instructions to Titus -- any church may whither.

You did hit on a sensitive issue with me, that is how we dress. It IS appalling, and the pastors and Sunday school teachers MUST speak to this, I agree. AND we must set examples of decorum and modesty without a doubt. Remember though, if your church is winning souls to Jesus Christ, they may come dressed in pagan garb, until convicted to dress otherwise. Speaking the truth in love, therefore is our responsibility. Some women DO come to our church inappropriately clad -- but few
are weekly attenders -- For whatever reason, they drift in and soon leave. Maybe WE aren't fashionable enough :-)

ASK God for a gentle spirit and a kind facial expression as you speak to those with whom you differ -- and that those to whom you speak will have ears open to hear the words of Jesus which flow from your heart, not from any prejudices.

If your preacher is advocating abortion or homosexuality, your church has wandered from the truth -- YOU MUST LEAVE. (Unless two or three other couples have agreed to stay and pray as missionaries. Even then, be certain God calls you to stay. ) BUT have the courage to tell your pastor -- rather you and your husband tell the pastor why you are leaving.

You ask where to find " a place where the traditional family values are respected and
encouraged." I agree with those who have counseled you to look for solid preaching from the word -- look for men who humbly surrender to Christ in all areas, after you have looked first to Jesus. Frankly, I would stay out of churches whose denominations have parted from Scripture -- but guess what? God's busy in those "dead" churches, too. We Bible-believing, spirit-filled
church-goers need to take heed, lest we fall! And PRIDE lays lots of folks LOW!

Conservative dress means nothing if the heart is not surrendered. Look to inside of your pastors, whether at the old or new church, and PRAY FOR THESE MEN! Look to your own hearts and see if you are willing to accept the responsibilities of serving Christ with others who love Him just as much as you do, but who may talk a little different, dress differently, or send their kids to a different school.

"Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.
For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. (Titus 3:1-3)

Having said all that my feeble brain can come up with, I salute those who waded through this tome --If nothing else, please remember the Scripture, and see for yourself.

BWS


Here's my answer!

Posted by Michele on Friday, 13 February 1998, at 1:58 p.m., in response to May I ask why? A kindly intended "devil's advocate., posted by BWSmith on Friday, 13 February 1998, at 12:36 p.m.

I guess what it comes down to is that I am looking for a church, (denomination is irrelevant), which preaches the Bible and practices what it preaches. I would like the persons in authority positions, (pastors, deacons, teacher's, whatever) to be Godly examples. I would like a church in which the leaders are not afraid to approach those who are not living right with God. I would like a church in which the members really care about each other and actually go out of their way to make sure people who need help get it.

Basically, a church that is not hypocritical. I can not stand it when the preacher preaches on Sunday and everyone agrees with the message and says amen but all is forgotten as soon as they walk out of the door. It is almost like it's a big game.

I hope this makes sense. It is hard for me to express what I am feeling in words :)

I thank everyone for responding to my posts. It really helps to be able to talk it out.

michele :)


Re: Here's my answer!

Posted by BWSmith on Saturday, 14 February 1998, at 8:42 a.m., in response to Here's my answer!, posted by Michele on Friday, 13 February 1998, at 1:58 p.m.

Dear Michele:

Denominations are important as far as the leadership holds unswervingly to salvation
through faith in Jesus Christ. Some churches hold the Bible in one hand and ADD to it with the
other. Check if the church posts a confession of faith in the bulletin, for example.

Yes, the leadership and the flock SHOULD practice what they preach -- but we are all imperfect.
Our church freely admits that the one requirement for membership is that we admit we are sinners
in need of a Savior. A church full of the redeemed of the Lord is still capable of some pretty
disappointing behavior. Because many Christians shy away from Matthew 5:24 and 18, most of the flock who are caught in sin, continue in sin.

Years ago when I was new in the faith I got to know several lovely Christian women who
gossiped -- in the form of prayer requests -- or "background" conversation. It took me awhile to
wean myself off these great gab sessions -- but I was unable to explain why I had to withdraw
from the conversation -- so I just froze up and didn't talk anymore (ME? Silent, you ask amazed?)
This was WRONG -- I did a lot of damage to the people who were offending ME! What I did by
my mild form of "shunning" was far worse than all those tasty morsels of gossip I relished.

When I finally asked for forgiveness for my sin, it was not good. Now, I must leave it to the Lord
to knit things back together. My first Christian friends were wrong in gossiping, but I was wrong
in not being open about my views. By God's grace, I don't want to do this again -- and I want the
Body to interact in confidence that if Christ established the practice of reconciliation, we should
exercise it.

So an important question you and hubby might want to investigate is if your "new" church
practices church DISCIPLINE {GASP!} It is almost impossible to pull off discipline, since errant
sheep usually withdraw rather than reconcile differences or stop the practices that have been
brought to the church leadership's attention. [Or they sue the church for intentionally inflicting
emotional harm:-(]

You wrote: "I would like a church in which the members really care about each other and actually
go out of their way to make sure people who need help get it."
Don't rule out being a help to your pastors' wives. Sometimes the people God asks me to care
about are not the spiritually magnificent, but the weak, and hurting and frustrated.

Hypocrisy is depressing -- but I fail here too often. Saying "Amen" on Sunday and failing to see
the log in my own eye because I am such a rush to shape up my family's specks; -(

You wrote: "It is almost like it's a big game." Believe me, I am not having FUN when I sin -- I
don't KNOW why I do what I do esp. when I KNOW better! I know though I want to look more
like Jesus that myself.

I will pray for peace and confidence as you set your heart on worship this Sunday -- and good
communication with your special valentine, so you are like-minded with your husband.

God Bless ya Michele!

BWSmith