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Response to “House Churches”

This is a blog response for a post that was put up back in November. GDB has been out of commission for a while so we have a lot of catching up to do. You can’t find the original post on rough-hewn blog. It is written by David Hoopingarner and you can follow this link to get to it, http://javaman56.wordpress.com/house-churches/

First off I want to say that I am extremely blessed to have read the article. It is great to see that there are other people out there who share my passion for ministry and my ideas for discipleship. The one thing that is driving me crazy is that I have never been to a house church before. I wouldn’t quite call what we do at GDB to be a house church but we do meet weekly to talk about our faith, grow in fellowship, and enjoy the company of friends, family and the Lord.

We at GDB have seen first hand the incredible positive affects of this kind of group and my favorite portion of the article “House Churches” talks about something that we have been trying to get at for a long time, the alienation of new coming Christians within the mainstream evangelical churches. David talks about going to new churches and sitting in rows, “… politely waiting for the service to be over.” It might seem ridiculous for me to rhetorically ask if that’s the kind of service we want to be having but it is constantly the kind that we are putting out there. The personal relationship between the pastor and his congregation often ends abruptly at a handshake.

It really makes me sad to know that for most of my life I have experienced this kind of relationship with my pastor. Until just recently when I moved from Colorado to Arizona I knew my pastor as, “The preacher man that talks loud on Sundays.” When I transitioned to the new church I realized that I had a much more personal connection with my pastor. We go shooting and talk about guns, and then stop to get coffee and discuss theology. This kind of relationship has definitely caused incredible changes in the way I view how a church ought to be run.

I’m extremely excited to see that David is on the same page with GDB and hope to have more exchanges with him in the future. If you haven’t checked out his blog then you definitely should and make sure to check in with GDB next week for our continuation of “The Bible is Not a Text Book.”

 

~Arayl

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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Bible, church, disillusionment, Failure, Religion

 

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Friendly Fire

I want to vomit. I just left my pastors’ offices and was yelled at for over an hour about how horrible my thoughts were. Two men who I had listened to and respected for 19 years were now picking me apart as if I was the biggest threat to modern evangelicalism. I was told that I was undermining the integrity of the church government, causing the church’s senior citizens to grow angry, and challenging the teaching of my pastors. I sat in shock of the charges brought against me and I wondered how my passion for theology could have caused this response. Let me back up a bit…..

I love doctrine. I mean, I am that guy you will see reading a 1200 page book on systematic theology and just be lost as I savor the sweet ineffable characteristics of the divine. I remember in Bible College when I sat through two semesters of theology and didn’t learn a thing, because I had been embracing these topics for years prior to this scholastic endeavor. I wrote entire papers on theological topics using only sources from my own library and easily got good grades on these papers. I knew exactly what I believed about almost every doctrine and could explain to you not only the logic but the biblical texts behind my conclusions.

I say again, I was that guy.

I didn’t study the attributes of God for some mere intellectual purpose; I did it because nothing was as satisfying to me as learning about who God is, and why He does what He does. I would lose hours reading Paul’s epistles as he would tell other churches about the gospel and how it rid them of the need for actions to prove your worth to God (justification), how it had nothing to do with my abilities (unconditional election), how I could not even recognize God without His initial call (total depravity) and how God always held every situation in His hands (sovereignty). These were the doctrines that demanded my attention, and emotion. And with this ongoing pursuit now exceeding 2 years, I was now being told my passion was misplaced.

John Calvin

John Calvin

My pastor had told me that the doctrines I held so dear and found so much joy in were extremely offensive and were in fact completely wrong. I made my stance known with biblical support but instead of being heard I was threatened. I was told I would never teach any age level at the church again, nor could I be trusted anymore. My heart sank. As I sat in the church bathroom after this intense meeting I questioned so much. I wondered how these people could tell me my pursuit of the knowledge of God was un-welcomed and that the uttering of the word “Calvinism” may as well have been me shouting the word f*^#. I had called this church my spiritual home for just under two decades and now I was being shunned as if I had leprosy. I didn’t know what to feel.

We in the church often kill our own wounded. Such was the case at this church. We find the person who has questions, who is searching and we shoot them at point-blank range for the audacity to question what tradition has taught us to revere. We will repress the passion and drive of the person who is asking dangerous questions because we already have the answers from a theologian five centuries prior.

As I sought answers on theological questions and began developing my stance on key issues I was never encouraged to search, I was only told what was right and what was wrong.  Christ bid me to reach for Him, the institution would have me digress. I found comfort in the nature of God Himself, and I was told my conclusions were invalid. I left this church. The scars would last for a while, but God grew me through the pain. The thing I learned through it all is that sometimes the church is more in favor of tradition that longing for the person of Christ. How many casualties are we racking up from friendly fire?

~ Aaron

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Bible, Calvinism, Religion

 

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