Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Story of How I Came to Church
Part 4 (Final) Coming to Emmanuel

At this time, Emmanuel Baptist Church was going through somewhat of an internal struggle. Some of the members were not happy because the music was changing. The service was changing. Things were becoming less and less traditional and sometimes this makes people uncomfortable. This was in the year 1992 and I think this kind of thing had been going on in a lot of churches. Well, a lot of people weren’t comfortable with these changes at Emmanuel Baptist Church. John was very empathetic to these people. This topic took a lot of time in the conversations between him and his friends. It was a theme.

I had really enjoyed and benefitted Contemporary Chriatian Music, but John and his friends spent a bit of time discussing how wrong it was. On our first date (a double date), I readily challenged him to show me one place in the Bible that would prove his points about this. He showed me several passages that did not convince me. We sort of put our disagreement about this "on the back burner." :~)

John and his friends were not happy about these issues of contemporary worship... and several of them were talking about leaving their church. After about two weeks of this, I finally got a day off that coordinated with John’s schedule to go to church with him. It was a Wednesday night. I walked in there with all of this swimming around in my head:

  • Churches were full of apostates
  • There was something wrong with the music at this church
  • Preachers in these churches aren’t preaching the truth; if they did, these “pretenders” that are filling their pews would get up and leave
  • The members of this church weren’t happy with these terrible changes that were happening
I sat down and listened to the message. I looked around and there were many people filling the pews. The pastor opened the Bible and the things he said were… true! He spoke the Word of God and I recognized true preaching. He certainly was not a false teacher. He loved the Lord and I could tell. He even echoed some on Joe’s cautions against the liberalities people take with the Word of God. I waited for people to get up and leave. I thought, “This must be a landmark day here. People are not going to put up with such a message of truth from the pulpit. Surely this doesn’t tickle their ears and they are not going to stand for it, being the apostates that they surely all must be.”

BUT… no one left!

Instead, during the message, several said, “Amen.” At the end of the message, they all stood up and sang a glorious hymn… with enthusiasm! Tears came to my eyes as I realized that for these five years this church had been less than 2 miles from my home. It was not full of apostates, there were plenty of real Christians all around me… and I knew it! I was so happy!

When John and I got out to his car, I turned to him and said, “What is wrong with you??????” I shared with him how amazed I was at a church full of Christians. I couldn’t believe that he was fussing over the incidental things like a beat in the music and songs projected on a screen… when he was so privileged to be a part of such a wonderful fellowship!

Don’t we do that as Christians a lot? We take each other for granted. We aren’t kind and tender-hearted as we should be. We don’t appreciate each other like we ought to. We aren’t humble and gentle. (Ephesians 4:1-3; 31-32) If we realized what it is like to be alone in the world and to have no fellowship, we would see how silly some of our bickering truly is. I’m guilty of it too.

A lot of John’s friends ended up leaving the church. He did too… for 7 months… because we got married and moved to MPLS. We talked about all of this a lot over those months and John came to see that he had really been taking the fellowship for granted. When we returned to this area, we returned to the Emmanuel Baptist Church and have been here ever since. By God’s protection, we trust this fellowship will remain as it has been for over 109 years and will continue to be a blessing to believers as well as a great outreach to our community.

Invite someone to church this week. :~)

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17 Comments:

  • That completes the testimony that I shared with a women's group at my church last week. To anyone who read all of this, I appreciate your bearing with me through so many words and I hope you got something out of it! My story is a little weird, isn't it?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/28/2008 10:16 AM  

  • Yay Rose!! With all of the stuff out there about "The Institutional Church" I found this post so refreshing.. I loved this..

    "I turned to him and said, “What is wrong with you??????"

    Seeing church through your eyes back then made me more thankful for our church.. not perfect.. but really.. who needs perfection :)

    Great series of posts sister.

    By Blogger Kansas Bob, at 10/28/2008 2:04 PM  

  • Bob,
    Thank you so much for the encouragement. It means a lot to me.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/28/2008 2:16 PM  

  • Rose,

    Very good post! I liked when you said:

    "Churches were full of apostates

    There was something wrong with the music at this church

    Preachers in these churches aren’t preaching the truth; if they did, these “pretenders” that are filling their pews would get up and leave."

    That really rang a bell in my memory because I cannot tell you how many times I heard just that. I would also hear that churches that are large in number are full on non-Christians because a church that size would turn the world upside down for Christ if they were truly Christians. They truly believe that a church that has many members must be a carnal church. I can only imagine them on the day of Pentecost complaining that 2000 souls were added to the church because there just had to be something wrong with the apostles message to have that many converts. They prefer to argue about Noah and others that never had a single convert and that is how the typical evangelism should be like today according to them. They do believe that if you have many converts then you are preaching a watered down gospel.

    Many are convinced that only the carnal go to churches that use CCM in their services. They are convinced that if you take away their music then they would go back to the world forsaking church altogether. I had a hard time accepting that argument because I could not imagine why the world would want to hop out of bed early Sunday morning just to hear the church music only. I like to remind my fundamentalist friends that they once thought the organ was a tool of the devil because the world was using the organ when it first came out.

    Don't worry Rose, I was told back at Bob Jones University that a drum beat is what some African tribes use to conjure up demons and spirits. I heard a message where a man saved out of that tribe supposedly condemned the Christian churches for using the same beat they used to raise up spirits. I still like to know what demon it was that got together with some tribal leader to describe what drum beat works best to get the spirit worlds attention. These people usually have to always argue outside of the Bible to get their arguments and the source quoted is some guy they heard about.

    This legalistic garbage is a killer to the believers walk. I learned first hand that it makes you judgmental and critical of everyone around you. It makes you aware of every type of fault around you. Anything that isn't perfect then the legalist will spot it.

    They tend to believe that their church is superior to all others. They will do their best to convince you that your church is less spiritual than theirs. They will always find something in your church to tear down. They are not happy that you are saved going to a church because you are not going to their church. So superior is their church that many cannot even have fellowship with those outside their fundamental denomination.

    All of this is from experience as I was a total fool at one time. I would judge a person walking in the church smelling like cigarettes thinking that he has probably made a vain profession of faith in Christ. My reasoning was that the Holy Spirit would not let him smoke and that he would immediately quit if he truly trusted in Christ. I would judge someone with long hair. I would judge someone by their music. You better not rent a movie or attend a movie theater or something was wrong with you. If you have that TV set on and a commercial comes on playing rock music in the background then you better quickly press mute on your remote. I would look down on a lady that wore pants in the church. This list can go on. I was a mess.

    Forgive me for rambling Rose, but your excellent blog reminded me of so many things about myself and those around me in the Christian circles.

    By Blogger Dave, at 10/29/2008 9:18 AM  

  • Great series, Rose. I found it to be a real blessing.

    By Anonymous GordonCloud, at 10/29/2008 9:37 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    I also enjoyed your testimony. And can tell your no cream-puff that's for sure but say what you think . . . ha!ha!
    I love it!
    "I turned to him and said, “What is wrong with you??????"
    brother alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at 10/29/2008 1:47 PM  

  • Dave,
    Good points. I had heard that too about big churches and the wrong evangelism they 'must' use. Interesting. Dave, feel free to ramble. That is OK. You have obviusly had some bad experiences with the hyper-critical. I know what you mean about becoming that way too. I did for a while as well. I tried it on. It didn't fit... not with the light of Christ that He has put inside. Spending your hours in complaining about others is not what the love of Christ compels us to do. God bless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/30/2008 9:24 AM  

  • Gordon :~)
    It is so nice to know that you were reading this. One of my blog friends told me that testimonies are very boring to him/her. I actually find them quite exciting to listen to. I am glad that you and maybe a few others were blessed.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/30/2008 9:26 AM  

  • Alvin,
    Compared to the "big guns" I truly am a cream puff and a sissy. heehee
    I had no problem saying that to John, though. John tells me that was one of the things he liked about me - that I was willing to speak my mind. I liked it about him that he was willing to not only talk about it with me, but also to listen. Thank you Alvin!

    BTW - everyone - John did give me permission to share all of this, (which I sought since it is about him too.) :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/30/2008 9:31 AM  

  • I never get tired of hearing how people came to know the Lord.

    By Anonymous GordonCloud, at 10/30/2008 1:21 PM  

  • Rose,

    I am so glad you shared this. It isn't boring at all, it is amazing. You were such an inspiration! God positioned you at the right time in the right place with the right message, I believe.

    This was my favorite part:
    If we realized what it is like to be alone in the world and to have no fellowship, we would see how silly some of our bickering truly is. I’m guilty of it too.

    Truly, verily, indubitably.
    - Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at 11/03/2008 1:38 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    Sometimes you can be thinking your having fellowship but your not! Fellowship has to be in the light because that’s where Jesus is. I remember when ever I would hear an invitation to believe in Jesus, I would listen closely because I wanted to be accurate on what I told people. And at that time I did quite a bit of street ministry with young people. I remember a pastor looking at me in the middle of a adult bible study and saying “I believe in eternal security, but you can’t expect everyone to.” I remember in getting all caught up in the wonderful praise and worship in our church, but then having to stop myself and think “their not teaching the truth so why would God give us this great feeling of worship and praise?” I dealt with this same thing where I go now concerning “fellowship in the light” I met my pastor at a coffee shop. The coffee shop was in a strip mall, and next door was a Church. The pastor and his wife ran the coffee shop. My pastor told me he had great fellowship with them, but they believed they could lose their salvation. I told my pastor that wasn’t Christian fellowship, because fellowship had to be in the truth. The ones in 1 John could not lose their eternal salvation but they could lose their fellowship with God if they listened to the Revisonist who were trying to put them in doubt about the gift of eternal life. But John reminded them of the truth they had heard from the beginning 1 John 2:19-26. The ones John is talking about that went out from “us” in verse 19 were ones in the Jerusalem Church who had NEVER believed the truth of “the Christ.” John was warning this Church to stand in the truth that was first delivered to them, the testimony that God has given us eternal life, and that we can KNOW that we have eternal life 1 John 5:10-13. There is no difference between those who say you can lose it or those who say if you don’t persevere you never had it.

    sorry for rambling Rose.
    Hey that's a song "Rambling Rose" by Neil Diamond I think . . .ha!ha!

    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at 11/04/2008 12:45 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    I brought a new couple to Church a couple of weeks ago, and they brought some other people we filled a whole row. They had a Assembly of God and Nazarene Church background. I had been talking to the husband off and on for a couple years. They had just gotten married last summer. He was finally getting it, that eternal life was a free gift. One thing that really helped was I took him online and went to the Church he was thinking about going to and the free-grace Church. He saw clearly the difference.
    Free Grace statement::
    SALVATION BY FAITH ALONE
    We believe that salvation is received by means of personal faith in Jesus Christ alone without benefit of or requirement for works. Salvation is accomplished as a grace gift by God the Father through the work of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross. (John 3:16; 14:6; Ephesians 2:8, 9; I John 5:11-12
    Other Church:
    Section 6 - Salvation.
    We believe that the shed blood of Jesus Christ provides the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe. Only those who receive Jesus Christ and are born of the Holy Spirit can thus become children of God.
    (John 1:12; 3:16; Acts 13:38-39; Romans 5:1; 8:14-17; Ephesians 1:7; Philippians 1:5-8; Hebrews 9:22; I Peter 1:18-19; 2:24)
    Sounds kinda good but notice they go to allot of places to prove their point, and then end on a verse that includes your righteousness. But what really nails them down is the previous section.
    Section 5 - Man.
    We believe that Adam was created in the image of God but fell into sin and that all men are sinners by nature and by choice and therefore, lost. However, we believe that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). We believe that those who accept Christ as Savior and Lord shall be forever in God's presence and those who reject Christ as Savior and Lord will be forever separated from God and be cast into the lake of fire for eternal punishment.
    (Genesis 1:26-27; Mark 9:43-44; John 3:36; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3, 12; II Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:15)
    There it’s clear LORDSHIP SALVATION!!! If these people who believe the gift of eternal life and discipleship are the same, if they were honest they would just come out and say “yes eternal life is a gift but it will cost you everything.” Then people would look at them like idiots who make no sense. Most these people who believe this put the emphasis on sin and man, but Jesus put the emphasis believing in Him for life!
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at 11/04/2008 12:48 PM  

  • Rose, this part of your story brought me to tears. I am so glad that you were drawn away from a teacher who encouraged you to do as he did - judge the fruit of another master's servant. I've had a very similar experience to this, opening my eyes to those around me overjoyed that they were so much more in love with Christ than I had ever given them credit for. It's life altering. Blessings to you for sharing!

    Missy

    By Blogger Another Voice, at 11/04/2008 7:30 PM  

  • Alvin,
    Thank you for your challenging thoughts.

    Missy,
    Thank you for reading this. I do appreciate your encouragement and that you can relate to what I have shared.

    Michele,
    Thanks! I do think the Lord used my huhsband to minister to me and I to him in a big way, both of us. I am glad that you read it and that you got something out of it.

    Gordon,
    me neither. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/06/2008 12:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I was thinking of you yesterday evening when I was taking a class at the seminary on "Gaining love for the Hebrew Scriptures" by Dr. Ron Allen.

    He said that the unity of the bible is represented by a rose!

    There are levels of continuity/discontinuity in the progress of revelation in scripture. Like the Rose as it unfolds expresses the unity and disunity in scripture.

    The rose in "Full Bud" stage is like the Torah, it is held tightly together but its significance is overwhelming.

    The rose in "The Opening" stage is like the rest of the Old Testament, the Writers and the Prophets. You can see more of the rose than before, more of the inner aspect, more gradation of color and so forth.

    The rose in "Full Bloom" stage establishes in an exposed way, the meaning of God's revelation, being the narratives of Jesus and the gospels. Attention is on detail.

    I thought how wonderful it was that a Rose was used to represent the unity of God's revelation.

    I hope this blesses you,
    Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at 11/07/2008 7:11 PM  

  • Michele,
    That DID bless me. You are very sweet lady. It is really nice to have you around.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/10/2008 12:31 PM  

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