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Posts Tagged ‘Christ Followers’

I am a Christian, that is who I am.  This means I believe in Jesus Christ, He is my savior because I need Him.  I sin, have sinned, need His sacrifice for my sins.  He is the only way to heaven, and He drew me to Him.  On my own, I would not have come to Him. 

In the “Who Am I?” section of this blog a few recent comments have tried to point out that they do not want to be associated with the term Christian because of history and the ways people have acted while calling themselves Christian.  To me, it’s a denial of the body.  Anyone can say “I’m a Christian” but not anyone IS a Christian.  To disassociate myself with those in history who died as Christians is to deny who I am.  I am one of those.  I would die for Christ as a follower, as one who is also known as Christian.  I know people believe lies about the body of Christ.  I know people have done things in the name of Christ and have not behaved as they should.  I believe denying my Christian brothers and sisters throughout history, and those now around the world truly being persecuted is cowardly.  Making others more comfortable with a new name won’t work.  If you are truly regenerated and have a new label, they’ll lie about you too.  If you walk around following Jesus with this new label, you’ll eventually have people join you who will taint the name.  It’s what happens, no way can any group be true believers and not offend the world around them.  So, renaming yourself will backfire.  People are not persecuting Christians because of the name Christian.  They are persecuting Christians because they don’t like Christ.  People are not refusing to join the body of  Christ because of the misdeeds of past or current people labeling themselves Christian, they are refusing to join the body of Christ because they refuse to be saved, to give up their sin, to truly follow.  We are all sinners, and only through the grace and mercy of Christ are any of us saved.  A new name won’t change this fact.

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One thing I noticed when we were considering leaving our church was the difficulty in finding good counsel that we trusted. First we spoke to a few friends about our concerns. Because they didn’t see what we saw, at the time we knew they were not going to help and our observations were just burdens in their lives (they have since been great help…but at the time it was just us really). Then there were the elders. We spoke to at least two. One was a group shepherd (or leader of a few small groups including ours). He was really next in line on the church structure heirarchy. We told him we didn’t like this or that, and he basically gave us the “I understand this point” and “this is why the church does it this way.” One specific example was our issue with the videos from the “Christian no more” series being played in church as well as the term “Christ follower” replacing the word Christian. The elder said we wanted to give a more specific term and Christian had become such a negative term in society. We needed to reach people in a way that didn’t turn them off. This obviously was not going to be someone we could open up to about all our fears. He just explained them away in a very unsatisfactory manner. We then had a friend and mentor to my husband that was also an elder. We spoke to him, and shared frankly our problems. Initially, he suggested my husband become an elder which would be a process and would take time. Once an elder he could work to change things. My husband spoke to him off and on for a while. He didn’t think Rick Warren’s books were “deep” but that Warren had done such good work, we couldn’t NOT use his books. Eventually, we came completely clean about leaving and the fears of emergent with him. He just didn’t see it. We really couldn’t get clearly what was right to do from him. We were told to not speak with one particular pastor (the one who really seemed to be dropping New Age phrases left and right). He personally said this pastor had been his mentor and is the nicest and most wonderful man with a great plan for reaching the lost. We had spoken to other friends, small group co-leaders who did not think the web sites we were reading were legit. We eventually spoke with one pastor, he did encourage our letter and for us to be frank. He didn’t like my issue with terms used like transformation, spiritual formation. He thought the church still preached the gospel and had good things about it, but had gotten off focus somehow. He suggested we stay on and present things in a loving way as we appeared to him to be humble in all this. We let him know we’d think about it.

So from there, we tried to find people to trust. One couple was beginning to see our point, they could give us some advice (and had told us of the pastor and encouraged us to seek him out). We tried to walk with his counsel as we had no other options. I did speak to one woman who did seem to “get it” and had in fact come from Paggitt’s church and left because it had gone strange on her. Sadly, she’s very strange herself…and so hasn’t been a good friend to trust at all though she did see some of what we saw. We ended up finding a couple who left and were VERY strong in God’s word. They spoke to us openly and offered much comfort as he had been an elder and she was in ministry. They fought the church really for two years before leaving. Any other people we spoke to didn’t really get why we had to leave. My parents are nominal Lutherans. They were no help and thought we should stay in such a giving church. Many friends in the former church we emailed or shared with didn’t really see it. Even many people who did leave, didn’t actually leave for the reasons we did. They were of little help. We had very few safe places to land.

I came online for support mostly. People had been through the same things, articles warned of things that were actually happening to me step by step. I began venting first on my live journal, and lost some online contacts who thought I was self righteous, or didn’t see emergent as a bad thing. I had one live journal friend who encouraged me to write here on WordPress. I did, and began to get some feedback that helped.

Eventually, we made our leave of the church and began searching. I did speak to a friend who is older than I am…and wiser. Her suggestions were Presbyterian and Lutheran, and a few other random churches. For now we’ve landed in something Baptist that is aware of emergent/seeker friendly. It seems pretty much a haven for people who have left similar churches as ours. Some I’ve come into contact with online warn against Calvinist and Baptist churches, insist I should go Lutheran. I am so far not going that route. My childhood experience with Lutheran doesn’t do it for me. I don’t believe in infant baptism, and in no way think the bread and wine actually change into the flesh and blood of Christ. So, in some ways, I’m seen as less or not quite enlightened by some of these people. We’ve been dubbed trouble makers by our former pastor, so there’s no talking to him or really other pastoral staff from the former church. We probably could share a bit with the former pastor who did help us, but since he never did open up too much as to exactly what he’s doing, I do not know where he stands. I don’t know his final opinion of us. He is under submission to our former pastor.

So now we move forward, speaking to people in our new congregation and keeping contact with a few friends in our former church. I write here, my husband and I talk to each other, and we just try to figure it all out. So many have no idea why we left. They’ll likely never know.

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Pirate Christain Radio…

John Ortberg at a Willow Creek Conference teachings Revealed

http://christianresearchnetwork.com/?p=7345

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I’ve been told by someone that yes, Rob Bell, Pagitt, Foster…Donald Miller are Emergent and the practices/statements they make are not Biblical, but Warren/Hybels, Dallas Willard, and even Brennan Manning are good guys and not into that stuff.  They are not in the same league, according to some.  They say the associations are weak.  Maybe they are on different paths when it comes to religion, but I think not (especially Brennan Manning).  I believe Warren/Hybels teachings are like entry drugs.  Maybe it’s an easy smoke or a pill to pop.  They are not hard core up front, but still are stepping into false teachings.  People will say, “no one is perfect, no person is a perfect preacher or writer.”  True, but I believe there are people who make mistakes and then there are those who are misleading many, many and not changing or willing to hear that they are misleading though the evidence is there.  Of course, I’m told I have to be willing to hear and maybe I’m the one not listening.  I believe Willard comes with his spiritual formation and disciplines as a bridge (like a bit harder drug, don’t know personally so I don’t know what would be an inbetween drug).  Then, when you’re hooked, you might actually go for some  Mike King, Manning (who appears to be nice on the surface too), Pagitt, Bell, and more.  Eventually, you might actually become a Buddist Christ follower.  Why not, you’ve already gone this far.  Of course, I’m sure your children will become agnostic/atheists.  After all the confusion, how could they not? 

Of course, I could be jumping to conclusions…especially since I am talking about associations and possibly misunderstand contemplative prayer.  Though it looks and sounds like meditation (new age type) because it’s centered around a verse or the name of Jesus, it couldn’t possibly be bad, right?  (sarcasm)

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The church we’ve been visiting the last several weeks has one little habit that bothers me.  They have an aversion to the word Christian.  I cannot stand this.  It’s like they’re allergic.  People, please, it’s what our type have been called over two thousand years.  Two thousand.  It was good enough for the martyrs in Rome, it’s good enough for me.  Yes, we all know we’re Christ followers, but give me a break…I am a Christian and I’m not afraid to say it.  Otherwise, the sermons seem pretty good so far.  The pastor correctly spoke about the time when Peter got out of the boat, he noted that Peter lost his focus on Christ and lost faith and began to falter.  Yep, it wasn’t that a bunch of “boat potatoes” were sitting in the boat while Peter took a risk.  The fact is, Peter in his zeal stepped out (for what motive?), and he lost his focus on Jesus and he sank.  The great thing about this account is Peter was then able to call out to Jesus and Jesus rescued him.  That’s the account.  I do not think we should be able to write a whole book about the ones who stayed in the boat, nor should we commend Peter so much.  The one to be commended is Jesus for saving Peter.  Period.  That was nice to hear today in a sermon.  My 10 year old daughter even noticed that the pastor said, “Christ followers like a million times.” 

Our old lead pastor responded to us about meeting, and basically proclaimed that the sermons were not filled with men’s quotes, were not emergent at all, and were not focused on man rather than Christ.  Oh, but if we still wanted to meet, he’d listen to us.  Hmmm, yep, I’ll get right on that.  Actually, a friend suggested we come with documentation and flow charts and the like.  Another friend says don’t do it, it’s just an exit meeting and we’ve already had an exit letter.  We’ve done enough.  I want to meet, my husband doesn’t.  So, I go with my husband, and for now, no meeting.  I can still prepare the flow charts though.  Actually, we’re going to pray even more.  We’ll see what happens.  It’s going to all shake out in the end.

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