Participation Required: I Started As A ___, Now I’m A ___.

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138 Responses

  1. Xenia says:

    Conservative Baptist til age 30
    Calvary Chapel (same thing, really) til age 50
    Eastern Orthodox from 50 and on into Eternity

  2. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I envy the fact that you have found a home…

  3. filbertz says:

    I started as a greenhorn, now I’m just moldy. 😉

    I grew up a “hyper-dispensationalist”, now I’m a calm one.

  4. Xenia says:

    Than and Now:

    Used to believe in Sola Scriptura, now follow the Tradition of the Church (which is
    Bible-based)
    Used to believe in pre-mil, pre-trib Rapture, now I’m amillennial
    Used to believe in memorial view of communion, now believe the bread and wine are truly
    the Body and Blood of Our Lord
    Used to disdain Icons, now have a house full of them
    Used to think I would be sanctified by just waiting around, now I know better
    Used to think baptism was…. well, I couldn’t really say. Now I know it does now save us.
    Used to think asking the Saints to pray for us was a wicked practice, now I realize I need
    all the help I can get.
    Used to believe in the penal substitution theory of the atonement but not anymore.
    Used to think tongues were a real phenomena that the Holy Spirit was withholding from me
    because I wasn’t a genuine Christian. Glad that’s over with.
    Used to think Bible study was the most important thing a Christian could do with their time.
    Now I realize prayer is more important.
    Used to doubt my salvation, not anymore

  5. Xenia says:

    I mis-spoke in first line: Actually, the Church isn’t Bible-based, the Bible is Church-based.

  6. Xenia says:

    Michael, it was a miracle of God!

  7. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    It’s funny…your conversion changed me as well as you.
    While I don’t forsee myself embracing Orthodoxy, I did have to embrace a whole different part of the Body of Christ when you became Orthodox.
    I believe that has been a gift…

  8. Nonnie says:

    As a child I was confirmed in the Episcopal church. I loved the services and loved Jesus. My parents divorced and my family stopped going to church. The world sort of swallowed me up. After some wild and searching college years and beyond, Jesus rescued me in 1977 at age 25 and my husband and I started attending a small Calvary Chapel.

    I thought CC was the Alpha and Omega of the church. However, moving to a 3rd world country and then ministering along side Christians from all flavours of the church, I discovered a beauty I had not seen before in those brothers and sisters from so many denominations and “movements” who were giving themselves away for Christ. Now I love and appreciate my CC background and that I am taught the word of God, verse by verse, by men and women I highly respect. However, nowadays along with my CC services, I also am so blessed by Anglican liturgical weekday services. I love that the entire gospel is “acted” out and proclaimed in every service. The entire service points to Christ and what He has done for us. I think that means so much to me now because the older I get, the more I realise how sinful I am and how gracious God is.

    I don’t know if it is because I am older or what, but the rock and roll worship bands don’t do it for me anymore. (not to imply there is anything wrong with them or that God doesn’t use them) I much prefer a hymn or a worshipful song with rich words from scripture (without the pounding beats, guitar riffs and the seemingly endless repetition).

    So where am I on this journey home? I spent the first 11 years trying to prove to God that He didn’t make a mistake in saving me. Now I have learned I am helpless and hopeless and I am just resting in His love, and (I hope) living to His glory.

  9. Chile says:

    Born into Missouri Synod Lutheran in an all Catholic town.
    Confirmed into some other Lutheran I can’t remember
    Became curious in Young Life
    Radical transformation alone when God “showed up”
    Stints in Nazarene, some kinda camp meeting Baptist, liberal Methodist, liberal Presbyterian, liberal Episcopal, & Catholic
    Landed in Independent Fundamental separatist separatist Baptist, but helped by Navigators, Chuck Swindoll, Radio Bible Class, & J. Vernon McGee on the side.
    Studied 4 years in a fundy college. Learned how not to do things on many levels.
    Studied 4 years in a historically healthy school of theology and missions that I’m immensely grateful for to this day!
    Moved and landed in a Bible Church (of the Dallas Theological Seminary flavor)
    Moved and landed unexpectedly into Vineyard, which turned into a Calvary Chapel
    Did my time in Calvary Chapel, with family connection deep into two very alive Episcopal churches that were thrown out and became Anglican.
    Through two mission affiliations (our work) and various connections visited all sorts all over…
    Thrown out of Calvary Chapel and landed (for convenience sake) in a Converge Baptist, with a healthy history … though who knows the future?
    Involved with all variations of what people call “church” in another country.

    What am I if I was forced to identify? Somewhere in the vicinity of moderate Anglican, with missional expressions & a nod to Calvin, along with some Baptistic traditions with Presbyterian cultural & communication preferences. I’m probably a mystic at some level and happy with my Charismatic friends. My list of essentials is smaller than ever. My list of how I need to grow in love is longer than ever.

  10. Jim says:

    1958-1982-church of the poison mind. Made alive unto God August 1982.
    82-84-small, wacko pentecostal church
    84-91-CC
    91-92-SBC
    92-96-AoG
    96-99-independent church, split from AoG, heavily influenced by SGM (not the split itself, but the new church).
    99-2006-SGM (above referenced church was adopted)
    2006-present-free range Christian.

    82-84-have no idea what I believed except that God saved me from sin and hell.
    84-1998-basically CC + adamant security of the believer.
    98-present- 5 pointer, conservative charismatic, increasing hatred of legalism, preferring to err on the side of grace, possibly out of balance here. Strong dose of NCT thrown in the mix. Amill, because I have no idea who is right.

  11. Michael says:

    Nonnie and Chile…that’s great stuff!

  12. Michael says:

    Jim,

    “increasing hatred of legalism, preferring to err on the side of grace, possibly out of balance here.”
    You and me both…I’m not sure I even want to be “balanced”…

  13. Jim says:

    I like this:

    “So where am I on this journey home? I spent the first 11 years trying to prove to God that He didn’t make a mistake in saving me. Now I have learned I am helpless and hopeless and I am just resting in His love, and (I hope) living to His glory.”

  14. Jim says:

    I’m currently resisting balance in this regard. I have a lot of legalism to make up for.

  15. Nonnie says:

    Jim, I think “legalism” is part of the journey to discovering grace…..and once we do, we fall on our knees, so ashamed, so humbled and so, so grateful…then we look for opportunities to pass it on. (hope that makes sense)

  16. Paige says:

    Saved July 12, 1971 at a Maranatha concert….. (raised by atheists)…. Spent 36 years in Calvary Chapels. While I now realise is it a small part of the whole Church, I am still very thankful for my long season in the CC realm. Lots of problems there, but lots of good fruit as well….IMO
    Church hopped for a year after moving…. Then spent 5.5 years at a Black Baptist church, loved it, but finally left because of the over emphasis on tithing. IMO.
    Now attending a large independent non denom Bible church. Teaching is great (Reformed lite), lots of good stuff going on, but the worship is not working for us. Garage Band… We are currently asking God where to go, but meanwhile, staying where we are….

    The older I get, the less I know and am sure of…. the basics…. salvation by grace alone. I love the Bible, but don’t worship it anymore….. I have some serious trust issues with people and church leaders….. I am more and more acutely aware of my own sinful nature…for which the only Hope is Jesus’ Blood.

  17. Paige says:

    Anybody see this? http://storylineblog.com/2013/09/19/how-to-spot-a-manipulative-church-leader/?fb_action_ids=10202187777245271&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map={%2210202187777245271%22%3A161735717355541}&action_type_map={%2210202187777245271%22%3A%22og.likes%22}&action_ref_map=[] Donald Miller on the subject of manipulative church leaders.

  18. Jim says:

    Nonnie,

    I agree. I still won’t let myself off the hook, because I can never return to that place. I was a part of a legalistic system, and was in a role that allowed me to hurt people. I hurt people, and by example and words, taught others how to do so.

    I’ve asked for forgiveness from God and man, and have forgiven myself (mostly), but that dark time in my life must never be forgotten because left to myself, I’m that guy.

  19. Chile says:

    Jim said,

    “I was a part of a legalistic system, and was in a role that allowed me to hurt people. I hurt people, and by example and words, taught others how to do so.”

    “I’ve asked for forgiveness from God and man, and have forgiven myself (mostly), but that dark time in my life must never be forgotten because left to myself, I’m that guy.”

    Ditto. This is exactly why I took a long time to study abusive church systems and what all went into my buying into two very legalistic systems (different outward expressions, but the same spirit.) I had to know what was in me that made me drawn to that and what made me participate in that? Those churches could not function if it weren’t for people like me supporting and propagating their ways.

  20. Xenia says:

    There’s a funny thing about legalism, how it can be turned up-side down. Some of the most legalistic people I have ever known were those who decried legalism the most loudly. You couldn’t even thank the Lord for your lunch without them sniping that you were in bondage to a prayer ritual. Being around these extreme anti-legalists was like walking on egg shells all the time.

  21. I started off being circumcised into the Jewish faith – OUCH … the most painful conversion.
    Did CC from 1981 – 1983
    SBC 1983 – 1996
    CC 1997-2002
    non denom 2003 -2006
    Saved in the Lutheran Church 2006 – present

  22. Chile says:

    I forgot two more church experiences that play into what I’ve learned:

    I found possibly the only good A of G church, according to what I read and hear it seems this way. It’s probably the healthiest real church I’ve ever known. They will never be famous, or big, or popular … they are humble, genuine, and grow slowly like an oak.

    When I was half dead, my sweet well-meaning Charismatic friends carried me to their healing prayer services. They prayed. I was still half dead. The leaders then rebuked me of not having enough faith to be healed. Not enough faith? I couldn’t even think … I was so out of it.

  23. Bob Sweat says:

    I starting attending church when I was 17. When to the church for 6 months before I found out is was a Quaker Church. I was shocked! I had this preconceived idea about Quakers. I accepted Christ that summer. After I graduated, I did the Christian college circuit. Biola, George Fox, ended up graduating from Azusa Pacific.

    I served as a pastor with the Friends Church for 22 years. I was a pastor in California, Oregon, and Kansas.

    Left the Friends Church in after my divorce, and did not attend church for 2 years. After I remarried, we began attending a little Village Missions Church in the mountain community where we lived. People there loved us, and allowed me to express the hurt and anger that I had in my heart. They encouraged me to believe that God wasn’t finished with me yet.

    When the children became teenagers and allow that which come with the teenage years began to manifest itself, we knew we needed to find a church that had a good youth program. We reluctantly left our little church and drove down the hill to attend a Calvary Chapel. We attended Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday. Our kids were being ministered to and we were being taught well. After attending for 2 years I was asked to be principal of the school, and eventually became part of the pastoral staff. It was then when I witnessed how CC churches function. It was unlike anything that I had ever witnessed during my time as a pastor.

    Things turned bad in that church. My wife stopped going along with many others in the church. I knew that I needed to get out. I accepted a position with another CC in Orange County. They called me to be principal of their school and for my wife to be the preschool director. When we arrived, things had changed. Seems their daughter-in-law was principal and I was assigned to teach junior high. I knew from the beginning that our stay in that church would be short. It was then that I made the decision that I would never darken the doors of another CC again.

    There were 2 short term stops before we made it back home. During that time, we attended a Church of God (Anderson) for a year, and then a Mennonite Brethren for three years.

    At the present…………………………………back in a CC. God does have a sense of humor.

  24. Jim says:

    The abusive system I was in used the word “grace” constantly and repeatedly condemned legalism. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad….

    This group had an amazing large oral law.

  25. Nonnie says:

    Xenia, I agree…Legalism is as legalism does. 🙂 It’s my way or the highway, no freedom in Christ for others to walk the narrow road to a different cadence.

  26. Xenia says:

    I wonder if we could define “legalism.”

    One man’s legalism is another man’s Christian discipline.

    Here in America we don’t like to hear anything that wants to reel in our insistence on freedom. “Ain’t nobody gonna tell me what to do” is interpreted as fleeing from legalism when in some cases, it might just be rebellion against God.

    Not all cases, of course.

  27. Chile says:

    I agree, Xenia. The goal is not a removal of all convictions or traditions. It’s the freedom for each to do as he has conviction to do, without coercing others to do the same, or judging those who don’t.

    As an “anti-legalist” I’m concerned with the spirit of coercion, false concepts of unity by forced uniformity, wrongful judging, personal idols & self-righteousness in the form of doing something that somehow attempts to build a reputation for the sake of man’s glory (even if claimed it is for God’s,) and the like…

  28. Xenia says:

    Chile, yes, I agree.

    I am not saying that running away from the dictates of a megalomaniac = rebellion against God.

  29. Xenia says:

    But if a pastor, in the course of his preaching, says things like this: Christians should pray regularly, Christians should read the Bible, Christians should dress modestly, Christians should avoid X-rated movies, Christians should not drink to excess, Christians should show charity to the poor, and so on. You know, traditional Christian morality, preached with humility and love. This is not legalism but I know many who would say that it is.

  30. Chile says:

    Just last night a man of faith in his 80’s tells me that he believes all jokes about heaven, hell, and drinking are wrong and he won’t tell them or listen to them. Mind you he’s proven to be a very loving, wise, humble & faithful servant over many decades. The good fruit that follows him is undeniable and he’s still leading people to Christ, including a 70 year old and a 99 year old just recently. I like him.

    However, he has a hang-up about jokes that I simply don’t have. I choose to honor him and defer to his preferences when I’m around him, but when he wanted me to abide by his standard when he isn’t around, I resisted, politely & respectfully. It’s not his call. It’s not an essential. That is HIS conviction, not mine. I still respect him. He still respects me.

    When this man got saved in the 40’s at a Billy Graham Crusade, the issue of jokes being negative on one’s testimony was very real. I don’t run into this issue, myself.

  31. Chile says:

    Xenia, when I experienced legalism it sounded much more like this:

    Christians never wear pants, else they are not Christians.
    Christians never go to any movies or watch TV, else they are not Christians.
    Christians never miss a quiet time with God on any given day, else they are not right with God.
    Christians only read the KJV, else they are ignorant of the true Scriptures.

    Or …

    Christians always dress in the CC cool way with tattoos and have a dramatic testimony, else God is not really working in them.
    Christians always agree with the pastor, else they are in rebellion against God.
    Christians always defend the “affiliation” else they are also in rebellion against God.
    Christians only believe in pre-trib else they are wrong & not really right with God.
    Christians never question how the money is spent, else they are troublemakers.

    You see? These are not common sense, wise statements that can be found in Scriptural principles. This is legalism to me.

  32. Chile says:

    Xenia @29

    I like your list. The trouble would be if the pastor tries to define exactly what “dress modestly” looks like for everyone everywhere. That’s a slide right into legalism. It’s that tendency to be expressly clear, defined in great detail, and labeled so … then negatively judge and punish all those who do not comply to the nth degree.

  33. Xenia says:

    I agree with you, Chile.

  34. Born into nothing. Dad said he was Presbyterian; Mom said she was Jewish (and was by heritage), but neither practiced anything.

    During high school, got increasingly interested in God through singing sacred music in school choir. My piano teacher was the organist at a Lutheran church in my neighborhood. I was kind of scared to attend a service, but I would sneak in through the choir door and up the hallway to the side entrance of the sanctuary where I could listen and watch her play the organ.

    Had a crush on a girl who was a christian, though I really had no idea what that meant. Found out many years later that her mom had been praying for me.

    When I finally became a believer in 1980, attended a Foursquare church. Pastor taught verse-by-verse and was Reformed, not something you find in Pentecostal churches everyday.

    After college, began attending CC. Have had short stints in Baptist and non-denom, community churches over the years, but have pretty much stuck with CC. Currently attending a CC that in some ways does not even resemble a CC. I’d say only 60% of the teaching is verse-by-verse, and we even light candles…Gasp!!!

  35. Ixtlan says:

    well, since its required:

    I started as a baptist, and now I’m a person unsure of where my journey with Christ is leading me. Evangelicalism as a whole has very little appeal to me. I do know this, that I’m continuing to grow and as a result, I am less sure about non-essential things that I once thought were so important. All that from reading the Bible over and over again.

    All systems of theology have their strengths and their weaknesses. I think they are important to aid in our understanding, yet they can be quite a detriment when we attempt to use them as reading glasses.

  36. j2theperson says:

    I was baptized in the Episcopal church but my family joined Calvary Chapel when I was 3 or 4. I grew up there. Then I got involved in a charismatic shepherding/discipling church for a year, then I bounced around various non-denomination evangelical churches, and now I very happily attend an Episcopal church.

  37. Michael Sewell says:

    _As a child I lived in an Alcoholic/Occult home with Appalachian superstitions about Jesus. I was exposed to the United Methodist Church, and Freewill Baptist preachers who screamed fiery sermons about your feet going into hell, and the women all had their hair up in giant buns.
    _ Became a Christian in Jr High as a Southern Baptist, but became a Charismatic on my own at home when I read Acts 2. That didn’t fly at church, so at 13 I was labeled a danger at church and “had to be watched.”
    – Unable to drive, I found my way to any Charismatic/Pentecostal/Jesus people meeting I could find. Including Rex Humbard ministries, Bethel Temple with Jimmy Swaggart , John Hagee’s teaching, Foursquare, AOG, Nazarene, Charismatic Episcopalian. This season also included a cultish hyper-Pentecostal group, that disbanded when the leader axe-murdered one of the congregants and was taken into custody, and one of the other leaders was taken away after a public psychotic breakdown that culminated in a stand-off at a local fast food place.
    -Tiring of the drama, I tried a more rational approach and became Dutch Reformed, and attended Hope College. There I experienced a type of Christianity that for me was more philosophy than living faith. We studied Camus, Tillich, and Buber, more that the Bible, and seemed I was being influenced away from my faith. Also a couple of my professors were depressed drunks.
    -Friends- I got bored
    -Missionary and Christian Alliance- Also went to Nyack. Kind of like being back in the SBC. Holy Spirit Gifts were forbidden (at least in the Charismatic style) no matter what A.B Simpson had to say about it. Also saw the secret lives of legalist PK’s, and became disillusioned again.
    – Left Christian Education and became Independent and fellowshipped with the Campus Christian club. This group revered on of the leader who that claimed was a Prophet. I was struggling with my faith and went to him for one of his prayer deliverance sessions. During the prayer he grouped me, and when I violently pushed him away, he told me that I misunderstood the situation. I told people and I was rebuked for making a claim against “God’s anointed.” Even when two months later he showed up at a meeting in full women’s make-up, and declared he was gay, some of the folks still stood with him.
    – Frustrated with church experience, and inspired by the radio ministry of Chuck Smith, I became part of a Calvary Chapel plant. It was good for several months, but then the pastor decided he was a Calvinist and then the church was infiltrated by a cult along the line of the Church of Christ.
    -I had had it and renounced my faith, and burned a page of my Bible, stating the Christianity was an entry-level spiritual path, and I became a seeker-of –truth in search of something higher. I spent six years in what was called New Age Religion at the time.
    – I had a dramatic spiritual awakening, as I was about to carry out a suicide attempt. This was apart from any church or group, or even person. I returned to my relationship with Jesus with great zeal.
    – Attended a Church of God (Cleveland Tenn. Type) and chose to ignore any of the Pentecostal weirdness and just keep my heart open to the Lord.
    – Then moved to “The Brooklyn Tabernacle” which I loved.
    _Also attended Harvest in NYC. A Calvary Chapel.
    -Moved to Ca. to learn the ministry, and attended and worked at CCCM as a janitor, later as an Associate Pastor.
    -Entered itinerate ministry, that serves mostly Calvary Chapels, but we go anywhere.
    – Currently attending and serving a Poiema Christian Fellowship, in Huntington Beach. We’re independent, but have our roots in CC. Love it.
    – I can’t say that church abuses no longer bother me, but they no longer have power over me. Never again will I let anything someone does come into my Holy of Holies and disrupt my relationship with the Lord. I love to fellowship and serve with anyone that loves Jesus, and respect his or her point of view. But also I try and dodge snares, and steer clear of axe-murdering prophets.

  38. Lutheran says:

    Have been Evangelical United Brethren (later became United Methodists) where I was baptized as an infant. In teen years, United Church of Christ, Assemblies of God, Free Methodist. Adult: Evangelical Covenant, Baptist, Calvary Chapel, and now Lutheran into Eternity.

  39. Michael says:

    Michael ,

    What a ride! I had no idea…that is quite a journey.

  40. Bob Sweat says:

    Michael S,

    Loved your Heart in a Box!

  41. Bob Sweat says:

    ” I can’t say that church abuses no longer bother me, but they no longer have power over me.”

    What a great quote!

  42. What Bob said about what Michael S. said!

  43. Chile says:

    Michael Sewell @37,

    Wow!

  44. Michael S.
    “and burned a page of my Bible,”

    I am curious – was it a random page or a page that demonstrated your point?

  45. At first I was a Pelagian, then I became a semi-sweet Pelagian, cause I liked how it tasted in the cookies. 😉

  46. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    I started out in the false Catholic religion and now I’m simply a Born Again Christian with no Institutional ties. I only Identify myself as a Christian nothing more nothing less. Everyhting else is man made religion

  47. SolRod,
    But you did describe yourself as more than a Christian – you said you were a born again Christian.

    I asked yesterday, is there a difference between a Christian and a born again Christian?

  48. I started out as nothing – then in 1958 I became a Dodgers fan.

    dodgers win the West today!!! 🙂

  49. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    There shouldn’t be but I guess I include the born again as the word “christian” has become a cliche with how many people say they are and in some cases they are really cultural christians as opposed to born again.

  50. Linnea says:

    Born into an atheistic family. Knew there was more, even as young child, because I thought there has to be a just God. Born again at 28, CC for 12 years, then hopped from Baptist to Non-denom. to Anglican back to Non-denom…..sad to say I’m still searching. I must add that PP opened up my eyes to other believers within the Church, and outside of CC.

  51. Linnea says:

    I have to say, after reading Michael Sewell’s account, that if there were a Poiema here, I’d be in all the way!

  52. Ricky Bobby says:

    Sewell said, ” I told people and I was rebuked for making a claim against “God’s anointed.” Even when two months later he showed up at a meeting in full women’s make-up, and declared he was gay, some of the folks still stood with him.”

    LOL, classic.

  53. Reuben says:

    Charismatic, born and raised. My father was an associate pastor, and then a senior pastor of an unaffiliated “Oneness Pentecostal” charismatic church.

    Dad left the church for a life of drugs, drink, and women.

    Grew up in a CC of my mom’s choosing.

    Left CC and its boring ways for Vineyard.

    Left Vineyard as a black listed heretic.

    Back to CC to rehab.

    Climbed the ladder in CC. Learned the inner workings of CC. Hated it. I read a book or two by blacklisted authors, launched me into a theological revolution. Left 12 years of pastoral ministry to get a normal job and love my family. (Something I should have done to begin with…)

    Attended an Anglican church in rebellion once, after I realized I was going to get sucked back into a movement I frankly hated, and was bound to become a pastor in. Been going Anglican ever since. Catechized and confirmed into vestry a year ago. I am going to drop out of vestry this year. Not into church politics and back room fights over silly crap. I am content to never work in a leadership capacity again.

    Now I drink.

  54. brian says:

    Take it for what its worth

    From the time I was burned at age six to say 19 I had this deep almost mystical interaction with God, or at least I thought I did. I was very eclectic, Got involved with Baptists at the age of 12 when my brother died, he was 17. I went forward and “accepted Jesus”. I stayed interested and deeply involved in the service oriented aspects of the faith. Loosely connected to the Jesus movement from about 74.

    I got reborn again again when I joined the Plymouth brethren and became fully involved with almost all my time for over a decade in 81-91. It was made clear that none of that other spirituality I was involved in before I joined them was just me serving Satan. Lived in ministry houses, served in many aspects of the faith other then teacher or preacher type stuff. Left there in late 91 early 92 because I well was told to get out by some of the brothers. 92-96 went to a non denom Calvary chapel spin off, then went to a AofG church from 92 until now though I do not attend weekly I do slither into the back at many service and listen and pray.

    I was involved in some other churches got asked rather nicely to their credit to leave Scientology because I kept asking about the tax break angle for my house to become a church and the audit thing just did not work on me to many thetans or what ever. I was being a smart blank and they had every right.

    Was involved in Unity for a while during a hiatus, that place felt like home to me but I was to well inoculated to get to deeply involved with any group that was to far outside the club. The sad thing is that is the truth about becoming Catholic, Anglican, EO etc because deep down I know it will send me straight to hell.

  55. Reuben says:

    Oh, I remember I had a short fling with an Acts 29 that blew up.

  56. Reuben says:

    “The sad thing is that is the truth about becoming Catholic, Anglican, EO etc because deep down I know it will send me straight to hell.”

    I’ll drink to that!

  57. Linnea says:

    Reuben..I forgot, too, about my Acts 29 experience….maybe it’s best left forgotten!

  58. Michael Sewell says:

    Thanks Bob. As for the burned page of the Bible, no particular one, just felt the need to do something dramatic. Some things never change;)

  59. Lutheran says:

    Brian,

    I’ve always considered CC to be a long-haired version of the Plymouth Brethren. Both are dispy and sectarian.

    Whad d’ya think?

  60. Lutheran says:

    Oh, and among many of them, like you said Brian, they’d be pretty suspicious of someone’s salvation if they were Lutheran/Anglican/(God forbid) Catholic or EO!

  61. Xenia says:

    I remember hearing sermons about how the Lutherans and their ilk were not much better than the Catholics and if you were a Catholic you might just as well be a Jehovah’s Witness because you could not possibly be saved. This kind of talk mostly made its appearance when the seven churches of the book of Revelation were being taught. Each one, according to the theory, represented a time period. One period was the Catholics (I think the Jezebel church) and another was the Lutherans, who “didn’t take the Reformation far enough.” CC, of course, was Philadelphia. 🙂 (Looking back, I notice that this scheme did not include the Orthodox, the oldest church of them all and the second largest.)

  62. Xenia says:

    My old CC pastor (who I still admire very much) told me that “Orthodoxy is not a system that leads to salvation.”

  63. Xenia says:

    I don’t understand why a rock concert plus a Bible lecture is “a system that leads to salvation” whereas a Liturgy consisting almost entirely of quotes from the scriptures is “a system that does not lead to salvation.”

  64. Paige says:

    Speaking of Acts 29…… I recently messaged with a PhxP former poster who was a CC pastor…. left to work with some church plants….. and got burned pretty bad…. prayers needed for that sweet man and his family….. I was glad to reconnect with him and shocked at his story. Please pray, saints.

  65. susanrae013 says:

    SAved at 21, Skip Heitzig, CC. Left that church when Pete Nelson did in 2008, can’t say I’m eager to get involved in another church again. I have a 2 year old daughter now, and I don’t want her to have the church experiences I did.

  66. Lutheran says:

    Xenia,

    Yeah, we Lutherans do get mistaken for Catholics.

    I used to work with a guy (Catholic) who’d tease me and say, “You Lutherans are just Catholics without the Pope.” 🙂

  67. London says:

    Methodist
    Baptist
    Crazy (seriously crazy) Charistmatics
    Back to Baptist
    Non-Denom church I LOVED (imploded after one of the pastors – who was like a second Dad to me, had an affair following the loss of a baby)
    Around the same time my Dad died and my world was totally full of grief…that was a horrible time.
    Skipped church for a while
    Another non-denom
    CCABQ with Pete Nelson
    Spent a bunch of time being pissed off at church
    Met a guy on a plane that was a pastor…..
    House church
    Web church
    Mid week Recovery Based service now when ever I get a chance – love the honest rawness of those folks
    Just started a Bible Study in a meg church in the town where I’m working….

    There’s no “home”

  68. London says:

    At some point during the House Church/Webchurch time I started regularly attending the Anglican church down the road. That building feels like “home” but the people don’t.

  69. brian says:

    Lutheran said “Brian,

    I’ve always considered CC to be a long-haired version of the Plymouth Brethren. Both are dispy and sectarian.

    Whad d’ya think?”

    What do I think first they are angry at God with a passion because He did not come back before 2000. If I had to sum up what I thought it would be that. Some of them are closet atheists and they dont even know it but if you talk with them off the record they just are. I tried being an atheist and even the atheist, actually it was only the atheist that told me to go back to the faith because they saw just how painful it was for me to try not to believe.

    I remember the books we had in our library and the jack chick tracts, I remember bring up to some of the more spiritual brothers that Jack Chick was, well a nut, I give him a wide berth because of what he must have saw during ww2. But he is still a nut. They were big on Dave Hunt and the Rapture books and movies.But it did not happen, no Jesus did not appear and I can tell you it caused great pain to many people, it hollowed them out.

    A few other observations for a better perspective, I have never seen a group of people serve more then the PB in missions, works of mercy, evangelism, and small group study. They were the heart and soul, they would go far above and beyond. I think in part because of their end time beliefs, but mainly because they really believed in Christ and wanted to serve Him. They had a hard time applying that to other branches of the Christian religion.

    My love for them is deep, they saved my spiritual life and almost killed it in the same stroke, but I am responsible for my own well being and I alone will answer to God for my own actions. Sometimes I think I deflect that off to perceived or real hurts I may or think I have suffered. I make no illusions, well actually I do, but when I dont, that I am a drama queen. It has been a survival tactic of mine and it has helped me at times. We are all drama queens in one way or another but that does not change that what I share is not how I feel or see things. But it does heavily taint my perspective and slant.

    That is sort of how I see it, history and personal experiences are so confusing we remember through a fog and we review it through experiences built on perceptions filtered through biases and we try to come to some type of consensus. One of my favorite lines loosely translated “Im just some broken down piece of meat and I am alone and I deserve to be alone but I just dont want you to hate me.” This clip reflects my prayers better the most, Im not saying it is the healthiest view but it is where I have been at for many years.

    http://youtu.be/7fTnTP49FW0

  70. brian says:

    I can say on my soul, I have never expected this ever. I always and still do consider it an unreasonable expectations.

    (“There’s no “home”)

    There are times I still struggle with why God still gives me air.

  71. Ron Arbaugh says:

    Michael Sewell @58; great to hear from you. We would love it if you and Jodi could again visit Texas! If possible, email to ccsaron@aol.com

  72. Ricky Bobby says:

    Indoctrinated into the CC sect.

    Went Reformed when BG did.

    Went to Master’s College, pretty much bought into that angle, but learned too much in Critical Thinking, Rhetorical Criticism, Logic, Argument/Debate etc.

    I’m pretty much a Bull-ologist (not to be confused with Scietologist) now. I see bull in everyone’s Box, in everyone’s practices (which is more a testament of true belief than expressed doctrine and theology)…for instance the Mega-church Pastor who got kudos for doing the homeless man routine to make an impact on his new gig…ya, Rich Young Ruler. If he really believe that’s what it’s all about, he’d sell that megachurch’s assets and give all to the poor. He doesn’t believe it, he just uses it to make a splash and get kudos for his creativity and unique presentation.

    Currently, I think it’s more probable that God is vs. that he isn’t (anthropomorphic he, I don’t think god has male genitalia). I am quite confident none of us have much of a clue as to who or what he is nor what will really happen when we croak.

    My confidence in man’s ignorance is much greater than my confidence in man’s knowledge…and as such, I don’t buy the philosophical conclusions of the hard-line Atheist nor the hard-line christian* fundamentalist.

  73. RB,
    I find bull in your box. 😉

    The fact that you deny Jesus is God in that statement is quite telling.

  74. Frosted Flake says:

    MLD,
    RB “tells” on himself every time he posts. A very confused individual.

  75. London says:

    As much as I’m an anti-fan of RB, I don’t think anyone has a right to tell anyone else on this thread that what they are posting about their own journey is wrong.
    Just cause it’s not your journey, or they aren’t in the place you think they should be, doesn’t really give any of us a right to say they are in the wrong place.
    The question that Michael poised was “what steps have you made on your way home”.

    If those are the steps he’s gone through to get where he is, then those are the steps he’s gone through.

    He answered the question as it was asked. Who are you to judge it?

  76. Ricky Bobby says:

    MLD, do you believe that Jesus and God are the same entity? They share Jesus’s male genitalia? That is an interesting thesis…

  77. London – his journey was to tell the rest of us we are full of bull. I thought that deserved a response.

  78. London says:

    HA! You tell us non-Lutherans that all the time MLD. 😉

  79. And people usually respond. 🙂

    I’ll give you a clue … it’s called dialogue

  80. Ricky Bobby says:

    “dialogue” LOL. hardly, much of my responses get moderated. You get to “dialogue” but quite a few others (now) don’t.

  81. Michael says:

    RB,

    Your response was posted @ 76.
    This thread will now devolve into a pissing match between you and MLD.

  82. London says:

    only if you let it.

  83. Michael says:

    London,

    You’re right.
    Only if I sit here in front of the computer and carefully monitor each post.
    I had other plans for the morning.

  84. Oh No says:

    Right on Michael! Now the thread revolves around who can piss the farthest.

  85. I made one comment to RB – even included a 🙂

    Hardly qualifies as a pissing match from where I sit.

  86. Tie a knot in it, boys!

  87. Michael says:

    RB,

    The answer to your question is that the mystery of the Trinity is that there are three persons who are one God.
    Jesus incarnated and took on human flesh and he is the only Person of the Trinity in human form.

  88. Ricky Bobby says:

    So Jesus is the only God with male genitalia, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit don’t have the male anatomy? But they are all one God, correct?

  89. Ricky Bobby says:

    You can spin it as “devolving” but I think it’s a legitimate question, one I’ve always had have never received a satisfactory answer for from Fundamentalists who claim such a solid and certain knowledge of God and who “he” is….

  90. Michael says:

    One God, three separate Persons.
    Standard, orthodox, Christian theology.

  91. Ricky Bobby says:

    Michael, talking snakes and cramming a zillion animals of every kind on a boat with only 8 surviving humans to repopulate the entire earth (infant mortality rates super high and only a small handful of child bearing women) is standard orthodoxy. It doesn’t make any sense, very unlikely. Cain and Abel having sex with their sisters seems a stretch as well…and Abel got whacked seems pretty early on, then Cain gets banned to the another Land that is already populated etc.

  92. Michael says:

    RB,

    The foundational premise of the Christian faith is that a dead man got up and walked and because he did, I will too.
    Highly unlikely in the natural.
    I embrace it by faith.

  93. Xenia says:

    May the angels protect Henry Blackaby! Lord, have mercy!

  94. Xenia says:

    I do live in a world where snakes can talk and icons can stream myrrh and people can be miraculously healed from cancer and where Saints can visit us. I have 100 percent faith and confidence in all the miracles of the Bible and all the miracles that have occurred the past 2000 years. I have about zero faith in my own brain, mankind’s reliance on reason and logic and most especially, I have no faith in science.

  95. Xenia says:

    For some people, especially the Saints of the Church, the barrier between heaven and earth is very thin- they can see right through it into the heavenlies. For some, it is an opaque wall six feet thick, made of lead.

  96. Ricky Bobby says:

    “one god three separate persons”

    Makes no sense.

    I’m guessing God the Father and God the Holy Spirit don’t have bodies of glorified flesh like Jesus (or God the Son) and as such don’t have legs, feet, rear-ends, genitalia etc….yet there are numerous references that God (I’m assuming God the Father as a separate “person” as you put it) sits on a throne, yet God as this separate person is everywhere at once, in all things, omnipresent etc. or is that God as the Holy Spirit?

    Is Jesus, now that he’s resurrected flesh, “everywhere at once” and omnipresent or is that just God the Holy Spirit or God the Father?

    The doctrine of the Trinity is illogical and presents all sorts of problems depending on when you keep “God” together and when you decide to tear him apart into three separate pieces to avoid contradiction.

    It’s a nice nebulous assertion, the whole ‘trinity’ thing b/c you can basically make it whatever you want to defend a particular position. It’s like duct tape or jello.

  97. Michael says:

    RB,

    It’s an article of faith.
    It’s incomprehensible except through faith…and even then it is something I accept, not understand.
    It is not a problem for me…I hope that God is bigger than my ability to comprehend.
    If not, there’s a chance that my comprehension would convince me that I am a god…

  98. Xenia says:

    RB does believe in a god, it is his own brain. Everything in the whole universe, in heaven and on earth is held up to the judgement of RB’s brain. It is his highest authority and is his idol.

  99. Ricky Bobby says:

    “I hope that God is bigger than my ability to comprehend.”

    Then why do you profess such certainty in so many areas of doctrine if you really don’t have a solid clue and chalk up the big stuff to “mystery” and faith?

  100. Xenia says:

    Just think about it: All the vastness of Creation, all the hosts of heaven, all the angels and Saints, not to mention the Holy Trinity, all of this glory and then consider the darkness of hell and the demons and their evil leader- all of this is reviewed and judged by a few pounds of organic material located in the skull of RB.

  101. Kevin H says:

    “A comprehended god is no god.” – John Chrysostom

    RB, you may want a god that satisfies your human ability to make full logical sense of. You’re never going to find it.

    If I ever get to the point where I think I can fully understand and explain God, then I want no part of that god. Maybe you feel differently. But if there truly is a God who is on a much higher level of knowledge, ability, and being than us, then at some point there must be some level of faith. Because we’re never going to “get” all of it.

  102. Ricky Bobby says:

    Well, maybe it’s “mystery” and “faith” that God reconciles and redeems the whole of his creation, since we can appeal to “God is beyond our comprehension” and use the “mystery” card as doctrinal/theological duct tape.

  103. Ricky Bobby says:

    My point is to point out the folly in your “certainty” you all profess (most of you) that God can’t reconcile and redeem his whole creation and that somehow he is bound by some eternal contract that is outside of his control and must nuke his enemies in hell forever with no end.

    You fundies wax very “the bible says!” when it suits you…then appeal to “mystery” and “we can’t comprehend God!” when the shoe is on the other foot.

    Maybe it really is beyond our comprehension. Maybe God really is “love” and really is “good” and really does “love his enemies”…

    …but the vast majority of you can’t seem to grasp mystery or faith with that one…it’s “the bible says!” and back to certainty.

  104. RB,
    “Well, maybe it’s “mystery” and “faith” that God…”

    that is not mystery at all – we are told in the Bible that God does such things. The how may be a mystery, but not the what.

  105. Michael says:

    RB,

    My “certainty” is limited to a few cardinal doctrines.
    My authority is Scripture…and on most things I arrive at what I believe is the best possible answer according to it’s words and the teachers of that word that God has given us.
    I’m undoubtedly in error on some things…so I study and hold secondary doctrines with a loose grip.

  106. Ricky Bobby says:

    The irony is that most of you dont’ even understand what just happened….

  107. I am certain of the mystery – why is that so hard for you to comprehend. I know what God has revealed to us, and some of that revelation is mystery.
    What has not been revealed to us is absolutely unknowable.

    Your lack of logic puts you in left field saying none of it is knowable.

  108. “The irony is that most of you dont’ even understand what just happened….”

    I do, you made a fool of yourself again.

  109. Ricky Bobby says:

    MLD, your opinion regarding “logic” is akin to me having an opinion on being old, lutheran and stupid.

  110. Xenia says:

    The irony is that most of you dont’ even understand what just happened….<<<

    Whatever "just happened" only happened within your own skull and nowhere else.

  111. Lutheran says:

    Praying for Dr. Blackaby that he’ll be found safely.

  112. London says:

    what just happened was that i stood up for you because you seemed to be on topic and participating with the thread…then, you got totally off on your own agenda and now I regret my decision to speak on your behalf.

    That’s what just happened.

  113. Ricky Bobby says:

    Josh, ROTFLOL!!!!! 😆

    London, didn’t ask for your help, didn’t need it, you commented of your own free will.

  114. It doesn’t sound like Critical Thinking is much different than you explain Bible interpretation.
    From the article – “although there is debate among educators about its precise meaning and scope.”

    So, are you just using your own version of critical thinking? Are there 9,000 to 30,000 ‘denominations’ of critical thinking? LOL

  115. Lutheran by birth, 1954
    Southern Baptist by rebirth, 1972
    Nondenominational Charismatic by renewal 2000
    Pope by choice

    Making It Up as I Go Dread

  116. Muff Potter says:

    Xenia wrote @ # 62:

    My old CC pastor (who I still admire very much) told me that “Orthodoxy is not a system that leads to salvation.”

    Did you know that at the founding of our nation there were many like your former CC pastor who did not want a freedom of religion clause in either the Constitution or the Bill of Rights? Had they prevailed, they would have plunged our fledgling nation into the same bloody sectarian conflicts that had plagued Europe for centuries.

  117. crownedone1 says:

    -Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for 19 years
    -Vineyard for 2 years
    -Assembly of God for 2 years
    -Lutheran for 3 visits
    -Misc. Non denoms for 2 years
    -‘Believer at large’ from 5 years ago on into eternity

    I will assemble wherever the Lord calls me to do so, but my only ‘home church’ now is heaven & brethren.

  118. “London, didn’t ask for your help, didn’t need it, you commented of your own free will.”

    What an ass!

  119. Q says:

    Started out believing there was a God but my prayers never seemed to get answered (maybe there was someone on the other football team praying to win also 🙂 )

    Heard the gospel believed it…went to many different churches including Lutheran Baptist, CC, AoG, Vineyard, Seeker friendly, PD, on and on and on….seen miracles, seen preachers settle for 1 million in settlements for regressing people and being sued for false accusations, and much much more.

    I am now a bible believing Christian…really was through it all, still am.

    All in with Jesus.

  120. PP Vet says:

    Episcopalian
    Independent Bible
    Charismatic/Shepherding (the “girlfriend I never got over”. God was in our midst.)
    Calvary Chapel

  121. brian says:

    “seen miracles” I envy you that to be honest.

  122. Looks like there was a pretty nasty food fight here.

  123. BabyD, what on earth would give you that idea? 😉

  124. brian says:

    About the Trinity just a plain reading of all of scripture seems to make it the most “biblical sense”. I think what makes me hold to The Trinity’s value is that three coequal all powerful “Persons” share and submit with no guile, jealousy, pettiness, etc. Just total connectedness and relation. That is sloppy and rather simple but I find it awesome and scary at the same time.

  125. brian says:

    should have been sloppy and simply worded

  126. Anonymous says:

    I was reading these comments yesterday, and was very touched by people’s spiritual journeys. It made me ask, “Why do some people get hurt and drop out church forever, and others move on to other churches?”

    God’s calling? Personal convictions? Natural attraction to community?

  127. Muff Potter says:

    brian,
    Not sloppy in the least, and simplifying the obtuse is always the best policy. I have seen theologians who are legends in their own minds burn up several thousand words and still not say a damn thing that can’t be put into an hundred words or less.

  128. brian, I agree with Muff. I got more out of your statement on the Trinity than the chapters upon chapters I’ve read in theology books. Well done, sir!

  129. Ricky Bobby says:

    Three separate persons as equals in terms of being in god-like agreement (which is what the Mormons assert) yet they do take on hierarchical roles as exampled by Jesus submitting his will to the “will of the Father” etc.

    I do like brian’s explanation, though. I think there’s some truth in it.

  130. One God three persons = orthodox theology
    I never heard anyone use the word “separate” to describe persons of the trinity.
    The Father is God but is not the Son or the Spirit
    The Son is God but is not the Father or the Spirit
    The Spirit is God but is not the Father or the Son

    Go read Augustine or just go read the church fathers.
    Whatever you do don’t learn about God from the Mormons.
    Deifying man is not a good start to your understanding of God’s self-revelation

  131. Scott says:

    Thank you for pointing out the obvious, Babylon’s Dread.

    The “god-like agreement” comment made me a little queasy too.

  132. Mormons have no problem separating “God” into 3 separate gods – Mormons are polytheists.

  133. Muff Potter says:

    I started out in the Lutheran Church long ago, before the world had moved on. I remember as a little kid when Lutheran pastors still wore the cassock on high holy days. You couldn’t tell pastor Sorensen from father Doyle the Jesuit, the garb was so similar back in those days.

    Towards the end of the Vietnam era when I had gotten out of the VA hospital I became briefly involved with the CCCM movement. I realized quickly that I didn’t fit in and that it was probably best to move on, which I did.

    Now I am one of the ‘nones’ as it were, but I really enjoy the sermons of Nadia Bolz-Weber (liberal wing of the Lutheran Church) on podcast.

  134. Muff Potter says:

    RE: brian on the Trinity,
    Consider too what I consider to be the most wondrous substance ever concocted by the Almighty. Water. It can exist in three states simultaneously. Solid, liquid, and gaseous. And yet no one of them is in hierarchy over the other two.

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