If You Attend Church, Do You Know What Your Church Believes?

Discussion in 'Faith & Religion' started by Ken Anderson, Apr 18, 2021.

  1. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Supreme Member
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    I think churches with hierarchies are most likely to kowtow to the government as they are afraid of lawsuits. Lawyers aren't very motivated to go after the little individual churches as they don't generally have a lot of money, but if they can go after a mega church or an entire denomination, the payoff could be substantial. Most attorneys aren't motivated by morals, legal rights, or justice. The primary motivator in financial.
     
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  2. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Supreme Member
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    I believe the ACLU is the primary tool that some in government seats use to scare churches and other believing organizations into a sort of lockstep.
    From the removal of small nativity scenes to a cross on a hill to the 10 commandments on a courthouse wall or even prayer in school, the ACLU has the lawyers and money to thwart even the largest of Judeo-Christian organizations.

    Funny but I do not recall any cases having to do with the ACLU taking on any Muslims. As an example, I would think city wide calls to prayer would be on the books but nope, not a peep.
     
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  3. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    That's an interesting point. I also think that churches with hierarchies tend to be more "corporate" than the stand-alone entities.
     
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  4. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    There's a long list of social issues where Christianity (and to an extent, Judaism) are the only acceptable targets.
     
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  5. Nathaniel Merritt

    Nathaniel Merritt Active Member
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    I am a born-again Christian but am no longer involved in any religious organization. My wife and I gather in the Name of the Lord Jesus for fellowship and it suffices. I am a trained clergyman, retired, and my knowledge of the Bible, Christianity (all segments), Church History, all areas of theology, is substantial. I do not recommend that anyone join any religious org.
     
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  6. Nathaniel Merritt

    Nathaniel Merritt Active Member
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    This is what makes the Big Whore (the Great Harlot of Babylon) a Whore. Whores are crawling with disease. Keep away.
     
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  7. Joseph Carl

    Joseph Carl Veteran Member
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    It's undeniable that the Bible teaches Christians to fellowship together, as exampled by the apostles in Acts. There's certainly a lot of flexibility in how we do that, given the number and type of Christian faith churches available today. But, as children of God, the church is a family that serves several purposes: to worship together, help each other, serve in ministries, assist with missions, and ... to learn how to love others.

    There is no doubt a large number of misguided churches, leaders, and followers that give God's church family a bad taste to those who experience it. That's the sad reality of any niche though. I'm sure we all get our share of bad doctors, dentists, or garage mechanics also representing their profession poorly, but that doesn't cause us to disregard all of them as evil or unimportant. It's easy to find churches with flaws, but that doesn't discredit the whole church concept: that we're called to fellowship together and act like a family of God's.

    I'd suggest that, whether we do it or not, we should admit that being an active part of God's church family is a Christian's calling. It helps us grow our character and allows us to better fulfill our purpose in life - of loving God and loving others. We're fortunate in most places to have a multitude of choices, and I suspect that the good ones still outnumber the bad ones.
     
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  8. Jeff Elohim

    Jeff Elohim Very Well-Known Member
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    Everything in the Bible, and through all history, including the USA and democracy,
    shows the opposite is truth -

    what is evil, what is wrong and bad and harmful, far, far, far outnumbers any that is good.
     
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  9. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Supreme Member
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    Biscuits!!
    I have given this example at least once before but I’ll do it again for the new guys.

    When getting ready to bake a tray of biscuits, there are two ways of doing it.
    (1) Place them on the pan about a half inch apart or (2) snug them up to each other.
    When they are finished baking, the ones that were placed a small distance apart will rise a bit and have a crust not only on top but around the sides also (very similar to the Bojangles’ biscuits) and the insides will be a little firm.
    The ones that were snugged together will rise up more than the others and only the top and bottom will have a crust leaving the sides to resemble the inside which will tend to be a bit fluffier.

    It’s exactly the same thing about going to church or not. Both kinds of biscuits are still biscuits whether singled out or en masse just like Christians are still Christians whether they stay home or go to church.
    The difference is that the one’s who congregate together tend to be less crusty, will rise higher and be a much fuller but softer being.
     
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  10. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Supreme Member
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    I think one of the key factors if not THE key factor about church is deciding if you are going to church or are the church?
     
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  11. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    And that opens up a whole 'nother subject. Maybe we need a different thread.

    Who among us is knowledgeable enough in the Bible to "be the church"? It's a highly confusing collection of books. We need experts to unravel it. And those experts strongly disagree with each other on many points; after all, the books of the Bible are a translation of a translation of a translation. There can be no absolute certainty any of us get the original gist. Heck, look at the title of this thread. Shouldn't all Christian churches believe the same thing? If not, how can any individual be sure enough of anything to "be the church"??? If our formal institutions with educated & trained clergy have different beliefs, where does that leave we amateurs trying to slog through things?

    In some cases we pick a church because of a pastor whose opinion most resonates with us or what we have heard to be "The Truth." Or maybe the guy just has a decent personality. Most often we go to a church that is convenient to home, that has worship times that fit with our schedules, and/or that our friends attend. And this plethora of choices is a modern thing. Besides, we are "the flock." By that descriptor, how can we be "the church?" Flocks are blind followers meandering as a unit behind one of many shepherds. You can't have a flock of independent thinkers...that would be chaos, and it sure would not be a cohesive flock...even though there was lots of diversity (and human conflict) among the original Disciples. But we don't do that these days.

    I'll stop here. So many rabbit holes. I will say that I have always been envious of those of the Jewish faith who will vigorously argue their beliefs among each other. That process is how one is exposed to differing view points and how one vets one's beliefs with oneself. But our culture hates conflict. We'll consciously take conformity over truth.
     
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  12. D'Ellyn Dottir

    D'Ellyn Dottir Very Well-Known Member
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    This is an interesting distinction. One of the main things that caused me to reject organized religion and its self-proclaimed "authority" entirely was the vast difference I experienced between valued teachings and everyday behavior of the "faithful". For me, the hypocrisy I observed negated the message.
     
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  13. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    That comes down to whether you are worshipping God or inventing god.
     
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  14. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Supreme Member
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    All true John but the direction I am taking is that church is more than just a place to go to get that “I Love You Jesus” aspirin / Dern the doctrine, I feel good now kind of place.

    Each individual should recognize who they are and what they are. We are supposed to Be the church; the very body of Jesus Christ but sadly, there are many who simply do not get that concept. The building we go to may be called a church but in essence, the building we, the church, goes to is simply a place to congregate and seek the truth.

    But of course, it does swing back to what the leads of that particular sect of the church are teaching. That’s where the rubber meets the road. Are we simply going to a building to feel good again or are we really looking for the truths that may or not make us feel that good at all? Conviction can be a bear sometimes but even so, the Joy a person has by being part of the body of Jesus Christ or rather, His church, should not be diminished by it.
     
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  15. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    The UMC sent their District Supervisors around to each church to discuss declining attendance and membership (which are usually miles apart anyway.) This was probably 7-8 years ago. They asked why we thought people attended church and why attendance was higher in the past. There were lots of reasons picking at the fringes, but the core issue was that people now have more ways to get their social needs met and to catch up on what's going on with everyone else. Church provided a natural gathering place & time. I'm not certain that's really a bad thing, as long as it's "in addition to."

    The primary concern when COIVD hit was that folks would "fall out of the habit" of going to church and not return. The concern was for the fate of that facility that grandma/mom/whoever attended...born of all the familial and community attachments (again, not a bad thing as long as it's "in addition to." I had one woman state that she would keep the church open even if she were the only one funding it. Another church I used to go to in the Charge only has 2 consistent attendees...a husband & wife. It's been that way for a few years. They choose to fund the whole thing.

    Even the highest levels of UMC leadership voice more concerns over the corporation rather than for the flock. I've had pastors I respect very much tell people that they just need to go "to a church, any church," without any qualification regarding the quality of the church or what is taught there, as though any car wash will get rid of at least some of the dirt. I find that to be very disappointing. The concern is solely for the aggregate institution.

    I don't want to come across as being exclusively negative or judging on this subject. We all understand they are human institutions. And "lots of good" is being done through these places. As Joseph Carl said they provide a place to "...serve in ministries, assist with missions..." I selected the church I'm attending because of all the opportunities to serve the community...they are very engaged. We do lots of good.

    At one time I had been looking for a non-church based Bible Study class to attend rather than Sunday church services, because of all the distractions and misplaced attention that goes on there, and because most services are bland and rote. That was when I was working, and the only one I could find was on a weekday morning nearly an hour away in the opposite direction of work. I would still like to find such a group.

    I don't know. I think I talk in circles on this subject.
     
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