So many pastors, bishops, deacons and elders in churchianity seem to forget that they are actually accountable to the people they are teaching. They seek and enjoy the "limelight" of being out in front teaching others, but often ignore that such a privilege comes with the extremely sobering reality of accountability.
This pastor and his family are very gracious and open about their personal lives. They are a lovely family and their sweet children have captured my heart completely.
But I can't help but feel that our friendship with them is contingent upon our becoming members of their church. Which is so sad.
My husband invited just the pastor over for dinner and discussion a few months ago and the pastor brought his right-hand man along.
I served salad, spaghetti and homemade french bread and we had a very pleasant dinner conversation. Afterward, I served coffee in the living room to the men, and 14yo and I went to another part of the house while the men talked. But our 16yo got to partake in the discussion with his dad. :)
They didn't get to finish their discussion so they intend to talk again another time. However, in some emails back and forth since then, the pastor has made it clear that he will explain what he believes, but will not 'debate' it.
Which is really another way of saying he will not submit his doctrines to any scrutiny. This isn't right. All Bible teachers should be open to questions even if it contradicts the doctrines they learned in Bible college.
Correct doctrine is at the heart of Bible teaching. And bible teaching is at the heart of assembling together. That is my vexation in a nutshell. :-)
As I see it, the big issue preached and sermonized about in most Christian churches today is about what to do with the big S word - sin. The only problem is that what's being taught doesn't line up with what the Bible says concerning sin.
It's a popular belief that Adam and Eve died spiritually after the fall. But I don't believe that. The reason I don't believe it is because it's not taught in the Bible. The bible clearly teaches that when Adam and Eve sinned, something had to die because the penalty was death.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death.
But instead of killing Adam and Eve, God shed the blood innocent animals and then clothed their nakedness with the animal skins. And from then on, the death sentence was passed on all men. Not spiritual death.
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Just a tiny example of verses regarding the very much alive and functioning human spirit:
And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold it was a dream. And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled.
Q: How can Pharaoh's spirit be troubled if he's spiritually dead?
And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived:
Q: How could his spirit revive if his spirit was dead?
Exodus 35: 21
And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord 's offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments.
Q: How could they have willing spirits if they're spiritually dead?
But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the Lord thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day.
Q: Why would God harden a spirit that's dead?
1 Chronicles 5:24
And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria.
Q: How did God stir the spirits of these two men if their spirits were dead?
These verses and hundreds more speak of man's spirit as fully functioning.
Another popular theology that churchianity teaches which has no basis in scripture is 'sinful nature'. I don't believe that either. Sin does not reside in our nature. Sin is an action - doing that which we know is wrong. It's a choice.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use in to that which is against nature. - Romans 1:26
God shines the light of truth on every soul that comes into the world (John 1:9). The sin in this verse was not a result of the nature they received from Adam. This sin was against nature, as all sin is, not a product of it. Paul's teaching stands in conflict with most religious philosophies.
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. - Romans 1:27
...leaving the natural use indicates they were endowed with natural tendencies, and through a conscious, responsible act they left that former, natural state for the lower, base, perverted imaginations of their own lusts. Again, the sin was a perversion of the natural design of body and soul.
There are many, many other verses that are in direct contrast to the "sin nature" teaching which claims that sin resides in our nature and cannot be helped. But it's an unbiblical doctrine.
This is the biggest irritation for my family when we sit through a sermon at church is that each time sin is brought up, it's cloaked in the heresy of sinful nature.
My husband wants to meet with the pastor again and hopefully get more of his questions answered this time. What comes of that discussion will probably determine whether he wants us to continue with that church or not.
I'll need extra grace if we do. And that's always a good thing. :-)