“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Observations on Church

I find it interesting that I will often find people who come to our church and tell me about the 'legalistic' church they just left. This has happened several times, and one person even had a rant on their web page about 'legalistic' churches, and how they were 'killing' the church!

So, I began, after I learned, to check a bit into these claims. I could not believe that there were that many legalistic churches out there; my experience has been quite the opposite, or they are the neo-nomianism folks, ala Osteen.

What I found as I did this was an interesting fact -- These so-called 'legalistic' churches did not approve of a lifestyle of sin, and therefore, these people had left. This is why it is important to get letters of transfer, if possible, from people.

They will look at you like you are crazy, especially at a little church like ours -- they think they can get away with hiding in a little place. To give but one example:

Them: "We left our last church because they were SOOOO legalistic"

Me: "What was their concern?"

Them: "Well, they thought it was wrong that me and my girlfriend live together."

Me: "Well, so do we!"

Them: "bye".

It is amazing to me how people think one is being 'legalistic' by simply upholding church discipline! And this is common! People are shocked and appalled when I 'get in their business' as the pastor of the church! As if, what they do in their own time is of no consequence to the church. A completely unbiblical attitude!

We truly have reached a point where Biblical literacy is at its nadir!


Anonymous said...

Before someone requests membership, a church MUST contact their previous church on the issue of Christian behavior. Who knows what level of turpitude exists. Be it e-mail, transfer of letter (membership), phone calls or what-have-you, as you have pointed out, I'll bet you'll find in many cases the previous church set moral standards (and acceptable ones too) the member didn't want to live up to (standards such as those set in Scripture perhaps?) If that be legalism, so be it!


Ray said...

Where you can encounter issues is with the fact that:

(a) Many 'denominations', i.e. Calvary Chapel and a lot of non-denominational groups, do not have a membership per se.

(b) Believe it or not there are many pastors/leaders who will not give any information - they consider it 'coonfidential'.

When that occurs you are stuck -- now, while you can call a Calvary Chapel and others, the people themselves (potential members), have had the well poisoned about church membership and usually don't want it.

Membership is a sticky wicket -- and one that we have worked through for six years now.