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Church Member Responsibility and Church Discipline at Pastor Eric Davis’ Church

Church membership, church discipline, Pastor Eric Davis, Cornerstone Church


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Church Member Responsibility and Church Discipline According to the Cornerstone Church By-laws

mind-the-gap

-by Kathi

I recently wrote about how Julie Anne and I dared to comment on an article at The Cripplegate which subsequently caused our comments to be deleted and comments to be closed. Pastor Eric Davis provided an entirely too long explanation about how the discussion had run its course, more humbleness in being a part of God’s community was needed, and that there was too much focus on logistics. Let’s not forget that he provided the wonderful 16-point article challenging excuses for not going to church. But who’s focusing on logistics?

I was up most of the night wondering who Eric Davis is and what kind of church he runs. Here is Eric’s profile at The Cripplegate:

screenshot-2017-01-11-at-9-01-17-pm

Eric’s bio on Cornerstone Church’s site states that he holds an M.Div. from Master’s Seminary and a M.A. in Biblical Counseling from The Master’s College. It is important to note that all but one leadership team member at the church hold some type of degree from The Master’s College or Master’s Seminary. Oh, look! Cornerstone Church even shows up on The Master’s College site as a TMS Alumni Church!

While I can’t find the specific article, I remember reading something on 9Marks (or The Gospel Coalition?) about membership responsibility. What stood out then was how members who live too far away from a “good church” should move, and if members are working on Sundays that take them away from church, they should get their work schedules changed. These two points were in Eric’s post and it caused me to be suspicious that Cornerstone Church might be affiliated with 9Marks. I looked up Cornerstone Church on the 9Marks site and sure enough, they’re affiliated (Search by zip code 83001. It’s a different physical address but same web link). No surprise to me.

So now we know that we have John MacArthur taught leaders in a 9Marks affiliate church. What could their by-laws be like? Since the original post Julie Anne and I commented on was specifically about members, we’ll look at membership and church discipline at Cornerstone Church which is found in Article V of the by-laws.

How to apply for membership:

Section 4. Applications for Membership – All requests for membership shall be made to a Pastor, Elder, Deacon, or Steering Committee Member. Upon making such a request, the person shall be given an application for membership, along with a copy of the Statement of Faith contained in the Articles of Incorporation and a copy of the Bylaws. …… Each applicant shall assent to the Statement of Faith, subscribe to the Bylaws, and shall testify publicly before a duly appointed Committee of the Board, per Article VI, Section 17 of these Bylaws, at a regularly held meeting for prospective members.

Your membership may be denied:

Section 5. Denial of Membership – If, upon review of an application for membership or after meeting with a prospective member, the Board of Elders, or Steering Committee if not yet replaced by the Board of Elders, determines that the applicant does not confess Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, or that there is a lack of evidence of a Christ-like lifestyle, membership shall be denied. The decision made by the Board, or Steering Committee if not yet replaced by the Board of Elders, shall be final and there shall be no appeal to any court from that decision.

The Board of Elders holds the power to deny your membership if they deem that you are not a true believer or if they think your lifestyle is not Christ-like enough. Forget going to court over it; their decision in final. Why bring up appealing to court over a denial for membership? Does this happen? I guess it must or, this is simply 9Marks talk to cover all bases.

How you are admitted into membership:

Section 6. Admission of Applicants – Applicants admitted to membership shall, if possible present themselves at a worship service designated by the Pastor and Board of Elders, at which service such applicants shall publicly affirm their membership commitment and be publicly acknowledged as members.

Here one stands before the congregation to acknowledge commitment to the church. Keep reading, though, . . . you’ll find that you might “stand” before the congregation for another issue – perhaps not physically, but surely in spirit.

Member responsibility:

Section 7. Responsibilities of Members – Members shall seek to exercise their spiritual gifts for the work of service to honor Jesus Christ and build up the church and shall submit to the loving shepherding of the Elders, or Steering Committee if not yet replaced by the Board of Elders.

Serve Jesus and accept loving shepherding. Now we move on to the “loving shepherding.”

Purpose of church discipline (Church Discipline is Section 8):

a.) Purpose: The purpose of church discipline is to glorify God by: 1) pursuing a sinning believer for the purpose of helping them be reconciled to God and the church (Matthew 18:12-18, 1 Corinthians 5:5, Galatians 6:1) 2) promote the holiness of Christ in the local church (1 Corinthians 5:6) 3) promote a biblical fear of God and turn away from sinning (1 Tim 5:20).

PPP – pursue, promote, promote. Honestly, it’s the pursuing that concerns me.

The process of church discipline:

b.) Process: Members of this church and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church who err in doctrine, or engage in conduct that violates Scripture as determined by the Board of Elders, or Steering Committee if not yet replaced by the Board of Elders, shall be subject to church discipline including dismissal according to Matthew 18:15-18.

Say I’m a member of this church and I need to undergo church discipline. For this scenario, we’ll say I’m questioning the leadership by commenting on a blog post in regard to doctrine or church policy (because we all know that would happen):

First, someone who knows about my sinful conduct should come alongside me to warn and provide correction. If I do not repent, then the next step would be for the warning individual to find one or two other people who agree with my sinful nature. Those individuals would also provide warning and correction. But, I’m stubborn and I still do not repent.

My continued stubbornness causes the elders to investigate the matter. If they are able to determine that, yes, I am sinful in my questioning and that I have been warned but did not repent, then:

(b. iii.)…the Board of Elders, shall inform the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service in order that the church may come alongside the erring individual to call them to repentance and restoration.

Yes, airing my sinful nature during a worship service would totally signify to me that they are walking along my side. Say I still do not repent, even after public rebuke. Now I am publicly dismissed from the church during a regular worship service. The elders can choose to bypass the first two steps and go straight to the congregation if I publicly refuse to repent, disseminate “doctrine deemed false or erroneous by the elders” or if I disregard two warnings.

But here’s the real kicker:

d.) The members of this church, and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church, agree that there shall be no appeal to any court because of the dismissal or because of public statements to the congregation at the third or fourth stages of church discipline. Members who are under discipline by the church, as defined in the previous paragraphs, forfeit and waive the right to resign from this church. Resignations from membership are possible only by members who are in good standing and who are not under any disciplinary action.

Did you catch that? You cannot appeal this decision or any statements made publicly in a court. The only recourse you have is to appeal to the elders. If you are under church discipline, you “waive your right to resign from this church.” WHAT??!! With the expectation of members fully adhering to the leadership and the process of church discipline, is it any wonder that Eric Davis has opinions about the reasons people give for not going to church?

I did not see anything that states that members need to sign a membership agreement, but I would venture to guess that this happens. Don’t do it folks! You are only giving written permission for this leadership to call you out for what they deem as conduct that “violates Scripture.”

I’m sure that includes asking questions.

238 thoughts on “Church Member Responsibility and Church Discipline at Pastor Eric Davis’ Church”

  1. If I said to you:

    The word ‘poimen’ translated ONCE as pastors (Ephesians) could ONLY refer to the oversight function of an elder (adjective describing the AGE of the person), and we could all agree that this ‘elder’ (presumably aged 40 and over to technically BE elder) we then have this ‘list of qualifications’.

    This list does not qualify anyone to be the modern day definition of a pastor.

    An elder who wants to ‘exercise oversight’ is not a salaried religious professional.

    How do we know this?

    Thank you God for religious ‘church history’.

    Approach with integrity, an honest heart and you will discover how churchmen created a THING out of fellowship.

    The ‘church’ is the people of God. Not the meeting.

    Israel ‘the ekklesia in the wilderness’ is the body. Jews and Gentiles all in the same 🌲

    When you don’t need a building then you don’t need a religious facilitator.

    Do you think your local ‘pastor’ would invite you to his living room for bible studies and prayer?

    Would he charge and would you pay?

    Do you know any widows who are paid half the ‘pastor’s’ wage?

    Talk about 1700 years of scripture twisting.

    Thank God for the Internet and bible study software and forums.

    Like

  2. Salty,

    I LOVE that list of qualifications for church leadership that Amos posted.

    That’s the thing—if there’s a Biblical list of qualifications for church leadership—then there must be some sort of church leadership. Otherwise, why would there be a list of qualifications?

    If you prefer we can use the term “elder” instead.

    At your request, I’ll start studying the “elder” verses.

    “Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.”
    Acts 14:23 (NIV)

    Salty, I’m trying to understand why you would feel this way when you said
    “If we can ignore 1700 years of pagan ‘christian’ tradition (called ‘church history’) and focus only on the Scriptures: The modern day pastor is no where to be found.”

    Let’s “focus only the Scriptures”

    “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.”
    Eph 4:11-12 (NLT)

    Like

  3. Lea, Jesus didn’t come to build religious meetings he came to build up a holy people. This is the meaning of the word Ekklesia.

    If people need a ‘holy man’ to give them warm and fuzzies then they don’t want Jesus Christ.

    We have all drunk the kool aid.

    Like

  4. Avid,

    I trying to get you to see these verses within the context of the early church.

    They did not have ‘church buildings’.

    They did not have pews, pulpits, programs and liturgy. They did not have salaried religious professionals.

    This all comes from Roman Catholic tradition and not from the early church.

    The early church fellowshipped from ‘house to house’.

    You quoted:

    “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.”
    Eph 4:11-12 (NLT)

    First point:

    The church (singular) is the body of Christ. This is not a religious meeting but refers to the ‘called out ones’. The gifts given are to HIS PEOPLE not to his people who go to religious meetings called ‘the church’. Christ has only ONE body and this is not the weekly religious club.

    ‘His work’ is NOT a reference to the weekly religious programs done in a building called ‘church’ which is NOT his Ekklesia.

    I suspect you read this verse and see this:

    “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the Sunday club: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the Sunday club, the body of Christ.”
    Eph 4:11-12 (NLT)

    The Sunday club is not ‘the church’ Jesus is adding to.

    Jesus is not building Hillsong, Lakewood or Bethel.

    These having nothing to do with the spiritual house God is building which is made of born again set apart individuals who are members of his Body.

    We have been deceived into thinking Jesus is building meetings.

    He is not.

    Like

  5. Try visualise believers meeting in a house.

    They share stories, sing songs, pray together and discuss the Cross and break bread. This is the early church. They did not have the NT back then but they had prophets and ‘words of knowledge’. 1 Corinthians tells us their meetings were messy.
    We are told to have order when we meet. Order does not mean “1 hour sermon buy a religious guy”.

    How I apply it all looks like this:

    As believers we open up our lives to other believers. We are family in Christ. God gives gifts as HE wills to do His work (as you quoted). We don’t need programs. We need to open our lives to others. Fellowship in our homes. Elders are simply older believers who CARE for ‘youngers’ (😂).

    Just because the English translators used ‘Pastors’ doesn’t mean we have to go doling out titles to men when Jesus said not to behave this way.

    Bible translators aren’t trustworthy. If the enemy wants to mess up the people of God you can bet his best method for doing so is going to be fiddling with the Scriptures.

    Bedtime.

    Love you 😘

    Like

  6. Avid Reader

    You write @ JANUARY 24, 2017 @ 1:39 PM…

    “…you’ve stated ”your position”
    that Jesus is ”the only pastor”
    therefore there are ”NO other pastors,”
    ”called by God.”

    If that’s not what you’re saying—please clarify.”
    xxxxxxxx

    ““According to ”*your words,**
    it sounds like you’re saying that
    the ministry gifts (i.e. pastor, teacher, evangelist) don’t exist.”

    “Please clarify if that’s what you actually meant.”
    xxxxxxxxxx

    Well – To ”clarify” – That’s NOT ”MY position.”
    Those are NOT ”My words.” 🙂

    I guess I’m NOT explaining myself very well… 🙂

    I NEVER wrote, that Jesus is, ”the only pastor.”

    I usually try to say… What I can find in scripture…

    In the Bible – Do you know ”WHO,” called them self…

    ”The “ONE” Shepherd?”
    ”The “ONE” Teacher?”
    ”The “ONE” Leader?“

    🙂 🙂 🙂
    xxxxxxxxxx

    In the Bible – Do you know ”WHO,” taught ”His Disciples?”
    NOT to call themselves?

    ”Teacher?”
    ”Leader?“

    🙂 🙂 🙂
    xxxxxxxxxx

    Hmmm? ”called by God.”???

    Please – Can you Name one of ”His Disciples” – From The Bible…
    Who was ”called by God?” to be a ”Titled” ”pastor? leader?”
    Who was ”called by God?” to have ”the ministry Gift of pastor?”
    Who was ”called by God?” to become a…
    ”Paid, Professional, Pastor, in a Pulpit, Preaching, to People in Pews?”
    xxxxxxxxx

    If being one of ”His Disciples” is important? – To you?
    Shouldn’t WE, His Sheep, His Kings and Priests, His Ekklesia…
    Look, at least a little, like one of ”His Disciples” In the Bible?

    If someone ”Today” calls them self? or has the ”Title” pastor? leader?

    Are they one of ”His Disciples?” 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Like

  7. If people need a ‘holy man’ to give them warm and fuzzies then they don’t want Jesus Christ. We have all drunk the kool aid.

    Or we are human. And like the connection of other humans?

    Also, “wherever two or three are gathered in my name, I am there with them”. So there is a biblical reason to want someone there. It doesn’t have to be a pastor (or elder, or whatever the preferred term is) but I think you are ignoring that people might want that. There is nothing WRONG with that. That’s what I am saying.

    Like

  8. Lea,

    That’s a great point.

    On that same thought, part of why we need that human connection is that we can all learn from each other.

    Like

  9. Avid Reader

    You write @ JANUARY 25, 2017 @ 8:34 AM…
    “That’s the thing—
    if there’s a Biblical list of qualifications for church leadership—
    then there must be some sort of church leadership.
    Otherwise, why would there be a list of qualifications?”
    xxxxxxxxxx

    Well, in the Bible, there is NO…
    “Biblical list of qualifications for church leadership”

    ”Church Leadership” is NOT mentioned in 1 Tim 3, and Titus.
    ”Church Leadership” is NOT mentioned in the Bible…

    Jesus taught ”His Disciples” NOT to be called ”Leaders.”
    For there is ”ONE” Leader – Jesus. Mat 23:10 NASB

    In the Bible, NOT one of ”His Disciples” called them self ”leader.”
    Or church leader. Or Spiritual leader. Or christian leader.

    In the Bible, ”His Disciples” all called themselves ”Servants”
    xxxxxxxxxx

    Hmmm? Good question…
    “why would there be a list of qualifications?”

    I have some possible answers… 🙂

    Like

  10. Avid Reader

    Hmmm? “why would there be a list of qualifications?”

    You ask a reasonable question. It is one I’ve asked often myself trying to figure this thing out. Why would Paul recognize elder/overseers and direct Timothy and Titus to do the same “IF” there was NO one eligible to be an elder/overseer?

    Well, Ask different questions get different answers…
    Have you noticed, in Titus, that Paul leaves Titus “a way out.”
    ”A way” where Titus does NOT have to ordain anyone…
    As an elder/overseer “IF” they do NOT qualify.

    Titus 1:5-8 KJV
    5 …ordain elders in every city…
    6 If any be BLAMELESS, the husband of one wife,
    having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
    7 For a bishop “Must Be” BLAMELESS,
    as the steward of God; NOT self willed, NOT soon angry,
    NOT given to wine, NO striker, NOT given to filthy lucre;
    8 a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober,
    JUST, HOLY, temperate;

    Have noticed this…
    In Titus 1:5, Paul tells Titus, …ordain elders in every city
    BUT – In verse 6, Paul “Introduces a Condition”
    “Before” Titus ordains anyone – by saying…

    5… and ordain elders in every city…
    6 – ”IF” any “be blameless.”

    This is a very large, little, word: ”IF.”
    This ”IF” is found many times in scripture. Yes?

    Gen 18:26, Gen 18:28, Gen 18:30, Psalm 66:18, Psalm 130:3, Isa 1:19, Isa 1:20, Jer 18:8, Jer 18:10, Jer 22:5, Eze 3:19, Eze 18:21, Eze 33:9, Eze 33:13, John 5:31, John 8:31, John 8:54, John 12:26, etc., etc,…

    This “IF” in Titus sounds like “IF” someone is NOT BLAMELESS, JUST, HOLY, then do NOT ordain them. Because, In verse 7, Paul explains why he “Introduces this Conditional””IF.”

    7 – For a bishop “must be” ”BLAMELESS.”

    Paul seems serious about this qualification.
    Using ”BLAMELESS,” twice in Titus, and once in 1 Tim 3.

    Titus 1:5… and ordain elders…
    Titus 1:6 ”IF” any be ”BLAMELESS…”
    Titus 1:7 For a bishop ”must be” ”BLAMELESS…”
    Titus 1:8 …JUST, HOLY,

    I had to admit -** I did NOT Qualify…**
    And, I did NOT know one pastor/elder/overseer who Qualified.

    What should a pastor/elder/overseer ”DO?”
    When they realize – They do NOT Qualify?
    xxxxxxxxx

    In the next comment – I’ll continue to answer your question.
    And go over some of my understandings ”Today,” of…
    **Why Paul, gave so many, 17+, very tough Qualifications. **

    Hmmm? “why would there be a list of qualifications?”

    Like

  11. It is very weird but ever since I left the institutions my connection with people is on a totally different level. Not one experienced in the institutions where connections tend to be more planned out and now feel a bit clinical.

    One of the things that I keep coming across is the idea from other Christians that not being in an institution is bad. For example, they often ask if I think it is a sin to go to church or if I expect church to be “perfect”. Hmm. Why ask that right away simply because someone is no longer involved. People in the institutions tend to be very defensive unless they are aware of what is happening in Christendom and are open minded. I think it goes with identifying with a tribe and feeling the need to defend choices. I have absolutely NO problem with people who go attend church. But they seem to feel the need to get you into them. As if that is ONLY place where one is saved and fed. I think both sides should live and let live on this issue. I am always willing to discuss how these issues relate to scripture because I find all that very interesting. It has been a sort of quest that ends up with no definitive answers on every issue relating to polity and functions within the Body. I think it was quite messy in the 1st Century and they were trying to find their way.

    I have been on both sides of this. My most shameful side is when I was actively marketing/consulting in the church growth movement. The whole focus is nickels and noses. Getting the bodies and money in. I am well aware of just how corrupt so much of it is to my utter shame. I do know how the money flow works quite well, though. With a generation of millennials, who don’t buy into the tithe system, they found that people give when they are there. So the need for lots of activities. Before that, the whole marketing world of the “unchurched” strategy was born back in the 80’s or so. Megas were filled with Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, etc. The mainlines were dying and the megas marketed church the way you want it. A sort of one stop shopping for young families. We are seeing that trend start to reverse a bit.

    The “unchurched” movement has morphed into “be a member of a local church or you are in sin” movement.

    None of this means there are no venues where many good things are going on with community services. My sister, I mentioned earlier. was later involved with a church here in a bad area that offered everything from ESL, Job Training, Homeless programs, etc. It was a dying old SBC church. As they worked to serve the poor community of mainly illegals as they were fighting off takeover attempts by SBTS students/grads who were convinced that church did not know “the true Gospel”.

    I guess I am old school enough that when I do visit a church, I feel obligated to throw money in the plate. After all, I am using their facilities where electric bills have to be paid, too. It is a weird feeling. Almost like pay to play. But that is just my personal hang up from my own experience. But church is voluntary and I think people have to make their own choices.

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  12. Avid Reader

    Hmmm? “why would there be a list of qualifications?”

    Hmmm? How about this question?

    Why would someone, who calls themself, pastor/elder/overseer…
    Take a ”Title/Position” they do NOT Qualify for?

    Could the list of qualifications in 1 Tim 3, and Titus, be…

    ”A Test” of someone’s “Integrity?”

    God does test and prove “His People” A Lot in the scriptures. Yes?
    Deut 8:2 NKJV, Gen 22:1 NKJV, Psalm 66:10-12 NKJV, Psalm 26:2 NKJV. etc.

    Why would someone assume the role of pastor/elder/overseer…
    And say they are a pastor/elder/overseer…
    If they know they do NOT qualify to be a pastor/elder/overseer?”

    Wouldn’t that be a lack of “Integrity?”

    What would you call a medical Doctor, who said they were a Doctor..
    And they knew they did NOT qualify to be a medical Doctor?

    What would you call a Lawyer, who said they were a Lawyer…
    And they knew they did NOT qualify to be a Lawyer?

    Would you recommend a Doctor, or a Lawyer, to a friend?
    If you knew they did NOT qualify to be a Doctor or a Lawyer?

    Or, would you warn your friend? – They do NOT qualify?

    Would you take the time to warn the Doctor? The Lawyer?
    That you know – They do NOT qualify?

    Wouldn’t it be dangerous and expensive to trust and depend on…
    A Doctor, or a Lawyer who does NOT qualify?

    In my experience…
    It is dangerous and expensive to trust and depend on
    pastor/elder/overseers who do NOT qualify.

    Would you take the time to warn the pastor/elder/overseer?
    That you know – They do NOT qualify?

    Maybe that’s why “The Religious System” of today…
    Is in such a mess, lots of abuse, and folks are leaving in droves…
    pastor/elder/overseers – who do NOT qualify.
    And, NO one to tell them. NO one willing to say – You do NOT qualify.

    The Bible warns us, a lot – About False apostles, many False prophets,
    False teachers, False Christ’s’, False anointed one’s, etc..

    To trust No man. To not trust in princes. Let no man deceive you.
    And The list goes on…

    And lot’s of scriptures about trusting and following Jesus.

    What should a pastor/elder/overseer “DO.”
    “If” they “DO NOT Qualify?”
    xxxxxxxx

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    THEIR shepherds have caused them to go astray,

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as sheep going astray;
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  13. Lydia-I think it was quite messy in the 1st Century and they were trying to find their way.

    It does seem so. Which is why I don’t think any particular thing they were doing is necessarily right for us. Some things, sure. But just because they did a house church in Corinth doesn’t that’s the ‘one true way’. There are lots of ways. I think we should be flexible.

    I guess I am old school enough that when I do visit a church, I feel obligated to throw money in the plate. After all, I am using their facilities where electric bills have to be paid, too. It is a weird feeling. Almost like pay to play

    It makes sense to me. If you don’t believe in ‘tithing’, then the alternates are giving no money, giving money to charitable orgs, or giving to church to the level you think is appropriate, however you come to that decision. Because if you go, you are hopefully getting something out of it. The music, the preaching, the community…whatever it is. It makes sense to support that. I don’t think of it as pay to play, unless there is a push to make you give. I like that (most) churches are open to all…they don’t charge a cover. Maybe it is somewhat transactional but I’m not sure that’s wrong.

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  14. “But just because they did a house church in Corinth doesn’t that’s the ‘one true way’.”

    I don’t have any personal experience with this but some have written about their horrible experiences in a house church movement that was based on shepherding movement.

    The key for me in all this is being very careful not to put people on pedestals in any way shape or form due to titles, positions,. etc. . We often fool ourselves that we aren’t. I saw this all the time in the mega movement and in the Neo Cal movement. the celeb on stage was a great guy, humble, personable. People felt like they knew them. But they didn’t. (They did not deal with him except when he was “on”) People are very inclined to pay deference to a pastor in so many ways and even refer to it as “his church”. Its funny how language is used and we don’t even pick up on it until we have a reason to. I used to wonder about this when reading 1 Corinthians 12 and how we so often miss it. At least I did.

    ” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

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  15. Lydia00

    You described exactly what my experience has been in the last 9 years or so, having not found a church I believe the Lord would have me attend. ” no perfect church, and if you attend it won’t be perfect”.. Kind of thing..

    When I meet someone from my old mega church, the first thing they ask is not ” what happened to you, why did you leave”, but ” what church are you going to?”And I used to say ” I’m not”‘ and that would usually lead to ” you’re in disobedience to… “Do not forsake the fellowship with other believers”
    Most of these folks..I never even really knew them. Just casual acquaintances who had no idea why we left ( didn’t bother to ask), and obviously didn’t care, yet they believed they were speaking for God in our lives.
    Then I began to ask them , ” how long did God take Moses ALONE in the desert to minister to him and train Him up to know Him and His will for the people”.. That began to shut them up!
    I used to think maybe they meant well, but then realized they were trained by the CC … Just parroting what they have heard over and over in sermons by the now fallen pastor…
    I believe now it’s as if they are pronouncing a curse on you by saying ” Don’t stay out of church, the devil will make your life miserable”!

    I too put $ In the plate when I visit churches.
    But if I see Malachi tithing verses on the screen I don’t! 🙂

    I don’tthink anyone else has any right to tell you what you should do. They don’t know your walk, what you went through as far as spiritual abuse at the church, even doctrinal issues involved in why you may have left, etc,.or your relationship with the Lord and what He may be doing in his life..or even how badly you DO want to find a place of fellowsip..And they really could care less about you. It’s really just a brainwashed response.

    We all know fellowship with other believers biblically could be family.
    So what does the bible really say about that? Here we go now on divisions on interpretation.

    Which brings me to the position on why I believe it affects families as a whole when we suffer spiritual about by a narcissistic Pastor.
    I think the Pastors have done disservice to our spiritual position with the Lord, early on in our walk, by not training fathers to be the spiritual leaders of their homes, and understanding and supporting their role of leading study of the Word with their families. Many want you to rely on the buildings and the ” programs”.. Connection with the building and not a deep, personal relationship with the Lord through individual study of His Word. that sets it up for the Pastor having control over the family and disrupting the family unit, especially when that Pastor falls. You rush to church dragging your kids for Wednesday night to have a youth teacher having total control over your kids ( even Sunday’s)… Having no idea what their position is..anywY you get the drift..
    The fathers need to pray with the family, read the word with them, be the true prayer partner if their wivesm etc etc.
    That’s not happening ..I’ve spoken to many women about this.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Then I began to ask them , ” how long did God take Moses ALONE in the desert to minister to him and train Him up to know Him and His will for the people”.. That began to shut them up!

    Ha! I like that response.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. “Then I began to ask them , ” how long did God take Moses ALONE in the desert to minister to him and train Him up to know Him and His will for the people”.. That began to shut them up!”

    I may have to steal that! It made me think of Paul after escaping from his first evangelistic debacle. He went to Tarsus. Some scholars think as much as 14 years passed before Barnabas went to fetch him for help!

    Like

  18. LydiaOO
    You can use it lol!
    Being alone for extended periods of time ith The Lord is relly important to grow us.and very painful but necessary. I was so involved in ministries and volunteering that it becomes a distraction.

    THOT

    My husband was jealous of my admiration and awe of the Pastor ( before I saw the truth that is).
    Demonic activity…a lot to say about that. I had someone ask a rabbi if it was OK if I attended A six week study on the NT and its application ( or not I suspect) to Jews today.( a womens study at a nearby synagogue. A christian lady who knew I was a believer who works there told me bout it. I was all set to go, and I slipped and fell at home on wet tile..and fractured my wrist badly..surgery yesterday..pins and plates… The study started yesterday. I know God is in control but I still wonder ..as a saved Jewish girl I so looked forward to hiw The Lord was going to use me..
    Anyway I’m on too much pain mess to type with on hand…
    A nice discussion…I’m sure many of us such as myself who never set foot in a church or knew Jesus , became ” hooked” on church the building .
    I’m just now understanding the sufferings, trials and isolation the walk really entails.

    Like

  19. Hannah,

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re hurting from that slip and fall. That sounds totally awful. Hope you feel better.

    Amos,

    Right now the real world is still pulling me away from the keyboard but I’m thinking long and hard about what you said and will respond as soon as possible.

    Like

  20. Goodness that’s terrible Hannah. Sorry to read that. Saw ‘wet tile’ and can only imagine. I slipped on our floor recently and scored an impressive rainbow knee. Might have sworn. Looking to the Cross for that one ☝🏿

    Accidents suck.

    That meeting would have been interesting (and potentially loud).

    THOT, your posts make me smile as I wonder if you talk like you write. It’s great and I enjoy what you share. God is good.

    This morning I met a grieved believer whose ‘church’ is being taken over by laser light show Hillsong wannabe false worship man children.

    Horrible stuff.

    A few are staying for the younger ones who love God. Many of the mature believers are leaving.

    It’s so depressing to hear how divisive this music nonsense is. I’m no old and crusty “hymns only” person but the slope is long and slippery from singing the Psalms to a smoke machine spectacular.

    Man o man.

    No wonder the church has left the building.

    No one can hear Jesus through the music and the Par star.

    Like

  21. “was all set to go, and I slipped and fell at home on wet tile..and fractured my wrist badly..surgery yesterday..pins and plates… ”

    Yikes! That is a serious fracture. All the best to your healing.

    Like

  22. I’m no old and crusty “hymns only” person

    I am! I have only rarely heard any modern church music that comes close to a proper hymn.

    Like

  23. Hannah: SO SORRY, OUCH (praying for healing/restoration)! 3 things come to mind; because been there done that. Learned this the hard way and very expensive lesson and yes God/Jesus/Holy Spirit speaks to us=BIBLE FOR TODAY! Went to out of State Conference, awful and altercation happen got annihilated by someone and I was ask the Lord WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT and the response was ‘you didn’t ask if you could attend”; oh, I didn’t know was supposed to! At the time, got “no more books, tapes, conferences” but just the Bible.

    I’m sorry to say this, my former church life and life outside was total hell and when I changed churches the Warfare subsided, every area was UNREAL; how survived it, by the GRACE of God. I sat under a Godly man who fasted/prayed and he saw it: Example: Have a friend whose life is warfare from every side and I told her I would re-think your church; something must be wrong in the whole body of the fish stinks from the head.
    1. to be there and warfare prevented.
    2. NOT to be there (ask, inquire)
    3. TO INQUIRE of the Lord if you could attend and no means no.

    I’M sorry; took late in life to learn to inquire of the Lord whether to be or go somewhere (I’d give you all the Biblical Examples of, had to do that study=research). Not long ago, was told to go to Michigan (particular place), obeyed=a lot came out of that (could write a book, SAD to say, haven’t always obeyed). I’M NOTHING SPECIAL, I pray for divine appointments and Lord to order my day (have had some mind-blowing ones)*. Big one for me, is always would sit in back of the church for some reason Usher’s would find an excuse to move me that was very indicative of something wrong in the church. My friends will tell you this is true, they’ve seen this so many times=funny. I would get asked to leave the church and I didn’t even say anything. My one friend is always going “you just walked in the door, you didn’t say anything”.

    SALTY: Yes; that’s how it is, I’m not grammatically correct I have a learning disability. I shared the journey with David Wilkerson who made a commitment to read everything sent him because I was asking him for years to deal with church issues at the time and some horrific items that were going in like what was covered in “Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian and Dumbing Down Our Kids by Charles Sykes.

    Wished could meet people on this blog. *two perspectives, I don’t want to waste what little time I have on planet Earth (from one who worked in death/dying industry and understand this is NOT home; that would include reading a book, watching some inane, inept item on “electric toilet, plug in drug”=T.V.). Just read a book “That’s No Problem for the Lord by Jerry Leonard”, that’s how my life has been also and it was encouraging; my friends have similar experiences. Have book offers also. I’m stupid enough to believe the Bible and everything it says!

    Like

  24. THOT, there’s a real wisdom and sincerity that comes through your comments. I too wish I could fellowship with many I ‘meet’ here. Some genuine souls. I too only just came to realise how short our time is on earth and that yes, we are pilgrims and strangers with a task.

    If the bible is true, we’ve got the Treasure.

    What a responsibility.

    We can live like Kings or we can, like our Saviour, empty ourselves and hope it makes a difference.

    I think love is key.

    “Love builds up”.

    The Lord has his building of stones.

    Let’s him help add to his temple by loving those outside the camp in such a way that they cannot deny our God.

    Like

  25. THOT

    Yup – Me Too – I also had to learn “The Hard Way.

    “Learned this the hard way and very expensive lesson
    and yes God/Jesus/Holy Spirit speaks to us=BIBLE FOR TODAY!
    Went to out of State Conference, awful and altercation happen
    got annihilated by someone and I was ask the Lord
    WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT and the response was
    ‘you didn’t ask if you could attend”;
    oh, I didn’t know was supposed to!
    At the time, got “no more books, tapes, conferences”
    but just the Bible.

    I would add…

    but just the Bible. and…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    John 6:45
    It is written in the prophets, And they shall be ALL taught of God.

    John 14:26
    But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost,
    whom the Father will send in my name,
    he shall teach you ALL things…

    Deuteronomy 4:36
    Out of heaven he made thee to hear His voice,
    that He might instruct thee:

    Psalms 32:8
    I will instruct thee and teach thee
    in the way which thou shalt go:
    I will guide thee with mine eye.

    1 John 2:26-27
    These things have I written unto you
    concerning them that seduce you.
    27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you,
    and ye need NOT that any man teach you:
    but as the same anointing
    teacheth you of ALL things, and is TRUTH…
    xxxxxxxxxx

    It does take a step of faith to believe and trust…
    That Jesus, Holy Spirit, Father…
    “can speak to you” and “teach you” “ALL” truth.

    Like

  26. Hmmm? Pastors?

    Jeremiah 22:22 KJV
    ”The *wind shall eat up ALL “Thy Pastors,”

    *wind = ruwach = breath, mind, spirit.)

    xxxxxxxxxx

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    THEIR shepherds have caused them to go astray,

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as sheep going astray;
    BUT are now returned to
    the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  27. THOt

    On some heavy duty painkillers . Will get to those links when my mind is more clear.
    On shepherds…many thoughts.. Priesthood..during Jesus time.. Pharisees became ” traditions” teachers as the Talmud was already in effect and the religious leaders were already leading people astray… I don’t see Paul talking about Shepherds the way Jesus was. He sheep are the lost tribes of Israel. Gospel writers thought kingdom on earth will be during their life…
    Have recently come to a better understanding of the gospels vs the epistles.
    All in the context of the kingdom ( millennium- Jews future) vs age of grace- now (Paul)
    Anyway, Jesus knew the people of His time had false shepherds who were shutting out the kingdom of heaven for them. It was never about rules and regulations. John was there to let them know their curcumcision was not enough. They needed to repent and be washed as they understood the priests needed this to enter the holiest place where God dwells.
    We are baptized into Christ. No need for priest or even Pastor to give us rules or conditions.
    We enter by faith. Some don’t like the simplicity of that..

    Like

  28. I just went on that link and don’t see that article you wanted me to read. Perhaps you can just send the link for that one. Ps got wilkersons newsletters for many years. Was going to get involved with teen challenge last week to teach the girls crafts when this happened to my hand. Two major places I was going to go… Just never know why stuff happens..

    Like

  29. Hannah: http://www.workplacebullying.org/recommended-books/. (read some reviews on amazon, they were funny and great and sobering). Church/leadership doesn’t teach SUFFERING, SUFFERING, SUFFERING they’re too busy teaching the prosperity gospel for their gain and getting people chasing like pot of gold, gambling mentality; pyramid scheme; get rich quick mentality scheme=sad.
    Art Katz/L. Ravenhill put suffering; truth into perspective.
    Salty/Amos Love: Note your addressing someone what a true church is and should look like; yet that person doesn’t want to see and research truth still brainwashed by doctrine/man’s agenda (churches was in homes). Note that you wrote about Hillsong (there’s an over 30-40 year horrific child pedophile by Brian Houston regarding his Father; Google Don Elley website). Lakewood, Bethel do your own research. Google are they cults churches, are they satanist pastors, scandal, people’s negative feedback, controversial articles, abused by any name of church and or pastor=research. Like on Mike Bickle’s regime/ihoprayer fiasco I’ve NEVER seen so many Blogs and comments removed exposing corruption makes you wonder the evil power behind that doesn’t want truth out there.

    Like

  30. Don Elley is a good guy THOT. He’s no slouch and has put his own reputation on the line by writing what he does.

    Jesus warned his disciples about:

    Professors who don’t walk the talk
    False teachers and prophets who proclaim Him
    The religious who love to be seen as Teachers

    I’m so glad to be out of the institutions.

    Free to meet with believers in my home any time of the week and trust that the Giver of gifts is able to meet our needs in that area without resorting to employing self titled men who presume to be gifted in areas they usually are not.

    The seminaries don’t dole out gifts.

    It is God.

    Peter never went to Bible College.

    He spent time with the Lord.

    Like

  31. Salty: Agree 100%. Yes, Don Elley is fighting that good fight at the risk of what he went through; glad that he is doing what he is doing like Julie-Anne and so many others also that post here. SO GLAD TO BE OUT OF THOSE INSTITUTIONS ALSO! SO VERY HAPPY=FREEDOM!

    Like

  32. I might have missed it up the thread in the comments, in case anyone mentioned it, but I will do so again: The appellate courts in the United States have ruled that going to a religious group is voluntary and that people are free to leave at any time.
    These By-Laws and Membership Covenants that authoritarian churches are using are unconstitutional, violating the federal and state constitutions.

    If you are trying to get out of one of these churches:
    1. send them a certified return receipt letter and resign, no details.
    2. if they bother you call the police and an attorney
    3. have an attorney send the church a ‘cease and desist letter’.
    4. if that doesn’t work, sue the church and its leaders.

    Like

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