Oct 30, 2005

The Sunday School System

For some time now many Christians have been home-schooling their children, because they don't trust our increasingly secular educational institutions. Is it possible that our church Sunday School systems are even more dangerous to our children?

We send our highly impressionable children to a Sunday morning class and assume they are learning about God and all things Christian; yet it has been my experience to realize at a later time that what the teacher taught my children was not scriptural, but rather a mass indoctrination of that churches many traditional and narrow-minded viewpoints.

Sunday School teachers are often selected because they raised their hand when the elders were looking for prospective teachers, and not because they have even the remotest ability to teach. Too often the elders don't make it a point to attend these teachers classrooms occasionally to determine the teachers ability, and what is being taught. I taught for several years and not once did an elder attend my class to determine my ability to teach, or even what, or how, I taught the children....this is not good!

Sunday school classes if conducted properly, and supervised, can be a great source of spiritual learning for all of us, but classes promoting the wrong agenda can be outright dangerous. Our children are often bombarded week-after-week with a lethal dose of biased opinions that may color their thinking for many years. There are some great Sunday School teachers out there; I'm not talking about you!

Just as some parents are home-schooling their children because they don't trust our educational institutions, it may be time to home-school our children on Sunday mornings in lieu of risking their impressionable minds to a Sunday School teacher who is not qualified, or is sending the wrong message about our relationship to Jesus.

The Sunday School system should be something you don't have to fret with; something you can rely on to teach your children about Jesus; something that is monitored by the elders for its scriptural and ethical content. Perhaps we take it for granted that when our children are in Sunday School they are in good hands. Why not insure your children's spiritual health by checking these classes, talking to the teachers, and questioning the children about what they are being taught.

Oct 28, 2005

Voting One Into The Church (2)

Some commenting on my last post had never heard of voting one into the church, or voting one into the church by the Southern Baptist Church. I was hoping they were right and my experience was only an isolated event, but Google quickly made it apparent that this is a common practice among some churches.

A couple citations from churches requiring a vote for one to be accepted into their body:


"To be admitted into church membership, applicants shall be recommended by the elders for admission and accepted by vote of the members at any regular or special meeting of the members, and shall at that point relinquish their membership in other churches."


"A. Initial Membership Requirements - Any born again believer in the Lord Jesus, after being baptized by the scriptural mode of immersion, upon recommendation by the Advisory Council, may be received into the fellowship by a vote of the church at any regular church meeting. Any born again believer who has been immersed may, upon recommendation by the Advisory Council, be received by letter from another church of like faith and practice, or by confession of faith in Christ, by a vote of the church at a regular meeting."

Oct 23, 2005

Voting One Into The Church

There are churches (probably in your neighborhood) that reserve the right to vote for, or against, you becoming a member of the Lord's church.

Voting whether or not to accept your request for baptism into Brand X church is totally ridiculous! If you believe in Jesus, God forgives you, and Christ adds you to His church; who am I to vote to accept or reject your membership into His body? I discussed this voting travesty with a member of the Southern Baptist Church, and the person said that while this was a practice of their church, they had never barred a baptismal candidate from becoming a member of their church; yet they continue to presume the right to vote you IN or OUT.

Since no one but God can know the heart of a repentant sinner, how can we judge any persons worthiness to become a Christian based on our meager information about them, and then decide whether or not to accept their hand in fellowship? A person who may have been the worlds worse reprobate last week may have discussed his situation with the Lord and made drastic changes. How can any group of Christians be so presumptuous as to vote whether you enter the church, and ultimately your eternal destiny?

If any of us are in a church that rejects the misfits, the torn and tattered, the prostitutes, or any sinner that desires to be baptized and wants to be a part of the Lord's church, we need to seriously reexamine our Christian belief system.

Oct 18, 2005

When It's Right To "Forsake The Assembly"

When Sunday morning rolls around many Christians do all the necessary chores associated with making the "church assembly" on time. Some will be disappointed because they are missing their favorite NFL team, others a company picnic, etc., but how often do we attend services when we really shouldn't?
"not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Heb. 10:25, ESV)
When "forsaking the assembly" just might be appropriate:

When my neighbor is on the side of the road in the ditch (whether proverbial, or actually) and needing help; to ignore him and drive past in a mad rush to the "church building" would be wrong.

When my friend/neighbor is sick and needs my immediate attention. Leaving a person who is sick to fend for himself when he really needs my help is wrong, and does not reflect a Christ-like attitude.

When I have a contagious disease that might put my brothers and sisters (especially little children and the elderly) at risk.

If I only attend the Sunday morning assembly in order to improve my social, or business status among the members.

When I attend to show off my new duds, or to impress you with my new automobile. Pretty much in line with the previous reason.

When I attend with a divisive attitude, not caring about the unity of the church, but rather my own agenda, I harm the church and should stay home.

If I attend just to get a hand-out, or other financial support.

While a few of these reasons may not seem reasonable to some Christians, I have a hard time picturing Jesus on his way to the "church services" and ignoring a person in dire need stranded in a ditch. I'm even having a hard time picturing Jesus with the flu assembling with all the little children and elderly who may become infected because of His attendance.

Perhaps you can come up with other reasons that are scriptural, or just make good common sense why we should forsake the assembly. I'm not trying to finagle ways to get out of attending the Sunday morning services, but I know of people who have actually felt compelled to "go to church" when the Christian response should have been to help their neighbor at that exact time.

Personally I had rather face God for missing a "church assembly" than for missing an opportunity to serve my neighbor when they are in need; even if it happens to be on a Sunday morning!

Oct 12, 2005

Walking And Talking Jesus

Christians living exemplary lives in the midst of an unbelieving world is what motivates most people to accept Jesus. People who aren't Christians don't attend Sunday morning services; so unless we pattern our lives after Jesus and walk in His footsteps during the rest of the week, few will SEE any reason to alter their worldly lifestyles.

Waiting at the "church building" for sinners to come to their senses on Sunday morning certainly never worked in the past, want work today, and will not work in the future. There are several great programs now that take the gospel to the people in the streets, but I doubt these people will be comfortable attending "church" in many of our ostentatious buildings. Unless we plant a church in their community where they feel comfortable, our grandiose plans may just fail.

Until we are determined to sacrifice our personal lives (myself included) and walk with Jesus daily in the full presence of a watchful world--not as being perfect, but as loving God and our neighbors--I'm of the opinion the lost will remain lost.
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)
You may be walking in the light just fine, that's great; but for the rest of us who stagger, stumble, and fall time after time, we are being watched by unbelievers who wonder if the Christian life is what it's cracked up to be. If you can't tell the Christians from the sinners, one just has to wonder!

Oct 7, 2005

Beware; The Yoke Might Be On You

After reading David U's post on Sectarianism on his blog, Light and Salt; my memory was jogged regarding how the CoC I once attended refused to share anything with any "false" churches in their community sporting any name other than "Church of Christ" on their church signs. Their reasoning was based on 2 Cor. 6:14 (NEV)
"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?"
Unless you have spent some time with the legalistic branch of the CoC you may find it difficult to believe that generally this group will not pool their resources, or work hand-in-hand with the Baptists, Nazarenes, Methodists, or any other religious group, regardless of how desperate the situation may be in their community.

When a non-christian home was almost destroyed by fire, several different brands of churches in the small community banded together to help rebuild the home. The CoC in this town refused to join this band-of-churches because they believed it would unequally yoke them with unbelievers, and as a result they would be walking in darkness.

One rebel elder, and four or five of us "fellowshippers of darkness," decided to join the "apostate" churches and help rebuild the home. We worked side-by-side with Baptists, and a member of the Pentecost church until the job was finished, and enjoyed every minute of it.

While we were acting like carpenters, the verse quoted above was tossed into the conversation several times by our preacher, and several others, in an attempt to prove how wrong we were during our "ungodly" alliance with the unbelievers.

The CoC where I attended also refused to join the other churches in the community for an Easter observance, because we would be seen as unequally yoked with them, and give the impression that we were just another denomination.

Unfortunately, there are still ultra-legal churches (at least in CA) that subscribe to the same old illogical traditional interpretations of scripture that I was nurtured with many moons ago.

To repeat myself from an earlier post; "Old traditions never die; they just hang around forever."

Oct 3, 2005

Is My Brothers Ponytail Too Long

Dear Apostle Paul,

Would you elaborate on your "long hair" thoughts, and specify exactly how long a mans hair is when it disgraces him? We have a brother with a ponytail, is this acceptable, or do we wrestle him down and cut off the excess hair, or just disfellowship him?
"Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him," (1 Cor. 11:14 ESV)
I realize this verse, by itself, is somewhat out of context, but it never ceases to amaze me how we can take this verse and condemn a man for wearing his hair too long when we don't even know what "too long" means. There may be a simple answer for this, if so, it escapes me!

Since the Bible doesn't specify the length of the hair when it becomes disgraceful for him, how do we determine whether a mans hair is appropriate, or too long? Some questions needing answers before we judge John Doe with his ponytail as being disgraceful:

1. Just how long does the hair have to be before its disgraceful not to get a haircut?

2. Since the Bible doesn't mention a specific length as being "long hair," who is the Hair Judge who knows exactly what is too long, and what is acceptable?

3. We may all agree that a mans hair is too long, but how much too long? If he clips a foot off his floor-sweeping hair is he now acceptable, if not, where should the barber stop so that he is no longer disgraceful?

4. Our opinions differ as to what is "long hair," and what is acceptable to one person is completely out of whack with anothers view. Since we can't agree, who determines how to treat this long-haired disgraceful person?

Just some hairy thoughts!