Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What was the deciding factor(s) which made you leave your previous church?

12 comments:

Ignatius said...

I am not speaking of us reading the early church Fathers I am speaking of something that gave you the feeling, "something just isn't right here!"

Ignatius said...

The Eucharist is what drove me from the Pentecostal Church. I believed after reading the passages in Scripture the Body and BLood of Christ was available to us.

Also, the reason I left Lutheranism was I couldn't get beyond the doctrine of Sola Scriptura when I had beside my bed the 800 page book of Concord interpreting the Scriptures for me.

Adam Roe said...

A lack of understanding of what grace is and how it works was the reason I left evangelicalism for high church Lutheranism. I don't know if this is true of all evangelicals, but I was living as a Pelagian.

I left Lutheranism for a myriad of reasons, but perhaps the biggest reason is that I couldn't find the idea of an "invisible church" anywhere in the Scriptures or the early Church. That development was made of whole cloth during the Reformation. It just didn't exist prior to that.

Athanasios Boeker said...

For me, it was when I read the Bible. I listened to different "Bible Teachers" exegete what certain doctrinal passages meant. I could see all of their views as being plausable. I mean when R.C. Sproul talked about Romans 9 refering to Double Predestination, it made total sense. When I listened to Billy Graham or some other "Arminian" preacher talk about free-will and making a decision to follow Christ, it made sense to me as well. Or when I heard Scott Hahn say that Matt. 16's "Upon this Rock" refered to the Pope, that sounded correct as well. Or even when Jehovah's Witnesses talked about the Colossians passage refering to Christ as, "being the first born of all creation" and then they went on to say that it means that Christ was not truely God, that made perfect sense also.

So one Bible and a multitude of contradictory ways to understand it. The people that I mentioned above all call themselves "Bible believing christians?"

That done it for me. Something just was'nt right, the utter disfunctionalism of the belief in "Scripture Alone".

Athanasios

Ignatius said...

I would say the same with Adam and Athanasios.

I also realized how the Lutheran Church and most Protestant churches have two churches. One in heaven and one on earth. But coming to realize in the Scriptures there is only on body and Christ is not divided. Therefore, the Christians/Saints in heaven are still part of the body of Christ. I now see why we ask saints to pray for us and we pray fo the departed.

Also, the other churches today will speak of an "invisible" church but it is nowhere in the Scriptures.

Also, regarding Athanasios and Bible interpretation. I was the same way. I also read RC Sproul and came up with "predestination" and then I would listen to Hank Hanagraaf and he made a reasonable argument for "free will".

It was so confusing, I was beginning to think Jesus left us a Bible that no one could interpret and we were just left on our own to hopefull figure it out before we die.

Adam Roe said...

Excellent point, Athanasios. I banged my head against the infant baptism wall for three years using Scripture alone. It wasn't until reading the whole testimony of the Church that the issue was settled for me. I tried to convince myself as a Lutheran that I had reached my conclusions by Scripture alone, but the weight of The Church's testimony on many other issues eventually made me recognize that I'd built this elaborate historical version of "Scripture alone" that, as Ignatius often mentions, isn't really Scripture alone.

Adam

DEP said...

I left Pentecostalism spiritually when I was about twelve. For me the realization that something was not "right" came when I lied about speaking in tongues and no one questioned it if I "acted" the correct way. What followed was about ten years of sneaking around reading and studying other faiths in the hope no one would notice. When I was 22 I went to church with my wife. No one yelled, no one screamed and everything was done in order according to their form of the liturgy. I was hooked. Here it was Christ presented not as the Energizer Bunny but as a redeemer who cared for me. I was encouraged to ask questions and no question was off limits. As a person with a slight intellectual bent being around people who read and studied and asked questions was heaven on earth. I love my church. I could not say that about my former denomination, the Assemblies of God.

Athanasios Boeker said...

Dep,

Believe it or not, I had a similar experience when I, for a brief time, belonged to the Church of God (Cleveland Tn). That is what originally lead me back through Lutheranism.

Athanasios

Matthew said...

Since I left the Catholic Church for the Assemblies of God, my spirtual journey will probably be much different from everyone else.

I was a serious Catholic student. I took my confirmation very seriously (My confirmation name is Matthew). I didn't miss Sunday service. I made sure to go to church on special feast days. I read all the religious books put in front of me. I didn't read the Bible, which was never put in front of me, but that sort of thing was not encouraged much. I also noticed that my family did not seem to be to burdened about church service or following the tenets of the faith Monday through Saturday or Sunday for that matter. Much of the church seemed to be of the same mindset.

By the time I graduated from high school,I was completely disillusioned and vowed to never return to the church of my youth. Nearly, twenty-two years later, I have kept that vow.

However, I could never completely turn my back on the Lord. I went out and bought a Bible. I was so ignorant that I bought a King James version not knowing the Catholic version of the Bible was different.

Two things happened that brought me back to church worship. I took Western Civilization 1 and read the works of Martin Luther. I found out that I was a Protestant all along and did not know it. Second, I got married. My wife had grown up in the Pentecostal church and wanted me to go but never pushed me. After I got over the culture shock, I did enjoy the services.

We moved churches a couple of times until we began attending an Assemblies of God church by our house. At this church, I found my spiritual home. The Lord led me to be taught by our Pastor. I began daily Bible reading and began to live my faith daily.

My experience is very different from most of you because I gravitated towards what most of you left.

Ignatious tried to convert me to Orthodoxy for about 6 months because he did not want me to follow the path he had taken. I could not join for the following reasons. 1) Bishop celibacy is not scriptural. 2) How we are to worship is not spelled out in the Bible, so it cannot be said that the way Protestants worship is wrong. 3) Clergy as an interscessor between the laity and the Lord.

I do believe that the Orthodox church has changed very little from the early church. It also holds to Biblical norms that popular culture would love to destroy. The Orthodox church has a lot to be proud of and to recommend itself to believers. It's just not for this believer.

In Him,
Matthew

Adam Roe said...

MAtthew,

Thank you for commenting and providing insight. I won't try to convince you, but I offer a couple things to consider.

1) Bishop celibacy is not scriptural.

It's not anti-Scriptural, though. The more evangelical branches of Protestantism work from a "Command, Example, Necessary Inference (CENI)" hermeneutic which seeks to define Christianity through Scriptural negation. CENI is a relatively new hermeneutic that has its roots in American revivalism, which is my background (former Campbellite). Its premise is that "if it's not in the Bible, I don't believe it." The Orthodox teaching is that Christ gave us a Church and He continues to work and speak through that Church. The Church, therefore, has the authority of Christ and it exercises that authority on issues of necessity.

2) How we are to worship is not spelled out in the Bible, so it cannot be said that the way Protestants worship is wrong.

Have you ever noticed that the disciples didn't stop going to the temple to pray what we Orthodox refer to as The Canonical Hours? Read Acts 3:1. Peter and John were going to the temple to pray at three in the afternoon, a tradition that carried over from Judaism to Christianity. Truly, a continuance of liturgical worship is all over the New Testament. read Acts 2:42, Acts 5:42, Acts 18:7...

It's important to keep in mind that Christianity didn't spring forth from a vacuum. Worship for converts was understood in a Jewish context, which was very liturgical and looked an awfully lot like Orthodox worship. Indeed we see in the earliest Church that this liturgical Tradition was maintained and has been passed down to the present day. I can't emphasize this enough...contemporary evangelical worship is an entirely new thing that has absolutely no backing from any group of Christians prior to the 19th and 20th centuries.

And again, it's important to note that the "Command, Example, Necessary Inference" hermeneutic is unique to the more modern strains of revivalistic evangelicalism (Campbellism, Pentecostalism, etc...). Orthodox Christians seek continuity with what has always been. Because we don't believe The Church fell or needed reform, we aren't looking at Scripture and trying to put together a best guess on what worship looked like in the first century. We already know and we live it every week in the liturgy!

3) Clergy as an intercessor between the laity and the Lord.

Aren't we all intercessors for each other? I pray for my friends every day and I know they pray for me, too. Indeed, we're commanded to intercede for one another, priests included:

Jude 1:23 - snatch others from the fire and save them;

James 5:16 - Pray for one another, that you may be healed (saved)...

1 Cor 10:33 - For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

Adam

Adam Roe said...

Matthew,

I noticed on your profile that you practice martial arts. What do you practice? I've been thinking about taking something up with my sons.

Thanks,
Adam

Veronica Hughes said...

A good question would also be, "What brought you to the Orthodox Church?" I came into Orthodoxy thanks to my husband's conversion, the prayers of others and the grace of God. What a prodigal daughter I was! I was so far from anything Christian for so many years.

I reluctantly went into a Christian or Catholic churches for baptisms, weddings or funerals - even though I was raised Catholic. I left the Catholic Church in my late teens - disillusioned about God and the Church.

I spent years seeped in new age and Eastern religions searching for the inner peace I now experience in Eastern Orthodox services and traditions.

My eventual conversion was such a shock to me that I wrote my story and it is now a published book, The Pearl of Great Price, by Veronica Hughes.

There are many who are seeking and finding "The peace that passes all understanding" is a challenge. I have a website/blog about my book and spiritual journey to the Light of Christ and the Eastern Orthodox Church, thepearlofgreatpriceorthodox.com.

What a treasure we have in Orthodoxy! It is the pearl of great price worth selling everything we have to obtain.

Veronica Hughes