Very much a question of ethics

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Very much a question of ethics

Postby Petros » Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:04 pm

It is not imminent, but ever since the last church died on us - before they got around to expelling us - we have been keeping eyes and prayer ears open in case a door is opened.

Lately, the probability has increased - nothing like imminent, but more possible.

And the question rises:

Given the near certainty that one or both will hold positions not quite in tune with those of leadership or congregation at the hypothetical new place, how much due diligence and disclosure is right?

Let us say for a moment, the East Side Apostolic Brethren have among their positions:

a. Dispensationalism
b. Nonnegotiable election
c. No salvation wtihout glossolalia

I know, it is an unlikely combo - intentionally so.

We strongly disagree on all three points. The easy solution - already done it a time or two - we simply opt not to join. If overall we like the preaching and fellowship, we may attend, but we will not sign on. I do not have to agree on tongues to listen to a really good sermon on Jonah's vine.

But if their positions include [again only samples and hypothetical]:

d. No marriage after divorce
e. total abstention from alcohol [they do communion with grape Koolaid because grape juice could ferment]
f. no nudity outside bathroom and marriage bed

We are both remarried. We both consume a few glasses of wine a month, and one may have beer. I am very much for making the most of what opportunities I get for nudity.

If on the whole we feel strongly that we should enter this fellowship as members, are we obligated

a. To cease all behaviors frowned upon by the church
or
b. To reveal these potential problem areas at the time we apply to join
or c. May we legitimately just keep quiet about it all?

The hypothetical fourth option - saying we believe this and do not do that - is NOT an option for us [if that needed to be said].
The truth, the stark naked truth, the truth without so much as a loincloth on, should surely be the investigator's sole aim - Basil Chamberlain
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Re: Very much a question of ethics

Postby nakedpreacher » Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:15 pm

As you stated earlier, lying is not an option, therefore we must not agree with those positions to which we are opposed. We are to confess our sin to our brothers and sisters, however those things which are a matter of conscience and personal freedom in Christ (i.e. the drinking of alcohol may in fact lead a weaker brother/sister to sin) we need not confess, since to us they are not sin. I am not clear on the question of social nudity since in my experience it led to freedom from sin, although as humans we have a knack turning any God given gift into sin (alcoholism, gluttony, perversion even within marriage) so it could conceivably lead a weaker brother/sister to sin. I think that you are certainly free to attend such a church, though I question why you would want to do so, but when it comes to signing an agreement with that church (membership) that you may not gloss over such points. This seems to me to be like Paul signing on with the Judaisers in Gallatia. I am facing the same issue in how to approach my new pastor without making it seem to him that I am coming to him to confess my sin. I just feel that as a member he should know my beliefs on the matter.
If, when we judged others, our real motive was to destroy evil; we should look for evil where it is certain to be found, and that is in our own hearts. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
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Re: Very much a question of ethics

Postby jochanaan » Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:39 pm

If those points of difference will be problems, I think iit's better to know before you get heavily involved. That way no one can say you joined under a false profession.
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Re: Very much a question of ethics

Postby Petros » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:39 pm

At present, this is only a puff of vapor and a shadow more real than it has been for years. Bodies we have joined in the past were not too up-tight doctrinally - tasting good more important than good taste - and not inclined to fall down writhing if a winebottle is spotted in our pantry. In such places, the leadership has not been to particular; one did express strong personal views on appropriate music [you would likely pass muster, jochanaan - not a value judgment of mine] - but not as if doctrine. And - for all we might wish it - unless the church is next dor to Mazo Beach there is just not enough naturism around for most pastors to take a break from the ten week series on tithing to thundef against it.

If the most likely current candidate happened, I feel fairly safe. Would like to know Pastor Bob's position on social nudity, though.

Frankly, I worry less about our foibles getting out in this case than I did at the U - that was my job. If I am kicked out of the Hosanna Tabernacle, the Pauline Christian Fellowship waits to betried.
The truth, the stark naked truth, the truth without so much as a loincloth on, should surely be the investigator's sole aim - Basil Chamberlain
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Re: Very much a question of ethics

Postby New_Adventurer » Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:33 pm

Not wishing to sound flippant about such an important discussion, but it looks like a good fight coming. Can I sell popcorn to the other spectators?

On the serious side, full disclosure is not a problem for me. If they object it is their loss, not yours. When (if) they object they ought to be able to backup their objections with proper references to Scripture. If challenged, most rigid people and beliefs soon crumble.
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Re: Very much a question of ethics

Postby Petros » Sun Feb 07, 2016 2:17 am

No fighting likely, truly - one church we had a fight, but over other things altogether - the other one where there was a fight we were not involved.
The truth, the stark naked truth, the truth without so much as a loincloth on, should surely be the investigator's sole aim - Basil Chamberlain
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Re: Very much a question of ethics

Postby Bare_Truth » Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:40 am

nakedpreacher wrote:...................., but when it comes to signing an agreement with that church (membership) that you may not gloss over such points. .................

Now there is a concept which is utterly foreign to me. Never with respect to any religious affiliation with any congregation was I ever asked to make any written commitment. The spoken word was the most I was ever asked to make and even then, as I remember, it was a commitment to follow Christ. If my word is not my bond in such matters, would they really want me? And if I am to sign such an agreement does it state any obligations of the congregation to me, and if not why would I want to sign?

I did however have the displeasure of one church which asked people to fill out a membership card (fairly routine: name, address, phone, etc.) only to subsequently find that when issues came up that actually on the incorporation documents only the chief pastor and his board of directors, which he could chose or elliminate, were legally "members" of the church. Effectively everyone else in the pew was just a "client". Run, do not walk to the nearest exit! :roll: .

Fortunately I was not in the direct line of fire on said issues and was able to depart somewhat more quietly. It was however distasteful after all the fine words on the matter, to find that I had no voice whatsoever except to make a plea to one or more of the high muckymucks which could be summarily rejected. It certainly puts a crimp in Mat 18:15.... and leaves the congregation with a direct route to turning into a cult, (with all the negative connotations of that word becoming operational).
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Re: Very much a question of ethics

Postby Petros » Mon Feb 08, 2016 3:34 pm

Right - I am NOT that happy with churches I have encountered, and other Christian orgs, that ask one to endorse a credal statement - usually with no way to ensure terms mean the same to both parties.

Nor do I care for orgs where only Glorious Leader or the Board get to speak without the sceptre being graciously extended. Too much of universities where at least in theory we were equal.
The truth, the stark naked truth, the truth without so much as a loincloth on, should surely be the investigator's sole aim - Basil Chamberlain
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Re: Very much a question of ethics

Postby nakedpreacher » Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:30 pm

What I was referring to was Petros' earlier statement...
Petros wrote:But if their positions include [again only samples and hypothetical]:

d. No marriage after divorce
e. total abstention from alcohol [they do communion with grape Koolaid because grape juice could ferment]
f. no nudity outside bathroom and marriage bed

We are both remarried. We both consume a few glasses of wine a month, and one may have beer. I am very much for making the most of what opportunities I get for nudity.

If on the whole we feel strongly that we should enter this fellowship as members, are we obligated

a. To cease all behaviors frowned upon by the church
or
b. To reveal these potential problem areas at the time we apply to join
or c. May we legitimately just keep quiet about it all?

The hypothetical fourth option - saying we believe this and do not do that - is NOT an option for us [if that needed to be said].

Assuming that these are explicitly stated as the positions of the church, one may not simply ignore these differences and apply for membership in the church without making points of disagreement clear and offering oneself for either acceptance or rejection of membership based upon whether the church is willing to accept you with these points of disagreement or reject you based upon them. Having been both (at different times) a pastor and a board member, the most important points in considering membership in my mind were, "Is this a person who follows Christ?", "Is this person divisive?". Most recently the church I have become a partner in (membership has privileges, partnership has responsibilities) asked, "Do you support the mission of this church? Do you agree not to gossip?" etc.
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If, when we judged others, our real motive was to destroy evil; we should look for evil where it is certain to be found, and that is in our own hearts. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
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Re: Very much a question of ethics

Postby jasenj1 » Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:10 pm

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members."
Groucho Marx

I think if the positions were in the church's constitution or statement of faith, I would need to line up very closely. If there were positions that the pastor said (e.g. anti-alcohol statements) I would probably tend to ignore them unless they really rubbed me the wrong way, they were preached very frequently, or it was made clear people who disagreed with those statements were not welcome.

For example:
a) Pastor says from the pulpit he doesn't drink alcohol and thinks it's best others don't, too.
b) Pastor preaches alcohol is a path to ruin and anyone who drinks it is a fool.
c) Pastor seems to take every opportunity to mention how bad alcohol is and how corrupt our nation is for allowing its consumption.

The first I would stay at if otherwise I found things sound. The second I would have to REALLY like to stay. The third I would leave ASAP.

Don't make something a problem unless its a problem.
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Re: Very much a question of ethics

Postby natman » Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:42 pm

You (they) lost me at "Dispensationalism". Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt and the hat. No thanks.

Surely there are many other churches to become a part of.
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Re: Very much a question of ethics

Postby Petros » Sat Feb 13, 2016 2:22 am

Here's the thing:

The Church of Corinth has a marvelous teaching / preaching pastor - but all the current members are first cousins and the choir is incredibly bad.

The Church in Ephesus has a great fellowship and an incredible healing ministry, but the pastor is a jerk and believes exactly 144 million will be raptured.

The Church of Galatia is comfortable and friendly, but they regularly march to the capitol to agitate for the right of any mammal to marry any other mammal.

In church hunting, you can find crisp, tasty apples, but nearly always you have to eat around a worm - the question becomes how many and which worms can you stand?

For us, dispensationalism is a deal breaker, yes.
The truth, the stark naked truth, the truth without so much as a loincloth on, should surely be the investigator's sole aim - Basil Chamberlain
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Re: Very much a question of ethics

Postby jochanaan » Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:32 pm

Petros wrote:...The Church of Corinth has a marvelous teaching / preaching pastor - but...the choir is incredibly bad.
Definitely a deal breaker for me, unless they allow me to take over the music ministry! :lol:
Petros wrote:The Church in Ephesus has a great fellowship and an incredible healing ministry, but the pastor is a jerk and believes exactly 144 million will be raptured.
Are you sure he says "million"?
Petros wrote:The Church of Galatia is comfortable and friendly, but they regularly march to the capitol to agitate for the right of any mammal to marry any other mammal.
Do they draw the line at birds, or reptiles? :lol:
Petros wrote:In church hunting, you can find crisp, tasty apples, but nearly always you have to eat around a worm - the question becomes how many and which worms can you stand?....
Well, some of them call us "worms." And of course, there's always the old joke about half a worm. :shock: :lol:
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Re: Very much a question of ethics

Postby natman » Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:03 pm

Petros wrote:In church hunting, you can find crisp, tasty apples, but nearly always you have to eat around a worm - the question becomes how many and which worms can you stand?


The ONLY worm I might even consider eating would be one that has been pickled in Mescal. Of course, if I ate that worm, I might be kicked out of the (Baptist) church we attend. (As I understand it, you can only get to the worm after drinking the entire bottle of Mescal.)

(PS: I am just kidding about getting kicked out of the church. We are "Baptist", but we are not THAT kind of "Baptists". :D )
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Re: Very much a question of ethics

Postby MoNatureMan » Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:27 pm

natman wrote:You (they) lost me at "Dispensationalism". Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt and the hat. No thanks.


You lost me on that.?? There are times of God dealing with people differently. All pointing the same way, but differently. Before Christ it was looking forward to the Redeamer, and now we rejoice in His glorious work. I am also sure you could break it down much more then that. And from what I understand these times would be considered dispensations.
What am I missing :?:

Another church to avoid is when pastor, wife, and brother are the board, she counts the money, and there is no financial statement.

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