Sunday, March 20, 2011

Is This False Teaching?




As many of you will know, about two years ago we were convicted that our family should begin to attend church.  So we began to attend my husbands childhood Catholic church.  After a few services and studying our Bibles we began to see that Catholicism is a perverted and wicked 'religion'.  Please read my previous post on this matter. So we began to pray and seek for a church that preached from the Bible!  In such a 'religious' country such as Ireland you would have thought that an easy task...but no!  There are actually very few churches in our country.  Eventually we came across Maranatha Christian Fellowship and we were thrilled as they stated on their webpage:

"In an age when a diluted message is producing disillusioned people, we stress a full proclamation of the word of God"

Indeed we were thrilled.  Now I am becoming increasingly becoming doubtful at the truthfulness of the above statement.  Mainly it is myself who is disheartened with our new fellowship.  I wish to discuss why here with the purpose of sharing my heart and also to allow others to offer their advice on our situation.

Firstly I was shocked to attend one Sunday service only to have it preached to us by a woman!  The woman in question was the wife of one of the regular preachers.  She 'wittered' on for almost two hours, boring us all to tears about her history with depression and about alcoholism and addiction in general.  Consider that the church website also states:

We believe in the inspiration of the Bible and its entire trustworthiness and authority in all matters of faith and doctrine.
We understand from reading our Bible that women preaching in church just simply is not allowed!

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.  But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. - 1 Timothy 2: 11-12

My next bugbear was just recently when we attended for the first time since the birth of our daughter Meg.  At the end of service we were given a membership form to fill out and to hand back in whenever we were ready to become members.  As I read the forms at home I came across a strange statement within its pages:  

"We are a New Testament church"  
Hmm...is this odd when considering just a second ago I quoted their statement of faith stating that they were a Bible believing church?  Isn't the Old Testament part of the Bible?  Doesn't the word of God dating back to the beginning of time matter?  This was actually the catalyst that really got me wondering about their beliefs and practices.  Additionally the church letterhead is adorned with Jewish symbols?  I am unsure as to why they feature these, I thought these symbols relate to the Old Testament: Star of David and the Menorah?  I do not pretend to know or understand everything about the Holy Bible.  We are 'baby' Christians so there maybe some things mentioned here that I am misinterpreting or misunderstanding.

Next on my list came about after watching this video stating that modern interpretations of 'speaking in tongues' was unbiblical.  This caught my attention as several services ago our church invited those who had never spoke in tongues before to come up front and speak in tongues.  The music was playing and people began to speak mumbo-jumbo, so a kind of rhythmic chanting could be heard by those of us still seated.  After I watched the afore mentioned sermon given by Pastor Anderson I went and took out my Bible and looked up those verses again.  Nowhere did my Bible refer to anyone speaking or hearing an unknown language or becoming confused.  Indeed every one of the disciples who spoke, understood what they themselves was saying, and everyone of them who heard another speak understood him in his own language.  Where in our Bibles then was this mumbo-jumbo speak that we were told was true 'speaking in tongues'?  Thats right nowhere!  Could this be another area of false teaching?

Finally, I have been absolutely disgusted by the immodest dress of a lot of women who attend service at our church.  Mini skirts, backless shirts and spike heels!  I'm not kidding.  Before anyone suggests such, I am not jealous of dressing like a loose woman.  I am wondering why this is allowed to happen?  Is it acceptable to allow a woman to enter church to worship and praise God dressed like a harlot?  Is it not the pastor/elders duty to kindly guide particular ladies in truth that they should not dress so for church or indeed at all? 

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But which becometh women professing godliness with good works. 1 Timothy 2:9-10

I am so upset by these thoughts as we were so happy to have found a church for our family to attend.  In our country there are very few churches to attend that are not either Catholic or Protestant.  My husband feels disinclined to question the Pastor on this issues mentioned above and I would feel a little awkward about doing so as I feel that it would be my husbands place to query the Pastor, as he is the head of our family.  I am wondering should I approach the Pastor with my queries?  Or which is best: to attend a church even if we are not fully happy with the seemingly false and diluted message or should we resign ourselves to church at home, teaching Gods law to our children ourselves (Deuteronomy 6) until such a day that we find a true church with a Pastor who preaches the Word as he should?  Any advice here would be greatly appreciated and/or sharing of any similar circumstances you may have been through yourselves.


16 comments:

Zsuzsanna said...

My two cents: although you are going to an assembly of people, you are already not going to church. They may call themselves that, but they are not meeting the requirements for being a church (i.e. a body of believers led by a MALE pastor and following the Bible). People who speak in tongues are not saved, because they believe they can lose their salvation.

Calling themselves a "New Testament" church is pretty normal, and does not mean that they discount the OT. It just means that they are an assembly like those started in the NT. Of course, in your case, it sounds like they neither follow the Old or New Testament unless it suits them.

Personally, I would never approach the pastor, and I can see why your husband wouldn't want to, either (although I don't think it would be wrong for him to do so). It's a waste of time, anyway - from having heard from many, many others in situations such as yours, I would predict it would do nothing other than aggravate you further.

I am sorry you do not have a good church to go to. The situation is very similar in Germany, and in Hungary where my Dad lives. There are a few churches that are at least pastored by believers, but they are usually pretty anemic and lame. Still, that would be better than not going to church at all. I will look into trying to find good churches in Ireland, and get back with you. Glad to hear you watch my husband's preaching!

Chelle said...

I am so sorry about what you have been going through with your church. We have had some of the same problems in our family. we have recently found a wonderful church, but we do not attend church outings. Our beliefs are some different than some. we do not believe a woman has any place to be speaking in church unless it is to women only. It is very hard to find a church with modest dress because most women don't care. I would pray hard about what to do. we had home church for a little while. I know you need other believers to help you out, but if they aren't being what they should be it can hurt you. I am not perfect. But you do have to live by the Bible.Your children will reap from where you attend too. I don't want to take up more room. You are welcome to e-mail me at cbell@hrtc.net maybe I could help you more.I will pray for you.

Diana J. said...

Unfortunately a huge majority of churches have the same problems you list. Almost all will say "we believe in the inspiration of the Bible" etc. etc. etc. but will then ignore it when wanted. We have a better selection of churches here in America, but still a majority will fall under the category you describe. I looked on the Family Integrated Church website to see if there were any in Ireland, but no luck. Good luck with your search!

Elizabeth said...

This post really makes my heart break for your family. Everything that Zsuzsuanna is right on. I don't think that it's error to say that a church is "New Testament." Usually people mean that they pattern their church according to the teaching of the New Testament. After all, there was no church in the Old Testament, though the law and prophets point us to a "better covenant" we have in Christ. Although, I find it very weird that the church letterhead is decorated with Jewish symbols.

One of the luxuries we have here in the southern U.S. is that there are so many churches. I'm so thankful for it. What Chelle is saying about dress is the same here also. However I have to say that the ones who are immodest are NOT allowed to serve in the church: they don't teach, sing in the choir, play instruments, etc. It's just not something you can get away from, unfortunately.

Pray, pray, pray Sarah. I will pray for this situation also.

I keep prayer cards for ALL missionaries that come by our church. Here are some of the prayer cards we have:

There is a man who is a missionary in Ireland who went to Bible college with my husbands very dearest friend (more like a brother). His name is John Brown, but I'm not sure if he's still in Ireland. Good preacher, sweet wife, beautiful family.

The Canavan family also works in Ireland, in Dundrum. I don't know what kind of drive that is for you. website: http://www.canavanfamily.com The address that we have for John Brown is the same as the one on the Canavan's website. Perhaps the Brown family is no longer working in Ireland and the Canavans took over the work?

I have a card dated June of '07 for the Stephen Baker family. It lists the mission field as Ireland. website: thenationsforchrist.com

Praying for your family. :-)

Karen R. said...

Funny, I just heard that same sermon of Pastor Anderson last night! Our family right now has been attending different churches since Jan and it is draining. (I grew up Catholic too but saved over a year ago)I will pray that you find a good church in your area, it is so hard to find these days but worth the search.

sarah in the woods said...

Yes, finding a really good church is hard - I know. I think it would be beneficial for you all to talk to the pastor - maybe together. Then you can at least get some questions answered and know their stance on things. It's possible that the conversation could even open up the pastor's eyes to some nonbiblical things going on in the church. But if that fails, or you feel it's time to move on, please don't give up the search. We visited so many churches before settling where we are now, and there are several people going to our church that drive considerable distances to attend a truly biblical church. I would also like to point out that there will be something to disagree with at every church, because churches are made up of humans. But the church as a whole and especially the leadership should be striving to live according to God's Word and preaching God's Word. If that's not happening where you are, keep searching. I'll be praying for you all.

His bondservant said...

Sarah,
I agree with the statements about the New Testament, it is supposed to mean that they fashion their services after the NT in the Bible. However, to allow a woman to preach is a direct contridiction to that. I would not be able to sit under that teaching. Think also of what influence this has on your children. If you say you don't believe that, yet attend such a church, it sends the wrong message to your children and may begin to water down their understanding of scripture and cause them to compromise. I do not have a problem with the Jewish symbols as since I have been studying the Old Testament, I believe it perfectly acceptable to practice the Jewish feasts in light of Messiah. When studying the early church, after the time of Christ, most of them still practiced the feasts as they were set down by God in the OT. I find that many churches today want to dismiss the OT as the "Old Covenant"...that it is not relevant anymore, yet it is the full council of God and we should heed it as well. Jesus was a Jew and when Paul was requesting the Scriptures for himself in the NT...he was talking about the OT...the NT had not yet been written or completed. Paul and the disciples...and Jesus as well observed the Jewish feasts. So, if they have those symbols because they are practicing those feasts in light of Christ being the fulfillment of the Passover, etc., I don't have a problem with that. If you study the origins of Christmas and Easter, you will find they are based on pagan customs. However, I am not saying it is a sin to celebrate Christmas and Easter. That is for each individual family. We, however, have started practicing the feasts because of reading the importance of these in the OT and we don't believe that the NT made everything in the old null and void. If that were the case, we don't need to follow the Ten Commandments. I will definitely be praying for you about this matter. It is increasingly hard to find a church service that is grounded in the Word of God. As far as confronting the pastor, I never think it is a waste to confront someone in the truth. As far as the tongues, I do believe many modern interpretations of tongues are unbiblical. Tongues were given firstly so that others would be able to share the Gospel in another's language. Secondly, it was a prayer language, but is not supposed to be used in any kind of service without an interpreter. The way they are being used today is totally unbiblical and I do not believe most of those people have the gift of tongues. Hope that helps. I will be praying for you my friend....that God will lead you to a church that preaches the full council of God. Do you know any other Christians that are having the same problems as you? What about until the Lord leads you to another...all of you meeting in your homes together and watching Godly teaching from the internet? Just a thought.

Sarah said...

Thank you all so much for sharing your advice and encouragement! I am so thankful to you all!

Elizabeth I checked out the links you provided...I found the Canavan family and you are right they seemed to be a very sweet family. Also their church looked like somewhere we would like to attend. Unfortunately Dundrum would be around a two and a half hour drive for us!

I also appreciated being corrected on the OT issue. I am so thankful to have ladies such as yourselves to help me understand these things! As we do not have any Christian friends or family that we could ask!

The words we appreciated the most were the offers to pray for our family, this mean't so much to us! Hopefully we will find a another church soon. Thank you all again!

heathfamily7 said...

Hi Sarah,
I just looked up a missionary that is in Ireland that has come to our church before. I don't know where he is in Ireland but maybe if you contacted him, he could help find something. His website is http://www.intoalltheworld.net/ and his email is snode@mwbm.org. His name is Travis Snode.
I hope this helps. I will be praying for your family!
Tara

Sarah said...

Tara - Thank you for commenting and sharing this web address with me! I looked up the Snode family and unfortunately they are in Northern Ireland and we live in the Republic. Thank you so much for going through the effort to help us anyway!

Thank you to everyone who put forth much effort to furnish us with some contacts...it is very much appreciated!

God bless

h. rae said...

Hello,

I have been so blessed to have been raised in a God-fearing, total Bible-believing, real church from baby-hood. I am an apostolic pentecostal and when the Holy Ghost moves upon us, we do speak in tongues, but it is given by God, not man. Anyone that can just go up front and start speaking in another language on command is not doing it in the Holy Ghost.

In your studies, read Acts 2. It explains how they were gathered in an upper room and the Holy Ghost descended and they spoke with other tongues. People actually thought they were drunk! And the way to salvation still is the way taught in Acts. Repentance, baptism in Jesus' name and Jesus will then give the gift of the Holy Ghost!

It is real, I can say that from experience. And it is so wonderful to feel Jesus in such a way!

Also, if you didn't find that in your Bible, perhaps the one you have doesn't translate words correctly. The King James Bible is the closest translation to the original Greek and definitely talks about tongues.

I truly hope God will open up some doors for you in this time. Don't settle for what you know is not right and just keep reading your Bible. It is God's word and will guide you onto the right path.

The best to you!

Sarah said...

h rae - While I very much appreciate you taking the time to comment; I do not believe that you are correct in your interpretation on salvation nor do I believe that you fully understood what I wrote on the topic of speaking in tongues, I will clarify:

Firstly I did not say that the Bible does not mention 'speaking in tongues', because obviously it does. What I did say was that the modern practice of speaking in tongues within the church is unbiblical. In Acts 2, the Bible (KJV) clearly states that the disciples were speaking in tongues as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance BUT that they spoke in other tongues of EARTHLY NATIONS such as: egyptian and arabic. The point I was making, is that in Acts chapter 2 no one spoke in an UNKNOWN LANGUAGE and that each man heard the speaker in his own language. For example if the Holy Spirit were to move on me and give me utterance now, I could speak in Gaelige but you would hear me in your own tongue which is English. This is what Acts chapter 2 defines unequivocably as true speaking in tongues. I believe that any church that allows its members to misinterpret Acts 2 and therefore speak in a 'mumbo jumbo' language is wrong and therefore acting against Gods word.

Secondly I believe from studying my Bible (KJV) that salvation is a free gift from God and one that cannot be lost or taken back. Repentence does not equal salvation. I see that you used Acts to again state that salvation is through repentance and baptism, however I will now draw your attention to Acts 16:30-31, which again clearly states:

"And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."

Additionally, the Bible also states this:

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

Thank you for graciously offering your opinion here but while I disagree with your interpretations I can certainly appreciate you taking the time to comment.

God bless

h. rae said...

Sarah,

The Bible also says Satan believes in God, but I think we both know he won't be in heaven. One cannot take certain parts of the Bible as true and omit others as unimportant.

I'm sure it's difficult for someone who has never experiences "tongues" to understand, but it is not man speaking "mumbo-jumbo." It is a completely uncontrollable, heavenly language.

No, our works will not save us. But neither will blind belief. I fully believe that one can lose his/her salvation as well. I have seen it happen. The person that was "saved" one day and committed murder the next is assuredly not under the influence of God.

I just wanted to post a reply to your response and clarify some things. I wish you well and hope you find a good church soon.

h. rae said...

I neglected to let you know where you can find "unknown tongues" spoken of in the Bible and I looked for a way to email you without cluttering up your comments section again, but found none so here it is, my last comment. I don't mean to harass you, I promise: http://bible.cc/search.php?q=unknown+tongue

and

http://bible.cc/search.php?q=speak+in+unknown+tongues

These give reference to many. I find that website quite helpful in my own studies and though to share with you what I found.

Elizabeth said...

Sarah,
For someone who calls herself a "baby Christian," you seem to have great understanding. Honestly, it's been a joy to read your blog these past several months and see that you have a grounded faith rooted in doctrine. As I was telling my husband about your journey I kept telling him, "they don't have a strong bible teaching at their church. The Lord's just teaching them straight from His hand!" What a great blessing you are.

Anyway, the real comment I really came to make was this. I mentioned the Canavan family. You would have a long drive for that. You probably noticed there is a "contact us" button on their website. His wife has an email address. Maybe you could consider contacting her to find a Bible preaching church in your area. Just an idea!

Yuri Richardson said...

Shalom In Yahshua Messiah (Jesus The Messiah),

We (my wife and I) have 4 children and have been homeschooling/home churching for some 17yrs now. We decided; after some intense prayer and study, that the best for us and our children is to move into a closer walk with YHWH (God) by teaching them from the Scriptures what the Lord has to say. We found that the churches are in a condition similar to that of the church in Yahshua's day. We found in Scripture where YHWH is calling us out and asking us to place our trust directly in Him and His Holy Word.

I'm confident that as your family seek Him out He will lead you into a deeper understanding of His will; for He seeketh such to worship Him.

Shalom In Messiah.