Monday, August 22, 2011

It doesn't matter?

Yesterday I had visitors at church. People passing through, I had a little time to talk to them before the service. They informed me the Spirit led them here. They were on the way to the Assembly of God church down the road, and just saw ours. I’m glad they came.
After church though we had a bit more time to talk. They informed me that they were nondenominational types, but they didn’t see anything that should separate them from us, and “it isn’t going to matter in eternity.” They were, I guess, slightly miffed that I didn’t allow them to commune. To their credit, neither did they try to crash the gate as so many do these days completely ignoring the communion statement/sermon I read before the breaking of the bread.
Of course, it is always a touchy subject for me. But yesterday, I discerned rather quickly that I was not going to commune this couple, and I to this moment I think I did the right thing. I still don’t like it though. These people are victims. Victims of bad theology from the start. It became very apparent though very quickly, that somewhere alone the line they had passed from victim to something else, advocates for further victimization of others.
There comments were rather smug after the service. But I tried to politely explain to them that we commune those who are repentant of their sin, including the sin of false doctrine, and that might include ceasing to attend churches that proclaim false doctrine, and supporting them otherwise. They said well we believe the same thing, but “we just believe in the Bible, if it ain’t in the Bible then we don’t believe it.” Great I said, So what are you doing heading to an AOG church? But that isn’t what I asked them. I asked them so “You believe in baptizing infants?” “Well” they answered, “you can baptize them, but you just have to rebaptize them later when they give their heart over to Jesus.” How does that square with Ephesians 4, where it says there is one baptism? Then they started talking to me about how you need to be immersed in water otherwise it isn’t a real baptism. Etc. I just quoted Acts 2:38-39 and asked when is it your children become your children? And Jesus saying, “You think you chose me, but it is I who chose you.” And then asked, “and you don’t think that matters? That shouldn’t be separating us?”
Sorry, but the salvation of children is something I hold to be of the utmost importance. Jesus seemed to think children were more than a little important too. This couple then told me I need to read the Bible. I love that. I informed them they might do the same, and open up their minds a little more to what it is actually saying. They left hastily.
See I’ve been playing around in my head the thoughts of Peter Kurowski, in “Close Communion Conversations.” Should the requirements be the same for Altar Fellowship as they are for Pulpit Fellowship? I don’t think they are, or could be. But yet there still are requirements for communing that the scriptures lay out, and those can’t be ignored either. “If they do not discern the body” as well as the rest of 1 Corinthians 10 and following. Basic instruction is needed. I also think that a desire and willingness to be part of the community that you are communing with would be a nice start. Perhaps, half an “I care what is taught and that it is in accord with scripture” might be nice too.
But don’t come to me, as a member of another church, especially one that doesn’t baptize infants, and tell me that our differences shouldn’t matter. They do, that is why you belong to the church you belong to, if they didn’t matter, you might actually have an open enough mind to sit down with the pastor and search the scriptures for a bit before you communed at his altar. If they didn’t matter, why are you still a member of a church that has separated over things that don’t matter? And If they didn’t matter, why did Jesus teach them in the first place? I’m sick of hearing that they don’t matter. Who are you to tell me what matters?


Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I liked it better in the old days when people knew what they believed, why they believed it, why it was important that they believed it, and why that _____ over there was wrong.

Of course, a strong part of me believes those days never really existed.... oh well.

Bror Erickson said...

I share your suspicions Eric, though I do think there was a day when actually more people did care. I do think there have always been people arrogant enough to walk into another's church and tell them that what they believe doesn't matter. Which is what they are infact saying. We live in an age today that says we can't be certain of anything. that is what people believe most of all, it is the shibboleth of the day, and they translate if you can't be certain, then it doesn't matter. They are offended that you take your beliefs seriously.

Jonathan said...

Then again, maybe they really were led to come to your parish, they needed to hear Gospel.

Otherwise, if they really believed it makes no difference, they could've been led to the stake house down the street just as well.

Bror Erickson said...

I don't debate they were led to my congregation. They could have gone elsewhere. It ended on somewhat a sour note, but they did hear the gospel. And you never know if it takes. But yet, they are the one's who maintain it doesn't matter. I have great qualms with that.

Anonymous said...

I liked it better in the old days when SS was not dumbed down. Books for study were handed out quarterly; and students, as well as teachers, prepared for the lesson . . . Bible verses were looked up and blanks were filled in before Sunday morning.

How many SS teachers are now recruited by being told how "easy" it is to lead a class. Kind of like "How to teach SS for Dumbies". It is hard to get a full year of commitment from them. The youth have no problem picking up on this. Between the curriculum, teachers and the entertainment factor . . . what do you expect?