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Post by 12acrehome on Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:40 pm

Ok, this is in the debate room because I consider this topic a free for all. So disagree, agree, whatever, just remember what happens in the debate room stays in the debate room.

Mom was the financial secretary for what was a fairly large church locally. The ministers all had doctorate degrees, most of the members were lawyers, doctors, and politicians (three Senators, two mayors, too many committeemen to count). This was the church I was raised in. During my teen late years I started to see things wrong with this church. As time passed I began to see a lot of things wrong with the typical church. Almost none would give assistance to persons of need. What I mean by that is the local food pantry is operated by that church along with three others. A family is only allowed one visit per month to the food pantry. Add to that a family needing assistance with utility bills is only loaned enough to pay passed due amounts. That money must be fully repaid before any more will be given by this network. Mom let me see "the books" for this church during her "transition out". At that time there was 7.4 Million dollars in investments in the churches name, net annual income for the church, not including tithes and donations was over 900 thousand dollars.

The last change of ministers insisted that no member of the church should be allowed to work in the office. The older members who had asked mom to do the job were now gone, and the younger members (I had already left the church) agreed with the new minister.

It took a couple of months for mom to try to attend church there again. When she went back we all went with her, all three kids with our spouses. We were welcomed by exactly three people. Mom, Dad, and one dear friend who also has left that church.

What this showed me was there are more opportunities for a large body to stray from Gods word than there are checks and balances to keep the church body in line with the intention of being a church. Too often I see or hear about church leaders (usually newly hired) who want to change the church to suit their world view. This is a sad commentary on where "organised religion" is going. I choose to be more "spiritual" than "religious". By that I mean I don't really follow any one doctrine, but I do seem to fall somewhere between independent Baptist and Catholic. Odd mix huh.

Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

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Post by dizzy on Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:39 pm

I do not like the trend for large churches. They have their place, but IMO, that place is in a large city where there are a lot of people and there may not be the room to have smaller, more local churches.

I know of several churches in this area that will seat around 1000 people, if not more. And I look at the area, it's basically rural. In order to get to church, many of these people are driving a considerable distance.

I call these churches Tower of Babel churches. Jesus told us to go into all the world, not to stay in one central location and get everyone to come to us. There's more of a chance for people to abuse power in these churches, plus, more often than not, less opportunities to serve.

I'm not sure, but I seem to recall hearing that Jehovah Witness will not allow any one hall to get more than 200 members. They get up close to that-and start a new hall in a new location. While I don't agree w/their beliefs, I would say that they are right in this area.


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Post by Farmfresh on Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:43 pm

Satan knows that one way to keep HIS people is to use church members of Christian churches to do his bidding.  Even little things, like not welcoming a visitor to church because you are too busy or having a bad day, may keep that new person from feeling welcome and eventually coming to Christ.  And the devil has his techniques down.

I belong to another homesteading forum.  The majority of the people there are non-christians even though some of them are active in a church.  We have mormans, jehovahs witnesses, witches and a lot of pagans as well as some who don't even recognize a god.  I have tried to be a gentle subtle witness for Christ with these folks for many years.  Most of them have had experiences in the modern Christian church that have driven a wedge between them and Christ.  I have heard some of their stories and honestly I can understand why they made the choices that they did. 

When you have seen the hypocrisy, greed, pride, prejudice, and selfishness displayed most vividly and regularly at your local assembly, the teachings of Christ seem a bit ridiculous.  I wouldn't want to join in that either. 

I have been very careful over the years to identify myself as a follower of Christ - not a follower of a religion.  I have attended Baptist churches (both Southern and Independent), Christian Union churches, Plymouth Brethren churches and non-denominational churches over my lifespan.  I believe that all of them preached and taught the Word of God and lead people to Christ.  They all also were full of sinners that needed lots of work... myself included. 

Another big thing is press.  In this non-Christian/anti-Christian world that we live in the press is looking hard to find fault in churches and the churches are making it easy.  Sheltering child molesters is not what Christ wanted. 

We sent our kids to a Christian school K-6 (K-5 for the Geek).  We looked long and hard to find a good one and actually started attending the church that sponsored it just to monitor that it was actually preaching and teaching what the Bible says. This was not a huge church by any means and it had been around a long time.

By the time we were taking the kids out of the school there had been some changes in the leadership.  The original pastor had to retire and those that took his place had much more worldly ambition.  Very worldly.  Several years after we left our little church was in the national news.  The new pastor, Dr. David Love, had had a little affair with a church members wife and then actually murdered him.

So much for behaving as Christ has led.

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Post by PATRICE IN IL on Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:52 pm

The former pastor of dh's church, my former church, an independant Baptist church, once preached a sermon on "Creepy Christians". How the new movement in many churches has them trying any & everything to fill the pews to capacity and beyond with new people at the expense of established members. Turns out later into his employment he turned into one of them and a sexual pervert.

I watched as this church imploded after I left due to a disagreement with the pastor's wife. While attending you didn't see the things wrong with the church due to brainwashing. This pastor was a former marine drill instructor and played head games with people but was subtle enough about it that you never realized what was going on until you broke away from the church. The only reason he resigned was the fact that he was "caught" forcing the women of the church into sexual relationships with him. It is really sad that he defiled so many young, innocent brides-to-be as well as unhappily married women. He made sure they all were 18 years old or older.

He was a control freak so much so that they had an alarm system installed on the church and only a select handful of people were given keys & the code. This was to control who could gain access to the building, to lessen his chances of getting caught defiling his victims.

This new pastor is just as bad of a control freak. I can see that they didn't learn from the mistakes of allowing the former pastor to have so much control over the church.

Toward the end of my time attending there the pastor was rewriting the bylaws due to the laws regarding gay marriage and partner benefits here in Illinois. He had written in so many things to protect himself and continue to receive his pay/bonuses/use of church vehicle for months after he departed, until a new pastor was in position. He even had it written in that he was to be there to see the candidates speak/preach and give his opinion of their performance. If you wanted a paper copy of the bylaws prior to voting on it you had to pay $15 for it. The people of this church live paycheck to paycheck so no one paid prior to voting on it. The trustees/deacons apparently didn't do their jobs and check through it before it was voted on either because many of them were surprised when he pointed out the things upon his resignation. I don't believe they have changed these things even after being taken to the cleaners by him.

He also had written in large monetary "gifts" for himself and his family members. He & his wife, his son-in-law the youth director and daughters all received $500-$1000 for their birthdays and anniversaries as well as yearly Christmas gifts. They even had a sign erected for his wife's parking space "First Lady's Parking Only".

It's just sickening to see how much they took from the people of the church and how they treated the members. They always had the attitude that they were better than everyone at the church and the members needed to strive to get to their level.

I was raised Catholic and converted to Baptist as a young adult because I couldn't follow the teaching of the Catholic church. Early on it was more about feeling I belonged to a church than it was about following Christ. As I've grown in my faith I've witnessed how corrupt many churches have become. Many require tithes in monetary form and don't consider your time/talents as tithes. The doctrines are false, following worldly teachings instead of following Christ's teachings.

I am a member of another independent Baptist church but it is nothing like the former one. We follow the teachings of Christ as shown in the King James Bible. The pastor has nothing to do with the tithes, he doesn't know if/how much each member tithes. He started as the youth pastor and eventually took over as the main pastor after the retirement of the former main pastor. He's been pastoring the members of this church for over 25 years. He's grounded in reality and doesn't think he or his family are better than any member of the congregation. He's willing to work hand in hand, side by side, with the people of the church not direct others of the church to help those in need.

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