Post Number: 9
|Posted on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - 10:53 am: || |
For right now, I'm through with "church shopping". I like the Primitive's inclusive message of salvation. A larger church would not be an option for me even if smaller group studies were available. My time is very limited due to my work schedule (work 2 jobs), and I'm to the point where I just don't want to start with a new group again. Maybe that is one reason many Adventists stay with the SDA faith. They don't want to make the effort to find something better. As I've said, I live in a very rural area where the choices are not plentiful, so I will stick with where I am worshipping now. I've checked out about everything in the area that I'd be remotely interested in.
Post Number: 1069
|Posted on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - 12:52 pm: || |
Yeah, Misty, I generally prefer small congreations also. At St. John's where I attend on Snday mornngs there are usually 75-90 in attendance. Then on Sunday evenings I go to the service over at Peace and the most tht have ever shown up has been 15 with usually the 10 or so regulars. I, too feel more comfortable in a smaller congreation. Crowds and me don't do to well together.
Post Number: 900
|Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 9:43 am: || |
Mitsy, I understand. Truly, the central issue is not so much what congregation you are in; the central issue is that you have surrendered your heart to Jesus and have personally accepted His incredible sacrifice for your sin. The most transfomring "thing" in my life was when I let go of all my fear and compulsions and beliefs and let Jesus be the only One to whom I would give my eternal commitment. Giving assent, I discovered, was very different from giving ME.
He is more than enough.
Post Number: 160
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 6:27 am: || |
Talking about denominations again, but just to clarify on UPCI. They make up about 10% of Pentecostals, and are considered a cult by other Pentecostals and Charismatics. I believe they do think they are the only true church, but I have never heard whether they have a special teacher or founder they look up to like most cults do. They supposedly had a special revelation or realisation about the ětrue natureî of God in about 1913.
They have a modalistic view of the Godhead (one God, in three separate manifestations in three different time periods, so no Trinity), and so they are also known as Oneness Pentecostals. Based on Acts 2: 38, they teach that you have to repent, be baptised in water in the name of Jesus Christ (the Trinitarian formula is invalid) and then speak in tongues in order to be saved. So baptism "in the name of Jesus" and speaking in tongues are both salvation issues. This is not the case with other Charismatics. (Officially at least. I have come across some Pentecostals here in Hungary who think tongues is a salvation issue. Itís usually not worth arguing ń with Hungarians, about anything, LOL).
UPCI are also very legalistic. On reading the stories of people leaving, they sound similar to when people leave other cults, though the legalism issues seem to be the main problem.
On the ěsecond class Christianî thing, I suppose it depends on which side of the fence you are on. I have come across a similar arrogant attitude from Cessationalists who refuse to even listen to the Charismatic point of view (because they know they are right) and think they are far better Christians because they do not believe in spiritual gifts. I guess anyone can come up with a reason to feel superior, itís a ěfleshî thing.
If anyone is interested in the real view of the baptism in the Spirit according to Pentecostal theology, it is expressed pretty well by Kevin Connor, who is an Australian Bible teacher. He has written lots of teaching books.
He first considers the life of Jesus. The Holy Spirit acted in very specific ways at two crisis points in Jesusí life. The first was His conception (e.g. Luke 1: 35). As the Son of God, Jesus then grew up in a perfect and unbroken relationship with the Father. His spirit was alive, and connected to God, as He never sinned, and the link was never broken. So He had no need to be ěborn again,î as He was never ědead in sin.î
The second event was after Jesusí baptism, when the Holy Spirit descended on Him (e.g. Mat 3: 16). Up till this point, although He had been in relationship with God, He had not begun His ministry. He only started after He had received this special anointing of the Spirit (cf. Acts 10: 37-38).
Of course, the life of the Christian is not quite the same, but there is a parallel. The person without God is dead in sin, which means that sin has raised a barrier between him and God. There is no relationship, so his spirit is ědeadî in the sense it is disconnected from God (Eph 2: 1-7). By hearing the gospel (Rom 10: 17; 1 Peter 1: 23) and responding to it in faith, a person is ěborn again,î which is a work of the Holy Spirit (John 3: 5-7). The person is no longer ědeadî but is now in a relationship, connected to God by a work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes and dwells in a personís innermost being, or human spirit, see the following verses: Gal 4: 6; Rom 8: 9-16.
This new birth is most definitely a salvation issue. Without being in a relationship with God as established by the Holy Spirit through the new birth, no-one can begin to understand the things of God (1 Cor 2: 14). No-one can produce the ěfruit of the Spiritî (Gal 5: 22-23) without having been born again. So this is necessary for an individualís personal salvation.
But then there is another work of the Holy Spirit in the believer, which the Bible refers to by several terms, such as: baptism in the Holy Spirit (Mat 3: 11; Acts 1: 5; 11: 6), being filled with the Spirit (Acts 2: 4), receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 8: 17; 10: 46-47). In practical terms, there were times when people received this gift at the same time as salvation (Acts 10: 44-46) and times when there was a delay involved (Acts 8: 14-17). Sometimes there was no need of special prayer for the Holy Spirit (Acts 10: 44-46, again), but often there was (Acts 8: 17; 9: 17; 19: 4-6).
This is not an issue of personal salvation, but an anointing with power for ministry (Acts 1: 8). Besides simply providing extra boldness for witnessing (Acts 4: 31 ń this was a ěrefillingî), the Spirit also distributes supernatural gifts for use in ministry (1 Cor 12-14). The only one of these gifts which is mainly for personal, private use, is tongues. Paul says not to forbid it (1 Cor 14: 39), but advises against overuse in the church meeting context. It seems to be mostly for prayer, praise and personal edification (1 Cor 12: 4; 14-17; 18-19).
So tongues is not a salvation issue, nor is it a ěsuperior class of Christianî issue, it is just a gift, though it is a rather useful one, for the above reasons.
Of course, no-one is obliged to accept the above explanation, but it is the view I have always heard expounded in Pentecostal circles. Trying to avoid distortions, extremes, and misrepresentations.
Bye for now,
Post Number: 15
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 7:38 am: || |
Adrian: Yes, I'm quite familiar with the beliefs of the UPC. I never considered myself a "oneness" believer, but they do think that the trinity is like worshipping 3 separate gods. I never got into any arguments with the UPC people about this since it seemed like splicing hairs. I knew in my heart what I believed, but I left over the tongues issue. The UPC refused to acknowledge the verses in Corinthians which talk about the "abuse" of tongues and that if no one can understand what is being said then it is best to be silent. No interpreter = no tongues spoken. All I ever heard was the "jibberish" that many pentecostals speak when they are "filled with the spirit". I personally never felt the need to put on a show to prove my salvation. And that is basically what it is. That is what seemed very legalistic about this church. The dress standards honestly never came up as a sermon or discussion topic thankfully. If they had, I probably wouldn't have stayed as long as I did. Maybe because there were a few who didn't adhere to those standards and they feared losing attendees. However, the UPC is considered a cult by many. Their formula for salvation (tongues issue) was why I left.
I never dreamed another church could be as legalistic (but in a different way) as the Adventists seem to be. I certainly felt like the jewelry/makeup issue was a lot bigger deal at the SDA church than it was at the UPC. In any event, superiority is not a useful tool in gaining new members - regardless of the denomination or church group involved.
Post Number: 143
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 7:43 am: || |
Adrian, which book by Kevin Conner are you referring to? I've read his Feasts of Israel and also Tabernacle of David and agreed with much of his teaching. Very eye-opening when you're coming from the perspective of a "former."
Post Number: 161
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 8:24 am: || |
The specific book which deals with the issue mentioned is called, "Understanding and distinguishing the new birth and the baptism of the Holy Spirit" published by Sovereign World, 1999.
I also have his, "Foundations of Christian doctrine," which is general dogmatics. He is Arminian and Pentecostal, so you know where he is coming from on those subjects. Where there is a disputed area, he does tend to mention all the major theories, then explain why he holds to a particular one.
Another one which may be useful for formers is, "The covenants," which I can't find right now, but it was interesting. Deals with the signs, conditions, seals, etc. and other features of the various coventants.
I have heard him speak in Budapest, and I even translated for him once when he came to our church!
Post Number: 162
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 8:31 am: || |
Although I move in Pentecostal circles, and have for 25 years, I can only recall ever meeting two UPCI people personally. I don't think there can be too many of them in Europe. The Hungarian girl I met was pretty weird. Long uncut hair and long dress (I later found this is mandatory), and very "intense." Some people at the house group where she spoke thought she was really committed and wonderful, I just thought she was wacky.
Still, lots of Hungarian Christians are wacky, so that may not have anything to do with the church, or it may.
Now I'm just rambling, and being critical again. I'll stop now :-)
Post Number: 18
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 1:00 pm: || |
The only reason I wound up in the UPC at all was because I left a much bigger Evangelical-Free Church that had grown in size to where it was nearly double and much of the fellowship was lost. I had a lot of personal changes in my own life at the time and had felt for many months that I needed to make a change in where I worshipped. I had some friends at the UPC and it was the small church atmosphere I craved. We did a lot of social things together, and I actually to this day miss many aspects of the group. However, I had to deal with the fact that I simply did not believe that tongues were necessary for salvation. I suddenly could not live with being a hypoocrite. As long as I attended, I was condoning their belief system. So, although I still care about the UPC people (and still socialize with a few), I am glad that I walked away from a very limiting faith. I found the SDA to be very limiting as well (but in a different way).
Post Number: 70
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 1:26 pm: || |
Hi Susan . I didn't get a chance to attend St. Timothy's last week. Hopefully this week or next.
Post Number: 74
|Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 7:41 am: || |
what you wrote about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the rest is exactly my experience and beliefs. C also experienced this although he is absolutely NOT ready or spiritually mature enough to operate in his ministry. C speaks in tongues though. But isn't ready to leave SDA church.
Post Number: 115
|Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 8:16 am: || |
Hehe, just get him to tell the SDA church that he speaks in tongues, and they might kick him out right away. ;-)
Post Number: 28
|Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 11:56 am: || |
It's been a while since I've posted, and I wanted to update you on the "jewelry" issue. I ran into a SDA sister who used to attend the local church here in town. She moved to another town before I started attending the SDA, but I knew her through other people, and still run into her at various times. She came into my workplace one night and asked if I still went to the SDA church. I told her no. She then asked what happened. I told her that there were "legalistic" aspects of the faith that I did not believe in nor accept.
Now here is the kicker...this woman didn't know what the word "legalistic" meant!!! So, I told her the story about the "argument" that took place one sabbath when I wasn't there about the SDA preacher who wouldn't baptise the woman who wore earrings. I told her there had been other little things said and insinuated about the jewelry/makeup issue, but that I felt uncomfortable and a bit insulted over something so trivial.
She then proceeded to talk about reading the scriptures and "understanding", so I stopped her in mid-sentence and said that I had read all of the scripture pertaining to the makeup and jewelry issue and simply DID NOT agree with the SDA interpretation of such. I told her that God cared more about someone's heart than He did what they wore. I told her that I still had respect and genuine caring for the SDA people and had no other bone to pick with them. It simply was not for me though. She seemed to accept this, and I got no further argument from her. I remained respectful but firm in my stand on this. Now, we'll see how she acts the next time I see her. At least now she knows what the word "legalistic" means. :0
Post Number: 1
|Posted on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 7:01 pm: || |
On the topic of jewelry, as a sign of my love for my wife as well as my acceptance of the grace of Jesus Christ and the rejection of the many teachings of Ellen White, last Saturday night my wife and I bought a wedding ring for me. Having never worn any such thing other than a watch in my entire life, this is an exciting thing for me.
My wonderful Presbyterian wife accepted my initial refusal to wear a wedding ring without any problem. Thirteen and a half years later, she is surprised that now I want a wedding ring. She is pleasantly surprised by many other changes in my life as well.
I'm not sure what reaction (if any) I'll receive from my Adventist acquantances. They really don't know what has been the result of the intensive study I have been doing these past many months. I'm still heavily involved in the tiny, local Adventist church -- I haven't yet been able to hand off the positions in which I serve.
Post Number: 302
|Posted on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 8:30 pm: || |
Glad you are here with us on FAF. It will be fun to hear more of your story. God is so good to bring us all together to grow in His love.
Post Number: 552
|Posted on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 8:56 pm: || |
Welcome to FAF Cy. We look forward to hearing more about your journey.
Post Number: 1240
|Posted on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 9:00 pm: || |
Cy, welcome to the forum! What a really touching story re: your wedding ring. I totally understand your excitement over it. I remember the heady daze I moved in for days after Richard gave me a diamond wedding set for our 11th anniversary nearly five years ago.
We're eager to hear more of your story.
Post Number: 455
|Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 9:19 am: || |
Welcome Cy. Isn't the Believer's freedom wonderful!
Post Number: 931
|Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 8:08 pm: || |
Welcome to the FAF Cy. God has put you here as you proccess out of adventism. You will find a fantastic freedom in Jesus Christ. He is awesome.
Post Number: 313
|Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2005 - 7:23 pm: || |
Have you received any comments on your new wedding band? I'd love to hear an update.
Post Number: 1368
|Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 5:03 am: || |
Cy, that is a touching story about your wedding ring. Do you ever attend the Prespertarian with your wife? Valerie who posts on here has been attending the Prespertaryan. I attend the Lutheran. There's not much difference between the two denominations. I think the only real difference is that the Lutherans practice a litergy, whereas the Pres. do not. I certanily understand being bound to a very small church. I grew up often attending a very small ruraal SDA church. The people in the small churches become very dependent on each other to get things taken care of. My son was recently married in a SDA church. His wedding was the first time a ring ceremony had ever been preformed in that church. The SDA pastor who preformed the wedding said so right druing the ceremony he let everyone know that. I am looking forward to reading more from you.
Post Number: 204
|Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 6:08 am: || |
Speaking of rings and weddings, we attended a wedding of close friends last Saturday evening. It was during the exchange of rings that the pastor was able to really speak to the aspect of covenant to explain the wedding. Without that sign of the covenant, where does that leave Adventists? And maybe you'll put ring ceremonies into California Adventist weddings, but it certainly won't happen around my end of the country.
Another aspect of the wedding that was unique was that the wife, now a pastor, was raised Jewish. So there were elements of a Jewish wedding incorporated into the ceremony. For instance, a prayer shawl placed over the husband signifying him as spiritual head of the household. Other things wereincorporated too that gave a special twist and helped everyone see Jesus more fully.
Post Number: 1371
|Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 8:01 am: || |
Dear Praisegod, Your comment about SDA weddings made me want to share this with you. As I understand it the California SDA's have always been a thorn in the side of the SDA denomination. I have a very close friend who is Catholic. She frequently tells me The Vatican really has little use for American Catholics but the Pope totally abhores California Catholics.
Post Number: 682
|Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 8:55 am: || |
I would think he's not too fond of certain Massachusettes catholics as well....the more political ones anyway....
Post Number: 4
|Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 7:44 pm: || |
Well, my wedding band led to an interesting discussion with a couple of my co-workers a week ago. Another co-worker's father had passed away, so three of us traveled an hour or so to the funeral. On the way, the three of us (who are all sincere Christians) talked, and I explained the significance of this outward symbol in terms of my love for Christ and the unfounded rules of the SDA church. It made for interesting conversation, at least from my point of view :-)
I haven't had an opportunity yet to talk about it with SDA friends or family, but I'm sure the time will come.
Yes, I've been attending a Presbyterian church with my wife. I've been attending regularly lately. I've been honored by the opportunity to speak there several times (entirely from the Bible, of course!).
Post Number: 1278
|Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 8:35 pm: || |
Cy, how wonderful that God is easing you into another church family and giving you opportunities to speak for Him.
They day will come when you will know you have to speak to the friends and family. You don't need to fear what you'll say--the Holy Spirit truly provides the words!