Hippety-hop, There Goes Peter Rabbit!

Have you ever seen this scenario take place?

A good friend calls you to tell you that they are struggling with their current church and wants your advice on how to work things out. Your heart sinks as you realize that what he or she is wanting is not what they are asking for. The first or second time the phone call took place, you may have encouraged them to speak with the pastors or elders to try to work out any differences or resolve any issues. Now, the real reason they are calling you is not to seek your help and guidance in seeing relationships restored. What they really want is for you to say that it is acceptable for them to don their Peter Rabbit suit and hop to the next church that might or might not make them happy.

desertisland01I am reminded of the old joke about the ship that stops at what they thought was a deserted island only to discover that an old man lives there as a castaway. Taking a tour, the man proudly shows off his little hut where he lives and takes the captain into another little building that has a steeple made of coconut palm leaves. He informs the captain that this is his church where he worships God. Thanking them for coming, the island castaway walks with them back down to their ship. However, the captain is intrigued about a third building that the man had said nothing about, so he asked him what it was. The old man replied, “That’s the church I used to go to!”

Sadly, hopping from church to church often becomes the normal pattern for many Christians. Instead of considering what may be wrong in their own life, the fault is always placed at the feet of the church that they used to attend. The sad reality is that even if they were to attend by themselves, like the old man on the deserted island, they would eventually find a reason to leave.

I have long contended that the reason people go to a church is more times than not the very reason why they will leave. As an example, if you go to a church because they have a great music program, when that ministry fails or begins to struggle, you will look for another church. The same is true if you go because of the programs or all the ministries designed to keep your children happy and entertained. If the really hip, cool, relevant youth leader leaves and the youth group dries up, you will soon be on the search for a new place to worship.

For the record, I am not discounting leaving a church because the church refuses to address sin, or because of a change in teaching to a doctrinal position that is clearly not in line with Scripture. I am speaking about the plague that has infiltrated churches to the point where members are switching from one church to another faster than they switch fitness clubs or switch from the latest diet to the next.

Now as honesty is the best policy, I am afraid that in the beginning of our marriage, I was there. We hopped so many times that I had a custom-made Peter Rabbit suit that I would wear before I even attended the first service. While I was ensuring that my family was with me, I was certainly not being a spiritual leader.

The normal routine was to schedule an appointment with the pastor. In that meeting, I would grill him on the usual “important” issues like the KJV Bible, or if they used CCM in their services, whether they had adequate programs to babysit my children when my wife and I wanted a break, etc., etc., etc. Yes, I remember playing the spiritual card of “We just want a place where we can serve and where our family can be fed!” That would normally score points with the pastor and his wife.

However, it may have been a week later, month later, or even a year later, we would become discontented with something that was being done and we would “miss” a Sunday to see if somebody came to visit or to call us. Eventually, my standard phrase became, “Well, I think we should be looking for a new church because we are not getting fed at this church! What do YOU think, Sweetheart?” That was always a good indicator for me as to whether she was unhappy with the church as much as I was or whether I was just looking for an excuse to leave so we would not have to become too committed.

I can remember a conversation with my father one day while we were in the midst of yet another church hop. His comment was, “Son, I’m sure that every church around your area can’t be bad! What is it you are looking for?”

That was a good question and the standard answer was usually, “mumble-mumble-mumble-just don’t feel like I am getting fed-mumble-mumble-mumble.”

Looking back, I realize that not all churches and pastors we visited or were part of it for awhile were preaching false doctrine or involved in covering over issues of immorality. Some of the churches were struggling works or small and it was just easy to come up with excuses about how we “need more teaching for ummmm…yeah, more teaching for the kids.” That was the answer! Some of the churches were large though and the excuses then would be, “well, we feel like we are just a number and our needs are being overlooked!”

peterrabbitsuitBut the truth is that until I was willing to find a place that was first and foremost doctrinally sound, the rest of what we were looking for was actually irrelevant. Further, when we found a place where doctrine was the focus along with expositional ministry of the Word, I should have been thankful that somebody cared enough to feed my soul and my family as we worshiped together. However, this was rarely the case because doctrine was not as important to me as I thought it was or as I pretended it to be. You see, if doctrine was really important, THAT would have been the reason why I remained instead of looking for another excuse to run to the next place.

So instead of focusing on learning and how I could be a blessing to others, I simply became Peter Rabbit again and laid the blame for the next hop on the previous pastor or church we were attending.

However, this plague that is devastating to churches is a problem that occurs for two main reasons. It is often these two reasons or a closely related one as to why I and others like me would have hopped from church to church, or even why you or somebody you know is still getting plenty of usage out of their Peter Rabbit outfit.

First, pastors and elders have made it too easy to be part of their social club. Having been there as a pastor, I can recall how great it felt to finally get some visitors to come in to service. Of course, in our desire to see them back again, we would invite them to lunch to get to know them. While there is nothing wrong with taking guests home for Sunday lunch, there were times when during the conversation I would be listening to all the things they would tell me they had done in their previous church and how eager they were to find a church where…yep, you guessed it…where as they would put it, “We just want a place where we can serve and where our family can be fed!” Hmmmmm, where had I heard that before?

My problem was that I was focusing on numbers instead of disciple-making. What I should have been asking was WHY were they leaving their previous church? Was it a doctrinal difference or was this another church hop? Then, I could have clarified WHAT kind of doctrinal difference would cause them to initiate an upheaval in their family and leave their local fellowship behind. When it got to the point where they were expressing an interest right at the beginning, I should have taken the time to contact my fellow brother and colleague to verify there were no hidden issues.

The problem would become compounded if there were issues or if the family was not leaving their previous church due to moral or doctrinal problems, and by accepting them into our assembly, we were choosing to overlook the issues hoping that our church would be the catalyst that might throw them into a better relationship with God. Sometimes that does happen, but I am afraid that accepting problems from one church is only going to add to the problems that already exist in your own ministry. By accepting the problems when a person is leaving for an unbiblical reason, we have not helped that previous church or pastor, nor have we helped the family looking to join, nor have we helped our own church.

Another sordid example from my own life came home to roost when I first pastored in England. Like the times when we would leave a church for the wrong reasons, we had some folks do the same with us where I was pastoring. It caused quite a bit of turmoil, and while they left because in their words, “We prefer to go somewhere that we can hear nice, fluffy messages,” they simply ran right down the road and were accepted into membership there. I never received one phone call, but neither did I attempt to contact the other pastor. As far as I was concerned, “He could have the problem if they want members that bad!”

Now I recognize that not all leavings fit into this category, but I have found that many do. It is hurtful and does not portray a unity within the body of Christ to those who watch us from the world.

Today, my ministry is different and I hope there are a few areas in which I have grown considerably. Numbers are not so important any more and I try to be content with those whom God has placed in front of me each week at each meeting that I have the privilege of opening His Word. When I speak with a person now, I want to know the answers to those hard questions that I should have been asked and that I should have asked in prior ministries.

And if our assembly accepts somebody into the fellowship, my prayer is that it will be for the right reasons and that they will be coming for the right reasons. I do not offer programs with the hopes that more will come and I have no desire to present people for acceptance if they look like they are hopping to avoid problems that they refuse to address either in their own lives or that might just be a minor difference or even based on a personality conflict. I do ask them if they have sat down with the leadership at their previous church and spoken about their concerns. If they have not, I do tell them that I will contact the leadership to see if we have their blessing to work with the family and if there are any concerns of which we need to be aware.

As a little side note, there is something to be said for the “letters of commendation” given from one church to another as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 16. I am NOT talking about the little postcard sent when people transfer their membership by letter either. But that should probably be a post for another day.

church hopping 1Now on to the second problem for the plague of church-hopping and it is fairly simple. Members today have little to no commitment for the hard things of God or His Word. As long as they do not have to be committed, nor are expected to be committed, they will continue donning the Peter Rabbit suit as often as it suits their whims or desire for the latest and greatest programs racing the church circuits.

Commitment seems to be a dirty word in many circles. It requires that we give up our pet foibles and whims in an honest desire to share fellowship with brethren around what is important. What is important is what is clearly stated in Scripture, and not the latest battles raging today over minor issues like Bible versions, style of music, or a whole host of other concerns that are separating brethren that are not worth the fight and only make us look foolish to the watching world.

To conclude, my encouragement to fellow pastors and elders is to be careful who we consider allowing into our midst. Sometimes wolves start off looking like nice fluffy little pups. We are to guard our flocks in our calling as overseers and this will require taking a more proactive stance on dealing with issues like the perennial Peter Rabbits. Brothers, we are not islands to ourselves and should be working to fellowship with others who are like or simmilarly minded in doctrine and teaching. Our churches profit little if all we are doing is growing by sheep-stealing.

And, to my fellow brothers and sisters, from past personal experience, the Peter Rabbit suit is not all that it is cracked up to be. It is uncomfortable to wear for you and your family and to those you keep leaving behind. Wearing the suit will normally only serve to get you all hot and bothered. Then you will end up looking for fellowship in all the wrong places and for all the wrong reasons. It is time that we take the suits off and don’t bother hanging them back up in the closet to wear another day. It is time they were destroyed and that we started seeing commitment to God and His Word, and to have a heart to deal with the problems as they arise.

In all this, our one desire should be 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether you eat or drink or whatsoever you do, DO ALL TO THE GLORY OF GOD!”

35 thoughts on “Hippety-hop, There Goes Peter Rabbit!

  1. What a great post. Thank you for sharing. When my former assembly went purpose driven/emergent, I donned the rabbit suit and hopped around. Praise God I hopped into the assembly that can now be called my home. This is a great post to self reflect on the reasons to leave or not to leave a church. Grace and peace.

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  2. I have known quite a few church hoppers and unfortunately many of them have had many problems in their life outside of church, which is probably what led them to hop around. The biggest negative impact is on the children. Many of these children end up not attending church or church hopping themselves. So sad!

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  3. We have left two churches in the last 8 years that started out alright. They slowly started embracing emergent/seeker driven changes. The first one began teaching Nooma videos and emracing Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Shane Clayborne, etc. The youth pastor would do sermons on social justice and scold us for not giving more to others in the impoverished Indian population around us. This church also started getting in to mysticism, yoga and joining forces with RCC and Episcopal as well as emergent churches. At the second church, I inquired about how “ecumenical” they were and what their positions were about hell, mysticism, social justice, etc. They reassured me they weren’t any of the that. Little did I know about seeker-purpose churches because It started out alright and then as they got going along trying to grow from a small church to a little larger (then comes the building program) they started to share a gospel that was watered down, communion was never presented in light of 1 Corinthians 11, from verse 27: “For this reason, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself first, and in this way let him eat the bread and drink of the cup. For the one who eats and drinks without careful regard for the body eats and drinks judgment against himself.”, and then the sermons were changed to self-help topic driven and leaving behind expository teaching. I found that sermons weren’t even the pastors own any more but were canned ones from other bigger churches like Elevation, 12 Stones, Life Church, New Spring and others – Never admitting it or giving credit to those who actually wrote them either.

    My point is, churches aren’t all that they are suppose to be. It is disappointing to say the least, that in our town of about 65,000 that we can’t find a church that hasn’t decided to change its position on vital doctrinal issues and/or who get so caught up in wanting to build their churches in numbers and their buildings in size that they start diluting the message, have no true bible studies and only offer fluff for kids programs. I am not Wesleyan, KJ only, reformed (back into the time period of where women dress in old fashioned dresses and walk behind their husbands two steps) and I am not Pentecostal or mainline Protestant. I use to be most closely aligned with Evangelical Free but they have changed too. My kids see through the garbage and don’t care to be a part of it either. I won’t let them near a place where they are pushing garbage instead of truth.

    What has happened in the theological colleges across the country? Whydoes it seem like there has been a change of hand? in what is being taught and accepted? These colleges are the ones that are teaching the new pastors that are coming out with new ideas that aren’t biblical.

    Willow Creek and its connections with the likes of Jim Wallis have had a profound effect on this too! I have heard enough about their Leadership Summits where rascal Marxists and nonChristians are brought in to teach how to be great leaders. The last three churches I have been to are big into going to these like they are the Holy Grail unto themselves. Makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about all of the deception that is never questioned but accepted – more than the Gospel!

    Give me a church that actually stands for truth and I will be there but right now I can’t find one. So this hopper has decided to sit this one out until I see some changes from the top!

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  4. Church hopping in the last days is a lot like a man bar hopping at closing time in search of an honest woman to make his bride. It’s a faulty plan to say the least.

    ..in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness. And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait. -Proverbs 7:9

    ..at the end of the age, in the great falling away, the day of darkness. The harlot church, full of wily methods and enchanting sorcery. Her institutions and buildings are well known, she long ago left the foundation of Christ and the apostles, she did not stay at home in the purity of the Gospel. Now in the street and the market, where her deceived followers preach a “come to my church” message, now on the street corner with signs that read “methodist”, “nazarine”, “assemblies of God”, “baptist”, and so on. At every corner she lies in wait.

    Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.

    in Christ -Jim

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  5. You can’t actually, by definition, ‘hop from church to church’. If you are saved, then you are in the true church no matter what! What you refer to as ‘churches’ are just the institutions, although there will be some saved people there (hopefully). All true Christians are in the invisible church (as opposed to the professing visible ‘church’).

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  6. Andrew, if you have time you might want to do a little study. Go through the entire New Testament and list every use of the word “church” or “churches”. Depending on which translation you use, you might look for “assembly”. The Greek word is ecclesia.

    So, make a chart (use Excel if you have it). Column 1 is the Scripture reference.

    Column 2, label as “Invisible/universal”, Column 3 as “Visible/Local”, Column 4 as “Both”, Column 5 as “unclear.”

    Now, look at each usage of the word, and decide, “Is this talking about invisible/universal, visible/local, both, or unclear?” And once you’ve decided, just put an X in the right column, and move on to the next passage.

    See where most of the X’s fall.

    When Christ said, “Tell it to the church” in Matthew 18, was He telling us to find every saved believer and tell them, or was He talking about a local group of people that you actually could tell? Is Acts 14:23 talking about the universal church? What about 14:27? 15:3? What about 12:5? Did the universal church even know to pray for Peter, or is this talking about the believers locally who knew of the problem? What about Acts 8:3? Did Saul persecute the invisible church, or a local body of believers?

    There are a lot of verses that get plugged into that I/U category that belong in one of the other columns. But even so, the V/L column is going to win out.

    A church is an assembly. Assemblies assemble, meet together. To date, the universal “assembly” has never assembled. It will, of course, some day.

    God instituted professing visible churches. The word “church” occurs in the NT 37 times. All true Christians should be part of a professing, visible church if at all possible. It usually is possible, even if the church is very small. The church will be flawed, but so was the church at Corinth, and Paul didn’t tell believers to leave it.

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  7. “Give me a church that actually stands for truth and I will be there but right now I can’t find one. So this hopper has decided to sit this one out until I see some changes from the top!”

    Jodie, I got a church for you and it was founded by Jesus Christ, it is called the Roman Catholic Church!!!!

    Keith

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  8. Keith, first, thank you for stopping by. Sadly, you like many others have been duped into believing the lies that your faith teaches you. The RCC was not founded by Jesus Christ, but was a syncretistic amalgamation of the pagan worship prevalent in Rome combined with a few aspects of Christianity. Constantine was the self-styled first pope and establishing the pattern of evangelization common through the history of the RCC, literally forced Roman soldiers and civilians to accept his newly formed religion.

    Sadly, the RCC continued to decline further and further away from the truth of Scripture until pretty much all that is left is the traditions of men and idolatry of all that sets itself against God. A classic example of this is seen in that the RCC has a completely different set of 10 commandments which they put forth to their followers that does not line up with Exodus 20 – namely, that the second commandment about NO GRAVEN IMAGE is completely missing from their teaching.

    You are welcome to remain here and read what has been shared. Also, if you have any questions or concerns about what we have shared, you are welcome to respond, but I do want to let you know that this is not a blog where the RCC faith or any of its adherents will be allowed to proselytize.

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  9. “Jodie, I got a church for you and it was founded by Jesus Christ, it is called the Roman Catholic Church!!!!”

    Keith, I got a pure woman for you, she hangs out on the corner of a ghetto in inner city detroit. Her arms are loaded with track marks and she turns a half dozen or so tricks a night. She’d make a real nice bride for you keith.

    Sadly this is your spiritual reality, you are wedded to the harlot (counterfit) church. Urging you to repent of your demonic religion and turn to pure faith in Jesus Christ (Bible Jesus, not RCC “jesus”) or you will have the greater damnation in hell than the woman I mentioned above. The Lord has been saving many out her grasp keith, humble yourself and see if he wont do the same for you.

    -Jim

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  10. Thanks Mark, I do have plenty to say. First, I am not here to proselytize but to chat about the Bible, History, and what you guys have to say about my faith. Second, your thought that the Catholic Church came about or was created at the time of Constantine is false. I can show you from History that major Catholic doctrines or beliefs were held long before Constantine’s time. He wasn’t the first pope, Peter was. In fact, I find it quite odd that the Corinthian Church would appeal to Clement of Rome, who is considered the fourth pope, in the 80 to 90 AD period, to correct a dispute that was occurring within their church. If Rome did not have some type of visible authority in the Christian World, even at that early time, why did the Corinthian Church appeal to Clement? Why not appeal to say, John, who was on Patmos, most closer I imagine than Rome.

    Your assertion that the Catholic Church mixed Pagan practices with Christian elements doesn’t hold water. Just because there are base similarities between Christian and various Pagan religions doesn’t mean they are one in the same. I doubt you would consider Islam to be the same as Christianity even though we both worship one God, have a sacred book, have base rituals, etc. The same could be said about the so-called Pagan/Christian comparison. You, as a bible-believing Christian, has a sacred book, Pagans did. You believe in using water in baptism, pagans did. You believed in ritual to a certain extent, Pagans did. Are you the same as a Pagan, I would think not.

    Your assertion that the Catholic Church changed the ten commandments is also false. The Catholic Church combines certain commandments into one, where as some Protestants don’t. We tend to follow Saint Augustine’s lead in this. To my knowledge, so did Martin Luther. You think we did this to get around the old ban on icons. Tell me Mark, wasn’t Moses commanded to build an icon to scare away the serpents or snakes that were causing problems for the Isralites? Wasn’t the Ark of the Covenant and Temple covered with pictures of animals or cherubim, etc… Do you worship a picture of your wife or children? Get my point….

    In Christ,
    Keith

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  11. Jim, the problem I have with what you said is, what church am I to join then? Whose authority should I follow to interpret or understand scripture? My own, yours, the local pastor? You see Jim, this is the problem with American and really Christianity in general. There is way too much disunity. Now, this doesn’t mean we should hold hands and sing Koom by ya together. But should I really rely on some person, who reads scripture a few times and thinks they know it all, or should I listen to the Church Christ founded? Does Bubba down the road have it right and the Catholic Church with 2000 years of tradition, etc… have it all wrong?

    In Christ,
    Keith

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  12. Actually, Keith, your view of history is very skewed by the rewritten history books of Catholic scholars. You still have not addressed the facts addressed in regards to the bloody history of the Jesuits, nor the Inquisitions that were held in order to rid Rome of truth and the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

    Some of the major doctrines to which the RCC held to were actually started or had their roots in Baal worship 2,000+ years prior to the point where you claim the RCC came into existence. Would you therefore endorse the pagan worship of Baal simply because it outdates the worship which you are required to do to the idols in your church building.

    Your faith does indeed seek to eradicate the 2nd commandment. It teaches fables of men and holds men in fear of their soul if they do not fulfill the teachings of the Church. The Church and traditions are held in much higher prominence than the Scriptures. This is borne out by the teaching of doctrines such as abstaining from meat, forbidding to marry for clergy (a Middle Ages doctrine NOT from Scripture but from a pope who could not bear to see the wealth of his priests, bishops and cardinals be inherited by their families who might not care so much for the overbearing pope’s coffers), the worship of Mary, veneration and praying to the dead, etc.

    Oh, and as for icons, Moses was commanded to craft a brass serpent for the SOLE purpose of having the people to look and live. They were NOT to worship it. In fact, later, the brass serpent became an icon to the people. They were praying and worshiping the icon and King Hezekiah had it destroyed because it violated the commands of Christ. As for pictures of my wife and children, I do not worship them, do not light candles in front of their pictures, or pray to them. Nor, do I do that in front of pictures of my deceased grandparents. Your faith DOES venerate and worship and pray to those who are deceased.

    As for Peter being the first pope, you base this purely on speculation. There is no record he was ever in Rome. Secondly, he was married. Of course, I don’t expect that the church doesn’t have an answer for that one considering the debauched history of the popes from the Middle Ages who all were either homosexual or kept mistresses. Third, his teachings alone are a direct conflict with what your church teaches. If Peter could be resurrected, he would soundly condemn the heresy in the RCC as NOT being what Christ taught.

    Mark

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  13. Yes, there is even disunity in the RCC circles. Your own cardinals cannot agree on what course of action to take in a number of issues both spiritual and moral.

    Funny your last couple of comments, Keith. You rely on a fallible man called the pope, who styles himself as the vicar of Christ. I have been in a number of RCC churches and rarely heard Scriptures read, and certainly never exposited. What I have heard is the same droning on and on that is repeated almost verbatim, ad nauseum, in stained glass cathedrals and buildings, with all the accompanying rituals of stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, kneel down, cross yourself, genuflect, etc. etc. while the guy at the front thinks he has the ability to call Christ down from heaven and crucify Him again in the ritual known as the mass.

    Who do we listen to? We should be very concerned any time ANY group of people who claim to know Christ demand from their followers that which Christ and His disciples did not command. As for 2000 years of tradition, even if you were close in the amount of years, 2000 years does not equate to following Scripture if you are relying on tradition. I will stack the 5 Solas of the Reformation (actually were held in some form long before the Reformation) against the tradition of the RCC any day, and the Scriptures will win.

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  14. Purgatory as a Christian doctrine, church tradition of equal authority with the Bible, papal infallibility, immaculate conception, assumption of Mary, transsubstantiation, praying to Mary.

    Some of these cannot be found before Constantine. None of them were accepted as Christian doctrine before Constantine.

    I suggest, to answer your question to Jim, you start by looking at the last part of I John 2. If it doesn’t make sense to you and answer your question, then you don’t have the Spirit of God, in which case it really doesn’t matter which church you go to. You need, then, to look at Romans 10, which tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. So you need to read a Bible. Romans would be a good place to start.

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  15. Lots to say here but time is short 😦 Again, you are making a sweeping indictment of all the whole Jesuit Order. Not every Jesuit was a bad person or out to get rich or gain power. Sadly, you think that was the case. When I read scripture, I see people who are believers but fall short many times because of sin. We can look at King David or the Israelites at Sinai, perhaps Paul or the Apostles. So much of the Old Testament is calling people back to God. What Inquisitions were you referring to Mark? Please Specifiy.

    Please do tell me what Baal worship you are referring to that the Catholic Church teaches as doctrine or does.

    I knew it was only a matter of time before the classic Lorraine Boettner List of Catholic Heresies was brought out. Oh my! Why is abstaining from meat bad? Are you against Vegetarians? Forbidding Clergy from marrying? Why is that bad? Doesn’t Christ say in Matthew 19:16 or so that some (Eunuchs) renounce marriage for the Kingdom of God? Christ was celibate and Paul was I believe. Again, I don’t see why this is a bad thing? There are some married clergy too!

    We don’t worship Mary, we venerate her. Christ says he is not God of the dead but of the Living. We are not asking dead people to pray for us. I think you are thinking of necromancy. I don’t worship plaster or a picture. I worship God and he alone. Praying in front of a statue or image of Christ doesn’t mean I am worship the statue or image just like you if you pray with a bible in front of you doesn’t mean you worship it.

    How do you know Peter wasn’t in Rome. History says he was. Saint Irenaeus says he and Paul founded the Church at Rome and even if he had never set foot there, doesn’t mean he could not have been the first pope. Does it mean George Washington could have never been the first president if he didn’t set foot in DC? Peter being married doesn’t mean he couldn’t have been the first pope. Celibacy of the priesthood is not doctrine, it can be changed.

    I imagine Peter and the Apostles would feel more at home in a Catholic Mass than your basic Protestant service.

    In Christ,
    Keith

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  16. Actually, Keith, the apostles would NOT feel more at home in a church where Christ is crucified again and again at the whims of a depraved man!

    Secondly, since you are so sure that you studied Scripture and that it lines up with your faith, then the challenge of showing the traditions of the RCC are directly from Scripture. Please begin with the ones mentioned by Jon Gleason.

    For what it is worth, I have not read Lorraine Boettner, so my list is not from reading his material. My challenge still stands.

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  17. Keith,

    Your showing your ignorance on RCC. And even if false teaching were being spread before Constitine doesn’t make them acceptible then or now. I was raised RCC so I know exactly what they teach and why I left. The Word of the Lord is the final authority for me on doctrine.

    As someone mentioned above the first Pope was never mentioned in the Bible and to take one verse out of context and build a whole religion on it is not going to convince me that it is right.

    *********

    I was born into a RCC family and raised in it until I saw the false teachings of it. It took me a few years to fully understand things, however, I did leave by the time I was in high school. I was saved by Jesus Christ at the age of 10 and by the time I pieced all the things that I was learning I totally made a redirection of where I attended church because of my new faith in Christ.

    At a rather young age (2nd grader) I could read quite well and as I started reading the Bible for myself I saw many contradictions that I were being taught to me. I had to go through my first communion and was learing all the works I needed to acheive to be approved by the Preist.

    I had never once been told to read the bible for myself by anyone in the parish we attended. I had no real idea that we should or could. I was taught to read the Missal and that was all I needed.

    My grandfather, who was living with us at the time, was given a regular Holy Bible and I was intrigued by it. I would pull it off the coffee table and start reading it. As I did this I started to notice the many contridictions of the RCC teachings in comparison to the Word.

    I began to question why I was doing repititious prayers by praying the Rosary, confessing my sins to a priest and also why he was the one who did the forgiving. Then I also question praying to Saints and praying the Stations of the Cross. The one thing that really brought it full cirlce for me a t hyiosu ng kid was why were we calling the preist Father when it directly said not to? I couldn’t fully know all the answers but this was the start of my seeking truth and I knew I wasn’t finding it through the RCC.

    There is no evidence in the bible that say Peter was the first Pope. The one verse that is used to build this as truth is ignoring all the context surrounding it. Jesus is the Rock, not Peter, that we are to build our faith on.

    Another thought is this: it doesn’t matter if a false teaching was started before or after Constitine’s period of time, if the teaching is not biblical truth then it is not true.

    Jodie

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  18. “I imagine Peter and the Apostles would feel more at home in a Catholic Mass than your basic Protestant service.”

    Although the protestant “service” is only a slightly reformed version of the mass, I would say the only apostles who would feel comfortable at a mass are the apostles of satan. Keith, I can no better explain to you about the kingdom of God than I can explain what a beautiful painting looks like to a blind man who can only conjure up mental images of dung. I say that with no guile in my heart towards you. The issue is not catholic verse protestant (great whore verse her harlot run away daughters). The issue is catholicism verses the kingdom of God. God resists you in your religious pride and love of lies. I feel the same towards you as I would feel about a victim of Stockholm syndrome who talks of how great it is to be abused in captivity because they are in such a loving relationship. At the same time I must contend against the satanic lies you believe and teach.

    Jesus saved me, the Holy Spirit lives inside of me, my anointing comes directly from God, not through a satanic priest or religious system. I have real brothers and sisters that are used to encourage and admonish me, not deceived religionists who I pay to perform satanic ceremonies in the name of Jesus. Humble yourself and pray to God you will have the same someday.

    -Jim

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  19. If I have not love….. Sound biblical teaching above all else but this was true of the church of Ephesus ( rev. 3 ). commended for doctrine blasted for their lack of love.
    The good shepherd knows his sheep as well as his sheep know him. The shepherd sets the example for the flock. I have spent time with pastors who never once asked me one personal question. How does that how me he loves me at all?

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  20. Is it better to go to a bad Church than not al all? In the UK finding a good bible believing Church is not an easy task. Even the last independant Baptist Church i went to taught that the flood was local, the pre-flood characters did not really live 800 years plus and Genesis was not be taken literally and promoted the things of world as being good. The Anglican Church has compromised with the world so much it’s hardly recognisable any more, many independant Churches are liberal and politically correct and run those “Alpha” courses.

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  21. Andrew said “Is it better to go to a bad Church than not at all?”

    Andrew, I would say we need to look at what makes that local church bad. There are many admonishments in the NT to withdraw ourselves from groups of people professing to be believers. There are also many admonishments to not forsake gathering together so those need to be weighed in proper context to each other. I would say if the leadership conquers over the flock through the use of religious titles and the Christ dishonoring clergy-laity system I would not assemble with such people. If there is open sin that is not dealt with by the leaders I would not go either. If it is a religious organization that builds up their name instead of the kingdom of God I would not go there either.

    Better to find a group of called out ones to be the Church with rather than an organization claiming to be a church anyway.

    In Christ -Jim

    2Timothy 3:1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

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  22. Jon said:

    “Andrew, if you have time you might want to do a little study. Go through the entire New Testament and list every use of the word “church” or “churches”. Depending on which translation you use, you might look for “assembly”. The Greek word is ecclesia.”

    That is a fair and balanced statement. All true believers make up the Church. When they come together it is called an assembly or congregation. The group of saints in a local area are called the Church too whether they are a few believers on their own or a few believers that attend a larger weekly meeting with other true believers.

    Another interesting fact is that the Tyndale Bible uses the word church twice, but only in reference to pagan Temples… such things caused him to be hated and persecuted by the roman catholic and english protestant religious institutions. Likewise today, any speaking against the religious establishment and its false authority and rule will bring about the same response.

    In Christ -Jim

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  23. Andrew, several ideas. You probably know about some of these.

    If you are looking for Reformed, try http://www.grace.org.uk/.

    These people might be able to help you or refer you to someone who can: http://www.agbcse.org.uk/

    FIEC: mixed bag, but most would be far better than those you described. http://www.fiec.org.uk/

    There are some pretty good Brethren Gospel Halls (some are rather divisive), described here: http://www.brethrenpedia.com/Gospel_Hall_Brethren. They have a directory here: http://www.gospelhall.org/. These are not necessarily known outside of their immediate area, so there might be one not that far away that you haven’t heard about.

    There are also some small works started by or associated with American missionaries. They may not have buildings, and may only have a few people, so there could possibly be some of these fairly close as well that you just haven’t heard of. If there are two or three, they are a church, and they might be thrilled to have you make it three or four instead.

    If you want to contact me through my contact page on my blog and let me know where you are, I could ask some people I know. Also, email Mark, he spent some time in the UK and might know someone close to you.

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  24. Hello Mark, I will be glad to discuss the Bible with you. But you are using a shotgun approach for me to answer at least six or so things at one time. That is unfair. These are not simple things you can just hash out with one or two verses. It might be better for me to answer a few at a time or just add some scripture for you guys to ruminate on 🙂

    In Christ,
    Keith

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  25. Keith, however you wish to approach it. We presented the challenge to you to prove your doctrine is based on Scripture. You can take one or two at a time if you want, but we still wait for answers that are solidly Biblical. Your answers cannot be based on tradition or papal decrees.

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  26. Thank’s for the links Jon, much appreciated, i will check them out. I’m in the Stourbridge area, West Midlands.

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  27. It is all well and good to say that we should not “church hop”. I would generally agree. But sometimes the issues are not so cut and dried as you have laid out. What if your church was in the main doctrinally sound, but a part of a larger organization (SBC) which you became more and more and more alarmed by? You knew that your church was giving to that organization and you could not in good conscience give your tithe to the SBC. Yet so many in the church, including the pastor were totally committed to the SBC no matter what? What then?

    What if your church were doctrinally sound but your pastor didn’t preach – he just got up and talked? Rather dispassionately, as though he were giving a lecture?

    What if you had a church that was doctrinaly sound but there were no elders and nobody that was qualified to be an elder?

    I could go on and on, but the point is that it is getting harder and harder for solid Christians to find a biblically sound, functioning church in their area.

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