Thursday, February 13, 2020

Returning to the God of our fathers....


As a little girl, I learned about Jesus at my parents' knee.  I listened as they talked of spiritual things and sang as they lifted hymns up to heaven.  I prayed simple, childlike prayers and believed with a simple, childlike faith.  I went to church and Sunday school, said grace before dinner and prayed before bed.  I was a Christian......or at least I was to the best of my knowledge.

I grew up and grew away......I would have adamantly acknowledged Christ as my Savior....believing in Him with everything in me, however, the choices in my life did not reflect that belief.  I lived for myself, with an occasional nod to my Creator.  I wanted to be both a "Christian" and like everyone else in the world.  I worshiped the God of my fathers.....but I hadn't made Him my own.

As with all prodigals, I was brought low by my choices.  When the scales finally fell from my eyes, I fell to my knees and sought God....truly sought Him for the first time.  Rather than relying on my fathers' faith, I began to earnestly seek the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

And I have never quit seeking Him.

Through the years I have walked and I have stumbled, crawled and walked again.  God has gently brought me along, refining and remaking me.  And as He has continued to mold and shape me I have begun to question....never God, but every ritual and contrivance of man.  Why do we sit in pews, pass out grape juice and crackers and have "communion" once a month?  Why does every church I've ever been to follow the same script.... Announcements, Prayer, Praise & Prayer, Worship (3 songs), Prayer, Sermon (1/2 hour), Communion (if its the first Sunday of the month) Hymn (1st and last verse), and then Prayer?  Why do we sit in the same seats, chat with the same people and get involved with the same programs?    Why do we look like every other church in every other town in every other state?  And why are we just as lost and hopeless as the world around us?  The answer?  Man.

Man has created rituals and systems and programs with which to measure holiness.  However, rather than holiness they create emptiness - which brings me back to the question......why?  Why do we "worship" the way that we worship?  Why do we follow conventional form and function rather than search the scriptures to find how the first "church" followed Christ?

We're returning to the God of our fathers.....therein lies the reason we follow the rituals and contrivances of man.  Instead of seeking to follow the Christ of the Bible we are following the forms and conventions of the Roman Catholic Church, from which the Protestant Church was born.

The first church was a church of simple faith.  They gathered in homes, had everything in common and their numbers grew daily.  They broke bread together, ministered to each others needs, worshiped, shared news and were filled with the Holy Spirit.  They became the body of Christ, bound by chords of brotherly love.

That simple faith was slowly and completely replaced with the pageantry and ritual that is the Catholic Church.  Simplicity gave way to the worship of saints, a human priest once again became a go-between between man and God, and the sufficiency of Christ was replaced with penance and purgatory.  And thus the world was thrust into an age of darkness.

The Protestant Church was the rebellious child of the Catholic Church.  They wanted throw off the conventions of their Mother church, but never completely shed the deeply ingrained rituals associated  with their faith.  And the older the Protestant church becomes, the more they become like their parent.

Our quest for holiness should lead us to the simple faith of the Bible not to the rituals of man.  We should seek to return to the simple faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob not the pageantry of man-made religion.  We should ask why....and then we should search the scripture for the truth.

We have to return to the God of our true fathers.....not the God of our church fathers.  "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."  Matthew 6:33


22 comments:

  1. Amen. Churches are not buildings.

    The two greatest gifts parents can give their child is Jesus Christ and schooling at home.

    I might add homechurching as the primary means of teaching children. Families can still fellowship together just a homeschooling families socialize together.
    Montana Guy

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    1. Homeschooling is essential to defend from the secular humanist indoctrination found in government schools

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  2. The Westminster Confession of Faith spells it all out really well... Just sayin

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    1. That may be true....however the scripture is the one and only authority.....everything else is just the opinion of man! Enola

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    2. So wonderful to have you back. First, I would like to say that it's good to hear that you and your family made it through with your new business venture and are happy in your new home. Wishing all the blessings you can possibly receive from Jesus Christ.

      Next, you are correct in regards to church services. They seem to be either by rote with no indication of a deep spiritual connection or they resemble a rock concert with some of their songs that are Extremely Repetitious. That's not to say that there aren't any beautiful, worshipful contemporary hymns. It's awful, but I tend to get a lot more out of reading some Christian posts and sometimes from readers' replies. When we lived in MA we had get-togethers in each other's homes, singing all the old-time hymns, having discussions and coffee/treats. Some of the very best times in the Lord.

      Enjoy seeing you on board again and hope your firefighter daughter is doing well plus everyone else.
      Fondly, Ramona in NC

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  3. Well said. And we should question why most Protestants worship on Sunday rather than the 7th day sabbath (Saturday) when God’s 4th commandment is very clear. The reason? Check easy to find Catholic sources where they claim the change from the seventh day sabbath to Sunday as a “Mark” of their authority. So, Protestants, are we keeping all of God’s Ten Commandments or just nine? Something to take to the Lord in prayer and search the scriptures. We live in very interesting times as most Protestant churches see no threat in cozying up with the Pope. May we all remain faithful to Jesus Christ and to all the truth in the Holy Bible.

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    1. If one believes in New Testament scripture, why would they identify as anything but a 'Christian'? Honestly, I don't get it.
      Montana Guy

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    2. Scripture reports that the New Testament church gathered to worship on Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10). But Scripture doesn’t use the word Sunday, a name associated with sun worship (12–14). Instead, the early church spoke of Sunday as the first day of the week, or the first day from the Sabbath (9).

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    3. Additionally, the liturgical worship service is much older than the Church of Rome. It is based on the Book of Leviticus and Jewish synagogue services. Protestants didn't take it from the Roman Catholics and condemn their practices.

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  4. Well said. And we should question why most Protestants worship on Sunday rather than the 7th day sabbath (Saturday) when God’s 4th commandment is very clear. The reason? Check easy to find Catholic sources where they claim the change from the seventh day sabbath to Sunday as a “Mark” of their authority. So, Protestants, are we keeping all of God’s Ten Commandments or just nine? Something to take to the Lord in prayer and search the scriptures. We live in very interesting times as most Protestant churches see no threat in cozying up with the Pope. May we all remain faithful to Jesus Christ and to all the truth in the Holy Bible.

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    1. Does any Christian actually believe that one is not saved if they do not worship on a particular day of the week?
      Montana Guy

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  5. The Westminster Confession of Faith is based on scripture, which the proof texts clearly indicate. Scripture is always the final say.

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    1. Confessions/creeds also protect us from theological drift by binding us not only to the gospel but to our fellow confessors as well. Subscribing to a confession is both public and corporate. The prefix con- in confess means “together.” Confessions bind us together in fellowship under the gospel. Through confession, the gospel becomes our common ground and shared vision. Confessions are fundamentally unifying.

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  6. As I have always told my children, the Bible has all the answers to any problem in our lives. Teaching our children about God and how to save their souls is the most important thing a parent can do for their child. Thank God daily for being raised in a Godly home, many do not have that. Churches are stuck in a rut. The sermons only want to tickle the ears of the congregation. Many do not know sin, or are blinded. Preachers and elders don't condemn, we are always told to love. Regardless of all the happenings and how others are we must continue to believe and prepare for eternity.

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  7. Thank you, Enola. It;s nice to have you sharing again. 😃

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  8. Sadly, we live in an age in which the church is viewed more or less as a smorgasbord. There are all kinds and types of churches, providing consumers multiple options from which to pick and choose what they like. This was somewhat true in the time of the Reformation, as there were Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anabaptist, Lutheran, and Reformed churches. Today the situation is even more confusing, since so many organizations call themselves churches. We have everything from theological cults, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to thousands of garden-variety nondenominational churches, to the so-called “mainline” churches, and everything in between.

    The Reformers searched the Word of God to answer the question of which churches were actually churches. Although there was some debate between Lutheran and Reformed theologians, and even among Reformed theologians themselves, the Reformed churches eventually settled on the belief that the Word revealed three essential outward marks by which any discerning person could determine whether any given congregation was truly a church: “The marks by which the true Church is known are these: If the pure doctrine of the gospel is preached therein; if it maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as instituted by Christ; if church discipline is exercised in punishing sin” (Belgic Confession, Article 29).

    These three marks of a true church—pure preaching of the gospel, pure administration of the sacraments, and church discipline—are in contrast with the marks of a false church, as the Belgic Confession continues: “As for the false Church, it ascribes more power and authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God, and will not submit itself to the yoke of Christ. Neither does it administer the sacraments as appointed by Christ in His Word, but adds to and takes from, as it thinks proper; it relies more upon men than upon Christ; and persecutes those who live holily according to the Word of God and rebuke it for its errors, covetousness, and idolatry” (BC, Art. 29).

    I am not motivated to talk about “true” churches and “false” churches by ego or arrogance, but by a sincere desire to see all God’s sons and daughters in churches that feed their souls. We certainly pray that the Holy Spirit will grant us continued resolve to purely preach the gospel, purely administer the sacraments, and exercise church discipline, and that He would protect us from ascribing more power and authority to ourselves than to the Word, from refusing to submit ourselves to the yoke of Christ, from adding to and taking from Christ’s sacraments, from relying more on men than on Christ, and from persecuting those who live godly lives.

    Sorry for the long post...

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  9. The Bible (the Word - Jesus) has all truth, guidance and answers every question. Why would one need anything written by man? i.e. Westminster Confession of Faith, Belgic Confession, etc. Why not just go by scripture which is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 1 Timothy 3:16-17 Consider that the Holy Spirit (not man) can teach us all things - These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:25-26 And again But the anointing which you have received of Him abideth in you, and you need not than any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in Him. 1 John 2:27.
    My God and His Word are sufficient - His Word can cut through man's traditions of which there are many. The culture of most churches sadly resembles the culture of the world.
    G. Grace Tome

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more! Scripture is the inerrant word of God. In that alone I will put my trust!

      Enola

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    2. They are aids to help understand doctrine, not ever intended to replace scripture. They are based on scripture.

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    3. I'm sure they are.....however, God gave us the Holy Spirit to be our counselor and helper! He helps us understand doctrine. His Word is sufficient!

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  10. Confessions don’t pretend to be more than they are. In fact, they have two requisite limitations. First, a confession is not an extension of Scripture, as if it were God’s Word itself. It is a human response to God’s Word, an acknowledgment that He has spoken. As such, we value a confession only to the extent that it is faithful to Scripture. Thus, a confession is to be assented to whole-heartedly as a confession of God’s truth only when it accurately declares the truth of Scripture.

    Second, confessions cannot contain the whole counsel of God or the full compass of everything those who subscribe to them believe. As a response to God’s Word, the confession points to and guides us toward the whole truth found in the Scriptures. A confession points beyond itself. Therefore, the view that confessions limit growth in the knowledge of God and His gospel is a view that misunderstands the intention of a confession. Confessions are not self-sufficient, doctrinal cages, but guides, witnesses, and safety nets.

    In particular, confessions describe essential beliefs that command broad assent. They often remain silent on secondary matters or on doctrines that are not relevant to their confessional perspective. For example, it is appropriate and important for the London Baptist Confession of Faith to limit the mode and subjects of baptism according to Baptist principles. For other confessional perspectives, such details are not required. Functioning in this way, confessions promote “unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, charity in all things.”1

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