Religious/legalistic mindset

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jd2015, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. Jd2015 New Member
    Jd2015

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    I have encountered an issue in my life and am needing some good sound Godly advice.

    Before starting let me give you a bit of my background as it will help make it easier to understand my view points and where I am coming from.

    I was raised in a non denominational church that joined the Assemblies of God when I was in high school. The preaching I grew up under had a lot of holistic preaching as it's roots. It was a very strong anti sin message. Because of this there was some legalistic mind set that many of the members held. I was convinced for a long time that it was a sin to watch a movie that even had a single cuss word in it. I remember in high school telling my youth pastor that I liked a band that wasn't a Christian band and I was looked at like there was something wrong with me. I remember that for the Super Bowl they would always have services record the games and then watch them on Monday. At the time this seemed normal, after being exposed to new ideas and systems I see that it's okay to have a church super bowl fellowship.

    Moving on from there I went to a wonderful program called Master's Commission where I was exposed to more of a big church model. This was a church that did preach on sin but they also preached on other topics. They did not have Sunday night service. This seems like nothing to me now but at that time, I was concerned I was attending a church that had forsaken the way. Now due to my being in Masters Commission I did have some strict rules to live by. We were unable to date our first year in the program and we were not allowed to listen to secular music. The heart behind these rules was to simply give us one year of pursuing God without any distractions. I did not view these rules as legalism because I understood the heart of it and at times in my second year we were given a lot more leniency.

    Fast forward to attending Bible College. Here I attended a church where the Spirit of the Lord was moving, people were being discipled, the truth was preached, and people encountered God in services. However they had less structure, no Sunday night services, sponsored small group interactions, and if I ever had to miss a Sunday due to life events they were very relaxed. On top of that I served in the youth ministry and there were a few times I would make the decision not to attend because I simply was exhausted after working and going to school full time. I was not made to feel like I wasn't committed to the Lord, or committed to the church, which had been my past experience at my home church, which I youth pastored at for a few years after Masters Commission.

    Let's come to know. I have come to experience this wonderful freedom in Christ. I personally have no problem having a drink once in a great while. I have no dependency on alcohol and enjoy a good beer from time to time. I just avoid doing it in public to not cause those who struggle to stumble. I have no problem listening to secular music as long as it is clean and not full of garbage. I have no problem with a church cancelling Sunday evening services for special events, even the Super Bowl. I have no problem with these things because before I realized that having more rules than Jesus does imprisons me. I enjoy my freedom in Christ. I realize that often the church holds true to traditions such as Sunday evening services, no secular music, no drinking for any of it's members as if these rules have been placed by Jesus. However, they aren't they are added rules from man that imprison many into a Christian lifestyle that causes many to feel guilty when they aren't living in sin.

    God has called my wife and i to be Children's pastors at a church in our community. We love it and we love the people. The Spirit of the Lord is moving and people are being saved and delivered. However, I've noticed throughout the congregation and with the leadership as well that they hold to some of theses legalistic views I just used half this post to discuss. An example would be I was pitching the idea of a Super Bowl outreach to the pastor and the answer I got was, " Well.... I don't know if I can justify canceling a Sunday night service for a game." Luckily we were on the phone because I rolled my eyes. This is a great chance for fellowship, and to reach out to those who may never come to church and this is the answer I get. Due to this my wife and I don't feel we can fully be ourselves out of fear we will be deemed not "holy enough" to keep our position.

    What I don't want to happen is cause a fuss. I will put up with it to remain were God has called me, however I hate the fact that I have to worry about being judged based on these terms. I hate that I have to watch how I carry my freedom in Christ to appease leadership that has some legalistic tendencies. I don't want this post to paint a negative view of my church as well. This is all stuff that is seen only by my wife and I, and they are a very loving church. It's just hard sometimes because I feel like I'm trying to explain colors to someone who has only seen in black and white their whole lives.

    They do have some old fashioned ways of doing church that I would like to see change a bit that I think would extend the reach of the church and make the message stronger, but this area I live in every thing is a bit behind in times.

    I just need advice and am not afraid to be called out if I am seeing things wrong as well. Thanks and God bless.
     
  2. Kenneth Mason Member
    Kenneth Mason

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    I do not have enough information to objectively respond about the spiritual state of your church. I would have to attend for a while to be able to get the complete context of it. That being said, however, it does sound as if your church is starting to lose focus of the Gospel. The main function of a pastor is to keep all things within the church focused on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Teaching, preaching, and counseling are all secondary and should be able to be done by any mature believer within the congregation. The main function of the church is outreach, that is, proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone (especially nonbelievers). Corporate worship, corporate Bible study, and fellowship are all important in a believer’s life, but they all secondary to the great commission, in which we are told to go proclaim the Gospel to every creature. The fact that your pastor feels that a Sunday night service has priority over outreach is a red flag that the church has lost its first love.

    The first step is to lovingly point out to the lead pastor that the great commission is starting to become a second priority. As pastor, you are obligated to make sure that the Gospel of Jesus Christ going out to others is of the utmost priority in all that the church does.

    My wife and I have recently helped plant a church in Miami. There came a point when we had to confront the lead pastor and his wife about the priorities of the church plant. In the end, we had to remove ourselves from membership because the lead pastor refused to address the lack of the proclamation of the Gospel outside of the Sunday service. The whole ordeal caused our former church to turn on us as well because the church plant was ordained by them. Today, our former church wants nothing to do with the church plant because they finally realized that it is self promoting instead of Gospel promoting.

    It has been my experience that it will sometimes be hard to stand for the Gospel, but every time I have, God has protected me.

    I hope this helps.
     
  3. Jd2015 New Member
    Jd2015

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    They are a very outreach oriented church, every fourth Sunday during the warmer months we do door to door outreach praying for people in the community. I just fear that holding to certain traditions will limit the outreach we could be doing.

    I have never been good at confronting people. Especially when it comes to church leadership. I've not had good experience with it. I desire so much to plant a church but haven't had the Lord release me to do so. I am also dealing with mistakes I've made in previous ministries and don't feel my track record is quite ready yet, if that makes any sense?
     
  4. Kenneth Mason Member
    Kenneth Mason

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    The church I grew up in was also outreach oriented. We went door knocking almost as much as the JW’s in the community did, but I realize now that it was because it was something they felt they had to do, and not because the Gospel was priority. I’m not saying that you necessarily need to call the lead pastor out on anything, but I would have a talk with him about the way you feel.
     

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