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Which church to attend?

September 28, 2011

Upon our return to Wyoming, we came face to face with a very difficult decision, which church to attend? We have had the difficult choice between two wonderful groups of believers, both of whom have loved and supported us for many years while on the mission field.

The decision came down to a doctrinal point, what to do about speaking in tongues. One church had a specific by-law that would not condone speaking in tongues during their service, while the other church is more open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  I believe that 1 Corinthians 14:29 is very clear on this point, that we are not to forbid speaking in tongues, and this in a letter directed to a church that was in the midst of some wildly unacceptable behavior.  But despite their evident weaknesses listed in the text, Paul still did not forbid or diminish the role of the Holy Spirit and His giftings, rather he more clearly defined how the gifts were to operate in a church.  Definitions that should better guide us today in the application and the employment of the spiritual gifts.

I believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available for today and that we need them more than ever in our churches today.  Sadly, “tongues” has become a point of division for many evangelicals, whereas God intended it to be a means of unity.

Our choice of which church to attend was solely made, not on the issue of speaking in tongues itself, but the doctrinal belief that forbidding the practice is un-Biblical and that we could not become active members of such a body.  However, through an open and transparent process we were able to discuss with the church’s leadership the problem and together agree that it was best we attend the other church.  Then together, in front of many of the church members, the church’s pastor and myself were able explain why we wouldn’t be worshiping each Sunday with them based on this doctrinal point while emphatically underlining the mutual love and respect we have for one another.  It was a beautiful example of how two people in Christ can openly disagree but remain united through love in Christ.  My respect and appreciation for this church’s leadership grew significantly as they swallowed a bitter pill and chose to love and respect rather than be bitter and angry.

And so we now find ourselves in a leadership position, as a teaching elder, of a small community of believers.  Together we will seek to grow and expand the stature of this church, extending the Kingdom of God further into the surrounding households and communities .  We are not in competition with any other church, we believe “that there is one body and one Spirit, just as [we] were called in one hope of [our] calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” [Eph 4:4-6]

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From → Local church

3 Comments
  1. Hello,
    I just want to let you know that I read your well-written post on which church to attend. I would like to invite you to read my post Speaking in Tongues. Maybe it will enlighten you as never before. God bless.

    • Thank you for visiting the blog. I did go to your post on speaking in tongues, and I regret that it did not enlighten me “as ever before.” Without going into the entire argument for speaking in tongues, I would just say that two things: scripture forbids the act of forbidding speaking in tongues, and when we limit what God can do we limit what God will do in our lives. I for one want ALL that the God of the scriptures wishes to afford me to live a victorious Biblical life until His return. Limiting that scope, limits Him, and I am profoundly uncomfortable with that. Thank you again, and may the Shepherd’s presence be tangible to you on this pilgrim road.

      • Thank you for reading my post. So sorry it did not enlighten you. Scripture says not to forbid speaking in tongues—that is, before the speaking in tongues had ceased, of course! Nowadays tongue speakers use the standard argument that we humans can somehow stop true tongues all together, and thus limit God; however, it is impossible to stop true tongues as in the Bible times, if it were still active, as it is completely impossible to limit God. So why say such things? They also believe that speaking in gibberish brings some kind of extra closeness to God, and that it makes one with a special kind of equipping. However, only the truth will bring one closer to Christ. Fruitless counterfeit language with or without interpretation for anyone with a mind, heart, and voice to pray with is absurd. We also have the Bible, the written Word of God, with no additions, complete to bring us all we need to know for salvation. In the Bible times, tongues was spoken to give us to reveal mysteries from God. They mysteries of God have been revealed, and that is what scripture say. I implore you let us reason together! May I assure you, the Shepherd’s presence is truly with me. Amen.

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