Saturday, June 21, 2008


So the Husband is teaching the teen Sunday school class for a few weeks, and has been working his way through the "5 Solas." As his wife, I get to sit in. Good stuff. He's reviewing the basics of his lessons [on his now deleted blog] once he's taught them for class. You should go read them.

Sola Scriptura
Sola Fide
Sola Gracia

Sola Gracia is the big sticking point in Fundamentalism, isn't it? We say we're saved by grace through faith, but we sure don't preach sanctification by grace through faith. Nope, sanctification is by works, don't'cha know?? *rolls eyes*

In retrospect [speaking from my perspective in 2012], this Sunday School series my husband presented was the touchstone for his journey out of our local church. There had always been annoyances in Fundamentalism, those "minor" things that were made into "major" things, but the study that went into this series highlighted doctrinal things that we differed on. Emphases rather than substance perhaps, but differences nonetheless. As the years progressed, it became more apparent just how foundational those differences were.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Beginning to Articulate Questions

(Originally written to a dear Pastor friend)

Two or three topics just keep coming up... in my mind they can be connected: grace, child-rearing, and sanctification.  My questions about grace as it impacts child-rearing are pretty well summed up here.  Then there's the questions about grace as it relates to Gothard's definition now being preached at our church. *sigh*  Pastor was lamenting from the pulpit a month ago how he feels that we (the congregation) have an overly negative view of God... He wondered why so many in the congregation *know* God loves them, but are convinced He doesn't *like* them.  How else do you expect people to view God when you're constantly preaching about all we have to *do* to be good Christians (that has the side benefit of making God pleased with us)?  We need to read more & pray more & make sure our standards are Biblical ones (read: last generations') & & &.... and then he wonders why the congregation feels like God doesn't like them? How are you supposed to be convinced someone likes you if you always have to be doing more to make them happy?? 
Granted, I'm being overly simplistic in my presentation, and only pointing out those things which support my disgruntledness (which is hardly fair)..... it just seems logical to me that his accurate view (of the congregations' negative perception of God) is a DIRECT result of his regular preaching.  He focuses so much on how we're not separated enough, not holy enough... If his preaching is basically saying "you have to hitch up your skirt & try harder," well, then no wonder the people think God doesn't like them very much!!!  I just don't think he gets the (possible) correlation between his "do more" preaching and the people's view of God.  Then, I say it's because he's been preaching Gothard's definition of grace--you only get grace if you work hard enough for it, and humble yourself enough to receive it.  Where is the imputation of Christ's righteousness??  Is it (Christ's righteousness) really just for our "fire insurance" in eternity?? What about this life?  We (at church) are adamant that salvation is only by faith in Christ, but Pastor sure can do a good job of making it sound like our sanctification is works-based. I doubt he means to, but it's tiring..... Frankly, I want out. (We've been here since '95.)
The more we read and study and the more of our friends jump this legalistic work-harder ship for Reformed-leaning circles, the more attractive Reformed theology looks. OK, so I'll admit to not having read the WCF, but the Five Solas sound solid enough... What drove me to contact you in the beginning was Rebecca's "Fall to Grace" series, and realizing that your law/grace study had (been used to) drug her out of Reformed theology kicking and screaming. Currently I'm kicking and screaming to get out of this Independent Fundamental Dispensational Gothardesque Bible church and into Reformed circles (which at least *seem*  to understand grace better than Gothard!!)... so if we can't go into Reformed theology, where can we go???
DH and I are realizing that we will probably wind up leaving our church, we just don't know when or how, or where to go instead. In some ways, we'd rather they kick us out--BUT we don't want it to be our divisiveness that has caused them to do so (if that makes sense).   I suppose we ought to sit down and talk to Pastor, but we don't know how or when to do it or what to say. What we do know is that we need to be able to articulate what we feel the differences are between what we're coming to believe the Scriptures teach and what is regularly taught from the pulpit--esp. about grace and sanctification. We don't see ourselves still at this church in three years, but neither do we really see ourselves leaving inside the next year either.  We are in agreement that until we *are* sure of what we're supposed to do/how to handle the situation, we aren't going anywhere.  We just can't find Biblical defense for leaving this local body if we can't even properly articulate what's wrong/why we want to leave where we are.  Then if we can be articulate, we still have to deal with the question of staying to try to help balance the boat, so to speak................ Eh, we don't know. So, yes, prayers are appreciated!!!  (And any thoughts/advice/things to study you want to toss out there for us would be greatly appreciated.)