Leaving a Church

See here for the beginning of this story.

I finished eating my food and waited until the time was right so that nobody would notice, then I grabbed my Bible, put on my jacket, and walked out for the last time. It was anticlimactic and not exactly how I thought it would go down. There were no tears or anger, but simply a realization that the time was right. There was nothing else that could be done. January 31, 2015 is the day that I left Cedarview Alliance Church (unless there is repentance).

Cedarview was my home for over 20 years. Many of the people there were instrumental in the transformation of my life. They undoubtably prayed for me cared for me and where there for me. God used Cedarview to shape me into who I am today, and for that I am thankful. However, I have always had serious reservations.

Perhaps the most indelible memory with regards to my reservations occurred at the first church planning meeting I was invited to. I brought my Bible to the meeting, but I never needed to open it. At the time I was surprised, but thought that it was for time considerations and the assumption that church leaders should already know it. I was badly mistaken.

Although the vote regarding women being Elders went the right way, in that women are still not permitted to be Elders at Cedarview, that is only part of the story. As I wrote at the time, the underlying issue is the authority of the Bible itself. I was expecting there to be serious discussions regarding the interpretation of the Bible, but instead there was nothing. Of course there was lip service to what is in the Bible, but there was no teaching regarding different perspectives or biblical exegesis of the relevant passages. It was flabbergasting, especially considering the magnitude of this issue in the context of the church. This left me with the inescapable conclusion that this church does not making decisions based on the word of God. 

The men's retreat was about "A Transformed Life," but in the end it lacked the substance to be effective to that purpose. Verses were read, but opinions reigned. There was little wisdom and a lot of pretension. The retreat was in many ways symbolic of the church itself. Although it played an integral role in the transformation of my life, it is quickly becoming ineffective to those ends.
Let non one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God (Col. 3:18-19).
For now at least this is goodbye, but I will always hope that one day there can be reconciliation.
For He himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility (Eph 2:14-16).

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