I wanted to establish in my last post, whether or not I did well, is that I firmly believe salvation does not exist outside of the church. We are not saved outside the context of the church. Jesus died for the church and purchased it with His blood.
As one whose theology is within the Reformed Baptist camp, the struggle comes within how to be a member within a local church when such radical differences exist in theology in the area in which I live. For example, is it a proper thing to take your family to church only to have to constantly explain to your kids on the way home that such and such was wrong? Perhaps the Pastor used the poor illustration of George Wilson's pardon? Perhaps there was dancing or a skit in violation of the Regulative Principle (read john Frame's article here). Perhaps the constant form of preaching is topical and lacks any exegesis on a consistent basis causing people to read the Bible poorly. Perhaps some people receive a "word" (in the charismatic sense) from the Lord and decide to share it. Perhaps there is no Confession at all to which the people agree.
1689 London Baptist Confession, looking for consistency is quite difficult. And bringing this consistency to my family is even more so. The reason why we attend First Baptist in St. Francis is that the church is Confessional and adheres to the 1689 Confession. They attempt to practice and be consistent with the Regulative Principle of Worship in how they approach formal worship. The pastor often preaches through books and attempts to have exegetically based, expository sermons (which he does extremely well I might add). While driving home I love being able to ask my children to recount the points my pastor raises during his sermon and discussing them. I desire to bring spiritual health to my family, and I believe having sound and consistent doctrine taught to them is of vital importance.
But getting to St. Francis on a regular and consistent basis simply isn't practical. Even if we do, they would not be the same people we interact with on any regular basis during the week. Not that that is necessary, but having an RB church down the street is vastly different from having one nearly 140 miles away.
This is a spiritual health issue. Although most churches do teach the law of God in some fashion, many churches teach some kind of moralistic/therapeutic philosophical self help methods of living a healthy life with Jesus' Name attached on the back side just to give it approval much in the same way we end our selfish prayers with "in the Name of Jesus" just to make certain it goes through.
I am not interested in moralisms. I am not interested in fighting the world of politics, Left or Right or whatever. I am not interested in hearing a 5 part sermon series on the biblical definition of the family verses the world's or a 5 part series on how to save your marriage or make it better (as important as that may be). I am not interested in fighting alcohol or drugs or gambling as damaging to lives those things can be. I am not interested in substituting youth groups for 4-H or Boy Scouts because it has the Jesus stamp of approval.
I am interested in a consistent presentation of the Gospel and being discipled and making disciples. And it is to that I turn in my next post.
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