Sunday, October 7, 2007

On a jet plane

It's been a while since I posted last. Has everyone stopped checking this blog?

Well, I've finally decided to withdraw from "brethren". If you've read my blog at all, you know why. You also know this hasn't been a hasty decision.

The final clincher was, the knowledge that the Scriptural admonishment to "flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22, NASB) is impossible when the test of fellowship is whether someone is a member of a certain group. In other words, so long as I am a member of a group that demands exclusive fellowship, I cannot possibly be said to be "pursu[ing]... with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart," because I am knowingly refusing to fellowship with any number of them.

I know, it's impossible to be in fellowship with all such Christians: there are any number of pure hearts in any number of places, and not all will be willing to pursue with me. But there is a tremendous moral difference between being in limbo fellowship-wise so that others don't even know I exist; and being in a place that knowingly and deliberately excludes godly Christians. If I can honestly say that I am willing to walk with any true believers who are genuinely seeking the Lord, then I'm at least not in violation of any Scripture I've seen.

I'm terrified. I have no idea what's next. I'm sure there will be some guilt-trips from well-meaning people; but the conversations I've had so far have been highly sympathetic. People seem to "get it" on some level at least. That's good enough for now.

It's possible we'll end up in a meeting in someone's home, but that's not something I'm planning at the moment. It's possible we'll end up in one of the "open" assemblies in town, but that doesn't seem too likely right at the moment either. I've visited both "open" assemblies I know about in town in the last six months: one was appalling, the other was more or less what I expected. I'm not saying I won't end up in one of them, but I'm certainly not rushing into them. In the end, going from "exclusive" to "open" just means trading one set of problems for another. They're no less a sect than "we" are, they're just more subtle in their approach to it.

And I've come too far in the Christian life thing to settle back into an evangelic church. I know they mean well, but I've done that, and I don't think I can do it again.

So please pray for us if you think about it. I am woefully inadequate to deal with this, but I honestly think it's something we had to do.


Gwen said...

I'll pray.

Shan said...

We've done this, and it's hard. But we weren't as emotionally invested as you are. So I'll pray too.

Daryl said...

Believe me, I know this was not a hasty decision. I have also agonized about withdrawing from the assembly I am now in. My problem has always been, what then?
While I can't know fully what you are going through I can empathize quite a bit, I think. The Lord is still faithful and loves you, as well as all His people, doesn't he?

Chuck Hicks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chuck Hicks said...

You are in our prayers.

Been there, done that, and I can truly say that a major, colossal paradigm shift may be in the offing.

The great thing is that, regardless of where we are at any given point in the sojourn, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."

It also helps to know that His reach is great, and He has not left untold millions of non-English speaking people without strictly Reformed/evangelical roots in total darkness.

All the good we have received from "brethren" will never perish; it will be put to good, practical use in some unusual venues.

Richard J said...

It's always a hard decision to leave a fellowship. My family has done it recently, although not from a brethren group. It's been hard, but Jesus is so much bigger than we give Him credit for. He'll lead you where He wants you to be...