Legalism Opinion -Is pastor correct?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Phillip, Nov 22, 2004.

  1. Phillip

    Phillip
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    6,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a hypothetical question regarding over-doing the legalism bit. This is taking place, but not here; so nobody knows who or what. I just heard about it and would like some opinions.

    A girl (who was molested by her biological father) grew up from six with another father who adopted her when the father went to prison and lost his parental rights.

    Now she is about 20. She went through a period of rebellion, then came back and appologized for it and realized she wasn't really a Christian and accepted Jesus and made it public and was Baptised less than a year ago.

    She has a baby out of wedlock which was conceived before she became a Christian.

    She still has some problems and issues due to her past. She is also ill with a disease that is not fatal, but is painful.

    She tried going to church while she was pregnant but in the later stages couldn't due to being uncomfortable and having to use the rest-room often. She did come some and sat in what they call a cry room (darkened out room with a window in the back.)

    She has been attending church in the cry room with her child and usually leaving shortly there-after. Although she has been "in" church several times too. (The baby is only a month and a half old). So, she is not only in pain, she has to deal with taking care of the baby by herself.

    She has been asking the pastor for a baby dedication. (More probably to show off the baby, but also wants prayer for the baby.) She is very clear that this does NOT save the baby. She just wants to dedicate him the way all of the new-borns are shown to the church and ask for prayer that he might grow up to know the Lord.

    Upon request of the pastor, here was his answer to her mother: "You must realize that baby dedications are more for the parents, because they want to raise their child in a Christian like environment. Maybe this will be motivation for the girl will become MORE active in the church and if she does this for a while, then maybe we can TALK about having her baby dedicated." This is one of the reasons she would like the dedication.

    Facts: The church has not followed up on this girl since she was saved. The pastor may have visited her in the hospital when she had the baby, but that would be the only contact (if he did).

    The girl is still wondering and confused about her life and is going through post-baby depression.

    She often brings the baby to the cry room and watches the service where the pastor does not see her, although she does not attend most evening or classes.

    She does work at a nursing home on Sundays. So, one service is out and being with a child and ill with a 12 hour shift she is beat.

    Questions:

    If the mother tells the daughter exactly what the pastor said, she is going to feel shunned, disappointed and hurt. With the depression she is going through, she just might drop out.

    Is this pastor being too legalistic since he dedicates all other babies without question?

    What is wrong with simply introducing the baby to the church? She was accepted as a member only months ago?

    Does the pastor have the right to make these decisions without church approval?

    How do you explain this to the girl without loosing her entirely?

    The pastors own daughter got pregnant at 26 unwed. He once said he was worried the church wouldn't accept her, but they did when she repented.

    This pastor is HEAVY putting new members to work somewhere in the church doing something voluntary in order to make them feel they belong. Since she has to work (often two shifts) and care for this month and a half year old baby, she doesn't feel like volunteering for anything.

    How far can a pastor go as judge and jury on the sins of a particular person?

    Just curious, up for debate.

    By the way, don't answer the pastor may know something I don't know. . . not the case. All he knows is how often he "thinks" she comes to church.

    How does a pastor draw the line on these type of situations?

    Would it not be better to get the girl involved in church by allowing her to dedicate her baby before the church? :confused:
     
  2. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0

    I'm not sure why the mother got involved. The daughter should have talked to the pastor about this. it's just my gut feeling that the pastor likely would not have told the daughter the same thing to her face.

    Yes, imo. So long as a person meets the minimal membership requirements of a church, that person is entitled to the privileges that membership entails. That includes baby dedication.

    Nothing whatsoever, imo.

    That depends on how the church governing structure is set up. Legally, he might, but eithically, I don't think so.

    You can't. If someone is an active churchmember, they're an active churchmember. This will give her the imoression that her status in the church is subclass, something I thing Jesus would take issue with.

    The issue doesn't appear to be one of whether the mother was unwed or not, but what the requirements are for baby dedication.

    Not everyone can serve in that capacity. Some will be pewfillers and check-writers. If that's all they can do, that's all they can do. The Holy spirit determines where we are called, not the Pastor.

    I can't say I blamer her, and I doubt there's any membership requirement for "minimum number of volunteer hours" for members. I think th epastor is abusing the volunteer aspect.
    I don't think this is an issue of judging sins, but instead a matter of judging worth. In that aspect, the pastor has no authority whatsoever.

    I see no need for any line to be drawn here.
    Personally, yes.
     
  3. aefting

    aefting
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2002
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    0
    Personally, I'm not a big fan of baby dedications -- people tend to treat them like christenings. They also, like this pastor apparently, treat them like a third ordinance of the church. If you are going to dedicate the baby, dedicate the baby, don't do an end-around and dedicate the parents when you are pretending to dedicate the baby. But enough of my ramblings ...

    If a church is going to do baby dedications then I think any member/couple ought to be able to dedicate their newborn. Pastors certainly have the authority to make decisions regarding this matter but that doesn't make their decisions wise.

    Andy
     
  4. Phillip

    Phillip
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    6,708
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  5. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    Recently the pastor of the chruch we attend had played an interview of a young lady in the church who became a rebellious believer, started hanging around the wrong crowd and later became pregnant. She told all of that and then after the interview was played he introduced her to the congregation. The people appluaded her and rejoiced that she is back now. People have helped her with her children. She told about the difficulties she had and is still having. The great thing about that is we rejoice that she turned her life around and want to encourage her to remain faithful to God. We want her child to know the love of God present in the body of believers. We want her to know people in the church love her and want to help her raise her child to be a child of God. It also sends out a big message of wehat her life is like now that she went the wrong way. It also sends out a big message to someone that might be possibly headed down the wrong path. Who knows better than her. After the pastor introduced her he prayed for her.

    The church should be much like a hospital--a time of healing. It is not the well who need a doctor. The church is full of sick people who need God's help. If anyone thinks they are not in need of God's help has not taken a very good look at themself.
     
  6. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Two factors must be considered for any person to dedicate a baby:

    What is the church policy? Do they allow single parents to dedicate? Must they be members? Each church should have very clear-cut rules on this.

    What is the pastor's policy? Even with the church rules met, not every pastor is "comfortable" in such functions - dedications, funerals, weddings, baptisms, etc. He might have additional requirements or thoughts before putting HIS stamp of approval on the matter.

    I would check both of these before going any further. It may be matters out of the hands of the pastor.
     
  7. Karen

    Karen
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2000
    Messages:
    2,610
    Likes Received:
    0
    It is a real shame that some of the volunteers in that church are not helping the young mother out practically. Sounds like a real opportunity being neglected.
    With a six-week-old baby and working, what a heavy load! Not to mention the painful illness.

    Karen
     
  8. Deacon

    Deacon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    6,968
    Likes Received:
    128
    Amen!
    Another woman (not her mom) with more experence needs to come along side and dedicate herself to helping this young mother over the next 6 months or a year or more; discipleship! Only then can the decision be made concerning a whether a public dedication will be performed.

    Rob
     
  9. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,124
    Likes Received:
    319
    This is a sad and perplexing situation.

    Perhaps the both the pastor and the mother would be willing to have a private prayer of dedication for the little one at a mutually acceptable place?

    Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

    HankD
     
  10. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    How about just being biblical and not doing any baby dedications?? If the parent(s) want to raise their child biblically, they will do so. I don't do any. We try to get involved with the parents to get them information and teaching as to how to raise the baby.

    As for the pastor's right ot make this decision, absolutely, it is his call to make.
     
  11. APuritanMindset

    APuritanMindset
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    0
    Would this pastor behave the same way if a woman came in who had gone through a divorce and then re-married and her new husband and her had a baby and wanted it dedicated?
     
  12. Pete Richert

    Pete Richert
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    1,283
    Likes Received:
    0
    Baby dedication or not, this pastor is being completly rediculous about having her MORE involvedin the church. She is a single mom with a baby a month and a half old!!!!! I am suprised she makes it to church every week, much less evening and classes, and much much less actually participating in the ministries. I am married, and I have a hard enough time participating with a 3 year old and 9 month old.

    I say skip the baby dedication and then skip out on the church completly and go find one that is actually serious about helping those in need.
     
  13. Phillip

    Phillip
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    6,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    I had to do some research.

    Let me clarify. I am not posting this in order to obtain backup to help the girl get her baby dedicated. I am just curious about where the judgement should end and begin.

    This just happens to be a situation that I am aware of and I'm using it as my "real world" example." I am not posting this in order to "correct" or "do" anything about it. I am just curious, but I am concerned that the girl will become disillusioned while she is so weak.

    Okay, the church supposedly dedicates babies of all members of the church. (In fact, I think one of the other babies was conceived out of wedlock, but the mother got married.)

    The pastor's own daughter was brought before the church as a single parent. She had a baby out of wedlock and the pastor was concerned that the church would judge him based on her actions. The church accepted her warmly.

    The girl I am talking about grew up in church, but realized she was not saved and accepted Christ at a revival. This was AFTER she was pregnant.

    So, in answer. No policy against single-parent.

    Pastor's personal opinion? I don't know, but Southern Baptist Churches are typically quite democratic as far as...yes, the pastor can have his view, but when there is a question as to whether or not something is actually right or wrong without a clear-cut documentation (church by-laws or constitution) that covers the subject will usually go to the floor for a vote during business meeting.

    The thing "I" am having the problem with is not so much the pastor saying "NO", but the pastor making excuses. Based on what the girl's mother says (and she has not discussed this with the girl, she doesn't want her to loose heart) the pastor ALWAYS comes up with some reason why he doesn't want to do something, and that "reason" is typically not his REAL reason.

    I would think that if I was in HIS position, that I would just calmly explain the real reason instead of playing a political game.

    Anyway, that's all I will say unless there is any questions or clarification.

    I don't want anything to happen here, I'm just trying to determine in my own mind how "legalistic" we should be. The Bible demands a certain level of morality, I can handle that.

    Oh, as far as the description of Baby Dedication. It is simply to "introduce a new baby in the church to the members. Ask the members to pray that the child may grow up to know the Lord and pray for the parents to help the child grow up in the proper way."

    There is NO misunderstanding that it has anything to do with the baby's salvation. In reality, churches where I have gone it is simply a chance to show off a new baby to the church. A proud parent thing. That and a chance to pray for both the baby and mother....that's all.
     
  14. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    There may be a deacon or two who would not support the pastor in this and he does not want to ruffle any feathers.
     
  15. Phillip

    Phillip
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    6,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    As I mentioned it is done with all other member's babies with nothing in the by-laws except "member's babies".

    Yes, this would probably be best, don't do it, but that is not the situation here. Other members are allowed the privilege, my question is it right to limit one, because she doesn't volunteer to do enough work in the church. (That's what it boils down to.) How much work is required in a church to be a good member? Will this not disillusion a new Christian? :confused:
     
  16. Phillip

    Phillip
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    6,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    THIS I would tend to believe. I think he would rather NOT have deacons anyway. [​IMG]
     
  17. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,657
    Likes Received:
    0
    I wonder if this young lady is being treated like this why they even accepted her for membership.It is obvious she needs help in many ways.It does'nt appear she is getting discipled.It does'nt appear she is getting any christian love in this church.It does'nt appear she is getting any other kind of help.
    Of course we don't know anything except what we are being told, so we have to go with that.
    The only thing we can really do is pray for this young lady,the church members, and the pastor, that this situation would be solved in a christian manner and that God be glorified in all of thier lives and actions.
     
  18. Phillip

    Phillip
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    6,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bill, you are right and I can tell you part of the problem, which may provide part of the answer.

    I run into this a lot since I am a PI. The girl was molested by her real father who is now in prison. Once members find this out, I have seen them shy away from the child. They do not want their children hanging around a child that has been molested because of the "more mature" knowledge this child might have.

    In the case of this girl, the molestation stopped at age 5. Yes, before she was saved, she had a lot of moral problems. Sadly, most children that are molested either go strongly in the direction of being "loose" with their morals, or swing the other way, and have trouble loving a husband because they hate men. Some turn to Lesbianism. This girl had more loose morals. But remember, the sad part is she admitted her wrongs and was saved AFTER she became pregnant. She was pregnant when Baptised.

    This could be a prejudice situation that is difficult to over-come for these children. I have seen it often in the real world. That is why I agree with a judge that I know who tells child molesters that they should expect a harsh sentence because they have sentenced their victims to a "life sentence". I truly believe this is true.

    Remember, these kids always have a twisted view of morality. Although Jesus can fix anything, I have NEVER seen a victim without some kind of problems, and I have handled many, many cases of this sort.

    She wants her baby dedicated so that she can feel part of the church group. Personally, I think that is the REAL reason. This is the reason that I feel what is being done to her is wrong. (In this particular case.)

    I detect some judgement and lack of sensitivity here. ....however, just my humble opinion.

    This is not a debate on whether or not we should do baby dedications.
     
  19. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,657
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Dear Phillip,
    Please read my last entry one more time. I think you may have not gotten the message I was trying to send. Let me be a little more precise.
    First I have the facts you are giving. I have no reason to believe you are not telling the truth as you see it.So assumming you have it right some thoughts come to mind.

    If the church knew about her (I'm assuming they did),I think she must have attended services for a while before she joined.I would hope she was visited and somebody got to know her before she joined.That would be common in many churches.I would also hope that she was at least talked to about what the church believed and what the church expected from her by somebody. Again I am hoping she had an opportunity to explain her situation before she requested membership in the church. Then when she requested membership somebody voted on her being accepted. If anybody had any reservations or objections they should have spoken up at that time especially if it was your pastor.

    All of this being said. She is showing up at church when she is able and trying not to be disruptive.It appears to me she is reaching out,but nobody is reaching back.Who is reaching out to help her grow in the faith.Who is helping her with her everyday needs, she is working 2 jobs and taking care of a new baby by herself, that is a full load.That is not even counting all of the other psychological and emotional baggage she is carrying around that nobody seems to be helping with. My question would be how is she being ministered to by the church.

    Now I have already as promised prayed for her,your church and your pastor.There are way to many things going on here.Dedicating that child who has done nothing wrong is the very least that can be done, since your church does infant dedications.This is a sign that the mother does want the child brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.She keeps showing up...there's your sign.You and your pastor don't know how much time she spends in prayer and in the study of God's Word at home.I'm guessing she does that because she knows enough to show up at church regardless of how she is or is not being treated.

    That is what I was trying to say in a soft even handed manner.I hope this does not offend you.I also hope you might speak to your pastor about this matter(perhaps again).Once again my prayers are with the young lady for her health comfort, well being and walk with the Lord,with your church membership,and your pastor. You seem to have a tender heart for this situation but my prayers are always with you.
     
  20. Phillip

    Phillip
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    6,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bill, I was not disagreeing with you. Sorry if I sounded that way. I was just thinking aloud and adding some more thoughts of my own. I have a tendency to keep explaining even to those who agree. Sorry if there was a misunderstanding.

    You are absolutly right 100%.

    Let me clarify one thing, this is NOT my church, nor my pastor, or I would probably be in his office having a discussion. ;)

    FYI, the girl had always attended church. Had professed faith as a young girl, but was not saved. She accepted Christ during a revival.

    Your statements are correct. [​IMG]
     

Share This Page

Loading...