Standards vs Personal Liberty

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    In another thread about IFB traditions, many example were brought up.

    For example:

    KJV
    Dresses or skirts only
    No smoking, drinking, dancing
    alter calls
    tithing
    easter egg hunts

    Most of us agree that drunkenness, extra-marital affairs, using the Jehovah Witness "Bible" are all outside the realm of pleasing the Lord.

    But, does the Bible teach it is a sin for teens to go to a well chaperon prom, to sing all 4 verses of "Just as I Am" six times; to prohibit a "visit from Santa Clause in Sunday School"

    So my questions is: is a church wrong for having stricter standards, provided they make it clear that failure to do so is not a sin - but only a preference.

    For example,
    1. a pastor may say he does not want SS teachers to wear bluejeans but rather something more appropriate for a teacher; and he would prefer the women wore dresses & men wore ties
    2. A pastor insist all have the KJV - not because he is KJO, but so everyone is reading out of the same version so the reading will not be confusing
    3. The pastor prefers people not eat and drink in the sanctuary simply out of respect, of not only keeping the carpets clean, but to give honor to the Lord.
    4. A divorced man may not serve as deacon because, we want the highest standards.

    So, should a church be permitted to have higher standards - as long as they make it clear that failure does not make it a sin?
     
  2. Tater77

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    The trouble is, it never works out like that. Strict legalistic Churches become little more than Pharisees.
     
  3. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    A local church can do whatever they want.
     
  4. gb93433

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    God calls people to two things. He calls them to Himself and to make disciples. What else is there? Is there any higher standard?
     
  5. windcatcher

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    I don't know about the current climate for IFB churches....

    But years ago, when I was a teen and they seemed to be rising in this area....
    they seemed to meet a need in the community to stand for the faith and against areas where Christians saw church organizations and associations falling away in areas where many Christians in the community were concerned.

    Some of these areas included participation in the World Council of Churches, compromises and liberal theology in Christian colleges and seminaries as experienced and reported by those who were already well seasoned in faith and doctrine and who had returned to school to complete degrees or get masters or doctorates. Also the report of youth who returned to home and community from such schools.... often with faith more shaken than confirmed by their experience on a "Christian" campus. Also the various translations of the Bible which seemed to be coming as fast as rabbits reproduce.... and rising issues related to scholarship, credentials of those involved, and the increased confusion over which Bible to use when most books and literature at the time was heavily KJV and most adults and children alike were familiar with Bible drills and verse recitations from this translation. Also, in some of the literature which was printed and supportive of Sunday School lessons started breaking away from the literal translation of Genesis and including evolution: At that time it seemed there was lacking any support from Christians involved enough in science to have knowledge or input into debates and counter arguments which were scientifically based and critical of the 'scientific' evolutionary story...... which seemed a contradiction to the Word of God as being infallible ...........

    Methodists and Baptist Churches which were affilitated by organization also seemed to lack leadership in the pulpit related to the moral and political influences which a conservative and mostly protestant Christian community were concerned about. Locally it might be wet vs dry laws, or beer vs 'hard' liquor. But some also saw society's stress and issues impacting on family and established values and sought churches which better expressed stability, closeness, guidance, and support of the family unit.... often those which were smaller in congregation and tighter knit in structure.

    Young people taught and raised with Genesis went to college unprepared by SS lessons....... were confronted with issues on evolution (among other issues challenging Christian traditions.... like Kinsey report.... now debunked, ..... and sociology 'scholarship' like American Samoa mores..... also now debunked,) being presented as 'fact' and situational and relativism replacing ethics and morality.... Among many other stresses occurring at the time (war, women's movement, dethroning of the 'American' way of historical accounts and government, sympathies built for knowing and accepting other cultures and religions or even no religion, 'the pill' and free sox, drinking, drugs, smoking on campus) young folk returned to communities and home and dropped out of church feeling they'd been lied to by their elders and launched unprepared and unsupported, and angry, rebellious, professing they'd 'loss the faith', or, at the least, having crisis in faith and finding the church slow to respond and address their many questions.

    People started to disassociate from those churches who's associations or organizations seemed inadequate in leadership's response to the changing world and the political climate in giving local support.... and they found in the independent churches the support of traditions in hymns, songs, behaviors and dress which were comforting and familiar..... and the freedom (which they always had) to choose their own literature or create their own which supported best the Biblical teachings they wanted stressed or defended. Many also wanted to participate more directly in the extensions of ministry..... such as support to missionaries which they chose.

    Some like to pigeon hole these independent churches as legalistic, paternalistic, or Pharisaical. These and other characterizations (such as cultist or abusive or traditionalist) are wrong unless one is speaking of a specific church, its leadership, doctrine, and or interpretation or emphasis. Otherwise..... there are perhaps as many different types of independent 'baptist' churches as there are soft drinks on the market.

    Generally, I'd say each one meets the needs within the community for Christian identification and expression, which the people who attend donot find elsewhere or they would not be supported. No doubt there are some which are abusive and some cultist, and some unsound in doctrine or unbalanced.

    Although I'm a member of a church associated with the SBC, I think the IFB churches have been good for the community in offering an alternative choice to baptist believers and the community at large. I think each church has a need it can fill in the community of believers.... and also acts as a challenge against apathy, laziness, too much or too little tolerance... a need for continued assessing and shaping of the clay by the master regarding our weaknesses and our strengths. Each church offers Christians opportunities for service and outreach, and each seems to fit a need .....some who require more structure...... and some who require less structure.... for receiving and applying the Word in their lives and witness to their community.

    As far as dress codes, etc..... it seems to follow within the preferences of leadership and community which supports the church. However...... for such as I..... I'm pass the point of feeling guilty because I'm not in heels..... or that slacks and a tunic keeps me more modest than a skirt which rides up if I have to bend over (since my knees no longer let me do a deep squat) or blows up in a wind .......cause its as large as a balloon to begin with. If someone is offended I'm as likely to ask them point blank "Would you rather that I go elsewhere?" If called to an area of service where one is more reflective of the characteristics of church preference it may become a choice of submission to authority or moving to a church more permissive .... a decision which is personally made and gives no room to bitterness.

    As far as sitting on santa's lap... and egg hunts...or halloween alternatives.... I don't agree with these... but participation is not required: What is important to me is that I hear the Word of God rightly divided in more than a superficial brush and that sound doctrine is taught. I grew up hearing the piano played in the home with many of the old traditional hymns and inspirational music...... so I love these and can sing many hymns from memory.... some in several verses...... but I also enjoy the modern praise music and even some 'with a beat' to it. If it were heavy metal or rap.... I'd probably be too late for the song service and the offering plate....lol....

    Edited to add:
    As long as its 'preferences' and not doctrine... I don't think it carries the weight of law or sin. For one to regard superficial factors, 'preferences', as Law or Sin.... there are other factors to take into consideration particularly how God might view the situation.... from an individual standpoint of self examination and from the standpoint of submission to authority and obedience.
     
    #5 windcatcher, Apr 6, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2010
  6. menageriekeeper

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    I gotta say: Santa Claus and the easter bunny ain't got nuttin and I mean nuttin on the day someone in our children's dept got the bright idea to have "Sonny and Cher" and "Elvis" encourage our children to join the Wednesday night music and mission group! :eek:

    Yes, we ought to have standards. But we need to have standards that are built on a firm foundation of scripture.

    Lets take the whole dresses only thing: The Bible says to dress modestly. What does that mean? Oh wait, modest means to not be overly enticing to men. It doesn't mean to make ourselves ugly. Doesn't mean to cover every inch of our skin. And no where upon nowhere are the words "dresses only" used.

    But, when I was a teen in a Free Will Baptist church, I was told that wearing pants made one immodest for two reasons: a) my pants showed that I had two legs and b) someone might mistake me for a man.

    Really? How many legs should I have had? They were/are covered after all. b was even more ludicrous. Ya just can't mistake me for a man. It ain't possible. Plus, modesty is the NT rule. the Law pertaining to a woman not looking like a man and vice versa was OT stuff and Christ fulfilled that. So even if I looked similar to a man, I wasn't enticing him!

    Our standards need to reflect scripture, not the traditions of man. How many of you men would be happy if you were still wearing these:

    [​IMG]

    :laugh:
     
  7. ccrobinson

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    BWHAHAHAHA!!!

    :laugh: :laugh:

    I would have thought the fact that you were standing upright would have been the first clue that you had 2 legs!
     
  8. annsni

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    As long as they don't use the term "higher standards" as if what they do makes them more "holy" than a church that doesn't do such things, it's OK. They can do whatever they want. But when they say "I want to have higher standards than the world so our church will do A, B and C.", that is saying that other churches have low standards or are less godly than others. That is not right IMO.
     
  9. thomas15

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    So how does this work? Does the pastor refuse admission to those with a NASB? Does he call them out from the pulpit? Does he inform the people that they are not qualified to decide what translation of the Bible they should carry to church? Or, are the people themselves not able to figure out which translation the pastor preaches from and that it may make it a little difficult for them to follow along if they use a different translation? Are there periodic Bible Checks to make sure everyone has the approved translation?

    Would there be exception for say a church situated on a college campus where everyone has a post secondary education?
     
  10. Thinkingstuff

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    Isn't this what Jesus argues against with the Jews? The fact is that the Jews added a "hedge" around Torah. Rules that if obeyed would prevent going against the established "law". However, it bread the wrong examle on the adhereants to Judaism. Where following the "rules" could also work against torah.
     
  11. canadyjd

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    We must be careful that the standards we impose are not higher than scripture allows.

    For example: The SBC voted years ago not to allow divorced persons to serve as missionaries.

    IMHO, they are holding people to a higher standard than scripture calls for.

    To make such a condition an automatic disqualification for service is not biblical and will undoubtably keep qualified people from serving in the SBC.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  12. Salty

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    Is it they are holding to a higher Biblical standard, or is that their interpretation of Scripture?
     
  13. StefanM

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    It depends on your perspective :). That's the problem. One man's faithful man of God is another man's Pharisee or another man's libertine.
     
  14. Salty

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    How about this? The First Open Communion Three-point Calvinist Pre-trib Elder-Ruled Baptist Church of Springfield (FOCTPCPTERBCS) has two new standards approved at their last weekly Thurs night Business meeting:

    1. Teachers must be in their classroom no later then 915 am (SS begins at 930 sharp)

    2. All checks written for more than $50 must be countersigned by the treasure (or his assist) and one deacon.

    Now, I have not been able to find these standards in the Bible, (though I am still researching the Book of Hezekiah).

    Therefore it appears that the FOCTPCPTERBCS has standards higher than the Bible. So are they holier than thou?
     
  15. StefanM

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    These are administrative policies and procedures, not ethical standards. I see no issue with them, other than perhaps the logistics of the second.
     
  16. annsni

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    See, I don't see them as "higher standards" which makes it sound like it's more "holy standards". Instead, it's additional standards. BIG difference in my book.
     
  17. Salty

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    But again, it depends on interpretation, and that is my whole point
     
  18. MrJim

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    Eh, amateurs compared to my conservative Mennonite friends...they know how to set standards:laugh:

    A wise Menno once told me that the key to establishing standards is to recognize that they are not salvation standards. One of the problems he said is when they look about and decide that the standards need to be kept by everyone outside their congregation or else they aren't saved...that then is legalism. But to set standards for a congregation~~if ya don't like then go elsewhere...I've no problem with it, but then I don't go to a plain Menno church with the black coats and black cars and black hats...I don't think the Southern Baptist congregation we're at has much as far as standards~~sure is a cloud of cigarette smoke in the parking lot when I go to leave LOL...
     
  19. menageriekeeper

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    That's funny Jim. Made me think. Our SBC church and the one we attended when we lived in another town, doesn't have deacons smoking on the front steps. But when I was a kid! Boy did my parents have some explaining to do about why the deacons could smoke but following their example would send *me* to hell! That was just about the time I figured out there was a big difference in what the Bible actually said and what other people thought it was saying. :eek:
     
  20. canadyjd

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    What particular scripture would that be? Missionaries aren't pastors.

    peace to you:praying:
     

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