Visiting Heretical Churches

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Rippon, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    I do not recommend church-hopping . And I certainly do not suggest that we even occasionally attend the services of heretical "churches" . But is it permissible to visit one of the heterodox fellowships on a rare basis to get an education regarding some of their actual practices and beliefs ? I know one could get a good idea by reading up on these groups . But wouldn't it be worthwhile to get up close once on a very infrequent basis ? The purpose would be for educational purposes .Of course I wouldn't for a minute want a new Christian to try this . However , in my 44 years as Christian I think I went to just several of these gatherings .

    I once went to a Roman Catholic church , a Mormon one , a JW , and a Christadelphian gathering . That's all I recall . There might have been one or two others . Of course I am not counting some fringe assemblies such as hyper-Charismatics . I went to a number of their services and left quite unfed .

    I was reminded of this because I met a woman yesterday who attends Della Reese's church . Yes , a woman pastor ! I definately am against that unbiblical notion . And Reese's teachings may be of the Ophra-like school of theology . I did not make any promises to attend . But the woman sure was insistent -- in a friendly way .
     
  2. Steven2006

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    The problem I see is that to really learn anything how many time would you have to attend. Just visiting one time would probably not educate you that much on what they really believe. Plus since it is a church service, should we really not be separating from this rather than assembling with them.

    Other than if you are attending somebody's wedding or funeral service, I really don't think it is wise to start attending churches like that.
     
  3. dan e.

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    It may help you to connect with this woman after attending. This way you can actually discuss with her your disagreements, or why you don't think it is a biblical church. It could be a way to introduce her, as oppose to just writing off the opportunity based on what you've read. It may mean more to her, and connect better with her.

    Just a thought.
     
  4. Analgesic

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    Go as often as you like, so long as such educational pursuits do not cut into your true fellowship.
     
  5. Rippon

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    Visiting a heretical church an average of once every five years does not constitute regular visitation or attendance .
     
  6. Bro. Williams

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    I understand and appreciate the curiosity and interest to learn.

    Personally though, I don't think it is a good idea based on Romans 16:17-18. But, to each his own. AS a young Christian I dated a Catholic, but we parted ways soon and discontinued most communication when I began witnessing to her. (and no, I was not near as "blunt" then... it still sorrows my heart that she never would listen, she was a fine girl... but... some will hear, others will not)
     
  7. preachinjesus

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    There was a requirement for a seminary class to visit the services of another religion. We had plenty of options, most went for the Jewish synagogue down the road. I went for Ba'hai. Really eye openning.

    I don't have a problem with it so long as you mind two rules:
    1. Be well founded in your theological beliefs about Christianity.
    2. Be VERY respectful of those who you encounter (i.e. don't go in there prosletyzing)

    For what it's worth...I wouldn't consider Roman Catholicism a heretical group. They still are the largest group of orthodox (in belief) Christians in the world. Also to suggest they are heretical is a poor read of their belief imho. Besides, I try to go to mass every month or so...just for the beauty of the services. :)
     
  8. Bro. Williams

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    Was it Gadget who said, "Wowser!" ? :eek:
     
  9. D28guy

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    If Catholicism isnt heretical then what IS???

    Mike
     
  10. StefanM

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    I wouldn't visit a church I believed to be heretical.
     
  11. Hope of Glory

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    If God has given you have a reason for needing the info, then I highly recommend that you learn about it in one way or another. A pastor friend of mine was so educated on Mormonism (from their own literature) that he knew more than most Mormons. He did this because he had family who were Mormons, and it helps to know their teachings to confront them.

    I know more about the history of the JW's than most JW's do. I had a specific reason for this, and it has proved beneficial subsequently to witness to JW's. But, I think it would be impossible for any one individual to have much indepth
    understanding of a whole bunch of 'em.

    For some people, they only need to present/be presented with the truth. Others, you have to attack the core of their beliefs.

    So, seek God's guidance.
     
  12. mcdirector

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    I would not be completely opposed to going. BUT I would enter with extreme caution. If there was anyway I could steer clear of going, I would.

    As HofG said, I would learn as much from external sources as possible.
     
  13. abcgrad94

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    While on vacation this summer we contemplated attending an Amish or Mennonite church just as an educational experience. It was the first time in our lives we ever considered visiting a church of a different faith. As it turned out, we decided against it party because my husband and I prefer to sit together in church (when he's not preaching) and I will not wear a headcovering just to enter a church. This particular church separated men and women and the gals had to cover their heads. (Yep, we Baptists are fussy about details.:laugh: )

    We asked ourselves several questions before deciding against it.

    1. Would God be glorified if we went?
    2. Could it harm our reputation?
    3. Could Satan use it to gain ground in an area in which we might be weak?
    4. Would it offend or disrupt the other church in any way?
    5. Could it pose a stumblingblock to other believers/friends?
    6. Do we really NEED to do this?
     
  14. Bro. Williams

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    Do they have various services of heretical churches online? Such as Youtube?
     
  15. Salty

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  16. abcgrad94

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    The headcovering issue has been discussed on other threads, so I won't go into that here. (Don't want to hijack this thread) My issue wasn't so much with the headcovering itself, but the fact that I felt "not holy enough" to enter the church "as is." Since I don't believe in wearing them, I felt it would be hypocritical to don a headcoving just to make someone else happy. Had I refused to wear it and entered their service anyway, that would have been a distraction to their worship and could have caused offense in their church.

    I know we could have a big debate about what is and what is not acceptable to wear to church, in fact we have on other parts of this board. But, for me, I was able to get enough education about them without having to adopt one of their practices, even for a very short time.
     
  17. lbaker

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    Denying that Jesus is God incarnate.

    Les
     
  18. Pipedude

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    I've done a fair amount of weird-church visiting. For instance, the United Pentecostals started their services later than ours, and ran much longer, so I used to rush over to their place when our services let out on Sunday evening. Being a short-haired Fundamentalist, I looked just like them, so I was able to move about incognito. What I saw firsthand has been very valuable to me as I warn others.

    Likewise, there's no substitute for actually going to a Church of Christ and shaking hands, talking, and listening. The feet-on-the-ground religion that they experience (or don't) is distinct from what the books tell you.

    Go to an early service at a Whiskypalian church and listen to the homily. Watch the old people (most congregations are very gray-haired) fervently reciting the liturgy, confessing their sins, trying to prepare for death and judgment.

    If a traveling circus comes through with some big-name Charismatic riding the lead elephant, go. Oh, you can see the clowns themselves on TV anytime day or night--but watch the crowds carefully. It's the off-camera stuff that puts it in perspective.

    Catholic services are all over cable TV (EWTN) and I've never found much in person that wasn't just like the TV version. The Greek Orthodox Easter services, however, are very inspiring. Just remember to genuflect from right to left so you don't mess up the folks beside you by konking them with your elbow. It helps if you can learn to sing "Christos aneste" ahead of time, since they go through it about ten different times.

    Try a Missouri or Wisconsin Lutheran service. Quite possibly the sermon and hymns will be better than the ones at your own church.

    I'd avoid the Untied Methodists. All you'll learn is just how cold ashes can be when the fire has been gone for fifty years. It's depressing.

    Then there are the pagans: folks such as Unitarians who engage in various pagan rituals in the name of spirituality. I'd only attend such a service if I could sit in the back and decline participating (i.e., standing when they stand, bowing my head when they bow theirs, singing along to "We Are One in the Spirit" or "What a Wonderful World," etc.) We're not talking bad Christianity in such a case, we're talking paganism.

    It's a big ol' zoo out there and there are many specimens. If you see me, be sure to say "hi."
     
  19. npetreley

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    I agree. I attended a reformed presbyterian church for a couple months two years ago and the sermons and hymns there were superb, too.

    I wouldn't say all the churchs you mentioned are heretical. Of course the Unitarians are off the chart.
     
  20. Jkdbuck76

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    IMO, I wouldn't go to a heretical church to witness to people.
    We should witness, but maybe going to their home turf isn't such
    a good idea.

    I mean, (and I'm not trying to sound vulgar here) we must reach out
    to and witness to the homosexual people. But it doesn't mean we
    go to their bars to do so.
     

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