What to say?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by FlyForFun, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. FlyForFun

    FlyForFun
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    We recently left the church we've attended for 6 years after a series of deep disagreements with the current pastor's theology, methods, and hidden agenda.

    I resigned as teacher of my Adult Sunday School class and sent out an email to the class that we would no longer be attending.

    Of course the questions are now pouring in: "Why?"

    Here's my response:

    I'm trying to make clear that we left for good reason, without causing too much uproar.

    Comments?
     
  2. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Oh my, what a dilemma. I do appreciate your efforts to avoid creating conflict in the congregation, but I'm not sure there is a graceful way to exit.

    I think it will be helpful if you will share with the board more specifics about the differences you have with the pastor.

    My own philosophy is that the pastor should have wide latitude to determine the direction of the church and the methods to get there. I might share my concerns with him personally, but would not make public issue of my disagreement.

    On the other hand, theological differences are different. If I believe the pastor (or teacher) is preaching/teaching heresy, I'm ready to tear the place apart.

    So if you can do so, give us more information about the theological differences, and whatever detail you can give about the "hidden agenda."

    That way, maybe we can offer some help about how you answer questions about "why."
     
  3. Tom Bryant

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    I agree we would have to know more about the theological differences that you mentioned before saying anything.

    But your email will certainly cause an uproar for the current pastor.
     
  4. Johnv

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    FlyForFun, I think the way you worded it was concise and professional. It gives your reason for leaving without pointing fingers or engaging in idle chatter or gossip. I'd leave it at that and focus efforts on finding a new church home.
     
  5. preachinjesus

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    I appreciate your desire to communicate your love and friendship to those who you have gotten to know. That is terrific.

    You're being honest about it and, imho, being honest in a humble way. I would maybe remove the hurt part but perhaps I'm being too picky.

    Lots of times people leave churches and make a big noise going out the door. Your heart is for the fellowship to continue and not see a big hick-up. Thanks :)
     
  6. FlyForFun

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    Whew...this will be tough...

    Basically, the new pastor (2 year tenure, first pastorate after leaving law practice in Canada) and his wife have been steadily pushing an emergent aganda -- doctrine divides, spirituality is something we gain through disciplines, the core message is that we love one another, Rob Bell and Nooma are perfectly fine, propositional truth is bad -- etc.

    I am (well, was) vice chair of the deacon board. I've been pulpit supply, I've taught Adult Sunday School class, graduate of a Christian College, former Christian school teacher, retired Army officer -- I'm not a rogue troublemaker.

    But when I would bring these problems up, my conerns were dismissed or waved away. I had several one on one meetings with the pastor at panera Bread on a Friday night -- not exactly confrontational.

    I'd had enough when his wife staretd a new "class" using Henri Nouwen's writings as a way to "celebrate lent."

    Hunh? Since when do we "celebrate Lent?" (She also did a "children's sermon" during Sunday worship in which she suggested the children "give something up" to help them remember what Jesus did for us... that set off some alarm bells in this former Roman Catholic).

    Anyway, I suggested we bring the material before the deaconate to review. The Chair asked that we keep it to just him, pastor, and me. Whereupon every issue I ever brought up was cast as "chronic discontent."

    I laid out my case -- The Rob Bell Nooma series, and now the Nouwen study were inappropriate for a Baptist church. Why not use materials from baptist sources?

    The answer?

    "There are none."

    Yikes.

    The only conclusion from the meeting was a new policy -- no new classes without Deaconate board review.

    Anyway, I bit my tongue, and the class went on as scheduled. When the next class was announced -- without any approval -- using "Upper Room" materials (which is based on spiritual formation teaching), I called for a special meeting of the board. Here was clear contravention of the policy.

    The repsonse from pastor?

    "This isn't a new class, merely a continuation of the existing class..."

    Sorry -- as an OCS Grad and 21 year Army officer I know weasel talk when I hear it.

    Anyway, the board reviewed the materials -- after the class was announced -- and saw "no problem" with it.

    I see huge problems with a "spiritual formation" program developed by 1970s TM -chanting Catholic priests, but who am I?

    Couple this with basically moralistic, wishy-washy preaching (really, really bad head scratching stuff), and it was time for us to go.
     
  7. Gina B

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    Since when did Christians become involved in being politically correct in how they handle things?!

    When the theology is wrong and the man in charge has hidden agendas, why do you NOT want to create an uproar?

    What you need to do, if you haven't already, is look at what the issues are. If they truly contradict scripture, they are lies. If lies are coming from being the pulpit and the believers are being victimized by being told stuff that comes from Satan instead of God, GIT 'ER DONE! Don't walk away calmly and quietly without having solved the issue or done your best too. THAT would make you part of it.
     
  8. Timsings

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    We recently had a couple leave our church. They were very involved in almost every aspect of the church's programs and ministries except for the music program. We called a new pastor who initiated some significant changes in our worship service order. But these changes were run through our Worship Committee of which I am a member. There were some other things that this couple disagreed with. When they decided to go, the husband drafted a letter which he sent out to a large number of church members. It was very contentious and suggested that we were no longer a Baptist church. I think that the furor has died down now that the couple has joined another church, but it was very divisive. I appreciate the way that FlyforFun worded his letter and tried to meet with the pastor to have his concerns addressed.

    My church has begun to observe Lent in the last few years. I have not been entirely comfortable with it because I don't think that enough education has been done for the congregation to understand why this is appropriate. I think that a case can be made for Baptists to do a proper observance of Lent, but I also understand why many Baptist churches would be opposed to such an observance. That is a matter for each church to decide for itself. But it should be a church decision and not just a pastor decision.

    Tim Reynolds
     
  9. Aaron

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    Yep. The act of leaving is speaking volumes. Just tell it like it is, but don't put anything in writing. Talk to folks face to face or on the phone.
     
  10. tinytim

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    It may not cause an uproar.. .Some will be glad to see you go.

    BTW.. we are a Baptist church, and we celebrate lent.. Even used Baptist literature this yr for it. Many churches in our convention uses it.

    Our convention also uses Nooma.

    So although you have problems with both, recognize that there are Baptists that use exactly what your church uses.

    If you disagree with the majority of the church, it is time to move on.
    Find a church you agree with, and continue your spiritual formation (Sorry.. I have a sick sense of humor.. I hope you take it as the joke it was intended to be... LOL)

    Best of luck.
     
  11. FlyForFun

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    Actually, the only people who will be glad to see us go are the Pastor and his wife. This has been made abundantly clear.

    The virtues of Lent and Rob Bell's Nooma series are for another thread. Let's just say there's not much that's "Baptist" in Rob Bell's theology.
     
  12. Aaron

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    Sounds like you're pulling a stunt to make things hot for the pastor. Maybe you're not, but that's what it sounds like.

    I would leave under the same circumstances, but my leaving would be permanent whether or not the problem was subsequently corrected, and I wouldn't maintain relationships with the members beyond those that were developed independent of the discipleship of the church.

    edited to add: Not saying you're doing any different than I would, just saying that's what I would do.
     
  13. FlyForFun

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    If I wanted to "pull a stunt," I would have remained Vice Chair of the Deaconate and resigned during tonight's meeting by reading a resignation letter.

    The Trustee Board chair called me last night and said, "I hate to say this but I get alot more out of your Sunday School class and the times you preached than I ever do from [pastor]."

    Trust me -- it's not that I'm so great!

    I'm not vindictive. If I were I could really make a mess.

    Oh -- by the way -- the pastor's response so far?

    An email that said, "I'm saddened by this."

    Gee, thanks.
     
  14. tinytim

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    That's sad. I hope you find a church where God can use you.

    As for lent, do a search on threads here on BB, there is always some good discussions around Feb.. March...

    As a matter of fact.. since we are coming up on Oct.. get ready for the Halloween discussion...
    After that...

    the discussion about Christmas... and when was Christ born... and the pros and con of Advent, Chrismon Trees, hanging of the greens, etc...

    There is one thing about Baptists.. we are always predictable.

    Well, I for one am glad you joined BB... I hope you will enjoy the coming months.
     
  15. FlyForFun

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    Thanks..and is one reason I will stay Baptist.

    Our kids had fun on Halloween. We love Christmas. I don't get all twisted when a tree is decorated in the sanctuary.

    (Though I do have issues with patrioric displays and emphases during a Sunday service).

    Anyway, I participated on a reformed board (mostly conservative Presbyterian) for about a week last month.

    I was in the Army 21 years already -- don't need any more, thanks. :tongue3:
     
    #15 FlyForFun, Sep 11, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2009
  16. Aaron

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    So do I. :type:
     
  17. donnA

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    I would simply have said that God was leading us else where. No expanations needed, especially when they are going to be controversial, and possibly cause trouble in the church.
     
  18. donnA

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    so do we

    ....
     
  19. FlyForFun

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    I disagree slightly -- when a pastor is obviously driving folks out someone needs to be aware that's the case.

    I didn't provide all the details but we were basically forced to leave.
     
  20. dh1948

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    I have to agree with Donna.
     

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