Autonomy and the Church

Here's another touchy subject.
How much control should a church exercise over it members?

Matthew 23:1-5 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2) saying, The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses seat : 3) All therefore whatsoever they bid you to observe, that observe and do: but do not ye after their works: for they say and do not. 4) For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5) but all their works they do to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, etc. etc....

For the sake of argument, when a church starts making people jump through hoops to get baptized, then they are rivaling what the Pharisees did. Paul or John never said wait, before you get baptized you need to attend this class or go to this retreat or you need to fill out this questionnaire so we can determine if you've done an adequate self-examination so we know your going to really mean what your about to do before you get baptized.

They didn't offer them a baptismal certificate with pictures and a statement from the church so they had something to prove they were baptized either. A persons word should be enough!

God is the only one we have to answer to in our spiritual walk. While it is nice to be able to offer mentoring or have another Christian help a new convert in their spiritual growth. Once a person has sincerely been born again, God will keep them under His wing and see that the person gets more learned or convicted. If a person is going to stray, they will do it regardless how much tutoring, how much mentoring or how much lecturing they receive from another Christian.

What religions are religions of law, instead of grace? 

Islam (Sharia), Kabbala & Orthodox Judiaism (Torah) , Catholicism (Cannons), Anglican (Communion/cannons), Presbyterian and Reformed Churches (practice and procedure/church order), Lutheranism (book of Concord/cannons), United Methodist Church (book of disciplines) the list can go on.

Luke warm Christians are not a threat to the devil as the devil is already diluting the truth in their lives to try to draw them away from their first spiritual love. But they easily succumb to religious dogma!

Too often many people try to twist peoples arms to become a Christian when they aren't ready and that just creates in-sincerity, improper attitudes and stagnated growth. 

When a person comes to Christ in a sincere way, or out of great need, and shows a passion for being converted, that is the time to take them straight from the fire into the water. I don't mean baptism, I mean the Living water of Jesus Christ's Word!

Since baptism is not a requirement to enter into the 
kingdom of God, it is only a recommended act, and so it was that Jesus set the example for us. It was because we can receive a greater portion of the Holy Ghost if we will be obedient to His calling. And Jesus is always calling the unbelievers to Him! 

Luke 23:39-43 - 39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Romans 10:13 - 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 
Acts 2:21- 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

I strongly believe that as our obedience, culminates in greater faith, and then is brought through each step of its maturity, so that the Holy Spirit is able to work in a more abundant way. Jesus Christ even proved that, when He was in Nazareth and trying to do miracles amongst His own family. Without the faith of those around him, he could do very little.

Now here's another issue. It's good to be able to be concerned for a person's spiritual growth, but if It means trying to interfere with God's will for their lives, then you are wrong. If I as a Christian feel led to tell a brother or sister in Christ about another fellowship opportunity, and you voice an opinion that they should continue to go to the fellowship they have joined, but yet are not attending, than you are interfering in God's will.
We can't burden others to come to our worship meetings under the guise of wanting to keep an eye on their progress.

We are all a part of the body of Christ where there's freedom in Him. He knows our hearts, He knows what's best for us, He knows everything about us. So if He decides to send a messenger to someone for a specific reason to guide them to a place where they may feel more comfortable or cared for or any other reason unknown to us, what business is it of ours? We just need to be happy for them and pray for them like we ought to be doing anyways! 


My hope for you is that you have had a prayer of salvation,
and if you haven't and you want to ask Christ into your heart and life,
then I offer these words for you to repeat,
but only if your heart is sincere,
because God knows it if you're not.

Dear God, I now know I have needed you and have
rejected your calling, so today, right now, 
I ask Jesus Christ to come into my heart and my life, 
and forgive me from all past sin and Lord cleanse me 
from my unrighteousness. believe that Jesus was 
crucified for my sin, died, and was buried and rose from the
dead according to the scriptures. I want you forever more
to be my guide and I want to follow you as a believer. 
I ask for your strength to change my heart and 
my earthly ways so that I can become a better 
child in your kingdom. Show me how to depend 
on you in all things. And show me how to do 
your will in my life. I thank you and pray this 
prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!

October 17th, 2009 4:54pm