At FBCU today…

At FBCU today…

At FBCU today…

I went to the First Baptist Church of Umatilla today for my granddaughter’s dedication. Deciding whether to go was, for me, a bit of a moral dilemma. How so? It seems like a no-brainer. Baby dedication. Granddaughter. Go.

Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. I decided a while back that if I were attending a church service and any God-bashing were going on (yes, God-bashing happens in church services — a lot more than people realize), that I would stand up and, with as much tact as a passionate person can muster, let everyone know with what I disagreed and why.

Of course, this would likely be perceived as some kind of outrageous and disruptive breech of protocol, but unfortunately, the current structure of one-speaker-many-listeners allows no other more socially acceptable way to address the entire congregation.

Tim (my husband) said that whatever I needed to say, I could save it for a blog post, and that I shouldn’t embarrass my daughter and her husband on the day they were publicly dedicating their daughter to God. “Besides,” he said, “It’s not likely Brooks will preach a sermon about eternal torment on baby dedication day.” I agreed.

This situation got me thinking. Unless God tells me to start attending the institutional church on a regular basis, the only time one will find me there is on some special occasion. And my not wanting to make a scene on a loved one’s special occasion is not only an important consideration but, for now, a determining factor in whether I’ll just sit and listen or become an unintended participant — a public responder to the sermon.

So what now? Does this mean I should start attending church services again on “normal” Sundays? I doubt any church would put up with a regular attender that won’t remain seated and silent. Does this mean I should church-hop? Be warmly welcomed and then promptly given the left foot of fellowship over and over again?

As a believer who is in full and emphatical agreement with the apostle Paul, who encouraged interaction and discussion among believers, saying, “let the others weigh what is said,” and “test everything; hold on to what is good,” the sit-and-soak structure of the institutional church is frustrating to me. There are many places in scripture where our modern translations say someone preached, but the real meaning of the Greek indicates discussion and interaction. Weighing, testing, and deciding what is good happens when there’s more than one person talking. This important way of interacting likely contributed to the success of the pre-Constantinian/pre-Augustinian Church.

Until I get some clear direction from God on what’s next, I’ll continue doing what I’ve been doing for the past few years, that is, mostly cyber-visiting the institution, testing everything, and holding on to what is good. And then writing about it here on WhatGodDoes.

Some content from Braswell’s (pastor of FBCU) sermon was good. Some of it was surreal and will take some time to digest before reaching any conclusions. And some of it was downright ugly. You can read more about all of the above in upcoming blog posts.

It warms my heart to know that my daughter and son-in-law recognize that their daughter belongs to God and want to raise her in a way that honors God. I don’t think a ceremony that publicly recognizes their intentions makes their intentions any more legitimate than they already are, but I was happy and honored to be a witness to the ceremony.

This morning, it was wonderful to participate in worship with other believers through song. Music is a powerful instrument of the Spirit of God, helping believers to experience and express the deep things of God, where theological understanding or doctrine falls short.

It was also nice to see some old friends, as well as those who cyber-shun me but say hello and hug me in real life. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around how that works.

  • Lanny A. Eichert January 12, 2015 at 2:01 am

    You really don’t “get it” do you, Alice? The church has a right to limit you. It is called “order.” They have the right to teach without opposition. The proper order is to privately make your desire know for discussion of your matter and they may choose when, where, and with whom; or not at all. You need to be satisfied with that.

    Your opposition to everlasting torment of people who physically die without a true confession of Jesus Christ is entirely heresy and you continue to be in rebellion against God. What did Jesus say to Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9: 5? Read it. You’re not ready to reply as Saul did nor do you tremble and you certainly are not astonished. You are presumptuous to think that God will speak to you who will not believe His Holy Bible is a perfect book preserved even in the spelling of every word. What did Abraham tell the rich man in hades in Luke 16: 29? Read it. You have the Scriptures: read them correctly in context and stop fantasizing contradictions. It is impossible to the meaning of the words used that the wicked be a second time resurrected. Their final estate is the resurrection to damnation. From that they cannot be resurrected to everlasting life. Read the Revelation 20 and see they don’t die again when they are thrown as trash into the Lake of Fire TITLED the Second Death. They have all along been identified as the dead because they are spiritually dead and they can’t get any deader than they already are standing consciously before God’s Judgment throne in resurrected bodies. Look again at Luke 16 and see the rich man never has a desire or asks to be reconciled with God, only that his brothers avoid his error. Even in your false interpretation this base story element is lacking, yet with much Jesus-intended importance attached to its ommission which you overlook. He’s stuck, he knows it, and he’s satisfied for himself to bodily suffer in the flame rightly identified, especially in his asking for cooling water. Sweat, Alice. That you will do if you refuse to get this right.

    Alice, is parental discipline God-ordained? How many young children fear parental discipline? Is fear proper motivation? Is the fear of hell proper motivation to be saved?

    • Alice Spicer January 13, 2015 at 7:16 pm

      If you truly believe, “The church has a right to limit you. It is called “order.” They have the right to teach without opposition. The proper order is to privately make your desire know for discussion of your matter and they may choose when, where, and with whom; or not at all. You need to be satisfied with that” let me ask you this. If the preacher of your church preached a sermon on universal reconciliation, would you follow the above protocol? Why or why not?

      • Lanny A. Eichert January 13, 2015 at 8:04 pm

        Yes, Alice, because it is right. If I were not a member there, I’d not regularly attend, perhaps not ever again. If I were a member there and other leadership agreed with me, I weigh the possibility of encouraging the leadership to confront the doctrinal error and remove it and whoever is promoting it if they’ll not be convinced otherwise.

        • Alice Spicer January 15, 2015 at 4:01 pm

          Let’s suppose you were a member there. What if other leadership did not agree with you? What would you do then?

          In addition, what if other leadership did agree with you, but also believed the pastor has the “right to teach without opposition” – what would you do then?

          • Lanny A. Eichert January 15, 2015 at 5:01 pm

            Let’s suppose you were a member there. What if other leadership did not agree with you? What would you do then? Leave quietly.

            In addition, what if other leadership did agree with you, but also believed the pastor has the “right to teach without opposition” – what would you do then? Leave quietly.

            I would allow the other leadership to remain friends with me as they saw fit and if in my house they seemed open to discussion I’d go softly.

            Please do remember I had been excommunicated from a Baptist church because the pastor felt I resisted his authority when one Wednesday night after he preached John the Baptist started the Baptist Church I spoke very privately to him that he was in error, since the Baptist heritage is through the Anabaptists in Europe. He moved very quickly and four days later on Sunday morning he had me voted out of that church. I’m no stranger to abuse in churches, but you have gone beyond proper boundaries.

  • Mary Vanderplas January 12, 2015 at 5:18 am

    Knowing how you feel about the institutional church generally and about fundamentalist Baptist theology particularly, I had wondered how the experience of attending worship yesterday at your daughter and son-in-law’s church would be for you. I’m not surprised that you wrestled beforehand with the decision about how you would act if the person talking said something that you question or consider erroneous and an affront to the character of God. It must have been difficult, indeed, to decide to remain silent and not to do what your heart was telling you to do.

    I agree with what you say about the practice of one person doing all the talking and the rest simply “sitting and soaking” being less than healthy and life-enhancing for the body. And I agree that the preaching we read about in the early church was almost certainly an interactive event, not a solo performance on the part of a leader.

    I like what you say about a dedication ceremony not being necessary to legitimize the intentions of parents to raise their child to know and serve God. Being a believer within the Reformed tradition, I would contend that there is something powerfully significant about baptizing infants as a sign of God’s claim and covenant promises extended to us long before we are able to respond to God or even to understand his gracious acts.

    It sounds like your experience of interacting with old friends and acquaintances was bittersweet. It’s hard to imagine how those who shun you online but are cordial toward you in person can justify their inconsistent and hurtful behavior.

    I like what you say about the power of music to speak deeply to the spirit, stirring us in ways that doctrine cannot.

    I’m interested to know your thoughts about the sermon. Your mom told me a little about what was said and her reactions, but I’ll be interested in hearing your perspective, too. Like you, your mom was delighted to witness the publicly expressed intentions of your daughter and son-in-law to raise their daughter in the faith.

    • Lanny A. Eichert January 12, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      “Was almost certainly an interactive event”, Mary? You make a claim of normalcy you cannot support and fail to see even your words betray you: “almost certainly”. Lets see you produce proof in the Bible which to you is unreliable.

      And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. {Acts 20: 9} One man preaching and everybody else listening.

      Also you cannot prove infant baptism as the normal practice in the first century church.

    • Alice Spicer January 13, 2015 at 7:14 pm

      This is beautiful, what you wrote: “something powerfully significant about baptizing infants as a sign of God’s claim and covenant promises extended to us long before we are able to respond to God or even to understand his gracious acts.”

  • Lisa Jones January 12, 2015 at 9:37 am

    It’s good to speak your mind. I understand your situation probably more than you know. You are so blessed with your family. Glad you could worship and visit. I don’t attend there anymore either…..was called in a different direction some time ago….

    • Alice Spicer January 13, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      Where do you go now, if you don’t mind me asking.

      • Stephen Helbig January 16, 2015 at 7:14 am

        Where do you go now, if you don’t mind me asking.

        …..was called in a different direction some time ago….

        Alice and all others: ~ Just finished reading this (link below) and thought you might enjoy the read. It’s a healthy one, being 13 chapters long, and at the end of each chapter you have to scroll back up to the top of the page you just read and click on the heading, “SO YOU DON’T WANT TO GO TO CHURCH ANYMORE” , to advance to the next chapter, but it has a great message for many today.

  • Stephen Helbig January 12, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Your blog today has inspired many tangents of emotion and floods my and heart with a vast array of the exceedingly great and precious promises found in the living word of God. I also recently visited a local church as an (“unintended”) (saddened and silent) (“participant”), due to a friends invite, and I just sat and listened to a debauchery of mans traditions which did absolutely nothing for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Much of what was put forth that morning in the service was done for show and ignorantly so by the beastly system and false prophet, yet I could still see the heart of our Lord as a grain of mustard seed every ready to spring forth with Zoe Life. When I find myself in these situations I realize that two will nor cannot walk together unless there be an agreement, (see Amos 3:3). So I begin and desire to become ALL THINGS to all men that I may save some.
    Some will NOT be saved TODAY, { (lol), 🙂 (but will be saved) 🙂 }, so let me focus upon “YOUR LINE” Oh Lord. Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, Oh Lord. Let me bring your Life this day to all I see, a word fitly spoken or even just a loving smile.

    p.s. ~ We are His “workmanship” (“poem”), created in Christ Jesus, before the foundation of the world.

    p.s.s. ~ I like Mary’s comment above, that states, ~ “I would contend that there is something powerfully significant about baptizing infants as a sign of God’s claim and covenant promises extended to us long before we are able to respond to God or even to understand his gracious acts”

    p.s.s.t. ~ Alice you REALLY DO GET IT ~ and that makes me smile 🙂 ~ He revealeth His secret unto his servants (Amos 3:7)

    • Lanny A. Eichert January 12, 2015 at 10:50 am

      Stephen and Mary, your reformed tradition of infant baptism has no historical Biblical foundation and is merely the tradition of men who forced Jewish circumcision to continue in a supposed updated Christianized form of baptism.

      Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. {Galatians 5: 2}

      Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. {Galatians 5: 4}

      And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles. {Mark 2: 22}

      The Reformed Tradition fails to recognize the distinct difference between Israel and the Church. Israel is the old wine in the old bottle, while the Church is entirely new wine in the new bottle. The two contrast, but do NOT equate. The Old Covenant is passed away and the new is come. The Law must be FULLY kept in every detail; it cannot be just partially kept. Romans 7: 1 – 6 proves the Christian is dead to the Law via his union with Christ’s death, that he might be married to Christ. He has nothing to do with the old redressed in new clothing.

      None of the three of you really “get it.”

    • Alice Spicer January 13, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      Thanks as always for your comments, which are usually an uplifting contrast to Lanny’s comments.

  • Stephen Helbig January 12, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Lanny our Lord looks upon the heart and sees Christ in you the Hope of Glory. All seven of our children the Lord blessed me and my wife with were dedicated to the Lord before they knew what it meant, kinda like eye hath not seen nor ear heard the things that God hath prepared… ~ Behold He makes ALL THINGS NEW

    • Lanny A. Eichert January 12, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      Stephen, God knows most people are sincere, but He judges on the standard of TRUTH, not sincerity. All three of you, Alice, Mary, and Stephen, sincerely believe in the wrong stuff, but since it is not truth, you are judged condemned by God {John 3: 36} and the wrath of God is swarming all over you. You have NO excuses, because you have available to you God’s perfect literal Holy Bible, which you have been reading incorrectly according to your own emotions and loving man’s tradition above truth. Alice doesn’t practice going to church and all three of you love baptizing infants. That’s evidence.

  • Lanny A. Eichert January 12, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Alice and Stephen, have you read on Alice’s last blog post “Decluttering” Shawn McCraney’s answer to my questions and seen how he resorts to the emotionally charged issue of where babies go to heaven or hell as his first plea? Psalm 58: 3 plainly declares at their very birth they actively are sinning and worthy of condemnation, but, never you mind that, you along with him push emotional astute assumptions as stronger arguments than truth.

    The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. {Psalm 58: 3}

  • Lanny A. Eichert January 12, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    Alice, why should it take so long for persons to be reconciled to God in the lake of fire? Shouldn’t the intense torment of the lake of fire produce reconciliation very quickly. Isn’t that reasonable? You indicate it takes ages to come out. Why don’t you think their intense torment immediately convinces them to become believers? It’s like as if you think they know no better, as if they are ignorant. What does it take them ages to learn and how do they learn it? Remember more than ninety percent of the world’s population have never heard the Gospel before they physically died. In the lake of fire it would be immediate good news as soon as they heard it. Why wouldn’t they get immediately saved? Why wouldn’t God give them the Gospel message immediately upon their being dumped into the lake of fire? Would God deny them the immediate chance of being saved as soon as they got there? Perhaps you might say they weren’t ready yet. Don’t you think the torment would make them immediately ready to hear the salvation message and receive it with joy? Torture does wonders in convincing people; oh, but I don’t suppose your understanding of the lake of fire is torture, because your god is not that mean, is he? No, he ever so slowly and steadily melts their stoney hearts, draining off the dross, until he has them a pure heart that accepts his salvation. One thing you forget is that a pure heart doesn’t need salvation, because it already is pure. Your lake of fire is an after-market substitute for the Cross and a lesson in self-improvement. No instantaneous Gospel rebirth is there.

  • Lanny A. Eichert January 15, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Alice, January 6, 2015 at 9:16 pm in Stacking Stones you asked: You write, “He is post-mortem, meaning past death, no longer able to die again.” Please explain in light of the second death (the one in which believers are “not hurt”). You want me to explain my explanatory sentence that followed: A post-mortem resurrected person cannot die in order to be resurrected again. You’re trying to suggest being thrown as trash into the Lake of Fire is in reality a dying experience because the Lake of Fire is linked to the Second Death by the present indicative form of the verb “to be” in the Revelation 20: 14 and 21: 8. Notice please there is nothing in either text suggesting an actual dying experience as they are being deposited into that fire. Chapter 20 verse 10 throws Satan as trash also into the Lake of Fire without reference to a dying experience. Even chapter 19 verse 20 throws both the beast and the false prophet as trash into the Lake of Fire without reference to a dying experience for either one. In fact the text says: These both were cast ALIVE into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. That proves the Lake of Fire is not a dying experience at all, but a living experience.

    There is no escape from the Lake of Fire once you’re there in your resurrected body you are post-mortem, past death, and unable to die again and be resurrected a second time only that one to life. Your scheme is not possible, since the Second Death is not a dying experience.

    … he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night … {Revelation 14: 10 & 11}

  • Alice Spicer January 30, 2015 at 12:50 am

    You write, “Notice please there is nothing in either text suggesting an actual dying experience as they are being deposited into that fire.” But notice Rev. 20:14 “The lake of fire is the second death.” I think that the problem here is semantics. What does “death” mean to you, in Rev. 20:14? I suspect it means something different to you than it does to me. The word “death” is used in various ways throughout scripture. What’s your take on this particular verse?

    • Lanny A. Eichert January 30, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Alice, in life a person is on the earth, but in death if he were righteous by faith he is in the presence of Jesus in heaven or if he were wicked he is in hades. Death is a state of being not a continuous experience of ceasing to live. They are alive being thrown as trash into the Lake of Fire and are living in the Lake of Fire. How else in your false conception are you expecting them to respond to your so-called love of God and get out if they aren’t alive in the state of death? Your concept of dying puts them in soul-sleep or annihilation AGAIN if they die going into the Lake of Fire. Are you again going to resurrect/recreate them, however this time to purging?

      Think, Alice, of the unregenerate being dead in tresspasses and sins in this mortality. They live in this life in the state of death. They were dead when they were born; at conception or as babies they didn’t go through the experience of dying, but were conceived/born already dead in Adam. Death had dominion over them from their very first moment and it continues to dominate them everlastingly in the Lake of Fire, labeled the Second Death. Being in death is being dead. People exist in death just as people exist in life. That’s why Jonah’s three days in the belly of the fish is noteworthy enough to prove soul-sleep/annihilation is false, because the reference is to Jesus three days in death.

      You continue to be hung up on words instead of allowing them their proper useage in the Bible as in any other written material. God condescends to our level, so quit making things so difficult. God didn’t write His Bible for great skeptic scholars, but for plain folks who are rich in faith.

    • Lanny A. Eichert January 31, 2015 at 6:18 am

      Alice, the Revelation 20: 12 states And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God. On His great white throne God judges the resurrected “dead” according to their works. These are those who died in their sins without confessing Christ and they are labeled “the dead” because they had lived their entire mortal lives “dead in trespasses and sins” {Ephesians 2: 1} in the state of death. If you’d NOT see this judgment as the general judgment of all humanity where both the saved and unsaved are judged, you’d “get it.” The key word in the text is “the dead” meaning the unsaved only. Don’t you understand that a GENERAL judgment is misleading. Certainly God judges all humanity, but the saints are judged DIFFERENTLY than the wicked. Saints are judged for rewards for their service at Christ’s “bema” seat, but the wicked are judged at “the great white throne” displaying proof that their works are the cause of their condemnation. They are consciously alive, but dead, living dead folks existing in the realm of death same as from their conception in their mothers’ wombs except with everlasting bodies when they are thrown into the Lake of Fire. They are dead, so they can’t die any more being deposited in the firey lake with everlasting bodies. Do you think maybe the concept of zombies might help your understanding?

    • Lanny A. Eichert January 31, 2015 at 6:56 am

      Alice, in addition you should consider Luke 20: 35 – 38
      Verse 36 Jesus said, Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
      And verse 38 Jesus said, For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

      Do you see resurrected persons can’t ever again die and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are neither in soul-sleep nor annihilated right now during this time between their death and their resurrection, and since it is so with them, so is it with everybody physically dead: they all have conscious existence, few in bliss, but many in firey torment.

      Jesus is right, but Alice is wrong.

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