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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Church Abuse and Guilt

I wasn't going to write today but I came across a post that I thought many of you would find interesting.

I often get email questions like this, but I just respond personally.

I love the way Barbara answered this question and addressed the issue of church abuse.

Check it out...

Churches and Guilt

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Lisa said...

Very good article. We experienced some of that at a former church where my husband was on staff. Its hard to get over.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting me visit. This has been a question of mine for many years.
Hope this makes sense, I'm not a writer nor a blogger. Sorry it's a little long.

Acts 2:42-48
Selling their possessions and giving to one another in need.
Day by day they continued w/one mind in the temple. Continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer.

Breaking bread from house to house.
Taking their meals together w/gladness and sincerity of heart praising God and having favor w/all the people.
God gave the increase (those saved) day by day.

It seems they were together ALL THE TIME. Loving each other. At the temple together and then in one another's home.

So, is this passage to be the model we are to live out today in the body of Christ?
Did individuals pray to see if they felt the Lord was leading them to meet every time the doors were open? Did they want to be there everytime because they so loved Jesus and one another?
If we saw this today would we call them cultish or inward focused?
I don't know the answer...yet.

This passage is simple, but seems we today are caught up on 'how to do church' so that we are missing the goal of what it means to be the body of Christ.

Personally, I don't know of a church like the one in this passage.
I'm not sure I would like the frequency of the togetherness.
I like my independence.
Maybe if I was ever to be part of a body like this Acts church, then I probably would want to be there ALL THE TIME. :-)

It's one thing to be together 'every time the doors are open' because of love rather than legalism.


Praise and Coffee said...

Hi Libby,
Thanks for commenting!
I love the picture that those verses give us. The love the people had for one another is something we should all strive for.
However the picture of them living together and being around one another is a picture of their culture.
In Jesus' time, families usually lived in clusters of buildings called insulas.
These clusters were built around a central courtyard. Grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts all lived and interacted together in the insula.

As sons married, they added to the insula. After asking a girl to marry him, the son would return to his village and build new rooms onto his father's home.

Their culture was much more intertwined than ours. They walked every where they went, so they lived much closer to each other.

I believe that we are to look to this verse within the parameters of the way we live today.

I think this verse tells us today that we should be "as one" in our hearts and together taking care of one another as much as possible. However, the post of Barbara's was referring to a situation in which the church was demanding that they get together and condemning them when they wouldn't.
There's nothing healthy about that kind of situation.

Our priorities are first to our relationship with God and our own families.

Debbie Petras said...

I read her article and have a few thoughts to add.

I don't think a mid-week service should be mandatory but voluntary. Our flesh tends to get up in arms when we're told we HAVE TO do something.

However, I do believe the mid-week prayer service can be very special. A solid church is built on the prayers of its people. I remember reading Jim Cymbala's book and how their prayer meetings started small and now are filled to overflowing. God loves to hear the prayers of His people and of course, we know that "where two or three are gathered...".

I used to go to my church's Wednesday prayer meeting every week. However, I've been unable to attend for some time because of family situations. I don't feel shamed because I don't get to go but I miss going. I believe it's a privilege to pray with other believers. It binds the people together and it's a more intimate time for my pastor to share some things that are on his heart with us and ask us to pray.

It seems to me that people are busy and there are a variety of reasons they cannot attend. If anything, the pastor should say something like "you don't know what you're missing" but not shame people into coming. Gosh, I guess I have strong opinions about this and hadn't realized it.

Praise and Coffee said...

Great thoughts Debbie, I agree completely!

Anonymous said...

Very good article. Thanks for posting the link.

A Stone Gatherer said...

Very interesting article! I liked the signs of a healthy church.

Natalie said...

Yes, it IS hard to get over it. i was a member of a church (cult) that was part of the Shepherding Mvmt when I was in high school. I am having to relearn alot of stuff.

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