Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Let all that you do be done in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14

If you are reading this, welcome!

This blog is something that I hope can shed a new light on a situation that has broken out in certain parts of the Christian community, something that I like to call "The Free Grace Controversy."

This controversy is something I have been studying and following for the past few weeks, and I am now feeling ready to start publishing my ideas and opinions regarding the subject.

At the heart of this conflict between brothers and sisters in Christ is something that is being referred to as "the Crossless Gospel." On one side, and what is generally seen as the offensive, are Dennis Rokser of Duluth Bible Church, Tom Stegall of Word of Grace Bible Church in Milwakee, and another man named Lou Martunaec, who at the moment, I do not know all that much about. The message these three men are attacking is one supported by several people who have blogs here on blogspot, (such as freegracer and crossless,) and I believe, also supported by teachers such as Zane Hodges and Charlie Bing.

Before I go any further, let me state that I grew up in Duluth Bible Church, under the teachings of Dennis Rokser. For years, as I attended this church, I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday, memorized hundreds of Bible verses, and was as involved as any person who loves church would be. Unfortunately, just because I loved church, doesn't mean I had a relationship with my Heavenly Father. Yes, I knew I was saved, as I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior at a very early age, but I had no working understanding of what having a relationship with God really means. I would constantly be telling people, when they described me as religious, "I'm not relgious, I'm a Christian, that means I have a relationship with God." I believed that with all my heart. But I didn't realize that those people were right. Despite my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior, ultimately, all I was doing was following a system, trusting that if I did everything right in the system, then that meant I had a relationship with God. (That system meant going to church to hear the Word of God on a regular basis, obeying my parents, confessing my sins whenever I was "out of fellowship," and for me this was a constant struggle to stay "in fellowship.")

Over the past year however, I have come to understand what a relationship with God really means. It has nothing to do with my church attendance, or with how many verses I memorize, or with how often I read my Bible, if I'm just reading my Bible because I know I have to. For almost 15 years I sat in the blue chairs in DBC's auditorium, listening and taking the best notes I could as I listened to the Word being preached. And yes, the Word was preached, but my focus was always intellectual; making sure I had all the blanks filled in correctly, making sure I found every verse as we turned to it as quickly as possible, never questioning anything that came over the pulpit. Not that I was taught a litany of false doctrines, much of what I heard I still believe and stand on firmly, however I was never encouraged to study the Word on my own.

I do remember hearing Dennis say, more than once, "If you're not sure about what I'm teaching, read the Bible for yourself, it's right there." So yes, we were told to check what he said against the Scriptures for ourselves, but always with the connotation that whatever we found would support what he was teaching. His verse by verse teaching method made it extremely easy to just accept what ever was said, because he always supported it with a verse.

Let me clarify by saying that I don't think this method of teaching is necessarily wrong, but the fact that I was never taught to listen to the Holy Spirit within me compounded with this teaching method created in me a spirit of complacency. I never felt the need to study the Word on my own, because I thought I was being taught everything I needed to know in church. (Please note, I saw, and still see, reading the Word as very different from studying it.) I read my Bible on a regular basis, as I knew that was part of what I needed to do in order to be "in fellowship" with God. But I never realized that the reason I have the Holy Spirit, is so that He can guide me. Which includes giving me insight and understanding when I read God's Word.

It's getting late, so I'm going to stop this here, but let me state my main purpose of this blog. I am no longer a member of Duluth Bible Church, and I do not agree with their stand on this issue centered around the so-called "Crossless Gospel." While I do not completely agree with everything the people they are opposing believe either, I neither support nor agree with the way Rokser, Stegall, and apparantly, Martunaec, have been attacking them in order to defend their positions. Yes, they believe they are defending the Gospel, but by doing so, they are sowing discord among the brethren, simply because they haven't taken a good enough look at what it is they are opposing.

But to me, even that isn't the main issue. The main issue is that, on both sides, people have risen up on the offensive and defensive, attacking other brothers and sisters in Christ, and not only causing discord and distress, but causing stumbling blocks for those they could be giving a good testimony to instead. While the message we teach and stand on is important, nothing proves Jesus Christ's work, and the Holy Spirit's presence in our hearts more than our testimonies.

I hope to point people to their commonalities in Christ through this blog, and hopefully show how the discord is as much a problem as the issue itself. Yes, by all means, stand up for what you believe in. But for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, and our Heavenly Father who abounds in grace and mercy, do so in love. We, as brothers and sisters in Christ all have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us; that is our commonality, and no disagreement should come between our ability to fellowship together around who we are in Christ: God's children.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Indwelt daughter,

Is it possible that the frustrations that you had in the Christian life while at Duluth Bible was not necessarily reflective of wrong teaching but rather your muddled perceptions of sound teaching?

Just a thought...

BL

IndweltDaughter said...

Dear BL,

First of all, I do not blame Duluth Bible Church, nor Dennis Rokser, for my misunderstanding of the Christian Life. That guilt I accept as completely my own. However, it is no longer something that I dwell on, at least I try not to, because dwelling on the past in a spirit of guilt accomplishes nothing.

Neither do I want to dwell on the issues at DBC that I disagree with, because all that does is put my focus on a thing, on another person, instead of placing my complete focus on my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When I was a member of Duluth Bible Church, my loyalty was first and foremost to the church, to the pastor, to the teaching. Now, my loyalty is to my Heavenly Father, and to Him alone.

Yes there are things at DBC that I don't agree with, but they, and my previously "muddled perceptions" are not my focus, and I'm sorry if these last two posts of mine have made it seem that way. I am a sinner, and I'm slowly learning to walk with the LORD as He tells me what to write, as well as what not to write, and I think I may have made too big a deal of the fact that I don't agree with some of DBC's teachings.

My purpose writing here is to hopefully encourage people, and hopefully help people so that they don't fall into the trap I fell into. No matter what church someone goes to, no matter who their pastor is, no matter where they stand in the Free Grace Controversy, I pray that they look first and foremost to the Word of God, no matter what they are taught on Sunday mornings, or who teaches them.

There is no such thing as a perfect church, and there is no such thing as a teacher who has all the answers. I believe that every single one of us, when we get to heaven, will realize that there was something in God's Word that we interpreted incorrectly, or didn't fully understand. I believe God understands that this is inevitable, since we are all sinners still, and we all will at one time or another (and most likely more often than that,) rely on our own human understanding more than the revelations and wisdom of the Holy Spirit within us. Since this is the case, our responsibility is to walk in a spirit of humbleness, as well as awareness, and instead of completely dismissing something that we don't agree with, compare it to the Word of God side by side with our own understanding, and through prayer for wisdom, and study of the Bible, either become certain of exactly why you disagree, or if you find that you were wrong, amend your previous beliefs and conform them to the Word of God. Don't be afraid to admit that you're wrong, if you find that you were. I have been going through that process several times this year, and it is the main reason I am no longer a member of DBC. Not because I disagree with a lot of teachings, but because I want to know that I believe the things I believe because I know them to be true. Not because they were taught to me and it's all that I know.

There are a lot of other reasons why I no longer attend DBC, but they are very personal, and it's not just my story to tell, so it is not something I share.

Basically, in answer to your question, yes, it is very possible, and I know my own misconceptions and misunderstanding were a big part of it; however, they weren't the only part, and there are things that I have been convinced of by the Holy Spirit that contradict what I was taught at DBC.

But again, they aren't my focus, and I don't want to make them my focus, because they prevent me from growing and from learning new things about my Heavenly Father as I study His Word and grow closer to Him.

Anonymous said...

Dear ID,

Do you mind me asking what church you are going to now?

BL

IndweltDaughter said...

Dear BL,

It is a source of constant puzzlement to me why people are always so concerned with what church I go to, or how often I go. I understand why this is a source of concern, as most Christians are led of the LORD to find His will for them in a church setting, however, it saddens me that I get the question "when are you coming to church?" more often than the questions "how are you doing [spiritually]?" or "has God been teaching you anything lately? What have you been learning as you read your Bible?"

I'm not saying that you are doing this BL, as you are not someone I know personally, and I understand that you're just asking a simple question. Your question simply reminds me of this response that I usually receive from other believers.

In answer to your question, I am not regularly attending any church at the moment, for one of the same reasons that led me to leave my former church. I'm learning to trust the LORD completely right now, that is what He is teaching me at this point in my life, and I don't want to be distracted from Him by a teacher or a church philosphy.

Before you, or anyone else jump to conclusions, this does not mean that I am "[forsaking] the fellowshiping of yourselves together." Where in that verse does it say that fellowshiping with other believers needs to be done in a church building on Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights, and weekend Bible Studies? I fellowship with other believers on a regular basis, daily actually, as I am blessed to live in a home with two Christian parents who love the LORD with their whole hearts, and desire His will above all else. There are other believers that our family gets together with weekly as well, and we study the Word together, discuss and search the Word as we pray and get to know our Heavenly Father on a very intimate level. It's basically the beginnings of a home fellowship, and when you think about it, not all that different from what the first churches were in the New Testament.

Just to make sure I'm not giving the wrong idea, I have nothing against going to church, but I'm not going to go to one simply because I know that I should, because the LORD hasn't proved to me that I can walk better in Him by going to church; He's actually proved to me the opposite, because I haven't found a church yet where I can go and simply fellowship with other believers around His Word without worrying that something I believe will offend another.

I pray the LORD will lead me to a church that preaches His Word, and His gospel, where I can fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ around the glory of our Heavenly Father, the provision of our Savior, and the strength of His Spirit within us, without my own relationship with God being threatened by a relationship with an institution.

Until God gives me peace about attending a church however, I am at peace right now, confidant that I am doing His will, as He searches the desires of my heart, and teaches me to desire Him, His Word, and His wisdom, so that I might draw closer to Him in love, knowledge, and grace.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

This is a really nice blog. I like your peaceable spirit.

Anonymous said...

Dear BL
Your thoughts are appreciated as it is good to evaluate our thinking. So here is a thought as well...
Is it possible that "Sound teaching" could be labeled such because it is taught that one's church has sound teaching....so hence we really think it does. Reality may be that the church does has some good teaching. Reality on the other hand is always likely that the same church has some teaching that is "muddled" since the human delivering it is fallible. Perception of one's receiving of teaching can be very clearly indentified as muddled or not by many years of listening carefully to what is said and being daring enough to compare it with the infallible unmuddled Word to test the pastor.
Hope you have done this as we all have this need. We are told that the Word gives understanding to the simple" not to those who attend church under a pastor. Thanks be to our Saviour and Holy Spirit.
Thanks for raising the question.

IndweltDaughter said...

Dear "anonymous"

Thank you very much for your comment, as it has encouraged me greatly.

I am so thankful to read the thoughts of another believer who bases their beliefs on the Word of God, and understands the importance of testing everything they hear against the Word of God through the power of the Holy Spirit within them.

Thank you again.

Many blessings

~Amanda

Anonymous said...

Dear Indwelt Daughter

You are never alone. You can never lose your joy. You can never lose your Best Friend. You will always be comforted. Courage is always abundant. I AM.....is omnipresent and just asks for our faith. He is yours...do not let anyone bump that form your mind...it sounds like you are strong in Him.
And you are welcome for the post on the power of the pure and simple Word for us not so pure and simple ones ;)
anonymous

IndweltDaughter said...

Thank you so much "Anonymous"

Thank you for the encouragement, and for pointing me towards the LORD, dear brother/sister in Christ.

Every Blessing in Christ

~Amanda

Anonymous said...

Dear ID and fellow anonymous :),

Hmmmm. ID, it sounds like you have had some frustrating times at DBC. I don't pretend to know all that went on, however, let me ask one (?) more question. Has your decision to leave been based squarely on the Word of God? If you truly desire to please the Lord and be faithful to Him alone, is that mutually exclusive of participating within a local bible church? I guess I am a little confused...is it more "spiritual" to disband from the local church? I am not sure I get that conclusion from Scripture...certainly my conviction that DBC has sound teaching should be based on the Word of God. Do you have evidence to support otherwise? I have not been biblically convinced based upon your arguments so far...if there is another church that does teach the Word of God more accurately, then certainly that would be a better alternative.
We all make mistakes along the road that is the Christian life, but it is our willingness to acknowledge those mistakes that keeps going in the right direction. I am not saying it is necessarily God's will for your life to return, but is there unanyomous biblical support to separate?

BL
Eph 4:1-3

Anonymous said...

Dear BL
Hello to you and ID! Good things to ponder here. Upon what do we base our decisions....
Bl, what is "squarely based on the Word of God" in your mind? What would Scriptural proof would justify ID's having left her church? Would it be just certain things in the Bible?
You have got it right that we all make mistakes along the road:) We all need forgiveness and grace. With that in mind however, what if a church is making repetative mistakes that affect and stumble the walk of some believers? What if it is Scriptural truths that are not being followed as a pattern? Would this not be a reason to leave particularily when you try to mend the wrong and there is resistance.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine for reproof for correction and instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate equipped unto all good works." Notice it says all Scripture...not just all doctrine or specific teachings of a particualr assembly of people.
BL you seem to be stuck on a NEED for a church ( a building to attend?)This is what the catholic church teaches: i.e. you need a man to teach the Scriptures or you cannot really learn it and you need to attend an church (a designated official one....local as you put it) so you can be on the right track with God. I do not know for sure but it seems so? Maybe not, but what you are saying does allude to this though your thoughts know this is wrong?
Did ID say she is not gathering with other saints regularily? I can't help but think how the early church started? A church was considered people, few or great in number, that met together regularily to exort one another in His Word. Even as the church became through history more in number, some, convicted by the Lord and His Word, disbanded and began afresh. Any church in history started this way. Before Scripture was on paper and in hands we saw the need more for apostles to actually tell us what to believe and what was the right "sound teaching". Now that we have the Word and His Spirit ourselves the need for a pastor to actually illuminate Scripture is wrong. I only say this because you keep hinting that ID needs a "local"church. ID needs the Head and members of His body (whoever they are) and His Word which is complete.
The church are the saints who have the HEAD and they gather with other saints.
BL I am confused too. Maybe you can clear this up...disbanding from one official group and not immediately attatching to another does not signify being "more spiritual" either does it? I do not see this in the Bible. What produces spirituality is the Spirit and He can lead ID if she is seeking Him wholly....and only her and the Lord will know that. If she is in any way thinking wrong God can and will reveal it to her and unmuddle her thoughts if need be.
It is great not to focus on our own thoughts, ID. A key point to think of when listening to people is, are they pointing me to a man or a physical place as the needed source or purely and simply to Christ alone. Anything less than Him and His ability to sanctify you is legal. Keep looking to the Lord ID......do not underestimate His ablility to direct your path.
Not that you are....but I know how our thoughts can get muddled ;) Keep seeking Him too BL. He is able to do exeeding and abundantly above all that you think or even ask....He has given you His HS and His completed Canon. Sometimes we have support of others and sometimes that support is gone for a while...but He is always faithful and leads His own. We all have to do what we believe He is convicting us of ....

Best in Him
TD

IndweltDaughter said...

Dear BL,

Thank you very much for your comments and concerns, I appreciate them, as they help me think. I found a quote online today that basically said there is no such thing as true faith if it hasn't been challenged by doubt.

Dear TD (I'm glad I finally have a 'name' for you.) ;)

Thank you very much for your comment as well. I would respond myself to the questions BL asked, but you pretty much took the words right out of my mouth, and as far as his questions go, I have nothing more to add.

However, BL, I would like to say one thing. It is not my intent to try to convince anyone of anything. You asked me some very specific questions, and I'm thankful that you asked them, so I then proceeded to answer them to the best of my ability. If I came across as trying to defend myself or of trying to convince you of anything, I'm sorry, I did not mean to come across that way. Especially since I didn't know based on your questions where you actually stood until your most recent comment.

Basically what I am trying to say, is that I could never even presume the possibilty of convincing someone of anything, at least not of anything regarding Scripture, because the Holy Spirit is the only one who can, and should be able to do so.

Any convictions I have, and any conclusions I have personally come to, I came to them through the conviction and wisdom of the Holy Spirit within me. If anything I ever write, or say, or do influences anyone, I pray that it is ONLY because that through studying the Scriptures on their own, comparing anything I say to them, and above all trusting the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to them, they come to the conclusion that they agree with something I say. Not because I can make a good argument, but because they come to the conclusion through the Spirit that what I said doesn't contradict Scripture.

Anonymous said...

TD and ID (Do we have enough acronyms?),

Quite the mouthpiece for ID. ;)

Let me be clear here. Although the Lord has equipped us with His Word and the Holy Spirit in order to live the Christian life, he has a specific purpose and blueprint in the local church as well.

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together; as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Heb 10:24-25

Do we need a church building? Absolutely not! Any time fellow believers come together the “church” of Christ is present. (Matt 18:20)

Why is it important to gather together? I would refer to Ephesians 4 (among others).

“…for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man (or woman), to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow us in all things into Him, who is the head – Christ – from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (vv12-16)

The Lord uses pastor teachers to help us understand the Word of God so that we may grow. If you are gathering among believers where the Word is clearly taught, praise the Lord! But, if you made a decision to leave a church based on personal issues or someone just rubbed you the wrong way, I do not believe this is Scriptural. What are grounds to leave a local church? Really only doctrinal, I believe. Even then, when the alternatives are bleak, sometimes it may be best to chew and spit that which is unbiblical and quietly endure until the Lord is convicting you to leave.

TD, you say that the Lord has not provided pastors to help illuminate the Word of God for us. Certainly, men of God who have grown with the Lord can help shed insight on interpretation and practical principles to live by. Ephesians 4 makes that crystal clear. Do not think for a second that “lone-wolfing it” is the ideal spiritual path. Why not access all of the spiritual resources that the Lord has divinely provided. Submission to a pastor and participation within the local church does not imply that we shut down our relationship with the Lord himself and mindlessly follow a man. Please do not read me that way…

Let us evaluate our motives against the divine standard of God’s word. If we are truly seeking Him, as you both would agree…our decision should line up perfectly with the Word of God. First off however, as believers living in the age of grace, we must “endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace,” agreed?

I think we can admit that sometimes our emotions tend to get the best of us and we make rash decisions that appear to make sense at the time but in reality were not rooted Scripture. I will be the first to admit that I have a whole slew of those decisions in my past…

My point here is to reconsider whether there are biblical grounds for your decision. It may be too late in your mind to change your mind, but seek the Lord’s will in the manner, through His Word first, and through prayer with a submissive heart, He will not lead you outside of His will!

BL

Anonymous said...

Dear BL and ID
I guess we all did not just have one (?) more comment :) That is good ;0


BL, you mentioned: "What are grounds to leave a local church? Really only doctrinal, I believe."


Could you define "doctrinal",if you do not mind. And what about "All Scripture which is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works." ?

All Scripture is profitable for only doctrine? Do you believe this?
What if a church is repetatively offending Scripture in any way.... is not THIS a reason to leave?
You mentioned: "spit that which is unbiblical and quietly endure until the Lord is convicting you to leave." This is very, very true. But you cannot assume no one has done this to the degree they WERE convicted that has left this church?
What about the Emporer who insisted that he was for sure wearing clothes? There comes a point where there is so much spitting that it is hard to swallow would you not agree? (I believe even amongst Bible-Grace churches this will be seen more and more.That is why old books written by Grace focused writers are important too. I suppose they are elders/teachers.) Some groups divide up the Word into what they think is important. But they would never be say this b/c it is probably not their intention. They would say all is important but only emphasize their "doctrines".


Also I would like to respond to your thoughts on the "local" church.I am glad you recognize that people can gather in an unofffical setting with other believers and it would be considered a church, correct?
Since you used the verses in Hebrews, those saints had those that were leaders and were told to listen to what they were teaching because the Holy Spirit who inspired Hebrews concurred with what those saints were being taught. We would never be told to just simply submit. (You said you would agree with that.) We cannot be so sure that the pastors understanding of God's Word is the correct one simply because he is in a position.
We have to test what is said according to the infallible Word. This is how pastors are different than Apostles and Prophets and even they were measured up against the Word by the Berean Christians.
We also are ALL given gifts, as you mentioned Eph 4, so the saints can be equipped. I am not saying that God does not use men that have grown in the Lord to shed light on the Word (elders /pastor-teachers). Do not get me wrong. I have had many whom God has used. But pastors(who are NOT apostles and prophets) are not the illuminators of it, the Holy Spirit is and we are to test all that men say.
Also, the verses in the context of this Eph. passage is universal. God has a blueprint for His Church and Ephesians spells it out in it's chapters very well. It does not tell us that there may be times in history or present age that you may be led to meet in smaller groups and allow the Lord to develop what He wills out of it. Do you not agree? In a small gathering of people (church)there may be a pastor present and there may not. (It sounds like ID did not say if there were men who have been in Christ for a long time that are present with those she assembles or fellowships? Do you assemble ID?) So, for that small group, God has provided all that is needed including elders universally that help equip. SO we can study the Word with their shed light too. Primarily, we have the written and Living Word (entire trinity)for the saints, as the rest of Eph spells out. The emphasis of that book is what we now are in Christ and how He accomplishes His work through His body. So we should emphaize what His Word does.

I believe God will provide elders to small groups as He wills in His time. Small groups are not "lone -wolfers". (Sounds like another "crossless" label;)
By this,I am assuming you mean being all alone with no assembling with other Christians? I am saying that I am for saints assembling together and God "divinely providing" all that is needed. I am glad you bring it up though because you seem to have some very firm ideas as to why people leave chuches and what church really is. We all can get "muddled" ;) in our perception.

And yes, we do need to make sure we are lining up our decisions to His Word. I too have made a slew of bad ones as you say you have...we are not alone in that :) And we will continue to do so. This is why a close relationship with Him is the KEY.
We do need to make sure we are striving for unity based on His Divine Word and the keeping therewith ,agreed, not just upon what someone else has taught/told us. Group conformity is not Spirit unity.
We should not leave a group of saints SIMPLY becasue someone "rubbed us the wrong way". We are to forgive and love one another. But repetative Scriptural wrong will in some way not just rub wrong but rub raw.
To give an example, would you agree that if there is a repetative pattern of improper use of pastoral authority in a church, that there will be errors in example and action that will will cause effects in sheep? This WILL rub sheep rawng ;0 and it rubs Christ wrong. It is true that there is great need of forgiveness and overlooking and spitting out. There needs to also be attempts to make the peace and there is a time to speak up. But when all else fails and the error in example continues to fail, the authoritative infringment upon Christ and the Holy SPirit as head in each sheep is what drives away. In Ezekiel we are told of leaders who "rule harshly" and the sheep are subsequently scattered. So, with this example, the basis of leaving is an unscriptural method of leading that is being practiced. Emotions are not wrong just because we have them, they are wrong when they are the BASIS for the decision. I think this what you are saying as well. Forgiving and making sure the problem is unbiblical and unrelenting would be a a sound reason to leave.

In this discussion I would hope that our eyes would fix upon the emphasis of Scripture and that is the Father , Son and Holy Spirit who are sought, are seeking and will finish the good work He started...and he uses men sometimes but not always.

"Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift." " We have this treasure in earthen vessels.."

TD

Anonymous said...

Hey
One more thing...as though this is not LOONNG enough! I do love what you said about having a prayerful and submissive heart and God will not lead you wrong. I was thinking the same thought but worded it as having a close relationship with Him as key. I guess with all the words in this blog it really is very simple on our part and it comes down to faith in His ability to lead :) :)
TD

Anonymous said...

TD,

This is tough because I have been part of a church split that supposedly was a "doctrinal" issue. I believe doctrinal has to do with the church's stance and teaching on doctrine. (i.e., salvation, eternal security, Christian living by grace, eschatology, etc.)
If a church is repeatedly violating the Word of God through their teaching or there is clear hypocrisy among church leaders, I believe this would be grounds for separation. However, how often do people leave churches for prayerful, biblical reasons? Probably less than we would like to think...does this mean that we error on the side of remaining a part of a church. Not necessarily, but have we really put the decision to the Lord in prayer and tested it against His word? That is the key...
I guess when I see a believer leave a sound bible church such as DBC (no doubt, I am a little biased...), I scratch my head because, where I live, churches like DBC don't come along too often) Men who seek to teach the Word of God accurately and take it in the neck for the Lord from within and without are not commonplace. How many churches teach the Gospel clearly and teach what the Bible does not say on salvation as well? (Let along any other area of doctrine) You would be hard-pressed to find an alternative in this geographical area as well...

Anonymous said...

ID, hello :) Do you mind all this conversation on your blog? If you do not want this just say the word. It is your space before it is anyone elses.

Hello Anonymous
I would certainly agree that when you choose a church to be at, you would want as clear of teaching
(truth) as you can get. There is no doubt that doctrine plays a very important role. And thank you for acknowledging that it is also grounds to seperate when the Word is being violated in any repetative manner. If it is "clear" through prayer, seeking Him, His Word and through observation through time in making such a choice to leave, then one can do this with confidence in God's will. I agree with all of that. It is good to read the advice here for anyone from you and BL as we must keep many things in mind.
Unfortunately in leaving some groups, the one leaving, no matter how much they HAVE sought the Lord are ostrasized and subtly preached against by the leaders who refuse to see their own error. So the one leaving could NEVER be right in doing so and is under suspicion, even to the degree that you can not REALLY fellowship with them about our true Church. To make things harder to understand, the leader, who is well respected by the congregation,is not obvious in his folly. Not everyone sees it, probably not even him. He is desirous of glorifying God and doing his clear will. But to some it was obvious (the Emporer's clothes situation). It is clear even in this very blog that people, likely from the church ID has left, is not believing her, that she has made this choice prayerfully and saw things she believes to be unbiblical. She has been gracious, but it is assumed or insinuated that she is probably making a rash decision based on emotion. I cannot help but wonder if this is what is being taught at this church. Somthing like this: "when people leave a church with such sound teaching, they leave over 'personal irritation' and try to make up 'doctrinal' excuses to justify their own bitterness." I read something very close to this in a Grace Family Journal. Does not sound like grace when you are telling a congregation what OTHER people's attitudes are and what other brothers and sisters in Christ are thinking. That is discord, dear family of God. Can one disagree with them and not be labeled with word like "bitter, emotional, lone-wolfer's etc." I hope not but it is suggested. There should be no hint of it. We all need to be careful.
Pray for people and pray that you would not believe everything that is spoken. Be lovers of truth spoken in the love of 1 Corinthians 13 and elsewhere. And remember as soon as you start elevating "the great docrtine we have" we are on the fence of falling from pride, puffing up, looking down at others and rebuking needlessly and unbiblically. We also, even more serious, start to turn off our critical brain and stop testing what we hear and really studying the Word to see if we are right. We get our time of feeding at chirch and IT becomes our resource for truth. (Why would we need to test and search the Word ourselves if we are taught what is so right?)
As far as one "taking it in the neck from within and without", I have heard that before. I would caution people to have open eyes with much dependence on the Lord only. What may appear to be taking it in the neck for standing for truth (persecution)may actually simply be critism because of a lack of love and unbiblical behaviour. I am not saying that is what is happening there in all respects but I see evidence of it in some areas. Simply standing for truth, rebuking and being a "strong" leader does not qualify a leader manifesting the Biblical approach to carrying His will out. Lording over God's sheep is charaterized by leading with an "I have this position over you" and I am the one you submit to because of that mentality.
I am sure the leaders of the church in Duluth are doing what they feel is best with strong conviction. And they do have some very good doctrinal stands.But they have to be extremely open to discussion about what others see as error in them or they will fall. I pray for them and all people in this, includiong myself. We are in desperate need for more effectual and fervant prayer.
One thing I do appreciate about this blog site is that ID IS focussing on the Lord and seems to be in His Word and prayersul. That should cause people who come here to be encouraged by what she is doing right and by what she is learning. I have. Keep "learning of Him" He is meek and lowly in heart and there we have rest and peace amongst our brothers, even amongst good discussion :)

And p.s. Sorry about any spelling issues I have ;0

TD

IndweltDaughter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
IndweltDaughter said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your comments and questions, they are appreciated.

Dear TD,

Thank you again for your comments and thoughts and insights, and also for your consideration in asking me if I mind this discussion here at my blog. In a word, no, I do not mind. :) While I am choosing from now on to refrain from entering the discussion myself, for the simple reason that it hits too close to home and I highly doubt I could answer some of the questions without getting emotional, I am very glad that these issues are being discussed, and I hope this dicussion can continue, and may it all be to the glory of God.

As you said, "Keep 'learning of Him' He is meek and lowly in heart and there we have rest and peace amongst our brothers, even amongst good discussion :)"

Therein lies what I most hope people can learn from this discussion, no matter where they stand on the issue at hand.

Yes, I have left my former church, and I know and understand that no matter what I say, the people who still go there most likely won't agree with me over my reasons for leaving. If they did agree, it wouldn't make sense for them to stay there themselves. That is not what I pray for, it is not what I expect. All I hope for, is that despite the fact that we disagree, that they can still see me as their sister in Christ, and be able to focus on what it is we have IN COMMON, in otherwords, our many commanilities and blessings in Christ. It is my firm conviction that God is much better glorified when His children invest their time and energies into encouraging one another, rather than attacking one another, and supporting each other in love. Yes, that can include admonishment, but not if it is done in a spirit of proving the other person wrong.

As I said, I am not expecting the members of my former church to agree with me on everything, and I am grateful for the concern some of them have expressed to me, I know that they truly do care for me and want me to do God's will for my life.

Reading over some of the things I have said here, I have realized that some of things I have said may come across to some people as attempts to justify my reasons for leaving. While these things I said did influence my thinking, they are not, ultimately, the reason I left. That reason is between me and my Heavenly Father, and I will not share it publicly. If I were to do so, it would in no way encourage anyone else, whether they were connected with this issue or not, and it would sow more discord than there already is.

Again, thank you for your encouragement, I'm looking forward to any further comments you might make.

~Amanda

P.S. TD, don't worry about the spelling, the points you have are still articulated quite clearly. :)

Anonymous said...

Amanda
Thanks for your words. You seem to have a soft heart :)

As you may be able to tell, I have been through a situation in a church which was considered very doctrinally good, but the practice in love was wanting. The result was some subtle legalistic undertones. ( Interesting to hear it said that "clear hypocrisy" is reason to leave. Hypocrisy is not always so clear and obvious. That is not how our enemy works.)When my leaders were faced with this error, they did not take to it at all. To make a long story short, it was similar to the book,"Subtle Powers of Spiritual Abuse". This is a doctrine in and of itself but is not recognized as such.
We need to let each other have different convictions re: doctrine and personal choices within the clarity of the Word. And admonish ONLY in love which you have mentioned :) ( Wow, do we all, each one of us, need a thorough study in love. ) Where love lacks, the sounding brass of puffed up doctrine rings in the ears but hardly touches the heart. The doctrine that loads the mind is what causes us to "scratch our heads" when we look at other people and can only see the Bible through our own glasses. I have been one of those "other people" looking out at those that left my preivious church. This I say to my regret. I have scratched plenty. How this must grieve Him. Truth and love, linked by God's perfection, when disconnected, flesh gets a handle and I start to view the "doctrine" I learned as THE right way and church as THE source of it. If right, then no one should leave it. I just thought if someone left, they must be seeing things wrong because "doctrine" was the Word and my church had it. Now I see the Word, all Scripture, as vital. I do not seperate it into the most important and only worthy reasons to raise heavy concern. All Scripture is worthy of our scrutiny and none should be cast down as emotional fluff.That perspective is unsound and is all over the Word of God. It is unfortunate that I used to think spirituality was linked to a group of people. I recognize the Spirit works in people but He is not confined to them. Spirituality is linked 100% to the Spirit and He does perfectly "as He wills" when and where He wants. God is at work in the heart and through hearts HE enhances our walk, sometimes even exclusive of a "local" church since He is not confined therewith. Local is good, yes, but let us not narrow His ability.

Anyway,to a fellow "thinker",keep in His Word.
Prayerfully do as you are.
Know that when your mind is in/on Christ, your thoughts get unmuddled
and ALL the doctrines of His Word stand out in the light of His glory and grace. (Some teachings of my church I have clung to others I have found to be very narrow and unbalanced. I am still loving the search and pray ALWAYS for Him to search me.)
I respect your silence and your searching heart. Seek and you WILL find!He is anxiously waiting for each one of us!

Even so come, Lord Jesus!
TD

viagra said...

Hello, I do not agree with the previous commentator - not so simple

Anonymous said...

ID,

Thanks for sharing part of your personal walk. While I don't dispute the reason you left, mainly because you never said why, I question your methods of questioning the leaders at your former church. Since this blog is a bit out-dated, I doubt we will ever know how you presented the "wrong" way to them....

Thanks anyways! I have been low in faith lately, and this blog helped regain a little belief and focus.

Sincerely,

Chad

Anonymous said...

I left DBC years ago over the same frustrations and had the same comments made to me. The way the people of DBC reacted to me made me realize they are not a grace based church. Rather it made me want to get away from there as fast as I could. I was told I was compromising the gospel by leaving there and I found out my friends really were not my friends at DBC. It was the best decision I ever made and I found some of the best friends I have ever met outside of the DBC bubble. I found some other survivors who have left DBC and they had the same experience. Duluth Bible Church is grace based as long as you attend the church. the minute you leave expect the knife in the back to come. My hat is off to you to get the courage to leave DBC. Hopefully they are truly more graceful towards you than when I left.

Anonymous said...

Duluth might be a little closed fellowship in their approach to the church, and that is unfortunate. But the distinction they are making with reference the the content of saving faith is not just an in house debate. This is the definition of the Gospel we are talking about. This is the difference between a genuine and a counterfeit conversion experience we are talking about. I for one applaud the fact that they have brougnt to light the impotency of the crossless gospel. It needs to be said. Now it needs to be said with grace. We as believers need to "speak the truth in love". But the difference between the minimalist gospel position, and the proclamation of "Christ who dies to secure your release from sin" is not just a difference in terminology. We are talking about people's eternal souls who are being duped into a counterfeit conversion experience. Moreover, that is not something concerning which we crossful gospel people can be silent. When eternal souls are at stake, we must be vigilent to defend the message.

Dan

Anonymous said...

IndweltDaughter, I appreciate your careful thought process, and your thoughtful approach to your life of faith in Christ. I attended the DBC for over a year in the late 80's. The difficult part is separating the truth from error. It's easy to just dismiss teaching that is all in error, but it is more difficult to sort out teaching that errs, when there is much truth intermixed. DBC errs in the fact that it emphasizes an intellectual assent to DBC's teaching, and reliance on the pastors teachings, and does not teach reliance on the Holy Spirit's guidance. Paul states that he was led to the desert, and did not communicate with man, nor apostles, once he believed. Paul wanted to hear from God alone. The problem with the DBC and it's clergy, is that they have lost their faith in what the pew sitting believers can hear from God alone. They also reject the workings of the Holy Spirit with gifts of the Holy Spirit today. They teach that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were no longer needed once we had the Bible. To me, this is obviously a flawed, and false teaching. I stopped attending the church when I discovered this teaching, which isn't openly taught, but believed by the leaders of DBC. For this reason, I would agree that it IS a cult, since the church misleads members by telling them that they cannot hear from God themselves, and that only by listening to the DBC message and believing it can a member be truly saved. The teaching of "eternal security" is really a way of administering a litmus test, by the DBC, to determine if members are truly saved, hence nullifying grace, since grace does not have the qualification of believing a certain doctrine, but believing on the person of Christ, and his sacrificial death on the cross for our sins.

Anonymous said...

Well as you can see they use the "gospel" as a form of manipulation. But what is hilarious is that is just like the mormons and jahovah's witnesses. They have their form of the gospel and then the rest of the churches are in error. I actually had a talk with someone from DBC as he was going to the bar to get drunk that Billy Graham preached a false gospel but he was glad his church "only" had the true gospel. It is a form of control plain and simple. Most of the sheep that go there are just that "sheep". Jesus dying on the cross is no joke, using the "gospel" as control is.

Anonymous said...

i know i'm late to this conversation but as a former member of the cult DBC i just wanted to congratulate you on your escape. i truly hope you continue your journey to the truth.

i know being a female in DBC is to be demeaned and marginalized and feel for you.

i always despised the way they like to bang you over the head with the parts of the bible they believe and ignore the rest.

fyi i left the cult when i realized that intelligent ?s are not tolerated.

again i hope you find what your looking for.

may i suggest exploring outside of religion for your fulfillment? as always your personal choice is what matters.

good will toward you

Thankful said...

An offering......

First, Duluth Bible Church is not a cult in the sense that a born-again believer would classify organizations that promote heretical, unbiblical teachings. BTW, I have never been a member of DBC or attended there, but have known the pastor there for many years. (I would challenge the claim of "cult" with anyone through a close review of the doctrines held there.)

What has to be considered is that any member from a church can present a skewed picture of the congregation and its leadership. Not every believer agrees with his brethren on every issue...not every believer is being led by the Spirit continuously. And we cannot discount the element of the sin nature and its role in creating contention, dissension and excuses as to why we should not serve the Lord. Whatever happened to manifesting grace to one another? What about endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace? What if the problem in your local church was that you or I failed to pray for the leadership and the congregation? Are you prepared to answer for that before your Savior? The Flesh loves to accuse and point fingers...the Spirit of God teaches us that the pointing needs to start from within. My sin....my failure to manifest the fruit of Spirit (regardless of circumstances) is not only a root cause for problems in the Body, but also a lost opportunity in light of eternity. Wake up, believer...the fields are white unto harvest and we're preoccupied with the color of the socks our co-laborers are wearing.

Anonymous said...

I had been a member at DBC for around 6 years. I put all my faith into this church and truly felt it was a good fit for my family. There were times I questioned whether some of the teachings were cult like as the church seemed to try and gain more and more control over my life. I was shamed, gossiped about, and put down when I needed fellowship the most. I was not encouraged to utilize my own innate spirituality but instead demanded to listen to everyone else's interpretation of my life. I did not feel they supported God's will for my life but instead Rosker wanted to create what he thought was God's will. It appears that this church creates cliques and if you are not part of the "in crowd" then you are talked about and put down. When I tried to assert myself and seek answers to some of my concerns I was told I was evil and not a Christian because I was going against Rosker "word". Something needs to be done about the cult like behavior of this church as it clearly has been going on for years.

Adam said...

The Lord loves you. There is nothing to be done but separate unto the Lord. Railing against Lordship Salvation to get saved, while teaching Lordship Salvation as Discipleship in the Christian Life is dishonest at best. Good luck to you.

By His grace said...

......I'll take Sonship over discipleship any day. The wrong focus always leads to a faulty conclusion,

Adam said...

Agreed.Discipleship always leads to the law as a means to please God.

Anonymous said...

You notice the post by Duluth Bible Cult members. " Duluth Bible Church is not a cult in the sense that a born-again believer would classify organizations that promote heretical, unbiblical teachings." You just showed your true colors again. Again DBC has its own form of the gospel and hides behind its doctrine to control its members. If you ask a DBC member if there are any other churches that have great doctrine in Duluth they cannot. To do so in their minds only is to compromise the gospel. Most of the people who go there have to abide by the doctrine or be kicked out. The pastor will cover his tracks and claimed they left. Everyone knows he manipulates and has his hitmen do his dirty work for him. You notice all the comments from people being mistreated by DBC. I do not see this at many other churches in Duluth only this one.

Anonymous said...

These are strong accusations from someone who has not provided any specifics (but then again, that's the nature of an accuser).
So tell me about DBC gospel and how it differs from yours. And then tell me the specific doctrines you take issue with...if your able to. What other churches teach in the Duluth area is irrelevant....the standard is the Word of God and not some organization that happens to tickle your ears. So spell it out, accuser. I wish lol anxiously await your reply.

Anonymous said...

Tell me a church in the Duluth area that you would state is "Biblically solid besides DBC" as far as strong accusations I have heard worse from the pulpit of DBC. I will await your answer hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm....what a subtle misdirection from addressing my direct questions (but then again, that is one of the traits of The Accuser). One of the similarities that I have seen over the years is that the pompous windbags that wave the flag about "doctrinal error" usually are doctrinally illiterate.
What happened at DBC...really? Did you get passed over for the position of assistant page turner? Did they reject your application for projector operator? Maybe someone failed to recognize your anointed role as a spiritual giant? Whatever it was you should confess it and get over it. Go find a church that caters to your perception of spirituality.

Anonymous said...

Answer my question, besides DBC would you consider any other church Biblical in the Duluth Superior Area? Typical spiritual abusive church. Accuser?? Answer my question...

Anonymous said...

I am still waiting for an answer...

Anonymous said...

Still no answer... Typical DBC.... I am still waiting for your answer yes or no?

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you DBC people are mean and like modern day Pharisees. I wonder why they won't answer your question in a yes or no fashion?

IndweltDaughter said...

Dear Ms. Sylvia,

Sorry for the delay in responding to your comment!

I have to admit that I am surprised that you, as a transgender woman, feel so comfortable and have been so welcomed there. I'm happy for you though, that you feel safe in that church environment. DBC is not a place I will ever return, as I will never feel safe in doing so, but I'm glad that you have found a place where you have been accepted and loved. Thank you for sharing - much grace and peace to you!

Anonymous said...

DBC Claim Only Biblical Sound Church in Duluth Period, that personally said s cross the pulpit serval times!!! Yet so Biblical Sound Church why did the kick out over disagreement with the church council,don't I have free will given by God to accept church our deny it!!! The only kick some one Biblical Is they bring False Teaching our False doctrine out False GOSPEL According to The Book of Peter First ,Ch1 CH 2!! Beside Pastor Dennis Rosker had of his Church Henchmen, text me I was kick out OVER disagreement because didn't Smit to will of Certain Counselor advice!! What happened to Forgiveness and Free will!! Since been Kicked out being struggling Hard to Keep MY Faith! If Christian Treat each other makes me Sad and Angry!!! Truth Pastor Dennis Rosker set up to come in my House try to control me treat like way less then human, our like was Stupid!!! Could of Sat down talk to not at me!! When become parent again Pastor Dennis Rosker a Church Counselor, they talk to me like was Stupid our something!! It was like they zone in my disabilities thought blind hindsight like in cable of being a Good Christian our parent Period!!! Pastor Dennis Rosker for Your information I raised two other children by myself some you got the Idea didn't, some how thought my parents did, but they did not Period!!! If hurt's me great deal can truly Judge me instantly with out knowing all the facts first!! I truly DBC, was Grace ordinated UNCONDITIONAL LOVE Unlimited Forgiveness what happened to that Period!!! Pastor Dennis Rosker Real Men have the courage to sit down face to talk they difference out like to Christian Men, our True Brothes in Jesus Christ Period!! I am Remarkable True Wolf lone Wolf!!! My Family degrade me the For Years they still do even thetv don't talk to me!! Romans Ch2 clear teaches When judge others we going to be Judge with Ever Measure we Judge with Period!!! I was doing my morning devotion it was on self righteous type our the mature believe our Counselor who so Spiritual Puffed can't often see own SINS sometimes!! I fail to see my own SINS sometimes to!!! Know where Bible dose Ever give the right to Control Your anyone Period!! I have meet atheists much nicer than some Christian Period!! Kick out Church of Church disagreement is Dead Wrong and definitely discourage a person to Grow Spiritual doesn't help with Spiritual Encouragement neither!! I as truly sorry for misunderstanding, but raised to always put your children first you know right to try to force change olny God has the right to get me change!!! I even Admitted to that DBC can be Pushy and Controlling!! You step back for minutes put your selves in my shoes for tell how would you Feel think about for a while Seriously!!! Still pray for you know matter what!! To each Believers to shun is Dead Wrong unless believer is trying bring False Teaching into the Church our False doctrine our Gospel!! Which didn't do once Period!! The Greatest Gift God has Given is Wonderful Son!!Let Make Perfectly Clear Personal Life Family Life is None Your Dame Business Period!! Sincerely !!!

Amanda Carranza-Ballew said...

Dear 'Anonymous',

I don't know who you are, but I am so sorry for the pain you very clearly have experienced from the leaders at DBC. It has taken me a very long time, but I have found that there are people in this world - people of faith, people with different faith, people without faith - who are kind, generous, and loving without regard to whether or not you're performing or behaving the way they expect you to. No community is perfect, but no one should ever feel that God's will is for them to be subjected to that kind of judgmental, antagonistic, grace-less treatment that you received.

If you are looking for any resources as to where you can look to for encouragement, please let me know and I will see what I can do to help you. I want you to know though - you are not alone. You are far from the last person to experience this kind of treatment, unfortunately, and no one can make the grieving process go faster, or take away the pain. Finding true love and true community can help though, so if you don't have that, if you don't have anyone you can trust and talk to, I'm sorry and I want to help. I don't live in Duluth anymore, but if you need it, I will help as much as I can.

~Amanda

Anonymous said...

Hi Amanda,my name is Jai I haven't been to church quite sometime! My Faith God is very very little now day's to be honest with you! I am one biggest nobody's in life you can ever meet! I guess your only some body in Society and Church if got many college degrees and successful career! All my life been out cast never fit into any click not even church click!!! If look at my life honestly don't value my life, because haven't done anything Great in my life period!!! It honestly Feels like God Strongly Hate's me very much!! Most of my life my own race has mistreated most my life which is the White Race!! I my personal opinion the white race is the most arrogant race ever meet in my life!! I only this cause my own Race been the most Cruel to good majority of my life!!! I do struggle with my own personal demons, not perfect!! I watch have watch so many accomplish lot in their lives except for me period!! I wish never have been born at seriously, wasn't given my choice in it!!! It's very very unfair world we live and very very Evil Cruel World live in I know from personal experience period! I don't have any friends,what keeps continue in life my little son.who's two years old!! I have Child Social Protection destroy two of my marriages nobody wants to believe me!! What scare me the most how Authorities can break the law and celebrities people of powerful positions can by everything no every holds them accountable period I have learned the hard way in life, that think their above the Law period! I on Judgement Day God will hold everyone Accountable period ( including myself)!!! You can write me at jeffanarchyalexis@yahoo.com I would appreciate it! I don't have real friends period, that's the truth I have few friends not to many!! I my parents disowned me three years ago and plus my siblings to! Some days I really Hate my life period!!! I been threw some horrible situations in the past few years!! Sincerely Jai