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Church Search Progress #35529
Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:26 PM
Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:26 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 19
Santa Cruz, CA
K
Kurt Hutchison Offline OP
Plebeian
Kurt Hutchison  Offline OP
Plebeian
K
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 19
Santa Cruz, CA
Hi Guys!

Found a church worth checking out in my area I think.

A United Church of Christ (UCC) church, I heard these guys
are reformed, althought they struggle with liberalism
a bit, anybody else heard of this denom?

They are within walking distance.

And, more germane to this group,
in my search I ran across a church claiming to be
"Conservative Baptist", but they are anything but.

Here is their self description on their web page:

“A family of friends following Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.”

"A community desiring to be intentional about:
His Story
Spiritual Formation
Community of Shared Living
Community of Experimental Faith Living"

I first ran across their site during an earlier
church search, I knew I was looking at code phrases
I didn't understand and just ignored them.

Sadly, now I know their meanings.

All of those code phrases are emergent.

In the last year I have heard more than
I ever wanted to about the emergent church,
and left my last church because they went emergent.
Here is my understanding of those code phrases:

"Christ Followers" have abandoned the name Christianity,
and the usual doctrines that go with it, like salvation,
hell, wrath of God.

"His Story" - denies the authority of Scripture, reducing it
to an inspired story that is full of wonder and mystery
(but no absolute truth). They also come to knowledge
(not absolute however) by having it revealed to them
(gnosticism), rather than by sound exegesis.

"Spiritual Formation" - is a code phrase for transcendental
meditation, a Catholic and occult abomination that has
nothing to do with worship of the true God of the Bible.

"Community of Shared Living" - Not sure what this one means.
But I think it ties in the next one:

"Community of Experimental Faith Living" - sounds like
typical emergent emphasis on experience, doctrine is
rejected and experience is exalted.

They are also in walking distance.

They even have a "Traditional" worship service.
It strikes me that "traditional worship"
without traditional doctrine is an oxymoron.

- Kurt

Re: Church Search Progress [Re: Kurt Hutchison] #35530
Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:40 PM
Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:40 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,540
NH, USA
Pilgrim Online content

Head Honcho
Pilgrim  Online Content

Head Honcho
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,540
NH, USA
The UCC is infamously unorthodox. Most are openly Liberal and you can find some which are more conservative but still semi-Pelagian theologically. If I were you, I would shake the dust of my Nike's and keep looking. [Linked Image]

Why not post a request for chuches in your area in the "Church Locator" forum? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/idea.gif" alt="" />


[Linked Image]

simul iustus et peccator

[Linked Image]
Re: Church Search Progress [Re: Kurt Hutchison] #35531
Sun Feb 25, 2007 7:55 PM
Sun Feb 25, 2007 7:55 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 3,563
Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
Tom Offline
Needs to get a Life
Tom  Offline
Needs to get a Life
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 3,563
Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
I went to the UCC website www.ucc.org and I can understand why you thought they were Reformed.

Quote
Testimonies, not tests
of the faith
The United Church of Christ embraces a theological heritage that affirms the Bible as the authoritative witness to the Word of God, the creeds of the ecumenical councils, and the confessions of the Reformation. The UCC has roots in the "covenantal" tradition—meaning there is no centralized authority or hierarchy that can impose any doctrine or form of worship on its members. Christ alone is Head of the church. We seek a balance between freedom of conscience and accountability to the apostolic faith. The UCC therefore receives the historic creeds and confessions of our ancestors as testimonies, but not tests of the faith. Linked on the right of this page are some of those testimonies.
On the left, you'll find links to the Theology Page—a growing library of articles on theological issues that face the church—and the Theology Forum where you can discuss these issues with other members of the church.

You can find this link here .

By believing that Reformed creeds and confessions are just testimonies instead of what they were actually meant for, they have in essence made anything acceptable to them.
Where do they get the idea that they are just testimonies <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/shrug.gif" alt="" />

Tom

Last edited by Tom; Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:01 PM.
Re: Church Search Progress [Re: Tom] #35532
Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:45 AM
Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:45 AM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 983
Florida
R
Robin Offline
The Boy Wonder
Robin  Offline
The Boy Wonder
R
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 983
Florida
Tell us how your search goes, Kurt. Have you found a good one yet?

-Robin

Re: Church Search Progress [Re: Robin] #35533
Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:48 PM
Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:48 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 19
Santa Cruz, CA
K
Kurt Hutchison Offline OP
Plebeian
Kurt Hutchison  Offline OP
Plebeian
K
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 19
Santa Cruz, CA
At last I found a good one. They subscribe to John MacArthur's doctrinal statement, and take doctrine seriously. Since I also subscribe to that statement (no guffaws from the preterists please. :-) ), it works nicely.

MacArthur's study bible is featured prominently on their website and they are affiliated with MacArthur in some way, but it is not an accountability structure that I am aware of.

In their words "we are a verse-by-verse bible teaching church". I have been there three times, he is preaching through Matthew, and each sermon is a "home-run", cause he preaches the word of God straight up.

He has already mentioned by name (as false teachers), Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, the word of faith movement, and others. This while going through the seven "woes" in Mat 23 to the pharisees (and all false teachers).

They report they were kicked out of Calvary Chapel (Chuck Smith?) denom because they wanted to preach the doctrines of grace instead of Arminianism.

The grand total attendance is 50 ppl, including the pastor and his family who accounts for about 10 ppl, and the elders account for 5 more. So 35ish regular attenders. Guess loyalty to scripture isn't a huge draw like it should be.

Their internet site is www.calvarybiblechurch.us.
It is a 40 minute commute for us, so no wed night services.

It is the most "loyal" to scripture church I have found in my area so far.

I am so glad to be attending church again!

He used to be an engineer like me, quit his job 10 years ago to become a pastor after becoming an amateur student of theology (had some training after that I think).

He egged me on to finish my reading of Calvin's institutes after I admitted I had only read the first volume and skimmed the other three. I am now halfway through volume 2.

- Kurt

Re: Church Search Progress [Re: Kurt Hutchison] #35534
Fri Jun 29, 2007 4:55 AM
Fri Jun 29, 2007 4:55 AM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 983
Florida
R
Robin Offline
The Boy Wonder
Robin  Offline
The Boy Wonder
R
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 983
Florida
Great news, Kurt! I know you've been searching for a very, very long time! Your diligence in this search demonstrates a real sure foundation and commitment to God's word.

-Robin

Re: Church Search Progress [Re: Robin] #35535
Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:56 AM
Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:56 AM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 19
Santa Cruz, CA
K
Kurt Hutchison Offline OP
Plebeian
Kurt Hutchison  Offline OP
Plebeian
K
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 19
Santa Cruz, CA
Thanks Robin.

I've known about this church for some time, I was just hoping to find one closer. The next best pick was a Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA) church.

They are nicely orthodox about salvation, but they are also unashamedly charismatic and arminian.

I may poke fun at brethren who disagree with me about eschatology or baptism, but I am comfortable with those as *minor* differences and have no problems attending churches that hold such viewpoints (my last one I thought was a nice reformed post-mil church, course it wasn't, it was a dominionistic/emergent hybrid).

Charismaticism + Arminianism to me is gone past minor error into major error (but not apostacy). As we know here all too well, the emphasis will likely be on experience rather than doctrine, and chances are flesh-appealing attempts to lure people into the Kingdom will be made, which inevitably lead to compromise of the Gospel, since the true Gospel is an enemy of the flesh.

I could not in good conscience support such a group (insert famous Luther quote here), even though I may count them as brethren.

- Kurt

Re: Church Search Progress [Re: Kurt Hutchison] #35536
Fri Jun 29, 2007 4:11 PM
Fri Jun 29, 2007 4:11 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 983
Florida
R
Robin Offline
The Boy Wonder
Robin  Offline
The Boy Wonder
R
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 983
Florida
I think that CMA churches run the gambit from Charismatic to "almost" forbidding it although they're not allowed to forbid "gifts" including tongues (1st Corinthians 14:39 tells us, "do not forbid to speak in tongues," which the CMA takes literally).

I agree that Arminianism and Pentecostalism are more than "minor" matters. Both assault God's sovereignty and hold human effort as effective for salvation and sanctification.

-R

Re: Church Search Progress [Re: Kurt Hutchison] #35537
Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:22 PM
Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:22 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,856
Northwest Indiana, USA
Wes Offline
Needs to get a Life
Wes  Offline
Needs to get a Life
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,856
Northwest Indiana, USA
Kurt,

I'm glad to hear that you are diligently searching for a church that is faithful to God's word and one in which you and your family would like to become members. May God bless you in this process and lead you to one that would give you fellowship with Christ and His church.

While you have pointed out many good qualities already I'd just like to alert you to the fact that on their website they list their beliefs and doctrines. By reading their doctrinal statement it appears they teach premillennialism and pretribulationalism which are both unbiblical, exegetically and theologically inconsistent with the clear teaching of God’s Word. You might want to ask the pastor or one of the elders about that.


Wes


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
Re: Church Search Progress [Re: Wes] #35538
Wed Jul 04, 2007 1:36 AM
Wed Jul 04, 2007 1:36 AM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 19
Santa Cruz, CA
K
Kurt Hutchison Offline OP
Plebeian
Kurt Hutchison  Offline OP
Plebeian
K
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 19
Santa Cruz, CA
Thanks Wes, its pretty cool you checked that out. I knew about it already though. When I said I subscribe to John MacArthur's doctrinal statement that means I am also a calvinist dispensationalist. Hence my conclusion it is a good fit for me.

- Kurt

Re: Church Search Progress [Re: Kurt Hutchison] #35539
Fri Jul 06, 2007 3:13 AM
Fri Jul 06, 2007 3:13 AM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 14
Kalamazoo, MI
Arashi-dono Offline
Plebeian
Arashi-dono  Offline
Plebeian
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 14
Kalamazoo, MI
Congratulations! So glad to hear you finally found a good place to go.

- m.

Re: Church Search Progress [Re: Arashi-dono] #35540
Fri Jul 06, 2007 9:20 PM
Fri Jul 06, 2007 9:20 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 983
Florida
R
Robin Offline
The Boy Wonder
Robin  Offline
The Boy Wonder
R
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 983
Florida
I may have found one too (maybe you knew I was looking), but I feel like I have to make the "obligatory" visits to a couple of other churches in my own denomination first... but the one my family really likes is a Christian and Missionary Alliance church near our home. The denom's web site suggests I should keep looking, but this local congregation's pastor has a decidedly Reformed bent. We've already spent long hours together discussing the doctrines of sovereign grace and find that we're in complete agreement.

One thing I found out about the CMA that is really cool - missionaries never have to go out and raise their own support - they're missionaries, not fund raisers. Once someone has passed an examination and recomendation process, he or she can go to work without worrying about running the gambit of CMA churches raising their own support in advance, and spending their whole furlough doing the same thing. I kinda like that idea (not that I'm running off to be a missionary, but the thought has occured more than a few times).

Let us know how it all goes with you, Kurt. I'll do the same.

In His grace,
Robin

Re: Church Search Progress [Re: Robin] #35541
Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:06 PM
Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:06 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 19
Santa Cruz, CA
K
Kurt Hutchison Offline OP
Plebeian
Kurt Hutchison  Offline OP
Plebeian
K
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 19
Santa Cruz, CA

Yeah I read your post Robin, nasty.

I pray you are blessed in your search. I too checked out the CMA, but the one near me is strongly charismatic and Arminian.

Had lunch with my new pastor, discussed that we both like James White (aomin.org) and the team pyro guys. I seem to recall you are a Dan Phillips fan yourself Robin.

We talked a bit about Arthur Pink, Edwards, and some others. Was nice to have a chat like that. He encouraged me to think about joining the church, I don't know why I was surprised by that, but I was. :-)

I think they are what I call "John Piper" Christians, non-charismatic, but believe in what I call "voices in your head".

I am a strict cessationist in that regard, having zealously followed those voices once and learned the hard way they only lead to trouble.

Not enough to put me off, but if anyone dares to speak for God I may dare them to pass the test of inerrancy, and we'll see how things fall out after that.

Sola Scriptura,
- Kurt

Re: Church Search Progress [Re: Kurt Hutchison] #35542
Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:19 AM
Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:19 AM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 983
Florida
R
Robin Offline
The Boy Wonder
Robin  Offline
The Boy Wonder
R
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 983
Florida
This whole CMA thing is convincing proof to me that you can't always go with what a denomination's web site says about them. The CMA's web site and founder's archives describe an openness to Pentecostalism (and a history of both Presbyterianism and Pentecostalism, a strange mix indeed). Their policy is "seek not, forbid not."

But from one church to another the differences can vary greatly. The one in our home town is pretty much cessationist and the pastor has a decidedly Reformed bent. The same is true even of what we once thought of as "stalwart" denominations like the PCA. The PCA church we just left studied Rick Warren's Purpose Drivel and offers an Arminian evangelism course. If the PCA were really all that stalwart about the Reformed faith, that whole "Auburn Avenue" thing would never have gained so much ground so quickly in the denomination anyway...

We really need to judge churches one at a time - not entirely on the basis of what even their denomination's official web sites tell us.

I too am a strict cessationist, having demonstrated from the Scriptures themselves the purpose of the sign gifts as a covenant sign intended for a single generation (Matthew 23:36, 24:34). But I'm not "scared of the gifts" like I used to be when I first fled from charismania either. Most of those "gifts" are harmless. But they can lead to truly harmful things later on, if not tightly governed by leaders who are comitted to the Scriptures alone.

-Robin


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