Needing Encouragement and Support
I would like to share with you that I'm not connected with a home church, but I do need encouragement and support from those who do meet in the homes and I want to thank you in advance. Please, I would love to have conversations with you all. I have done a fair amount of research about this issue, i.e., Home Church vs Institutional church over the years. It is difficult when family and friends really don't understand why and are quite satisfied with the traditions of men derived from the Early Church Fathers.
Hey there dear Pete, This is David in TN who occasionally serves as the site administrator. I hope you are well today wherever you may be.
Feel free to bring up any issues, one by one. For now, please use the discussion forums as they are better organized for folks to find your posts later.
We look forward to hearing from YOU...
Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
Hi Pete, welcome to the site! While I have only been here for a short time myself, I have found this group to have some pretty good insights into the church as a whole. So whatever is on your mind, please ask away!
In your post you said,
It is difficult when family and friends really don't understand why and are quite satisfied with the traditions of men derived from the Early Church Fathers.
Please understand that you are not alone in your struggle. Approximately one year ago I left the Orthodox Presbyterian Church because my membership vows required me to be obedient to the church Elders even when I believed that their decision making was in conflict with the Bible and they refused to discuss it. After this I began to look closely at things that I had always accepted as being true. This led me to look deeply into how much the church is driven by cultural influences rather than Scripture. What I discovered shocked and saddened me. I won't go into detail at the moment though I would be willing to if you'd like. I know that Christ must come first and His church second. This means that all teaching that I receive from anyone must first be passed through the filter of John 10:27 where Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." As you start to strip away the cultural influence on the church then you soon find joy like you never knew before. But in my case, that joy came with a lot of loneliness as well. It seems that many of my Christian friends only like me when I agree with them. As soon as you question the status quo then you quickly become an outsider. The church is very tribal in this way.
But with heartache comes great opportunity. I have spent much time meditating on 1 John 4. In it we are told that those who proclaim that Jesus is God Incarnate are spirits who are sent from God. For as miserably as my last church treated me, I still consider them to be brothers and sisters in Christ. But so too are other Christians with different opinions. For example, I have spent many hours recently watching YouTube videos from those who are Catholic. While they express their faith differently than I do and have some pretty unusual practices, I still believe them to be a part of Christ's church. The fact that they, like my former church, are so deeply caught up in the culture does not negate their trust in Christ alone for their salvation. If anything, understanding my fellow Christian makes me even more aware of my sinful behavior of judging others.
Anyway, sorry for rambling on for so long. There is so much more that I could say in response to your post. If nothing else I want you to know that you are not alone in your difficulties. It's God who sustains us when the going gets rough, and it is He who binds us together into one for His glory.