“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3:13-14
Most who read here know that I recently came out of the membership of a church I had been affiliated with for 20 years. I have remained silent, not out of fear, but out of respect and I hope to always remain respectful. There were many things still unresolved, decisions to be made, etc. and I think that has all taken place. So for me, I believe it is finally settled and over and I can press on!
I came out of membership in good conscience, in integrity and honesty due to doctrinal differences for the most part. I struggled for several years to reach that point but in the end could not make a different decision and I’m thankful. My name was erased judicially (under discipline) and although I disagree with that erasure, believing it should have been an administrative erasure, I will bear that decision even though I don’t understand it. I bear it because I believe that God is in full control over men’s thoughts and actions and I trust this will work for my good. Remember, He has promised that it would and we know God always keeps His promises.
I believe there is a great ‘fear’ among men to speak the truth that they believe, truth that they are convicted of. It is a fear of what man can do unto you and what the ‘institutional church’ can do unto you and totally negates the priesthood of every believer. That fear is like a cancer that slowly kills the spirit, men are running scared and they go to their grave confessing one thing out loud and yet believing another. I spoke with a brother on this very issue and this was his response to me, thank you Bob and I fully agree.
It is IRRATIONAL fear; one that I'm convinced the Lord is calling us to dispense with! If we don't make use of the few precious years we have in this world, in His strength alone, to take a stand for and share the truth we are convicted of as best we can--we have wasted a tremendous God-given opportunity and not been proper stewards of His truth. The Lord is jealous for His Word and running from the truth or being silent about it is not a sin that can be dismissed lightly as 'fleeing intellectual arrogance!' A sin against truth is greater than a sin against moral law; it hides God's true face more earnestly.
I’ve shed many a tear, knowing that others have shed just as many in their own trials during this same time. I continued to pray for each of you. If you were my friend in denominational ties or social ties only then we weren’t true friends. However, if you were my friend in Christ Jesus, in His Gospel, then you are my friend still as I am still in Christ. My hope and prayer for you:
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge. That ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:18-19