"Un-churching"; the crisis of conventional teaching and fellowship/accountability


(Melissa) #1

@Homeschool_Forum I don’t know if this question is in the right forum or not, but I do consider going to church as a type of home school education. I am at a crossroads of sorts and hoping for some advice. We have always gone to church, taken our kids to church, etc. Our church experience has been largely evangelical/conservative. I’m having a hard time listening to sermons teaching about the literal-ness of passages in Genesis or others in Revelation. How do I balance the needed accountability and togetherness with other Christians and having to “un-church” the ideas being preached from the pulpit for myself and our children? I feel it’s disrespectful to have to tell my children over and over again that although pastor so and so has multiple doctoral degrees, he’s probably mis-interpreting the verses by saying that such and such is a literal event. I think it could cause a lapse in respect for people in authority.


(Christy Hemphill) #2

There are plenty of conservative evangelical churches that do not insist on literal interpretations of Genesis or Revelation from the pulpit. If your current pastor spends so much time on these topics that it has become a distraction, then maybe it’s time to find a different church. People rarely find a church where they agree with absolutely everything that is affirmed by their denomination or pastor, but you can surely find somewhere where your points of contention aren’t constantly being thrown in your face. Community with other Christians is important.


#3

Are you hearing a lot of sermons about the literal-ness of Genesis or Revelation or is this incidental (a sermon on temptation using Adam and Eve for lack of a better illustration)?

If your current church has a fixation with countering evolution or treating the bible like a science book, I might strongly consider leaving if there is a better option. If it’s more incidental (I got to hear a sermon recently on how the God of Jonah had finally had a enough/been pushed far enough and became the God of Nahum…I talked to my kids about that one!), I think it might be feeling bigger to you right now than it really is. If it’s not incidental, you may be living in an area where this is pervasive, and therefore your kids will need to learn to handle it anyway. (I’d still look to leave…what a sad miss on the beauty of the gospel)

I don’t know how old your kids are, but i don’t want my kids accepting ideas unexamined. But I want them to treat those who believe differently with grace. Particularly in the homeschool world, they have to learn to deal with this issue in a graceful way.

I’m well past it now, as it was quite a while ago, but the whole process of accepting evolution and reworking my understanding of God and scripture was, for me, was a spiritual trauma in a way. I am glad I came out the other side, but goodness it was hard to lose my previous understandings! As a result, I want my kids to learn they have to leave it to the Holy Spirit to work in others lives to reveal truth–it’s not kind or helpful imo to bring truth to hearts not ready to hear.

You can emphasize the right heart the pastor or teacher has, the grace of God to let us explore or even hold ideas that might be wrong and still follow him, the idea that these things are not a salvation issue and it’s ok with a God full of grace that people hold different views, etc.

These are important things to learn. That doesn’t mean, though, that you want constant exposure to express wrong teaching. I’m not sure if you’re dealing with something really toxic or not.


(Melissa) #4

@mmytoboys

thank you for your advice, I really appreciate it and it sounds like you understand right where I’m coming from having to dismantle YEC ideas I’ve held for so many years. Thank you for grounding my feet a bit, it probably was an incidental sermon situation–teaching about a literal cubical city coming down from heaven to settle onto the earth. I haven’t heard anything specifically about Genesis, although the youth pastor was very gracious in saying he is ok leaving some scripture open to interpretation–I’m not sure if the head pastor would agree as I haven’t had the courage to discuss it openly at church. I am looking at other smaller churches in the area and asking openly about their ideas concerning Genesis, but haven’t heard back yet. Fortunately, my children are old enough to understand that people have different ideas about God, scripture, etc., but that none of it changes salvation or the 2 greatest commandments to love God and love others. I appreciate your advice and your time in responding to my query.


(Brad Kramer) #5

Last August, we published a great piece by @marusso on this subject: https://biologos.org/blogs/guest/5-tips-for-thriving-in-a-church-with-a-different-view-of-creation-than-you.