If you've been following my saga of trying to find another church, you know, like so many other evangelicals, I am very discouraged. It isn't that I need the perfect church, just one that is 1/2 friendly and teaches the Word. If the Holy Spirit is there in power that is just icing on the cake too.
But, as many readers know, God impressed upon me to stay in my dead church until further notice. The thing that keeps me from despair is having talked to many others in my church who want to leave but for some strange reason God won't let them leave either. So, our only hope is that God is up to something interesting in my church.
But today, there was no Sunday School class so I decided to visit a church further from me. This would be the ideal church for me to attend but for two factors. It is far (about 25 min by freeway) which I've done in the distant past and really don't want to do again. I want to be in a church in or very near my own city--one that is connected here as I don't really care about there; I care about here - the schools, the city council, crime and so forth. The second and most important reason is the church I visited today is VERY anti-Pentecostal and Charismatic. The Charismatic I can understand but it saddens me that this church has taken a strong stand against Pentecostalism, even the more educated, middle class "Hafordistic (Jack Hayford) Pentecostalism," This church has been anti-Pentecostal/Charismatic since at least 1969 when the present pastor first came there. He has even written a book about the Charismatic mess today. The church I attended today is very well-known. My Young Calvinist readers will most likely know it. I will tell you what it is in a moment.
The Word was preached correctly with emphasis on the work of Jesus on the cross. We actually sang hymns and no Baby Boomer praise music. And, more importantly, I did sense the Holy Spirit's presence quite well, which is more than I can say for the dead Pentecostal and Charismatic churches I've visited recently in my area. For those of you who don't know where I live--I reside in Southern California, just northwest of Los Angeles in the very east end of the San Fernanco Valley. That might give you a clue as to which church I visited today.
While children in other churches were learning that:
-God accepts them no matter if they are saved or not, and He is busy helping them to achieve THEIR purposes
-They need to help the poor and keep the environment clean to really prove they are Christians
The children in this church learned today (taken from their bulletin for parents to follow up with their children at home):
Based on Revelations 20:1-15,
-Satan and his followers will go into the lake of fire
-Those whose names are not found in the Book of Life will face God's judgement
-They can escape God's judgement by believing in Christ and repenting of sin
-When saved they can eagerly share the gospel with others who are not saved
Oh my! How old fashioned!
So where did I go to church today?
Yes, some of you guesed it already........
Grace Community Church--Pastor John MacArthur
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