Men Who Faithfully Preached The Gospel

Seven years ago today, my father passed away.  He never really got to know about all this emergent church stuff that is happening now.  It was already making its way into the denomination and into its universities, but by then he was already retired.  Even so, while he was pastoring until 1989, he was preaching the same way that he was preaching when he was first ordained.  My father was a serious Roman Catholic as a young man in the Cape Verde Islands, until he heard the Gospel and truly became born again.  He then later on became ordained in the Nazarene church, and preached the Gospel to many Catholics, showing them the way out of their false religion.

My father would have been appalled at what is going on now, as college presidents, theology professors, and many pastors, are embracing the very things that my father escaped from.  Instead of striving to show Roman Catholics the way out of the bondage of their false religion, today’s Nazarene “leaders” are now proudly proclaiming, through words and rituals, that they believe there are no serious differences between Nazarenes and the Roman Catholics.  General Superintendents, one who knew my father well and what he stood for, are giving their blessing to the Roman “Catholization” of the Church of the Nazarene.

My father-in-law, Rev. Eudo Tavares de Almeida, was a colleague of my dad in Cape Verde as well.  He would refer to my dad as his “father in faith.”  When I sat down with him one day and told him the work I had started doing to warn about the emergent church, he was not surprised at all.  He had not heard the word emergent, but he had detected that same Roman Catholic “feel” that was coming into the church.  He described how he saw that the church was embracing mysticism, and how he had scolded a district superintendent for not only blatantly promoting the novel The Shack, but for not even ever reading it first!  He shared a very straight forward and honest approach that my father also had.  Rev. Eudo passed away four years ago also, and one of the things I remember about him is that he was never a compromiser when it came to the truth of God’s word.  Nor was my dad.
Rev Silva and Almeida

Rev. Silva, Rev. Tavares de Almeida

We still have men like these two.  I have met them in the last four years, either personally or via email.  Some have refused compromise, at the expense of their positions as pastors, or even being refused ordination for believing in the word of God.  Others are standing strong, setting examples for their congregation, and protecting the flock.  They are like small boats floating in an ocean of sharks, fighting to keep the corrupt overseers from poisoning the people.  Thank God for these men.

But now the seminaries are turning out pastors who don’t even believe the word of God.  We have been reading much of what they like to talk about, and it has nothing to do with holy living.  All these new pastors want is rituals, rituals, and more rituals.  They make crude jokes, they speak blasphemously and don’t even realize it, or don’t even care.  They lie to their parishioners n order to keep the truth from them. Are some even born again, I wonder?  They have endless discussions of nonsensical things, and rarely talk about preaching the Gospel.

I am sure that once in a while a pastor with the integrity and faithfulness of my father and of my father-in-law, men who really loved God and obeyed him, will come out of the seminaries.  But that will be the exception to the rule, not the norm.  Most will come out with a degree in man’s religion, and will receive the applause of many.  They will not stand up for the word of God, but instead sell themselves out for 30 pieces of silver.

Let’s continue to pray for the faithful shepherds in the church today, such as were Rev. Ilidio Silva and Rev. Eudo Tavares de Almeida.  They, along with the faithful laypersons, ​are the only ones standing in the way of a denomination becoming completely rotten to the core.

The following is a short story about my father that was excerpted with permission from a book written by Rev. Paul Dayhoff.  It will give you just a small glimpse of the life of a man who honored God with his obedience to Him.

Silva, Ilidio 1913 to 2006
Church of the Nazarene, Cape Verde

Ilidio Santa Rita Silva as a young man, welcomed the first missionaries, Rev. Everette and Mrs. Garnet Howard, to Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde, on March 9, 1936, with an “unforgettable smile.” He was born in Santo Antão and was the son of Manuel Fernandes and Francisca Andrade Silva. Ilidio was converted on São Vicente in 1930 during the first meetings held by Mr. António Gomes de Jesus who had his barber shop there. This was during the ministry of Pastor João Dias on the islands. Ilídio was a graduate from a commercial school and became the bookkeeper in a large store in Mindelo, the port city.

In 1937, he quit his job and committed himself to full-time work for the Lord. One morning in 1939 while working on the pastors’ course of study in Everette Howard’s office, he suddenly fell out of his chair and began praying and screaming as though he were dying. People crowded outside anxiously inquiring whether someone was sick.

After a while his face lit up through the tears and Ilídio found the sanctifying power of God. Everette Howard affirmed, “Since that hour he has never been the same.” While pastoring on Brava Ilídio married Miss Constança “Tanchinha” Ramos (b.1912) and they had six daughters–Raquel, Sara, Lotty, Silvia, Berta and Ilidia– and two sons–John and Manny.[1] They pastored at São Filipe, capital and only city of Fogo, and were greatly used of God there before going to Povoacao, Santo Antão.

He was well educated and devoted much time to Bible study and translation work. The first holiness literature resulted from his labors. He was a born musician and was called “the singing pastor.” Ilídio had a beautiful tenor voice and wrote Portuguese lyrics for many Wesleyan hymns. Several of his gospel songs have been published. On one occasion in 1942 during an evangelistic campaign in Praia, he sang “It’s Real” with his hand uplifted and tears flowing from his eyes. People ran to the altar. Several of his own compositions became popular.

As a new Christian he was evangelizing at San Filipe on Fogo and rode on horse or mule deep into the interior with Bibles and tracts. Once in 1938, he came across a Roman Catholic chapel at Galinheiro where people had been waiting for hours for their priest to come for mass. They had word that he was not coming but they continued to pray before the images of the saints. Silva spoke to them for three hours explaining how he had also sought rest as they were doing. He found it through Christ. All thirty of them bowed and prayed that day and found that true and wonderful rest.[2]

In 1945 the Silvas pastored at Longueira on Santo Antão and a young man, Mr. Joaquim António Lima (1929-1999), found the Lord. This young man followed his father to Argentina where he met Nazarenes and won his father to the Lord. Joaquim entered the ministry and helped to pioneer work in Brazil. There he was elected the first national district superintendent in 1975 and General Board representative for South America.

In June 1946, Ilídio Silva and the missionary Everette Howard were walking along the beach at sunrise. They had spent a night of devotions near the village of Ribeira Grande (Povoação) on Santo Antão. They came upon a leper named João. He was half starved and looked as though he had never washed. His clothes were a mass of filthy rags and he was trying to cover himself with the black sand to keep warm. It was unusual that he did not beg. When they spoke to João, he just sobbed and pointed to his feet with his chin. Not able to walk because of the leprosy, he crawled on his stomach. They sat down and told João the story of Jesus and His love for lepers. All he knew of Jesus was an image he had seen of Him as a baby in the arms of Our Lady of Fatima.

After they had explained the whole story of Jesus, João wanted to pray. He did not know how but finally said, “Please Jesus, forgive my sins.” He began to smile and tears of joy ran down his cheeks. They told him that this same Jesus who had forgiven him could heal him and enable him to walk. In surprise he answered, “Really?” Without waiting for help from them he prayed, “Jesus, will you please heal my disease?”

As they walked on towards Silva’s home they looked back. João, the leper, was looking upward with arms extended in prayer and praise to God. Three days later he came to church and showed no sign of leprosy. The following week he carried the accordion for them on his head as they walked to the village of Paúl. João found work at the mission and continued as a faithful Christian. Years later he was still completely free from leprosy.[3] Ilídio Silva began regular ministry among the lepers.

In 1950 Silva gave the following testimony, “With gratitude I praise the Lord for His merciful love with which He pardoned my sins and sanctified my heart in the precious blood of my adorable Saviour. He lifted me from the miry clay of sin to the mount of perfect love.”

To be successful in holiness evangelism, Silva believed in varying his approach as occasion required. Once about 1956 he was stopped by a catechist on Maio who shouted at him, “The Protestants don’t enter here! Get on your way!” Silva began to explain that they were calling people to Christ, not making them Protestants. He saw however that bystanders were being influenced by this man’s words.

Sensing the presence of the Lord with him, he spoke sternly to the catechist, “You are here forbidding that these souls hear the word of God. You have no right to do so. Who are you to tell me to go my way? By the help of God I shall enter this village!” Then in a spirit of compassion and with tears in his eyes he showed the man his first aid box on the back of his motorized bicycle. He told him, “I came here not only to preach to you the good news of salvation but also with God’s help to try to heal the infirmities of the poor people of this village.” A great change came over the man’s face and attitude and he became as meek as a lamb. The man eventually found the Lord and would often visit the pastor and bring presents for the family.[4]

During his twenty-four years of ministry in Cape Verde, Ilídio Silva touched most of the islands. He was a splendid preacher, a wise and understanding pastor, a tireless evangelist – and more. His messages were simple, direct and conversational in tone. When he preached, many found salvation. Two government officials who rarely attend Nazarene services said after hearing him, “When Senhor Ilídio preaches there seems to be a power from the other world in the church.”

In 1961 the Silvas moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, and started a church for the Cape Verdean people where he pastored for eleven years. Silva was then transferred by the New England District to Rumford, Rhode Island, to pastor the Bethany Nazarene Church that served Cape Verdean Americans. The rapid growth culminated in the construction of a new building adjacent to the old church. He served there for eleven years and in the ministry for a total of forty-five years. After his retirement in 1983, he moved to Pawtucket and continued to faithfully serve the congregation. In visits to France and Dakar, West Africa, he held services among Cape Verdean people. After retiring in 1983 from the active pastorate, Ilídio Silva was very busy contacting and working among Cape Verdeans throughout Western Europe.[5]

Ilidio Silva passed away on Friday, September 1, 2006. A scholarship has been established in his name to assist students preparing for the ministry in the Cape Verde Islands.[6]

Paul S. Dayhoff


Notes:

1. Olive G. Tracy, The Nations and the Isles : A Study of Missionary Work of the Church of the Nazarene in the Nations – Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Italy – and the Isles – the Cape Verde Islands, (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1958), 224-25. Bodas de duro: album Egreja do Nazareno, 1908-1958 (Fiftieth Anniversary Album), (S. Vicente, Cabo Verde: Editora Nazarena), 22.
2. Florence Davis, Missionary Stories from Around the World, (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1941),91-92. Earl Mosteller, letter, (April 21, 1995).
3. Everette Howard and Jorge de Barros, The Seed and the Wind, (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1982), 50-52, 71-84.
4. Earl Mosteller, Cape Verde Travelogue, (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1958), 65-66.
5. Ilídio Silva, notes sent on May 6, 1995.
6. Linda Braaten, Out of Africa, e-mail News Bulletin, (Florida,1710, South Africa: Africa Nazarene Publications, September 18, 2006), 5.


This article is reproduced, with permission, from Living Stones In Africa: Pioneers of the Church of the Nazarene, revised edition, copyright © 1999, by Paul S. Dayhoff. All rights reserved.

The Watchman, And Real Nazarenes Pt. 3

The Watchman

by Scottish pastor, Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

Thy way, not mine, O Lord, however dark it be;

Lead me by Thine own hand, choose out the path for me.

“…if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ … I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.” Ezekiel 33:6-7

“Some one, then, must undertake the ungracious task of probing and laying bare the evils of the age; for men must not be allowed to congratulate themselves that all is well. If others will not, he will.

If others shrink from the obloquy of such a work, he will not…. He loves his fellow-men too well. They may upbraid him; they may call him a misanthropist, or a prophet of evil; they may ascribe his warnings to the worst of motives, such as pride, or arrogance, or self-esteem, or malice, or envy; but he will give no heed to these unjust insinuations.

He will prefer being thus misunderstood and maligned, to allowing men to precipitate themselves upon a ruin which they see not. Rather than that they should perish, he will allow his own good name to be spoken against. He will risk every thing, even the hatred of brethren, rather than withhold the warning. If they give no heed to it, he has, at least, saved his own soul. If they do, he has saved both his own soul and theirs.

He would rather take up the glad tidings of peace, and tell men of Him who came the first time for shame and death, and who is coming the second time for glory and dominion; but he feels as one who has a special and personal message to deliver, which cannot be postponed.

He must remember that he is a watchman; and, having seen danger pressing on, he must not hesitate to make it known. He must speak his message of forewarning and rebuke, sparing no arrows, and neither smoothing down nor hiding any form of sin, but laying his finger upon every sore, and beseeching men to turn from their ungodliness. The evils around him press upon him sadly; the coming evils are foreshadowed upon his spirit, and, therefore, he lifts up his voice like a trumpet.

Satan has many snares which need to be detected; the world has many spells and lures which must be disenchanted; religion has many guises which must be unmasked, many devious paths of inconsistency which must be pointed out, many cherished errors which must be condemned, many carnal taints which must be abhorred and shunned. All these he must protest against without fear or favour.”

Smooth let it be or rough,

It will be still the best;

Winding or straight, it leads

Right onward to Thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot;

I would not, if I might;

Choose Thou for me, my God,

So I shall walk aright.

 

 

Real Nazarenes Part 3

I am a third generation Nazarene taken to church at two weeks old.  Both of my grandmothers helped to start a Nazarene Church in Jerome and Johnstown, PA.  Two of my uncles and aunts pastored Nazarene churches.  My family and I sang in Nazarene churches as the “Singing Carrico Family” for many years.  I traveled and sang in an Iowa Youth Tour in 1967 with Dr. Jim Diehl and District Superintendent, Dr. Gene Phillips.  My heart is broken over the apostasy that has come into our denomination.  The emergent/new age teachings have been taught in our colleges and seminary and now we are having to deal with pastors, district superintendents, lay people and perhaps general superintendents deceiving our people.  God help us!  We need a Holy Ghost revival of true repentance and turning back to the Lord Jesus Christ from the very top officials right down to those who sit in the pews.  When it is time for me to pull my letter out of the Church of the Nazarene, I will do so.  With what I see going on right now, I don’t think it will be much longer.

Meldora Rapp

 

Well, I am a real Nazarene. I hold credentials in the Nazarene church as a District Licensed minister. I do support the COTN both in polity and in the Manual. However, we would be fools to realize that the church is not in trouble. We are. We are facing the worst form of an attack and that is from the inside. Those forces who malign us for being concerned Nazarenes, do not understand the fight or just how far this has gone. We must earnestly contend for the faith, once delivered to the saints.

When we compromise that Bible we end up condoning sin. We must not give into the world. We have allowed the world to infiltrate the church. If we fail to realize this, we are fools. We must draw a line in the sand and boldly say no more!

If we do not stand for truth in these trying days, then we will not stand when we need to. We are Nazarenes and should be above this emergent thought and stick to the word of the Lord for our answers.

We must pray and seek the Lords face and be bold enough to take a stand. If we cannot do this, our fate is sealed. If we give in to the world’s ways, compromising on sin and the only way to God is through Christ, we are lying to ourselves and those around us.

There is an opportunity here to stop the loss of people leaving the denomination and once again make the Nazarene church a beacon of light in a lost and dying world. Return to the ways not of the Catholic church, but of the Bible. In its words we find the answer to the problems of the world and of sin. When we love the sinner and the sin, we have crossed the line. May the Lord forgive us.

Mark Fonner

Real Nazarenes: Part 2

“I am afraid many people have allowed the denomination to become their idol rather than taking a stand for Truth.”


I agree with that statement, sadly.  What about you?  Have you made the Nazarene denomination your idol?  Think about that question, as you read a few more testimonies from Nazarenes (some former).

I loved the Nazarene denomination because I felt it was the closest denomination to the Word of God.  My grandparents and parents were active faithful members.  I grew up as an active, proud member of the Nazarene church and went to a Nazarene University where I met my husband.  He was also a third generation Nazarene.  We raised our 3 children in the church.  One of our daughters went to a Nazarene University and our son went to the Nazarene Bible College.  It was heartbreaking to have to leave the Nazarene church due to the denomination embracing evil practices and not believing in the infallible Word of God.  Through it all I discovered that I love God and His Word more than any denomination.  I am afraid many people have allowed the denomination to become their idol rather than taking a stand for Truth.  God’s Word is the only real truth we have to stand on in this evil world.  Praise God for His love and faithfulness to us.  My husband and I are very active in a Bible believing church where people are being saved every week and all of our children and grandchildren are loving and serving the Lord – but not in a Nazarene church – how sad.
Deena Triggs


I am a real Nazarene.  I  am the daughter of a farmer in Oklahoma,  My dad was called to preach when I was about 4 yrs old.  My Dad went to college at Bethany-Penile College for two years (although he already had a couple of degrees) and graduated in 1950.  Then he began pastoring in the Church of the Nazarene. He pastored two churches  in Oklahoma before we moved to Texas to start a new church which was never got off the ground.  He then accepted a church in
Texas.
I was saved at the age of 5 in a church at the Bethany College church in a revival.  I have been involved in the church for 62 or so years.  I have played the piano, organ and keyboard as my service to our Lord.  I was on the church board many years and helped in many areas.

When I realized that the church was teaching and allowing to be promoted that the Bible is not the inerrant word of God in all things I was very upset. I believe it is inerrant in all things from it’s original transcripts. I began searching and learning what was happening.  I saw in our local church the new teachings that do not match up with the scripture. The Nazarene church is going along with false doctrines and not standing up against them.  Our own pastor did not believe that all the Bible was the inerrant word of God….he called it literature.  I had to leave. I do not believe in these new teachings and could not stand to hear it or support it.  They are adding to the word of God, and practicing things that are from all kinds of religions.  If God’s Word does not teach it, I do not think we should either.

I pray for my friends and family that still attend that they will not be deceived.  It is so deceptive.  Most do not want to know or hear about it, but God will not be mocked.  His Word is Truth.
Virginia Bowen


I am a “Cradle Nazarene”, having been taken to the church of the Nazarene of which my parents were charter members when I was one week old.  That has now been more than 77 years ago.  It was in the Church of the Nazarene that I was taught about the love of God, the wrath of God, and the plan of salvation, including the second work of grace, heart holiness and scriptural advice and admonitions for holy living.  It was in the church that, as a young child, I first came to know Christ, and it was in the church that I was encouraged through the years when I needed spiritual encouragement and prayer.  Christ was first and foremost – over personal pleasures and ambitions.  So – several years ago, I began to hear about, and personally know of through trusted friends, about the “trend” in the Christian church, including the Church of the Nazarene, of this deceptive movement known as the Emergent Church Movement.  It has been very disturbing. I have observed also that the message of heart holiness is not being proclaimed as strongly as it once was.  I have seen a number of emergent practices publicly admitted to by a pastor in a COTN that we previously attended in a different location from which we now live.  And I have heard from many friends about experiences in their churches where this deceptive philosophy is being promoted and practiced. And I am personally aware of “Bible” studies that are actually not Bible studies at all, but sessions on books written by emergent authors.   Yes – I will speak out against the emergent movement without feeling that I am being divisive.  I want others to be aware of what is happening and hopefully, avoid falling prey to it.
Margerete Gilroy

 

I gave my life to the Lord at North East Nazarene Camp the year after I was in fourth grade and totally committed my life as a teen. My grandparents, John and Lilly Wetzel started Lavelle Church of the Nazarene (name changed) in their home. …My parents, Tom and Muriel Wetzel have given their entire lives to the Lord and were managers of North East Camp for 18 years and my mom was Phila. district missionary president for ? years. I had great examples of what a Christian should be, which helped me make my decision. We have stayed with the Nazarene church despite many bumps in the road, because we agree with the doctrine. I don’t know how much longer we will stay if the church gets off the right track!
Sandra Sands

 

A REAL Nazarene…what is that….one who joins the church…one who teaches a class (possibly using “emergent” materials)…one who warms a pew on Sunday buts sees nothing wrong with getting a little drunk on Saturday nite….one who puts …a token 20 in the offering plate…or one who holds true to the holiness tradition and understands what that means! Unfortunately I am no longer a member of the Nazarene church…but I am a third generation Nazarene (both from Dad & Mom). One grandfather was a pastor who started many churches in 3 states. The other helped start a Nazarene church in his hometown. Both my parents were born into the Nazarene church and faithfully served in the church. I attended both ENC & ONU (graduate). I was on the same track…until…something just wasn’t right about materials being used and the lack of holiness preaching. My husband & I found what was missing at the local Wesleyan church. Strong Holiness preaching at a church busting at the seams (1999 – less than 100; 2011 over 2,000 and 4 additional “network” churches). You know there has been talk for years about the two merging…maybe I’ll become a Nazarene Wesleyan? Unfortunately “emergent” garbage is in all denominations, you just have to find a church that avoids it.
Shirley Hunsberger Schindel

 

I am a Nazarene elder, but I am considering changing my ordination to the Wesleyan church over the issue of Scriptural Inerrancy. I’m a small church pastor with little influence. I support the stand the CNs are taking, but I need to go where I can serve God best.
Anthony Scott Rose

 

Even the government thinks I’m a real Nazarene. I left after 41 years because of what was entering my local congregation and what I saw popping up in denominational publications, but like my wife, I still love what the church was and continue in prayer for her. The government line…I still have my Army dog tags showing Nazarene on them.
James Scullin

 

I am a real Nazarene. I am (at least) a third generation Nazarene, dedicated, baptized, and married in the Nazarene church. We are raising our daughter to be the fourth Nazarene generation in our family. I am a member in good standing at Ne…w Hope Community Church in Chandler, AZ. I head up a special outreach ministry making prayer shawls for those struggling with different life situations. I am also on the Arizona/Southern Nevada Women’s Ministry Council and serve as the Publicity Chairperson of that council.
Janessa Osborne

 

I am certainly “credentialed” in the CotN, but found out I was “Nazarene” in my beliefs decades before actually becoming one on paper. I was raised in the Presbyterian Church until coming to know Christ personally (age 11), then predominant…ly attended Baptist, Church of God (Anderson), and AoG churches throughout most of my Air Force career.

18 years ago, I attended my first Nazarene church in SW Texas, and fell in love with a bunch of good, godly and holy Nazarenes.  They were the ones who affirmed my calling into full0time pastoral ministry.  Since then, I’ve never found a denomination I could or would more readily align myself with- no other denomination, in my experience, more clearly advances Wesleyan-Arminian holiness the way the CotN does.

My heartbreak comes when I see so many leaders within the denomination I so dearly love so eagerly “abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” (1 Timothy 4:1).  And even worse, they are leading others down that same path of destruction.  There are times I feel like a very small fish in the pond, but I will remain faithful to the people God has called me to lead and serve- they will know and will hear God’s Word.
John A. Roberts

 

 

I am a Nazarene. I don’t contribute to the site often but I check it and read what has been posted every day. Thank you all so much. I love the denomination and pray that God will undertake and stop what is going on. If it is not too late!
Esther White Korpics

 

I am a 3rd generation Nazarene and my kids are the 4th generation. 18 months ago we almost left the Nazarene church. We were part of a church plant that is now going emergent. Gave 8 years to building the ministry but could no longer go along with the direction.  We were able to return to our planting church and have become involved once again in the ministry there.
Darren Krauter

Beating A Dead Horse

I’m sharing this latest post from Christian Lady‘s blog.  Some good insight from another Christian who has experienced things we should not have to experience.

Uh, it is so hard to be a Christian at times.  It’s been a long three years of learning since we began to really pay attention to problems in our former church.  Last night we had a meeting with one of the pastors from the church we currently attend.  The pastor could tell based on what we said that we have many hurts from our former church.  He said something interesting, that someone had decided to leave this church recently.  The man stated, “I am leaving here, but these are the things I have gained from this church…”  It was a disagreement, to be sure, but it was also a list of ways God had used the church to help him grow.

I do think we did experience good things in our former church.  There was fellowship with other believers, there was some good teaching (a few pastors in particular).  We did have some great times in our small group, made life long family, life long friends.  We also did learn from some people who despite the church had a habit of studying the bible.  Some lacked discernment (obviously we did and by the grace of God began to realize there were problems, how otherwise I do not know…blind I tell ya).  At any rate, we did gain things, we did grow.

However, there was false teaching there.  Most people preaching/teaching it had no intention to teach falsehood.  They had bought into it and didn’t know.  I know we all have, at times, had an uneducated concept of one thing or another about Christ or salvation etc.  I do believe there are those who just make mistakes and haven’t studied and know no better.   There are others who are deceived and despite being taught truth, they are convinced this or that teaching is the truth and is better.  There are others blinded by their own pride, their own agenda.  I think our former church was (and likely still is) filled with some true believers, some believers who are mistaken, some who are deceived.  Then it also has many who think they are believers but aren’t because the teaching has led them astray.  Then there are those who have come in and are being appeased, but are not in the faith.  Every church has some of this, but not outright deception.

I believe our former church doesn’t just have doctrines with which people can agree to disagree, and can debate about.  I do believe there is more to it, and that is where the hurt lies.  No matter how nice the lead pastor, no matter how much you believe he has good intentions, he is teaching falsehood.  Spiritual formation as it is taught in our former church seems to be works based.  All the “seeker friendly” stuff is about filling the pews, and misses the mark when teaching the gospel.   The preachers spent too much time off message, and that is where my pain can be found.  There are people still going there, and even if they are true believers, and even if there is some growth, I cannot help but believe it is stunted.

And yet, God can use a bad thing for good.  Beauty from ashes.

So there I go again, thinking of my former church and realizing how stupid we were.  We were blind, and it hurts.  It hurts when others cannot understand things, and do not see the false teaching for what it is and challenge it.  It hurts to know their kids are in the church and are buying it all, eating it all up.  And then they wonder why they leave the church and don’t ever come back?  What are they being offered?