Here I am a senior citizen so I thought I had completed all of life’s rights-of-passage. But I was recently proven wrong. Because of my stand, here and elsewhere, that I believe that the earth is more than 6,000 years old I have been asked to refrain from some worship activities at my current church! It seems I am not allowed to believe the age of the earth according to God’s laws of nature; instead I must believe that the Bible is literal and absolutely true in every respect. I am not allowed to believe that the story of Jonah and the whale was a fable to teach us a lesson; instead I must believe that he did indeed spend three days in the intestines of a whale.
The church pastor has basically said because I believe things I am not allowed to believe that I am now only welcomed as a guest in the church as I am no longer a member of that club. Obviously my beliefs in the validity of God given science confirming that the earth is millions of years old and that dinosaurs are not a myth but reality go contrary to what I am allowed to believe. I guess if I had not made such a public stand by saying so on this blog maybe they could have continued to ignore our differences but I chose to go public with this belief and I am glad that I did. More on that later.
The threat of being expelled from my church was probably intended to shock me in to refuting these “faulty” science based beliefs but in reality it came as more of a relief. It will allow me to no longer have to publicly pit God given scientific discoveries like DNA and carbon dating against their view on an inerrant and literal bible. The all or nothing attitude of this church when it came to be Bible has been something I have been struggling with for a number of years. I thought that since we are in total agreement on the foundations issues such as the means of grace, salvation, and the deity of Jesus that would be enough. But I guess this secondary stuff is just as important to them. As I mentioned many times before I am just naturally a person who has questions. I am just a person constantly seeking the truth. I have always known that this church is not one that willing accepts many questions, especially about their traditions. I should have seen this coming before now.
I really don’t know why I have stayed there as long as I have. I think mainly it is because my wife, even though she like me was not attending church during her middle thirty years, considers herself a life long member of that strain of Christianity. For her sake I have tried to downplay my differences with them. Stepping back now,I am amazed I lasted as long as I did there.
It is refreshing to finally not have to pretend to anyone that the Bible is the say-all and end-all for God. Jesus clearly told us that the Holy Spirit would give us more info when we were ready for it. I can now say that loud and clear without facing any further retribution! God’s revelations did not abruptly end when Constantine assembled our Bible. God continues to this day to give us both general and personal revelations. They can come to some at a personal level as I have witnessed a few times or they can come through things like scientific discoveries he allow us to make. For instance, while knowledge of DNA would have been totally worthless to the first century inhabitants it will soon prove to be life changing for us in the twenty-first century. Thank you Lord for giving us this revelation.
So, here I am churchless. But I must admit that I am the second one in recent weeks to be excluded. I don’t know if or how many others are on the list for this action. Maybe they are trying to purge the perceived dissidents from the congregation. Things go much easier if no one is asking any serious questions.
I will probably stay away from doing church for a while. I need to decompress some. I need to listen for the Holy Spirit and consider my options. I probably should have moved on myself some time ago but I was just too comfortable where I was. Good friends made over an eight year period are hard to leave. Especially at this point in my life. I also know that my wife will probably suffer the brunt of the consequences as a result of this action. She was much more embedded there than I was. I sincerely apologize to her for that fact.
Instead of treating this event as a negative one I choose to treat it as a right of passage to the next level of my journey with Christ.