Many have followed me on Facebook for the last couple of years, as well as on my blogs and Twitter, and have come to the place where they are being more adamant with asking what specifically I believe. I can understand why they ask, since I post statuses that are thought provoking discussion starters and they have to read the entire dialogue to find out what I believe and yet even at times I don't come right out with my own conclusion and I think that is frustrating some people. I apologize for that, but frustration comes with impatience and I can't control a person's impatience.
I have debated on whether or not to state bluntly, certain things that I believe, because it just seems to cause such a stir. I believe in Soul Liberty. It's my freedom to pursue knowledge of God as Holy Spirit guides me. Then I'm often asked, "Do you have a pastor?" To which, most times, people don't like my answer. "Jesus Christ is my Pastor." Then I'm pressured with, "Have you joined a church?" and again, they aren't quite thrilled with my answer. " We are the Church, the Body of Christ." For many pastors who do know us, they know how we live and worship God and are in support of our freedom, because they know we love people and we can get along with many churches in our area. We have a unique ministry that has been called by God to remain independent, yet we are in fellowship and counsel with wonderful pastors, teachers, and counselors. My husband and I both are certified counselors, have gone through biblical education, have been prayed over and blessed by many other believers who have been ordained. Just so you know, I don't always accept a person's 'ordination' status just because they went to a 'bible college'. Some have and some have not, but we believe they are very well studied and function in their gifting very well. My husband is a Recovery Pastor and we function together as a couple to minister to people in recovery of addictions of various sorts.
I always hesitate in sharing a lot of these things and I'll tell you why. Regardless of whether or not I share these things about us, people still desire to argue and rebuke us for not following their denomination's ways and doctrines. My husband and I study the bible, gather with believers, worship together, etc. We are not just 'winging it' in our home, we are not isolating ourselves from our community or other believers, and we aren't demanding that people give us money. But for some reason, people continually try to find some 'sin' in how we live out our life in Christ. But for those who genuinely love us and ask out of curiosity and based on love, we don't mind sharing the details about what we believe. It's when we are treated harshly with judgmentalism, legalism, and immaturity that we hold back.
We certainly do live in a day when denominationalism has grown to hack away at so many fellowships over how they teach the gospel. In our unique ministry we have had the pleasure of getting to know pastors, bishops, elders, deacons, and a few apostles of various kinds of churches. On my Facebook page, I call certain unhealthy church behaviors and teachings into question and these pastors have been encouraging me to keep asking my questions. They don't always agree with some of the beliefs that people share, but they appreciate the dialogue and they study along with us. We all contribute to the discussions and what we're finding is how unimportant some beliefs are in comparison to how we are loving people.
I have friends who insist that I need to boldly proclaim what I believe and publicly rebuke anyone who disagrees with me. I don't think that's wise.
1 Corinthians 13:5 "Love does not insist on it's own way."
I understand the idea of boldly proclaiming the gospel and yet many find that to be divisive as well, because God has called upon us to preach the gospel to a specific people in a specific way that mainstream Churchianity does not accept. As Peter was sent to those of the circumcision and Paul was sent later to the Gentiles, their letters sometimes seemed to disagree. But as any educated missionary knows, one must learn the culture of where they are going and their current beliefs so they can wisely meet them 'where they are' and go from there.
1 Corinthians 9:22 "I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some."
There are areas of scripture interpretation that are not useful in guiding a person to get to know our Messiah, the lover of our souls. Many people have been abused by churches, emotionally abused by people who call themselves Christians, and stolen from by deceitful clergy. This is a delicate area. We are honored that God has chosen us to be a place of fellowship for people to come and grow with. We offer soul liberty to these friends and they, in turn, offer it to us.
I wouldn't say we are planting a 'church' as in the traditional sense, but the Lord is working through us in an organic way as a faith led body that functions as he guides us. We rely upon Him to be our structure when we gather and we still fellowship and gather with other believers in various homes and churches.
We believe that God chooses who He wants, to do certain things in this world, and He chooses how we will function. We heavily rely upon His Spirit to guide us each day of our lives and in how we help others. Since we function among believers from various denominations, we remain as neutral as possible in certain areas to keep in harmony of love. We hold to what a few select early church believers stated about our freedom of conscience. We have studied various reformers, what they believed and why they believed those things. We have studied why they broke from other churches and began their own. We have seen a general commonality that they all sought for, soul liberty.
I think it's perfectly natural for people who believe the same, to gather together for study, fellowship and worship. I think it's also natural that if a person has studied for any length of time with a group and wants to ask questions that they don't want to look into, then that person is free to find a group that does. It is in my opinion, that anyone who insists on the group taking on their beliefs is violating that group's soul liberty. Again, I go back to 1 Corinthians 13:5 "Love does not insist on it's own way"
In my opinion, some clergy and their Christians who continually fight and cause strife between people are behaving the same as childhood school bullies. "If you want to be my friend, you can't be friends with him!" All because of an uneducated, arrogant, fear that someone different from you must some how be of 'the devil'. These people are insistent on causing more divisions among the people, dividing them from one another over issues that disrupt the harmony of love in our communities.
I'm not suggesting all the churches become a part of the 'New World Order' and it's 'One World Religion', but rather a part of a loving community that is open to loving one another no matter what interpretations they believe. If people are loving, kind, and tolerant, then why become divisive with them? No matter how many churches are in your area, you are still a community of Americans, One Nation. But even far more important, we are of a Heavenly Nation of Love. How will people know you are a Christ follower?
John 13: 34-35 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
We are each of different flavors of Christ, so let us not divide the Body asunder, but encourage one another in love. We each have soul liberty and should not forbid one another from expressing what they believe and why they believe it. We may be able to learn from one another if we truly give one another the same freedom the reformers fought for.