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    Denomination & Faith Movement Discussions - Thread: How long do you go to a church before joining

    1. #1
      jsimms435's Avatar
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      How long do you go to a church before joining

      I'm just curious because I see people who go to churches for years and never join and then some people come two or three times and jump right in to joining a church. How long do you think you should go to geat a real feel for what the church is like and if it is a good fit for you and your family to join?

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      It's a good question, all right, but I think familiarity with Christian doctrine and practice on the part of the joiner has a lot to do with it. There are people who have come to certain conclusions about the church they've been part of being in error, and they seek a different one that, after study, they know to be correct on that point. They often don't take too long before joining because they have good knowledge about what they're doing and they are already oriented towards the idea of formal membership. However, the believer who has never had strong ties to any denomination and is not much 'into' theology is likely to feel there's no reason to rush.

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      For ME, the issue was Confirmation..... in Lutheranism, one cannot "JOIN" unless one affirms the Doctrine. I take that VERY seriously. It's why I left the Catholic Church, because I could NOT declare to God and man that "I believe and confess all this." The vast majority of it? YES! More than almost every Catholic known to me? YES! Do I actually DISAGREE with much? Well, really just 3 things out of that 2,865 teachings of my Catechism (but they happen to be biggies, lol). I would be LYING. I would be dishonest. To me, it had to do with integrity.

      It did for Lutheran, too. It helps that laity are held only to the Small Catechism (which is like 12 pages long, and most of that is not doctrine or teachings). I had no problem there. But most of it concerned a teaching found in the Book of Concord and was affirmed by my denomination (the LCMS) in 1932, it had to do with the papacy and the antichrist. I do NOT - at all - believe that the current RCC pope is the Antichrist.... I do NOT believe the OFFICE of the papacy is THE Antichrist.... I found some of the wording not only wrong but offensive. I struggled with this for over a year. I spoke with my Lutheran pastor.... I spoke and wrote with other Lutheran pastors. I even involved a prof at Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis. I would NOT say at my Confirmation that I believe .... when I did not. I finally came to understand that 1) this is not dogma. 2) The understanding of this is that some of the teachings of the RCC appear to undermine the Gospel and THAT'S what is meant by "antichrist" 3) I came to understand that while there ARE Lutherans who think Pope Francis is THE Antichrist, that's NOT the stance of the Confessions or Lutheranism or the LCMS. Once I began convinced of this, I felt I could stand and identify myself with official Lutheran Dogma as I understand it (even though, technically, the words are "Do you accept and confess the teachings of the Lutheran church AS FOUND IN LUTHER'S SMALL CATECHISM which says nohting about the pope). It's an integrity thing. And of course, I was already worshipping there every Sunday, already in the choir, already serving with the Trustees, already a frequent reader and usher and greeter....

      It took me well over two years. During that time, I carefully read and studied the over 1500 pages of the 3 vol. set of books used in LCMS seminaries to teach doctrine to pastors. I read many other Lutheran doctrine books.... being sure I knew and understood how Lutherans view things. I had LOTS of private conservations with my pastor (who insisted he very much enjoyed our chats). And yes, I was at websites asking questions.



      - Josiah
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
      For ME, the issue was Confirmation..... in Lutheranism, one cannot "JOIN" unless one affirms the Doctrine. I take that VERY seriously. It's why I left the Catholic Church, because I could NOT declare to God and man that "I believe and confess all this." The vast majority of it? YES! More than almost every Catholic known to me? YES! Do I actually DISAGREE with much? Well, really just 3 things out of that 2,865 teachings of my Catechism (but they happen to be biggies, lol). I would be LYING. I would be dishonest. To me, it had to do with integrity.

      It did for Lutheran, too. It helps that laity are held only to the Small Catechism (which is like 12 pages long, and most of that is not doctrine or teachings). I had no problem there. But most of it concerned a teaching found in the Book of Concord and was affirmed by my denomination (the LCMS) in 1932, it had to do with the papacy and the antichrist. I do NOT - at all - believe that the current RCC pope is the Antichrist.... I do NOT believe the OFFICE of the papacy is THE Antichrist.... I found some of the wording not only wrong but offensive. I struggled with this for over a year. I spoke with my Lutheran pastor.... I spoke and wrote with other Lutheran pastors. I even involved a prof at Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis. I would NOT say at my Confirmation that I believe .... when I did not. I finally came to understand that 1) this is not dogma. 2) The understanding of this is that some of the teachings of the RCC appear to undermine the Gospel and THAT'S what is meant by "antichrist" 3) I came to understand that while there ARE Lutherans who think Pope Francis is THE Antichrist, that's NOT the stance of the Confessions or Lutheranism or the LCMS. Once I began convinced of this, I felt I could stand and identify myself with official Lutheran Dogma as I understand it (even though, technically, the words are "Do you accept and confess the teachings of the Lutheran church AS FOUND IN LUTHER'S SMALL CATECHISM which says nohting about the pope). It's an integrity thing. And of course, I was already worshipping there every Sunday, already in the choir, already serving with the Trustees, already a frequent reader and usher and greeter....

      It took me well over two years. During that time, I carefully read and studied the over 1500 pages of the 3 vol. set of books used in LCMS seminaries to teach doctrine to pastors. I read many other Lutheran doctrine books.... being sure I knew and understood how Lutherans view things. I had LOTS of private conservations with my pastor (who insisted he very much enjoyed our chats). And yes, I was at websites asking questions.



      - Josiah
      I think if everyone took the process as seriously as you just described our churches would be better off. From what i have seen most people join a church because of who goes there or they like the pastor or the music. Of course, in some rural areas you may not have as big a choice as I do.

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