There is a longing from my soul to attend a church that preaches sound doctrine, yet has a vibrant, alive, loud and attractively reverent worship style that encapsulates joy, modern sound, attentiveness and great movement. This, however, could be a pipe dream. But there has been hope – because since our move to Tailem Bend we have been to 3 places of worship, and have seen some great services with lovely people who adore Christ. Ever since I was a young boy of around 10 I have been disturbed, put off and angered by prosperity preaching and faith healing doctrines. The entire thing gives my heart a great heaviness. Within years I would grow to feel uncomfortable with people rolling around on the floor in broadcasted services from Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (the source of much spiritual confusion during the early 1990’s) and wish that I could escape the grip of this brand of Pentecostal madness.
My issue has never been with worship style, musical style, building changes or even pastoral styles – just the uneasiness that something is wrong when church members, for a service meant to be about Christ and His bride – involves people flying from one end of the aisles to the other in hysteria, laughing and grunting/groaning loudly. It made me so uncomfortable. I never knew why until I heard Biblical preaching from another source that wasn’t Pentecostal – from Presbyterian, Baptist, Lutheran and Reformed men, that knew their Bible and scorned anything less than Christ-honouring in a church service in particular that didn’t line up with what Paul in Corinthians discusses as correct church practice for all time. I have only begun to even study my Bible more seriously having left the word faith mindset that everything should be “led by the Lord,” at the expense of disciplined, systematic reading of scripture and committing it to memory. I was taught from a young age that doctrine was “dry, boring, joyless and unfruitful” from several false teachers, and that the only real Christianity was that of constant euphoria through spiritual experience. How wrong I was. God forbid that I would ever come to know any and cherish Christ through reading scripture daily! So for me I have almost had a lifelong struggle with what to believe about God, the Holy Spirit, the scriptures and even my own relationship to God through Jesus because of mixed messages from various pulpit preachers I had heard from 0 until 25.
But I have a solid faith now. I have come to know doctrine and love it. In fact, I write out a portion of scripture and a small commentary on it daily just to ensure that I am taking in what God has spoken in context and doing it with a grateful heart. I have been lead out, by God’s favour, of hyper charismatic church and into modern Baptist and reformed congregations for a reason. There is unity there. A common ground. A sense that Jesus has been, in essence, blasphemed by false worship and that His word alone is sufficient for life and Godliness instead of added experiences. There’s real sense of life amongst those turning this way – seeking after God and crying out for refreshment through persevering men who will preach through scripture well, for the sake of God’s Holy name. This passion has caught me too. I have a heart to plant churches, preach, write about the beautiful doctrines held within scripture and flesh them out for young readers who think doctrine is “stale, dry and boring,” and to raise my family in a way that honours Christ and exalts His word as sufficient for all things.
May we, too, enjoy the revival taking place today amongst people to simply return to good teaching, reverent worship, singing hymns once more with a modern twist, and missional churches that thrive because they minister, honour the Word, Jesus, God and Holy Scripture.