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A Tale of Two Churches — 12 Comments

  1. Ah yes the fortress, seen many of them, unfortunately there aren’t many hospitals close by. In the fortress you have to be in a platoon/ group or you will find it hard to be part of the army and does lead to AWOL. We need more hospitals but you will find a strict matron also. Enjoyed your post, 1st time I have been to SSNET.

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  2. Stephen, you make a good point. Even though I honestly believe that, I really feel that most churches are somewhere in between the two extremes.

    I think even you would agree that it would be inappropriate for a church to condone prostitution or other criminal/immoral activity within the church. So to me there is always a certain amount of fortress mentality in the church. Because of that I feel that the real question has to do with where we draw the line in an effort to have a well balanced healthy church that is a real hospital for sick souls rather than a brothel appearing to be one.

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    • The hospital is being use as a spiritual place where all can come and be healed whatever spiritual illness you have. If we don't allow the sick to come in and be healed what need do we have for a hospital. I believe the point is that we should have a more loving spirit and desire to lead people to Christ without first wounding them. Let us always keep John 3:16 and 17 close to our hearts and minds as we look at how to treat others. I just love reading Stephen Terry writing.

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    • Tyler, I agree that the church should not condone immorality but should be inviting to prostitutes and criminals. Jesus went out of his way to seek those sinners and after all, he died for the sins of all of us. In my view it is very difficult to maintain a balance between a castle and hospital. There is no doubt that sanctioning the behavior of unrepentant warriors, is imperative. While sick patients check into the HOSPITAL (church), we must continue to treat their ailments, discover all the associated complications, amputate and administer chemotherapy as necessary in the most compassionate way.

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  3. A fortress such as you picture, I'd also hesitate to enter. The problem? Not the fortress, or the weapons, but the warriors. Instead may God help us to be faithful watchmen on the walls calling those outside to come into the safety of "the Lord, my refuge and my fortress" (Psalm 91:2).

    About the hospital, I wish all hospitals were as safe a place as your illustration. I'm thinking not only of the literal hospitals (such as the one I work for) but also of the figurative hospitals (such as the church I attend). If only all the staff (in both settings) worked as well with the physicians/Physician as do those in your hospital. Then, for sure, there would be no lack of patients coming in.

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  4. I've been raised a SDA in a fortress church. I was always suprised when visitors would state that it was so "warm". I eventually started "church shopping" when I learned how to drive & found one that prayed for unity, had small group meetings and encouraged fellowship meals every Sabbath. Unfortunately, the devil got to it. Caused some of the leaders to take texts out of context to justify things they wanted to do. The church fell apart at the seams. Back to the fortress with my husband and three children. The sermons are very informative but seemingly out of touch with the spiritual needs of the few remaining members. Sad to say, attendance is WAY down. I am the only one left from my age group in the church. Most were scared off by warriors and too many church positions. Once new members join after a Revival or seminar, they are laiden with several church positions until they are burnt out and stop attending at all. During church most adults nap or talk thru the entire sermon. Makes it hard for me to teach my kiddos respect and no eating in sanctuary when they see adults texting, eating and talking during sermon. Sigh. I don't want to make Sabbath a chore for my family-but each week, it seems that we have to take the kids into the mothers room because they are starting to act like other children in the congregation-crawling under pews, running up and down the aisles during service time, taking off shoes. Always have to tell my kiddos "no, no, no". Have felt for a long time that this church is "dying". Definately time of sifting. Must pray and keep working with my kiddos that having a relationship with Jesus in their hearts is the most important thing-that we need to seek and show respect for the God of creation. We also honor God by helping others... will pray for way to help local church instead of leaving it.

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    • Ashley, all too well I know what you are talking about. My heart goes out to you. May God continue to strengthen you as you seek to guide your children and to influence for good your church, locally and at large.

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    • Pray and ask God to either intervene and make changes, open their eyes because they can't see, or to lead you and your family to a church where your needs will be met. My family and I experienced the same thing and we prayed for His intervention....He, through teenagers, led us to another congregation and we've been there going on 10 years.

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  5. I like your comparison of fortress vs. Hospital.You hit the nail on the head when you used "hospital". Many times we tend to look at the church as a place to gather recruits, bring them in, judge them with a scrutinizing eye to see if they are worthy of being a part of the clique, and if they are then we train them to treat and judge others like we did them. If they are too holy, we avoid then. The church is really a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints.

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  6. Life long SDA that grew up in the middle of the two extremes. You could tell them apart because the "warriors" and the "nurses" always sat on opposite sides of the church. At 57, moved into a city, 11 months ago, and have encountered nothing but fortresses. The ONLY reason, I get up on Sabbath morning and go to any of them is because of the Master Physicians admonishment to not neglect the assemblying of myself... I do believe that even in the fortresses, God's people can be found. You just have to look a little harder and not allow the warriors to deter you.

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  7. Churches that are overcrowded are often unable to care for the sick. I once visited a church where there were hundreds of people and not once was I greeted nor acknowledged there.

    Large churches do not know who are visitors and who are the members. Some visitors who attend wearing jewels or inappropriate attire gets scrutinized. It creates an unfriendly uninvited atmosphere.

    Small churches are more manageable. There you get to know each other bearing and supporting each other's needs. It also gets everyone involve in the church business and activities.

    I pray that we all see the need for small alive and active churches doted everywhere rather than large stagnant churches.

    When churches are bursting at the seams, they should not consider building extension to accommodate but divide.

    Amen!(0)

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