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Thread: Bible and Church Question

  1. #1

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    Default Bible and Church Question

    Hi, I was raised as a Charismatic Christian and being in a small town there is only one Pentecostal church to go to. I have heard bad things about this church, but I have heard them from my non believing partner who heard it from someone else. Basically, this church apparently is like a cult and demands you give half of your wages or more once you are ingrained to them, the story is this husbands wife was stealing money from her dh's account and wound up over a few years giving about 50,000 of their money to the church. When he found out he gave her an ultimatum to stay with him or stay at the church and she picked him and now sees what she had done was terrible. I really want to start going to church again but I am scared after hearing the story and I am not sure what to do. I have thought about changing denominations but the charismatic church is very laid back and fun and far from traditional. I like the sound of the emerging church but I am certain we have nothing like that here.

    The bible question is what bible does a charismatic read? It has been about 20 years since I have been to church and looked at a bible and I have forgotten nearly everything :S

    Thanks in advance for helping!


  2. #2

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    Hi Sarah, I've never heard of the Charismatic Church. Did you attend as a child? Do your parents still attend? I would be very cautious of any church making those kinds of requests but I guess you need to confirm or dismiss the things you have heard before you can move forward.

    I was very cautious about forming a connection with any particular church. However the Uniting Church that I attend is the most moderate, accepting, easy going church i have discovered in my travels. I personally think it's a good sign when women are allowed equal rights when it comes to leadership roles within the church. For me this is one thing i look for. I also think a vibrant church involves children and has a good Christian education program. the Uniting Church in my area fits both these criteria. Also, it's very important to actually like the minister that leads the services. I went to many services before deciding I trusted and felt most comfortable with my current one.

    I hope you are able to find a place that is right for you. It's, i think, such an important thing. Before starting my search we had a few family crises and needed some kind of help dealing with grief. I think that for that reason alone, it's good to have an established relationship with a local church that will be able to help you deal with the bad times and also celebrate the good

    Let us know how you go Sarah.

  3. #3
    cari28 Guest

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    Depending on the church, if it is traditional then it probably uses the King Jame's version, other churches using the NIV. On on giving money to the church, the Bible's states that 10% of your income belongs to the Lord. You can give offerings but no church should demand how much you give them. If that is the case, then the church is not of God, because God doesn't place on us financially or otherwise more than we can bare. Pray and let God lead you to the church He wants you to belong.

  4. #4

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    Hi Sarah, I think the only way to find out is to go to a few services and make your own mind up. Who knows if the story you were told is true or if it has been distorted in some way? Getting to know a few regulars there might help too and maybe try and meet the pastor to see if you feel comfortable with his leadership or not. I think it is worth a shot, go in with an open mind and then decide after you have been a few times.

    Bible versions - Most mainstream churches these days use the NIV (New International Version) bible, but there are lots of others that they use too. I like the NIV and I enjoy reading the Message sometimes too.

    Best of luck, I hope you find a happy church home soon!

  5. #5

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    The different translations is a personal choice thing, although some are more accurate translations. The New Living Version is a fantastic translation. I think different denominations can be very confusing, I personally go to church somewhere that I can walk in as I am and feel comfortable. I don't like having to dress a certain way or bring a certain thing or anything to feel like I am at church. I am a come as you are sort of person anyway. So I go somewhere I can come as I am. I am the same about reading the Bible, I want a translation I can read and understand in context to my daily life.

    I would be quite wary of any church which demanded anything. There is such a thing as taking the "fun" out of fundamentalist hehehehe... I guess for me the thing is does what the church demand come from the Bible? or from somewhere else?

    For instance, our church has a "first fruits" which is from the Old Testament where they brought the first of their crops as an offering. Now its not something you HAVE to do, but its put forth as something the church body does. I love it and the meaning behind it and so does DH so we take part in it. No one openly talks about if they gave or not or how much, its a personal choice and something that the church has specific uses for....

  6. #6

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    Thanks everyone!!!

    Bath - I went to a funeral at the Uniting Church on Christmas Eve and had a talk to the pastor? while I was there. It does sound like my first choice after a Pentecostal church. I will keep you updated!

    Cari - I had no idea the bible said that eek! I wouldn't have much to give being only on the income of FTB... I will look at the NIV when I can get to the store, by what everyone says I might actually be able to read it and possibly understand it

    Trish - I think that is a good idea, I think going to a couple services from each church I am interested in will help me pick the right one.

    Christy - One of my worries is getting a wrong translation. The priest I talked to on the phone at the Anglican church said the KJV was very inaccurate but he did not suggest an alternative.. I am very wary of the story I heard, half of me believes it and that it is in fact a cult but then I think about how Pentecostal people come across as very gung ho about the beliefs and so I don't believe the story as well.

  7. #7

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    Not sure about a "cult" but the people I have met before who are Pentecostal Church goers have all been very evangelical to the point of making me feel a bit uncomfortable. But then there are extremes in most religions aren't there?

    I was raised as a Catholic, but we never attended Chruch other than for weddings etc.

    I'd agree with Christy, you need to feel comfortable. Maybe you could go to a few services at the churches you are interested in learning more about and see which one feels right for you?

    Even within the same religion they can be alarmingly different. The Catholic Church my Grandma goes to and where most of my releatives now go to for any sort of Religious Sacrament is extremely progressive and nothing at all like the one near where I live. If I'd had a priest like Father Bob Maguire (Grandma's Priest) I'd probably have gone to Chruch a bit more often.

  8. #8

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    Hey RayRay,

    I've heard Father Bob on JJJ - I'd love to have him as my priest too!

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    When I was living in Fitzroy in my early 20's I wandered over to the big old bluestone Catholic Church down the road just out of curiosity... up until then I'd only been to church for weddings and funerals. I attended a few Vespers (I think that's what they were called, occurred every afternoon around sunset). I felt a bit self conscience but I loved the atmosphere, the insence and the music. It was all very traditional BUT the minister who conducted the services was downright cool! He wore pointy black shoes, had short spikey hair, an earring in his left ear and was so approachable. He name was/is father Tony Noble and was reknown for supporting AIDS sufferers and holding special services for them. He was providing a no-judgement safe place for all to worship and was very popular. It's these ministers that, I think, are worth finding. Progressive and positive, not judgemental. In touch with people's real problems, not just spouting one-size-fits-all solutions. I love the old traditions but they can be continued with acknowledgement that we are living in a different world to when they were began. Ministers who can achieve this balance are precious. I hope you find a good 'un Sarah!

  10. #10

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    I think any of the main bible translations would be fine, NKJV (New King James Version), NASV (New American Standard Version), NIV (New International Version - I would stay way from the very latest updated version personally), etc.

    As far as in accurate KJV, I do suspect there are some inaccuracies, it's hard to say which bible is the most accurate, I believe the NASV has been tagged that way (most literal translation/accurate), but all are going to claim accuracy. Outside of a couple of churches I am not aware of a church sponsored bible so in regards to what bible you should read as a pentecostal, I am not sure there is a denomination sponsored bible for you. I guess my point would not be to find the bible Pentecostals want you to read, but find one of the main translations that is easy for you to read and understand and use that to judge all that you are told "as" a pentecostal. Another wards study what you are being told and judge those words with the word of God - I do not believe the Word of God will fail you, but man / denominations / preachers - even well intended, can fail you. Does that make sense?

    Anyhow, that is my loose change on the subject!

  11. #11

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    Thanks again everyone for the input. I ordered a very cute TNIV today and a baby bible for my little man. When did bibles get so pretty???

    I think my partner is a bit scared, I don't think he expected me to be the church going type, I am a bit curious what this is going to do to our relationship.. He has flat out said not to talk about that s*** in front of him so this will be interesting.

    Since DP is going to Melb on Sunday I may take the chance to check out the service at the Pentecostal church if I can get there (bugger not being able to drive) or the Uniting church which is much closer.

    Dustmite - Why do you say to stay away from the updated NIV is that the TNIV? I definitely need a bible that is written in laymans terms, with all this lack of sleep I don't understand a whole lot of anything these days.

  12. #12

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    Sarah, I've found it useful to have a few different versions of the bible around. I have the old faithful NIV, which is what seems to be used most often in my church (Baptist). I do find though, that for personal study, I need something that's a little more accessible. I've got a New Living Translation for that which is quite good. At bible study, we actually try to make sure that we each bring a different version - it makes life interesting when you're trying to follow a passage that someone's reading aloud, but it does help to get to the meaning when you can compare different versions.

    One that I really don't like is The Message - very strange.

    BW

  13. #13

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    Hey Sarah, if youre looking for something thats easy to read check out The Message version - its in everyday language. You can actually get bibles that have NIV and The Message side by side, so it makes it really easy to understand what it all means. They usually have some sort of footnotes that help to explain the original context of the writing which is good too.
    HTH!! Keep talking to God about it too

    P.S. Butterfly - The Message is intended to be read in our everyday terms (as it would have to those who originally wrote it!!) thats why it can be a bit 'strange'. And I agree its good to have a couple of versions to make sure you understand it.

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    Oh jee!!! I better start saving for my bible collection it seems, all for a good cause really! Looks like DP is going to be around on Sunday, I wonder if he will against driving me to the church of my first choice considering he heard those bad things about it. I had a friend today tell me she heard bad things about it too, I am so confused because it is the church I feel like I want to go to. It is really a choice I need to make for myself though.

  15. #15

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    You are right - it is a decision you can only make for yourself. Just remember that one visit to a church doesn't mean you are commited to staying there, and it may take some time to judge for yourself what the church is actually like.

    I suspect that your feelings towards that church could be the gentle nudging of the holy spirit, so best to at least check it out.

    Darlissa, I think it's the "slang" terms in The Message that spoil it for me - there's something about reading "the disciples cut and ran" that's a little off-putting for me, but I can understand why some people favour it. I guess the version of the bible you favour is a bit like the denomination of church you favour - what suits one person isn't going to suit everyone.

    BW

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by butterfly_warrior View Post
    I think it's the "slang" terms in The Message that spoil it for me - there's something about reading "the disciples cut and ran" that's a little off-putting for me, but I can understand why some people favour it.
    BW

  17. #17

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    Sarah, I don't have a religion, and Dh was raised a Methodist (now the Uniting Church in these parts) and while he doesn't go to church now, he has from time to time and I've never begrudged him going, he has even taken the older kids (our local church that he went to closed down/defunct when the minister left). I think you DH is a bit silly to have a problem with you going - it's probably his fear from the rumours he has heard about this particular church too that's not helping.

    I had been with Dh to our local church before it closed (it is a quaint little parish church that had a congregation of 6 - us and two other couples LOL) and Bath, I felt that he was a bit prejudicial/judgmental of minority groups. You may remember a few years ago now (about 5 or 6) and the first gay minister was ordained into the uniting Church (or was trying to, memories on the details are fuzzy now). Anyway one week he brought this survey out at the end of his sermon and asked us to fill it in. basically it was a petition against allowing homosexuals (both gay and lesibians) to become a minister in the Uniting Church. It was sanctioned by the local diocese. It even went so far as to actually suggest what answers we should give. I was immediately turned off, answered the survey with the comment "we are all God's children and His love is unconditional" LOL. Dont' know what he ever made of that - I never went back and DH said it was never mentioned again. I was getting a bit cautious of him anyway as at the time of 9/11 he ranted a bit about there only being one true God etc. A bit OT but just my experience with the Uniting Church

  18. #18

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    Sherie, you have a very good point there.

    Regardless of the denomination, you will always find some "bad apples" for want of a better term. It's important not to write off the entire denomination because of that, but to go into everything with an open mind. Just as it's important not to write off Christianity altogether because of some extreme fundamentalists who are extremely prejudiced. Also just as important not to write off Islam because of another set of extremists, and we could go on and on.

    BW

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