Not Traditional, Original

Avoiding Doctrinal Conflicts with Your Church; Avoiding Yo-yo Christianity

If you have attended the same church since you were born, perhaps this isn’t an issue with you.  Perhaps you don’t have conflict with anything your church teaches.  Perhaps you aren’t “doctrinally oriented” and don’t see an issue here.  Perhaps you believe what your church teaches about how they are the only true church or believe that you were called to that church.

It just makes sense that if you can participate with a church, and maintain your integrity, then that’s the ideal, that’s what you want, go for it.  But not everyone can.

Some churches give people the opportunity to discuss issues with the pastor, and other spiritual leaders. Whenever you have an issue with something that the churches preaches and/or practices, then you should attempt, at least, to resolve the issue with whoever you can.

You may be surprised to hear that your concern is shared by other people attending the church, and that the pastor is sympathetic to your case, on the which case, you may feel that you can participate with the church in good conscience.   And while it may be rare, there are cases documented where churches changed their position based on what someone brought up to them.

However, at some churches, especially with some issues, that will not be available.  The Roman Catholic Church is not going to change their position on the celibacy of the priesthood, infant baptism, abortion, even birth control or a host of other issues if you attempt to talk to one of the priests about it.  In fact, the Roman Catholic Church, and a number of other large denominational churches, are not going to change a thing just because a parishioner bring something to their attention. However, there are churches that are sometimes open to some input.

Still, a lot of people have problems going to a particular church because they sincerely disagree with some of what the church teaches.  In fact some people stop going altogether because they don’t want to be taught things that they believe are not supported by the Bible or anywhere else.  For example, they don’t want to be taught that they have to tithe when they believe that tithing ended with the law.  They don’t want to be taught that women can’t teach when they don’t believe that the Bible or anything else truly supports that position.   In my experience, is usually not just one thing that is the source of disagreement, it’s often a number of issues.

Other people go to church, and because they believe in the advantages of membership, they acquiesce on church doctrines, perhaps taking the stance that doctrine isn’t important, or that the church has got to be smarter or more spiritual than they are so they must know better.  (See Yo-Yo Christianity for more.)

Indeed, there are valid arguments for both becoming a member of a church, and/or attending the same church for a long time. In some churches only members have input in decision making at church business meetings.  Families with children need the continuity and trust that is built by having the same people in the same church teaching the same things over the years.

But there are options for people to go to a church to fellowship with other believers and avoid doctrinal conflicts and not be a Yo-yo Christian:

Find a Church that doesn’t have Membership

If membership requires that you pledge to leave all decisions about what is true doctrine to the pastor or a board and you are not comfortable with that, one option you have is to find a church that doesn’t require membership.  This may be hard to find, but churches that don’t require membership do exist.

Don’t be afraid to try different venues for when looking for church. In fact, you may have to go “outside of the box” to find a church that you can work with.  There are small churches that never get their names into telephone books.  There are house churches, and small independent groups. You can start by looking online doing a search for “house church”.

Become an Attender Instead Of a Member

If you do go to a church that requires members for its charter (a legal requirement, not a biblical one), you can choose to not be a member and still attend faithfully.  You will probably not be allowed to lead any groups, or teach if you choose this option.  This may not be a problem if your gifts don’t include teaching or leadership.  You may be perfectly happy to serve in capacities like childcare, greeting, cooking, administration, or physical plant services.

Parachurch Ministries Offer Opportunities That You May Not Get In Your Local Church

Parachurch means “alongside the church”.   Parachurch organizations help the church by specializing in areas often at levels higher than almost any individual church could produce.  The vision of parachurch ministries is that each church in the world has many resources from people not in that church as any one of these parachurch ministries acts to come alongside the people in that Church and increase the level of service available to people in the church.

Parachurch ministries include organizations like radio and TV teaching ministries, counseling ministries, Evangelistic crusades, discipleship ministries,  Christian Motorcycle clubs and other interests, ministries to the poor, bible distribution ministries, prison ministries, pregnancy ministries, marriage and family ministries, and more.

You may find an opportunity for ministry and even leadership at one of these places that you won’t find at your local church.

Jesus Said the Spirit Would Guide You

This includes helping you find places to worship and fellowship.


I am certainly not saying that you should not become a member of your local church, volunteer at your local church, or in any way become as involved as possible in your local church, AS LONG AS YOU DON’T ACT LIKE A YO-YO AND JUST GO ALONG WITH WHATEVER THE CHURCH SAYS IT’S JUST SO THAT YOU CAN BE INVOLVED.

But, if you do find yourself in the position where you realize that you do not want to get involved with a church because of possible doctrinal conflicts, remember that you have other options it comes to being involved as a servant in the body of Christ.

©copyright 2012 Mark W. Smith, all rights reserved.

June 3rd, 2012 Posted by | Modern Christianity | no comments

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