September 29, 2020

Internet Monk Radio Podcast #149

podcast_logo.gifThis week: Why do Baptists bring their Bibles to worship? Thoughts on Church Leavers.

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  1. Other than for legit reasons to move away, people leave churches for three reasons:

    1. You won’t repent.
    2. The person leaving won’t repent.
    3. A mixture of reason 1 and reason 2.

    • Broad generalizations don’t seem to me to be the right approach to a complex issue.

    • I have really struggled with the issue of people leaving the church. I know your comment is seen as a broad generalization. However, about a year ago we lost half people in our single parents family class at church because a gentleman in the class got married to a girl in another country. He kept it a secret and remained in the class and acted inappropiately with a class member one occasion which caused a lot of this to come to light. Keep in mind this class has strict policy that you can’t be married and remain in the class mainly for the protection of the single mothers.

      When this secret came to light he was asked move on to the blended families class. Instead of moving on or admitting he was wrong he spent a good month trying to justify why he should stay in the class. His argument was that he had a right to attend whatever class he wanted. This literally divided the class and it has yet to recover. I have been studying repentance ever since then. I do think people leave for all kind of reasons but I have to agree with this comment that lack repentance along with a humble servant spirit is why some people leave the church.

      Even though this brother is still a friend we still disagree on the way he handled this issue I feel he yet to repent for his actions. Most of the people that left class don’t go church anywhere now. It breaks my heart to see this happen. However, and I put this forth maybe as a future Imonk topic: Do we as Americans spend more time justfying our actions or rights to point of damaging our churches and the reputation of Christ followers?

    • How about when there is spiritual abuse in the church?

  2. “Why bring your Bibles to Church?”

    ahahahahahaha – why do I think this question is funny? I gotta hand it to you, IMonk, sometimes you are way more sensitive to other “traditions” than I would be. And good answer – we bring our Bibles to worship because, after worship, there’s this little thing called a sermon where you follow along in the Scripture with what the preacher is telling you.

    “Now some have criticized this as promoting a critical spirit in the pew and second-guessing and all that sort of thing, which, as a Baptist, I think is perfectly fine. I’m all in favor of it. I’m in favor of questioning everything the clergy says or any circumstances with an open Bible. And this is something I really like about our tradition a great deal.”

    IMonk is in favor of questioning everything and checking your Bible to make sure what you’re told is true. No! Who would have thought? I think “I’m all in favor of it” qualifies as the official “IMonk understatement of the month.”

    Acts 17:10-11
    The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

    Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary
    The Jews in Berea applied seriously to the study of the word preached unto them. They not only heard Paul preach on the sabbath, but daily searched the Scriptures, and compared what they read with the facts related to them. The doctrine of Christ does not fear inquiry; advocates for his cause desire no more than that people will fully and fairly examine whether things are so or not. Those are truly noble, and likely to be more and more so, who make the Scriptures their rule, and consult them accordingly. May all the hearers of the gospel become like those of Berea, receiving the word with readiness of mind, and searching the Scriptures daily, whether the things preached to them are so.

    • Does that explain why so many of my evangelical friends seem to keep their bibles in their cars during most of the week?


      • Badabing

      • aaron arledge says

        that is the dog eared car bible. there is also the dusty bedside bible on the night stand. then there is the multiple translations on the book shelf that are rarely viewed but the best one is the pocket NT for witnessing that has not been used since 1993.

      • you will look like a Bible expert if you keep it in a car with rubber floormats and drive at least 100 miles a week(city driving…lots of turns)

  3. It’s like wearing a habit, or carrying about some consoling religious token. Dare I say it is tradition and even a sort of unofficial sacramental.

    • I think of it as a vestment – Instead of robes for the clergy, it is the vestment of the priesthood of believers in Baptist circles. While it used to be a big (at least 2.5 inches think) KJV bible (red letter edition, natch) that was a requirement to carry to all church related functions (kind of like vestments), now it is acceptable to carry a thinline NIV (although NEVER the TNIV) (except of course in IFB churchs, where the KJV is still required).

      Reading it is of course optional

      • For a short period the NASB was an acceptable vestment. Now it appears that the ESV is required in all Truly Reformed Circles and may yet become acceptable vestments in baptist circles (although of course, not IFB circles)

  4. Hey I’m just glad I’m not the only one out there wondering why people feel the need to read the text from their own Bible. Most large Churches now have the text as big as life on the big screen up front and yet you see people turning to verse in there own Bibles. I have always been curious about what drives this fetish.

    I have always attributed it to peer pressure and the desire for Church leadership to get its congregation accustomed to opening their Bible. For many Christians the only time they do so is during Church.

    • It’s not necessarily a fetish. Our church usually has the scripture on the screen, but there’s plenty of times I open my Bible anyways to re-read a part of the scripture that the preacher’s finished talking about, or to look at the broader scope of the passage in question, something that’s just a little important sometimes called context.

  5. aaron arledge says

    For me it was quite refreshing when I started coming to Baptist churches where people brought and read along during the service. A lot of people took notes as well. I had never seen this phenomenon growing up in the PCUSA. I used to attend churches over 300 people and the I always liked the sound when the pastor asked everyone to turn to a passage and all you hear is thin pages turning. One pastor said it was like hearing angel wings flapping. Do not think I would be that corny.

  6. It’s not a problem in Google Reader. It’s a problem in any RSS reader and the problem is in the feed. You don’t even need to have a reader to see it. RSS feeds are XML and most browsers can display XML in some form or fashion. Go down to the Entries RSS link at the bottom of the page and open it in a browser. That abbreviated text you see is all that is going out in the RSS feed. I saw you mention the Bloglines (which I’m not familiar with personally) doesn’t have the issue. That would be something unique to bloglines. Perhaps it’s actually scraping the website. Or perhaps you have two feeds active, a partial and a full. You’re only publishing the link to the partial one on the front page (and from the URL it’s set to default), but perhaps bloglines is searching and finding the unadvertised full feed. Don’t know really. Don’t know the software or how it works. But it’s not a problem with any specific RSS reader. The XML under this link:

    Is a partial feed.

  7. I forgot for a moment that for some reason Firefox always displays the summary rather than the content, no matter how the feed is set. I’m not sure why. Other browsers don’t share that “feature”. So, for example, check out the feed above and then a blog with the full feed in a browser like Safari and you’ll immediately see the difference.

    However, in staring at the link above, I saw the problem. It’s not with the feed, it’s with the link. I tried the following link and discovered the full feed. So just change the link to the entries feed on your page and problem should be solved.

    That’s the full feed link.

  8. Well, I don’t get it because every church I’ve been in, except maybe a Byzantine one, supplied the worship book, whether Bible or missal, along with the hymnal, either at the church entrance or in the pew. Even those churches which have taken to printing the order of service in the bulletin, including the Sunday Scripture reading, continue to offer Bibles and hymnals. So unless one wants to take notes directly in their personal Bible, I see no reason for it.

  9. People are confused on why people bring their Bibles to church, as if they are doing something wrong, rather than something healthy.

    You cannot make this up.

  10. Regarding the Catholic version of Scripture, the translation used in the United States is the New American Bible. There is a webpage by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) with all the contents:

    This includes a link to the Preface which explains why and how this new translation was made the way it was, and why it differs from previous and other translations used by other denominations.

    You’re not the only one who has wondered why a particular translation was used, Michael (though mostly, it’s the clunkiness of the language that makes me go “Why?”) 😉

    And just to be awkward, the version used in Masses in Ireland is the Jerusalem Bible (apparently we’re not even using the New Jerusalem Bible version) and the Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition is the one used in the English translations of the Catechism.

  11. Are the podcasts also written anywhere? I can read a lot faster than I can hear, and I can print things out if I need to read them later. I don’t have an iPod or whatever else it is you need to take an online audio talk with you to work. Just asking! Not like you have to do this!

  12. Regarding “church leavers”:

    Some years ago I did computer consulting as a hobby. I remember a person who asked for help. She was experiencing frequent screen freezes, software incompatibilities and all sorts of strange symptoms. Her computer was on the verge of not functioning at all. When I examined it, I found that she had modified the operating system in so many ways that it barely resembled the original operating system. The solution: reinstall the original operating system, which solved all the problems (except she could not operate some flashy screen savers and nifty games – which was part of the reason she had fiddled with the operating system).

    You can see where this is going, can you not? The church has fiddled with the original operating system so much that it is barely recognizable. While some might describe this as the “natural evolution” of things, other of us see it as inventing a new syncretistic religion with Christian elements. Study the theology and practice of our churches. Many, many elements are present that were not part of the original operating system. The church is not Microsoft or Apple. It is the bride of Christ. He founded the OS, and we have no business constantly fiddling with it/updating it. Instead, we need to reinstall the original OS and see what happens.

    Not that many are willing to try – they have too much invested in the way things are – their paychecks, positions of authority and a million other things.

    Why should we be surprised when there are those who recognize that our current system is in an almost constant state of “screen freeze”? Now that is such a worthwhile endeavor – staring at screen freeze and tapping on the screen a bit like some miracle is going to happen and everything will right itself.

    There is only one solution – junk the extensively modified OS, and return to the original OS, which was designed by the Creator Himself. Who are we anyway to think that we could improve on His OS? Haven’t we just been fiddling with it to make it more like we think it ought to be?

    Return to Jesus and His church, as described in His Word (not interpreted in light of current church practice). Rediscover the “lost Gospel” ( a good place to start would be Luke 10:27 and James 1:27). I know, I know – You just can’t bear the thought of giving up your flashy screen savers, the nifty games and wonderful widgets.

    Then again, the literal neighbors of your church (building), who came to understand long ago that you have no interest in them (so they have no interest in you), are standing in the street in front of your building asking me questions about Jesus at the same moment you are inside that building singing songs asking God to come into your midst. On your way into the building you did not recognize me, but told me to clean up the trash in the street because it made your church look bad. (True story – I don’t have an imagination capable of making up stuff like this.) Who am I?

    • Sam: Don’t read my book. Write my book. You can turn that bit into a full post at IM anytime. It’s beautiful and perfectly on target.

  13. This issue strikes close to home for me because I have close friends who were actively involved in my church who have left the church for a season, precisely for the reasons which you describe here–namely, the need to preserve their sanity, integrity, and individuality.

    I grew up in the Catholic Church, and left because I could not help feeling the full weight of Catholic belief regarding authority and the role of the Church, and feeling it as an unbearable weight upon my own sanity, integrity, and individuality. Now here I am in evangelicalism, feeling almost the exact same thing. But there is a difference. The Catholic Church has a visible, official authority structure which is honest enough to proclaim that this is what we believe and here it is in our official teaching. But in evangelicalism, there is no official authority structure or official teaching; instead, the things which weigh against our sanity, integrity, and individuality are everywhere and nowhere–in the very air we breathe.