Recently we made the very tough decision to leave the church we were members of for almost 5 years. There wasn’t one thing that happened to make us do it, but years of various preferences, issues, and differing philosophies added up, and the timing was right, so we cut the cord. Enough said about that.
So, here we are looking for a new church. One of the things that we challenged ourselves on was to question everything. We didn’t want to assume that anything was right simply because we had always been taught that. Anything that comes up that is different, we want to carefully examine before passing judgment.
We visited our first post-exit church this past Sunday. It was different. That didn’t make anything wrong, but it was different than what we had experienced for the last 5 years. The music was louder, the people were more animated, and it was a whole lot bigger. We were quickly faced with the very thing we were trying to avoid – automatically judging because our of preconceived notions of how church is “supposed” to be done.
We had done some research online and the one thing that we wrestling with was that this church does infant baptism. They were very quick to point out that the act of baptizing the infant doesn’t mean that the child is saved. They would still be responsible later on to come to faith and trust Jesus on their own, through the teaching and influence of their parents and their church family. However, they didn’t advocate another public baptism after the profession of faith – something completely contrary to what we have always been taught. We had to make a choice – would we hide behind our current beliefs, or would we open up and explore that their might be other interpretations of Scripture that weren’t necessarily wrong?
For the most part, we enjoyed the service although it was harder to open our minds than we thought it would be. We aren’t sure if we will go back, but I will tell you this – it has nothing to do with the infant baptism. As long as they aren’t misleading the parents into thinking that the act of baptism saves the child, I can’t really argue with the reasons why they do it. Just like I can’t argue with the fact that they have drums in their worship music. It is one interpretation among many that does nothing to dilute the message that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. That is the one undeniable fact that bonds all believers together, and that is what church is – not a building, not a constitution, and certainly not a person, but the corporate group of people called by God into a relationship with their Savior.
I look forward to writing more as we make this journey. I have no idea how long it will take, but we already have several churches lined up that we plan to visit over the coming months.