I'm going to try to tie my last three posts together in an attempt to show you all where I am right now. (In this post, they're not in the order I posted them, the school paper makes it out of order)
"Bad Doctrine Has Consequences" - a recurring theme around our home. Last night my daughter and I talked (like we always do) on our way home from church after her small group met. This didn't happen in the small group, but with a group of members of the small group and other at a restaurant. She was not breaking confidentiality by talking about it. She said, "I think I might have to look for a different small group." She has a very small group - just Manda and one other young woman. Manda told me that this other girl has "lots of opinions that she will never think are wrong, but are very loose" and that this other girl won't listen to anybody else. Manda has been talking about the whole "Firehouse Family Ministries" thing (I'm a proud mom) and this other girl won't even talk about it.
"I'm just really looking forward to worshiping with another demonination!" (Manda pointed out that anti-Trinitarians go beyond "denomination" into a whole different religion - that point got lost in the emptiness)
"But denominations are just wrong" (Manda pointed out that we have denominations for a reason - and some are right and some are not.)
"Manda, you just have to learn how to worship with other denominations!" (Manda pointed out that she is Reformed, her grandparents go to a non-denom in FL, a United Missionary Church in MI, her aunt is Baptist, her uncle is a Free Methodist minister and everybody else goes to the Missionary church. We have the "other denomination" thing down.)
"Well, I just thought those people were neat!" (Manda used my phrase - "bad doctrine has consequences")
"Manda, you just have to lighten up!"
(note, these are not the exact words, but pretty close to the conversation)
"Rome/Arminius/Reformers - 'The TULIP'" was a good and necessary reminder of where we come from and why we are in a CRC. As I look for a different church, one of the possibilities is a non-denom. It is very large, and may have Reformed underpinnings, but would underpinnings be enough?
Part of the problem at Sunshine is that the farther they get from Reformers, the more doctrinal problems I see. (Not just TULIP oriented, but the increasing emphasis on gifts, the growing role of the pastor that appears more "charismatic", the role of Neil Anderson's "Freedom" - when I went in a couple of years ago to advocate for a single ministry, a couple of women's leaders pushed me to go through Anderson's series "to see where this is coming from". Excuse me: being single does not mean "in bondage")
This 3-way study of TULIP helped solidify in my mind why the Reformation was needed and why I need to be in a "Reformed" church. Solidly Reformed - not Arminian.
Finally, "Plato's Allegory of the Cave" (which is actually an assignment for my philosophy class) reminded me that four years ago I would have laughed at the idea of me looking for a solidly Reformed church.
After a lifetime of living in an Arminian family, the break to Reformation Christianity was like being unchained and seeing the flame.
The realization of how much this effects my decision-making is like stepping into the sunlight.
Wrapping it up: I'm not ready to claim "cessationism" (as full-bore TR's define it), but I am ready to take a really good look at it and I'm ready to let that issue play a part in my decision making process.
On the cessation thing. I'm not going to be looking for any burning bushes. But for forty-some years God has been able to figure out ways to communicate what He wants me to know. I don't imagine that's going to change.
God hasn't changed. My understanding of the way that He may (or may not) communicate with us has changed.
But God hasn't changed. And as long as God doesn't change, I'll be ok.