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Why I Left the Apostolic Church, A Follow Up

11 Dec

Several questions have come up since I wrote that post a couple of weeks ago so I decided to respond in a Q&A format.

Q. Why wasn’t my response posted?

A. It could be one of several reasons. While I do genuinely value everyone’s opinion and support people “working out their own salvation”, I want my blog to remain free of bad language, arguments, harsh words and non-edifying statements. Some statements had no relevancy or decency at all, thus they were not approved. Some responses were not in regards to what was written but focused on a hurt the writer had suffered from someone within a church (and I will address these later in this post). Lastly, some of these responses were in direct contradiction with scripture (i.e. saying baptism is not necessary when scriptures show otherwise). Genuine questions about doctrine, however, have been approved as I want those seeking answers to have help finding them.

Q. Why didn’t you title the article “Why I Let the Apostolic Pentecostal Church and Why I Came Back”?

A. I did not realize that this post would receive the kind of recognition that it did. Previously, I had written for a small group of readers who follow me on Twitter and rarely publicize on Facebook or any other website. I originally felt like I should write this after searching for something on Google in regards to Apostolic small group lessons. Instead of finding what I was looking for, I found an onslaught of articles about why someone chose to leave the church. 

Now, having been in the church, then out of it, then back in, I’m pretty familiar with just about every argument someone has for and against being Apostolic Pentecostal. I felt that if so many people would write their grievances, it only be fair to the many readers out there looking at these types of articles that they get the other side of the argument–especially from someone who left and then came back. That was my intended audience. Turns out the audience was a large group of people from many walks of life and differences of opinion.

Q. There are many churches out there that believe in one God (and that the fullness of the Godhead is in Christ Jesus), baptism in Jesus’ name, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues. Do you believe that only people associated with the UPCI are saved?

A. No. I believe anyone who follows the plan of salvation as laid out in the Bible and lives their best according to the Word is saved. Because I moved so much growing up, I have belonged to churches associated with the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI), the Worldwide Pentecostal Fellowship (WPF), and the Apostolic Churches of Jesus Christ (ACJC). I currently have no affiliation with any of these organizations but do belong to an Apostolic Pentecostal church and have friends in each of those. I also have friends in many independent Apostolic churches (not affiliated with a particular organization).

I think a good example lies in a story one of my old professors told once. There was a group of about 300 people in a Communist country who were following the plan of salvation as laid out in the Bible (Jesus died on the cross for us; in turn, the Bible teaches that in order to accept that salvation we must follow the plan He laid out for us–summed up in Acts 2:38, supported throughout the rest of the Bible). He heard about this group of underground Christians and through associations with many people was able to meet someone within that group. There was a language barrier but eventually the question could be understood through an interpreter: “How did you find out about the plan of salvation? Who came to you and taught you?” The man from the group earnestly replied, “Have you ever heard of the Holy Bible?” Organizational affiliations do not save a person; God saves the person who, in obedience to God’s Word, follows what He has commanded.

Q. I don’t go to an Apostolic church anymore because I was hurt once before. Some people were judgmental, my old pastor was too strict, I was disowned for doing something they didn’t like.

A. This is not a question but was the second most common response I had received. First, let me start by saying that I am truly sorry for the hurt you experienced and pray that God will eventually heal the wounds you suffered.

I, too, have been hurt by people within the church but by the grace of God was able to overcome it. A biological family member hurt many people and as a result most of the family is very bitter towards all Apostolic Pentecostals. That said, while his actions did cause many to feel that way I do not blame him for their decision to leave the church or to never go to begin with–the Bible teaches that each person must work out their own salvation. We are each responsible for ourselves and it is our duty to ourselves to live for God regardless of how others treat us.

That way of thinking is easier said than done, I know. When I first stepped foot into an Apostolic church after being out for a few years I was worried that people would treat me like that person did in the past and I made an agreement with myself that if such was the case I would not feel bad leaving and finding another church. I didn’t need to look elsewhere, though. These people were nothing like that family member–they were not judgmental at all, they believed in inward and outward holiness but understood that each person grows at their own pace, and the church was full of love. 

The Bible also teaches that God places all of us in the body as it hath pleased Him. If the one thing that turned you away from the Apostolic church was an offense, I encourage you to–if still possible–seek out the person who caused the offense and let them know how you feel. As you find your way back you might be surprised at the love you will find. If that is not the case (that person is gone or you live nowhere near that church) I encourage you to find one in your area and visit. Again, you might be surprised at the love you will find. The many complaints read in the responses are not common to every church nor to most churches.

But please also remember, no matter what church you belong to (or even if you refuse to go to church now and associate only with non-church-going people), there are always going to be hypocrites, people who hurt you, people who are judgmental, etc. The question is, do you let that determine your destiny?

As more questions and comments come in I will update this post. I hope that the original post and the many questions and answers in the comments section there will help you find answers as you search the Bible and discover the fullness of its teachings.

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10 Comments

Posted by on December 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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10 responses to “Why I Left the Apostolic Church, A Follow Up

  1. ultimateconfessions

    March 15, 2016 at 10:45 am

    You have hit the nail on the head once again. I’ve realized that there has to be something about Jesus because the devil will only fight this hard when things are going against his will. Look at all the other religions out there. Do you think that people who practice these other religions are given such a hard time about what is true and what isn’t and standards? I highly doubt it!

     
  2. AJ

    September 28, 2015 at 2:24 am

    Hello, I’m AJ (40 yrs. old), a member of UPCI. Can you pls. advise me about doing IVF(In Vitro Fertilization) together with my wife, is it against or a sin on God?.We been already 6 yrs. as a couple going through different doctors, but nothing happen. The last doctor we consulted advise us to do IVF coz both of us has problem (low sperm count and hormonal imbalance) and the only option is IVF.I told my wife(34 yrs. old) that I will leave everything to God anymore and I still believe that miracle will come to Us on God’s right time .My wife is open for IVF option.What can you advise for Us?.Hoping your reply. Thank You and Godbless.

     
    • The Land Called Beulah

      September 28, 2015 at 11:07 am

      Hi AJ, to be honest, I don’t have an answer. I think the best thing you can do is pray, fast, and consult your pastor. When it comes to any form of birth control or fertility treatment, the one thing I do know is that if it is an abortifacient, it is a sin. I do not know a lot about IVF but I have heard that it is not uncommon for some of the embryos to be discarded. In this case, it would be a sin. I have also heard that one can opt to not do that, but that it may result in the birth of many babies at once. There are a lot of variables and my lack of knowledge on the subject leaves me without a definite answer. Please do counsel with your pastor on this.

      Now, that said, if I may offer a word of encouragement. I have a close friend who has gone through what your wife and you have experienced. She and her husband tried for 10 years and they are also in their late 30s now. They were told IVF or “a miracle” would be the only two possibilities of them getting pregnant, and even then, there were no guarantees. Well, my friend didn’t want to do IVF because she was sure God would come through on the miracle. Her conviction was that if she didn’t do fertility treatments but waited for God to perform it, then He would get all of the glory. She and her husband are truly people of faith; they wanted a girl and so for years they have been buying girl baby clothes. They converted a room in their house into a nursery. All this, and no sign of having a baby. A few years ago at a conference they received a word from God that they would have a child. It didn’t come right away, but miraculously she did get pregnant. God was glorified! But then, unfortunately, she miscarried. Given you and your wife’s circumstance, you can probably imagine the grief and questioning! My friends never stopped praising God, though. One month later, she became pregnant again, despite the “impossibility” of it. Their miracle baby will be delivered next Monday. Oh, and they’re having a girl!

      I don’t know if you and your wife’s story will be the same as my friend’s. I do know this, though, that God is faithful and the Bible does say He will give us the desires of our hearts if we delight in Him (Psalm 37:4). Keep also in mind, that it may not be right when we want it. Think about Abraham and Sarah! Whichever route you and your wife take, please do contact me back when your miracle happens. I am looking forward to hearing of your miracle! 🙂

       
  3. Jack

    September 8, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Have you ever considered the sign of Jesus followers about love among each other , to love even enemies? The only religion that follows that patern are Jehovahs Witnesses who do not join the army in any country.Can you imagine Jesus sitting in the tank encouraging and blessing to kill others?The same applies to not being involved in any politics as Jesus said his followers do not belong to this world.

     
    • NessaLeigh

      September 8, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      Hi Jack, what is your opinion on Ecclesiastes 3:8 which states that there is “a time for war” as well as all of the righteous men in the Bible who fought in war? Since Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jehovah and Jesus are not the same person but that Jehovah is above Jesus, would not your opinion that if Jehovah permitted war that it should be acceptable?

       
  4. Tracey McCoy

    November 29, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    I just got done reading the original post and the follow-up and I have to say… THANK YOU!!! I received the Holy Ghost in my apartment one night while praying in 2006 and was led to the UPCI where I was baptized in Jesus’ Name. I stayed there until about 3 years ago when I became disgruntled and left. About a week ago, the Lord started speaking to me and I cannot deny it any longer. My husband and I are in leadership at a “mainstream” church and it is a difficult decision to leave there. My husband was NOT on board. But we just got off the phone and he said he “might” eventually try it again. I just have to be prayerful and look for things that edify me. Your blog edified me and I’m so happy you wrote it. I didn’t think anyone could understand, but you do… So relieved. God is hearing my prayers and answering them one by one. We serve such an awesome God…

     
  5. Christina

    November 4, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Out of curiosity. What is ur understanding of speaking in tongues and having an interpreter to avoid the confusion? My understanding (limited I must admit) is that any time people speak in tongues there is to be someone to interpret what is happening to avoid confusion as well as to help eliminate the fear created to others. Bless you for sharing. Thanks in advance for your time and insight with my question.

     
  6. GodsGirl1913

    March 7, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    What is your belief about people who have the evidence of receiving the Holy Ghost through speaking in tongues but were baptized under Matthew 28:19?

     
    • NessaLeigh

      March 7, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      By Matthew 28:19 I’m assuming you mean in the titles “Father, Son and Holy Ghost” instead of in Jesus’ name? Matthew 28:19 is baptism in Jesus name. It says “baptizing them in the name (singular) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”. What is the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost? Jesus. (Jesus means “Jehovah has become our salvation”). We know the name is Jesus because the apostles all baptized in Jesus’ name, and the Bible will not contradict itself.

      Now, if you mean what about people who have the Holy Ghost but were baptized using only the titles but not in the name of Jesus? They need to re-baptized. If you read the first portion of Acts 19 the believers (who had not yet received the Holy Ghost) were re-baptized. These people had already been baptized but it wasn’t in Jesus name; when they realized they needed to follow the command they were baptized again.

      In this passage they also received the Holy Ghost (which is concrete evidence that receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is an experience distinct from when one “believes in Jesus as their Savior”).

      (Edited for errors)

       

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