NEVER JUDGE A CHURCH BY ITS NAME

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Have you ever read the sign on a store, restaurant, or similar public place and the name turned you off? The establishment might be perfectly fine but the name makes you feel uneasy. This has happened to me many times, most notably in November of 1996.

As I walked to a convenience store in the neighbourhood I’d just moved to, I noticed a cement building with black letters on its front. When I read, “FIRST EDMONTON EVANGELICAL MISSIONARY CHURCH,” I wanted nothing to do with the place. I envisioned people being pushed over by the preacher and then rolling around the floor. I imagined other charismatic activities such as people jabbering away in tongues and making animal noises. Having come from a cultic house church that was fixated on signs and wonders, I shunned the building.

Toward the end of November, I began to have second thoughts. If I didn’t like the Sunday service, I could always walk home. So I worked up my courage and walked into the foyer on a snowy Sunday morning. An elderly man greeted me and invited me to attend Sunday school since I arrived so early. I reluctantly walked to the room he indicated.

To my surprise, it was filled with adults who diligently studied their Bibles. I enjoyed the lesson that the Sunday school leader taught. This was the sort of edification I’d craved for years.

The Sunday service was also different than I expected. The congregation sang hymns and behaved themselves respectfully. The pastor’s message was also orderly and filled with properly-exegeted scriptures.

That first service impressed me so much that I attended the church for almost four years. When I moved to my current home, I found a similar church in the next town and willing congregants to take me there.

You can read the entire story in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. It shows how the Lord led me out of a toxic house church to the freedom of his compassionate grace. Visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Virtual Bookworm Publishers for details about this remarkable testimony of God’s providential guidance.

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Author: bruce Atchison - author

I'm a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of three memoirs and scores of articles. Contact me for details.

4 thoughts on “NEVER JUDGE A CHURCH BY ITS NAME”

  1. “I envisioned people being pushed over by the preacher and then rolling around the floor. I imagined other charismatic activities such as people jabbering away in tongues and making animal noises. Having come from a cultic house church that was fixated on signs and wonders, I shunned the building.”

    My friend, your problem is with The Word, not with any charismatic group. You may have stumbled into a group that was out of balance or completely out of bounds but your fixation on denigrating those who function in the full gospel tells us more about you than any group who may have “hurt” you.

    I am for you, not against you.

    H

    1. I have yet to hear any broadcast or see any evidence in charismatic churches of balance. The whole counsel of God is what we need to focus on, not just signs and wonders. The Lord does miracles but not in a showy way like TV preachers such as Benny Hin claim to do.

      1. Saying this with love and no malice…your experience does not constitute the whole counsel of God.

        You are the one making the claim that signs and wonders are the focus of these churches or ministries. I continue to encourage you to look at the whole counsel of God and not on those you find offensive or those who have hurt you in the past.

        I am for you, not against you.

        H

    2. Having learned about the whole counsel of God, I realize that many Christians focus on narrow slices of it. This is why I object to people whose focus is limited. I care about them and I don’t want them to be like the folks in Matthew 7:21-28 who had the wrong emphasis. I appreciate your concern, yet I must be as the prophets who proclaim the Lord’s Word.

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