Today’s Blog is written by Rob of @therobblog_rob. Thank you for the submission Rob! For the last Free-Thought Friday, click here:Free-Thought Friday: Losing My Christianity: Part 3. Enjoy!
For fifteen years I was a part of a very strict Pentecostal church. During this time I was not “allowed” to grow a beard, watch television or listen to non-gospel music. Once I became a preacher, short sleeves and coming to church in anything other than a white shirt and tie became a sin. My wife and two daughters did not cut their hair, wore skirts to their ankles and make up was out of the question. Let’s not forget, if you make two dollars you better pay twenty cents in tithes and give another 10 to 15 cents for offering (after God will provide).
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9
These people actually believe they are correct and that the Bible means exactly what they think it does because God has given them a special revelation because they are his chosen people ( 1 Peter 2:9). They seem to think that if they can find a scripture that could possibly be interpreted as what they believe then that is a god reason to create a holiness standard or make a heaven or hell rule to dictate the behavior of the church. A perfect example of this is when 1st Corinthians 11 says that it is a shame for a woman to be shaven or shorn, hence Pentecostal women do not cut their hair. Could it possibly be that since temple prostitutes shaved their heads that Paul was advising women not to be mistaken for prostitutes? This is an example of Pentecostal and fundamentalist in general taking what was actually good advice and using it to exert the fear factor over their congregations.
They also believe that God should get the glory for everything and that we should be” hid in Christ” (Colossians 3:3). What happens here is that God gets all the glory for anything that you accomplish and your self-confidence is shattered because you are taught that without God you are nothing and can do nothing on your own. As a matter of fact you were born into sin (Psalm 51:5) and in order to enter the kingdom of heaven you must be born again ( John3:5) because obviously you were not born good enough the first time.
Overall, these” Christians” use scriptures to explain why their ways are above your ways (Isiah 55:8-9).
When I was twenty-six, I attended an Apostolic Pentecostal Church service attempting to find some meaning and order for my crazy addiction filed life. At first it was great, I was welcomed in the fold and began attending every service, Bible study and prayer meeting. About a year later, I met and married a woman from church and started a family. I was told I was called to be a preacher and the journey began.
Long story short, the more involved we became the more we realized that we were nothing but Pentecostal Pharisees and that unless you were one of us you could not be saved ( and some of us were in question ). It took fifteen years but we eventually left that church in search of something more genuine.
After trying a couple of different churches and preaching a few times, we realized that the life we were trying to hang onto was based on people interpretations of things that had little to no evidence of being true.
After cutting all ties with the church world I returned to school and received my BA and Communication Studies and I have realized that the world is a whole lot bigger than any religion allows it to be portrayed.