A Greater Faith...
It was my faith that eventually took me out of the former church situation I was in for 25+ years.
I look back and see the hand of God guiding me, step by step, through the fog and mist. If I was tempted to doubt to the degree of an agnostic, it was in the midst of that climate of spiritual abuse; a point of depression and despair, seriously contemplating suicide, or just up and abandoning my wife and family and God and everything.
I know now that I sensed a gross disconnect between what I knew the Bible told me about the character and being of God and the distortions of His character that were perpetuated by the "pastors" of our old church and the movement that church is a part of.
I did abandon a "faith" I once thought I believed in. What I thought I believed and what I was really believing were different. That disjunction became more and more apparent until I left the old church.
I see now I was being asked to put my faith in things that were less then God; the authority of the "elders", a confession of faith that was often equated with Scripture Itself, a sub-Biblical hermeneutic and an "exegesis" of the Bible that was to often an isogesis; the traditions of the elders (which in this church was the writings of the Puritans); all the result of a subtle scholastic pseudo-puritan hyper-fundamentalism that stifled Biblical theology and vital experience with God Himself.
Part of the real anger I feel regarding that church and movement has to do with how they have distorted the image of God that is given us in the Bible; the distortion of His character, and His promises.
Though I have not gone down that road, I can understand how it is very possible for someone in that situation to go to the brink of atheism. There have been a few times I have felt some of that tug, but it's a road I have no desire at all to travel.
There never was a time I could be an atheist. Even before I became an Evangelical Christian I simply could never "not believe" in something greater then this universe.
As I think of it, I don't think I was ever really an agnostic... A deist yes... An Agnostic no... And that's where I was before I found to my surprise I was embracing the Evangelical Christian faith.
I am more cynical these days regarding the pronouncements and pontificating of men. I am also to some degree a little wary of the very God I believe in; a kind of "What's He going to pull on me next?" mentality. But in spite of that I still believe and trust in His basic love, graciousness, and mercy. One day I will see Him face to face and all the crap that happened in this life won't matter anymore because the end of it all will be known...
~ The Billy Goat ~
9 hours ago