My tradition on the bench

Today I realized something that looks frightening, to say the least.

I realized that my convictions do not match, and never did, those of the faith tradition I grew into as an Evangelical; and I really should have no business staying there. My church-polity views are mostly Continental Reformed, my theology is dyed-in-the-wool Calvinistic, my philosophy is mostly Thomist with some analytical slant here and there, and my views of worship and tradition are mostly Anglican. I don’t see a place for Southern Baptist convictions there.

Yes. I confess, in case you didn’t realize it before: I am a high-church Reformed Evangelical Christian, and always was so. And the zeal of my convictions is fueled by the blatant breaches of those standards that I see in my church.

But… on the other hand: this church loved and loves me; they gladly helped me receive a first-class Seminary education in the States (something astronomical in scope for a Third World church); they accepted me with Christ-like acceptance; and even as of today, the church enjoys and appreciate my ministry and my help. I see people being blessed because God blesses them through some of this useless servant. They are my employer; they are in so many ways the ideal environment to work in an office. But more so, they are my family.

So, what am I to do?


  1. I honestly don’t see the issue raised in the statement, “I really should have no business staying there”. If they are willing to have you on board despite a lack of coordinating convictions is there really a problem? If it had to do with portions of the scripture affecting salvation and decreasing the perfection of Christ to place that salvation on you, that would be one thing, but you don’t divert until after that right. Let the iron sharpen iron. We grow stronger by evaluating other opinions in a healthy, non-hostile environment.

  2. Only you and God can decide if you move. In general, I would say it’s better to move toward something calling you, than to flee something hounding you. I share much of your Calvinist conviction, though my worship and polity preferences are colored by a peasant’s background. I suppose my philosophy is distinctly not Thomist. Still, US Southern Baptists have tolerated me so far, and helped pay for my BA degree. I don’t believe there exists a denomination that truly fits me, but have no doubt I’d jump ship at the invitation of something closer arising.

  3. I think Ed and Josiah probably answered better than I can, but for what my $0.02 are worth, I’d say stay unless you feel that the Spirit is urging you otherwise. Perhaps as part of my Evangelical theology, I see it as a good thing for not everyone in a church to agree on issues. It goes back to the saying “In Essentials, unity; In Non-Essentials Charity; in All Things Christ.”

    I’m kind of a denominational weirdo: I should write about that sometime, but I’m somewhere between the Presbyterian PCA & PC(USA) and the Southern Baptists. I like the high church and low church traditions. I’m for infant baptism, but I also support believer baptism.

    I’d point to CS-FSLUG as a good example — some of us are Calvinist, others are Arminian; some are diehard Baptists, others Seventh Day Adventists. But, I’d like to think that most everyone does well and benefits from the differences (some do not, I’ll admit).

    At any rate, since you consider your church family, I’d stay unless you find that they are holding you back.

  4. Honestly, I don’t think I’d be big on a church where everyone agreed exactly. That means most of the people aren’t thinking for themselves ane that’s unbiblical and unhealthy for a church.

  5. Sorry for not responding to these comments earlier. My problem was more ‘liturgical’, i.e., I am afraid it’s very hard for me to worship in our services. And this might be refreshing for a change, but when it becomes the norm, believe me, it’s hard to accept. All the other issues are pressing ones, but this is the one really hard to bear.

  6. I’d consider that a valid point to way in. I’d personally want to dig deep into the matter first to make sure my initial understandings were accurate of truth in my heart. Somehow I imagine you’ve already dug deep.

  7. Eduardo, see what you mean. Maybe you should see if your church would like to start a “traditional service” as a new outreach ministry. 🙂

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