My wife and I recently left a church that we had been members of for over twelve years, to begin attending a Reformed Baptist church. It’s not that the old church was necessarily “bad”; there was much that was good about it, and we should be grateful whenever God’s people gather together to worship Him. And we certainly don’t believe that only Reformed Baptists are true Christians. We simply came to the conviction that the most important thing in the Christian life is the worship of the true and living God, and we could no longer do that where we were. This sounds odd to the modern American evangelical. “Sure, worship is important, but doesn’t God also care about…” Fill in the blank: “the poor”, “evangelism”, “global warming”, “the culture”; there are any number of things that we assume God is “concerned” about. Jesus said to the woman at the well,
“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” (John 4:23)
We left the old church not because we wanted everything “just our way,” but because we wanted to be with people who believed that the worship of God is the most important thing that happens on the Earth: more important than how “successful” the church is, more important than who the President is, more important than the latest Hollywood offering (even if there IS some kind of “redemptive theme”), more important than our own personal peace and prosperity, more important than someone’s notion of “relevance.”
So now we attend a church that is a sixth of the size of our previous church, and takes us three times longer to drive to, in the middle of nowhere instead of “strategically positioned”, singing out of old Trinity hymnals, and pastored by a faithful man who has been in this one place for decades, and who very simply and eloquently opens his Bible each week and preaches to us “the whole message of this Life.”
To some it may seem to be a step backwards, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.