For a while now, we here at the Pulpit & Pen have been receiving letters and Facebook messages from brothers and sisters who are having difficult times at their churches. Sound expository preaching seems hard to come by while money-driven church-growth tactics and unbiblical books from the Christian Industrial Complex are all-to-familiar. Many times, the people who write to us are hesitant to share their names along with their testimonies. One of our readers, however, has offered to do just that. I share this letter as an encourage to those of you out there going through similar situations. This particular sister was involved in Pentecostalism for fifty years. Being assigned The Circle Maker was her last experience in that faith family. At the Pulpit & Pen, we’re happy to give people what advice we can but the most helpful thing I’ve seen is testimony from people who have “seen the light” as it were and abandoned industrial Christianity for an authentic and simple bible-based faith. When you are a Christian, you know God is always with you and He is always in control. Still, it can be encouraging to hear from those who share in your sufferings. I hope this letter encourages and emboldens you to live out your faith in the best way you know how.
I was born January 7, 1945 and raised in a Godly home. My grandfather was an Assemblies of God (AoG) preacher. My mother and father were saved in 1938 during a tent revival under the preaching of two female evangelists. As the story has been relayed to me, my parents did a complete lifestyle turnaround after attending that revival. I have faith that my parents were truly saved; I witnessed my parents walk out their faith daily. At the same time, some of my experiences with my family’s faith were negative. When I was in preschool my mother would scream in tongues; it scared the living daylights out of of me. I’m in my seventies and I can remember those experiences till this day. It seemed like my grandfather preached on the great tribulation every Sunday; that gave me nightmares. Despite my frightening experiences in church, I did learn what the Bible said growing up in my Christian household. Most of my life, I attended an AoG church. After I graduated high school, I attended an AoG university for two years. I married a man who was raised Southern Baptist but he didn’t like to go to church. Most of the time, I attended alone.
In April 2014 my AoG pastor announced he was starting a study on prayer. I was excited, however, my excitement would soon turn to disappointment. I bought the book, came home, read thirty pages and thought, “This is not biblical.” What seemed like no more than a minute later the church secretary called me and told me that she, too, thought that there was something wrong with that book. The name of the book was The Circle Maker Mark Batterson. I performed a Google search on the book and Batterson and found a website where a pastor from North Dakota, Chris Rosebrough debunked The Circle Maker. I immediately listened to three YouTube videos about The Circle Maker by Pastor Rosebrough and was jumping out of my skin. I shared the videos on Facebook; the church secretary shared my post. I never went back my AoG church. The Secretary had submitted her resignation, two weeks notice, shortly before this incident. The next Monday she reported to work. The pastor came in with a red face and proceeded to tell her that she was attacking his ministry! The secretary later told me that her experience of being berated by her pastor (for a sharing a Facebook post from a church member) felt more traumatic than when her husband died with brain cancer. She asked the pastor if he wanted her to finish her two weeks. His answer was, “No.” Until this day, she has been unable to find a church where she feels comfortable.
After spending a lifetime in the AoG, I found my way to small SBC church, First Baptist Langley. Thankfully, my husband now attends with me. Unfortunately, I recently learned that a ladies group at our church is going through Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Upon learning this, I lost it. Pastor Rosebrough, I’ve been listening to his Fighting for the Faith podcast every week since 2014, doesn’t much care for Jesus Calling either. I’ve also begun listening to Pastor Jordan Hall’s program and your Christian Commute podcast. I share what I learn from listening to these discernment programs, but often times my friends and family don’t listen. My pastor certainly doesn’t. For multiple reasons, my husband I have decided to leave First Baptist Langley and search for a new church home.
-Charlotte Gulley, Oklahoma
A companion piece to this post can be found at the Christian Commute Podcast:
[Contributed by Seth Dunn, host of The Christian Commute]
*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.
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