My Question: What Do I Do?

I’m a Christian for a very long time but I have been to my local church for 6 plus years only. To be honest, I feel like I’m outgrowing the kind of preaching our pastor does. He’s not preaching wrong stuff, it’s just that I feel like I need more than the usual he gives the church. So, to have a hearty spiritual meal, I have to add to my menu. RZIM is one. Here’s the problem though. Since I’ve been with our pastor for 6 plus years, it’s like I already know his quirks in preaching. One prayer meeting, he said in his testimony that he and his fellow pastors met another pastor from a faraway region in our country. This newly met pastor gave them a “different” interpretation" to the Word. I don’t know the details but it seemed they had a seminar of some sort. Then my pastor’s preaching started to change. He started preaching about predestination. One of his examples is this: “I realized now that my father did not die because of a heart attack. He died because it was God’s appointed time for him.” From this very moment, I tried to give extra attention to his preaching because I have this feeling in my stomach that something is wrong but I just couldn’t put a term on it. This started 6 months ago. In my lectures, I put all his words verbatim and the verses he supported it with for me to study or verify them. Days after days that we have corporate meetings (Bible Studies, Prayer Meetings, Cottage Prayer Meetings, Sunday School and Worship Service) his “new” way of presenting the Word is somewhat transforming into Calvinism. And so I started to review the TULIP. To my surprise, last December, he completed the five points. I prayed hard to God for strength because I know deep in my heart I need to talk to him. I don’t intend to correct him but I want to let him know that I am worried about the direction he is taking. I talked to him this last Sunday after the service. I presented my arguments and told him how I think his preaching is becoming Calvinistic. But I did not say he is Calvinistic. I also told him that I did not talk to anyone because I don’t like to cause division within the church. We had a long talk. In the end, he did not back down nor tried to understand from my point of view. Instead, he told me of his disappointment that I am thinking of him as Calvinist. I told clarified to him that he is not. His preaching though is somewhat becoming Calvinistic. He defended by asking me verses (about predestination and election and some other topics) and letting me interpret it. The problem I saw with his defense is that he was asking me to interpret a single verse each time. I told him this is not viable for misinterpretation might occur due to lack of context. Example: He told in his sermon that “Christ died only for the Church.” He then asked me to interpret this verse: Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. Acts 20:28. To be honest, this verse alone can be proof that Christ died for the Church but I think he was out of context. I asked him in return to interpret John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He did not answer. He denies that he is a Calvinist, but his sermons are somehow Calvinistic. By the end of the day, we agreed to disagree and I told him that I did not talk to him to force him to change his ways because it is his responsibility as a pastor to do what he must do. I told him to think of my concern as an insight into how he should deal with the church in the future.

Now, I prayed to the Lord that I will give my pastor another 6 months. I will then decide on what will I do. To be honest, I am in dilemma. If my pastor will not change by then, I will get out of the church and go to another. But I feel responsible for my fellow Christians that did not seem to be bothered by our pastor’s preaching. In our congregation, I was the only one who noticed because our pastor told me. Either the other members did not know anything about Calvinism, or they just don’t want to bother.

If you have experienced the same issue, please share your thoughts and your actions if there is any. Thank you and God bless us all.

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What do you make of this verse:

Prov. 16:9 The heart of man plans his course,
but ADONAI directs his steps.

Hello, @japeth! Thank you for entrusting your concerns to our community. I pray that God will continue to work in your life through this struggle!

I am curious what it is about ‘Calvinism’ that distresses you so much? We’ve had many lively discussions on this forum about different ways people interpret Scripture, whether from a reformed/‘Calvinistic’ perspective or a more ‘Arminian’ perspective. May I ask what perspective you consider yourself to come from? :slight_smile:

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I can see how my post could have come across as oppositional. I do not believe the debate between predestination and free will is a salvation issue. There are some doctrines that are heresy, but I do not think either position of these two views is. I think some people get taught a certain way and then when someone they know and respect changes their point of view it can be jarring and you might even feel betrayed. However, I would encourage you to get educated about both sides and then you can have a better understanding of these things.

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Here’s what I honestly feel. I want to present God as fairly as possible. I do not deny that God’s sovereignty allows God to “know” who will be saved, and what will those people do, but it does not necessarily mean we ought to peg our preaching to it. Imagine a person who is not a member of the local church hearing a sermon about the election. That person might misunderstand and force themselves to join the local church just to be “elect.” On one hand, members of that local church might put their faith in the idea of election rather than what Christ did. If the doctrine is presented in Reformed perspective, it feels like boasting of some sort. If the doctrine push hard on predestination/election, I feel like we are thinking like God which is wrong for me because it’s assuming we can think like God. If one thinks they are elect because the Bible says so, how can that person assume that position but not assume that the rest are “not elect” or “elected to condemnation?” I believe there is a better way to present God and the Word without necessarily being extreme in some sense.

What distresses me about Calvinism is their extreme interpretation that leads unconditional election and the limited atonement. Although all other points distresses me also. Much more to this is how our pastor suddenly switch to this but denies it at the same time.

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You have a degree of wisdom about you. Ultimately, I think you raise a very good point that we shouldn’t turn these doctrines (either or stance) as Gospel Truth. It’s a sidebar and for the majority, they should let the scholars duke it out. If, however, one feels lead to devoting some time to this, then they must try and remain fair.

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