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Someone asked about our church…

I’ve been asked a couple times about our church (specifically, what denomination it is) so I thought I’d answer here.

First let me tell you a few things. Then I’ll tell you the denomination.

We’re pretty laid back and casual.

The pastor preaches in blue jeans most Sundays. I think I’ve seen him wear coat and tie once, and that was when he was headed to preach a funeral (I’ve asked him not to do so, if he ever has to preach my funeral).

Most of the women wear blue jeans to church too. Stylish clothing is cool. So are sweatshirts. We get haircuts (and hair color! heh) and wear makeup and jewelry and nail polish and tennis shoes and all that.

With regard to the church’s dress code, Pastor Phil approved this for the website: “Please, come as you are. If you have clothes, please wear them. If not, we’ll provide you with some so you’re not naked.”

Women are able to take leadership roles in the church and be ordained, but like most Pentecostal denominations I don’t know of very many female senior pastors at this point.

We believe what would be considered “traditional Pentecostal” beliefs regarding the nature of God as Trinity, the deity of Christ, of salvation by grace through faith; you do not have to be baptized in water or the Holy Spirit to be saved (but you should be baptized in both); we believe in spiritual gifts and their practical application today, but there isn’t a huge emphasis in this area (how to explain? Exercising spiritual gifts is much more “natural” than we’ve seen in other churches. It’s comfortable, not forced). There is a strong emphasis on relationship with the Lord, on paying attention to what the Lord’s saying and being in His will, on prayer and Bible study, and on personal holiness and integrity. Some of the people believe in positional sanctification followed by progressive sanctification, and some believe in entire sanctification as an additional work of grace (the point isn’t belabored).

We’re fairly “active” when it comes to praise and worship as far as raising hands, going to the altar, etc. No flags and tambourines – yet.

We’re a small “family” church – between 50 and 70 people and growing steadily – and newcomers feel instantly at home and welcome. There’s no cliques or snobbery. A couple of people are fairly well off, most are middle-income, a few are very low income. We range in age from 1 to 80-ish; I think the majority of adults are between 30 and 55 years old.

It’s not a “high pressure” sort of environment. Hard to detail what that means, but that’s just how it feels. Relaxed, open, welcoming, laid-back… but at the same time very seriously engaged in the work of the Lord.

In almost every respect, DaySpring’s doctrines and practices are like the other churches we’ve gone to. Quite similar to AoG, Church of God, and FourSquare.

But it’s got its own dynamics…Β  Not as flashy as Calvary, not as “spooky” as Level Cross AG (to people not accustomed or comfortable with charismatic stuff and prophecy), more energetic than Clearview (but closest to there in the concept of “holiness”) and perhaps energetic than Living Word (no one turning somersaults and no flags and tambourines and glory hoops and such), more personable than Acts Temple, and a whole lot bigger than Flowing River. But with regard to the actual beliefs, it’s really not particularly different.

So, are you ready to hear what denomination DaySpring is? Get ready… it’s going to shock some folks.

Pentecostal Holiness. (link to the IPHC website; note that it’s not particularly user-friendly πŸ™ )

When someone first told me that DaySpring Church is IPHC, I laughed at them. Thought they were joking.

My former view of PH was women in ankle-length long sleeved dresses all the time, long hair, no makeup, no jewelry, no positions of authority, and lots of sour faces. It turns out that there are some churches within the denomination like that – but these days, they’re few and far between.

DaySpring is actually leading the charge when it comes to church turn-around and growth and vibrancy. We’re one of the fastest-growing churches in the district and over the spring and summer we’re adding a dynamic outreach/evangelism/missions program (Ken and I are working on that right now) – it’s going to be GREAT. πŸ˜€

So… is anyone shocked?

26 Comments

  1. Interesting. I wasn’t aware that any pentecostals believed in a trinity.

  2. Actually, nearly all Pentecostals believe that God’s nature is triune (Trinity). The United Pentecostal church and “most” (not all) Apostolics believe in Oneness doctrine.

    It gets confusing not just because “Pentecostal” is used by both groups, but because “apostolic” is too!! Yet most people (like myself) who believe in five-fold “apostolic” ministry are not Oneness either.

  3. Anita

    OK thats interesting. It seems to me from what I have heard and read and from my sisters personal experiences with living in the States, that there is alot of emphasis on what people wear to church over there. I couldnt imagine our church website even referring to clothing. Its simply a given that people wear what they want and thats fine. Also I find the denom interesting – im not sure we have many of that denom here. We have Brethren – which prolly would be the only denom I know over here that is strict on clothing (long skirts and head wear for women) πŸ™‚

  4. Oh, and BTW, “most” Christians believe that Oneness folks are *not* Christians and that oneness theology is heresy (and many of them believe that Trinitarian theology is heresy).

    This is unfortunate. Oneness folks worship the same Jesus we do. They just see Him a little bit differently. I don’t think the difference is SO big that they’re worshiping a “false Jesus” the way they’re accused of.

    I think there’s a bigger divide regarding the nature of God than whether He’s a Trinity or not – Calvinism vs. Arminian theology. Both posit extremely different views on the very nature of God and how He works – yet 99.99% of Calvinists accept Arminians as Christian brethren, and vice versa.

    I’m sure the heresy hunters who read and find this blog will have a field day over my belief that Oneness folks will be in heaven… but really, complaining to me is not going to convince me otherwise. If you don’t like it, complain to my Boss. πŸ˜€

  5. Anita, I only say something because most people’s 1st impression of PH is the long dresses/no makeup thing and I wouldn’t want them to waste a moment’s time on it.

    Here in the states, I think it’s safe to say that MOST “traditional” churches have an unspoken requirement for people to dress to the nines – coat & tie, women in spiffy dresses and heels, elegant jewelry, etc.

    I understand the concept of giving God our best, but I don’t think that clothing was what He had in mind for that. πŸ™‚

    Because playing dress-up is the assumption at most churches, we tend to point out that we don’t do that – partly because it might be uncomfy if someone did show up “dressed” and was the only one who did so, and partly because a lot of folks won’t go to church because they can’t afford to “dress” and feel it’s expected of them.

  6. catfantastic

    I had never heard of Pentecostal Holiness, so I can’t claim shock. How many Holinesses are there?

    What are positional sanctification and progressive sanctification? And entire sanctification, for that matter?

    Sorry to ask so many questions, but these terms are entirely new to me.

  7. I have the same question about the sanctifications – maybe it’s just been so long for me, and I forget these terms? πŸ˜‰

    I also have never heard of Pentecostal Holiness. To this I am surprised, as I was around for alot of years, and thought I had covered it all.

  8. Jules

    Your church sounds like a good place, Kathi – I shall look forward to visiting.

    I’m going to disagree with you on the Oneness issue (in principle); I don’t believe their position can be upheld scripturally, and in understanding it leads to difficulties such as: if Jesus said in the garden ‘Not My Will, but Yours,’ it implies two wills within God (actually the antithesis of their ‘oneness’ unity of God), and is ultimately a distortion of the Incarnation. But that’s not to say individual Oneness people aren’t saved; that’s not my call. The only one I ever knew clearly loved Jesus and trusted in Him for salvation. That’s up to God.

    There are some theological ‘heresies’ that are beyond the pale to me (eg. Jesus was not God, Jesus wasn’t fully human, salvation can be obtained by other means than faith alone), but this is one of those areas where there may be some latitude. I have more of an issue with and reject the Oneness view that unless you speak in tongues, you are not saved.

    As a friend said to me recently, no subtle theological point that requires a Bible College degree to understand should be essential to salvation or a bar to fellowship. If I’d been around in the 5th century, I’d’ve been happy to fellowship with Nestorius, for example.

    Some people like to deep-mine the twists and turns of theology (I do – in fact it’s what I’m called to do this year specifically, as an adjunct to my relationship with Jesus), others don’t. I doubt you’ll find a majority of Christians who can adequately explain the Trinity (heck I’m not even sure I could all the time), but I don’t think God will have a theological tickbox approach. It won’t be ‘Did you hold this or that theological position?’ It’ll be ‘Did you truly trust in Jesus for salvation and follow Him?’ And as He is the One Who fully sees and understands the heart, I’m content to leave the judgement up to Him.

    Incidentally, this is at the root of my disagreement with you over your HH blog and you saying on there that HHs hate Jesus; I just don’t think it’s our call to decide who’s saved and who isn’t, on such minor approaches.

  9. Just testing – my last post is there but still awaiting moderation? πŸ˜‰

  10. Cat – there’s a LOT of “holiness” type churches – some churches like Wesleyan don’t have it in their name but it’s in the background. Also, there’s more than one flavor of PH – I googled it as I was writing that post and found a PH in the UK that’s similar, but different and there doesn’t seem to be any affiliation.

    Jules – when are you coming? πŸ˜€ I agree with you, I think that the Oneness position is wrong, and it can lead a person to problems if they follow it to what we see as its logical conclusion (they don’t)… BUT, like you said, God doesn’t have a theological checkbox. He’s looking for love relationship.

    I see a diff between Oneness and HH’s – (although there’s some heresy-hunting in the Oneness camp too) … Here’s your average Oneness guy Joe Ness, loving Jesus and living their life. He’s deeply concerned with loving his neighbor and sharing the gospel, seeing people filled and healed and delivered and most of all, saved.

    And here’s your other guy, Joe Hunt. He says he loves Jesus but he has nothing good to say to anyone, about anyone. He spends all his time looking for dirt on people and when he finds it (even if it’s only a little bit true, or sounds true), he shares it with as many people as possible as the Literal Truth. His witnessing amounts to correcting heresy. He’s only concerned about his neighbor if his neighbor agrees with him – otherwise, his neighbor’s going to hell. People should be warned. He’s not about seeing people filled, healed, and delivered because God doesn’t do that today (especially sinners) and he’s doubtful about getting anyone saved because the Bible says the church will fall away.

    Which Joe, by his life and his actions, demonstrably loves Jesus? Which demonstrably hates Him and the things of His kingdom?

    Jesus said that we’d know people by their fruits. I don’t think he was imposing a standard of perfection (knowing we’re not perfect) nor do I think He’s imposed a “notch in the belt” system, but a way to look at people through a filter. Is what they’re doing overall in line with the Gospel, or opposed to it?

    I’ll say again, for clarity, I don’t have a problem with someone doing like you did with the Oneness thing. You see it as wrong, you said so, you were loving and gentle. You’re not camping outside the bedroom windows or office of anyone in the Oneness camp… writing to people they know… publishing all you find as juicy tidbits to expose the heresy. See the difference?

  11. On Sanctification.

    Positional Sanctification – this means that the instant you accept Christ, you’re saved. You don’t “have” to do any good works to get there. Lots of times (I’d say most of the time) the Spirit does some immediate cleaning-up in your heart, but there’s always some stuff left.

    Progressive Sanctification – this means that as you live and grow in Christ, the Spirit’s prompting and helping you to stop doing sinful activities. For me, swearing used to be a Really Big Deal – but with His help, I’ve pretty much conquered it (last time I uttered a curse word, it involved a pinkie toe and a chair that wasn’t there when I moved said toe forward. It jumped into my path!)

    Entire Sanctification – some Pentecostals say that there’s a third work of grace. (1st=salvation, 2nd=Spirit baptism) Entire Sanctification comes when you commit your life TOTALLY to God and don’t sin any more. By this they don’t mean “sinless” – it’s more that sin is no longer an intentional thing. The rebellion’s gone. I think most Christians get to this point but call it “progressive”.

    Hope that makes sense!!

  12. Jules

    I don’t know when I’ll make it over – the credit crunch is going to have to get a whole lot better first.

    Interestingly, although I generally identify more with a Reformed position on the Calvinism vs. Arminianism scale, it was reading what Wesley actually wrote about the wilderness state and sanctification that set me off on my current ‘personal revival’ last year. Here’s the link if you’re interested – so much ‘meat’ there:

    http://www.raptureme.com/resource/wesley/serm-046.html

  13. Kathi, just a thought – I ‘think’ we agree that those from the conservative political side, such as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, etc, have alot of good to say about the left and their hidden agendas.

    Of course the left thinks these conservative commentators are just horrible, full of lies and hatred. But because we tend to agree with most of what is being said and exposed on conservative talk radio and TV (Fox News), we would tend to take their side.

    I know that Christians are to portray themselves as more loving, and some of the attitudes are just not right, I agree. But I can’t help but wonder if you and others were in agreement with what was being said by these HH’s, would you see them in a different light?

    I said once before, and I’ll say it again, having once walked that road I know that these people genuinely love God and the word, and truly see the need to expose what they feel to be heresy.

    Again, do not think I’m in agreement with the ‘sometime’ methods that are used, but I do feel that depending on how you and others react to them speaks volumes as to whether you are seen to be any different from them. You need to always be sure to take the higher road.

    And remember, hate is a very hateful word.

  14. Not sure why, but my posts keep getting stuck. Is it me? I was having some computer problems last night.

  15. Donna

    Kathi, I’m sure I’ve been putting the email in ‘Mail’. Though my last 2 posts already had my email written in. I took notice to this as I thought maybe there was a problem there.

    Doesn’t this happen occasionally, that the email is already there??

  16. catfantastic

    Thanks for clearing those up, Kathi! They’re a lot less complicated than I thought they’d be. πŸ™‚

    Donna, as someone who finds the American left extremely conservative, I was wondering if you could clarify: you’re saying that conservative commentators have a lot of good to say about about us? Also, the hidden agenda idea is new to me. Are conservatives speculating about what the left wants? Because there are a lot of kinds of left, and we want a lot of different stuff…

  17. Donna

    Sorry Cat, that didn’t quite come out right, did it?

    What I meant is that if one only listens to mainstream media, ABC,CBS,NBC, what they’ll hear will pretty much be liberal ideas, thoughts, and agendas…and this, often times with twisted truth.

    The conservative media, though they’ve been pushed to a corner, and all but silenced, do try to speak truth. And this is something liberal Democrats don’t like very much – hence, the recent verbal attack by Mr. Obama against Rush Limbaugh(rumor has it he wants to do away with talk radio…wonder why?).

    But I don’t expect anyone to see this when mainstream media is the extent of their intake. Unless one is willing to hear the views of ‘both’ parties and not just the views of both parties, given by one party, the truth is impossible to see.

    I don’t know if you get Fox News there…but they do try to be fair and balanced, which is the way media ‘should’ be. And you’d be surprised how different the truth really is.

    Hope that makes more sense? It’s early. πŸ˜‰

  18. catfantastic

    Hi, Donna!

    This clears things up. Thanks! Although I disagree about the example that you used (I don’t think there really is such thing as an unbiased news source, and as I mentioned, I find the mainstream American news networks pretty conservative), I think I agree with the point you’re trying to make about human nature.

    We do get Fox News here, through subscription and the internet. They strike me as far-right. My idea of unbiased news would be the CBC or BBC, but I know they’re not unbiased; they just have a bias more closely aligned with mine. πŸ™‚

  19. I watch/read FoxNews because they’re the least biased of the networks, but they’re too left for me at times, and too Catholic at other times (most of the AM anchors are Catholic, it seems, and their Christian commentary pretty well excludes or doesn’t really understand other Christians – wish there was an outspoken Pentecostal or Baptist on there to offer “the other side of the coin” so to speak)

    I’m shocked that you think that the mainstream news networks are conservative :O They’re the ones driving the country so far to the left because they’re convincing people that “everyone else believes like this” when that’s really not the case at all…

  20. Kathi,

    I’m so glad to hear your positive response to the IPHC! I am a 20-something third-generation IPHC who works at denominational headquarters. I’ve battled those same stereotypes my entire life. People are always surprised to see me with makeup, jeans, and multiple ear piercings (tasteful, not gaudy!). I have been wearing casual clothing to church for several years now. My parents are pastors and my mother has always worn makeup and jewelry. She also wears pants to church.

    I’m happy to say that we are a diverse denomination with churches and affiliates around the world. You’d be surprised how many churches are IPHC or IPHC affiliates. I’ve had the privilege of visiting many IPHC churches & conferences for my work, and each one is unique. Some still dress up, but I’m finding more and more contemporary churches with relaxed dress.
    By the way – the link you posted to the IPHC website is broken. The correct link is http://www.iphc.org. We also have a blog at http://comm.iphc.org.

  21. Donna

    Though it’s hard to believe, the US is still one of the most conservative countries today.

    My husband, being military, has traveled the world…few countries he hasn’t visited. In some places, some of the things that are everyday common occurances, and quite acceptable, would still land you in the slammer here.

    But unfortunately we’re on the move. And it may not be long before we catch up. πŸ™

  22. catfantastic

    Kathi, I agree that the mainstream networks are normalizing their point of view; however, I just find it to be a very conservative point of view: insular, Christian, and kind of colonial.

    And Donna, I agree with you too, on everything but the “unfortunately” part. There are things that are considered basic human rights, in the rest of the western world, that Americans lack or consider to be luxuries. I realize that you guys don’t see it that way, but I do want to emphasize that the left is on the whole acting in good faith, based on a different understanding of the world.

  23. Megan, welcome! πŸ˜€ I think we followed each other on Twitter this morning!! Thanks for posting the link, I fixed it in the original (it needs the www. in it).

    Where IS denomHQ? If you’re ever in the Greensboro, NC area (I think it’s called Cornerstone Conference), let’s have lunch or something!

  24. Nu Kid

    Hi Kathi –

    Yup, they’s all sorts of “Pennycostal” folks and they don’t all easily fit into a given category. It’s a spectrum. Same with the Brethren – aka “Plymouth Brethren” – who someone mentioned above and was my first church affiliation back in the day. (They’re pretty much like conservative Baptists except they have no clergy-laity distinction, instead they have a plurality of “pastors”.)

    Oneness Pentacostals:
    “This is unfortunate. Oneness folks worship the same Jesus we do. They just see Him a little bit differently. I don’t think the difference is SO big that they’re worshiping a β€œfalse Jesus” the way they’re accused of.”

    Yup again, one can get all caught up in counting how many angels can dance on the pinhead of doctrinal minutiae – but I’d look at the criminal, crucified with Jesus, who found faith and forgiveness. Sincere, simple trust in Jesus trumps theological food fights.

  25. Philip

    Fox News not very biased? Thank you Kathi, I needed a smile before going to work today. Although I must ponder why something is too Christian as a network.

  26. Hi CL πŸ™‚

    The difference between Kingdom Hall and Church is the nature and identity of Jesus Christ. (And as you’ve noticed, some are indeed friendlier than others…) If you’d like more information, reply and I’ll email you πŸ™‚

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