I Went to a Bible Church!

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Andrew_Larkoski

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Yes, it is true. However, I only attended the service because a friend of mine (an ex-Catholic, sadly) invited me after another Catholic friend and I took her to St. James Cathedral here in Seattle. With that out of the way, here was my experience.

To sum up the service in one word I would say boring. The songs that were sung were very dull and rather unmusical. I am biased, but Catholic music is heavenly, while this was mundane. Also, the service was unorganized. At the beginning, a pastor talked about his recent trip to the Holy Land and asked for prayers for an upcoming pilgrimage back. After some more (sorry!) painful singing, this same pastor talked about several chapters in Joshua where God sections off Israel to give to the tribes. I did not pay attention for one, because their Bible is missing several books and has some sketchy interpretations, and be cause this Sunday was Pentacost and the pastor didn’t say a lick about it. Instead, I thumbed through the Bible and found the passages that were read in Mass that day and meditated on their meaning. I also prayed that the Holy Spirit might guide these people back into Christ’s Church.

To end the service, the pastor simply said “You may leave.” Very unclimactic. I stuck around and had my friend introduce me to some of the parishoners, including the pastor. He and I talked for a little, and he said that he was a math major in college. I told him that I am a physics major, and so we talked about that a little. Then I said that math is the only subject that you know you have the right answer. He, however, said that in addition to math, theology is also a subject that you know you are right. I did not want to engage him in a debate by asking him why he thought that theology (more specifically, the Bible) was right (in retrospect, maybe I should have), so I let it go at that.

All in all, there was no point to the service. If I wanted someone’s opinion on a Bible verse, I might as well walk the streets of downtown Seattle. If I wanted to hear about some guy’s journey to Israel, I would ask him. After we left, my friend asked me what I thought of it. I said to her that it was also pointless and misguided. I pray for her every day that she might come back into Chrsit’s Church for she would make a great Catholic.

Anyway, just wanted some thoughts on Protestant (specifically non-denominational) services.
 
I agree with you in many respects. The Church Service is a time when we receive that which cannot be received at other times. I do not like Services that are devoid of the Liturgies. I have went to services that are more or less a Bible study class and in others I have felt like the whole purpose of the service was to entertain everyone.
 
You description sounds quite familiar. I’ve been to a couple of Southern Baptist services and always left wondering if I missed something. The act of worship seemed to have been left out. When do they offer adoration to God?

Speaking of which, I can sort of see why they think we worship Mary. To them, all worship is, is singing songs and a sermon. So when we sing songs are have a sermon about Mary, it must be worship.

P.S. I have found that when it comes to making an impression upon an Evangelical, nothing does it like silence. Bring an Evangelical to Mass at a properly devout parish and see what their reaction is. They are absolutely bowled over by sacred silence.

Justin
 
I have not found the same experiences you have. In my area, I went to many of the churches before finding my way home to the CC. In my experience,(I went to mostly fundamental churches) the churches had worship music. Alot of time was spent singing praise music to get the Spirit of God moving. I enjoyed it. If you think about it, they do not have the beauty and presence of the Eucharist. So they have to rely on other things. To most of them, the CC seems dry and devoid of meaning since they do not understand the Sacrements the same way. If every thing is just a symbol, from baptism to communion, what has meaning? Singing at least has words to touch their heart.
 
I’ve only been to 3 non Catholic churches in my life (besides for weddings of nonCatholics), all since I’ve married my Baptist husband. His parents attend a Southern Baptist church. Their service consists of singing one or two songs (very old fashioned protestant hymns), a prayer (may be by the pastor, could be someone else-most every other man at this small church is a “deacon”, I think), the offertory (just “passing the plate”, they don’t say intercessory prayers like we do), some more songs, a children’s thing, where all the little kids come up and a woman talks to them about Jesus for a couple minutes, more songs, then the sermon, which is based on one or two lines of scripture read by the pastor. After that, the pastor invites anyone up who wants to “receive Jesus into their heart” (I’m thinking, why would I do that, when I can receive Him in my mouth every day if I want?), or just needs to be prayed over, and that’s it. Yes, very boring. I’ve only been there like 3 times; the sermon will occasionally have some interesting points (30 minutes of preaching, there oughta be some truth in there!), but it’s all very generic. The good news is, I’ve never heard them bash Catholics (or mention us at all, for that matter) there. I even got to witness a “baby dedication” (why pretend? Just baptize them, for heavens sake-pun intended).

The other church was my sil & bil’s “Vinyard Christian Fellowship” nondenom church (bil is a former Catholic, btw, and has accused us of worshipping-no, not Mary-the Pope!). To sum up their service, it’s like a Christian rock concert w/ an (name removed by moderator)irational talk quoting some scripture as the intermission. It’s not really a “church”, the building’s an auditorium. They don’t have pews, just chairs, and no altar, just a stage (for the band). Interestingly, the Sunday I was there they had communion. Someone poured the wine (they actually do use wine) into the little plastic shot glasses, and the bread (I guess it was bread) was in containers that actually looked like ours (can’t remember what we call them-the ones w/ lids that have a cross handle). Everyone went up, helped themselves, then went back to their seats and waited until everyone was back, then ate and drank together. The “final” song went on and on. Finally, I told my husband we needed to go, I was hungry. The pastor actually spoke nicely about the Catholic Church in his sermon. Apparently, they were treated nicely when they had their “international Vinyard meeting” in Rome, someone from the Vatican met w/ them and preached a sermon. Also not my cup of tea. Oh, there were also no children present, they all get dismissed after the first song to go to “class.” Apparently, you don’t get to “worship” until you’re in high school.

The last one was this past mother’s day, when a lot of fil’s family went to his mother (hubby gma) church to surprise her. It’s a so-called non denominational church as well, but seems to be very Baptist like. The pastor was “delivered” from drugs and alcohol, so he was really “on fire” for the Lord, if you know what I mean. Same old thing, some songs, some prayers, a sermon. Since it was mother’s day, he talked about mothers, and actually read from the beginning of Luke about Mary! So I guess some Protestants remember her twice a year-on Christmas and mother’s day. In addition to the sermon, at the beginning of the service a woman read from the Bible (quotes about mothers), and talked awhile. I still don’t know who she was, and got terribly confused, thinking she was the pastor (the actually pastor’s name was Terry, so it could’ve been a woman, but this was a very old fashioned church, I couldn’t imagine that). Like the original poster mentioned, the service was very disjointed and seemd unorganized, but maybe that’s because it was mother’s day, and they did things a little differently.

I guess as Catholics, we’re very spoiled by the Liturgy, and knowing and experiencing true worship (even in a modern Novus Ordo mass ).

Ellen
 
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Ellen:
I’ve only been to 3 non Catholic churches in my life (besides for weddings of nonCatholics), all since I’ve married my Baptist husband. His parents attend a Southern Baptist church. Their service consists of singing one or two songs (very old fashioned protestant hymns)…

I guess as Catholics, we’re very spoiled by the Liturgy, and knowing and experiencing true worship (even in a modern Novus Ordo mass ).

Ellen
Unfortunately, I have a relative who grew up Catholic and was “enlightened by the truth of the church.” After going to a church like the one you mention, she eventually got used to the services. It was very hard for her at first because she was so used to the Catholic liturgy. She now loves it and thinks she has found the “true” church. That free will thing again!!!

 
I went to several bible churches on and off as being invited by my Christian friends. I went to an African American Non Demoninational church where the music was thumping and the preaching was pretty good. I knew the pastor and he knew me and my background and yet accepted me as a brother of Christ. The preaching was down to earth and easy to understand. Yet, I knew it certainly didn’t compare to the ‘real thing.’

Another church I went to visit out of curosity was a white Pentacostal church with featured a young-newly ordained pastor and his former Catholic wife. They were ALL trying to recruiting me to join. The old stlye Gospel songs were sung and the preaching was all Bible101. However, during the ‘class’ the pastor started his high winded, raising tempo of influction and the yelling and ‘Hajleluluiah’ (The spelling is actually how it sounded). It totally distracted me. The pastor liked me becasue I could answer almost ALL his questions that he asked his ‘students’. The pressure to pull me through the doors was very strong. After 3 weeks, I simply stopped going. They never had a communion service, and I never signed a roll book, but felt glad to know that where I am at now is the ‘real thing’ His Church, The Catholic Church.

I am fortunate that curosity did not kill this cat!

Go with God!
Edwin
 
I actually grew up in a “Bible Church” and attended for 26 years before converting to Catholicism. They cosidered themselves non-denominational- everyone else was a denomination and they were the original church. The services were always the same. We had announcements, sang songs for 10-15 minutes (always old hymns with musical instruments or choirs), had the Lords Supper (symbolic only), a scripture reading, and a 30 minute sermon. We always had a very fundamental type of preacher who had no kind words for other religions. Then we had a closing song, the invitation- for those to confess Jesus is the Christ and be baptized (adult only), and then another song and prayer. That’s it. The services never differed because we had no recognized special days or holiday services.

I am so fortunate to have found the Catholic Church and thank God everyday for his great blessings !
 
Oh my gosh, I’m so glad I found this thread!

What fun it is to read the experiences of others in this regard. My husband and I converted to Catholocism several years ago after spending many years in Protestantism and then several years looking for a church. Our experiences ranged from the outrageous to the horrifying.

One time we visited this “non-denominational” church which we thought was an Evangelical Free Church, but after sitting down and meeting the pastor found out they were completely autonomous because “they had the Bible and didn’t need any hierarchy tellin’ 'em what to do.” The music lasted at least one hour. The sermon lasted over an hour and the pastor apologized for the “short sermon” as he had a wedding to do after church.

He ranted, he railed, he laid hands on the sick, and if they didn’t get “healed”, by golly they needed to repent. And repent they did, in front of the entire congregation! Yes, they confessed their “lack of healing” as if they had committed a heinous crime!

The minute the service ended my husband and I raced to the nursury, grabbed our kids, ran out the door and down the sidewalk, threw the kids in the back seat, slammed down the locks and squealed tires gettin’ out of that place.

I’ll never forget when we left the parking lot, the Catholic Church, which was just across the railroad tracks from this little store-front church loomed at us beckoning us to come to the safety of its borders. Been there ever since and have not regretted it for one millisecond.

God Bless,

Lilac
 
I went to a Bible Church also. It just wasn’t a Bible alone Church. ie Catholic. I know thats not what you meant but I thought I’d mention it. 😃
 
it’s funny,
the thing that brought me out of the catholic church was the fact that i didn’t experience God in the catholic church. it seemed to be a bunch of people going through the motions. i knew a lot of these people. i knew the ones cheating on their wives and still receiving communion. i knew the ones who publicly rejected God (by words and deeds) and yet thought they were being a “good person” by going to mass. it was in a “bible church” (evangelical, american baptist) that i first encountered Christ. the worship service was exciting. the music was uplifting and spoke to me and i felt i was able to tell God how i felt about Him by singing those words out. i felt i was truly worshipping with the others in the pews as opposed to apart from them. the sermon (albeit longer than a catholic homily) was relevant to my life and allowed me to realize that the word of God was “living and active”. i say this not to glorify these churches. i am on my way back to the catholic church as i have realized the historical and scriptural significance of it. but i think you don’t really know how exciting these services can be in “bible churches”. i think many, many catholics could take a cue from these people and ask God to give them the fervor for Him and His church that they have. i guess my whole point is to say we shouldn’t knock these churches as many of them have things that we could learn from if nothing else than their passion.
 
Andrew Larkoski:
Anyway, just wanted some thoughts on Protestant (specifically non-denominational) services.
I was at a Protestant service once. They sang for a half hour then some guy talked for a half and hour. :yawn: I could have stayed home and watched Robert Schuller on TV it would have probably been more interesting, at least I could have put my feet up. :rolleyes:
 
I realize that this is a Roman Catholic board…and, in it being so, I am a guest here. This is fine.

However, I find many of the comments above VERY offensive.

First…you cannot blanket every Protestant church by a few experiences. If I did that to the Roman Catholc church, I would say that it is boring, nothing happens, and it’s full of a bunch of sinners like me who are haughty and look down their nose’s at me because I’m not Roman Catholic.

Secondly, I find it sad that person who started this thread didn’t listen to the Word because “we don’t have the fullness of it.” That is truly horrible. I listened when I visited a Roman Catholic church, even thought it uses what, in my opinion, is uninspired literature.

Please, I ask you all, Protestants and Roman Catholics and everyone else…think twice before hitting that “Submit Reply” button. You won’t regret it.

~mango~
 
Your love of our liturgy prompts my response-Just want to share how I love coming together as one body-When I attend mass I try to have prepared myself to even lay my personal prayer aside to come to worship with others and I appreciate this time of forgetting myself. It is a joyful hopeful experience when I am raised up with all of God’s faithful believers. Needless to say when I have attended church services outside of the catholic faith I have found it more like a classroom where I sit and chose what pleases or does not please me. Most of my family and friends are not Catholic - I try to be respectful but I further realize I should bring the same dedication to union with God in that atmosphere as in our blessed sanctuaries. They may be lacking the fullness but they are seeking a relationship with Christ -when we attend a denominations services God is asking us to share that fullness-He is with us always even when we set foot in a Protestant church-It helps me to leave my criticism at the door .
 
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Poisson:
I was at a Protestant service once. They sang for a half hour then some guy talked for a half and hour. :yawn: I could have stayed home and watched Robert Schuller on TV it would have probably been more interesting, at least I could have put my feet up. :rolleyes:
Hi there:

There are unispiring services of all sorts be they Protestant or Catholic. There is a great variety of “Protestant” services from the solemnity of an Anglican High mass to the more spontaneous services in Charismatic services not all are as uninteresting as you describe. I have been to RC masses that have been very beatiful and others that to me have been 45 minutes of incomphrehensible mumbling. Do not make the mistake of thinking that Protestants have a monopoly on boring!

Blessings

Serafin
 
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Serafin:
There are unispiring services of all sorts be they Protestant or Catholic. There is a great variety of “Protestant” services from the solemnity of an Anglican High mass to the more spontaneous services in Charismatic services not all are as uninteresting as you describe. I have been to RC masses that have been very beatiful and others that to me have been 45 minutes of incomphrehensible mumbling. Do not make the mistake of thinking that Protestants have a monopoly on boring!
In my post I have never said anything which contradicts anything you have said. The original post simply asked what peoples experiences were at Protestant services and I gave mine such as it is. 🙂
 
Hey, I’m as Catholic as anybody on this board, but as a former Protestant (Presbyterian Church USA) I have to tell you that the tone of your original post and some of the following ones was very uncharitable and bordering on ridicule.

Please remember that thousands of people are reading these boards, not just you and your best friends. Thousands of people looking for the True Church have now been offended that you didn’t think their service was worth even* listening* to in its entirety before you condemned it for its faults.

I have been to many services such as you describe but I would not have been so rude as to sit there and look up the daily Mass readings while the pastor was still talking especially since a friend of yours brought you in exchange for attending a Catholic Mass at a Cathedral at that! You certainly could have waited until you got home. Is this person still your friend? Maybe you should ask him or her.

A better post would have simply listed the things you found objectionable about the service without inserting any sarcasm. Such as: there was a whole lot of singing of dubious quality. Why was it dubious? What were the words? Did they express faulty theology? There was a sermon that was long-winded and boring. OK, these are opinions and not necessarily faults. What about the sermon was theologically bad? That’s what matters, not necessarily the style.

I must say, as a convert, the Catholic style of worship took a lot of getting used to and for the sake of not hanging one’s dirty laundry in public, I won’t go through the faults I found in our One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church right here and now, OK?

Consider yourself chastised and don’t do it again.

P.S. I went to the UW too. Go Huskies! Take a class from the Professors Stacey in Medieval History if they are still there and you get the chance. Great lecturers!
 
I fully agree the arrogance in some of the comments is appalling. I have been to the Cathedral in Seattle and the music was heavenly but I can assure you that the music at the average Protestant service whether classic hymns or praise music blows away the “refuse” being presented to God at the average Mass as music.

I have been to several services and have appreciated that Christ is present there since the Word is procliamed and three plus are gathered in his name.

I am starting to become a bit scared of you know it alls and starting to see hwy my wife has not converted if I come off to her like you do to me.

Arrogant-to excessively exaggerate one’s own importance
 
I, too, have had some very **positive experiences ** at non-Catholic churches. My sister is no longer Catholic and when we would visit her and her family we often go to Mass on Sat. evening so we can go with her family on Sunday. I have met some wonderful people, and they went to a church for some time whose pastor gave incredible sermons.

I do, of course, miss the beauty of the Mass and especially receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. My children are the ones who notice all the differences. We went to a friend’s church to watch their children in a Christmas production, and there was no crucifix, not even a cross, no candles, just a bare stage. My kids said “Is this a church?” Which gave me a good opportunity to teach them a little about our differences, but also to remind them that our friends really love Jesus and are serving them in the best way they know how. 🙂
 
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