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Posted: 7/7/2008 11:53:58 AM EDT
First off I don't go to church of any kind. When I was younger I went maybe 2 or 3 times with my grandmother. My grandparents are divorced but both go to church regularly. My parents no longer go to church but both used to, my father said he used to think he would grow up to be a preacher when he was younger. He can quote the bible when he feels like it for anything.

Just because I don't go to church doesn't mean I don't believe in anything. The only thing I've ever seen take place in a church is everyone is nice to each other then when they leave they talk about each other. I'm 24 and have been told by 2 very religious people that I was going to hell. The first guy was when I was about 10 and he said I was going to hell just because I didn't go to church. The second was 2yrs ago by a guy I work with. He found out I was never baptised and said that is the one cut and dry thing in the bible, if your not baptised you go the hell.

I had a very good friend that is gone now, he taught me to shoot, hunt, and fish. He to was very religious but never went to church he always told me "there's nothing you can do in church you can't do better sitting on a stump in the middle of the woods by yourself". That is my way of thinking also, I've never read the bible, can't tell you one thing that's in there. I give thanks for the good things and ask help when things get out of hand. I probably don't pray "right" when I do it but it makes me feel better.

I don't know why I'm posting this but I've been thinking about it alot lately. Things haven't been so good for me for awhile. So tell me your thoughts on this if you'd like, if you think I'm going to hell like the other 2 guys feel free to tell me, if you are like me or know people like me post it.

This is in no way meant to be religious bashing or anything like that. If this is seen as something that don't belong here delete it. Thank you and sorry for the rambling it probably makes me look dumb it's just something I've been thinking about alot lately.
Link Posted: 7/7/2008 12:08:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/7/2008 12:24:12 PM EDT by Retic]
I go to church every Sunday.

I am wondering why. I have been going to church my whole life and I have not heard anything new latley. I don't like to call myself "religious" but I read my Bible on a regular basis and belive in prayer. I have had to learn Bible verses so I know the Bible pretty well.
Link Posted: 7/7/2008 12:08:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/7/2008 12:16:09 PM EDT by vim]
You sound pretty normal, and are asking normal questions. I believe we all ask those questions when the time is right.

Personally, if you don't know anything about the Bible, I'd suggest picking it up.
Jesus is a pretty interesting guy, and has some thought-provoking stuff.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the books most directly about Jesus.
Link Posted: 7/7/2008 12:23:25 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/7/2008 12:31:14 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/7/2008 5:18:20 PM EDT
Not much angers me more than people who misrepresent Jesus Christ especially to children.
Baptism and Church have nothing to do with a persons Salvation.
They are simply outward examples of an inward change.
Gods word makes it clear that there is only one thing that separates us from our Father in Heaven….Sin.
“For the wages of sin is death” (the cost or payment for mankind’s sin is death and separation from God)
Jesus did not come to give us more rules where by to earn salvation.
He came to pay our Sin debt through His death on the cross…to redeem those that are His!
Doing good works and being a moral person cannot be enough to earn our salvation.
Salvation can only be found through the saving grace of Jesus Christ!
As a Christian, following Gods laws shows the world that we have been “changed” by Him and we have a desire to become more like Him.
Don’t try and live a “good” life and do good “works” as a means to reach God….but strive to do good works and live a good life in order to show that you have been changed by God and desire to walk closer with God.
God doesn’t ask us to earn His grace He gives it freely!

Start Reading Gods word in the Gospel of John.

A man asked Jesus “what must I do to be saved? “ Jesus said “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”
Trust in Jesus Christ alone, Confess your sins to Him , follow after Him.
He will change your life.
Link Posted: 7/7/2008 5:19:02 PM EDT


Please don't take this as me minimizing in any sense the importance of congregational worship. Unlike some here, I firmly believe we are commanded to do so -- not in order to be "saved," but out of obedience and for our own edification.


Whos to say what a church is. The house of God? I thought nature was also a house of God. What's the reason you need to be sandwhiched between mrs. jones and the perdue family in a church to worship a living God as oppossed to being in a much great santuary in nature? I agree with the friend 100%.

In my opinion either could be good, but for some reason church seems to turn off a lot of people. I've seen some of the biggest worldly hypocrisy from the church our family grew up in, turned me off from church in a big way. Not that there weren't and aren't a lot of good folks there.
Link Posted: 7/7/2008 5:44:33 PM EDT
Church isn’t about simply going to the house of God, Its about gathering to worship God with brothers and sisters in Christ and hearing His word preached.
I’m not a golf player but I cant imagine that there is much worship of the Creator on the golf field every Sunday.
And yes of course church is filled with hypocrisy…because church is filled with sinners!
However, it is sinners saved by Grace!
If nothing else we should gather to give thanks to a God that has shown his love to a bunch of Hypocritical sinners like us.
But your right, surrounding ourselves with nature is a great way to commune with our Creator.
But we should also remember that we should gather as one body (group) of Saint to worship him as well.
Link Posted: 7/8/2008 5:41:29 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/8/2008 8:14:43 AM EDT
This could be a dumb question but if I do start to read the bible where do I start? Do you just start at the beginning and read right through or what?

Again sorry for my ignorance or this subject.
Link Posted: 7/8/2008 8:30:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By poke4570:
This could be a dumb question but if I do start to read the bible where do I start? Do you just start at the beginning and read right through or what?

Again sorry for my ignorance or this subject.


The fact that you are concerned indicates the Holy Spirit working in you.

I would read John and go from there. I would also look for a Orthodox Presbyterian or Reformed Baptist Church in your area and give the pastor a call.

The reason I recommend these 2 is that they both use the Bible as the source and not some made up crap. They also are typically well educated on theology in general.

Don't be intimidated about calling them, they would love to talk to you and won't stalk you.
Link Posted: 7/8/2008 8:37:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By T1NMAN:
Not much angers me more than people who misrepresent Jesus Christ especially to children.
Baptism and Church have nothing to do with a persons Salvation.
They are simply outward examples of an inward change.
Gods word makes it clear that there is only one thing that separates us from our Father in Heaven….Sin.
“For the wages of sin is death” (the cost or payment for mankind’s sin is death and separation from God)
Jesus did not come to give us more rules where by to earn salvation.
He came to pay our Sin debt through His death on the cross…to redeem those that are His!
Doing good works and being a moral person cannot be enough to earn our salvation.
Salvation can only be found through the saving grace of Jesus Christ!
As a Christian, following Gods laws shows the world that we have been “changed” by Him and we have a desire to become more like Him.
Don’t try and live a “good” life and do good “works” as a means to reach God….but strive to do good works and live a good life in order to show that you have been changed by God and desire to walk closer with God.
God doesn’t ask us to earn His grace He gives it freely!

Start Reading Gods word in the Gospel of John.

A man asked Jesus “what must I do to be saved? “ Jesus said “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”
Trust in Jesus Christ alone, Confess your sins to Him , follow after Him.
He will change your life.


This is a good post and I agree.
Link Posted: 7/8/2008 8:45:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/8/2008 9:12:30 AM EDT by moparman71]

Originally Posted By poke4570:
This could be a dumb question but if I do start to read the bible where do I start? Do you just start at the beginning and read right through or what?

Again sorry for my ignorance or this subject.


absolutely not a dumb question! I, like others, do not recommend sitting down to read the Bible cover to cover. Many folks think they'll just sit down and read a chapter or two every night, and finish it in a year or less. What happens is they read Genesis, and Exodus, and then they get to Leviticus or Numbers, and that's where it stops. I'd start with the Gospels, Matthew Mark Luke and John, like the above posters mentioned. After that, you can go back and read through some of the OT, and you'll be able to pick out the foreshadowing, and other very interesting correlations.

as to your original post- you mentioned you are 24. where you are now is where many folks our age (i'm 26) eventually end up. Personally, I went to church every sunday, because my parents made me. I was young, and I wasn't paying any attention there. Turned 18, and didn't step foot in a church again for nearly 5 years. But then these questions that you always thought you knew the answers to start eating at you, and you can't figure out the answer. Long story short, those questions led me back to the church. There comes a point in your life when you realize that maybe you're not the man you want to be, and you want His help. So, the question remains, do you need to go to church. Many folks are perfectly happy to not ever step foot into a church, and feel that they have a close personal relationship with God. If that works for them, great. I however, really enjoy going on Sunday mornings. There's something about sitting down and hearing the message that does for me what I don't always get when I read it on my own. I believe that a good sermon can change your life. Sure, there's folks there who are only there for the social part. To see and be seen. But there are also folks there who are truly on fire for God and His word, and those are the kind of people you need around you when you're feeling weak, or have questions, or problems, or anything you need support on. I enjoy sitting on a stump quietly pondering, and talking with God in His backyard, but I also enjoy coming into His house, and celebrating Him with others. "wherever two or more are gathered in my name, I am there"

I don't believe that you are going to Hell without being baptized. God knows your heart. Baptism is seen very differently between denominations. I believe that baptism washed away original sin, and is an outward show of God's covenant with His people. I also believe that if you're moved in your heart and feel you should be baptized, yet you put it off, then you are being disobedient to God.

sorry for my longwinded reply, but I want you to know that you can always ask your questions here. there are some very knowledgeable folks that would love to share God's love with you!
Link Posted: 7/8/2008 9:18:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By HardShell:

Originally Posted By barkley-addict:

Please don't take this as me minimizing in any sense the importance of congregational worship. Unlike some here, I firmly believe we are commanded to do so -- not in order to be "saved," but out of obedience and for our own edification.


Whos to say what a church is. The house of God? I thought nature was also a house of God. What's the reason you need to be sandwhiched between mrs. jones and the perdue family in a church to worship a living God as oppossed to being in a much great santuary in nature? I agree with the friend 100%.

In my opinion either could be good, but for some reason church seems to turn off a lot of people. I've seen some of the biggest worldly hypocrisy from the church our family grew up in, turned me off from church in a big way. Not that there weren't and aren't a lot of good folks there.


You'll notice (if you look at what you quoted from me, above ) that I didn't use the word "church" at all -- I said congregational worship. That can take many different forms other than the "traditional" weekly church meeting in a formal setting. The apostles met together from house to house, daily. We are IMO clearly instructed to assemble together for our own good, although (as I have already said) our salvation does not hinge upon such. YMMV, as always.


to me since he was writing about church, your post seemed to imply it. But certainly not any harm or foul either way. good answers.
What is ymmv?
Link Posted: 7/8/2008 9:27:16 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/8/2008 10:14:21 AM EDT
About a year ago, after a lot of reflection I decided that the concept of an eternal hell was not correct. My mental health has improved rapidly since coming to that conclusion and I am much happier today. Whatever you do, don't let fear dictate your religious beliefs. Your friend was right. Sit on that stump and decide what you believe. And if after sitting you cannot figure anything out, don't worry about it. We all learn and grow at our own pace. Focus on living your life as the kind of person you want to be.
Link Posted: 7/8/2008 12:05:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By poke4570:
First off I don't go to church of any kind. When I was younger I went maybe 2 or 3 times with my grandmother. My grandparents are divorced but both go to church regularly. My parents no longer go to church but both used to, my father said he used to think he would grow up to be a preacher when he was younger. He can quote the bible when he feels like it for anything.

Hello! First of all you shouldn’t feel bad or down or intimidated about your experience. Anyone who judges anyone else’s faith based purely on their “church experience” doesn’t understand the truth of Jesus Christ.


Originally Posted By poke4570:
Just because I don't go to church doesn't mean I don't believe in anything.

Quite right. “Going to church” is by no means an indication of one’s beliefs or lack thereof.


Originally Posted By poke4570:
The only thing I've ever seen take place in a church is everyone is nice to each other then when they leave they talk about each other.

Sadly, this is the reality of many, but not all churches. People are people and sin creeps into our lives and it manifests itself even in church as well as out of church.


Originally Posted By poke4570:
I'm 24 and have been told by 2 very religious people that I was going to hell. The first guy was when I was about 10 and he said I was going to hell just because I didn't go to church. The second was 2yrs ago by a guy I work with. He found out I was never baptised and said that is the one cut and dry thing in the bible, if your not baptised you go the hell.

1) The act of going to church doesn’t save you from hell.
2) The act of being baptized doesn’t save you from hell.

Only faith in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection saves you from hell.

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.”


Originally Posted By poke4570:
I had a very good friend that is gone now, he taught me to shoot, hunt, and fish. He to was very religious but never went to church he always told me "there's nothing you can do in church you can't do better sitting on a stump in the middle of the woods by yourself".

That’s completely untrue.

You can’t have communal worship sitting on a stump in the middle of the woods by yourself.
You can’t have fellowship sitting on a stump in the middle of the woods by yourself.
You can’t have accountability sitting on a stump in the middle of the woods by yourself.
You can’t have discipleship sitting on a stump in the middle of the woods by yourself.
You can’t bring an unbeliever to the truth of Jesus sitting on a stump in the middle of the woods by yourself.
You can’t teach others about the Bible sitting on a stump in the middle of the woods by yourself.

Human beings are social creatures. God designed us that way and it’s easy to see when you casually observe human behavior and culture. As such, we need fellowship from other believers and discipleship from other believers to grow in our relationship with God and be held accountable when we stray. And stray we will.


Originally Posted By poke4570:
That is my way of thinking also, I've never read the bible, can't tell you one thing that's in there. I give thanks for the good things and ask help when things get out of hand. I probably don't pray "right" when I do it but it makes me feel better.

And that is perfectly natural and makes complete sense. We all are born with the light of creation and conscience in our souls. We are aware of the spiritual reality that is unseen whether we admit it or not. We are all aware of God.


Originally Posted By poke4570:
I don't know why I'm posting this but I've been thinking about it alot lately. Things haven't been so good for me for awhile. So tell me your thoughts on this if you'd like, if you think I'm going to hell like the other 2 guys feel free to tell me, if you are like me or know people like me post it.

If you recognize that you are a sinful person, then you are aware that you are separated from God. I would encourage you to read through Matthew 6 which offers guidelines on how to pray. There is a right and wrong way to pray, but so far I think you are right on in your prayer. After reading Matthew 6, I would encourage you to read through John if you are curious.

Great thread, by the way.
Link Posted: 7/8/2008 12:11:52 PM EDT
All I can say is that anyone who hasn't really dug into the Bible is missing out on a lot of good stuff . . . fella could learn from that book . . .
Link Posted: 7/8/2008 4:46:24 PM EDT
Excellent questions and the fact that you are asking is not an accident IMHO; while I am new to the forum, what is interesting is that the believers who answer you are on the same page as I, even though I have never met them nor know their real names....talk about band of brothers...this is the true band of brothers and is as wide as it is eternal. One day when I was about 24, I started asking questions similar to yours. I was sometimes going to first baptist and had been baptized back in earlier life.

Over a period of a year or so, I realized that the water had only got me wet and that my life just wasnt right with the Almighty. That was about 18 years ago. While I have my share of troubles now...nothing is too big for my God and we get through it...and even with a smile sometimeshave
Here are the facts...whether you are an ax murderer or a seemingly moral man who never cheats on taxes and doesnt drink more than 1 beer at a time...the problem is that your humaness is less than perfect and actually separates you from God...both here and eternally. Of course there is a provision for that which you only can deal with. I suggest that you read some of what these people have mentioned and see what it has to say and think about what it says to you. I suggest that you talk to God and not worry about saying things just right when you pray, but go ahead and speak what is on your heart...cuz that is what He wants and longs to hear...from you man!

Hope I didnt go on for too long or sound too preachy or anything. Feel free to PM if I can help in any way..no such thing as a dumb question either.

Take Care




Link Posted: 7/8/2008 7:45:26 PM EDT
You can’t have communal worship sitting on a stump in the middle of the woods by yourself.
You can’t have fellowship sitting on a stump in the middle of the woods by yourself.
You can’t have accountability sitting on a stump in the middle of the woods by yourself.
You can’t have discipleship sitting on a stump in the middle of the woods by yourself.
You can’t bring an unbeliever to the truth of Jesus sitting on a stump in the middle of the woods by yourself.
You can’t teach others about the Bible sitting on a stump in the middle of the woods by yourself.



You certainly can have accountaility by yourself, who is anyone accountable to more than God. Not all of us are as social as others, perhaps in a perfect world.
Besides it seems the op isn't talking about sitting on a stump in the woods for life like a statue, I'm certain he can seek God on a stump in the woods and share it with others as he goes about his daily life elsewhere.
Link Posted: 7/9/2008 4:13:56 AM EDT
I'll give ya some more back ground.
I'm definitely not the most social person in the world, never have been.

One thing I am is very honest and willing to give the shirt off my back to people I've never met.

I smoke, drink alot, swear alot, get into fights and have definitely done some other things that would be considered sin. I don't believe I truly know what love is or have ever experienced it.

I still don't know where I'm going with all this. I guess I need to find a bible and check out some of the things you all are suggesting. I'm glad you all understand what I'm saying and some of you have been through this. Thank you for all of the replies and please keep them coming.

Man you all say I'm not but it really feels like everything I've posted is just mindless rambling.
Link Posted: 7/9/2008 4:22:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By poke4570:
I'll give ya some more back ground.
I'm definitely not the most social person in the world, never have been.

One thing I am is very honest and willing to give the shirt off my back to people I've never met.

I smoke, drink alot, swear alot, get into fights and have definitely done some other things that would be considered sin. I don't believe I truly know what love is or have ever experienced it.

I still don't know where I'm going with all this. I guess I need to find a bible and check out some of the things you all are suggesting. I'm glad you all understand what I'm saying and some of you have been through this. Thank you for all of the replies and please keep them coming.

Man you all say I'm not but it really feels like everything I've posted is just mindless rambling.



To "sin" means to miss the mark . . . to fall short of the goal/ideal that God has for you. It doesn't mean you have to be a cookie cutter of someone else's expectation of perfection (Biblically, "perfect" means to be complete/finished).

How can you know if you're missing the mark if you don't know what the mark is? Read the scriptures. Start with the new testament — in particular the four gospels and Paul's letters to the churches. You may be surprised what's in there and what ISN'T in there . . .
Link Posted: 7/9/2008 9:46:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/9/2008 9:50:02 AM EDT by Aerospace_Engineer]

Originally Posted By barkley-addict:
You certainly can have accountaility by yourself, who is anyone accountable to more than God. Not all of us are as social as others, perhaps in a perfect world.
Besides it seems the op isn't talking about sitting on a stump in the woods for life like a statue, I'm certain he can seek God on a stump in the woods and share it with others as he goes about his daily life elsewhere.

My comments were in direct response to a specific contrasting that was made of "going to church" versus sitting on a stump in the woods by yourself. The premise presented was that being isoalted by yourself in the woods is equal to or better than going to church. Well, this is not Biblical and I would say is blatantly false to tell others. Allow me to explain...

Jesus himself and his apostles charged Christians many, many times over and over again in simple terms to expand God's Kingdom by spreading the Good News and engage in becoming "fishers of men". Well, that means socializing and building relationships with other people and that CANNOT happen alone in the woods. My point was simple: The OP's friend was wrong, there ARE specific things you can do "at church" that you cannot do alone in the woods.

Sure, when it comes to prayer and meditation, God directs us there is a time to be in isolation, but that is not the purpose of church. Church is a social aspect of the faith, not the one-on-one with God part. In classic arfcom fashion, BOTH parts are needed to grow as an individual in Christ AND bring other people into God's Kingdom.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 12:56:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/21/2008 6:44:31 AM EDT by molardog]

Originally Posted By Aerospace_Engineer:

Originally Posted By barkley-addict:
You certainly can have accountaility by yourself, who is anyone accountable to more than God. Not all of us are as social as others, perhaps in a perfect world.
Besides it seems the op isn't talking about sitting on a stump in the woods for life like a statue, I'm certain he can seek God on a stump in the woods and share it with others as he goes about his daily life elsewhere.

My comments were in direct response to a specific contrasting that was made of "going to church" versus sitting on a stump in the woods by yourself. The premise presented was that being isoalted by yourself in the woods is equal to or better than going to church. Well, this is not Biblical and I would say is blatantly false to tell others. Allow me to explain...

Jesus himself and his apostles charged Christians many, many times over and over again in simple terms to expand God's Kingdom by spreading the Good News and engage in becoming "fishers of men". Well, that means socializing and building relationships with other people and that CANNOT happen alone in the woods. My point was simple: The OP's friend was wrong, there ARE specific things you can do "at church" that you cannot do alone in the woods.

Sure, when it comes to prayer and meditation, God directs us there is a time to be in isolation, but that is not the purpose of church. Church is a social aspect of the faith, not the one-on-one with God part. In classic arfcom fashion, BOTH parts are needed to grow as an individual in Christ AND bring other people into God's Kingdom.



All really good stuff in this post...

The above post reminds me of the Lord calling on the Church to be "the salt and the light"....if the light is hidden, ie. "in the woods on a stump," how will others see it? In this he warns against isolating one's self from the culture around us...then on the other side of the coin, he urges caution to not lose one's "saltiness", that flavor which distinguishes the Church from "the world," by becoming diluted with the surrounding culture and sentiments of the day...both represent two extremes of living that will make our LIVES ineffective witnesses of God's power and love.
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