Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Come Out From Among Them - My Life In Denmark (Part 14)

I was desperately sad and grieved after almost three years in Denmark. We had started an evangelism ministry but I could not find a church where the Gospel was preached. Paul Washer's two ultimatums were still ringing in my ears:

1. If you are in a church where the Gospel is not preached - get out! Come out from among them! Touch not the unclean thing.
2. If you are not in a biblical church then find one or start one.

It was painfully clear that my family either had to leave Denmark or plant a church with some like minded believers. I did have people who agreed on the Gospel but were very hesitant about starting something. I, on the other hand, had an unusual fearlessness about this. Not because I am naturally courageous, far from it in fact, but because I was absolutely convinced that I was incapable of contributing anything that could possibly deteriorate the situation for Christians in Denmark - it's pretty hard to drill into the bottom of the toilet bowl!

When I was at the end of my rope and ready to pack up and leave (much to my wife's disappointment) a man called Henrik Mortensen walked into the picture. Not only was Henrik on the same page with me concerning the Gospel, he knew church planting was the only option and was ready to pay the price. As someone who was cryogenically frozen during the Puritan era (and defrosted in the 80's), Henrik was the perfect man to have on board in this project. Some others joined with us who also knew the stakes were high.

The wheels were turning and things were moving - especially my family. In November of 2009, we were packing up and moving south to the little town of Bjerringbro in Denmark. Did I have a job - no! Did I know anything about church planting - no! Was I assured of a prosperous future for this church (that was only a vision at this time) - no! I am normally a man to err on the side of caution, but I was experiencing tremendous liberty in this pursuit because I knew this was the only option we had within the Danish borders.

I will conclude this series on Friday with a post on our thriving little house church in Bjerringbro by the name of Kristuskirken. The local church is where it is at and I want to culminate this saga by flying the flag of the local church. I have also been surprised about how much less difficult planting a biblical church has been than trying to reform an apostate one. One of the deceptive realities out there stems from the countless number of attempts at starting a new church based on methodological differences rather than theological differences. When it is based on methodology the hard work is continually innovating with newer and more exciting programs. When it is based on theology, the hard work is the joyous labor of faithfully preaching the text, witnessing to the lost, and cultivating a community of loving brethren. So be encouraged and tune in for Friday's post where I will discuss my local church in greater detail.

But in closing todays post I want to refer back to Paul Washer's ultimatums that he gave us (see above). Do you treasure Christ and His beautiful Gospel but never hear about it from the pulpit? Is rampant sin tolerated and never disciplined in your local congregation? Does your pastor handle Scripture as God's authoritative word or does he treat it like a buffet, always staying well away from the parts that don't taste so good? Does your congregation allow women in the pulpit - violating the clear teaching of Scripture? Is it governed by a team of godly men or by someone who thinks he is a pope? Does it have a doctrine statement? Does the doctrine statement ever venture outside the church's filing cabinet? Does doctrine matter - particularly the purity of the once for all delivered Gospel? Are you someone who claims to be born again but is willing to settle for the safety of a gathering of goats that is shepherded by a wolf? Danish brothers, I beg you to contemplate these questions and receive this counsel from Carter Conlan . . .



Go On To Part 15
Go Back To Part 13
Go Back To Part 1

10 comments:

GCgirl said...

Thank you for sharing your story and this video. It is powerful...and TRUE. There IS a time to be emotionally stirred...for the sake of the gospel and for those who are perishing in their false sense of security. May the true bride of Christ have the courage and conviction to stand and speak the pure gospel at every occasion so that His Kingdom will be established and His name Glorified! Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

Carter Conlon's wife is a pastor at Times Square Church where Carter Conlon pastors.

Cameron Buettel said...

Anonymous, thanks for the heads up. I went and checked for myself and you are right. I know Times Square is a Pentecostal church and as such would differ from me doctrinally in some areas. Wilkerson is what I call old school Pentecostal from the holiness movement days and I have a lot of respect for those guys. But it really shocked me that they would have a female pastor. Though wrong, their reasoning is probably that a female pastor must come under the headship of a male pastor (I'm guessing here and not excusing them). What we currently have in Denmark is another league altogether - the women are running everything with a lot of priests, bishops and senior pastors.

I absolutely love this sermon - thank you for destroying my blissful ignorance on this matter.

Anonymous said...

Hello sir,

Never commented before, so hello to you.

I have some thoughts on looking for a church that I know no one but God can help me with.

How does a wife look for a church if her husband is not looking for one?

In what direction do our 3 grown children go? What I mean by that is, they ask questions, that are somewhat avoided by dad, so mom is hesitant to answer because she knows the trouble it would cause etc.

You see, it is not that easy to just leave, especially when it would destroy the family. Believe me, I almost found that out the hard way.

Sorry I don't have anything positive to say. Only that, God is a good God, and is worthy of glory.

You may refer to me as 'Lucy'

God bless.

Cameron Buettel said...

Hi Lucy, I sympathize with your predicament. You will have noticed throughout my series a strong emphasis on the need for men to lead. Though that is probably not helpful for you, I would encourage you to seek out your fellowship needs through a Bible study, try to reason with your husband and pastor from Scripture (ie make your case and ask them to show you where you are wrong from Scripture), be extra loving towards hour husband remembering that Christ demonstrated His love for us while we were in our sins, pray for your husband, and always remember the Sovereignty of God and how He is using this situation to bring glory to Himself.

I understand if that seems like superficial cyber-counsel. But I have been in your situation before when my wife and I were in a Word Faith church and I woke up to the fraud beforee she did. Genuine conversion that bears fruit in keeping with repentance can bring walls down when they see the truth of our message and the salt/light of our actions.

God bless you Lucy.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much sir for replying.

I'm not looking to you for answers, just wondering how many spouses there are out there in similar situations.

As for our pastor, I have seen him go from bad to worse over the past 18 years.

He cannot preach seriously. That is, if you can call it preaching.
I remember years ago when I would cry at what he preached. Was convicted, challenged and encouraged to move forward in the Lord.

Now, it's like there is a joke or some kind of humour so as not to make the sermon too serious, just in case it offends someone.

I sit there stone faced Sunday after Sunday, just waiting for it to be over and get home.

My husband doesn't exactly agree with it all. It just that, as he has said himself, 'there's nowhere else to go'.

And he's right, there isn't.

Don't want to go on about it to you any longer.

I'll leave it at that.

Take care.

Lucy.

Cameron Buettel said...

Lucy, if your husband agrees up to a point but says there's nowhere else to go then I want to point you to 2 helpful resources to help you find a decent church. One is the map of Master's Seminary graduates from john Macarthur's church. They are usually solid and you can have a look on the map to see if there is one near you
http://www.tms.edu/AlumniMap.aspx

Also, Nine marks also has a church directory of congregations that hold to two very solid doctrine statements. You can have a look here
http://churchsearch2.9marks.org/searchmap.php

Hope this is of some help. Encourage your husband to not be passive, and remind him that if your "church" does not preach the Gospel then it is not a church anyway.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I should have said, I don't live in America, I live in England.

But, thanks for trying to help.

God bless.

Lucy.

Cameron Buettel said...

Lucy, those directories have churches in the UK as well, try this link
http://www.tms.edu/AlumniInternational.aspx

And this link
http://churchsearch2.9marks.org/viewCountry.php?countrycode=GBR

Good chance there'll be one within driving distance

Anonymous said...

Sorry to have to come back to this, but I wanted you to see what it is that I have to sit through.

Visit http://newharvestuk.com/site/

That is if you feel it is worth it.

They video the Sunday morning services and you can view them.

Thanks.

Lucy, England.