Why Christian Meta-Beliefs Really Matters: The Outcome of Leaving My Church

One of the most controversial meta-beliefs in Christianity is that a denomination’s culture is canon, and even worse is that the culture should be true for all Christians and most deadly is that you can’t challenge or question the senior leadership.

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For the second time in my short millennial life I’m leaving my denomination. My statement is in the present progressive tense because it surely is a process. I’m technically on Sabbatical because I have a leadership role. But unlike my Sabbatical almost exactly a year ago I won’t be returning. The most painful thing about the change is that I will loose relationships as a result. That fact alone is most telling to the core reasons why I’m in search of a new local church.

I’ve wrestled with a few things in my church. Things that are simply church culture and things that are supposed to be based on canon(scripture). I believe that one has to conform to their church culture as long as it does not contradict to the canon. Culture includes order of service, style of worship, types of offerings, church government, etc. The categories of culture and canon are still “beliefs”. Then there are “meta-beliefs”. Which are your beliefs about your beliefs. One of the most controversial meta-beliefs in Christianity is that a denomination’s culture is canon, and even worse is that the culture should be true for all Christians and most deadly is that you can’t challenge or question the senior leadership. This meta-belief in the framework of extreme continuationism is why I’m leaving.

-Zan

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13 thoughts on “Why Christian Meta-Beliefs Really Matters: The Outcome of Leaving My Church

  1. The reality is that God will draw a line in the sand of our lives to test our loyalty. Are we loyal to man or are we loyal to God. Whether the religious bureaucrats will admit it or not, a person who is loyal to God’s Kingdom is a threat to “their” (men’s) kingdoms…

  2. Interesting post. I’ve never come across the term meta-belief before. You gave a good definition, “your beliefs about your beliefs.” But, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered the specific meta-belief you describe in this post: “that a denomination’s culture is canon.” — unless you mean by that, “our beliefs are more Scriptural (or true, or balanced, whole, better, etc) tan their beliefs.”

    • Hi Lon, thanks for stopping by. This post last week was an explosion of thoughts and definitely deserves some follow-up expansion. But what I mean when i say that culture is treated like canon is that for example. In the denomination that I grew up with it was very taboo and deemed evil for women to wear pants in church. The church that I grew up in was predominately african american. I then when to college in VT..lol and visited church a church of the same denomination that was predominately white saw that congregants actually dressed more casual and women wore pants. I was then able to see more clearly that attire was cultural but for many people it’s treated more like scripture. Although I do agree with the fact that no one’s attire should be sexually distracting, pants is altogether a different matter.

  3. I always meet former Christians who have shared with me their rejection for Christianity came from the ungodly behavior of the leadership and the meta-beliefs in the church they were brought up in. I wasn’t lucky enough to grow up in church, but I have been blessed by finding the first church I became a member of to have great leadership. What I’ve learned is when law becomes dominant in a place where grace is suppose to abound, Christ cannot dwell there. I pray God will lead you to a good church, and I’d also would like to suggest my church to you. We’re very small, and we are in Texas but you can watch all of services live or watch passed sermons and studies as well so you can continue to hear The Word while you are transitioning.

    http://www.christunveiled.org/archives

  4. I’m seeing, hearing, reading more all the time about this idea that senior leadership is above confrontation and is never to be questioned. One pastor even used the term “executive immunity” to avoid being answerable for his actions. Sad.

  5. I must say, I’m happy for you…I left that same church, officially, five years ago! I wish you the best of luck wherever you go and I pray God touches your heart and reveals his TRUE love, mercy and kindness to you, not the constant “rebuking” (among other things) I’m sure you witnessed and probably experienced yourself while you were there!
    God bless

  6. zanspence: I think your insight is great. I see people having to leave a church in order to get clarity on what they believe. I think that individuals need to read for themselves and challenge their faith. I think until you do that as an individual then you are not a christian ur just a keeper of rules that you don’t understand a.k.a living in fear. In christ their’s freedom once we study and show ourselves approved by knowledge and not following.. which we should follow until we can choose for ourselves/ study for ourselves.

  7. I love the gathering of ourselves before our Lord but it does not feel that is what is happening. There is a depth missing, a communion missing, and after we have processed the false guilt, the rejection, the failed re- try, it makes sense why it is not food to some. There is gift of a certain sensibility, a certain sort of depth Jesus has given to some. We all have different gifts. And for those of us who can’t seem to make ourselves fit… It’s fine, we love Jesus, He loves us. He’ll answer the questions. Go with what you love in Him and be happy in Him. oxox

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