Friend's daughter is looking for a new faith

A friend’s early-teenage daughter is looking for a new faith. She’s not satisfied with their current religion (Quaker). Her mom has been taking her around to different Protestant churches to help her find the one she is most comfortable with.

I don’t agree with this method of “choosing” a religious faith. It seems to me a 12-13 year old child needs more guidance than what amounts to church-shopping, especially since the rest of the family is going to stay with the Society of Friends.

Shouldn’t there be more to finding a faith (Protestant or otherwise) than to settle on the congregation that has the people who you get along with best?

Is there anything I could say that wouldn’t be offensive? Or should I just do as I have been, which is keep my mouth shut since they didn’t ask for my advice?

perhaps you could introduce her to the catholic faith somehow? no, faith shouldn’t be how the people make you feel or emotions you have about it but when people start looking, it usually means they are somehow sritually disatisfied. could also be prompting from God to have her look elsewhere

C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, Letter #16: Church Hopping. (excerpt)

screwtape.com/

MY DEAR WORMWOOD,

You mentioned casually in your last letter that the patient has continued to attend one church, and one only, since he was converted, and that he is not wholly pleased with it. May I ask what you are about? Why have I no report on the causes of his fidelity to the parish church? Do you realize that unless it is due to indifference it is a very bad thing? Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for the church that “suits” him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches.

The reasons are obvious. In the first place the parochial organization should always be attacked, because, being a unity of place and not of likings, it brings people of different classes and psychology together in the kind of unity the Enemy desires. The congregational principle, on the other hand, makes each church into a kind of club, and finally, if all goes well, into a clique or faction. In the second place, the search for a “suitable” church makes the man a critic where the Enemy wants him to be a pupil… So pray bestir yourself and send this fool the round of the neighboring churches as soon as possible.

I think I warned you before that if your patient can’t be kept out of the Church, he ought at least to be violently attached to some party within it. I don’t mean on really doctrinal issues; about those, the more lukewarm he is the better. And it isn’t the doctrines on which we chiefly depend for producing malice. The real fun is working up hatred between those who say “mass” and those who say “holy communion” when neither party could possibly state the difference between, say, Hooker’s doctrine and Thomas Aquinas’, in any form which would hold water for five minutes. And all the purely indifferent things—candles and clothes and what not—are an admirable ground for our activities. We have quite removed from men’s minds what that pestilent fellow Paul used to teach about food and other unessentials—namely, that the human without scruples should always give in to the human with scruples. You would think they could not fail to see the application. You would expect to find the “low” churchman genuflecting and crossing himself lest the weak conscience of his “high” brother should be moved to irreverence, and the “high” one refraining from these exercises lest he should betray his “low” brother into idolatry. And so it would have been but for our ceaseless labor. Without that the variety of usage within the Church might have become a positive hotbed of charity and humility,

Your affectionate uncle
SCREWTAPE

I doubt that there would be much you can say…especially since they did not ask for your advice.

However - I would suggest to you that should the opportunity arise you might mention that there are very few 12-13 year old kids who ARE satisfied with their (parent’s) church…especially if they feel forced to go. It’s a natural part of growing up. But that it is the part of the parent to persevere in showing the child the faith that the parent clings to.

That said - It’s hard for any of us to know what the parents are going through with the child or what the reasons are for looking for another church community. It may be that the parents see this as a better alternative than just not going to church at all. At least this way Christ remains a factor in the life of the child.

Of course the idea of church shopping may be a bit foreign to us Catholics, but is much more common in the protestant world. And even in the Catholic world, people will sometimes change parishes because they are “not satisfied”…does that count as “Church shopping”?..:shrug:

Peace
James

Ah… you could order a copy of “Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth” and have it sent to the door of your neighbor, if you know her address…

Church shopping is kind of a problem. What if a kid is raised in a Lutheran household and ends up shopping around until he finds himself in a Presbyterian church?:doh2:

If the idea for this woman and her daughter that any church is OK so long as it’s Christian, it seems to me their concept of Jesus lacks some substance. That is what church shopping says to me. It says to me “I don’t really know or care about my faith.”

While you are describing it as a different faith, I would say it is a different local body of the church that the young woman is seeking. Should the parents take her to the local Mosque or Bahia center then we would be talking a different faith no one body and no single leadership team is perfect and in joining a family voluntarily social considerations do come into play.

So while the young woman is seeking a slightly different path from her parents I assume you are offering your local body as an option? Your preferred way may be close to what she seeks

Well, it kind of is a different faith, isn’t it?

I mean, yes, we all accept the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Bible. We all accept faith and most of us baptism.

But some Protestants teach there are sacraments. Some teach there are none. Who is right? Some teach you need to have charismatic gifts to be saved. Some once you are saved you are always saved. Some you can lose your salvation once you’ve gotten it. Who is right?

That is one of the major differences between us when we say one church and one baptism in the Holy Spirit, it is why we are able to share an open communion and freely cross over and visit others. It is more of a Jewish like perspective of doing right rather then saying church leader X is right.

A coworker did this, and so did my brother-in-law. Both raised Lutheran and shopped around until they found a Presbyterian congregation they liked. :wink:

a different faith, isn’t it?

I mean, yes, we all accept the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Bible. We all accept faith and most of us baptism.

But some Protestants teach there are sacraments. Some teach there are none. Who is right? Some teach you need to have charismatic gifts to be saved. Some once you are saved you are always saved. Some you can lose your salvation once you’ve gotten it. Who is right?

That is one of the major differences between us when we say one church and one baptism in the Holy Spirit, it is why we are able to share an open communion and freely cross over and visit others. It is more of a Jewish like perspective of doing right rather then saying church leader X is right.
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The problem with this outlook is that it sets aside one of the major tenets of Biblical Christianity - which is unity of such a profound nature that it makes us one body.
Jesus prayed that we might be one as he and the Father are one…such unity does not allow for differing views on matters pertaining to salvation.
In Mt 18, Jesus tells us to take difficult matters to the Church and then to Listen to the Church (as demonstrated in Acts). Yet Protestant groups have not universal council or structure to resolve differences in teaching on matters pertaining to salvation.
The Letters of the NT contain repeated calls to profound unity…such as:
Rom 15:5-6
5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 1:10
I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

2 Cor 13:11
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Php 1:27
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

1 Pet 3:8
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
Please know that I do not doubt your sincerity and love of the Lord, but I suggest that the protestant paradigm is simply not as biblical as protestants would like to think.

Peace
James

Could it be possible that this family belongs to the liberal Quaker denomination? If so, I’ve heard that the liberal Quakers are little more Christian than the Unitarian Universalist. That might explain a lot. When asked “Are Quakers Christians?” all the the Friends General Conference (the liberal Quakers) would say is:

The Quaker way has deep Christian roots that form our understanding of God, our faith, and our practices. Many Quakers consider themselves Christian, and some do not. Many Quakers today draw spiritual nourishment from our Christian roots and strive to follow the example of Jesus. Many other Quakers draw spiritual sustenance from various religious traditions, such as Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and the nature religions.

If we could agree TULIP is not correct, we’d have 1/4 of the work done reunifying Christendom.

tulip?

Calvinist Doctrine in an Acronym…

Total Depravity (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin)
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement (also known as Particular Atonement)
Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints (also known as Once Saved Always Saved)

Peace
James

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