R.B. Thieme Jr.
Date: March 09, 2006 02:34AM
hi orange -
By subjective I mean that how one perceives things can be colored by their childhood, an abusive husband, an overbearing father, genes, etc.
Sometimes how we see things, or how we were raised, or what kind of people we were raised around, or were/are married to can affect how we see everything, including a pastor. Some people end up attributing the problems in their life to a convenient source, and this kind of projection can be incredibly subjective. But it can be understandable. It happens all the time.
As for your second question, I think that's an issue between the believer and God. I think the simplest answer would be to pray for answers. God always answers in His time. I think there has been, and I get this from reading many message board discussions, not just this one, a tendency of many who relate bad experiences with the church to create a kind of bubble world in which Thieme is made out to be God himself. I think it's a result of thinking horizontally (all thoughts directed toward Thieme, their family, other church members, the circumstances they find theirselves in), instead of vertically (thinking God-directed, asking question of God concerning guidance and direction). I think Thieme, Jr., if he were able to answer right now, would completely agree. As 1 Cor 2:13 says, the Spirit teaches us, meaning that whatever is true in the content of the message of the pastor, the Spirit will teach us. If there is something erroneous, it does not get taught (in the spiritual, not academic sense). If there is some reason that we feel like we are not learning as we should, God is there to guide us. It's a matter of faith in the omnipotence of God. I really wish many of those who have had bad experiences with the church in the past could hear Bobby's sermons. He really gives insight into a lot of these issues, and a lot of things that occurred in the past, and why his father was attacked so many times.
Another thought that sometimes never occurs to people: If a man was truly a great man of God, and taught the Bible accurately as few ever have, would he not be subject to massive persecution from Satan?
As far as I know, nothing happens to anybody who leaves the church. Now, I can't speak for wives of psycho husbands or children of abusive fathers, and I'm sure there are enough of these kinds of stories around, but nobody from the church, pastors, deacons, etc. ever ever give you a hard time if you leave, or try to coerce you to stay. I don't know what others in the congregation think of those who leave, I've never really thought about that kind of thing. As far as I'm concerned, I wish them all the happiness in the world.
Many have left for a number of reasons, just like any other church. They moved, they lost faith, the got bored, something else in life distracted them. Some, I think, want the excitement of an emotional type sermon. As anyone who has ever sat in the church can attest to, the messages are mechanistic and intricate, not emotional or feel-good. Personally, I love this. I feel I am coming to know God by learning what His Word says, not by having an emotional experience. For 53 years Thieme stood in the pulpit and taught, sometimes as many as 7 classes a week, despite endless persecution, failing health...I couldn't begin to go into what he has been through. And he remained faithful to the Word as few other people I have ever seen in my life.
Some leave over doctrinal differences. The church has been split into many factions in the past, sometimes large portions of the congregation have up and left, sometimes to form other churches. I don't see anything wrong with leaving, but some bad times have definitely occured when factions were present in the church, gossipping and maligning and playing king of the mountain.
Again, I think the issue of whether one leaves Berachah or any church, has to do with one question. Do you think the pastor, regardless of his personality, is teaching accurate doctrine, and are you learning under this pastor in a way that is spiritually edifying to you? If the answer is no, as even Bobby would tell you, then by all means, find somone you can grow under.