"The perfect church service,would be one we were almost unaware of. Our attention would have been on God." – C.S. Lewis
Church in France (Taken by Deb)
This post will become a part of a permanent page on our blog which will be dedicated to this new enterprise. We hope our explanation will alleviate any concerns as to our intent.
Why bother with this EChurch?
In our three years of writing this blog, we have become aware that a fair number of people have been so hurt and disillusioned by the church that they have dropped out of attending church altogether. After reading story after story about painful experiences, we don’t blame them. We both have been there.
Yet, many of these folks want to be around other Christians as evidenced by the numbers who visit blogs. Most of these have maintained their faith, but some have walked away or are seriously questioning if this faith is real.
So we wanted to provide a place in which a reader could get some of the benefits of church without the requirements that are often inherent in church attendance. We look at this place as a kind of halfway point between no church and church.
Many churches have their entire services online. Why not refer to one of them?
This is a good question. In fact, Wade's church service is entirely online as well. Most church services are dedicated to the life of that group of people so there are some some limitations due to these distinctives.
There is always the underlying plea to come to this church. Please donate money. Come to this church event. For those who have been wounded or those who are questioning, this may be too much, not relevant or off-putting.
We want to remove a few barriers. We hope that this enterprise, along with our regular blog, will help folks to discover certain characteristics that should be present in a healthy, well-balanced church.
Why do you refer to this as a “baloney free” zone?
We simply mean this. When you watch a service, you are free to disagree, rant, blow us off and you will still be cared about. We have no requirements. You don’t have to follow the order of service, pray or listen to the sermon. We will not ask you for money nor ask you to sign some paper. We simply want to provide some water for your soul should you want it.
Why Wade Burleson? Edit 2/18
Wade has a unique ability not let his theology trump his love for others. He has made some stands, which have not enamored him to the either the SBC or to the Reformed community. He has no problem with being criticized and handles conflicts better than most pastors we have had the occasion to know.
Please read his column on how he handled a serious church conflict. It is titled Lessons in Dealing with Disgruntled Members. Link. It will help you to understand his underlying character. Those of you who have been hurt by a church (which includes both of us) should read this story and think back to your former churches. Ask how they would have handled such an event. The answer to that question might help you to understand why Wade is different than many.
What happens if I disagree with the sermons, prayer or music?
That’s OK. There will always be points of disagreement amongst people of good will. You are free to express your opinion and no one will “discipline” you for your thoughts. It is important to understand, however, that we approach this undertaking as those who adhere to orthodox Christianity and our theology will fit within the "pale of orthodoxy."
Sermon via Vimeo
The sermon may take a couple of minutes to load. Also, we have had some technical issues with security codes. Hopefully they have been resolved. If for any reason it does not load, we will attempt to rectify the problem in a timely manner.
How do you choose the music?
We will try to find music that, over a period of weeks, will reflect a broad range of traditions from ancient through contemporary. You might even see a Gregorian chant! We will be limited by what is available through sources such as You Tube. We search everywhere for ideas. Because of the beauty of some of these videos, you may find it helpful to go to full screen.
For example, there is The Odes Project. Link “The Odes of Solomon, which some scholars have called “The First Christian Hymnal,” is in fact a worship anthology from one of the earliest Christian communities. The poems it contains were composed sometime before 125 C.E., and may have been used as chants in a church or synagogue.”
As the Newsboys once sang in "He Reigns": (we have embedded the video at the end of this post)
"It’s the song of the redeemed, Rising from the African plain
It’s the song of the forgiven, Drowning out the Amazon rain
The song of Asian believers, Filled with God’s holy fire,
It’s every tribe, every tongue, every nation, A love song born of a grateful choir
Let it rise about the four winds, Caught up in the heavenly sound
Let praises echo from the towers of cathedrals, To the faithful gathered underground
Of all the songs sung from the dawn of creation, Some were meant to persist"
How do you choose the prayers?
Once again, we are limited by what may be reprinted. We will have prayers that span the ages from a variety of Christian traditions.
What sort of help is available to me?
Of course, our ability to help is limited by our distance from one another but we will make every effort to be of support to you.
You can always contact us at TWW through our contact information. Link
In addition, there is help and counseling available through Wade’s church, Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma..
- Phone number: 580.237.0602
- Email: email@example.com
What is this about a Sunday school?
We thought it might be helpful to ask folks to limit the discussion in comments under the EChurch post to the subject at hand. So, for example, we could discuss the sermon, the music, the prayer or even suggestions for the format.
Who is Ruth?
TWW is deeply appreciative of all who spend their precious time visiting our site and leaving comments. You matter to us and we try very hard to be welcoming. However, we have experienced a tremendous upswing of visitor comments and emails and became concerned that we, inadvertently, might overlook someone who visits the EChurch site and leaves a comment.
Ruth is a good friend who served as a missionary to Germany for a number of years. She is a loving person who has a heart for people. We have asked her to be our backup, ensuring that we do not miss anybody who visits the EChurch and leaves a comment. Think of her as the Welcome Desk at a church. She will be sure to hound us if we get distracted. We want everyone who visits to feel both welcomed and valued.
Is this format sealed in stone?
No, in fact, we know that there will be major tweaking going on. We are in uncharted waters -some things may work, others may not. We are open to any and all suggestions. In fact, if you have a favorite prayer or song, please send it onto us, along with any links.
What do the two of you believe?
Dee comes from a broad evangelical tradition, which includes non-denominational, Lutheran, Congregational, SBC and Christian Reformed churches.
Deb’s experience has been primarily in the SBC along with some time in the Methodist camp.
We both adhere to the beliefs spelled out in the Nicene Creed (with a quibble about the line “He descended into hell). We get very testy when people insist on making secondary issues, “primary.” So, in this particular venue, we will not advance our views on creationism, eschatology, etc., beyond the general statements such as “God created the heavens and earth” or “Jesus is coming again.”
In the context of his sermons, Wade may venture to give his assessment of a particular passage. We want to assure our audience that he is not saying that you must believe as he does.
How can I find archived EChurch posts on the blog?
Each service will post chronologically, just like our regular posts. If you want to access posts of EChurch that you have missed, please go to the side column in TWW, titled "The Basics", you will see a new page called E Church. You will find this post. Scroll to the bottom and you will see links to each EChurch post, labeled by week. (Week 1, Week 2, etc.)
A greeting from Wade Burleson to those visiting EChurch@Wartburg
Dear EChurch@Wartburg Viewers,
My name is Wade Burleson. Rachelle, my wife of thirty years, and I are friends of Dee and Wanda (aka Deb) at The Wartburg Watch. We are participating in the formation of EChurch@Wartburg because we have a heart for people who love Christ but have been hurt by the church. In a moment you might choose to watch today's video message, and it is only fair that I tell you a few things about myself before you take the time to listen.
First, you will be joining the fourth Sunday morning worship service of the church I serve in Enid, Oklahoma. I realize that the visual of me wearing a suit and standing on a platform may trigger some bad memories. If I could, I'd be casual and relaxed sitting across a coffee table from you and we'd simply talk about Jesus, life, and the Scriptures. Try to ignore the venue. If it helps, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of tea and relax as you listen. I will personally welcome you and all the EChurch viewers at the beginning of this video because you are important to us.
Our church believes that people who have been burned by organized religion and have either opted out of going to church or are in transition are as important to Christ as faithful, dedicated members of any organized church. We would like to play just a small role in your healing process as you reorient to what is really important in your walk of faith.
Second, I am not a professional entertainer. I won't use props or gimmicks to get you to like either the message or myself. May we find our source of life in Jesus Christ. I will go verse by verse through the Scriptures and talk of Him. Feel free to disagree with me! Yell and scream at what I'm saying if you feel like it!
I am nobody's spiritual authority, nor do I have some special insight into spiritual things. I am just an ordinary Jesus-lover who believes the Truth will set you free. If you make it through the 30 minute message and come away knowing a little more about Christ and find Him a tad more satisfying, then I will have succeeded.
Third, we at EChurch@Wartburg are NOT trying to control you, fix you, change you, or get something from you. We just want you to know that somebody really does care for you. We are like you — we love Christ and His Word, but we believe the church and organized religion have a tendency to screw things up! If at some point you can enter into personal relationships with people in your area who share a love for Christ, we want to encourage you to develop those relationships!
Until then, we welcome you to EChurch@Wartburg for some spiritual refreshment and encouragement.
Lydia's Corner: Isaiah 62:6-65:25 Philippians 2:19-3:3 Psalm 73:1-28 Proverbs 24:13-14