The Restoration Church Down the Street

LegacyChurch.jpg

We all know an Evangelical church when we see one. The name usually gives it away. Well, that’s the case with Legacy Christian Church. I mean that’s a really Evangelical name, isn’t it? So, I decided to give this a church a visit this past Sunday.

My interest in visiting Legacy was peaked because I had watched the land that the church sits on be transformed over the years from hills and pine forest to church. I watched the transformation every time I drove out the the stable to ride horses. I had thought about visiting the church a little less than a year ago but one day on my way back from the stable and contemplating the idea, the car that I was driving lost steering in front of the church. I arrived back at my parents house safely (the car needed serious fixing) but all thoughts of visiting Legacy vanished from my head. After all if I was thinking about visiting as I drove by and the car broke down at that moment, I thought this might be a sign from God that I shouldn’t go (I was in the process of being received into the Catholic Church). But nothing happened this time around. Time to visit Legacy.

According to Legacy’s FAQ page the church describes it’s self as a “Restoration” or “New Testament” church. This means that Legacy worships in style that is in accordance with how Christians worshiped in the first century. They find basis for this in the Book of Acts. Well, I spent two days reading the Book of Acts. The only content I found in Acts concerning the worship practices of first century Christians was that they tended to gather as a group for prayer, teaching and communion. The worship was usually lead by a teacher of the early Church, like St. Paul. I also found this in Acts as well, many of the converts came from synagogues that consisted of both Israelite Jews and Hellenistic Jews (Gentiles who feared G-d). But historical evidence possibly suggests that early Christians worshiped in a manner closer to practices found in the synagogues. This is for certain, we’ll possibly never know for sure.

Two days before I went to Legacy I emailed the church to ask if there was a person, maybe an elder, I could talk to about the beliefs of the church and how worship worked. I received a reply with the name of an Elder that I could talk to. So, I met with the Elder on Sunday morning to learn about the basic beliefs of Legacy church. Well, here are the must knows of Legacy:

  • Legacy is a non-denominational church meaning that they are not part of a larger church convention, Sea or communion. As such, Christ is the only head of the church and decision concerning the congregation and Legacy are made my Legacy’s Elders and church board.
  • They take the Bible literally. They believe that every thing in the Bible historically happened. No nice stories here to help with Christian teaching.
  • The Bible is the word of God written by man. The Bible might have been altered in it’s composition? They don’t believe that.
  • Spreading the word of God. Yes, that means lots and lots of mission trips.
  • Communion? They do that every Sunday. I never thought I would hear that about an Evangelical church in my life. And it’s open communion, too.

After talking to the Elder I met a nice woman to sit with during the service who told me a little bit about Legacy’s history. Lo and behold the church started at Bedford, my former middle school. To be honest, that’s not surprising. The school was a supporter of religion even if it wasn’t a religious school.

As for he service itself, it was self explanatory. The Christian band and congregation san a few songs with lyrics projected onto the wall for the first thirty minutes or so. Then communion was served. Communion at Legacy is different than in most churches. First off  there wasn’t and Elder or Priest to say the communion prayers or to consecrate the communion. Second communion was served out of a tray and people stayed seated. Thus, the communion tray was passed around the seated congregation. During communion a choir member sang a hymn/song. And then it was time for the sermon. The reading for the sermon was the commandment, “Thou shall honor your parents.” At this moment, before the reading, everyone in the congregation pulled out their Bible. I mean everyone. You know how we all think of Evangelicals taking their Bibles with them to church? Well, that really does happen. I was caught off guard as everyone bent down to grab their Bibles from under neath their chairs. Then the reading happened. And then the sermon.

Ok, so the sermon. What to say about the sermon. It was really long. Longer than what I am used to. The sermon lasted about sixty minutes or so and unfortunately my attention span is about forty-five minutes. The last fifteen minutes were a real God given struggle. While I was busy trying to find ways to keep myself focused on the sermon (that was no easy task), everyone else around me was completely drawn in by the teaching. I mean, they were taking notes in their Bibles, in notebooks and praising the preacher at particularly meaningful moment. While I was impressed by the public speaking skills of the preacher, the sermon itself made me feel uncomfortable. Particularly the parts where the congregation was being told that they should not question authority and should accept social norms without question. This, of course a post or another time.

I’d have to say for the first time going to an Evangelical I felt fairly welcomed despite being Catholic. As for the people I met there, they accepted my Catholicism without question and even asked me questions about being Catholic. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting that at all.

 

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5 thoughts on “The Restoration Church Down the Street

  1. Having grown up in evangelical churches, I remember my first visit to a Catholic church was like being a fish out of water – but I had a good Catholic friend to help me stay grounded and explain it to me as I went along. I find that Legacy’s elder-only leadership is problematic, the inability to ask questions or hold clergy responsible allows them to be complicit in covering up for each other and more readily control the laity. It’s an easily-abused power structure. Jesus himself was all about questioning authority – particularly of the Pharisees’; he knew full well they controlled the interpretation of the text and would always interpret it so that it was advangtageous. We need churches that welcome being questioned, that are willing to be held accountable – it’s the only way to keep human nature from corrupting the leadership. After all, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and undeniably, spiritual power corrupts spiritually.

    1. I am really glad I went to Legacy. While I had problems with the sermon, I did learn so much about Evangelical Christianity from someone who could speak with authority on his church and accurately answer my questions. For example I learned what it means to be a truly non-denominational church: a church not attached to a convention, Sea or Communion. Before I thought all Evangelical Churches were in some convention together. Turns out that’s not true.

      1. Evangelicalism is a pretty big tent, there are all sorts – just as there are non-denominational churches, so too there are denominational churches. It just means that their authority structure doesn’t go beyond the church doors. In Southern Baptist churches, they have to answer someone, somewhere. Non-denominational churches don’t have that degree of oversight. It can be freeing, but also quite dangerous.

      2. Just wanted to say that I am learning so much from you! So, I have another question. You mentioned that there are denominational Evangelical churches and what denominations would these Evangelical churches belong to? And what would make these churches Evangelical?

      3. A loose definition of evangelical is anyone who maintains that the essence of the gospel consists in the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ’s atonement. Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or “born again” experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God’s revelation to humanity, and spreading the Christian message. (from Wikipedia.) So any denomination that emphasizes these things would be evangelical, it would include Southern Baptists, Lutherans, Wesleyans, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Methodists, Non-denominational churches, among many others too numerous to list. They all have a diverse way of looking at things and what you might find true of one evangelical church would not be true of another.

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