Denominations and Dating

Anonymous asked:

I know that Christians should only date fellow Christians, but does that mean they should only date their same denomination? Can a baptist Christian date a Catholic? Things like deciding what church to go to and how to raise your kids would be a bit difficult being from two different denominations. Does it say anywhere in the bible that you should only date/marry someone that is not only christian but same denomination as well?

I answered:

There is actually nothing about denominations in the Bible at all. There is a tendency with Christian culture to assume that it was all handed down from on high, but that isn’t the case. For the first 15 centuries of Christianity, there was no such thing as a denomination. In 1517, when Martin Luther nailed up his 95 theses and unknowingly kicked off the Reformation, that idea was born. Before that, the only difference in churches was geographic, what we know as the Catholic Church in the west and the Orthodox church in the east. There was one church in the parish and if you went to church, you went there. 

While there are some theological differences between mainstream Christian denominations, they tend to be very minor. If churches can agree on the basics (sin, salvation, scripture) then there is room for some disagreement on things like predestination and transubstantiation. The differences between Protestant denominations tend to be more geographical and historical than they are theological. For example Lutheranism has roots in Germany, Episcopalianism in England and Presbyterianism in Scotland. People typically stay in a denomination because they are used to the way things are done and like the culture, not because of any grand divide in ideas.

All that background to say, there is absolutely nothing wrong with dating or marrying someone of a different denomination. Your point about picking a church and raising your kids is a good one, but it is not a huge obstacle. Picking a church should hopefully be about finding a place where you feel accepted and loved and fed spiritually. That comes from the people in the church, the pastoral staff, and the leadership much more so than from denominational affiliation. You might have been Baptist all your life and move to a town where there isn’t a Baptist church that connects with you, but there is a Presbyterian church where the pastor is awesome and the people are warm and welcoming and you love it.  You should go there because that is the stuff that matters. The denominational fine print pales in comparison. The switch between Protestant and Catholic would probably be more intense at first, but the same thing applies.

Your walk with the Lord is your own, and no loyalty to a governing body is more important than finding a church, or spouse that is right for you. Remember, if any one denomination had perfected church, then everyone would just be what they are. Every group has their good and bad points, the important thing is to find what works for you.

-Matt from The Bridge

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Thankfulness is the antidote to self pity. Regularly in my walk, and I’m sure it’s true for these other brothers, I will sense a weird attitude in my heart that is self pitying. In that moment, I know it’s time to get a hold of some thankfulness. I don’t know what lie I’m buying into, but I know the truth that Jesus saw me from a long way off, rescued me, and made me his own.

Jed Brewer on episode 26 of the Say That podcast

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Getting Ready for Missions While in College

fullyunashamed asked:

Hey I just found your blog, and I love it! I believe God is calling me to be a missionary one day. Right now I’m at the time of my life where all my peers are planning their careers and preparing for college. I’m going to college next year and I’m trying to figure out what I should do to get me to missions. I love to write, and I hope I can somehow use that in missions too. I was wondering if you guys have any advice for me, since it appears that you have some kind of experience in missions

I answered:

Thank you for the kind words. “Some kind of experience” is about the perfect description for me. I have been a full time missionary for 7 months now. My bosses Jed ( and Glen ( have been at this for about ten and twenty five years respectively. 

The good news and bad news about missions work is that it covers an almost infinite amount of ground. That means there is no particular set of skills that you need to acquire and then you will be ready to do missions. However, it also means that there will be a use to any skill you bring to the table. If you like writing and want to pursue that in college, through literature classes or work on a school paper for example, that will be highly useful on the mission field. You will need to write support letters, ministry updates, and lessons. Having a good writer and editor on board would be a great asset for any missions team.

Your time in college is a great place to gain some experiences and learn some things that will prepare you to go into missions. Most colleges have a ton of mission fields within them and you have the opportunity to try out a bunch of different things and see what connects with you. The key thing you need to be developing now for a future in missions is a heart to serve. Where you do that serving is not as important. Striking up a conversation with someone at a soup kitchen is the same at your college as anywhere on Earth.

The biggest thing you should be developing is your walk with the Lord, if that is strong than everything else flows out of that. If it get’s off base, then all the knowledge and experience in the world won’t compensate. Get in a position where other people are pouring into you and look all around you for opportunities to pour into them. Remember: where God guides, he provides. Wherever God is calling you, the skills and heart you have are the right skills and heart for that place.

-Matt from The Bridge

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We worry about asking God for something that we feel like we don’t deserve. y “whoa, you don’t deserve a job/spouse/life that awesome”. The idea that we deserve anything has no basis in out faith in Christ. God has given us a gift of everything we never could have earned. That goes for salvation, but for everything else as well.

Lee Younger on episode 26 of the Say That podcast

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Is It Possible to Lead Someone You Are Dating to The Lord?

Anonymous asked:

I am in a relationship with a man who isn’t a Christian. He is agnostic, and I truly feel in my heart that he is on the cusp of being a believer. You guys say a lot of things about letting go of someone who doesn’t believe in Christ, but is it impossible that God has led me here because we are intended for one another and because he will come to Christ through loving me? I’m not going to foolishly assume that’s what’s going to happen and sit and wait around for that to happen, but I do think it’s possible for that to happen. I think the Lord could use our love to bring this man to him, and this man treats me like a princess and makes me feel so, so cherished. I feel like we were led to each other for a purpose.

I answered:

No, it is not impossible that you keep dating this gentleman, lead him to the Lord and you two will end up married and ride off into the sunset. Though not impossible, it is massively unlikely and also not the best course to get to that outcome. Timing is a massive part of a relationship working out, and pushing through even thought the timing is wrong is a bad path, especially compared to stepping back and seeing if a right time comes along. You seem to have the the idea that it is not an ideal situation from the phrasing of your question.

Relationships are extremely complicated, and coming to terms with spirituality can be complicated as well. So combining these two complicated areas of life, in a very uncertain circumstances, stretches things to just about the breaking point. You have a very clear way that you want this to go, which there is nothing inherently wrong with, but it means a lot of things get twisted up together. 

The reality, on its most simplistic level, is that if this person wants to continue being in a relationship with you, you want them to accept Jesus. So this makes it impossible to make a decision about Jesus without factoring you into that, at least subconsciously. It is not doing a service to your relationship or your boyfriend’s relationship to the Lord to intertwine those two things. It will sow doubt, justified or not, among both of you about exactly what motivated his decision.

My advice would be to dial the relationship back from dating to friendship. I am aware that you probably kind of expected me to say that, and that it is about the last thing you want to hear. If you are interested in this working out, then it is really the only route to go. It allows the guy to figure out how he feels about the Jesus thing with you still being a presence in his life, without adding that romantic level to the situation. At this point you are in a relationship on the possibility that a massive aspect of this person’s life is going to change. If it doesn’t, you have to either bail on them or be in a relationship that you don’t want for yourself. Disengaging right now, while painful, will be the best situation for both of you as individuals and your possible future.

-Matt from The Bridge

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A big red flag with any religious people you are dealing with is when they have this one verse out of the Bible and it’s what they base everything on and they’re kind of obsessed with it. You will never come to learn something true about the Bible that contradicts the lyrics to “Jesus Loves Me”. If you meet someone who says ‘I’m going to break this one obscure verse down for you and it is going to prove that I’m the only who’s right’ then it’s time to get away from them.

Jed Brewer on episode 26 of the Say That podcast

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Letters From The Front Lines – July, 2012

An update on our Bridge Ministry from Jed Brewer


Hey Everybody,

As many of you know, I work as a missionary here in the city of Chicago, helping folks coming out of addiction, street gangs, and prison get to know Jesus, and get started on the next phase of their lives.

I am blessed to have a team of people who believe in the work my wife and I do and who help to support it through both their prayers and pocketbooks – this is how I buy groceries.

Each month, I send them an update about the amazing stuff God is doing here in Chicago.  Because I know many of y’all here on Tumblr lift me up in your prayers, you’re a part of the team, too!  So, I wanted to thank you for your prayers, and share my latest update with you!


This month, you were a part of making a way out of no way.  The impossible journey from county jail to the comfortable pews of a suburban church happened in a single day, and your support made it happen.

Our team met Clyde in Division 2 of Cook County Jail, at our weekly chapel service.  He worshiped with us for a few months.  Then, this Tuesday, Clyde showed up at The Bridge.  He had been out of jail for 24 hours.

Clyde explained, “You all came to see me so many times behind bars – I just *had* to come visit you!”

Now, that same night at the Bridge, one of our preachers was Mike, who pastors a church in a suburb named Hillside, here in Chicago.

Clyde told me two important things while I was talking with him after the service – He loved Mike’s sermon, and he’s from Maywood, a disadvantaged area that directly borders Hillside.

Armed with this information, I encouraged Clyde to get a plate of food and then I’d introduce him to Pastor Mike. 

While Clyde got a plate of chicken and potatoes – he later noted, “I had no idea the food would be *like this*!! – I quickly briefed Pastor Mike off to the side.

“In a minute, I’m going to introduce you to a man that’s been out of jail for 24 hours.  He’s from Maywood, and he loved your sermon.  I need you to give him a hard push – he needs to know you *want* him at your church.  You’re the boss, and he needs to be convinced.”  Mike nodded.

A moment later, Clyde reappeared.  I introduced Clyde to Pastor Mike and his wife.  And then I stepped aside to listen in.

Pastor Mike gave Clyde the full-court press.  “I’d *love* to have you at my church, Clyde.  I want you there.  Can I pick you up?  Do you need a ride?”

Clyde was beaming.

Friends, in addiction recovery, we talk about the need to change the people, places, and things in your life.  For Clyde, because of your support, a single 24-hour period was able to take him from a crowded, filthy cell to hugs, mashed potatoes, and the introduction to a whole new community in a whole new place.

In John Chapter 8, Jesus told a sinner to go and leave their old life behind them.  Your support has created a pipeline – an ecosystem – that can make that mission a 24-hour trip.  For Clyde, that’s nothing short of the parting of the Red Sea – a miraculous path from slavery to the Promised Land.  On behalf of Clyde and the thousands of men and women just like him, thank you.

Things to thank God for this month:

  • Clyde’s release from jail, attendance at The Bridge, and relationship with Pastor Mike!
  • The ongoing ministry impact of our jail chapel service and Bridge program!


Things to ask God for this month:

  • Clyde’s continued relationship with The Bridge and Pastor Mike.
  • Continued provision for monthly support.
  • As we continue to develop media to communicate the good news to the least of these, we need a number of pieces of equipment, including:
  • Microphone needed for Music Production ($175)