After pastoring a church in the Deep South for nine years, Aaron Carpenter is headed with his family and team to plant Soundside Church in the neighborhoods of Greater Seattle. He is looking forward to drinking esoteric coffees, running and biking in the constant rain, waking up each morning in the shadow of a volcano, and watching God bring hope and healing to people who have yet to meet Jesus.


2 Responses to About

  1. Sierra Clark says:

    Hello Aaron! I recently moved to Morgan City Alabama where my boyfriend’s family lives. He grew up going to the Church of God of Morgan City, and that’s where we have been going to church the past couple of weeks. I grew up in a couple of non denominational churches myself. I enjoy Brother Cornwell’s teachings as they are straight from the Bible, but they believe that an individual has to continue to be saved. I believe that when I asked God into my heart as a little girl that He moved into my life and will never leave me or forsake me. I read your article on continuechallenge.com and was wondering if you could give me some sort of guidance or advice. Thank you!

    • Hey, Sierra,

      Thanks for reading, and thank you for your question. Let me offer two thoughts here.

      First, I think you ought to consider your relationship with your boyfriend. You aren’t married, and so you really have no biblical obligation to attend church with him. But if that’s where your relationship is headed, then you really should be actively involved in the same church together. That means agreeing with the basic beliefs of the church. I don’t think you have to agree with every little preference or side issue, but when it comes to the basics of what it means to be a Christian, you’re talking about the essence of our faith. And that’s something you should be able to share with your husband.

      Which brings me to my second thought. There is a difference between what people say they believe and what they truly believe in their hearts – though they may not be aware of it. Now, I’m assuming that when you say they believe a person “has to continue to be saved,” you mean that they believe a Christian can lose their salvation and have to get saved again…over and over and over. This is what they say and what you’ve been told they believe. My question is whether it’s just words or whether it affects their lives (what they truly believe in their hearts).

      And here’s how you can tell. As Christians, I have no doubt that they will tell you a person is saved by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, and that it is not of works, but the gift of God through Jesus’ death and resurrection (the Gospel). So, do they act like it? Do they rest in faith, trusting what Christ has done for them despite what sins they may commit? Or do they act like bad works remove God’s grace and only good works can keep them saved?

      If it’s the latter, then I’m afraid you’re going to be walking into a very legalistic environment. It doesn’t matter that they say you’re saved through faith, if your salvation is ultimately left up to your works. In other words if bad works forfeit your salvation and your salvation is only maintained by you doing the works that please God, then your salvation is really up to you and your own ability to live a holy life. And if that’s the case, I don’t care what they say, grace is irrelevant and there’s really no place left for the Holy Spirit, despite what happens in the worship service. God gives us the Holy Spirit permanently to change us into the image of Christ, convicting us of sin and giving us power for righteous living, not coming and going as we make good or bad choices. You might hear the Gospel as a way to get saved, but you won’t hear much about God’s grace both to keep you saved and help you live a saved life. And that’s not an environment where you will be able to grow much as a Christian.

      I don’t know the pastor, and for all I know he may be a godly man preaching the true Gospel. But just remember, a preacher can preach the Bible as a standard (law) of right and wrong to be obeyed, instead of as a message of grace to deliver us from sin and empower us for righteousness. He may be using the Bible, but without showing the necessity and centrality of Christ, he’s not really delivering the message God has spoken to his people.

      So ask yourself: is this church a place where I am constantly urged to do more for God, or is this a place where I am constantly reminded of what God has done for me and what he still intends to do to transform me into the image of Christ – through his power, not mine?

      (I’m sure a response like this may stir up more questions, so please feel free to ask!)

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