Question:

Hi,

Okay, we have been in the Lord's church for less than a year. My husband, our little son and I are going to visit my grandma and my mother for my son's birthday. We will be there for almost two weeks and one of the days we will be there is a Sunday.

My grandpa died last year very suddenly. He was a very good, Southern Baptist preacher for many years. My grandma is still taking his death very hard and is suffering from depression, loneliness and is in a very unstable mind set. I know my family is going to want us to go to my grandpa's church that he preached at for a number of years, and I am not sure if this is wrong or not since we don't have the same beliefs as them anymore. They know we are in the Lord's church now and are fine with it and agree with everything I tell them about the Lord's church (except for the no instruments part no matter what I tell them) and why we do the things we do, but they are too imbedded in the only church they have ever known. They would never even think about leaving it and joining the Lord's church. For them to do so would be a huge smack in my deceased grandpa's face to them. They are very stuck in their ways.

If we are allowed to go and it would be okay in God's eyes to be there, my husband wants to talk to the new preacher about their beliefs after service and hope to have a Bible study since the new preacher who took over for my grandfather is very young. We think we will have a better chance at opening his eyes. But if it is wrong to go there on a Sunday to worship and sing with them during worship and my husband and I refuse to go when invited, it will literally kill my grandmother. She is very ill and is in her last days. Not only that, it would offend my whole family so bad.

I don't know what to do but ask you. I asked my church and they said they wouldn't do it, but they are not sure if it is wrong to go or not. They really did not seem to care about it too much, I'm guessing, because it does not pertain to them personally. I hate the fact that my grandma is paying for my son's birthday party at her house and has told me she has bought him so much stuff. It makes me feel even worse about the situation.

Thank you for your help on this matter. Hope to hear back from you soon.


Answer:

A Christian's first priority is to worship God in the way that God wants to be worshiped. The problem is that you won't be able to do that at a Southern Baptist gathering. They use instrumental music when the Lord said he wants singing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). They don't partake of the Lord's Supper each first day of the week (Acts 20:7). I could not claim that I had worshiped God in an acceptable manner by going to a Baptist service.

Your family already knows that you are attending a different church, so not going won't be news to them unless they have deluded themselves into thinking that there is not that much difference or that it doesn't matter what church you attend. By attending services at a church of Christ in their area, you'll be saying by your example more eloquently than in words that there is a difference. Yes, it might make some of them upset. No one wants to be told that he is wrong in his beliefs, but it will likely give you a chance to have some interesting discussions if you can manage to keep the emotions out of it and pleasantly discuss what you've learned from the Bible.

If the Baptist church there had a service that did not interfere with attending worship, then perhaps you could go as a "good will gesture," but I suspect that won't be an option. Just state that worship at your church is at such-and-such a time, they are welcome to join you, but if not you'll meet with them after services.

Christ did say, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:37). You can't put family in front of doing what you know is right. It is tough, but Christ is more important than family. And honoring the Lord by your obedience is far more important than honoring the memory of your grandfather.

Thank you. Yes, you are right; it is going to be very hard since, unfortunately, my mother's side of the family does not think rationally but only acts out on emotion. Thank you again for your advice and for your time.