A quick history: I did not believe in God, Jesus or the Bible. I had almost no experience with the “Church” or any knowledge of the Bible. Then all that literally changed in a moment. My soul was set on fire and a passion for Jesus was ignited within me that burned so strong that I was actually scared it would consume me. I started to pray. I started to read and study the Bible. I joined the congregation that some of my family members attended and I got a very rude awakening. Our congregation was small and no one in the congregation really had healthy bank balances, which meant that we struggled financially as a “Church”. Our Pastor was transferred to a different congregation that effectively left us Pastor-less. We had discussions about the way forward, weighing up pros and cons. Should we appoint a new full time Pastor (who would need a salary), or would we carry on with lay preachers? This was the focus of a discussion we had when a representative of “Head Office” (the main Church board) paid us a visit. We were discussing these options when he reminded us that we could get by with a lay preacher, but that we would have to get a “qualified Pastor” in on the days that we have communion and when there are baptisms to be done. This had me completely confused. After the meeting when everyone was having tea and coffee I asked him why only “qualified” Pastors could do communion and baptisms and he replied that it was the doctrines of the “Church”. I then asked the most forbidden question imaginable (it sure felt that way) when I asked him where it said that in the Bible. It was just a question (not being knowledgeable about Church practises etc), but the aggressive and confrontational reply that I received from him for asking this came as a bit of a shock to me. The Bible instructs us to question everything so that we can find what is good and what is right. It goes as far as to say that only the Bible can be used for doctrine and reproof. It seems to me though that the “Church” that teaches us to study and to live the Word of God, sadly rebukes us when we do. This and other experiences have turned me away from “Traditional Churches”, but thank God, hasn’t turned me away from my faith. I was wondering if there were any of you who have had similar experiences with the “Church” and how you have handled it. Are we to not ask questions at all? Should we blindly believe and follow whatever the “Church” says without consulting the Word of God? Has the “Church” strayed so far from the truth that they are willing to compromise the Word of God to protect their own “truth”? As someone new to the faith this incident could easily have sent me back to my “old ways” and I cannot help but wonder if this is not the reason why the pews are getting emptier.