Thursday, October 27, 2011

On the Dispiriting Doctrines of Fairbanks

πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος καὶ ὠφέλιμος πρὸς διδασκαλίαν πρὸς ἔλεγχον, πρὸς ἐπανόρθωσιν πρὸς παιδείαν τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ, ἵνα ἄρτιος ᾖ ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ ἄνθρωπος πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐξηρτισμένος.
2 Timothy 3:17

Last Sunday marked the 6th church service I've attended here in Fairbanks, Alaska, and I'm having a real hard time coming up with a reason to attend a 7th.

My wife Sandy and I are just moving into the third month of our ten-month stay here in America’s Last Frontier, the magnificent state of Alaska. We’re living in Fairbanks, the Golden Heart City, the largest city in the interior, second largest in the state (behind Anchorage). Fairbanks is home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the US Army’s Fort Wainwright, two Fred Meyer stores (including the only one in the country that sells firearms), and Carlile Transportation Systems of Ice Road Truckers fame—last August the company put on a meet-the-drivers event in the Airport Way Fred Meyer’s.

Fairbanks is also home to at least 130 different houses of worship. We saw these looking in the paper for a place to fellowship. That online list at the link is duplicated in the dead-tree version of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Christians are certainly in the majority here, but two of the three largest “church” groups are Mormons and Roman Catholics, neither of which can be said to be truly Christian, given the Catholics' non-Sola Scriptura stance and the Mormons founding upon "another gospel". Baptists make up the largest denomination by far, with most of these being affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. It was among these that Sandy and I searched for a "church home-away-from-home".

In the next couple of posts, I'll describe the disappointing services we found and unpack my reasons for believing they are the result of faulty, unscriptural notions produced by poorly founded doctrines. Is the "great falling-away", the ἀποστασία of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, well and truly under way in Fairbanks?

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