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  • RE: An Interesting Site
    • Dr. Bill Crump (no login)
      Posted Apr 11, 2005 10:17 PM

      Tom, thanks for the link. So far, most of the so-called “responses” to this “Tell Us Why You Left the Church of Christ” thread have been bash-and-criticize postings which only serve to be destructive and not helpful. These haven’t provided much of a biblical insight why people left the traditional Church of Christ. Maybe the site will be more revealing. After a quick perusal, I list a few features of the site below, and interested parties can check them out.

      First, the site lists the basic tenets of Church of Christ beliefs. I'll quote them exactly:

      “1. Adult baptism by dunking under the water to be saved from one’s sins. Baptism is viewed as not only a symbol, but the moment of salvation.”

      “2. Taking the Lord’s Supper (usually unleavened bread and grape juice) as a symbol, not a sacrament, every Sunday.”

      “3. A capella singing (though there is a sizable instrumental Church of Christ group in the Midwest, associated with Central Christian College of the Bible who believe that it is wrong for men and women to wear shorts above their knees). The more conservative congregations use songbooks with shaped notes (doh re mi fa sol la ti, each having a different shape). Shaped notes date back to the 1700s as a help for people to learn to read music. The conservative Churches of Christ, a small Presbyterian group, and the Holdeman Mennonites are among the last to still use shaped notes, except for Sacred Harp singers who have clubs all over the United States to sing 200 year old songs a capella in four part harmony. Churches of Christ (south) split from the Christian Church and the Disciples of Christ (north) during the Civil War over instruments of music used in worship and denominational organization. The O'Kelly movement of the Christian Church eventually joined the United Church of Christ. There is also a sizable group in Australia called the Churches of Christ that are similar to the Christian Church/Disciples of Christ in the USA.”

      “4. No denominational hierarchy, even anti-denominational. Each congregation is independent. Communication with other congregations is facilitated by journals/magazines, bookstores and colleges each associated with a particular wing of the Churches of Christ. Campbell, a postmaster, spread his beliefs by means of magazines which he edited. Churches of Christ are reputed to have the most religious magazines per person of any religious group.”

      “5. Each congregation is led by elders elected by the congregation. The preacher is called a preacher, evangelist or minister (not a pastor, a term used by the Churches of Christ to describe an elder).”

      “6. Salvation is by works and grace, not by faith alone, or grace alone. It is Arminian in doctrine.”

      Next, the site expounds on what it considers to be the allegedly “unbiblical” doctrine which Churches of Christ teach. I'll just list them here and comment as needed:

      “1. You can never be sure you are saved.”

      I’m not familiar with this premise. Matt. 13:1-23 relates the parable of the sower, which implies that it is possible to receive the Word, then fall away. Hebrews 6:4-6 also implies that it is possible to obey Christ at first, then fall away and never return.

      “2. Only people baptized in the Churches of Christ will be saved.”

      See the essay “Who Is Going to Heaven?” in the thread “Apostate: Jeff Walling.”

      “3. Every time you sin you are lost until you ask forgiveness.”

      Matt. 6:14-15 deals with forgiveness of trespasses. If we forgive others of their trespasses, Christ will forgive us of ours. If we do not, He will not. Luke 17:3-4 also states that we are to forgive those who repent and ask for our forgiveness after they have trespassed against us. By these examples, if we sin against Christ, then repent and ask His forgiveness, He will forgive us. Those who sin but who neither repent nor ask for forgiveness have cause for concern.

      “4. Obedience is following the blueprint in the book of Acts.”

      Obedience is following the entire Word of God as outlined in the entire New Testament.

      “5. Worship is following the blueprint in the book of Acts.”

      The entire New Testament is a “blueprint” for worship. Saying that statement # 5 is “unbiblical” would imply resistance to some or all commands given in the Word.

      “6. God is reluctant to forgive.”

      I’m not familiar with this premise. Comments to # 3 above would contradict this.

      “7. Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10) are an example of how we will be punished for wrong worship.”

      I am familiar with this passage only as one illustration of the law of exclusion, that these two priests were slain for introducing that which God had not specifically commanded.

      “8. Uzzah (II Samuel 6) is an example of how we will be punished for wrong worship.”

      See comments for # 7. Only priests were to touch the Ark of the Covenant. All others would be slain.

      “9. Instruments of music are forbidden and unacceptable to God in church worship” (includes usual arguments about instruments in the Old Testament and Revelation mentioning harps in heaven).

      See the thread “Boswell-Hardeman Discussion on Instrumental Music in the Worship” at the Sunday School in Exile forum.

      “10. The Lord's Supper must be taken every Sunday.”

      Christ only said as often as we eat the bread and drink the cup (also 1 Cor. 11:26). Acts 20:7 implies the first day of the week. To say that statement # 10 is “unbiblical” implies an attitude of resistance and complaining, that there is something odious or unpleasant, perhaps even inconvenient, about taking the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. Why not approach the Lord’s Supper with reverence and contentment?

      “11. I have to be worthy to take the Lord's Supper.”

      Written as such, this statement would imply that only the sinless can participate. Only believers are to take the Lord's Supper, and in a worthy manner. In 1 Cor. 11:18-34, Paul upbraids the Corinthians for turning the Lord’s Supper into a common meal and not observing the Lord’s Supper with proper reverence: “When ye come together therefore into one place, (this) is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating every one taketh before (other) his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?…” (verses 20-22). “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink (this) cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (verse 27). “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body” (verse 29).

      “12. Missing a church service is a sin.”

      Hebrews 10:25 encourages us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Pointing a finger every time someone happens to miss a service violates Matt. 7:1-2.

      The web site failed to include two other allegedly unbiblical Church of Christ tenets:

      “13. It is sinful to dance.”

      “14. It is sinful to drink alcohol, either by the thimbleful or the barrelful.”

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    ...........................THE BOOK

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