EMAIL RESPONSE!October 23 2002 at 8:16 PM
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from IP address 126.96.36.199
"Thank you Lord. I thought I was the only one"
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Appreciation and Encouragement
|December 7 2003, 2:46 AM |
From: mriley [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2003 10:17 PM
To: Donnie Cruz
Subject: Appreciation And Encouragement
My name is Mike Riley and I'm a member of the Lord's church (Montana St. COC) in El Paso, Texas http://www.theseeker.org/cgi-local/city_nfo.pl?city=El+Paso. For several months, I've been looking at the good Bible answers that you've been providing (as well as other members of the church) on the IBelieve.com website to respondents. I appreciate your study and knowledge of God's Word and just wanted to send you an e-mail encouraging you to keep up the good work defending the faith!
A Brother In Christ,
Bible Class Teacher
Montana St. COC
El Paso, Texas
P.S. I got your e-mail address from one of your answers to a respondent - hope you don't mind my writing you.
From: Donnie [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2003 11:42 PM
Subject: Re: Appreciation And Encouragement
You have made my year! It is so difficult to discuss salvation issues on IBelieve.com because of the posters varying backgrounds. My understanding is that a cofC site merged with the IBelieve.com siteBaptist-affiliated (?). While the 2 groups are closer to each other in doctrine than any other combination groups, I think the two simply dont mix togetherespecially in regard to baptism. Its even complicated by the fact that many of the posters who have cofC leanings (or with strong Restoration Movement backgrounds) have unfortunately disregarded or disavowed their heritage. They align themselves with sides other than our ownwould you believe that? In addition, the Charismatic folks (Pentecostal) are extremely loud and vocal (I think you know what I mean) in opposing anything associated with the church of Christ. Anyway, it is very discouraging because no matter how plainly the scriptures express things, theyre simply ignored and rejected. Im surprised but glad that you were able to find my e-mail address which I think I may have listed only a few timeswhen I wanted some of my friends there (ones that agree with me) to correspond with me. But you just gave me an idea: I may start appending my e-mail address when I post something major.
Actually, most of my work (writing articles and posting, i.e.) is with the Concerned Members website. You did not mention this. So, Im assuming that you may not have heard of it. I have sent a letter to over 1200 congregations which had their e-mail addresses in a database. (For content, I am attaching the letter below.) But even that effort was very discouragingits been difficult for me to take it personally that there are so many congregations of the church who are nonchalant, when it comes to problems and issues that are prevalent in the brotherhood. Well, in short, let me just introduce you to this website and, hopefully, you will tell others about it, too. It is www.concernedmembers.com. You may go directly to www.concernedmembers.com/madison. Please let me know what you think of the sites.
Im very glad for your e-mail. Please continue corresponding with me at your convenience.
Brotherly in Christ,
|December 7 2003, 4:23 PM |
ibelieve.com went south. It was bought by the faithsite people (I believe) which seems to have begun as the official organ of Shellyism.
Really strange people do ibelieve but perhaps I did a bit to chase the hen-party for troubled women into the coffee shop. They truly went insane each time I exposed to them the pagan practices with music.
Before they retired from the strongly Baptist forum I posted a quotation from John Calvin. They got offended and harrassed the forum people until they BLACKLISTED me. Isn't that adult and presshussh? Here is what I quoted to confirm the view against hired preachers who don't go out and evangelize:
"These are Paul's words. Let them, then, show us that they are ministers of the gospel, and I will have no difficulty in conceding their right to stipend.
The ox must not be muzzled that treadeth out the corn [1 Cor. 9:9]. But is it not altogether at variance with reason that the ploughing oxen should starve, and the lazy asses be fed?
David said that I was CURSING. Blacklisted, yet! But that is what is happening as the musical fellas take over.
I think I came down too hard on their Zoe Group which teaches how to steal church houses with the PERFORMING ARTS. Well, anyway, I like concerned members: the moderator is fair and doesn't CENSURE TRUTH.
Re: Appreciation and Encouragement
|December 8 2003, 2:44 AM |
From: mriley [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, December 05, 2003 11:18 PM
Subject: Re: Appreciation And Encouragement
I am familiar with Bro. Waddey's website http://www.christianity-then-and-now.com/index.html and his expose' of change agents within churches of Christ. It's sad to see the tremendous deterioration of the Lord's church over the past thirty to forty years (I
have been a Christian since 1960). I'm reminded of God's statement through Hosea in Hosea 4:6 concerning His people's lack of spiritual knowledge and the reason for that lack - "because thou hast rejected knowledge...." Their problem was the exact same problem as the Gentiles had in Romans 1:28, "And even as they did not like to retain (marginal reading - Or, to acknowledge) God in their knowledge....." When man rejects the knowledge of God, the only other alternative God has is to "give them over to a reprobate mind" (the NKJV and ESV renders the word reprobate as "debased" mind - a corrupt, depraved or perverted mind). We can plainly see this happening in our TV sitcoms. They have one now promoting homosexuals and of course how could we ever forget the "coming out" of Ellen Degenerate (that's what I call her!).
This idea of "acceptance" of everyone into the church without requiring them to "change" their corrupt and perverted lifestyles has resulted in the "Community Church" type of environment. Our preaching has been "watered down" as well - not wanting to "offend" anyone - thus resulting in the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle as well as unscriptural divorces, living together, etc.
Most (if not all) of the above problems stem from a lack of study of the scriptures by members of the body of Christ (2 Tim. 2:15). God wants "all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4) but this will not happen until members of the church once again start studying God's Word and make application of it in their lives. The church also needs to understand all of the false doctrines that are presently being promoted in the religious word and "earnestly contend for the faith" (Jude 3). This is not being done. In fact many members of the church have grown spiritually "lazy" and do very little (if any) study of God's Word at all. As a teacher of an adult Bible class, I'm constantly amazed at the lack of Bible knowledge even among members that have been in the church 50, 60 and 70 years. Satan is still "walking about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet. 5:8). Peter gives us the remedy to resisting Satan's devices in the very next verse, "Whom resist steadfast in the faith...." How can we "resist" Satan if we know very little about "the faith?"
This "downward spiral" of the churches of Christ began in the 60's when we started mimicking the Baptists by starting bus programs, building gymnasiums and "family life centers" for entertainment purposes. I mentioned this trend to several elders of the congregation we were members of and they couldn't understand my opposition to these "methods" to retain our young people. I'll end this e-mail message by including an article that I wrote in Aug. of 2001 concerning why we are "loosing" our young people. See if you don't agree with the import of the article.
Monthly Report, Christianity: Then and Now
|December 16 2003, 5:47 AM |
From: JOHNWADDEY@aol.com [mailto:JOHNWADDEY@aol.com]
Sent: Friday, December 12, 2003 12:28 PM
Subject: Monthly Report, Christianity: Then and Now
Dec. 12, 2003
Dear Friends and Supporters of Christianity: Then and Now:
Like the one-armed paper hanger, I am terribly busy this week, but I want to give you a brief update on our efforts for the Master and his church. I also want to tell how much I appreciate your prayers, support and encouragement.
Since last month we have lots of good news:
A brother in Florida has volunteered to provide funds for mailing all the churches in that state. The addresses of the 310 churches are being added to our mailing list.
A brother in New England is making it possible for us to add the church in Michigan, Indiana and much of Illinois.
Smaller contributions have made it possible for us to add 35 churches in Louisiana, and additional congregations in Tennessee, California and Texas.
Our next mailing will be to the leaders of approximately 3500 congregations.
The Lord sent us a good sister who has volunteered to help me with managing the mailing list, which will take a burden off me and free up time for additional writing and correspondence.
I have just completed the manuscript of a new book which is a collection of the book reviews and recommendations I have prepared and published in CTN. This includes in depth reviews of some 24 books published by the promoters of change and brief reviews and recommendations of good books that counter their false teaching. It will be published by Star Bible Publications and should be ready in a few short weeks.
I will be putting together a second book in the next few weeks that will consist of articles addressing various areas of the change agenda and how we should deal with this pernicious movement.
Each week I am receiving letters from fellow-Christians who are confronted with by the promoters of change in their congregations. They are good people who love the Lord, his church and his word and are pleading for help and advice on what they should do in response to this challenge to their faith. Each of these receives one or more letters of encouragement and suggestions on what they can do. Also materials are sent to educate and arm them for the fight they will have to engage in if their congregation is to be saved.
We continue to send out our weekly email lessons addressing different aspects of the change movement and our website @ www.christianity-then-and-now.com is on line 24 hours per day, seven days of the week.
The most exciting news is from a congregation in the East. A faithful couple moved to a church and found a man and wife, vigorously promoting the agenda of change. At first they were inclined to leave, but I encouraged them to stay and try to salvage the congregation. Several times each week we corresponded by email. As prayers were being offered up, I offered them suggestion on how to proceed and provided them suitable materials to share with other members. They talked with their preacher and other good members, explaining the danger before them. Eventually they confronted the agents of change. The end of the matter was, that the change agents and two of the families they had already won, left and went elsewhere. To God be the glory for this victory. If we should accomplish nothing else, this has made our efforts worthwhile.
Our goals are still to be able to mail the paper each month to the leaders of every congregation in the nation, all our missionaries and congregations in English speaking countries. Also we want to be able to mail bundles to all schools where young preachers are trained, if they will accept them. We want to provide books and tracts that will address and answer the errors of the promoters of change. Please pray that God will provide the means that these goals can be reached. Tell others about this effort and encourage them to get involved with us. If at all possible continue you support in the coming year.
Yours for the church we love,
12630 W. Foxfire Dr.
Sun City West, AZ 85375
Oklahoma Christian University: Its Lectureship Roster
|December 19 2003, 6:26 AM |
From: JOHNWADDEY@aol.com [mailto:JOHNWADDEY@aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 2:47 PM
Subject: RE: OCU's lectureship roster
Dear Friend in Christ: Check out the lectureship schedule of our brethren at Oklahoma Christian University. If you are concerned about the speakers they are featuring you may also want to write Dr. O'Neal a kindly letter expressing your concerns. Our Christian Schools are too valuable to abandon to the promoters of change. Pray and then do something to help. Below is the letter I have written. Yours in Christ, John Waddey
Dear Dr. O'Neal:
I trust this letter finds all well with you and your work with the University. My purpose in writing is to express my deep concern regarding some of the speakers you have announced for your upcoming Lectureship. I am sure you are aware of the problems surging throughout our brotherhood caused by the efforts of a band of people to promote unscriptural changes in the faith, worship and practice of our churches. Already numerous congregations have suffered strife and division and the problem is daily growing in intensity. It will likely equal the great division we suffered a century ago when the Disciples of Christ and Christian Churches divided the body over the use of instruments in worship, missionary organizations, women preachers and denominational practices.
Abilene Christian and Pepperdine Universities have already cast their lots with this change movement. Brethren have been hoping and praying that you and OCU would be loyal to the New Testament principles upon which the school was founded and operated over the years. However some of the people you have scheduled to speak on your lecture are promoters and advocates of the change movement. I am confident you are fully aware of the thinking of these folks as most informed brethren are, but I point them out for your reflection. There is no doubt where Mark Henderson of the Quail Springs Church, Dr. Randy Harris and David Padilla of the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio stand in this current conflict.
I need not remind you that these men preach a different gospel than that so effectively proclaimed by Bros. James O. Baird, Raymond Kelcy, Hugo McCord, Stafford North and other faithful men who have served OCU so well over the years.
God has placed in your hands the leadership of a great school with a wonderful campus and great resources. Please do not allow that priceless heritage to be compromised and destroyed by opening your doors to men who will corrupt and destroy the church of Christ of which we are members.
Oklahoma Christian University has served the church well in days past. May she do so in the years to come.
Be assured I am no untraconservative who is hostile to Christian Schools. All my children attended Christian Colleges, and I have encouraged dozens of young people to do the same. However, I love the church and cannot hold my peace while men try to corrupt her faith and worship.
John Waddey, minister
Editor, Christianity: Then and Now
Re: Thanks, Donnie (Re: Otter Creek Church of Christfrom John, December 18 2003, 8:43 AM)
|December 19 2003, 6:32 AM |
In this thread: KEEPING ABREAST: REVIEWS OF BOOKS AND MATERIALS RELATING TO THE CHANGE MOVEMENT, Johns post stated:
From what I can see from Mr. Waddey's review and the comments from the Otter Creek Church of Christ website is that this is the kind of church that Madison wants to turn into.
I guess my question is this, why doesn't Otter Creek get as much attention as Woodmont Hills?
In regard to your statement in reference to the Otter Creek Church of Christ
that this is the kind of church that Madison wants to turn intoI find your observation rather interesting. I can only assume that youve been following the developments at Madison and Otter Creek. I did not know anything about Otter Creek (and even its close ties, it seems, with Lipscomb University), not until you asked about the author, Tim Woodroof. There is some semblance in the music ministry (i.e., strong emphasis on musical worshipprogramming and choreography) of both congregations. I would not be surprised if there are similarities in certain beliefs regarding tithing, grace or faith without works, less mention of the purpose of baptismnow a controversial issue in certain church of Christ congregations [would you believe this
of all things], etc. The change agents are so devious in stressing the non-salvation factor as a means to propagate major changes in scriptural doctrines, beliefs and practices.
So, Rubel Shellys Woodmont Hills Family of God Church is getting much attention? Max Lucados Oaks Hills [Community] Church in San Antonio, Texas, is certainly the latest big news in the brotherhood. But I dont know the answer as to why Otter Creek doesnt get as much attention as Woodmont Hills. Perhaps, Mr. Shelly is the reason.
# Re: Thanks, Donnie (Re: Otter Creek Church of Christfrom John, December 18 2003, 8:43 A
|December 19 2003, 9:06 AM |
What I know about Otter Creek is what I've been finding on line the last few days on places like the Plumbline and Banner of Truth and from Mr. Waddey's review of Woodruff's book. It seems to be a very liberal church, and it seems curious that one that seems as liberal and infused with change agents doesn't get the same amout of attention that Woodmont Hills and Oak Hill does.
I think what you said about the main attention being focused on Shelley and Lucado is an interesting point. I guess Woodruff hasn't achieved that desired fame yet.
Re: Otter Creek Church of Christfrom John, December 19 2003, 9:06 AM
|December 20 2003, 5:27 AM |
Is there a link to the Banner of Truth website? Or, if you have any information from it or from Plumbline, can you forward it to my e-mail address?
Ive done some thinking (oops, thats risky) on Woodmont Hills and Oak Hills and come up with this: Richland Hills with its [another one] famous leader, Rick Atchley as the Senior Minister of the Word. Its another one of those apostate congregationsabout the size of Oak Hills. The RHCC website is another one of those ashamed to headline its eldersyou will need to go through layers of web pages to find a diagram of the eldership hierarchy. In addition, I would like to see its list of deaconesses.
While Im thinking about hills, creeks and rivers, let me tell you about the Quail Springs Church of Christ with Mark Henderson as its Senior Minister. I dont know anything about it except that the home page has Quail Announcements and first on the list is A Christmas Season Celebrationa time of worship and celebration of the Christmas season. More links to this schedule: "A Christmas Season Celebration will take place at Quail on December 23, 7-8 PM, in the QSCC auditorium. This will be a time of worship and celebration of the Christmas season.
Let me get back to my point. I guess you have figured out by now their commonality as far as this thing about the hills goes. Our brother Ken Sublett is very familiar with this Look to the Hills kind of stuff. Anyway, I think Otter Creek (creek being somewhat insignificant) probably needs to change its name to Otter Hills or Otter River. Tim Woodroof needs to write many more books about undoing the Restoration Movement with Max Lucado as his mentor. Woodroof will be able to say one day: I have arrived!
|December 20 2003, 12:28 PM |
Donnie, on another thread, I have caught some static because I keep speaking about the ZOE GROUP. The Zoe Group IS the true message of Otter Creek. John O. York is assisting Rubel Shelly to denounce the OLD Bible, giving people the right to TAKE LIBERTIES, hear the audible voice of God who is NOW "partnering" with US to discover TRUTH for our CULTURE. Culture Changes = Bible must change. Damon and Plato says: "Music changes means LAWS are being changed." Why do people hate to hear that?
Only those trained in the EXTREMES of our "fellowship" have TURNED into equal and opposite extremists. Getwell bred Rubel Shelly. (Does not mean they are NOW extreme)
MOST people have been so COWED and left Biblically thirsty and simply do not have the courage to rise up. Until some Otter bares its teeth it is hard to involve them in the takeover which afflicted most churches at one level: if nothing more than to turn SYNAGOGUE into WORSHIP CENTER. The ACT is not singing or melody but TEACHING or PREACHING that which is written by the Spirit of Christ.
If I am not mistaken, the Zoe Group is promoted by faithsite and iBelieve.not. The Look To the Hills thingy at "The Church of the Four Phallic Asherah Poles" has BEEN the key agent for turning churches (which should be synagogues or schools of the Bible, but have ALMOST ALL turned to "worship" to replace "teaching") into Theaters for "Holy Entertainment."
"Preaching" in the modern sense which violates the law against PRIVATE INTERPRETATION which is 'further expounding'--and violates the Law of the non-Pharisee Rabbi in the Synagogue against 'allegorizing'." This has, in the warning of Amos 5, 6, 8; and Isaiah 5 caused the FLOCK to hunger and thirst for the Word. Their "songs IN the temples" were turned into HOWLINGS (As the 1911 Jewish Encyclopedia would define OUR "singing" substituted for TEACHING with "that which is written (Rom 15 defining a synagogue), the Spirit (Jn 6:63; Eph 5) or the Word of Christ (Col 3) which is the SPIRIT of prophecy (1Pe 1:11; Rev 19:10).
As Pogo was want to say: "We have met the enemy face to face and he is US."
And as the SHELL GAME should teach us: "The PEA is under NEITHER shell." Anyone wanting to RESTORE must take personal responsibility for learning and TEACHING one another.
The Bible and church History deny that "church" is a ritualistic religion, and AFFIRM that church is to LET JESUS do the teaching through HIS WORD. Luther's Sola Fide (unknown to our scholars) meant that you had FAITH in the WORD ONLY as the Only Word OF God in Christ to us. Because Jesus demanded BAPTISM or DAMNATION Luther said that Faith Only must rest on Baptism Only for the forgiveness of sins. Luther treated infant baptism as WE NOW treat "baby dedication."
Jesus said GO and make DISCIPLES. A Disciple is a STUDENT of the WORD-ONLY. WHen the members gathered into one place Paul uses a form of the word SYNAGOGUE. The synagogue was not a "worship center." The synagogue gave REST from the Sabbath rituals which were adopted from the nations or goyiim or Babylonians. The clergy as AGENTS of the "god" RESTED while the "church members" performed the BURDEN LADEN rituals to feed, clothe, house, entertain and sexually satisfy the AGENTS. Women singers were ALWAYS "the harem of the gods" and the god's AGENTS. Music does and has always FACILITATED real SEXUALITY in the belief that they are PRAISING GOD.
Melody speaks of the "twanging bow string to send the singing arrow to abrade (pso, sop) our literal heart. Melody IS NOT harmony. Science knows that complex harmony HIDES the "water drips" and "dog barks" which drive us up the wall while the WORHIP LEADERS tell us that it is a SPIRITUAL FEELING. That's what all pagans taught and what Lucifer the Nachash or "musical enchanter" did to poor Eve. YOU cannot get through to the RATIONAL or SPIRITUAL side of the brain after shutting it DOWN with a "churchy" style which creates FIGHT, FLIGHT or SEXUALITY. That is what SOWS DISCORD and the right wing DRUG HIGH ceases to satisfy and the left wing DRUGH HIGH can take over and the "audience" doesn't know the difference.
Jesus died to give us REST from the laded burden which was "the creation of spiritual anxiety through religious rituals." Until the church ceases to be an INSTITUTION (institutional or non-institutional) and the people CUT FREE to be DISCIPLES they CANNOT be CHRISTIANS in the midst of doing things Jesus and Paul denied were collective "worship."
When you build THEATERS you might expect that Satan will feel invited to come on in and perform. He/She as the king/queen of Tyre was the AGENT and PERSONIFICATION of Lucifer, the "singing and harp playing prostitute." SHE uses ritual-stimulation to keep you ASLEEP while she "fleeces the sheep."
If you look around you can find some Zoe Group material which is too hot to handle, BUT the message has gone into all of the world which has sun light--free of charge. If you want to understand the end-time Babylon harlot religion you have to look at the BEGINNING TIME religion where "Assyria was the TALLEST tree in Eden." Satan was a MUSICAL performer and he can get his job done WITH or WITHOUT instruments.
Where I found the Otter Creek Info...
|December 22 2003, 9:07 AM |
Here are the links for the info I found:
The Banner of Truth is from a couple of years back and I can't get to the website right now, so I can't give taht link.
Re: Where I found the Otter Creek Info..., December 22 2003, 9:07 AM
|December 23 2003, 5:48 AM |
Thanks for the linksI am able to access both. I havent yet read the entire article written by J.E. Choate, Consistency: The Jewel in the Crown; but heres a portion that caught my attention:
The forced resignation of Doug Varnado from the Lipscomb Bible faculty has now made its way throughout the brotherhood. Varnado was compelled to leave the Lipscomb faculty. He had no idea that this was his time to go. Doug was planning as the senior minister of the Hendersonville Community Church to install instrumental music in the weekly worship of the church.
. . .
Why was Doug Varnado singled out for dismissal? The faculty and administration are loaded with faculty who defend the practices which caused Varnado's dismissal. You will locate these brothers and sisters in the Harpeth Hills, Otter Creek, and Brentwood Hills churches, and in Dr. Shelly's church. And, they make no bones about the fact.
What did the Community Church shepherds have in mind when they engaged in a exercise of futility to go public with the Varnado matter? And who is this Kansas City like prophet, Ron Cook, and what are his credentials? He tells us that the next generational Churches of Christ will worship to the sound of instrumental music.
See my point? Everything is about the hillsHarpeth Hills, Brentwood Hills, Woodmont Hills, Richland Hills, Oak Hills.
I really just wanted to quote the segment above as a reminder of what the New Testament church is facing in this post-modern erathe Community Church Movement, the Charismatic Movement, the Contemporary Christian Music Movement, Trans-Baptist and other Change Movements, etc.
About Madison "coC"
|July 9 2005, 4:13 PM |
From: ----- [-----firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, July 06, 2005 6:03 PM
Subject: About Madison "coC"
I recently stumbled on to the Letter to Elders Madison Church of Christ, Nashville & was quite interested in what was written. I can't say I am surprised by what I read. I followed the links & located the concernedmembers.com site. When I saw RHCOC as one of the highlighted congregations, I thought 'that figures'.
I am from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex & have lived in Tarrant County (where Richland Hills is) for nearly 27 years. The reputation of RHCOC is infamous. Liberal, of course. I have heard of many things that go on there.
I was concerned when I read that the Madison situation basically started with the "Purpose Driven Life". My congregation had the 40 days of purpose last summer. Luckily this was not met with enthusiasm & in fact many members were disgusted by the whole thing. I don't know who or how many may have left.
For years the leadership & "minister" at my congregation has failed to do their job IMO. Our congregation use to have in attendance each week about 400 members each Sunday morning. Now we are lucky to get about 130 or so. I am very frustrated by the situation.
Anyway, just thought I'd drop you a note from someone else who feels much like you do.
Your brother in Christ
|This message has been edited by Donnie.Cruz from IP address 184.108.40.206 on Jul 11, 2005 11:57 PM|
What Has Happened!
|July 11 2005, 3:52 AM |
From: email@example.com [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2005 10:28 PM
Subject: What Has Happened!
Brother, my heart's desire is that the truth will win, but in reality, (for the present) Satan has scored a great victory. Bro. Ira North would have never stood with this. It was taken to the Brotherhood too late. I really don't like saying this, but Ira Rice warned many years ago that there was a problem in the Madison eldership. The congregations problems started when Steve Flatt was pulpit minister and digressed from there. While I was attending I.B.C. in Florence, Al. not much was ever said positively about Madison. I always wondered about it and now I know why. You who are continuing stay with it! Please keep the web-site going. The faithful are in my prayers. May God bless you.
____________ Church of Christ
Even before Phil Barnes was there [at Hermitage]
|September 7 2005, 5:54 AM |
Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2005 9:07 AM
Subject: Hermitage Church of Christ
Hope you are doing well.
I thought you might be interested in this email we received from someone who received an email warning about the changes at Hermitage Church of Christ (my former congregation). The original emailer who was warning of the changes had provided links to concerned members and other websites warning of the changes. Of course we could see the way things were going a long time ago, even before Phil Barnes was there. Now I believe from what I have heard that the changes are accelerating as the elders there believe they must go the entertainment route to compete with the brand new huge Baptist church building and fancy electronic sign across the street from them.
Of course, in typical change agent fashion, as you can see in the text of the email, the change agent supporters jump to the defense of the elders and try their best to label the concerned member as an agent of Satan. The email is somewhat jumbled, but it is just as it was received by us.
It's really a shame.
Im deciphering . . . posting again soon.
Re: Even before Phil Barnes was there [at Hermitage]
|September 8 2005, 6:35 AM |
To: [A concerned member of the Hermitage congregation].[220.127.116.11
. . . 18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206
. . . 220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.41.42
. . . 43.___.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.53.54 e-mail addresses]
Subject: Re: Hermitage church of Christ and the Elders future direction
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2005 8:02:02 -0400
I will be praying for you, whoever you are....coward that you are, not to put your name to an email, but praying for you as you are doing Satan's work. The spirit of God is not living in you as you are causing dissention by even spreading this email. Your heart is not right with God and I am praying for you all! Hermitage nor Madison are doing nothing that goes against the Word. Only you think they are because you have let Satin in and I am praying for you! God help you and direct you and take the hardness out of your heart before it is too late! The Preachers and ELders of both Madison and Hermitage are Godly men and are being led by the Spirit. It is obviously that YOU ARE NOT and are taking what you THINK is going on and not finding scriptures in the Bible to back up what you THINK IS GOING ON! You are being led by Satan, not God's WORD.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
Problems with Emails
|September 8 2005, 11:29 AM |
There are several problems with these emails. First, unsigned emails are essentially "spam" and lack credibility. I must agree with the term of "coward" as applied in the response email from Hermitage.
Most folks would merely delete "spam," but apparently this "spam" really stuck a nerve with one person at Hermitage. The Hermitage response is highly defensive as if to say, "Hey, there's truth in what the anonymous member says, and we're gonna nip it in the bud ASAP." All Hermitage can do, however, is present the usual tit-for-tat lame argument: "We're of God; you're of Satan."
Despite appearing as "spam," the anonymous member's email contains links to web sites which clearly refute the Church Growth Movement with Scripture. Ignoring those, the Hermitage response instead attempts to escape criticism by rebuking the concerned member for his/her alleged paucity of Scripture, while in the same breath, Hermitage offers no specific, biblical justification for its own actions there.
So appears the usual, double standard practiced by the Change Movement.
Gossip regarding Hermitage Church of Christ
|September 9 2005, 5:00 PM |
I am deeply saddened by your comments, sir, about our church's desire to engage in some sort of competition with the big Baptist church across the street. If you are a current member of Hermitage and have sat down with the elders and they admitted to a desire for an "entertaining" worship service to compete with another church that clearly does not preach the Gospel, then I digress, and sincerely apologize for falsing accusing you. HOWEVER, if you are basing your statement on "something you heard", then please refrain from posting such comments on a public website until you have the facts or a statement signed by the elders and congregation regarding our desire to compete with another church of any kind. It's websites and comments such as these that continually brew the gossip and fuel the fire of church dissention.
I believe that the Lord's church that meets at Hermitage is God-fearing, Gospel based, and has a desire for an orderly worship according the scriptures. There are those that choose to clap during a song (mainly just a handful of our youth group), but the majority of the congregation does not. We sing a mix of new and old songs and we have one song leader, no praise team and no desire to have one. I have read many arguments on this site about the problems with the "new" songs, and how they are not scriptural, but guess what....if you look in our old hymn books, there are some that were written in the 1800's, and some in the 1900's. If my math is correct, the ones in the 1900's were NEW at one point! Guess there were churches divided over songs then too.
Our service is calm and orderly, with the usual scripture reading, a few songs, a prayer, a song and the Lord's Supper, sermon, then a closing song. Baptism is essential for salvation and our preacher stresses that each and every sermon. There are no theatrics, no humming during a prayer, or cueing of lights.
I kindly ask that you attend a service before you pass judgment on the way we conduct our worship services so that your information spread on this website will be firsthand, not heresay. I trust that you are a Christian man with a good heart and I sincerely share your desire to maintain a scripturally sound worship service. I strongly believe that the Hermitage elders and members have NO intentions of following any community church movement, or any other such nonsense that I've read about on this website. I will be the first to walk out if I ever get the message that we are headed down that road.
Thank you for your consideration and concern for our congregation. I ask for your prayer that we can get through this trying time and resume our focus which should be respectfully worshipping our Lord, being a good Christian example to the world around us, and leading souls to Christ through our actions and the message of the Gospel.
In Christian Love,
Kendra Tucker, Member Hermitage Church of Christ
Re: Gossip regarding Hermitage Church of Christ
|September 12 2005, 5:34 AM |
We appreciate your post very much. Personally, I gather that you are very loyal to Christ, His church and the truth. I have checked out Hermitages website some. I have reviewed the HCC History, as well as the weekly bulletins, but the earliest ones date back to November 2004 only. I was looking for Phil Barnes in the history and bulletins because the e-mail that was sent to me did mention Phil, who came to Madison before then. You made no mention of Phil, and Im assuming that he was the preacher there some time.
[Heres to let you know that I have started this reply . . . which will be continued....]
Re: Gossip regarding Hermitage Church of Christ
|September 14 2005, 5:17 AM |
Im really interested to know from you or anyone when Mr. Barnes was minister at Hermitage. How long did he serve? What did you or the congregation think of him? Was he too animated in his sermon delivery? Were his sermons replete with humorous stories . . . humorous personal stories, but lacking in substance? Did he have liberal-thinking tendencies? Did he leave on his own or was he driven out?
My understanding is that Phil was the pulpit minister of Western Hills on Charlotte Pike [. . . and he may have come to Madison directly from Western Hills]. I have looked at the WHCC website [another one of those Hills churches, you know, like Richland Hills, Woodmont Hills, Oak Hills, etc.]. When a church website uses favorable expressions to mislead and deceive, I become very suspicioussuch as a dynamic church ... grace-oriented ... contemporary style church ... available to all faith levels ... our mission statement is ... openness ... in this community of faith ... regardless of religious background ..., etc.
The reason Im bringing up the above is that I just want to look at both sides objectively. On one hand, you mentioned only certain items that you consider as gossip fueling the fire of church dissention and then expect evidence to come from the elders. I dont know what the elders think, and Im not speaking for or against that which I know nothing about. But do you believe that the elders would really admit to advocating something that could backfire or be used against them or be blamed for?
On the other hand [OK, I realize the impact of what I have heard means], should we not consider the possibility that the changes are accelerating as the elders there believe they must go the entertainment route? There may be at least some truth to that claim based on: (1) the original e-mail from a concerned member at Hermitage and (2) the way the respondent replied to the original e-mail ... both of which, by the way, you did not mention at all. Interestingly, the first paragraph of your post is directed only to the one who sent me both (1st and 2nd) e-mails and who also referred to Hermitage as the former congregation of this Christian manyet you said if you are a current member.
I would give the original e-mail the benefit of a doubt as it truly was a voice of CONCERN about the future direction of Hermitage church of Christ. Most are not aware of what appears to be slowly occurring....
The key expression here is slowly occurring.
Id be the first one to admit that in Madisons situation, I certainly was not aware; in fact, many members were not aware when the culture-driven contemporary/community church scheme was ever so slowly and subtly taking place. It had been going on for a decade until the upheaval occurred in early 2001.
More concern was expressed in the original e-mail... educate yourself and ask the Elders questions... May God bless and touch the hearts of the Elders and the members and bless the future direction of the Lord's Church as this current controversy is sorted out
So, is there or is there not a current controversy?
It appears that there is a current controversy. It stands to reason that I would give credence to the respondents statementsthe same defense mechanisms that disciples of change agents commonly use: ... you are causing dissention ... you do not have the spirit of God ... you are not being led by the Spirit ... you are doing Satans work ... you are being led by Satan ... the hardness of your heart ... the Scripture does not say NOT TO ..., etc.
Furthermore, the respondents e-mail associates Hermitage with Madison or vice versaboth doing nothing against the Word ... preachers and elders of both are godly men and are being led by the Spirit.
So, was Phil Barnes employed to complete the scheme here at Madison, a similar scheme that he wanted implemented at Hermitage?
Kendra, I need you to help me. Heres why. I really like your comments about the church at Hermitage being God-fearing and gospel-based, having a desire for an orderly worship with a song leader [not worship leader, thank you] but with no praise team to replace or override congregational singing [thank you, again] and no theatrics and other contemporaneous extra-curricular activities. Im so glad to hear that baptism is essential for salvation for without it there is no redemption in the blood of the Lamb.
The order of worship is not an issue [although its a distraction when some humming or some operatic solo occurs during the solemn observance of the Lords Supper].
The mixture of new and old songs is not an issue unless either type does not conform to what the Holy Scripture teaches. Im critical of expressions in a song, such as the Calvinistic doctrine that I cant believe that He [God] selected me! ... but not the other person. Or, to sing, Let us worship the Father in reverence and awe and at the same time perform rhythmic clapping and swaying to the music or applaud at the end of the worship song.
I notice youre quick to point out the old songs of the 1800s and 1900s being new at the timewhich is common knowledge and is really not the issue. Rather, the issue is concerning many contemporary songs and some hymns that are contaminated with societal and cultural or pop influences, rather than express divine or truth messages. Im just a little concerned that you seem to use the same defensive arguments for the Contemporary Christian Music Movement.
What about clapping by some of the young people? Guess what! Thats the pretty sure sign or mark of the bigger things to come. Just wait when a Worship Leader is fully EMPLOYED, and along with him/her is the Praise Team with MICROPHONES!!! I need not explain all that again here. I think you get the point.
Theres much more to say. But this post is getting too long and boring.
Kendra, I have confidence in you as you seem to be willing to defend the church and its cause in Hermitage. Perhaps, you can help prevent from happening at Hermitage what happened at Madison. What about warning fellow members against possible future intrusion and disruption by the change agentsif its not already happening? Better yet, could you or someone or a group of members find out from the elders if there is or has been a move in that direction?
Again, thanks for your post. And let us hear from you what you find out.