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Is there no common ground?

July 13 2006 at 10:15 AM
Mark F.  (Login markfl)
from IP address

In the physical world, I do a great deal of conflict resolution. What I find is that most of the time both sides are presenting the an extreem view of the individuals true beliefs, kind of a,"I want it all... you can't have any" diametrically opposed points of view. Most of the times, both sides holds to an extreem view and pre-judges the other sides motives based on historical interactions between the two parties.

What I try to avoid is driving compromise where both parties give up some of what they really want.

What I try to do is start with common ground and build upon that until a new solution appears that meets both needs/desires. What I try to do is put aside the emotions and fears of what MIGHT happen and focus on a solution.

When it comes to our spiritual lives, I wonder if the same principles can not be applied?

It would seem that many of the posters on this site would ascert that there is no common ground between the "mainstream", the "legalist", the "liberal", and the "change agent".

But we do all have this in common; each of us has clothed ourselves in Christ, each one of us has been cleansed by the blood of Christ through baptism. We also have in common a desire to reach out and bring others to Christ, to a full relationship with God.

If we can not come together based on this commonality and work through the other issues facing us, then we are all "sowing seeds of discord."

I have said it before and I will say it again. If the congrations here in Abilene like Wylie, Baker Heights, Southern Hills, Highland, and Univeristy could put aside thier differences and work together to evangalize Abilene, we would be an unstoppable force thanks to God's power working through us.

It is time to put aside the hurt feelings of the last century. It is time to put away the baggage that those in the churches of Christ are carrying. It is time for us to stop leaning on our "own understanding" and start working together for unity, not based on a weakening of the faith, but on a strenghtening of the faith.

In Christ

Mark F.

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Donnie Cruz
(no login)

Or … Is There […] Common Ground?

July 13 2006, 8:55 PM 


I think that in order for this discussion to be beneficial and fruitful, we really need more specifics and a clearer definition of the direction that this discussion should go.

Let us keep in mind that this website was designed to inform and to warn other congregations in the brotherhood—not of other religious bodies—of the dangers and risks involved in implementing CONTROVERSIAL and/or UNNECESSARY changes that undermine the nature of the church of Jesus Christ in a given locality. These changes often lead to alienation of many brethren, exodus en masse, division, perversion of the truth, performance-driven or [un]holy entertainment, musical worship idolatry, feel-good-about-self religion—just to name a few.

Let us keep in mind that whenever any of the occurrences listed above has been experienced by a particular victimized congregation, the responsibility rests heavily upon the leaders [the elders] of that congregation—not the members. These shepherds will have to answer before God in the end.

Here are some of the elements or items that I would like to bring up for your consideration before we go any further with the discussion. So, I think we need more clarification of your premise or objective, and, hopefully, the comments below will help. In other words, what specifically would you like to discuss?

  • What about the question, instead, of “Is there common ground?”
  • Are we discussing ecumenism involving other religious faiths?
  • Are we discussing unity only with certain religious faiths—but not all?
  • Are we discussing unity only between churches of Christ and the Christian Church?
  • Are we discussing unity between already-divided congregations which were once united and only one congregation in a given locality?
  • Are we discussing unity in a congregation that has just experienced or is currently experiencing division?
  • Are we discussing about a congregation whose leadership has just made a bad decision or is in the process of embracing something or things that are new and different … and with the expectation that division seems inevitable?
  • Are we discussing about a congregation currently involved in studies regarding Community Church or Charismatic or Contemporary Christian Rock Music or any other movement?
  • Are we discussing how to resolve differences between only two individuals or groups of individuals?
  • Are we discussing a number of issues that have been troubling a particular congregation for some time?

There are just some, but not all, of the factors that should be taken into consideration here. “Commonness” is a very broad terminology whether the discussion is political, religious, economic or whatever. The attempt at “conflict resolution” may not necessarily yield the expected result. It certainly did not work for Madison—congregation-wise. It has led to two divisions—a group assembling as “contemporary” while another as “traditional.” No, that is not unity. The elders at Oak Hills may think that their instrumental music issue has been resolved—after having gone through some conflict resolution process. But the issue lingers.

In essence, we must limit our discussion within the boundaries of a specific something—all religions or all churches of Christ or all members of a congregation or between individuals. Which one … for now [and the others later on]?


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Mark F.
(Login markfl)

Common Ground and Conflict Resolution

July 14 2006, 11:50 AM 

First, you make an excellent point about conflict resolution. If all that has occured is appeasment (that is, one side has a traditional service, and one side has a contemporary service) then true resolution has not occured. On the other hand, if for the immediate, the BANTA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement is some type of seperate worship times (in essence 2 congregations meeting in the same building) then that may have to do but conflict resolution should continue.

I will try to anwswer you questions so that we have a clear scope for this discussion.

Are we discussing ecumenism involving other religious faiths?

No, let's limit this to just those that worship under the name churches of Christ.

Are we discussing unity only with certain religious faiths—but not all?

Not in this discussion.

Are we discussing unity only between churches of Christ and the Christian Church?

Not in this discussion

Are we discussing unity between already-divided congregations which were once united and only one congregation in a given locality?

Yes, this is part of the discusssion. I believe that there is still common ground between the divided congregations and that the biggest barrier is probably no longer the "issue" but the emotions and feelings (baggage) surrounding those issues.

Are we discussing unity in a congregation that has just experienced or is currently experiencing division?

Again, yes... How do we cut through all the garbage, emotional baggage, to get to the real desires of both sides?

Are we discussing about a congregation whose leadership has just made a bad decision or is in the process of embracing something or things that are new and different … and with the expectation that division seems inevitable?

There is an over arching principle. Can we get back to a common ground (our family bonds) and work through these issues?

Are we discussing about a congregation currently involved in studies regarding Community Church or Charismatic or Contemporary Christian Rock Music or any other movement?

Again, There is an over arching principle. Can we get back to a common ground (our family bonds) and work through these issues?

Are we discussing how to resolve differences between only two individuals or groups of individuals?

As I work more actively in conflict resolution, I find that the same principles apply. Strip away the emotion, reveal the true desires (not the prejudged desires) and a resolution can occur.

Are we discussing a number of issues that have been troubling a particular congregation for some time?

This is what complicates things. The more "issues", the more emotional baggage, the more difficult it is to get to the real desires of the parties and achieve resolution.

Hope that helps!

In Christ,

Mark F.

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Ken Sublett
(no login)

Who added BAGGAGE?

July 14 2006, 5:20 PM 

Here is what Jesus founded and exampled, Paul commanded and exampled, history exampled and people did not hang baggage for a long time:

A church or ekklesia is a synagogue or school of the Bible. That existed as the synagogue or church in the wilderness. The only reason for ASSEMBLY was to hold a holy convocation which meant to READ or REHEARSE whatever word they had mostly received from tribal leaders being instructed by Moses. Being competent elders they could HOLD the word "as taught" long enough to spread the word out to the tribes like LEAVEN and not like a fire storm. The ALARM which is loud singing or instruments was OUTLAWED: who needs a command NOT to go pagan or charismatic when GOD meets to teach us. In the early church of Christ a "bishop" was required to carry around the entire book of Psalms in his head or he was NOT apt to teach.

The synagogue was more institutionalized after the Return but it "never had a praise service" and it was WORD centered meaning that they READ a portion of the word, exhorted obedience and explained any doctrinal content. That was EXACTLY what Paul commanded Timothy and whe he did when he synagogued out on his mission trips.

The EKKLESIA word was chosen because it is MORE restrictive than the SULLIGOS or synagogue. That met about 40 times a hear to HEAR evidence, dialog it and reach a conclusion about it. NO singer would have been allowed to PERFORM.

The church continued for about 400 years before anyone ADDED the baggage of SINGING and the use of HUMAN compositions to VIOLATE the direct commands and examples.

The PREACHER was added about that time although Paul speaks of the MANY who were trained in the theater and wanted to get PAID. No preacher was paid until Constantine opened up the process for all of the PAGAN PRIESTS to get paid by the state.

Reformers like Calvin who spoke of RESTORATION repudiated singing NON commanded material, instruments, professional preachers and other things.

Thomas Campbell imitated ALL known evidence and defined :

CHURCh is A School of Christ.
Worship is READING and MUSING the Word of God.

They would have followed the Presbyterian faithfulness of using PSALMS or other INSPIRED TEXTS.

Thomas Campbell repudiated any elder or deacons authority to ADD the anxiety of DEBT.

The PREACHER other than evangelist was repudiated and Alexander called the Preachercraft the craftiest craft of all. The idea of young men going to classes and then becoming the PASTOR revolted him.

None of the protestant groups used "churchy songs" prior to the Awakenings fueled by witchcraft and voodoo and theatrics. Songbooks to replace the BIBLE was fueled by publishers like Standard who wanted to BURDEN everyone with being a "life member" and buying song books and sunday school literature from them. That is when the carpetbaggers began to try to force churches of Christ to adapt these books and instruments.

You don't DO conflict resolution by meeting half way: you resolve the CONFLICT by removing the PROFESSIONAL conflict manufacturers to make a ROLE for them in the STRAIGHT mainstream.

The LOCATED PREACHER was still troubling in the 1930s when EVENGELISM was a slick willie Located Preacher One exchanging "meetings" with Located Preacher Two.

Performance singing groups was a LADED BURDEN which Jesus died to remove because it creates "spiritual anxiety through religious rituals."

Summary: the church in the wilderness, the synagogue and the ekklesia did not have PREACHERS, singers, collection plates or STAFF INFECTION. There is NO LAW OF GIVING or LAW OF TITHING so the only FUNDING is through grand theaft.

Other than speaking with ONE MIND and ONE MOUTH usinging "that which is written" or Scripture to EDUCATE, glorify God, comfort one another and KEEP THE UNITY, Jesus commanded only ONE THING: the Lord's Supper. Paul permitted only ONE ADDITION: the Lord's Supper.

ALL OF THE REST is EXCESSIVE BAGGAGE. Churches of Christ DID NOT add baggage when they KEPT ON not using instruments because they were literate and had NEVER loaded the burden and baggage.

In the words of John Calvin: "Why should the ploughing oxen starve and the lazy asses be fed" if you will FIRE the LAZY ASSES and install a GO BUTTON on the thresing oxen then the CONFLICT and the CONFLICT MANUFACTURERS will go away because only ploughing oxen will apply and the LAZY ASSES will get an honest OCCUPATION. The Catholic churches invented cathedrals as a TOOL OF EVANGELISM. Shame on anyone who thinks you can attract lambs instead of goats using theatrical and musical performance whom Jesus identified as HYPOCRITES?

There is no way a MEGA-temple charging A TICKET PRICE for the THEATRICAL PERFORMANCE (defining Hypocrites) can do anything other than bring shame and disgrace on a Jesus Christ Who can be found ONLY outsided the masses suffering reproaches.

I don't suggest it but the "one face" of Rubel Shelly quoted the statement: "If you love Jesus burn down the church house." I suggest that to save your sould you QUIT FUNDING them and they will tear them down and build appartments.


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(Login wordkeeper)

Re: Is there no common ground?

July 14 2006, 5:17 PM 

Mark F.,

I am like you in that I much prefer that all
christians get along with one another, and
really all people regardless of faith can
at least be civil with one another. But, when
it comes to religion (christians,muslems, hindu,
etc) and even doctrinal battles within faiths
it seems there is more violence and fighting
which contradicts most religious beliefs.
As much work that has been committed to bridging
harmony within christianity it appears that peace
is as far from being reached as any other time
of humanity.

Specifically, as it relates to the purpose of
this web site and those opposed to what is
occurring at Madison I believe that the gap
between parties probably is too wide for there
to ever reach a point of agreement. As painful
as it is; about the only solution I see is for
the remaining members who oppose the change start
afresh with a new congregation or go to one where
they feel more comfortable.

Several years ago I was invited to a minister's
conference that included elders, ministers and
leading people in the community who were concerned
over various community issues. After one evening's
session I had the opportunity to engage in an informal
discussion about "sheep-stealing" amoung churches.
The discussion was very interesting and made me think
about my position on this issue. The point I made is
that it is the responsibility for each church's leaders
to adequately nourish thier sheep to where they want
to stay in your church. If the leadership is not doing
their job, then, it is best for the sheep's sake to
find a church where their spiritual needs are met.
For a church to complain about another church stealing
thier sheep only masks the real problem of what is
wrong with their congregation.

Why do I bring this up ? I can't imagine the opponents
of change at the Madison church are getting their
spiritual needs met under the current conditions. I
am hopeing that after a period of time that they have
stated their case and feel they have done all that
they can to bring their message to others that they
would see that it is a lost cuase and they themselves
focus on their own needs and go to a different church.
What is happening now is unhealthy to both themselves
and the others at Madison.

I would also hope that at some point in time they
would be able to accept one another as brothers in
Christ and that forgiveness can be extended for the
sake of following Christ's teaching.

As far as the common ground I believe that the feelings
are just to strong against one another for the opponents
of change to agree on how a church should function given
the changes that has occurred. About the only hope I see
is if each party reads John 17 and looks deep into their
hearts and learn to accept and love each other.

Thank you,


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Donnie Cruz
(no login)

A Charismatic member advising the Madison congregation?

July 15 2006, 6:02 PM 

H. Smith,

Firstly, I’d like to point out that you had already written your message before you were able to read Mark’s response to my questions. So, you weren’t aware of how Mark wanted this discussion to move forward.

Secondly, readers should note that you insist on giving your advice to a particular congregation of the church that you left some years ago. That would seem very odd, as it is being directed by someone who is an outsider. That would be equivalent to me giving advice to one of the congregations of the Charismatic church where you belong.

Thirdly, your solution for Madison is illogical. You’re doing a great favor to the intruders by letting them stay and by making the victims of intrusion leave. I guess I need to remind you again that that’s exactly what the elders said at that time: “If you don’t like it … leave; get over it … we must move on.” Your faulty advice is not new.

Harry, your advice will not work. Besides, it is wrong and should be discarded.


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Mark F
(Login markfl)

Feelings are too strong?

July 17 2006, 11:18 AM 

Wow, that is sad if we are going to let feelings override unity! That is an indictment on both sides. Is our christian walk so corrupted by hurt feelings? If so, then Satan has his victory.

The book, "Getting To Yes" serves me well in my interactions with conflict resolution at work. One of the thought in the book (p6) is that we often "... start with an extreme position, ...stuborrnly holding to it...decieving the other party as to your true views." And, after a while, we begin to believe in the extreem position.

This is called "Positional Bargaining" and is highly destructive to relationships. This is the kind of bargaining we (both sides) tend to use in the churches of Christ. This "All or none" approach does not work.

The secular book, "Getting to Yes" suggests "principled negotiation" or "negotiating on the merrits."

Let me apply this model in church conflict.

--> PEOPLE: Separate the people for the problem.

Too often, we attack the people (Max, Rubel, etc...) instead of the problem (philosophy on bible interpretation). Or, at the local level, we focus on THAT ELDER, or THAT PREACHER, instead of the problem

--> INTRESTS: Focus on the intrests, not the positions.

We translate our percieved needs (intrests) into a position. For example, I need to be comfortable about where my kids are so I take a position that they need to call every 30 minutes. The position is one way to fulfil my percieved intrest. Arguing positions is like addressing the symptoms instead of the disease.

--> OPTIONS: Generate a variety of possibilities before deciding what to do.

We tend to have polorized options, either this or that, when truthfully, there are other options out there. At work, we had an arguement over the manpower required for a certain job. We rarely brainstorm to the point of crazy options.

--> CRITERIA: Insist that the result be based on some objective standard.

You know, the nice thing is that we have an objective standard, THE BIBLE.

As christians, I think if we could get passed the first two steps, we could come to an agreement and re-unite. Yes, I am an optomist, but I think that is what God desires, faith that see's beyond today's possibilities.

In Christ,

Mark F.

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Ken Sublett
(no login)

It's ALL about feelings: MARKY

July 17 2006, 10:41 PM 

Marky, you sound so wise that I just blush out loud.

If a Rubel Shelly decided to unite everyone ON HIS TERMS then he is expressing an unBiblical and ungodly FEELING. Where did his feelings TRUMP the feelings of those who did not want to be SUNDERED APART by His "partnering with God to get a new set of Scriptures.?"

Sounds like YOUR FEELING is that YOU would like to "hegel" the ROBBED's feelings to RESOLVE in favor of the ROBBER? Is that about right, mister Mark?

In a world where Jesus DIED to free us from BUNDLED packages, and the John Locke died to give you religious and political FREEDOM, shouldn't you FEEL some obligation to get SOME jot or tittle that Jesus wants DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED views to be UNIONIZED? How could anyone think that UNITY exists when the little kid submits to the BULLY by having some FACILITATOR (maybe trained to also be a Prophet and Chaneller to facilite conservative churches into liberal curches) decides to NEUTERIZE feelings (my God, where hath thou gone?) so the DISCORDED must affirm the DISCORDER.

If YOU will facilitate the REMOVAL of that which was ADDED to the Biblical church (making it heretical) to DISOLVE unity then MAYBE you can get WAGED. I have told you and every kid knows it that the INSTITUTIONS you trafficate to UNITE was a "school of the Bible." Thomas Campbell knew that and that is why churches of Christ never associated with the Stoneites out of Cane Ridge (Bourbon County, Hee Haw) and promoted church as A SCHOOL OF CHRIST. To that Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper. To that Paul commanded the Lord's Supper. To that the historic chruch OBSERVED only that.

Here is what you do Marky if you want to be of value: Tell BOTH SIDES that heresy added:

Singing as an act of worship about the year 373.
Singing SECULAR or "Rubelized" texts at about the same time.
Adding the LAW OF GIVING other than those who prospered gave (from their hand) to the destitute's hands--but 'only if they wished.'
Preaching locally was added about the time Pagan priests brought PAGAN practices.
No one in the history of even the Catholic Church ever hallucinated SINGING as a congregation with ORGAN ACCOMPANIMENT.
Building Mega-churches as AIDS of proselyting

And EVERYTHING the CONFLICTED and CONFLICTORS want to ADD so they can be "lazy asses instead of ploughing oxen." (John Calvin).

I can think of nothing more COMMUNITY CHURCH or COMMUNE or Shellyite than that INDIVIDUALS should give up their FEELINGS and "their right to read, interpret or speak the Word outside of the COMMUNITY READING." He goes on to rip away ALL rights because the MINISTERS are better trained by education (Hee Haw) to also do that job--and get PAID ALSO.

Marky, no one who has been "individuated" by the Death of Christ and the Constitution, is going to give up THEIR FEELINGS just so they can be UNITED with whatever it is YOU decide as a "chaneller or facilitator."

Christians come one at a time and not by Joy Busses and it is a hystical notion that they are going to give up their FEELINGS based on the Bible in order for some UNLAWFUL person refusing to be a "plowing oxen" to become Peter's Adulterator-- meaning to HAWK THE WORD AT RETAIL--gets to perform UNlawful rituals all of which Jesus subsumed under the title of HYPOCRITES.

The conflict resolvers who have worked the churches seem to resolve the conflict in favor of THEM WHAT PAYS THEM to mind manipulate. Is that about right, Mister Gramsci?

Now, having said all, you missed the whole point: the Unity Jesus prayed for was based on the WORD which is the FINAL JUDGE.

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(no login)

Re: Feelings are too strong?

July 18 2006, 1:53 PM 


What do you do, when it seems that the parties are not remotely interested in reconciliation? I do hope that Donnie responds to your post and engages in a real conversation. Because, while I disagree with many of his posts, I believe he is quite sincere in how he believes this is his ministry. Donnie, how about it?

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Donnie Cruz
(no login)

“An ounce of prevention is worth [much more than] a pound of cure.”

July 18 2006, 9:58 PM 


I think conversing with someone is easier when you know the other person a little bit better. You know, PPB, my sister in Christ, has proven to be very knowledgeable of both the truth and history. She speaks with much confidence in herself because she knows what she is talking about and is able to back up with evidence. So, would you, TRM, tell us some background about yourself a little bit? I would appreciate it very much.

This post will be very short and sweet [I think … ]

The reason why my interest in conflict resolution is almost nil is that in the doctrinal realm, it almost always never works. It probably works fine in the social world. It may work in religion when the opposing sides are not so concerned about doctrinal issues.

The church of Jesus Christ, while its congregations are autonomous, is by nature doctrine-oriented. And there’s a good reason or reasons for that, one of which is that we do not take doctrinal matters lightly. There are many supporting passages of scripture that can prove that. When doctrine is according to the Scripture, it stands to reason that God’s plan of salvation should be followed—not just any plan or any revised and improvised plan. I think you know what I am referring to. If not, let me know of a need to cite references to prove my point.

I always believe (and I’m sure many others do too] that prevention is better than cure. This is the reason why there has been so much emphasis from ConcernedMembers in warning other congregations of the pitfalls and the miserable occurrences experienced by some. It does not make sense to implement CONTROVERSIAL AND/OR UNNECESSARY CHANGES especially when many members of the congregation strongly oppose them. This is where the elders are making the most colossal blunder in the congregation where they serve. There types of changes may not necessarily be sinful, and “wrong” does not necessarily mean sinful, but they certainly can lead to sinfulness when there is an apparent misdirection or when something causes alienation and division.

There … you have my few cents.

Um … I wonder about the subject of the post “Feelings are too strong?” I have no idea if Mark’s implication is in reference to my response to Harry Smith—who by his own admission has left the church (faith) he is now trying to counsel? So, Mark may have to do some explaining. Was he referring to “strong feelings” between two parties or sides—individuals or groups?

You said that you disagree with many of my posts. Does “many” account for 50% … 75% … 85% of the disagreements? If it’s about doctrine, you may need to explain yourself as I have not deviated from what the Scripture teaches. I also agree with the teachings of the Restoration Movement pioneers. And I am convinced that most of the congregations in the brotherhood still conform to God’s directives for the church and are still loyal to His church. Now, if you are not affiliated with the same church I am, then, I can understand our differences. But if you are, then, I can assure you that I haven’t changed anything that goes against God’s will for the church.


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(no login)

Re: “An ounce of prevention is worth [much more than] a pound of cure.”

July 19 2006, 1:59 PM 

Background for Donnie: I was "born and raised" in the church of Christ. I now attend what you would consider a liberal church of Christ now. I guess I have two big disagreements with you. The first is that what you call "doctrinal matters" i.e. 7/11 songs, praise teams, and the like, I view as non-doctrinal preferences. The second is that while I understand why you started this website, I think most of what is on this website violates Christ's command of what to do when a brother sins in Matthew 18. Whereas our responsibility is to go to that brother and discuss with him the problem, too often it is much easier to post on this site. Of the churches I am familiar with that have made "the list," I have found numerous items that are simply not true and could be checked out with a phone call, and other times it was obviously posted in a meanspirited manner (on both sides).

I don't have a solution as to what to do when the direction of the church is being debated. It is too simplistic how it is handled here, (i.e. we are following Christ, you are following satan), since both sides are truly trying to follow Christ, but disagree on what that path is. I would welcome more doctrinal debate, but most of the time it comes down to name calling and commenting about the other person rather than the debate itself. That is why I was interested in this thread to see if we can discuss the issues in a more straightforward manner.

Mark, I asked the question, because I truly don't think most of regulars to this site are interested in reconcilliation. I think Donnie thinks he has a message to get out, but most of the others enjoy the figurative head bashing the other side. I have long given up on trying to figure out what Ken is thinking.

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Mark F.
(Login markfl)

No Reconciliation

July 19 2006, 12:01 AM 

I want to try and address two posts here:

Mr. Cruz's “An ounce of prevention is worth [much more than] a pound of cure.”
TPM's “Re: Feelings are too strong.”

Mr. Cruz,

You asked, "Um … I wonder about the subject of the post 'Feelings are too strong?' I have no idea if Mark’s implication is in reference to my response to Harry Smith—who by his own admission has left the church (faith) he is now trying to counsel? So, Mark may have to do some explaining. Was he referring to 'strong feelings' between two parties or sides—individuals or groups?"

I am not, by any means, throwing my support to those who supposedly are counceling churches today. I know way too little about those individuals or their methods to make any comments.

As to the question about individuals and groups, I have found this method to work with individuals as well as a group. The group dynamics become more difficult because of the diverse percieved needs of each individual that makes up the group.


I can't believe I am going to type this, but Ken makes a strong point warning against "facilitation" in his post, " It's ALL about feelings: MARKY." He point out that there are those that facilitate with hidden agendas. We call that "facipulation" (facilitate + manipulate) and it is a very easy pit to fall into. This "facipulation" is usually driven because the facilitator is too close to the matter being discussed.



It would be taking the easy road to say, "Too big of differences? Then go your seperate ways..." However, when it comes to christians I don't think that is an option we should easily jump to (I think we often make this jump quickly and have in the past). I think what it comes down to is forgiveness and maturity.

Christ was asked about forgiviness;
"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.'" (Matt 18:21-22)

When we look at the People/Interest aspects of the negotiation technique used in this book, I think a little forgiveness and maturity could go a long ways to focusing off of the people onto the problem.


I really think the principles in this book have merit or at least deserve thought. My intent was to bring the principles into the discussion and see if all/some/none could be applied to the conflict we now face in the church. Maybe these concepts can help, maybe they should be discarded.

If nothing else, try these techniques next time you go buy a car and see if the transaction doesn't go better.

As always,

In Christ,

Mark F.

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(no login)

Re: No Reconciliation

July 21 2006, 1:03 AM 

Unity. Such a beautiful word and yet, it is also the downfall of many churches.

Let's look at this from a realistic position. To be united, people must give up things, depending on what is being united. It is a give/take action that requires a movement of some form towards the center. Example = to unite in marriage, one gives up their singleness in many ways.

A fact about unity that seems to have been overlooked is that someone ALWAYS gives up more than others to meet in the center. Usually, it is not something that is detrimental to their life or morals. In this case, it may be.

To unite those opposed in this issue, is to ask the "legalists" to make the largest sacrifice. They are asked to do that which is reprehensible to them. They must remove scriptures from the Bible. They must ignore them. They must dismiss them.

To "unite" as you ask, means that the legalists must purposefully turn their backs on scriptures that the liberals have decided are no longer important or meaningful for today's people. They must make a conscious decision and choose to no longer apply many scriptures that make them seem so "legalistic". They must sacrifice parts of the Bible to make the liberals feel loved and welcomed.

This is the crux of the whole matter between the two sides.

So, I ask you liberals, if I give up on those verses that tell us VERY CLEARLY to abide by the original teachings, remaining firm and never waivering in our beliefs, what promise do I have that God will accept me into Heaven? If I am no longer commanded to abide by all the Bible, as Max and Rubel have so eloquently stated, what proof do I have that God agrees with them?

And why is it I that must change instead of YOU? Why is your way better? If there are scriptures that clearly dispute your teachings, why do I have to ignore them?

You see, you are looking at this from YOUR perspective and not God's. Is he really so lacking in power that he could not inspire the Apostles to write that which would apply to all generations? Are we better than the early Christians? Smarter? Under different rules?

The funny thing is, Eusubius writes about this very issue in his history of the Church. He condemned those who believe in Unity above Truth, if Unity meant changing beliefs set forth by God. Yet, he was one that weakened and allowed changes in the church that led to the creation of the Catholic Church. He proved his own theory about unity.

Again, I ask you, why do I have to change my beliefs to unite the Church of Christ? Why is your belief that all these issues on instruments, Saturday services, longer apply. Why were these very issues condemned by those early church leaders who studied at the feet of the Apostles? What makes you think that your way is better than the early church elders or the apostles?

Ask yourself, who are you truly pleasing by adding or taking away the "legalistic" issues? Certainly not God. So who?

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Dr. Bill Crump
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Re: No Reconciliation

July 22 2006, 9:29 AM 

PPB, it's almost as though the liberals operate on a "majority rules" basis in Christianity. "Unity" is based on the majority of "opinions" and "personal preferences" of the group or crowd. Although these may not parallel the Scriptures, it's the group consensus that is the governing factor. Thus there can never be true unity in Christ as long as there is denominationalism, as long as people are unwilling to sacrifice man-contrived creeds and opinions in order to follow Christ exactly as He commanded in the New Testament.

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

What Happened at the Madison Church of Christ?

There are thousands of churches being taken over across America.

This book is only about one of those churches. It's about the Madison Church Of Christ. By studying the methods used here along with the resource references you might be able to inoculate your church. At the very least you will recognize the signs early on.

Many of the current members of the Madison Church of Christ still don't know what happened.
Some never will know! This book is for them as well.

Madison Church of Christ was a 60 year old church. At one time it was one of the largest churches in the US, and the largest Church of Christ.

It thrived for many years on the vision of it's elders and those of it's ministers. Those visions undoubtably came from the the inspired word of Jesus Christ.

At sometime in the last 10 years there was a deliberate plan by a majority of the elders to take the Madison Church of Christ into a more worldly realm.

They used secrecy, covert planning, and outside sources to scheme and to change the format and direction of the Madison Church of Christ.

The Elders knew that the membership would never approve such a plan. Using the tools of the "Community Church Movement"(consultants, books, seminars, meetings,planters,seeders) they slowly started initiating change so it was never noticed by the members until it was too late.....

At the heart of the plan was the fact that old members were going to be driven off so new techniques could be used to go out and reach the unchurched through new "Contemporary Holy Entertainment" methods developed by the "Community Church Movement"

Old members had to be kept on board long enough to get their plans ready, or the funds would not be there to pay for the new building. So by the plans very nature, it had to be secret.

The church had no plan in effect to renew or approve elders. There was never any need. The elders had always been "as approved by God". 10 of the last 15 elders would begin to shed some doubt on that.

The Elders did not even need a majority at first, because some of the elders went along unwittingly.

This edition starts shortly after some of the members begin to smell something strange in January 2001. Later editions may go back and fill in some of the timeline.

To even start to understand whats happening here, you must read the background materials in the first of the book.

This is only the first edition, and not the end. New editions will be printed as needed. To keep abreast of current changes, please visit our web site;

Here is the list of players;

5 Godly Elders
10 Not so Godly Elders
120 "Deacons" (allegiance unknown)
2,800 - 4,000 church "members"
2 "teners" (people who have publicly confessed to have broken all ten commandments)
Unknown number of "sinners" (This is what the 10 elders call us.)
Unknown number of "demons" (Flying everywhere, to many to count)

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