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Brent Whitworth, Where Are You Now?

January 22 2012 at 9:19 PM
Donnie Cruz  (Login Donnie.Cruz)
from IP address

Nick Boone (brother of Pat Boone) "resigned" from song leading at Madison because he was just not the right person with the contemporary youth.

Keith Lancaster from Acappella Ministries was then employed by Madison as its "Worship Leader." He was responsible for implementing Madison's controversial "Choir" group, a.k.a. "Praise Team." Controversial -- in that, among others, it played a major part in the division not only among elders but also in the membership. In 2001, attendance at Madison dwindled down to half its size of 3,000 members from only a few years prior. Keith was there to witness the events. Did he feel responsible, at least partly, for the division? What do you think? [It appears not ... as he remained in the next few years.]

In December, 2003, he was to begin his sabbatical in the next several months. In July, 2004, he returned from that sabbatical.

In Noverber 2004, Phil Barnes was employed as Senior Minister at Madison.

In January 2007, Keith Lancaster "resigned." In that same year, here's the message from the Farragut congregation: "We are very blessed to have Keith as our new Worship Minister at Farragut. His experience and enthusiasm, along with his spirit of humility, make him a great addition to this congregation." (FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2007)

July, 2007

"Madison welcomes new Worship Leader Brent Whitworth" -- From the Marcher: "Brent Whitworth, Madisons new Worship Leader [emph., d.c.] who begins July 1, is not a total stranger to Madison Church of Christ actually worked in the basement of Madison several years ago when [the] camp director of Valley View was managing Madisons Media Center was living in Goodlettsville and attended worship here a few times when he wasnt leading worship at his home church -- Una Church of Christ had a casual relationship with Madison minister Phil Barnes because he had worked with Barnes son Jeremiah and his group -- Fourth Watch -- which had recorded several of Whitworths songs." [cf. July 2007 Marcher for remainder of the article.]

NOTE: "Unity in Diversity" at Work?

September 3, 2003 -- an Announcement

Madison Marcher: "We want to encourage both 8:00 and 10:30 services. You will see the designation "traditional" and "contemporary" on our sign and in publication to inform the community of a choice. We hope that both times will see increase in attendance and involvement." . . . "CALLING ALL SINGERS! The Worship and Music ministry is looking for additional singers. We are especially in need of male singers."
[also appeared in the next 2 weeks].

The above simply reminds us that there may may a "union" in diversity, but there is no "unity in diversity." So we have those designations in the following scheduled weekly assemblies at Madison. I'm having to resort to the list below because I have no knowledge of what's going on at Madison as far as changes are concerned in the "worship leadership" staff employment.

Traditional (First) -----December 4, 2011------Brent Whitworth
Contemporary (2nd) ------December 4, 2011------Brent Whitworth

Traditional (First) -----December 11, 2011-----Brent Whitworth
Contemporary (2nd) ------December 11, 2011-----Brent Whitworth

Traditional (First) -----December 18, 2011-----Brent Whitworth
Contemporary (2nd) ------December 18, 2011-----Brent Whitworth

Christmas Day (Combined)-December 25, 2011-----Brent Whitworth

Traditional (First) -----January 1, 2012-------Don Allen
Contemporary (2nd) ------January 1, 2012-------Roger Ferguson

Traditional (First) -----January 8, 2012-------Mike Clark
Contemporary (2nd) ------January 8, 2012-------Ryan Smith

Traditional (First) -----January 15, 2012------George Pendergrass
Contemporary (2nd) ------January 15, 2012------George Pendergrass

Traditional (First) -----January 22, 2012------George Pendergrass
Contemporary (2nd) ------January 22, 2012------George Pendergrass

I was not there, but I was informed that Brent's letter of "RESIGNATION" was read before the congregation. It appears that George Pendergrass is the successor. All this may have to do with Madison's new vision for 2012 -- partly [my own opinion] that the Madison church does not see color in its membership. (The worship guide now says on one page: "Madison is going orange! Follow us on Twitter @weRorange ")

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Ken Sublett
(Login Ken.Sublett)


January 22 2012, 9:50 PM 

George Pendergrass was lead singer for Acappella and etc and etc and etc.
Seems he is an expert on breaking down cultural walls.


Worship God The primary reason we meet together is to focus our attention on God, giving Him our praise, worship and thanks.
Connect People Nothing quite compares to the joy of Christian friendship. Our priority is to build lasting bonds between the members of our church family. No matter what your age or interests, there are groups and activities where you can plug in.
Reach the World Our calling is to help others in our neighborhood, and around the world, to know salvation in Jesus Christ.


This message has been edited by Ken.Sublett from IP address on Jan 22, 2012 9:57 PM

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Donnie Cruz
(Login Donnie.Cruz)

Jimmy Joe, Inform Us

January 23 2012, 9:54 PM 

Jimmy Joe,

When I initiated this thread, I thought about what you posted elsewhere:

Donnie is still MIA from the Madison late service critic's pew. On an unsarcastic note, Donnie I hope you have found an acceptable service where you can spend the time worshipping without having to critique anything.

LOL!!! I think I am thick-skinned.

You may have also said something to the effect that conservative posters might consider you now a "liberal." Do you feel that way, Jimmy Joe?

OK, since you know so much more than I concerning Madison, can you fill us in on the details [maybe a little bit]? I was thinking that Brent was just the perfect choice for the contemporary youth at Madison. What do you think?

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Informing you

January 26 2012, 1:13 AM 

I may have previously informed you that I began attending Madison in the mid 70's. Madison was considered a pretty liberal church at that time. One can recall Brother North with the bright red sport coat and the song leader being Ray Walker, a member of the famous Jordinares ( a well known gospel, rock and country quartet that backed up Elvis by the way). There was the production of the Amazing Grace Bible Class on Sunday night that was televised with great fanfare. Not long after, there was the addition of the Family Life Center with a gym, kitchen, class rooms and work-out center. Most of these things were considered liberal or down right sinful by a lot of the more conservative minded church of Christ congregations at that time. Therefore after saying all of that, since I attend the late service (contemporary)some would consider me a religious liberal. As I don't really care for labels, I again refer to one of Brother North's sayings of not the only Christians but Christians only.

To answer your question about the worship leader, I do not have an answer. As far as changes in personnel be it worship leader, preacher, elder, deacon or whoever, that is why elders are appointed. If something changes that I find unscriptual and not just because I don't agree or like, then I will make a change as I and I alone am responsible for my salvation.

In closing, Donnie I hope you are spirtually fulfilled at whatever you are doing and wherever you are.

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john watson Smith
(Login jwatsonsmith)

Re: Brent Whitworth, Where Are You Now?

January 24 2012, 9:25 AM 

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john watson Smith
(Login jwatsonsmith)

good book to read

January 24 2012, 10:03 AM 

I suggest the book " A faith built on sand" by Phil Sanders published by the Gospel Advocate. It puts a lot of this in perspective of the BIble. It shows why and how a lot of churches are concerned with the theatrical and not the testimony of Jesus that the works of the world are evil. Other books include Gary Gilley this little church series available on Amazon. Also see books by Warren Smith, Ray Yungen, James Sundquist, Brian Flynn and Bob Dewaay which give a lot of insight to the present trends. The main thrust of these books are that the present trends are not from the BIble.

Comments welcomed

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Ken Sublett
(Login Ken.Sublett)

Phil Sanders

January 24 2012, 6:22 PM 

I looked at Phil's take on music and Amos once: I still have a sore place from his response.

I would not expect that most people trained as preachers but not as scholars to know much about the Old Testament. It is a fact that God did not command the Law of Moses: it was added because of transgression. That transgresssion was musical idolatry of the Egyptian trinity under the image of Apis, the real bull calves still found as mummies and made into an idol at Mount Sinai.

God did not command the monarchy, monarch, temple, animal sacrifices or instrumental noise during the not commanded animal sacrifices or burnt offering: I rest my case on the Spirit OF Christ who made only one spiritual covenant as God in Christ with Abraham.

The Jews never once did congregational singing with instrumental accompaniment.
As long as "conservatives" fail to make a distinction between the Civil-Military-Clergy complex quarantined behind closed gates in Jerusalem AND the Qahal, synagogue or church in the wilderness ordained by Christ the Rock and informed by Christ the only Spirit in the prophets, it will always loose the battle with those who build on the foundaiton of David.

In addition, the view that God is three distinct persons or people was invented by H. Leo Boles which informed all of tne Lipscomb trained preachers.

There is only ONE God the Father
And One mediator the MAN Jesus Christ who was MADE TO BE BOTH LORD AND CHRIST by God the Father of us all.

Those who first used the word 'triad' ever ventured so close to the fires that they defined the trinity as three, separated divine beings with (JM Hicks) their own centers of consciousneee.

Jesus of Nazareth received the promise of His post-resurrection gloray as HOLY (WHOLLY)SPIRIT and "poured out what ye see and hear at Pentecost."

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john watson smith
(Login johnwatsonsmith)

good books

January 28 2012, 9:17 PM 

Good books let you identify the agenda and key supporting ideas, authors and books that support this digression. Knowing this assists in developing preaching, teaching and thinking goals and the presentation of same to God's elect. Axe on the root.

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Ken Sublett
(Login Ken.Sublett)

Phil Sanders Book

January 28 2012, 9:29 PM 

I still think that preachers are the problem!

A Faith Built on Sand

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john watson smith
(no login)

phil sanders and other issues

February 1 2012, 12:05 PM 

I agree in the most part that many preachers are the problem. I would add that worldly elders, deacons and members have their influence with the present digression. I knew several great men as a kid in the 50's and 60's and they still influence me. I still know a few that have not worshiped Baal. I note Lamentations 2:14 that sorrow and judgement was in order because your "prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions and have not uncovered your iniquity" Some have pressured and fussed many preachers to do just that - not call out sin and error. I call them complicit.

In the late 60's a book by Keith Miller, " A taste of new wine" was passed around a large congregation in metro DC. Some of the members read it and began house church meetings or small groups to pray. It was reported that lights would be turned out and inappropriate hugging of married women and men took place. As the meetings went on some of the group got the idea that they were endowed with superior knowledge of spiritual things based on their feelings and the experience they were having. They pressured the elders to fire the preacher who consistently gave Bible based sermons and was very careful to follow Gods word in every thing that he said. The preacher was fired by the elders. However he delivered the best sermon I ever heard on "a house divided shall not stand" I still remember that display of faith and courage. I know of very few preachers today who have that kind of courage.

In the 70's at another congregation one elder stood up one night and told everyone that if you hate your brother your prayers will not get above the ceiling. This was to stem the tide of pressure and ridicule that some were putting on the traditional members for their king james mentality. He took the position that the regular service will stop until this message was clear to all. This same congregation later had another elder stand up on the MDR issue and state that those who were not following the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:9 and 5:32 were living in sin,

About 1980 one sunday night the preacher stood up and said the regular lesson will be suspended and we will discuss this congregation which is in great need of elders who watch over the sheep. The congregation had elders who were not watching overt the sheep at all but were doing other things. The elders fired him for his courage.

I say these things to show that great men have served as elders and preachers and that we dont become discouraged by the present digression.

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Donnie Cruz
(Login Donnie.Cruz)

Re: good books

January 29 2012, 2:25 AM 


Thanks for your message.

Ken has brought up a good point about preachers. We need to carefully watch out for preachers, even those who "claim" to be conservatives by their own standards. But, of course, we know that only God's truth as revealed in the Holy Scripture is our only basis for comparison.

I haven't read "A Faith Built on Sand." I think it's a good book based on the description: "Sanders confronts such current movements and positions as society's influence on Christianity, cultural morality, tolerance, the emerging church and synthetic Christianity."

I have quoted Phil Sanders in "What Happened This Week...":
"Entertainment settings should not be regarded as periods of worship. ... There is no harm in clapping with appreciation for the entertainer, but clapping in worship seems to take the focus off of God and put it on the performer. To be caught up in the skill of a performer and to lose sight of God dilutes and cheapens worship. The rock star status accorded to some entertainers has little place next to the cross. In worship the focus must be on praising God, not the skills of men. Worship put on for show is clearly condemned in Scripture (Matt. 6:1-18; 23:5-12). ... The recent blurrings of these distinctions [between entertainment and worship], coupled with the exposure to so many denominational worship services on television, services which feature professional performers, has created the confusion."

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Ken Sublett
(Login Ken.Sublett)


February 1 2012, 4:22 PM 

I agree that this is certainly a good assertion of facts. However, I just don't understand why people get themselves "professioned" who cannot post the anathema placed on musical instruments being used when Christ is our only teacher. That happens when the elders "teach that which has been taught."

I don't think preachers NEED to dig below the dry onion skin and look where the writers are pointing in contemporaneous paganism.

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john watson smith
(no login)

Re: Phil Sanders

February 2 2012, 3:00 PM 

I went to Lipscomb 64-68 and don't remember any issue with H Leo Boles. I was not a BIble major so that may have been discussed I am just not aware of it. Maybe we can kick that around at some future time.

Regarding the present Lipscomb trend I think they are just trying to cover for using experience and feeling for a guide and defining factor. They have exchanged the work of the Holy Spirit for the works of ignorant and warped men.

In Mark 12:29 Jesus answers a question by saying there is one God, then goes on to say that the one God demands all our love. Nothing in first place is to be divided with human love for acclaim among men. I think thats where a lot of this is sourced. In Ephesians and Colossians covetousness is idolatry. Lipscomb would do well to remember what the old testament says about the dividing of affection between God and idols.

The fruit of the spirit is what we should be seeking not the remake of the church of Christ.

Comments welcome

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Ken Sublett
(Login Ken.Sublett)

H. Leo Boles

February 2 2012, 6:37 PM 

I don't know about Boles views in your time but in 1938 he lectured at Freed Hardeman and defined tritheism or a trinity of persons or people. In 1942 he published a book defining the views that still exist at LU and parts of the Church of Christ. Unfortunately this has led to the notion that the "holy spirit person" now gives them visions or audible instructions. Lipscomb is into Spiritual Formation with the new President which is eastern mysticism: they even held one of their meetings to promote using your imagination where the Bible doesn't speak. But, God said that the imagination of Man is only evil continually. I think that it is just a merchandising fad.

Earl Edwards and John Mark Hicks continues those views and insist that God is three distinct persons in the "people" sense and each of "them" have their own center of consciousness. Hicks tries to twist A. Campbell into that uniquely Lipscomb view but does a lot of twisting.

There is no classical trinitarian who thought of there being three literal, human-like people. Campbell speaks of the economical trinity and I think that means that Jesus of Nazareth was the God ordained Messiah to image forth father, son and spirit which are not names of people.

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Donnie Cruz
(Login Donnie.Cruz)

Re: Informing you [from JimmyJoe]

January 29 2012, 2:31 AM 

Jimmy Joe,

Thanks for responding to my query.

I cannot argue how that Madison was labeled a liberal congregation in the past. However, the red sport coat, the gym, the classrooms, the kitchen -- while seemingly alarming to then "conservative" congregations [who are likely not without the same conveniences now] -- were/are external, cultural changes that have very little or nothing to do with altering God's plain truth.

It is interesting to note when the change agents (progressives, liberals) advertise to the world to come and visit the assembly "as you are," meaning, "casual emphasis in worship, both in style and dress." We may readily make an argument that there's no good reason for one to be "casual" in "worship" but "be at your best" in a social event.

I'm bringing up the "casual" emphasis, not because it is sinful, but only to point out that this is one of the attributes or characteristics of the Change Movement. By this we can know that the change agents may be on their way to your congregation to divide, conquer and acquire!!!!

It's becoming more and more of a concern that some of the larger congregations (that seem to be more and more structured like businesses and companies) have problems with staff infection. There's competition among churches out there in seeking the world's best "worship leader" and other "church employees."

The external changes that may have been considered "liberal" in the past by some are still happening now. But they really are not the issues. The real problem we have with the liberal, progressive change agents operating in the brotherhood has nothing to do with the external and the non-essentials. Transforming the church of Christ Jesus into a Community Church or into a denomination and modifying and compromising the truth God's plan of redemption should be one of our greatest concerns, even though we have the assurance from the Scripture that the kingdom of Christ shall stand forever.

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Donnie Cruz
(Login Donnie.Cruz)

The Praise Team Ministry and Its Management

February 20 2012, 12:46 AM 


I read just now this one [from another thread]: "Mr. Subblett I do not need your permission to do anything. I'm way past 21 although not as far as you...." Well, it's good that you have clarified that. happy.gifhappy.gifhappy.gif

What's going with the "Praise Team Ministry" at Madison?

Lest I forget, how did the "praise team" originate? You know, books and chapters can be written about this booming ministerial business. But let's save that for next time.

Briefly, though, in the beginning there was the Charismatic Movement, and it begat the "praise band." Simultaenously in the beginning there was the Contemporary Christian Music industry [when artists, musicians and performers made "some" money--must be millions and millions of dollars]. And the religious music industry begat the "Worship Leader" into the denominational world to LEAD CONGREGANTS INTO GOD'S HOLY PRESENCE. And the Worship Leader begat the "Praise Team" of men AND WOMEN as CO-worship leaders. (Remember that these performances were/are NOT WITHOUT MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.)

And leaders (elders) of certain mega churches of Christ made an executive decision to be just like the "other ___nations" and imitated those "nations." Thus, each of these congregations begat its own "Worship Leader." And its Worship Leader begat his/her "Praise Team of both men and WOMEN."

But ... in the church of Christ, instrumental music is not allowed supposedly, correct? The Praise Team has a lot of adjusting to do as those "contemporary [and charismatic] Christian musical pieces were written and performed [by Christian Rock artists--Michael, Amy, Twila, et al] with lots of musical instrumentation. And the congregation's praise team has to be innovative--magnify "the joy" of/in rhythmic handclapping and emulate or simulate or make up the noise(s) of musical instruments. [Ken Sublett, I think I now understand more fully the unnecessary "hard labor" involved in man-made music. Can you imagine what's involved in REHEARSING (practicing) worship from the heart for the congregation? In addition, I was thinking that worship in spirit and truth should be spontaneous -- not rehearsed.]

(Sorry, that was meant to be very brief.)

OK, JimmyJoe, it's been announced at least a couple of times that the "Worship Ministry" [huh???] is in need of more "Praise Team" members [huh???]. Prospects are to audition [huh???]. Really? (A lot of terms and expressions for the Scripture-minded reader to consider, analyze, validate, etc., here!!!) So, here are a few questions:

  • Doesn't this appear to be some kind of staff infection?
  • Is this process typical when one "Worship Leader" is fired...
  • And another "Worship Leader is hired?
  • Do some existing Praise Team members "not like" to "minister" anymore?
  • Since Madison's new "Worship Leader" is a black brother, is this a way to encourage to make a change to an all-white men and WOMEN co-leaders?
  • The congregation of this size shouldn't have a problem with staffing, should it?
  • Has Madison considered hiring a completely "professional" (paid, of course) "Praise Team"?

The biggest question is this: Hasn't Madison considered phasing out the Praise Team Ministry altogether, and returning to pure congregational singing?

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Can't Answer

February 20 2012, 8:52 PM 

Donnie, Please refer to my post on the historically a capella churches thread. I'm sure Mr. Subblett is wiser, smarter and probally more intelligent than me. He should be as he has been around a lot longer than I have. However, just because someone disagrees with someone I don't believe that is a good criteria to judge ones intelligence.

Donnie, not only are you hung up on music but it seems gender and race have been added to the equation. Welcome to the world of political correctness.

Again, If you would like to sit and discuss our differences face to face I would be glad to. I am retired so a cup of coffee anytime is fine with me.

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Donnie Cruz
(Login Donnie.Cruz)

Re: Can't Answer

February 20 2012, 10:21 PM 

Thanks for the invite, brother. Let's find time to meet again sometime and converse.

Actually, I was enjoying the humor when you said of Ken Sublett: "... I do not need your permission to do anything. I'm way past 21 although not as far as you...." The last part of your comment got my attention -- that was humorous. Many young people tell me the same thing all the time, and I laugh with them. You are correct in that some disagreement with someone is not a good criterion for determining one's level of intelligence.

Yes, I do have a problem with teachers and leaders of the church who compromise God's truth and changing the doctrine of Christ and His apostles. Important doctrinal matters are being taken for granted (as a matter of fact, being modified) by these teachers and leaders. Changing the design and purpose of BAPTISM is critical. And this is not the only important doctrine being changed by the Change Agents [pun intended?]. And so, why MUSIC, then? It is because MUSIC, while in itself ought not to be changed, is being used as a device or tool by the agents as a means for OTHER changes to occur and be implemented: for the sole purpose of transforming the church of Christ to be just like "another" denomination.

Political correctness? That's all that we hear these days. Race should not be a factor or an issue in church matters. GENDER is. Especially when it comes to leadership in the church. When the Praise Team is in "leadership," and the Praise Team is comprised of both men AND WOMEN AS LEADERS, then, leadership is an issue. This may be a matter for discussion in more detail at some other time. Also, I think I have brought this up a number of times--the WOMEN LEADERS of the Praise Team--but it seems that nobody is willing to discuss this issue more fully.

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Same Ole

February 21 2012, 7:09 PM 

"...the WOMEN LEADERS of the Praise Team--but it seems that nobody is willing to discuss this issue more fully."

Yes Donnie, it has been discussed....fully....many times. You have forgotten the discussion because you, like many discussions here, are too focused on what you want to say and really tune out the other party's intention and meaning.

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Donnie Cruz
(Login Donnie.Cruz)

Did I Hear from You?

February 22 2012, 12:40 AM 


I agree that the subject of "Praise Team" has been discussed actually quite extensively. Problem, Dave, is that you concentrate too much on equating the microphone with the sackbut [an instrument, BTW], which someone from overseas has said that the microphone is NOT a musical instrument. [It's sad and unfortunate that it takes an international "linguist" to explain that to you and others.]

Just in case, and I'm giving you the benefit that I did not focus on your party's argument, please clarify for us (again) your argument concerning "the men AND WOMEN LEADERS of the Praise Team."

Let's be specific, Dave, at this time. Not the men. But "the WOMEN LEADERS of the Praise Team."

A little happy.gif to this argument: Which is more remarkable when the Praise Team PERFORMS:

  • (a) When the WOMEN LEADERS are on stage facing the elders and "senior pastor" [OK, OK, OK--I meant "the preacher"]?

    ------------------------ or ---------------------

  • (b) When the men AND WOMEN LEADERS are seated in the front two rows or pews so that they are not facing the elders and deacons and minister?

Always keep in mind, Dave, that congregational singing was at its best before the advent of the Praise Team system, even in the few large congregations that have it now. (I would suspect that small and mid-size congregations of the church of Christ -- the majority -- do still maintain congregational singing without the "special, God-chosen" group doing the singing FOR THEM.)

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There are thousands of churches being taken over across America.

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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.

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