A Very Reasonable Church of Christ Position

We’ve received a couple of emails from Norm and Johnny, and they’ve told us that they have no intention of participating in our little blog, although I’m pretty certain they come here and read what we’re discussing.  I’m sure they are hoping that if they ignore us, we’ll just fade into the distance.  However, we are pretty much committed to being the “fair and balanced” alternative to the discussions of their teachings.  It’s funny, because they always harp on others for not discussing on their turf, but won’t come here and discuss!  What are they afraid of?

Log onto the blog tonight after “What Does the Bible Say?” to post your thoughts on Johnny Robertson’s teaching.

Meanwhile, thanks to Randy for the following, from a Church of Christ pastor.  If you are a part of the Martinsville Church of Christ, the Danville Church of Christ, or the Reidsville Church of Christ, let us know your thoughts!

“The fact is that our brethren defend some twenty-five different “patterns,” and each disputant is thoroughly convinced that his alone is the pattern. The absurdity of men standing up and quoting the same passages, and finding justification for their varied and opposite views while proclaiming that the Word is so plain that even a blind man can see it, seems lost upon everyone except those thinking persons who are outside our movement.

Most of our patterns consist of a combination of elements derived from three sources: (1) Cultural and environmental factors; (2) Reactions to other religious groups whom we consider as apostates or compromisers; (3) Misconception and misapplication of scriptural passages lifted from their contextual setting and used to establish our preconceptions and presuppositions.

A good example has to do with the method of “taking up the offering.” Few among us in this day recall what a furor was caused in some areas when brethren began to pass offering plates. Early restoration congregations never did this because it was sectarian. The sects all “passed the hat.” This was literally true. In my childhood days the Baptist and Methodist folk would send their collectors among the audience passing felt hats lifted from the hat-rack for the purpose. When they became a little more stylish they passed collection plates with felt noise-arresters to deaden the sound of dropping quarters.

When time came for this “item of worship” in our congregations, the brothers and sisters all marched up to the front, singing “There’s An Eye Watching You,” and laid their contribution on the Lord’s Table, returning to their seats by the way which they came. It was quite a procession. Sometimes there was a great deal of milling around in front when they converged on the table from two aisles. It was further complicated in some places by the fact that the marchers all took time to shake hands with the brethren on the front seat as a sign of fellowship.

As we grew in number and in sophistication, and began to crave less noise and more solemnity, changes began to be advocated. These did not come easily. Brethren mounted the pulpit to show that God had a pattern for doing everything, and we dare not deviate. We were reminded that the ark had to be made of gopher wood. We were again told of what happened to Nadab and Abihu when they offered strange fire. When such brethren were asked for scriptural grounds for marching up and laying their money on the table they were undaunted.

Members of the Church of Christ should face up to the question of what the apostle Paul would do if he returned to earth and came to the United States. With which of our partisan factions would he identify or “place membership”?

To which partisan journal would Paul report his preaching tours? Which one would he join as a staff writer? The Gospel Advocate? The Firm Foundation? The Old Paths Advocate? Gospel Tidings? Gospel Guardian? The Christian? The Christian Standard?

On which college lectureship would he participate? Abilene Christian College? Florida College? Would he address the North American Christian Convention? The World Convention of Churches of Christ?

Would Paul and Silas create a separate and exclusive party over Bible classes, individual container’s, support of Herald of Truth, or instrumental music? Would they set at nought a brother over orphan homes? Would they destroy a brother for whom Christ died over the use of fermented wine in the Lord’s Supper? Would they fracture and splinter the heirs of heaven into clashing clans and rival parties?

Would they spend their time emphasizing the same issues which we elevate above the cross and count as more worthy than the blood of the Son of God?

Is it not time to crucify within our hearts that work of the flesh which causes us to hold aloof from so many thousands of God’s precious children, and to build bridges across our senseless chasms? Let us ignore our silly walls and barriers. Let us cross freely back and forth through them. Why should we perpetuate the stupid and asinine feuds into which our father’s were lured by the siren call of pride and ambition. Why should we continue our futile and farcical clashes, martialed for civil war by the sound of rival trumpets?

Let me make it clear again to all who read this, that I am in the glorious fellowship of the Spirit, with every child of God in this whole wide world. No partisan leader will con me into believing that he alone has discovered the key of all knowledge and that his faction has a copyright on the real Simon Pure, unvarnished truth of heaven, to the exclusion of all others. I shall allow no one to do my thinking on earth who cannot be responsible for it at the judgment. This is my declaration of independence, and “if this be treason, make the most of it!””

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5 thoughts on “A Very Reasonable Church of Christ Position

  1. From Randy:

    Jeff, I am curious about something else. I hear many church of Christ preachers talking about following “The Pattern” but never do they want to give specifics of their pattern that they profess to be THE pattern. I have found out through research and other preachers in the church of Christ that there are many patterns and not just one that every Church of Christ follows. I will ask you as I have others-Can you give me the specifics of the NT pattern that all churches of Christ should follow?

  2. I suppose you’ll have to ask them what they mean.

    Point of order: If you’ve been over to my blog, you’ll note I’m not a very prolific writer. Thus, my comments here (or anywhere, for that matter) will be confined to matters that interest me, or where I feel I can add to the conversation. Thanks!

  3. I have visited “tuth in love” and read things there. I enjoy reading your material and things.

    What they mean is that the bible has within it a Pattern that Christians are to follow. By pattern, they do not mean Christ. Im sure you know where I am coming from with this, seeing most all churches of Christ teach “The pattern”. The pattern being a set of rules and ways to worship, among other things. Im sure you know about this, seeing you have wriiten and read a lot. I just find it interesting that nobody will provide the specifics to the pattern.

  4. From: “Rice_16093”
    To:
    Subject: my interpretation of the coC
    Date: Sunday, September 30, 2007 11:07 AM

    Please comment on my observations from my church of Christ experience.

    No one is asking you to condone or embrace the homosexual partnership for yourself, personally. As a heterosexual, I knew immediately that I could no longer worship publicly with a congregation after our minister found out one of the members of the church of Christ where he served was gay and had a monogamous relationship, (much longer than most heterosexual marriages, incidentally) and decided it was his “Christian” duty to counsel this member, and ultimately the gay member took his own life. I knew right then some things should be left up to our Creator to judge. With attitudes like yours, do you not recognize that you are a cheerleader for the anti gay activists who far too often take it upon themselves to torment emotionally and often physically, the gays for no other reason than being who they are. Why not preach cleaning up the heterosexual conduct i.e. red light districts, discretionary relationship, no-fault divorce, etc., or do you teach that the truth only becomes the truth when other people find out about it. At least if gays decide to no longer share a relationship with one another, they do not leave little children to suffer the collateral damage. How in the world would you feel if sometime in the future we learn that the gays do have a biological reason for their being gay. If nature can cause a glitch in so many of the characteristics that make up a human being, why can’t the hormones, testosterones, etc., be subject to a little quirky variation? And, how do you explain little babies born who are trans-gender? How awful you will feel if someday that is proven without a doubt. The church of Christ doctrine is too elite for me to subscribe to. It is almost like the members think they are the only true believers and believe the only truth. That is really painful for those who have family members, wonderful friends and loved ones, who for some reason think they have “found the way” and it is their mission to show you! In earthly terms this would be described as the ultimate “snobbish” way of thinking. I do not think a loving Creator would leave us with only a book much like “Finding Waldo”, and woe unto ye who do not understand and interpret it the same as the believers in your church. The Creator created the entire universe, everything, and everyone. I am ashamed that you have reduced Him to Someone who would in turn condemn everyone to Hell unless we see eye to eye on your method of praising Him. Please!

  5. From Hope:
    It is almost like the members think they are the only true believers and believe the only truth. That is really painful for those who have family members, wonderful friends and loved ones, who for some reason think they have “found the way” and it is their mission to show you! In earthly terms this would be described as the ultimate “snobbish” way of thinking. I do not think a loving Creator would leave us with only a book much like “Finding Waldo”, and woe unto ye who do not understand and interpret it the same as the believers in your church. The Creator created the entire universe, everything, and everyone. I am ashamed that you have reduced Him to Someone who would in turn condemn everyone to Hell unless we see eye to eye on your method of praising Him. Please!

    From Randy: I agree with this part 100%. The guys we are speaking of on this blog have the mindset you mentioned. They think it’s their way or hell is your highway. That is what we are trying to address in this blog. Please continue to read and add comments.

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