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Author Topic: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?  (Read 17492 times)

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Offline Seeking Answers

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Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« on: May 16, 2010, 02:03:14 PM »
I was raised in the CoC for many years and went to a lot of different congregations due to division about Kitchens being in the congregations, some congregations were more liberal and the Boston movement split one congregation, or the pastor was too liberal and didn't talk a lot about baptism...I am grateful that I grew up to be God fearing and in no way want to hurt anyone's faith in the CoC, but from my experience growing up in the Church, we were taught that Catholics, protestants were not saved and one preacher went so far to say that a more liberal CoC down the street was teaching poison.

I read a great book that helped validate my assumptions when I was growing up because a lot of what I was taught didn't seem to be correct. The book was: Reviving the Ancient Faith by Richard T. Hughes 1996 which gave me the history of the movement in the United States because this never was talked about growing up by my parents or the various Churches we went too.. I had always thought that it was Acts chapter 2 that the Church was founded and never about a restoration movement that started in the US that seeked to restore Christianity.

Anyways to make a long story short, I think the restoration movement was the ideal that Campbell and Stone seeked but I don't know if it was God's will for us to be United in such a complex system and God doesn't want us to depend on a system but rather on him and his grace. Growing up in the CoC I had equated my salvation to attending on Sunday and Wednesday night on how I worshiped instead of depending on God and never thought to consider what God may of intended for me to do, because the restoration movement led me to believe that I had already done everything and just needed to go to Church twice a week.

This is getting to be a brain dump and apologize for rambling but does anyone feel the same way as me as far as Grace never being the focus growing up in the CoC or similar experience growing up in the CoC???

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Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« on: May 16, 2010, 02:03:14 PM »

Offline Norton

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 08:50:45 PM »
I have been in the CofC all my life of 62 years. Salvation by grace was always taught, and it was always made clear that you did not earn your salvation. But by the time the preacher got thru it seemed like an earned grace, if there is such a thing. Yes, as you said, one would obtain God's grace and keep it by the things he did. Salvation was rarely if ever, explained as a free gift.  It was kind of like, you earned your salvation, but you got paid a very good salary for the work you did, so you didn't really earn it. However, things have changed much in the CofC since the 1980's.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say \"No\" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 08:50:45 PM »

Offline Mere Nick

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2010, 09:04:16 PM »
It depends on the congregation, regardless of the sign out front.

I grew up a Methodist.  We had our weirdnesses, too.  For example, my mom came home from a congregational meeting and told me one woman said that the whole congregation might go to hell because some women wear pants.

One of the things that drew me to the SOFCOC from the Methodist church was that there was no choir.  Based upon my experience growing up as a Methodist, I equated "no choir" to "no disputes in the congregation".

It appears what you may be doing is what I did in thinking that only the outfit you know has problems.  You came to believe getting weird was only practiced by the SOFCOC.  I grew up thinking it was a Methodist thing and maybe a Baptist thing.  Not that I ever attended a baptist church, but most folks I knew growing up were baptist and they seemed to get whacky, at times.

The problem is that whoever you meet with, you are meeting with people.  Getting weird, whacky and wrong is something everyone can and will do on a routine basis.  It isn't a practice cornered by the folks at the local SOFCOC.

So, in answer to the question of the opening thread, it seems to me, yes, some congregations do have it wrong.  I don't believe mine does.  It's been years since I recall a group of people meeting behind a different sign getting ripped from our pulpit.  What is normally preached is the grace of God through Christ.  Like the old song goes, our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.  It isn't built on what we find wrong with others, so we don't spend our time looking for the faults.  We preach who can forgive faults and what appears to be the right way.

It seems a good thing to search the scriptures and to try to obey what they teach.  There are some who climb such a lofty peak only to take a swan dive on the rocks below by believing that if they do church right, then that's why they are saved and if they don't do it right, then they aren't saved.  To me, that's a different gospel.
taller, better looking and smarter . . .

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Suffering for your beliefs is called faithfulness, making others suffer for your beliefs is called being a jerk.

His cross, like the ark in the wilderness, is the center around which his people are to encamp; so that they cannot separate into factions, or withdraw from each other, without retiring at the same time from the presence of the cross.

Offline Norton

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2010, 08:41:02 PM »
Mere Nick

You said what I thought and wanted to say, that is, we aren't the only ones who have some weird teachings. But, I have not had the first-hand experience in seeing it as you have.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say \"No\" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2010, 08:41:02 PM »

Online Johnb

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2010, 07:19:45 PM »
Former CoC preacher.  I was never taught nor fully understood salvation by grace.  Things are changing and many CoCs have a better understanding of grace.  Just not where I live.
"He drew a circle that excluded me.  I drew a circle that included him.."  W. Carl Ketcherside

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2010, 07:19:45 PM »



blituri

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2010, 07:56:35 PM »
Hughes and his tribe read just about the same as the old Communists trying to tread water after all of THEIR views were proven wrong.  Hughes like all scholars-for-hire knows that the ANTIism sells books and makes you popular like the ex communists who are the most beloved historians leading universities because the communists failure was that they FAILED to stame out America which they believe has created all of the evils in the world.

This is the same patternism which has made a practice out of sowing discord just to be popular with all of the other loose canons who claim that the Church REJECTS Grace because THEY never grasped it.  They in fact base the claim of ANTI-Grace on those who will not let instruments be IMPOSED and will NOT stopping teaching what we believe the Bible and all recorded history teaches.

By appealing to "Grace gonna cover it" they are in fact confessing that using instruments in the church NEEDS grace to make it acceptable.  The most gracious thing I discovered as a kid was that there was no INSTITUTE going on.

They also cry ANIT-grace or legalistic, sectarian, patternists, hypocrites because people do not go out of their way to FELLERSHIP those who reject baptism.

Never experienced a baptism where the preacher did not make the person fully understand. In fact, the Hughesites spread their ANTIISM on those who insist that members be baptized.

Offline Mere Nick

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2010, 08:52:29 PM »
They in fact base the claim of ANTI-Grace on those who will not let instruments be IMPOSED and will NOT stopping teaching what we believe the Bible and all recorded history teaches.


That's not true in my experience.  About five preachers ago I was told that grace was overblown.  Most of the later ones realize it isn't.  Instruments haven't had jack to do with any of it.   
taller, better looking and smarter . . .

They turned me loose from the nervous hospital.  Said I was well.  Mmm hmm.

Suffering for your beliefs is called faithfulness, making others suffer for your beliefs is called being a jerk.

His cross, like the ark in the wilderness, is the center around which his people are to encamp; so that they cannot separate into factions, or withdraw from each other, without retiring at the same time from the presence of the cross.

Offline Barabbas

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2010, 10:04:19 PM »
Quote
Hughes like all scholars-for-hire knows that the ANTIism sells books

Somehow I doubt Hughes is getting rich off a book with a fairly narrow subject of interest.

blituri

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2010, 10:15:02 PM »
 moved
« Last Edit: May 19, 2010, 09:54:55 AM by blituri »

Offline Barabbas

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2010, 10:33:21 PM »
Quote
This is getting to be a brain dump and apologize for rambling but does anyone feel the same way as me as far as Grace never being the focus growing up in the CoC or similar experience growing up in the CoC???
Maybe - but I think of it as more a reaction to protestant calvanism and experiential christianity in particular.  Depending how you look at it - it could be thought of as very grace based.

For instance - many evangelical christian groups in the 19th century stressed that one must have a God experience in order to confirm their christianity.  This came from a calvanist teaching that only the elect have salvation ... but how did you know that you were one of the elect?  Having an experience such that you know that God has saved you was their answer.  Trouble was not everyone had this emotional experience that they knew was God.

Campbell and others taught that the Bible didn't teach that experiential religion was the sign of a Christian - but baptism was.  A person baptized in the name of Christ was all the confirmation one needed in order to know that they were among the elect (or saved).  This was absolutely a message of grace for those that thought that they had to have some kind of experience in order to know that they were saved.

I don't see that the church of Christ has graceless theology - but I do think it tends to be more works based.  I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing - it depends on what works one is teaching.  I think they would agree that you can't work your way to heaven - or they would at least give lip service to that statement.

Offline Barabbas

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2010, 10:38:10 PM »
Quote
It is true that a faithful book would not pay for the printing cost.

Oh I don't know - the Bible seems to do pretty well.

Quote
Joke. Q. What's the difference between a liberal and a conservative preacher.
         A.  Oh, about fifty thousand dollars a year.

I do like your joke though.  ::smile::

Offline Seeking Answers

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2010, 01:53:58 AM »
It depends on the congregation, regardless of the sign out front.

I grew up a Methodist.  We had our weirdnesses, too.  For example, my mom came home from a congregational meeting and told me one woman said that the whole congregation might go to hell because some women wear pants.

One of the things that drew me to the SOFCOC from the Methodist church was that there was no choir.  Based upon my experience growing up as a Methodist, I equated "no choir" to "no disputes in the congregation".

It appears what you may be doing is what I did in thinking that only the outfit you know has problems.  You came to believe getting weird was only practiced by the SOFCOC.  I grew up thinking it was a Methodist thing and maybe a Baptist thing.  Not that I ever attended a baptist church, but most folks I knew growing up were baptist and they seemed to get whacky, at times.

The problem is that whoever you meet with, you are meeting with people.  Getting weird, whacky and wrong is something everyone can and will do on a routine basis.  It isn't a practice cornered by the folks at the local SOFCOC.

So, in answer to the question of the opening thread, it seems to me, yes, some congregations do have it wrong.  I don't believe mine does.  It's been years since I recall a group of people meeting behind a different sign getting ripped from our pulpit.  What is normally preached is the grace of God through Christ.  Like the old song goes, our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.  It isn't built on what we find wrong with others, so we don't spend our time looking for the faults.  We preach who can forgive faults and what appears to be the right way.

It seems a good thing to search the scriptures and to try to obey what they teach.  There are some who climb such a lofty peak only to take a swan dive on the rocks below by believing that if they do church right, then that's why they are saved and if they don't do it right, then they aren't saved.  To me, that's a different gospel.

Good point regarding growing up Methodist and seeing the same issues as people will be people. I agree that people will bring their issues no matter what congregation; however the difference was... growing up we were always taught that hellfire was in store for people that use instruments, which is a different comparison because at least from my experience, this wasn't a local quibble about the choir but a teaching of every congregation that I went to supported by tracts about don't add to the word of God or take from it or ELSE! etc.

Curious if Methodists were tolerant of Calvinists, or other Protestant groups or if Methodists thought they were the only ones? The CofC congregations I went to were not tolerant of protestant groups usually because of the different teaching on Baptism.

Agree that congregations and people can get it wrong and it could be that a lot of the things that I experienced growing up could have been due to a click in the different churches that were more conservative or strict, which doesn't define the entire congregation as a whole, but my assumptions especially after reading the book mentioned in the OP, helped validate all of the things that I was feeling growing up. It helped me understand, using your words "Why all the wackiness or disfunction" which I think is due to the restoration ideal initiated by Campbell and Stone that seems to trump God's Grace in my opinion.




Online Johnb

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2010, 05:02:39 AM »
Barabbas said.
Campbell and others taught that the Bible didn't teach that experiential religion was the sign of a Christian - but baptism was.  A person baptized in the name of Christ was all the confirmation one needed in order to know that they were among the elect (or saved).  This was absolutely a message of grace for those that thought that they had to have some kind of experience in order to know that they were saved.


Not true.  Neither the Campbells nor Stone made baptism a test of fellowship but the life of the person.  You might want to read a little more of their actual words.  

Alexander Campbell "Luenburg letter"  Millennial Harbinger 1837

Should I find a Pedobaptist more intelligent in the Christian Scriptures, more spiritually-minded and
more devoted to the Lord than a Baptist, or one immersed on a profession of the ancient faith, I could
not hesitate a moment in giving the preference of my heart to him that loveth most. Did I act otherwise,
I would be a pure sectarian, a Pharisee among Christians. Still I will be asked, How do I know that any
one loves my Master but by his obedience to his commandments? I answer, In no other way. But mark,
I do not substitute obedience to one commandment, for universal or even for general obedience. And
should I see a sectarian Baptist or a Pedobaptist more spiritually-minded, more generally conformed to
the requisitions of the Messiah, than one who precisely acquiesces with me in the theory or practice of
immersion as I teach, doubtless the former rather than the latter, would have my cordial approbation
and love as a Christian. So I judge, and so I feel. It is the image of Christ the Christian looks for and
loves; and this does not consist in being exact in a few items, but in general devotion to the whole truth
as far as known.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2010, 05:10:48 AM by Johnb »
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Offline zoonance

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2010, 05:35:43 AM »
Quote
This is getting to be a brain dump and apologize for rambling but does anyone feel the same way as me as far as Grace never being the focus growing up in the CoC or similar experience growing up in the CoC???
Maybe - but I think of it as more a reaction to protestant calvanism and experiential christianity in particular.  Depending how you look at it - it could be thought of as very grace based.

For instance - many evangelical christian groups in the 19th century stressed that one must have a God experience in order to confirm their christianity.  This came from a calvanist teaching that only the elect have salvation ... but how did you know that you were one of the elect?  Having an experience such that you know that God has saved you was their answer.  Trouble was not everyone had this emotional experience that they knew was God.

Campbell and others taught that the Bible didn't teach that experiential religion was the sign of a Christian - but baptism was.  A person baptized in the name of Christ was all the confirmation one needed in order to know that they were among the elect (or saved).  This was absolutely a message of grace for those that thought that they had to have some kind of experience in order to know that they were saved.

I don't see that the church of Christ has graceless theology - but I do think it tends to be more works based.  I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing - it depends on what works one is teaching.  I think they would agree that you can't work your way to heaven - or they would at least give lip service to that statement.



It would appear to some that the inclusion of all biblical revelation from God to His adopted children involving personal responsibility to the sin in their lives would smell of what has been eroneously defined as "works based theology"  just as erroneous as the other human defined "grace based theology".   The truth is that grace and obedience are not foreign concepts to the clear teachings of the inspired authors.  Too much emphasis on one blinds the reader on the other.   We no more work our way to heaven than we do to coast in with our untransformed lives excused away by a misguided definition of God's grace.  Both extremes focuses on "me, myself and I".  Listen to the apologetics.  Both extremes sound like they are focusing on God but real focus is on "ME"  no matter how much the long explanations to the contrary.

Offline jb728b

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Re: Did the Church of Christ get it wrong regarding Grace?
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2010, 06:44:51 AM »
It's not so much that we got it wrong it's more of a misplaced emphasis.  We are saved by grace and that can't be denied by a rational person.  That being said we tend to focus more on the acceptance of grace than the purpose of grace. This is a failure on our part because it tends to make man the focal point instead of God.  That, of course, is not to say that acceptance of grace is secondary; it merely expresses the truth that teaching acceptance sounds dogmatic and "works oriented" if you don't also teach purpose.

Of course, if you go the extreme in the other direction you negate personal responsibility (which is not a work of merit by the way). God's grace will save, but only if you accept it.
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