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Offline janine

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"Letters of Disfellowship"
« on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 06:51:53 »
Acts 17:13, KJV:
Quote
But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.

Lee Freeman's (now deleted) thread about congregations sending around \"letters of disfellowship\" made me think of incidents like that in Paul's life, as recorded in Acts.

Also made me think of some points we ought to discuss around that concept.

Maybe he did well to delete the letters, I dunno since I did not read them.  But that angle on the idea of withdrawal of fellowship -- how and when and why and should congregations tell other congregations a blessed thing about what happens \"at home\"? -- that could give us some interesting discussion.

I'm not so much wondering what y'all think about a formal \"disfellowshipping\" -- I know y'all have seen it done in an informal way, and in a formal way; and I know y'all have seen it mishandled -- who hasn't, if you've been in the church for very long? -- and I hope, if it had to happen in a church you were part of, I hope it was handled well.

What I want to ask about is a little narrower:

What would have to happen before you would think it a good thing that the churches in your region spread the word about a brother/sister who had to be put out?

Are you not able to think of an imaginary scenario where you'd think it ever good to spread the story?

When you have seen this done -- I mean when there have been actual \"official\" letters sent out from a church to areas churches -- was it well-done when you saw it?  Or was it a waste of ink and a tossing around of dirt unnecessarily?

Was it as blessing to the ones so informed or was it an attempt by a church leadership to work up some sort of playground/bully following among the other congregations?

Can you recall a time where you wish folks had spread some word of a brother's troubles, where it would maybe have done the brother some good not to have an innocent flock to go chew on?  (Not to mention the benefit for the sheep to have been forewarned.)

If you hold a particular position, have you any specific Scripture you stand upon, on the matter?

Or can you only come up with \"common sense\" and \"wise as serpents\" as defense?  Is that enough, if so?[/color]

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« on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 06:51:53 »

Offline Skip

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« Reply #1 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 08:17:00 »
Quote
...
Can you recall a time where you wish folks had spread some word of a brother's troubles, where it would maybe have done the brother some good not to have an innocent flock to go chew on?  (Not to mention the benefit for the sheep to have been forewarned.)
...
Yeah.
Happened in this area, when a somewhat predatory person was disfellowshipped from one coC congregation only to move to another coC congregation across the county.
And I know of at least two other persons who should have a warning label affixed...
Warning: Mentally unstable if medication not taken

An ounce of prevention can save a pound of cure.
And the love of brothers and sisters is shown by a careful, tactful warning rather than letting them find out something \"the hard way\".

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« Reply #1 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 08:17:00 »

Offline Dennis

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« Reply #2 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 09:17:43 »
I agree with Skip, there are times when the right thing to do is to tell.  Is it fair to leave the leadership of a new conregation in the dark about known problems?

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« Reply #2 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 09:17:43 »

boringoldguy

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« Reply #3 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 09:24:53 »
I'm sorry I missed the deleted thread.

As far as telling -  I'd like it to be done.   I know of one conman and one pervert who should have had the word put out on them and it never happened.

And Janine -  I've been hanging around churches of Christ for about 30 years now and I've never seen a disfellowshipping.

Heard about it - yes.   Thought it ought to happen - yes.

Seen it happen - never.

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« Reply #3 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 09:24:53 »

Offline DCR

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« Reply #4 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 09:44:11 »
I recall one situation when I was a kid.  There was a nearby, very conservative congregation that had disfellowshipped someone because of a suspect divorce/remarriage, I believe.  This couple started attending our congregation.  The elders from the other church sent a letter to our congregation notifying of the situation.  But, the couple was accepted where we were.  Caused a bit of a stir, as I recall.  Folks at the other church saw our church as liberal, I think.  And, there were those even in our congregation who had a problem with it.  I don't remember all the details of the situation though.

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« Reply #4 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 09:44:11 »



Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #5 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 11:06:40 »
I originally posted those letters to show how silly churches can sometimes be-or how silly it would be if they weren't so deadly serious about it. However I deleted the letters because I reconsidered and felt like it was airing dirty laundry. I've described them enough here, anyway. However, if you guys want to read them I'll re-post some of them.

What I posted were congregational disfellowship letters, where my church was disfellowshipped.

We got about a dozen or so letters of disfellowship back in 1993 after we had our first joint assembly (of about 12) with North Wood United Methodist Church, and then again in 1994, when we became one of the sponsors for the first of four or five Marches for Jesus.

What struck me then and still strikes me as odd about this whole disfellowship thing, is that all the letters we received were from churches we'd never even had fellowship with in the first place-and a few were from churches 500 miles away we'd never even heard of! We even made Contending for the Faith- they devoted half an issue to us! We even got one letter of protest from a couple who said that they were trying to \"share the gospel\" with some Methodist co-workers, who, because of us, would  never obey the gospel of Christ and convert to the true faith. (As if Methodists don't already believe in the death, burial and resurrection!)

All of these churches (mostly smaller, rural Churches of Christ and a couple of Anti Churches of Christ who devoted whole issues of their bulletins to us), felt compelled to \"mark out\" and \"withdraw\" from us because we were fellowshipping \"workers of darkness and iniquity,\" fellowshipping groups \"founded in order to please man,\" and because we were in clear violation of II John 9-11.

How can someone you've never had fellowship withdraw fellowship from you?

Like I said, if you guys want to read some of them I'll re-post them. I just thought it might seem like I was airing dirty laundry.


As for individuals being withdrawn from-its a scriptural concept. I heard of a church somewhere however (I think it was somewhere in Tennessee, I can't remember now), who withdrew from a member openly pursuing an adulterous relationship, who, when warned she should stop, refused to do so. It turned out that this woman sued that church, and won the lawsuit!

Pax.

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« Reply #5 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 11:06:40 »

Offline winky

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« Reply #6 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 11:46:20 »
I do see a distinction between disfellowshipping a person (which seems to be a Biblical concept) and disfellowshipping an entire church.

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« Reply #7 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 11:49:00 »
I think it was wise to delete them. And would be wise to get rid of them altogether, IMO.  To me, it is kind of like being the \"injured party\" in a divorce.  You need to spend some time being hurt and angry over it and talking to other folks about it, but eventually you need to move on.  Keeping those letters and rehearsing them with others can keep you stuck in something that happened 10 years ago, when, perhaps, you need to move on.  Just my thoughts on it, based on what I've seen.

Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #8 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 12:04:36 »
Quote
I think it was wise to delete them. And would be wise to get rid of them altogether, IMO.  To me, it is kind of like being the \"injured party\" in a divorce.  You need to spend some time being hurt and angry over it and talking to other folks about it, but eventually you need to move on.  Keeping those letters and rehearsing them with others can keep you stuck in something that happened 10 years ago, when, perhaps, you need to move on.  Just my thoughts on it, based on what I've seen.
You're right-that's why I deleted them. The church keeps them on file in the secretary's office and I read through them again a couple or three weeks ago, just to reaquaint myself with them. I'm probably the first person to read them in ten years. I was only going to post them to demonstrate the arguments used to justify their disfellowshipping us, but decided what was the real point?

Those letters don't make me mad or angry, I just really feel sorry for the people who sent them, that they cannot accept anyone who differs from them in the slightest.

Pax.[/color]

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« Reply #8 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 12:04:36 »

Offline zoonance

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« Reply #9 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 13:06:29 »
I have been disfellowshipped BOG.  I refused to obey the preacher/elder to not speak with the disfellowshipped... so I was condemned to hell for my unrepetant, disobedient heart.   It was extremely painful but liberating too!  (I suppose you are still waiting for a letter to be sent to your congregation!)  However, if I had been disfellowshipped for something that should not become the burden of another congregation then some heads up would be appropriate.  (Of course, since I have never sought restoration from the congregation that kicked me and my wife (she stood by me instead of obeying them either) - my underage children were of course encouraged to continue to be faithful - I guess that I am still officially off limits and probably should be disfellowshipped from posting on this forum as well!  I hope that will not happ

boringoldguy

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« Reply #10 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 13:16:24 »
I don't deny that people have been disfellowshipped.

But Janine asserted that we'd all seen it done -  well, I haven't.

My kids haven't.

Anybody who grew up in the congregation I have attended for the past 23 years (in a couple of weeks) hasn't seen it happen in that time.

That's what I'm saying.

boringoldguy

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« Reply #11 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 13:19:13 »
The only disfellowshipping I know to have taken place in our congregation involved a divorce/remarriage situation.    And it was probably 30 years ago.  I know the sister of the fellow who was disfellowshipped is the only reason I know about it.

Offline DCR

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« Reply #12 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 13:20:23 »
Would it have been appropriate to \"disfellowship\" the churches condemned in Revelation, especially the ones that were threatened to have their lampstands removed (Revelation 2:5)?  Or, is it better to leave that to the Lord?  But, the object of that admonition was that the church at Ephesus had \"left their first love\".  Otherwise, they seemed to do everything else right... They could not bear those who were evil, identified false apostles, and labored for Christ's name sake and did not become weary.  And, they hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans.  It sounds like they kept everything and everyone in check and pointed out all the error in the brotherhood, I'm sure.  But, because they had left their first love, they were called on to repent.  This is probably more convicting than we realize.

Revelation 2
    1 \"To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
    \"These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 \"I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Offline James Rondon

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« Reply #13 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 13:21:52 »
Quote
I've been hanging around churches of Christ for about 30 years now and I've never seen a disfellowshipping.

Heard about it - yes.   Thought it ought to happen - yes.

Seen it happen - never.
The group with which I used to \"worship\" \"disfellowshipped\" and \"marked\" on a regular basis. While I was with them, which was only for a little over a year, there were probably at least a dozen or so incidents. When we left the group, I and my family \"withdrew ourselves\" from the church there, and I \"marked\", by letter, several individuals. They, in turn, \"withdrew\" from me, and marked myself, and several other individuals who also left.

Offline segell

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« Reply #14 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 15:21:18 »
Couple of comments.  

1.  Janine mentioned that when brothers/sisters are disfellowshipped.  My question goes to whether we're talking about members of a particular church who are not saved or are we talking about saved people being disfellowshipped.  I see a distinction.

2.  If one is disfellowshipped over spiritual/disputable matters, I wouldn't think it would be appropriate for the matter to be discussed outside of the local congregation.

3.  If, on the other hand, the purpose of the disfellowshipping is behavior that is reprehensible - such as a predatory behavior, abuse, mental instability - then perhaps a broadcast is appropriate along with notice to the local authorities if the behavior is such that the local church felt threatened and couldn't handle it.

My wife was disfellowshipped.  (Actually, she left the church - choosing to worship elsewhere).  Almost six months later, \"loving\" elders and men from this small, shrinking congregation wrote her a letter \"marking\" her and announcing the formal act of disfellowship.  This letter was sent out to other churches in at least two states, if you can believe it.

Nonetheless, it was silly on the part of that church.  And very hurtful.  It wasn't about anything more than leaving the church.  Those elders - if you can believe the audacity - correlated that with rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior.  (One of the ugly aspects of legalism).  They even offered support of these Scriptures for their foundation:

Quote
I Corinthians5:5hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

Galatians 5:19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

My wife serves our Lord with a deeper commitment than she has ever done before.  She has grown in her faith and been blessed by Christ Jesus with a fire that He has lit as she has learned more about grace and humble submission to His Lordship.  As she would say today, she would never consider returning.

I say this because disfellowshipping is very serious business and when misapplied can bring terrible damage to the reputation of Jesus Christ and to His people.  

My two bits worth, anyway.

Steve[/color]

Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #15 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 17:57:03 »
Quote
This letter was sent out to other churches in at least two states, if you can believe it.
I can believe it. My church got disfellowshiped by people and churches we'd never had fellowship with and  some we'd never even heard of.

Churches do it under the guise of \"defending the faith,' and \"keeping the Church pure.\" I think its often really about control.

There are two Anti-institutional Churches of Christ in town who are continually marking and withdrawing from other churches (which, again, they've most likely never actually had fellowship with to begin with).

It reminds me of popes and excommunications.

Pax.[/color]

Offline janine

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« Reply #16 on: Tue Jul 12, 2005 - 22:46:27 »
The times I've seen it done have usually been too little, too late -- or too much, too soon --

And once I wish there had been a \"broadcast\", because it would've saved my congregation  a $900 phone bill and some threats of violence, if we'd known not to take a fellow in.

OTOH, there was a marking/disfellowshipping/split, a real mess, years ago, and some of the whole episode was silly and needless, and some of it was badly handled --

So, because of that, even though the core beginning of the troubles were centered around one prickly divisive man, Mike didn't feel he could accept the montrous labels being put on the brother without getting to know the man himself.

That was a bumpy ride!  It did in the end work out that we could no longer work in harness with that man.

Offline Skip

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« Reply #17 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 08:22:45 »
Quote
Quote
This letter was sent out to other churches in at least two states, if you can believe it.
I can believe it. My church got disfellowshiped by people and churches we'd never had fellowship with and  some we'd never even heard of.
...
This just strikes me as a disconnect...

You make a big deal about \"never having fellowship\" with these \"disfellowship letter\" churches.
Yet you will, on the other hand, proclaim unity -- which implies \"fellowship\" -- with another group if they park their van in the lot and a group of nameless faces happen to walk in the same parade or sit on the bleachers of the same stadium listening to the same speaker.
Which way do you want it? You can't have it both ways...
 :confused:
Personally, I consider that when I walk into a coC in another city I have a very real bond of fellowship with those people. That has been confirmed over and over again.

Yet if they were a group with a coC SOF, but should be avoided for some reason, it may surprise you, but I actually would like to know rather than learn the hard way why I shouldn't be there. (I've had that unfortunate experience as well.)[/color]

Offline segell

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« Reply #18 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 08:41:15 »
Quote
but should be avoided for some reason

Just curious, Skip, but could you give some examples of the reasons certain cofC SoF churches should be avoided from your past experience?  I'm curious.  (Frankly, am wondering if it would be similar to me avoiding certain \"non-denom\" churches that would seem similar to what I hold but proclaim a very different message inside).[/color]

Offline Skip

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« Reply #19 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 08:56:18 »
Quote
Quote
but should be avoided for some reason

Just curious, Skip, but could you give some examples of the reasons certain cofC SoF churches should be avoided from your past experience?  I'm curious.  (Frankly, am wondering if it would be similar to me avoiding certain \"non-denom\" churches that would seem similar to what I hold but proclaim a very different message inside).
I walked into one just as they were entering the \"divide and conquer\" phase of a preacher-firing. One group said he had to go, the others said there was no good reason to fire him. Quite the learning experience, but had I known I would not have subjected myself and my family to a front row seat in a church power struggle.

Another one involved what I would call a \"progressive\" worship service. But if I wanted an Assemblies of God worship experience, I expect the SOF to say \"Assembly of God\", not \"church of Christ\". They reminded me of this quote:
\"When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.\" -- Eric Hoffer
I really don't know why OT Israel wanted a king, and why some churches of Christ want to mimick the worship of the church down the road...

That's a representative sample.[/color]

Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #20 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 09:29:35 »
Quote
Quote
Quote
This letter was sent out to other churches in at least two states, if you can believe it.
I can believe it. My church got disfellowshiped by people and churches we'd never had fellowship with and  some we'd never even heard of.
...
This just strikes me as a disconnect...

You make a big deal about \"never having fellowship\" with these \"disfellowship letter\" churches.
Yet you will, on the other hand, proclaim unity -- which implies \"fellowship\" -- with another group if they park their van in the lot and a group of nameless faces happen to walk in the same parade or sit on the bleachers of the same stadium listening to the same speaker.
Which way do you want it? You can't have it both ways...
 :confused:
Personally, I consider that when I walk into a coC in another city I have a very real bond of fellowship with those people. That has been confirmed over and over again.

Yet if they were a group with a coC SOF, but should be avoided for some reason, it may surprise you, but I actually would like to know rather than learn the hard way why I shouldn't be there. (I've had that unfortunate experience as well.)
I see your point-I think, but I don't see a problem. My own brethren rejected us and disfellowshipped us; churches 500 miles away in another state, that I'd never even heard of before, read a reprint of one newspaper article and from that one article concluded that we should be disfellowshipped. How can a church you've never actually been in fellowship with, withdraw it?

Unity has to start somewhere, it won't start off with all of us being in full fellowship right off the bat. Nor will it start unless I'm actually around those \"nameless faces,\" as you call them. Since that first March for Jesus many of them are friends now, rather than just \"nameless faces.\" Were we not united in purpose and sentiment when we marched together, all mixed up, Catholics and Protestants, Lutherans and Methodists, Church of Christ and Charismatics, Baptists and Presbyterians? Unity has to begin somewhere. I think those marches were a good start.

But you're extremely critical of these efforts; I've repeatedly asked you what you'd do, and you haven't responded. What would you do to bring about unity? Or do you think unity isn't important? Or is it something only God can do? What's the answer? Stop criticising and offer some solutions.

Pax.[/color]

Offline Skip

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« Reply #21 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 10:19:19 »
One using your logic might wonder how Paul went way past \"fellowship\" and presumed to write an authoritative letter to a church in Rome that he'd never even visited.

A church you've never heard of writes a \"letter of disfellowship\". How dare they? We were never in fellowship.
A church you've never heard of parks their van next to yours in the parking lot at the rally. Fellowship.
Sorry, but the truth of a statement is not determined by whether you like the result.
How 'bout this: A church you've never heard of writes a \"letter of fellowship\"... What then? Return to sender?

As for unity, I'm convinced of three things:
1) The Campbellian plea was, at its heart, one of Restoration
- Unity would be a natural result of the restoration
2) Any list of \"essentials\" is, by definition, sectarian
3) Jesus prayed for the Father to make his disciples \"one\" -- not to me or you or Ketcherside or Campbell

My solution is to quit playing God and let God answer the prayer of Jesus Christ.

Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #22 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 10:37:57 »
Quote
My solution is to quit playing God and let God answer the prayer of Jesus Christ.
Paul was inspired, the churches who withdrew from us aren't. And Paul had very legitimate salvation-issues to adress. The Magnolia church of Christ meeting with a Methodist church doesn't rank as a salvation issue. Or does it?

I won't debate what Richard Hughes calls \"the myth of the singular Campbell\" again.

I have a hard time with the notion that we should all sit back in our segregated, separated and divided churches and just pray for unity, without taking any action. To me this is roughly akin to praying for God to stop crime, or drug use, but our doing nothing ourselves about it. Not even trying to bring about unity because we're afraid of creating more dis-unity or because we're afraid of failing to me is like the one-talent man who was so afraid of making a mistake or failing that he took no action at all. I believe we should all pray, but I also think God expects us to cooperate with his will.

But honestly, I don't think we really want unity badly enough; each different church seems to be quite satisfied with the status quo of them existing in their own little theological pond, as if their pond is the only one, blissfully unaware of all the other ponds out there. But that's just how I see it.

Pax.[/color]

Offline Skip

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« Reply #23 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 10:46:07 »
Quote
Quote
My solution is to quit playing God and let God answer the prayer of Jesus Christ.
Paul was inspired, the churches who withdrew from us aren't.
...
\"Paul was inspired\"
Paul writes a letter to a church he's never visited
Therefore it follows that because Paul was inspired, we should not write letters to churches we've never visited.

What twisted logic. :doh:
[edit]
Wait!
I think I get it now!
We can conclude that Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, and others who wrote letters to churches were inspired!
 :party:[/color]

Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #24 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 11:01:57 »
Quote
Quote
Quote
My solution is to quit playing God and let God answer the prayer of Jesus Christ.
Paul was inspired, the churches who withdrew from us aren't.
...
\"Paul was inspired\"
Paul writes a letter to a church he's never visited
Therefore it follows that because Paul was inspired, we should not write letters to churches we've never visited.

What twisted logic. :doh:
[edit]
Wait!
I think I get it now!
We can conclude that Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, and others who wrote letters to churches were inspired!
 :party:
My point was that Paul had a legitimate reason to write to Rome-which he did under inspiration. Did I say that Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp were inspired in the same way? Nevertheless, under the episcopal system in place in the church at that time they were leaders of the churches they wrote to, hence expected to write such letters when tthe occasion demanded. But under church of Christ ploity, Glendale Church of Christ doesn't have any authority to speak for anybody other than Glendale Church of Christ. So what makes their pronouncement of withdrawal \"official?\"

Does East Florence Church of Christ have a right or a spiritual duty to write letters to Chisholm Hills Church of Christ criticising and rebuking Chisholm Hills for using their marquee to congratulate Mars Hill Bible School for winning the state play-offs?

Does any church have the right to send a letter to any other church for any reason?

Pax.[/color]

Offline william

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« Reply #25 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 11:06:06 »
Lee,
 with all due respect fellowshipping with the Methodist church is saying that they are our brothers and sisters in Jesus. This is do not believe is so based on God's word. Although Methodist people are sincere and say they want to follow Jesus they have not yet according to their teaching been incorporated into Jesus. Your accepting them as brothers does great harm in my opinion to those of us who try to teach them what the word says concerning becoming a Chrsitian. Sorry becoming a Christian is more than saying Jesus is Lord. That certainly in the beginning and a very vital part of the message but God has more to say on the subject of how to come in contact with the blood that says. I know you no longer believe this but it doesnt change the biblical message even for the sake of union.

Offline Skip

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« Reply #26 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 11:08:50 »
Quote
Quote
Quote
Quote
My solution is to quit playing God and let God answer the prayer of Jesus Christ.
Paul was inspired, the churches who withdrew from us aren't.
...
\"Paul was inspired\"
Paul writes a letter to a church he's never visited
Therefore it follows that because Paul was inspired, we should not write letters to churches we've never visited.

What twisted logic. :doh:
[edit]
Wait!
I think I get it now!
We can conclude that Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, and others who wrote letters to churches were inspired!
 :party:
My point was that Paul had a legitimate reason to write to Rome-which he did under inspiration. Did I say that Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp were inspired in the same way? Nevertheless, under the episcopal system in place in the church at that time they were leaders of the churches they wrote to, hence expected to write such letters when tthe occasion demanded. But under church of Christ ploity, Glendale Church of Christ doesn't have any authority to speak for anybody other than Glendale Church of Christ. So what makes their pronouncement of withdrawal \"official?\"

Does East Florence Church of Christ have a right or a spiritual duty to write letters to Chisholm Hills Church of Christ criticising and rebuking Chisholm Hills for using their marquee to congratulate Mars Hill Bible School for winning the state play-offs?

Does any church have the right to send a letter to any other church for any reason?

Pax.
What, do they need a \"right\" -- granted by you?
Who made you their judge?
Don't they have the \"freedom in Christ\" to write a letter to another church?
[edit]
Do we need a Board of Church Censors to look to see if their reason was \"legitimate\"?[/color]

Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #27 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 11:17:35 »
Quote
Lee,
 with all due respect fellowshipping with the Methodist church is saying that they are our brothers and sisters in Jesus. This is do not believe is so based on God's word. Although Methodist people are sincere and say they want to follow Jesus they have not yet according to their teaching been incorporated into Jesus. Your accepting them as brothers does great harm in my opinion to those of us who try to teach them what the word says concerning becoming a Chrsitian. Sorry becoming a Christian is more than saying Jesus is Lord. That certainly in the beginning and a very vital part of the message but God has more to say on the subject of how to come in contact with the blood that says. I know you no longer believe this but it doesnt change the biblical message even for the sake of union.
William, Stone-Campbell churches fellowshipped \"denominational\" churches all the time. TB Larimore was still doing it in 1900. Fellowshipping them doesn't automatically mean that I agree with or endorse everything they teach.

We'll never be able to share with them our views of baptism if we continue to call them the antichrists of II John 9-11 (which I've heard CoC preachers say about \"denominational\" believers), and continue shunning them. They won't even listen to us as long as we continue to be condescending towards them, presenting ourselves as the sole possesors of the Truth which they must receive from us. As if we have all the Truth and they have none. We, the Christian unity and reform movement which has split four or five times and can't even get its own act together, are legislating salvation for  everyone else?

As an outgrowth of our meeting with North Wood United Methodist church 12 of their members have been immersed into Christ in our baptistry. When's the last time your church baptized 12 Methodists?

Pax.[/color]

Offline Cliftyman

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« Reply #28 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 11:20:34 »
Hey guys... whoa!  slow it down a minute.

Lets think for a second... I believe the problem with disfellowship is that we don't even use it for its purpose and may not even know its purpose.  Answer these questions...

#1 Was disfellowship in the bible ever used for a complete cessation of communication?

#2 What was the criteria for disfellowship... can we even formulate a legitimate criteria?

#3 What was the modus operandii?

#4 How can we be Christ-like in this process?

#5 What is the purpose of disfellowship?

-------------------------------------------

Answer those questions and you can quickly see whether people are doing it for the right reasons and doing it correctly.  If you search your soul and pray about the above questions you'll quickly see whether those who disfellowship are doing it based on inherited traditions or doing it for the right reasons.

I'll save you some trouble too... about the only thing that can be used biblical is 1 Cor 5 and Matthew 18... the whole \"false teacher\" thing would only apply to individuals and only if the individual could be proved to have false intent (knowing the truth but subverting it) or was trying to change the gospel into a legalistic works-based system (like the Judaizers).

Thats pretty much it... our entire \"disfellowship theology\" can only be based on those things (as far as I know thats the only things the bible says about it), anything else would have to be gleaned from tradition I guess.

Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #29 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 11:28:20 »
Quote
What, do they need a \"right\" -- granted by you?
Who made you their judge?
Don't they have the \"freedom in Christ\" to write a letter to another church?
[edit]
Do we need a Board of Church Censors to look to see if their reason was \"legitimate\"?
So if East Florence Chuch of Christ decides to write a letter blasting my church (and they have) for having a kitchen in our building, that is their God-given \"right?\"

If my church decided to write your church a letter of disfellowship because we thought you were using an \"unscriptural\" hymnal, that'd be our God-given right?  Maybe that would be our right but would that be a legitimate use of such a right?

Clifty's right, these letters of disfellowship haven't usually been used for legitimate purposes, more often they're used like a medieval pope might use a letter of excommunication to get back at some sovereign who's ticked him off.

Pax.

Offline william

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« Reply #30 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 11:31:15 »
Lee,
  So you agree the Methodist is not yet in Christ? If thats the case maybe the word fellowship needs to be redefined. I know the line at times is fuzzy. Meeting with them and studying with them is one thing. Accepting them as your brother in Christ is another. I guess I'm geting a mixed message from you.
 Concerning Campbell and others. Meaning no disrespect I don't really care what they have to say. By that I mean I read them and hold to those things I believe are backed up by scripture as I understand it. For every person you quote there is another person who I'm sure could be on the opposite side of things.
Many years ago I was hired to preach at a congregation but we found out that we disagreed on marriage/divorce/ remarriage. We decided to meet. I brought my books from Jim Woodruff and JD Bales.  They had books from Thomas Warren. Needless to say we could not come to a meeting of the minds so I declined the job, but later I thought about it and we did not open the bible but were just talking about certain men and what they had to say.
    I just feel that at times we are sending a trumpet signal with no distinct sound. Either a person is in Christ or they are not. If they are not we do them no service by acting as if they are. We can still be friends and be friendly but we should stick to what the bible says. It should not make us happy to think they are not in Christ but if thats the case thats the case.
 I am thrill that you taught and baptized  20 from the Methodist Church. I have a feeling that the Methodist Church would be very upset taking people that they believed were already Christians and then baptizing them into Christ for them to become Christians.
 Just one final thought and I appreciate your spirit and thought. There is no such animal as Christian baptism. No Christian is ever baptized. Only the unsaved are baptized to become a Christian/ Disciple/ saved person.
   thanks

Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #31 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 12:14:16 »
Those 12 Methodists requested immersion and their pastor agreed-he actually performed the immersions, though it was in our baptistry. They know full well our position on immersion; these 12 studied it some more and decided to be immersed. Which never would've happened if we hadn't worshipped with them.

But to ask a question that David Lipscomb was once asked through the editorial page of the GA: \"Is it wrong for sectarians to take part in the worship?\" To which the venerable partriarch responded, in part: \"It takes a sectarian to ferret out a sectarian, just as it takes a thief to catch a thief.\" Lipscomb said he couldn't find any scriptural prohibition against worshipping with \"sectarians\" and neither can I. Meeting with them doesn't mean I endorse everything they teach. I can't find a scripture that says its a sin to offer praise to God with a \"sectarian\" or with anybody else who's sincere in that worship. Let me be quick to add that I don't believe this merely because David Lipscomb said it, but because I think he was right.

But I don't agree with everything Lipscomb, Campbell, Stone, Joe Van Dyke, Rubel Shelly, or anyone else said. However, I take their views into consideration when studying an issue. My understanding of what the Bible teaches has to be my guide.

Pax.

Offline Skip

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« Reply #32 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 12:24:43 »
Quote
Hey guys... whoa!  slow it down a minute.

Lets think for a second... I believe the problem with disfellowship is that we don't even use it for its purpose and may not even know its purpose.  Answer these questions...

#1 Was disfellowship in the bible ever used for a complete cessation of communication?

#2 What was the criteria for disfellowship... can we even formulate a legitimate criteria?

#3 What was the modus operandii?

#4 How can we be Christ-like in this process?

#5 What is the purpose of disfellowship?

-------------------------------------------

Answer those questions and you can quickly see whether people are doing it for the right reasons and doing it correctly.  If you search your soul and pray about the above questions you'll quickly see whether those who disfellowship are doing it based on inherited traditions or doing it for the right reasons.

I'll save you some trouble too... about the only thing that can be used biblical is 1 Cor 5 and Matthew 18... the whole \"false teacher\" thing would only apply to individuals and only if the individual could be proved to have false intent (knowing the truth but subverting it) or was trying to change the gospel into a legalistic works-based system (like the Judaizers).

Thats pretty much it... our entire \"disfellowship theology\" can only be based on those things (as far as I know thats the only things the bible says about it), anything else would have to be gleaned from tradition I guess.
In answering your questions, you might start with this:
11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one.
12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?
13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

1 Cor. 5:11-13

Offline william

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« Reply #33 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 12:29:28 »
Lee,

 you really have my curiosity up now. This Methodist preacher. Did he understand that these people believed they were not yet in Christ /saved and so he immersed them to be saved? Did he believe that? If so, then he had to believe that he himself was not saved.this is confusing to me. Please elaborate more as I really want to know.
  One question for you-- tell me flat out-- do you believe those Methodist people are in a saved condition or a lost condition. Please don't hedge on this. I believe in mercy and clemancy at judgement but from what the bible teaches  yes or no-- thanks.
   If you believe they are lost do they understand that when you get together it is not as brothers but as people who at least believe in Jesus? If you believe they are saved does that no go in the face of clear scripture (whether they understand it or not) concerning the necessity of baptism upon trust in God though Jesus to forgive sins.
   Again meaning no disrespect with people on here but many seem to want it both ways--baptism by immersion for remission of sins/ to be clothed with Christ and no baptism but still saved.

Offline Skip

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« Reply #34 on: Wed Jul 13, 2005 - 12:54:51 »
Quote
Quote
What, do they need a \"right\" -- granted by you?
Who made you their judge?
Don't they have the \"freedom in Christ\" to write a letter to another church?
[edit]
Do we need a Board of Church Censors to look to see if their reason was \"legitimate\"?
So if East Florence Chuch of Christ decides to write a letter blasting my church (and they have) for having a kitchen in our building, that is their God-given \"right?\"

If my church decided to write your church a letter of disfellowship because we thought you were using an \"unscriptural\" hymnal, that'd be our God-given right?  Maybe that would be our right but would that be a legitimate use of such a right?

Clifty's right, these letters of disfellowship haven't usually been used for legitimate purposes, more often they're used like a medieval pope might use a letter of excommunication to get back at some sovereign who's ticked him off.

Pax.[/color]
Lee,

You know quite well that inspired apostles, inspired elders, and uninspired bishops wrote letters to other churches.
Rather than deal with the issues at hand, you fudge definitions, avoid answering questions, rely on situation ethics, and construct farfetched inferences by using incoherent logic.

RE: Letters of disfellowship
Maybe it's time to point out, Lee, that in the real world actions have consequences, and big actions like splitting churches have far-reaching consequences.
And, as Dr. Phil says, \"When you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences.\"

 

     
anything