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Offline Lee Freeman

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"Letters of Disfellowship"
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2005, 04:57:03 PM »
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]
"Brethren, for the sake of our souls, let us never get too big to restudy our position." - Bro. KC Moser (1893-1976)

"I propose to finish my course without ever, even for one monent, engaging in partisan strife with anybody about anything." - Elder T. B. Larimore (1843-1929)

"Let the unity of Christians be our polar star." - Elder Barton Warren Stone (1772-1844)

"It is wrong to make anything a condition of fellowship which is not essential to salvation. We draw the line here. That which will damn a soul and separate us in the next world should divide us in this; nothing else should. " - FD Srygley (1856-1900)

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« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2005, 04:57:03 PM »

Offline janine

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"Letters of Disfellowship"
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2005, 09:46:27 PM »
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.
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« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2005, 09:46:27 PM »

Offline Skip

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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2005, 07:22:45 AM »
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]
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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2005, 07:22:45 AM »

Offline segell

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« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2005, 07:41:15 AM »
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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]
Ephesians 2:8-10  Who saves, how He saves, why He saves.

"8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

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« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2005, 07:41:15 AM »

Offline Skip

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« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2005, 07:56:18 AM »
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]
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« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2005, 07:56:18 AM »



Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2005, 08:29:35 AM »
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]
"Brethren, for the sake of our souls, let us never get too big to restudy our position." - Bro. KC Moser (1893-1976)

"I propose to finish my course without ever, even for one monent, engaging in partisan strife with anybody about anything." - Elder T. B. Larimore (1843-1929)

"Let the unity of Christians be our polar star." - Elder Barton Warren Stone (1772-1844)

"It is wrong to make anything a condition of fellowship which is not essential to salvation. We draw the line here. That which will damn a soul and separate us in the next world should divide us in this; nothing else should. " - FD Srygley (1856-1900)

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« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2005, 08:29:35 AM »

Offline Skip

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« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2005, 09:19:19 AM »
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.
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Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2005, 09:37:57 AM »
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]
"Brethren, for the sake of our souls, let us never get too big to restudy our position." - Bro. KC Moser (1893-1976)

"I propose to finish my course without ever, even for one monent, engaging in partisan strife with anybody about anything." - Elder T. B. Larimore (1843-1929)

"Let the unity of Christians be our polar star." - Elder Barton Warren Stone (1772-1844)

"It is wrong to make anything a condition of fellowship which is not essential to salvation. We draw the line here. That which will damn a soul and separate us in the next world should divide us in this; nothing else should. " - FD Srygley (1856-1900)

Offline Skip

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« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2005, 09:46:07 AM »
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]
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« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2005, 09:46:07 AM »

Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2005, 10:01:57 AM »
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]
"Brethren, for the sake of our souls, let us never get too big to restudy our position." - Bro. KC Moser (1893-1976)

"I propose to finish my course without ever, even for one monent, engaging in partisan strife with anybody about anything." - Elder T. B. Larimore (1843-1929)

"Let the unity of Christians be our polar star." - Elder Barton Warren Stone (1772-1844)

"It is wrong to make anything a condition of fellowship which is not essential to salvation. We draw the line here. That which will damn a soul and separate us in the next world should divide us in this; nothing else should. " - FD Srygley (1856-1900)

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« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2005, 10:01:57 AM »

Offline william

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« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2005, 10:06:06 AM »
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: July 13, 2005, 10:08:50 AM »
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]
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Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2005, 10:17:35 AM »
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]
"Brethren, for the sake of our souls, let us never get too big to restudy our position." - Bro. KC Moser (1893-1976)

"I propose to finish my course without ever, even for one monent, engaging in partisan strife with anybody about anything." - Elder T. B. Larimore (1843-1929)

"Let the unity of Christians be our polar star." - Elder Barton Warren Stone (1772-1844)

"It is wrong to make anything a condition of fellowship which is not essential to salvation. We draw the line here. That which will damn a soul and separate us in the next world should divide us in this; nothing else should. " - FD Srygley (1856-1900)

Offline Cliftyman

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« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2005, 10:20:34 AM »
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.
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Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2005, 10:28:20 AM »
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.
"Brethren, for the sake of our souls, let us never get too big to restudy our position." - Bro. KC Moser (1893-1976)

"I propose to finish my course without ever, even for one monent, engaging in partisan strife with anybody about anything." - Elder T. B. Larimore (1843-1929)

"Let the unity of Christians be our polar star." - Elder Barton Warren Stone (1772-1844)

"It is wrong to make anything a condition of fellowship which is not essential to salvation. We draw the line here. That which will damn a soul and separate us in the next world should divide us in this; nothing else should. " - FD Srygley (1856-1900)