Author Topic: Universalism and Restoration  (Read 3396 times)

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Offline janine

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« on: Thu Jun 13, 2002 - 05:02:45 »
You might ask the Universalists. :)

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« on: Thu Jun 13, 2002 - 05:02:45 »

Offline WileyClarkson

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« Reply #1 on: Thu Jun 13, 2002 - 21:13:44 »
OH boy--I thin i'm getting confused!

Another forum I was on and still read occassionally had a Wiley D. and an Wiley C. (me) .  when we started posting at the same time and we forgot to use the last name initial, things really got confussing.

Offline Seeker

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« Reply #2 on: Fri Jun 14, 2002 - 22:03:07 »
The modern denomination called Unitarian-Universalist grew from general ideas of Unitarianism and Universalism that spread among many denominations. Most specifically a Universalist believes that everyone, including people in religions that are not Christian at all, willl be saved. In the 19th century the term usually meant a person who believed that all people who were part of some Christian denomination would be saved.

Spiritualism was often allied with Universalism. The influence of William Ellery Channing was in both.

Anyway, it seems to me that the matter is one related to grace, and as so many of us have a view of CoC as not interested in grace I thought I would ask. Someone had told me that the legalism of the CoC was not so prominent in the 19th century.

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« Reply #2 on: Fri Jun 14, 2002 - 22:03:07 »

Offline kebecer1

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« Reply #3 on: Mon Jun 17, 2002 - 19:40:19 »
You'd really be hard-pressed to label Mr. Campbell a Universalist or a sectarian, for that matter; I think that Tolbert Fanning, and Lipscomb, got that going.

I'll have to investigate w/r, the Rev. Robert Cave, who preached his fairly sensational series of sermons at Central Christian in St. Louis in the late 1800's, denying the Virgin Birth, et al, and was roundly "panned" from the ministry upheld universalism.  I've noticed, too, the Cave gets cited w/ gusto by the anti-IM types as "proof of those goofy Disciples" when someone wants to fire a broadside at the DoC "ship-of-state" to make a point (metaphor, metaphor, atrocious art thou!).

Now, ya know old Alex C. sure quoted Origen a lot--and Origen WAS a universalist--so I kinda wonder--about ole Alex, sometimes....

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« Reply #3 on: Mon Jun 17, 2002 - 19:40:19 »
Pinterest: GraceCentered.com

Offline kebecer1

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« Reply #4 on: Fri Jun 28, 2002 - 22:16:56 »
Bobby, my friend:  

Perhaps, somebody (not me) should start a thread on "Who is a liberal?"  

I've grown so discouraged by the term, of late; it has NOTHING to do w/ you.  Over at the DoC chatsites, we've had an anonymous poster--well, heck, several--coming in, telling us "I have a prophet's heart" or "I've read the Bible" and 1) all of you DoC's belong to the whore of Babylon church as predicted in the Revelation to St John; 2) you're all liberal; 3) going to hell; 4) more than likely all closet homosexuals; and 5) nowhere near as righteous as me, the anon. poster.

The poster(s) have consistently--to a person(s)--admitted that s/he isn't a Disciple; just someone with a "prophet's heart".  

Yeah, right.  Jeremiah would weep over such cant.... :(

As to Cave, I see him as a modernist--dunno what a "true liberal" is.

Even Raymond Brown admitted that there are no modernists today.  No one has that kind of confidence in human reason and ability to deny the mysterious.  Auschwitz cured us of the conceit that humanity can achieve only the "upward spiral of progress."

I have come to understand so clearly that "liberal" is where you stand--to the LDS church, we are all doomed; to the Catholic dogmatist, we are only "ecclesial communities"; to the Russian Orthodox Church, the World Council of Churches, that august body, should change its name, since only the Orthodox faith can, properly, be called "church'.   Ad nauseam!

...And to the grace-centered Christian, those who are liberal are X (name here); but, to the graduate of Freed-Hardman or Florida College, "liberal" means "someone to the left of me."

I'm tired of the names, folks!  Nothing at you, bobby!

Just tired of all the names.  No wonder the world won't unite to one church--why should it?

We're busy enjoying dis-uniting!

Now, who, by the name of Stone and Campbell, might have said that?

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« Reply #4 on: Fri Jun 28, 2002 - 22:16:56 »



Offline seekr

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« Reply #5 on: Sat Jun 29, 2002 - 19:15:54 »
I think the seeker that left this board is gone now so maybe I can call myself seekr, again--please do not get us mixed up.

Anyway, a christian is not defined by whatever label is on any building but only by the heart of the person. And the only way we know the heart, is not necessarily by what we see on the outside, except for what the Spirit bears witness in us and only if God chooses to let us see the person's heart. I, myself am an ex-mormon and found Christ (He found me) at age 19 and for a number of years was very anti-mormon. But now I know that God IS looking at the heart and that He can meet us wherever we are. And yes, bobby (almost slipped and wrote booby) it comes down to IF we are following Christ. I see almost as much error in the Christian church today as in mormonism. They have made it about the rules also, but I know they do not preach the same Jesus. But if a person does not understand it all and is seeking truth, that person can still be involved in mormonism and hearing from God. I know my own blindness even while serving God as a Christian and how mistaken i have been about many things. That does not define the man. I read a story a long time age about a woman who was married in the temple and thought that would hold her and her marriage together, but it didn't. Her husband left her and her 10 children and she felt momentarily destroyed. She had not been going to her church for quite awhile and she feared no one would know her...then she heard a voice say to her "I know your name" and peace filled her. That story had great impact on me, as I was so hardened about mormons. God used that in my life to show me how He loves. i have since over the years wondered about her and where she might be today. So can we still serve God and go to a mormon church? I believe yes, because none of us have it all down pat. So who is my brother?

Maurine

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« Reply #5 on: Sat Jun 29, 2002 - 19:15:54 »

Offline Seeker

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« Reply #6 on: Mon Jun 10, 2002 - 04:34:38 »
Were there Universalists among the 19th century Restoration leaders? If so, how might I learn about them?

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« Reply #7 on: Thu Jun 13, 2002 - 01:54:40 »
Well, heck seeker, I think you may just have to give people a little more time to respond. i myself can't answer this as I am not cofC.

seekr

Offline WileyClarkson

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« Reply #8 on: Thu Jun 13, 2002 - 05:04:05 »
seekr,

give me your definition of universalist.  

I don't believe I've heard that term used in reference to AC.  Maybe Bobby V can give us some info there.  I do not believe I would classify AC as a legalist.  The extreme legalism didn't really hit until after his death (if I remember my RM history correctly) although it was definitely an undercurrent in the RM in his later years.  Actually, I think if he were alive today, he would probably be real comfortable of this forum. He would without a doubt find himself written about in not so nice terms in some of the journals, and would be included by those same journals ranked equally with men like Shelly, Cope, and Lucado.

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« Reply #8 on: Thu Jun 13, 2002 - 05:04:05 »

Offline chrischar

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« Reply #9 on: Thu Jun 13, 2002 - 17:31:44 »
This is a Bobby V. question for sure. Oh Bobby V., where are you?

Chris

Offline seekr

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« Reply #10 on: Thu Jun 13, 2002 - 23:24:08 »
wiley, what's worse is, I'm getting confused also. I think I'll sign my regular name at the bottom for awhile so I'll know who I am.

Maurine

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« Reply #11 on: Fri Jun 14, 2002 - 16:48:01 »
This name thing. . . I stopped posting in another forum a year or two ago because another Marc with the same last initial was posting, and I was afraid it would get too confusing.  The board was starting to lag anyway, and that was about the time I wandered over here.  Hmm. And then in another thread people have been talking about Buddy Bell (whom I've heard a couple of times and who is, imho, an excellent preacher), and we have these posts by Bobby Valentine (though not on this thread yet). . . I'm waiting for a reference to Lou Pinella.

As to the Univeralist question, I have no idea either, but was wondering where the idea came from.  Seeker, is this something you have heard or know something about?

Offline nerdneh

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« Reply #12 on: Fri Jun 14, 2002 - 21:02:29 »
I'm no restoration scholar, but I do remember an early preacher, G. C. Brewer, writing in his 40 Years on the Firing Line about debating a Univeralist preacher. I take it Seeker is referring to the modern Universalist/Unitarian church movement(?).

RM people were more concerned about the impact of Spiritualism (as in communicating with the dead, etc) than with Universalism. Aylett Raines, for example, was into that as was a very well-known preacher in Nashville (cannot remember his name, seems like it was Jesse something or other). Anyway, David Lipscomb was most upset about this. I do not recall a lot of controversy over Universalism, but I stand ready to be informed.

Offline WileyClarkson

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« Reply #13 on: Fri Jun 14, 2002 - 22:49:30 »
Seeker,

Thanks for clarifying.  Alexander Campbell and Barton W Stone did accept Christians from other denominations as being saved.  How far they carried that I don't know.  I'm sure Bobby V can give us a good amount of info on that area.  

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« Reply #14 on: Sat Jun 15, 2002 - 06:24:58 »
It's been a long time since I read through Campbell's anti-universalist book, but I think the preacher he opoosed in the book was named Bell.  I am not sure though.

Offline bobbyV

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« Reply #15 on: Sat Jun 29, 2002 - 08:43:32 »
[!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote (kebecer1 @ June 28 2002,3:16)[/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]Bobby, my friend:  

Perhaps, somebody (not me) should start a thread on "Who is a liberal?"  

I've grown so discouraged by the term, of late; it has NOTHING to do w/ you.  Over at the DoC chatsites, we've had an anonymous poster--well, heck, several--coming in, telling us "I have a prophet's heart" or "I've read the Bible" and 1) all of you DoC's belong to the whore of Babylon church as predicted in the Revelation to St John; 2) you're all liberal; 3) going to hell; 4) more than likely all closet homosexuals; and 5) nowhere near as righteous as me, the anon. poster.

The poster(s) have consistently--to a person(s)--admitted that s/he isn't a Disciple; just someone with a "prophet's heart".  

Yeah, right.  Jeremiah would weep over such cant.... :(

As to Cave, I see him as a modernist--dunno what a "true liberal" is.

Even Raymond Brown admitted that there are no modernists today.  No one has that kind of confidence in human reason and ability to deny the mysterious.  Auschwitz cured us of the conceit that humanity can achieve only the "upward spiral of progress."

I have come to understand so clearly that "liberal" is where you stand--to the LDS church, we are all doomed; to the Catholic dogmatist, we are only "ecclesial communities"; to the Russian Orthodox Church, the World Council of Churches, that august body, should change its name, since only the Orthodox faith can, properly, be called "church'.   Ad nauseam!

...And to the grace-centered Christian, those who are liberal are X (name here); but, to the graduate of Freed-Hardman or Florida College, "liberal" means "someone to the left of me."

I'm tired of the names, folks!  Nothing at you, bobby!

Just tired of all the names.  No wonder the world won't unite to one church--why should it?

We're busy enjoying dis-uniting!

Now, who, by the name of Stone and Campbell, might have said that?[/quote]
I do not mean to weary you, but I am sure that you know what a theological liberal is.  I do not use the term "theological liberal" of a person who simply disagrees with me on church polity and the like.  I suppose that if I had to put it in a nutshell this is my definition of a "theological liberal."  A theological liberal is one who no longer believes THE Story.

I had a Jewish prof at Tulane on the Dead Sea Scrolls.  I learned a great deal from him and enjoyed his class greatly. He was however a theological liberal.  We had many conversations about "faith" and what that means.  In his particular view Judaism was simply a ethnic and cultural way of life. He not only rejected the basic historicity of the Hebrew Bible but was an outright atheist.  I call that a theological liberal.  I asked him one day why he was a Rabbi and his answer was he simply liked to help people.

I affirm the motto you have emblazoned on all of your posts "Let Unity be Our Polar Star!"  I stand with Stone and I stand with Campbell.  But unity must be on the THE story.  You mentioned the Mormons.  From my perspective we have different Stories and knowing Campbell the way I do (or Stone for that matter) I know for a fact that that slogan did not include Mormonism.  

Cave was a theological liberal. He denied the Virgin Birth and most of the miracle stories,  he denied that Jesus was the only savior of the world and on we can go.  A true "modernist" as you put it.  Theological liberalism was the offspring of Modernism.  Modernism in the Disciples basically reinvented itself.  Any one familiar with the Disciples of Christ history knows they owe as much to W.E. Garrison as Alexander Campbell.  As Stephen Sprinkle has recently written in his book Disciples and Theology Campbell is like a "poltergeist" that haunts the modern Disciple psyche.  

I am sure we can hash this out a little more if we need to but for now I think I have addressed your question.  

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Offline bobbyV

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« Reply #16 on: Sat Jun 29, 2002 - 17:08:40 »
kebecer1, just call me a simple minded Delta preacher because somehow we are not communicating very well.  Classic theological liberalism that "fundamentalism" was a reaction to was basically a denial of the inspiration of Scripture and an exhaltation of reason (as defined by humans) as the ultimate arbiter of truth.  

Now there is no doubt that many Churches of Christ have been and remain "exclusive" (and "exclusive" is not the same thing as "sectarian" though I have to admit some in the CofC have been that as well).  I guess in many ways I am "exclusive" (if I must use that terminology).  I am ready, willing and able to embrace anyone who is a brother in Christ.  I am no man's (or woman's) judge. They do not answer to me but to our common Lord.  I may disagree with that person mightily about some things but I can recognize that person as a brother.  As I understand Scripture there is not a demand for conformity on vast numbers of issues. There are Core areas that are non-negotiable.  But with Campbell I am ready to admit one is a "disciple" who confesses Christ and seeks to honor and serve him to the best of her/his knowledge and ability.  We both, more than likely, need to learn the way of the Lord more perfectly.

I guess where my "exclusiveness" comes in is that I limit that fellowship to Christians.  I am exclusive because I believe Christ is the only way, his blood is the only source of salvation and faith in him is demanded by the Father.  I have a couple of Mormon friends.  I love them dearly.  I would never endorse any kind of harsh treatment of them, taking away their rights to believe as they believe -- but I do not believe they are Christians.  I have visited their place of worship. They have visited mine. But I believe the ism of Mormonism to be about as false as one can get. In fact if ever one had to reject all brain input to embrace something Mormonism is it.  I have a couple of Muslim friends as well.  I respect their honesty and character.  I would protect their civil liberties with every ounce of my body.  I have had them in my home.  We have read the Koran together.  I have great respect for the riches of the Arab culture (anyone who knows anything about Astronomy or Math knows the debt we owe them).  But I am "exclusive" I guess because I do not see how I could be "united" with them.  I follow Christ.  

As far as "politics" go I am often called a "liberal" on many issues.  I belong to no party and I believe the Republican Party to be just as evil as the Democratic Party ever was.   Politics do not enter into the picture of religious unity as far as I am concerned.  

I do not consider issues like abortion on demand a "right."  It is not a political issue. It is a matter of justice.  Richard Hayes in  The Moral Vision of the New Testament: A Contempory Introduction to New Testament Ethics (Harper & Row) I think handles both the homosexuality and the abortion issues with sensitivity, grace and finess.  The mainline Protestant denominations, in my view, have made a huge theological blunder on these issues.

I believe the Disciples of Christ are in fact my brothers in Christ.  They are a very diverse group.  Some are truly "liberal" but I have met some that are as "conservative" as any Church of Christ person.  I believe in God's grace.  I have not fully graped it yet.  The cross of the Lord is a constant source of renewal and strength.  But the Cross also reminds me that God takes the matter of truth quite seriously.  After all is not Jesus the perfect combination of "Grace AND Truth" (John 1.14).  

I apologize in advance if I have given offense in anyway that is not my aim.  Sometimes I am a very poor communicator of what I actually intend to say.  That is why I believe discussions like this are better left to those face to face encounters over a good cup of Starbucks coffee.  The internet is great but it still lacks the real personal touch.

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Offline nerdneh

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« Reply #17 on: Tue Jun 18, 2002 - 02:57:08 »
So, Jesse B. Ferguson was the talented preacher who was caught up in the accessing of spirits. Thanks, B. H. for the information. I imagine that must have created a great problem for the churches in Nashville.

The story of Campbell's reaction was touching. I also had someone tell me that Campbell tried to get people off Aylett Raines back, believing he was simply going through a temporary struggle. Apparently Campbell believed people should be given some leeway instead of condemning them and probably driving them away for all time.

Offline janine

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« Reply #18 on: Fri Jun 28, 2002 - 13:35:55 »
Takes a mountain of strength to sit back & love graciously rather than attack.

Look at people like Maurine, who pretty much have to stay out in the wilderness where congregational life is concerned, if she wants freedom of thought and free exercise of grace.

Me, I'm not ready to give up on assembling with a larger body of Christians than just my family & close friends.  I just plow ahead like an icebreaker ship, doing as my God would have me to do.  I pray I'll keep on plowing even if/when "they" run me off.

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« Reply #19 on: Sat Jun 29, 2002 - 19:24:23 »
bobbyV & kebecer1

Your discussions are very good and I have learned from both of you.  Seems to me that you both have the heart of Christ.  We mere humans do not alway communicate perfectly whether over coffe or via the written word.  However, if we keep communicating after a time we better understand one another.  There is one thing I appreciate about a discussion board such as this is that I get to sit in on the discussion where I might not if you two were talking over a cup of coffee.

Your discussions as well as others on this board have certainly extended my horizons and cause me to think and re-think my walk with Christ.

Bill

Offline Seeker

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« Reply #20 on: Thu Jun 13, 2002 - 00:13:50 »
I'm a little surprised no one has answered. Is it that no one knows or is it that people might be afraid of the legalists?

Am I right in believing that Alexander Campbell was both very much anti-Universalist and a chief reason the CoC has such a legacy of legalism and grace minimizing?

Offline seekr

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« Reply #21 on: Thu Jun 13, 2002 - 16:49:56 »
Wiley, seekEr asked that--not me, seekr.

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« Reply #22 on: Fri Jun 14, 2002 - 17:47:24 »
Seeker,
I am not too well versed in RM history.  Perhaps I should read up on it.  As far as Universalism goes... Are you referring to the belief that , in the end, everyone gets save including the devil?    Please let me know

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« Reply #23 on: Sat Jun 15, 2002 - 06:19:19 »
Alexander Campbell wrote a book against the universalist doctrine in particular and focused on what he believed the natural consequences of that doctrine are: a sense of no responsibility for one's actions and cheap grace.  In this book Campbell also took on a certain "restorationist" minister who held the universalist position and tried to refute him, but Campbell did not think his error greivous enough to give him the "brown envelope"   ;).  Campbell, if I remember correctly, did not go so far as to condemn the man as a heretic and false prophet, but seriously doubted  his  qualifications  to serve as a preacher.

The Nashville minister who abandoned Christianity and adopted spiritism was named  Jesse Ferguson (sp?).  He really rose through the ranks really fast and was a very young man when he became minister for the Nashville CoC.  Campbell had to spend a lot of time and energy getting him out of the pulpit, and when he left he took a whole lot of folks with him.

This happened back in the early 1850's and I believe Ferguson
died in 1859 still holding what we could generally consider today to be "new age" crap.  When Campbell heard of his death, he supposedly broke out in tears, and while of course he believed he was right in his opposition to Jesse and getting him thrown out of the pulpit, he had a deep sorrow over the man that he never got over the rest of his days.

Offline bobbyV

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« Reply #24 on: Fri Jun 28, 2002 - 05:49:44 »
I just noticed this thread.  Alyette Raines was an early "restoration" preacher.  By that he believed that all would eventually be restored to God.   Raines became a traveling companion of Thomas Campbell throughout Ohio.  But Raines also accepted "the Ancient Gospel." Raines said he would hold his views as his private property. When some objected to fellowship with Raines, Thomas Campbell said he would rather cut off his arm than cut off Raines. He was followed by Alexander his son and Walter Scott.  Raines eventually abandoned his ideas.  

The case of Jesse B. Ferguson is not quite the same as Raines.  Ferguson, who has been referred to as a "Meteor Flashed Across the Sky" held to views that went far beyond universalism -- and he did not hold them as private property.  Ferguson's views basically became cultic. He ended up rejecting the Bible as the source for divine knowledge rather we receive divine revelation through communication with the dead.  Alexander Campbell got involved in the Ferguson affair largely at the urging of Tolbert Fanning (who was at the time an elder where Ferguson preached).
Campbell did get involved and Ferguson was in short order "history" for all practical purposes.  

I think the story about Campbell lamenting over Ferguson's death is apocryphal.  If I remember right Ferguson died after Campbell.  

The first real universalist seems to have been R.C. Cave (who was referred to above).  Though the poster is likely to disagree with me Cave was a true theological liberal -- a point of view that was embraced with zeal by those who had infinite confidence in human ability.  

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Offline nerdneh

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« Reply #25 on: Fri Jun 28, 2002 - 05:54:27 »
bobby, seems to me that many of the early leaders in the RM were people of high character. Of course, I am sure there were charlatans and scoundrels, as in every movement. Raines being given acceptance and love no doubt influenced him to study through his position. If he had been threatened, he perhaps would have been even more tenacious in holding onto it.

Somehow we must learn to have more graciousness in our character.

Offline kebecer1

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« Reply #26 on: Sat Jun 29, 2002 - 15:31:44 »
Bobby, my brother and friend:

I guess what saddens and disappoints me is that, for all the grace-inspired discussion of the grace movement in the churches of Christ, in truth, I am beginning to understand that, well, churches of Christ exclusivism has simply "morphed" itself into another form.  

I said this in the "neighbor" post I made:  I have c of C friends who address me as "not being in the Lord's church", et al.  Sorry, my kindred, but that's division:  It's evil, and it is not of the Spirit of God.  

I had to say it.

Bobby, I am not a theological liberal--maybe, a political one--yep!  I am a Demo. , and prochoice.  But, last time I checked, those are non-essentials of the faith.  I will stand on that one.

Steve Sprinkle is a dear friend of mine:  We have co-directed church camp in Texas, and I have shared a revival service w/ him.  I have read his missive you have shared.  But, for Steve to make the claim that A.C. and Stone, et al., are mere ghosts or "poltergeists" is SILLY, just plain silly.  

Most DoC's I know have, even in their passing moments, more knowledge of Campbell and Stone than my churches of Christ kindred ever seem to give them credit.

Maybe it's b/c I'm in Cleveland and I can, and have, get in my car and take myself and mia famiglia and go to the Campbell mansion and Hiram, and a jillion other place w/in a few hours drive that the founders ARE real--and not because of sentimentality, or keeping them around like an antique.  I read their stuff, contemplate their spirituality, know their works, and even disagree w/ them on many, many things--like the usefulness of Christian, orthodox teaching, and the usefulness of the fathers and mothers of the church as just useful for knowing the NT "pattern" of things.  

Is it so hard for my friends to believe that OTHER interpretations of Stone and Campbell are possible other / 1) they just "found" the primitive church so 2) they're to be forgotten as non-important yet 3) to be trotted out and "clobber" the Disciples for supposed errors?!?!

Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I say what I have said about "Let Christian unity be our polar star" b/c 1) I believe it and 2) Stone said it--and no, I don't "follow" Stone--yet, I think that that has to be our goal

I continue to be stunned that grace-oriented Christians seem to want to assume things about my beloved Disciples that just aren't so.  

Bobby, I'm not doggin' ya buddy, I don't know what a liberal is--if one means a political liberal, perhaps I understand, but to insist that my DoC's keep Campbell around as a "period piece" is uncharitable, unfair, and untrue.

If "liberal" means that I believe United Methodists, Copts, Catholic, heck--even hicks from Ohio like me--then yep, I 1) believe they are Christians and 2) more than likely goin' to heaven.  

I confess the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation, the Redemption on Calvary and the Resurrection, et al.  Most DoC's I know do, too.  That IS the story, and we DoC's believe it, confess it, live it.

Now, tell me:  Do the churches of Christ have perfect unity of belief and thought?

Good friends, you are going to have to stop presenting your independent and DoC sisters and brother w/ a "bill of goods" that says "until and unless you believe the following you are neither a Christian nor are you in any way 'equal' to us"--that is spiritual apartheid, and it is absolutely and utterly contrary to the Spirit of Unity and Jesus the Christ.

Until then, what is just being shown to the Christian world is a good-old-fashioned creed (yep, I said "creed"):  "Believe this, or else, you don't get to be a Christian."

It saddens me that the other branches of the Movement have had the door, once again, slammed in their collective faces.

Yes, I believe the story.  Stop the stereotyping.   In the name of Jesus Christ, the God-man of Nazareth, stop it.

I pray you.