Mike Cope's blog

Sunday, October 10, 2004

I minister alongside 42 men whom I deeply respect. These shepherds are men who have taught me so much. (There are 45 if you count Wally, Grady, and Clois. Technically they are no longer elders, but I just prefer to think of it as if they've missed the last several meetings. In my mind, the three of them will always be shepherds of the Highland Church!) This morning's announcement came from a long, prayer-filled study of scripture. These are hardly men who make decisions because of the prevailing culture. They are wanting to follow the lead of the Spirit and be obedient to scripture at every turn. Here's the announcement that Jack Griggs read: Throughout its 75-year history, the Highland Church of Christ has been blessed in countless ways. One of the most apparent of those blessings is the spiritual giftedness of our members and the way that their gifts have been poured out to benefit others. Another of those blessings is the willingness of this Highland family to seriously study God's Word and to take direction from what is revealed. Over a decade ago, the Highland elders began to study, pray about, and discuss among themselves the roles of women in various worship and ministry activities. The result of that interaction was a congregation-wide study a few years ago on the role of women in public worship. After that period of study, the Highland elders decided that it was time to encourage the participation of women in various ways in public worship. From the earliest conversations with members, the elders communicated that it was not the intention of Highland leadership to place women in the role of elder or preaching minister. However, the eldership concluded that it is scriptural for women to participate in all other ways. It has been our intention to implement these changes in roles carefully--seeking natural ways to allow our women to join our men in using their gifts. Over the past few years, you have seen the fruits of this intent. Ministry reports, congregational announcements, the sharing of testimony, and participation in praise teams and dramatic presentations by women have become fairly common. More recently, you have witnessed women reading scripture, serving communion, and leading prayer. Brothers and sisters, your elders want you to know that we firmly believe that such activities are fully scriptural and that we are grateful that we have been able to have this experience at Highland. We are also aware that these actions represent a great amount of change and that change can--and does--produce anxiety. Please know that we are not callous to those feelings. Yet, we believe that scripture provides all women and men the opportunity to share their God-given gifts. Thus, you will see women continue to be used in worship as natural and appropriate occasions arise. We want you to know that when you see a woman taking a public role in worship, it is being done with the knowledge and approval of the eldership. For those of you for whom this is a difficult transition, we encourage you to patiently seek God's peace as our church family prayerfully moves through this transition. For those of you who were not at Highland during our intensive study or if you were here but owuld like to refresh your study, we will be offering a class this spring that will lead you through the scriptures that led us to our decision. Or, if you would like to talk with an elder about this, please let that be known. We are always willing to spend time with you. God has blessed the Highland church with people who are willing to serve in thousands of ways. We trust you will join the Highland shepherds in praising the Lord when you witness that service in your fellow sisters and brothers.

I'm not posting this announcement so that readers can print it off and give it to their elders to say, "We ought to do what Highland has done." We've made it clear from the beginning that we're trying to discern where the Spirit is leading us through scripture at this time. But there is a lot of misunderstanding floating around, and I thought this might help clarify . . . and maybe even bless.

I get to hang out a couple days with Landon Saunders (and two other buddies) this week, as I have each year for the past decade. His house has become my Valhalla, a hall of healing.

39 Comments:

  • I applaud the leadership of the Highland church....for being men who want to be led by the Spirit. I believe that the Father is blessing the work there because of their decision to be led by the Spirit.

    May God continue to astonish you with His mighty power, that is evident to those who put their trust in Him.

    DU

    By Blogger David U, at 10/10/2004 10:51:00 AM  

  • May your elders' wise and bold actions be a model to elders of the Lord's church around the world. God bless your fellowship.

    By Blogger MarkS, at 10/10/2004 10:59:00 AM  

  • Praise the Lord! What a landmark time this is for Highland and so many other places. Praying for you all.

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 10/10/2004 12:14:00 PM  

  • Mike, I wanted to let you know that I believe the Holy Spirit said some jarring things through you this morning -- the kinds of things that make me want to stand up and yell, "YES!" Thanks for allowing yourself to be used in that way.

    I agree with what you said...Highland is definitely moving to a different place. Where? Only God knows. But with an eldership that listens to the Lord and a preaching minister through whom the Holy Spirit speaks every week, it can only be a good place. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!

    By Blogger Steve Jr., at 10/10/2004 03:17:00 PM  

  • My prayers will continue to be with you on this journey.

    My own decision was to stay in a fellowship that declined to use my God-given gifts, and I can be at peace with that. However, my granddaughters did not stay. I only hope this new awareness comes soon enough for the women of the coming generation.

    By Blogger Coping, at 10/10/2004 05:18:00 PM  

  • Mike,
    May I repeat my after-service greeting to you!

    Hallelujah! Praise Jehovah from whom all blessings come.

    And I affirm my promise to you of prayer support - a prayer that includes my request that a hedge of safety be placed around you and the Elders, because, unfortunately, there will be those that will feel it their duty to attack. I just pray they are a great majority of zero - that the LORD keep the naysayers silent and at a distance. I'll edit that. May the naysayers keep silent, prayerfully wanting to learn the full truth of God's holy Word.

    May I say, however, that the challenge that particularly excited me this morning was that of examining our prayer focus to cover our enemies, as well as those we love; that we become hungry to live as Jesus lived, for there to be less of "me" and more of "Him." May we board the Jesus train, going out into our world, be it our neighborhood, work place, in our families, or among our friends; seeking out the lost, the poor, the helpless, and the needy and hurting, as we try to live the image of Jesus. It's going to be an exciting ride!

    'bout time too, eh!! LOL
    [I feel comfortable saying this, since you know my strange sense of humor ;) ]

    By Blogger Kathy, at 10/10/2004 06:02:00 PM  

  • My thanks to you and the elders for the blessing this morning....it was truly a heart warming service. May we continue to keep our eyes and hearts on God.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/10/2004 07:29:00 PM  

  • We were in Abilene this weekend visiting our two ACU kids and were a part of the worship time yesterday. I loved the prayerful, humble spirit with which the elders' thoughts were presented. Our local church is a few steps behind you, but moving slowly in the same direction. Thank you for the blessing we received there!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/11/2004 07:05:00 AM  

  • The first time I heard a woman read scripture in church was when a visiting preacher (without checking first) asked a 15 year old girl to read Mary's prayer on the Sunday nearest Christmas 2 years ago. That passage came alive as never before!

    You congregations stance is my personal stance. However, the group I worship with isn't there yet. And that is okay. I love them because they are members of the Family of God not because they agree with me on every issue.

    Your eldership's openness to study and the Spirit is inspiring. I pray the church at Highland will have a spirit of unity as you go through this time of cultural change.

    "The only person who likes change is a wet baby." Mark Twain.

    By Blogger Steve Duer, at 10/11/2004 07:19:00 AM  

  • "it was not the intention of Highland leadership to place women in the role of elder or preaching minister. However, the eldership concluded that it is scriptural for women to participate in all other ways."

    Is that to say that they believe women in the role of elders or preachers is unscriptural? Or that they just didn't intend/don't intend to go there? I'm just not exactly sure what they're saying, whether they've left that door open for another time or whether they have reached a conclusion which closes it.

    I am glad for your eldership's willingness to explore this and other questions in the church. I hope that this spirit will continue and that it will spread to other congregations, other elderships and other bodies of influences in churches all over.

    By Blogger Q, at 10/11/2004 07:21:00 AM  

  • Civilization hits plateaus and waits for churches to catch up to the plateau. Ending slavery was one such plateau. Women's rights was another. I am certainly glad to see the fellowship we belong to catching up to equality of human beings rather than fighting the battle of the sexes which civilization progressed past a number of years back. May God continue to lead us ever onward to his light.

    By Blogger WDS, at 10/11/2004 08:10:00 PM  

  • WDS is correct that churches are slow to catch up. Thank God individual believers are not always so far behind.

    People whose knowledge of history I respect tell me (hence it is my understanding) that the pioneers of the great social movements -- abolition of slavery, abolition of child labor, improvement of working conditions, the rights of women, and civil rights -- were Christian believers. Thank God for them.

    Some of these "movements" were later commandeered by people with different agendae. But the source of these good things can be attributed to Christ and his body.

    By Blogger mchristophoros, at 10/12/2004 11:01:00 AM  

  • No one conversant with the relevant texts would deny that women may do more than they currently are allowed to do in most churches of Christ. On the other hand, the Highland Elders, in their remarks, did not give the theological basis for their decision. It would have been terribly helpful for the rest of us to see where the Highland Elders draw the line and WHY they draw the line there. I'm glad they've studied the issue for a long time, but that's not a helpful basis for the rest of us.

    From the announcement, it would appear that, in worship assembly, women can lead in every area but preaching. I don't really see how you can justify this position in light of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, the only New Testament text that speaks directly to this issue.

    By Blogger Mike Tune, at 10/12/2004 01:31:00 PM  

  • Well, then you get into the whole long hair / veil thing. Mike Tune ... can't you just be happy for this church that 42 shepherds came to a consensus on a scriptural matter of deep consequence to their flock? That they stated their intentions clearly to begin, and studied together? Coming to an agreement on the significance and meaning of long hair and veils in first and twenty-first century culture would be a challenge to more than two biblical scholars of any persuasion.

    By Blogger Keith Brenton, at 10/12/2004 04:09:00 PM  

  • My thanks to you and to your elders for the courage and committment to follow through on conviction. It grieves me that many men in leadership will admit that "things could be different" but will not implement change. It's Martin Luther King,Jr.type courage. His inspiration lead white folks to join the civil rights movement--dealing a powerful blow to the structure of segregation.

    By Blogger Beverly Choate Dowdy, at 10/12/2004 04:32:00 PM  

  • Both Q and Mike Tune are asking legitimate questions. There are a lot of people out there and still at Highland who want to know how Highland arrived at its present conclusion and why lines have been drawn where they have been. If one body discovers a "truth" about scripture, it should be shared so that others can embrace it or at least understand it.

    Consensus has never been enough. The Tower of Babel is case and point.

    Personally, I am still studying this issue and trying to understand how we got here. My husband and I were both a part of the original study, but I look forward to the the studies this springs that could fill in the gaps on things I didn't get the first time.

    I also look forward to moving on to the issues that I think really do affect our spiritual growth and witness.

    I do have a deep respect for these elders. They do "walk the walk". I knew I was respected by them and that women in general were respected long before our study of women's roles.

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 10/13/2004 05:01:00 AM  

  • Thank you to the elders at Highland for their willingness to search the scriptures and study this issue. I beg them to pray for all the rest of us as we grapple with this in our congregations across the nation. May The Lord continue to fill you up with His Spirit!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/13/2004 11:07:00 AM  

  • Mike, I think it is a very sad day when the elders at Highland have decided to stray so far from the teachings of the N.T. in allowing women to take part in public worship. No instruction in the N.T. is more positive than what is written in I Cor. 14:34. It is positive, explicit, and universal. It is forbidden.
    As a former member of Highland I am very disturbed at how satan is creeping into the Lord's church.
    Ralph

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/13/2004 11:40:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Jen, at 10/13/2004 12:45:00 PM  

  • As a former Highland child, recent GST grad, a woman in campus ministry, and lover of those kids who sit in the front rows on the south side of the Highland auditorium, I have come to greatly appreciate the eldership at Highland over the last 12 years. I thank God both for the courageous decisions they have made as a result of study and theological reflection and also for the way they minister through the way they live their lives. I was very blessed on my final Sunday to be served communion by Sarah, whom I have loved and ministered with for several years

    By Blogger Jen, at 10/13/2004 12:50:00 PM  

  • Dear Mike. First I would like to say that I am sorry to
    hear that the Elders at Highland are starting to follow
    the False Teachings of Max Lucado and others. 2 John
    9-11 we are to cast out such false teachers, along with
    the teachings of I Tim 6:ff and 2 Thes 3:6 we are to
    "keep away" from false teachers. Maybe your elders need
    to re-read Acts 10-28-31 and guide the church according
    to the sacred scriptures. As for me and my household
    we will walk out should this happen at our church.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/13/2004 01:43:00 PM  

  • I appreciate that this has made me stop and think. I am sorry that I am not able to be a part of the study on this topic.

    I believe that, generally speaking, the Word of God has been written so that those who prayerfully study it will be able to understand it. Surely that would be the intent of the Father, Son and Spirit since they are “willing that NONE should perish, but that ALL would come to repentance.”

    I simply don’t understand this “new” position if I take the Word of God literally in I Corinthians 14.

    Is it possible that I am wrong? Absolutely.

    But if God is no respecter of persons, why would He “enlighten” some of our brotherhood who study and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and understanding and not enlighten others who do the same thing?

    I want the truth. Plain and simple. Not anyone’s opinion or interpretation of the truth. I want to do God’s will.

    And after having visited the Highland Church web site, I was disappointed that there was nothing there to explain this move. Frankly, the Highland web site leaves a LOT to be desired.

    Please email me any scriptures I can study on this topic.

    James Hays
    North Oaks Church of Christ
    Los Angeles, CA
    bacpd@yahoo.com
    jrhays@westwoodone.com

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/13/2004 01:59:00 PM  

  • I've never been to the Highland church, but I have the sneaking suspicion that Max Lucado had nothing to do with their decision on this matter. Churches of Christ around the country (not named Oak Hills!) have made the same decision - in some cases decades ago.

    Regardless of how I might agree/disagree/agree with the Highland elders' decision, I would hope all of us would respect the concept of congregational autonomy. Let's face it folks, unless you are a member of Highland (and many of those who have posted here are), I'm not sure we can play backseat driver to where they believe God is leading them.

    By Blogger Malibu Librarian, at 10/13/2004 02:05:00 PM  

  • Especially because, as far as I know, Max Lucado and/or Oak Hills are not promoting or practicing an increased role of women in public worship. In fact, I think I remember reading somewhere that Oak Hills has no intention of increasing the role of women. It is interesting how he has become a generic scapegoat for any kind of change in the CoC.

    By Blogger Wendy, at 10/13/2004 03:13:00 PM  

  • Dear Friends -

    Just a moment at the airport. Thanks for your feedback. I can sense the pain -- of people who have waited so long . . . of those who fear it's the wrong direction . . . of those who think it's not enough . . . of those who have seen their daughters and granddaughters leave. I value each insight--even those who are upset.

    This statement doesn't include all the reasons. That was the years of study that we went through. For my own perspective, I believe you can listen to four messages I gave two years ago at the Zoe Conference at www.zoegroup.org.

    Please understand again that this isn't our attempt to change everyone. It's where God's Spirit is leading this church as we have rededicated ourselves to living under his guidance in scripture. It's almost as if we had no other choice--much as many churches felt years ago when they integrated even though it meant incurring the rage of others.

    Two things for sure:

    1. This does point out again that this old heritage was onto something with congregational autonomy.

    2. Being right on this issue is not a prerequisite for being the people of God. In my humble opinion, we've been wrong in the past. But we were certainly the people of God, saved by his grace and commissioned by him as heralds of hope in this world. And if we're wrong now (which, obviously, the elders and I don't believe) we are still the people of God saved by his grace and commissioned by him as heralds of hope in this world.

    May the love of God be on all of you. Again, thanks for offering feedback--whether very positive or very negative.

    Mike

    By Blogger Mike, at 10/13/2004 05:53:00 PM  

  • How do the elders know this is where the Spirit is leading them. Did He tell them so? How was this revealed? Like Truth was revealed to Paul (1 Cor. 2:9-13)? or in some sort of subjective experience? You who claim the leading of the Spirit are obligated to demonstrate proof of that leading.
    Jerry Brewer

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/14/2004 11:50:00 AM  

  • Jerry -- Consensus on a decision after a group has sought God's intervention (which is the most important part) is often a sign of the Spirit's leading. The Spirit brought 42 men to consensus on a traditionally controversial spiritual issue after years of fervent prayer. Think what you want personally about the women's issue, but I'm certainly not going to be the one doubting what the Spirit does.

    May God show favor on us, for we are imperfect and in need of gobs of grace.

    By Blogger Steve Jr., at 10/14/2004 05:04:00 PM  

  • Jerry -- Consensus on a decision after a group has sought God's intervention (which is the most important part) is often a sign of the Spirit's leading. The Spirit brought 42 men to consensus on a traditionally controversial spiritual issue after years of fervent prayer. Think what you want personally about the women's issue, but I'm certainly not going to be the one doubting what the Spirit does.

    May God show favor on us, for we are imperfect and in need of gobs of grace.

    By Blogger Steve Jr., at 10/14/2004 06:51:00 PM  

  • Dear Mike....I too was a former member at Highland while
    attending Abilene Christian...48-49 years ago. We moved to a more traditional congregation in Abilene after the so called Harper/Tant Debates. I only know
    about Max Lucado by what I read in an Associated Press
    release in March of this year and it decribed how Max
    had left the church, added insturmental music, wanted
    more work for the women (wait on tables, etc.)...But,
    I too can't say that Highland was following Max. BUT
    I cannot see how anyone, elder or not, can pick and
    choose what part of the Bible they want to follow. What next???? Will it be a piano to help people sing??
    Don

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/15/2004 08:06:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    You comment: "Just a moment at the airport. Thanks for your feedback. I can sense the pain -- of people who have waited so long . . . of those who fear it's the wrong direction . . . of those who think it's not enough . . . of those who have seen their daughters and granddaughters leave. I value each insight--even those who are upset." Your "I can sense the pain" reminds me of what has been said by liberal politicians in their warped attempts to decieve the people. However, I would ask, can you sense the pain of our Lord as to what you and the elders have done in moving this congregation of the Lord's people, that once stood firm for the truth, into apostasy?
    Those you count as shepherds are, like yourself, no more that wolves in sheep's clothing that have come in to devour the flock of God. It is clear you have a distain for the God-breathed Word of God and would rather pleaase man than God. I pray that you will all repent of this heresy and return to the truth.
    You may still wear the name "church of Christ" but it is clear, from the error that you have espoused, you can no longer be regarded as a faithful congregation of the Lord's church. I trust that folk who still deem that Abilene is a good place to send their children to school for a "Christian education" will see that not only has the school chosen to reject the principles on which the school was founded but that at least one of the congregations that attracts students from the school has gone into apostasy.
    Ken Chumbley

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/15/2004 08:21:00 AM  

  • Steve -- You wrote, "Consensus on a decision after a group has sought God's intervention (which is the most important part) is often a sign of the Spirit's leading."

    Please point out where your above statement is taught in the New Testament. How was it confirmed that those 42 men were led by the Spirit? Did they find this in the Word of God, or did the Spirit "speak expressly?" (1 Tim. 4:1)and confirm it by an outward manifestation? If consensus is "*often* a sign of the Spirit's leading," how can one know when it is not?

    Jerry Brewer

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/15/2004 08:59:00 AM  

  • I find it difficult to understand, and thus to appreciate, how "we" can make claims, either for or against any belief or practice, and then not substantiate those claims based upon biblical principles of authority and interpretation.

    For example:

    (1) where in the word of God is "consensus" upheld as final authority for truth (Ex 23:2);

    (2) where in the word of God are we commanded to "sit down and shut up" when someone else claims to have been guided by the Holy Spirit. The early church had safeguards against such claims - 1 John 4:1 says that such "spirits" were/are to be put to the test;

    (3) where in the word of God does approval by others constitute proof of truth (Lk 6:26);

    (4) where in the word of God did God say "by the way, this message is not binding and authoritative" (Jn 12:48; Prov 30:5-6; Col 3:17);

    (5) where in the word of God are congregations free to set belief and practice that go against God's word and then assume they cannot be questioned? Galatians 1:6ff - the "churches" of Galatia (not just one) began to preach another gospel, but they were held accountable to the word for doing so. Paul had every right to denounce them for their erroneous beliefs. Do we have any less right to do so today?;

    (6) where in the word of God are we told that being "lead of the Spirit" and "obedient to scripture" are some how antithetical? Is the Spirit no longer a Spirit of "truth" (Jn 14:17; 15:25-26; 16:13; 1 Jn 4;6; 5:6)? Can the Spirit reveal one thing to me personally, something else to another personally, and both be at odds with the Spirit revealed word of God?;

    (7) where in the word of God is the world's take on "gender equality" made equivalent to God's will? Does our pursuit of "gender equality," "gender neutral" roles stop here? Is the role of man/woman in society, God's kingdom, etc. presented in Genesis 3; 1 Timothy 2; et. al. culturally determined? What "culture" was observed "in the beginning?”;

    (8) where in the word of God are we told that "only God knows" how the Spirit is going to lead us in these, and other issues? What did Jesus mean when he said “have you not read” about issues like the real meaning of the Sabbath (Mt 12:3, 5; Lk 6:3); the truth about marriage, divorce and remarriage (Mt 19:4); the reality of the resurrection (Mt 22:31; Mk 12:26); the real identity of the Messiah (Mk 12:10); et. al. How could those “controversies” of his day be understood by “having read” the word? Why can’t we resolve our controversies the same way?;

    (9) where in the word of God is conscience or emotion upheld as the sole determiners of truth (Acts 23:1ff)?;

    (10) where in the word of God does attitude (“prayerful, humble spirit”) supplant and/or determine truth. The woman at the well worshipped God, or so she said. Jesus said “You worship what you do not know.” (Jn 4:22) Was Jesus out of line for speaking so boldly and plainly to a woman who may have had a good attitude, but whose practices/beliefs were simply not sanctioned by God through his word?;

    (11) where in the word of God are we told to just “be happy” when souls around us do things we find objectionable and/or questionable (1 Th 5:21)?

    Luke 10:27 tells me, in part, to“ love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”( NKJV) How can I do that without giving serious “mind” consideration to the issue at hand? I want everyone to be saved ... so does God (2 Pet 3:9; 1 Tim 2:3-4)? Shall I let my love (emotion only) for lost souls override my intellect? I want my Dad to be saved ... can I just overlook the fact that he has stubbornly refused to yield his obedience to the will of God? If we are to worship and serve God with all that we are, then it is essential that in light of our mortal/immortal nature we do so rationally, morally, emotionally, volitionally and behaviorally. As much as we might want to believe or practice something, we can never leave our God-given minds in park or neutral. Even worse, we cannot leave them in reverse.

    Jody L Apple
    admin@TheBible.net

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/15/2004 09:04:00 AM  

  • In the spirit of open discussion which I see reflected in the comments of responders on both sides of this issue, I respectfully ask the following question of those so opposed to Highland's stand on the role of women.....

    If you do believe so strongly that I Cor 14 so clearly holds the authoritative answer on women's roles that you call Highland in "apostasy", and if you truly also do NOT want to want to "pick and choose" what scriptures you do or do not follow...then please share with fellow readers how your congregation is fully implementing the same chapter's teaching on prophesying, speaking in tongues (during worship or otherwise), and the interpretation of both by members. I am sure we would all want to know more about that as well.

    May God bless and save us all,

    Cheryl

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/15/2004 11:31:00 AM  

  • Many of times, we (Christians) feel the need to force others to agree with us! I have never understood this. I have learned more about the character of Christ by listening to other’s perspective of the scriptures (especially when I did not agree with them at the end of the study).

    We tend to seek to be understood before seeking to understand. For example, seek to understand how Highland has come to this conclusion before seeking to condemn these men.

    Afterwards, Ken and Don, you will learn more about your own faith from those you disagree.

    David Bizaillion

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/15/2004 09:24:00 PM  

  • 35 comments so far.....Sacred cows do make great hamburgers.

    By Blogger Larry, at 10/17/2004 05:26:00 AM  

  • God has provided us with objective standard of truth (John 8:31-32; 12:48). If not, we can only do that which is right in our own eyes and thus merrily walk the pathway to destruction (Judges 21:25; Prov. 14:12; Jer. 10:23).

    By that objective standard with which God has blessed you and me, we know can know certainly that the statement "It's where God's Spirit is leading this church" cannot be true regarding the use of women leading in the worship.

    God has only authorized the use of men to lead public prayer (I Tim. 2:8). God has spoken on the subject (Heb. 1:1-2; II Tim. 3:16-17), He has not changed His mind (Num. 23:19), and His Spirit did not lead the Highland church to a decision contradictory to His own, for He is not the author of confusion (I Cor. 14:33).

    I do not know what your motivation is, but it is clearly not to perform the will of God. "Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls..." (Jer. 6:16). You know how the verse finishes. What will you say?

    By Blogger Lee Moses, at 10/19/2004 02:20:00 PM  

  • Lee Mosses has a very intelligent and scriptural answer to the actions of the Highland Elders. You cannot do anything that your fancy decides and then say that the Holy Spirit guided me. How ridiculous.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/21/2004 12:44:00 PM  

  • NO ONE....man, preacher, elder or whoever has the right
    to change what is written in the word of God (Rev.22:18-19). AND in I Timothy 2:11 we read" "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection." And more can be
    found in I Cor. 14: 34 "Let your women keep silence in
    the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded, as also saith the law."
    THESE words are "inspired" and we are not to pur in our
    "private" interpretation. Believe the Bible and the
    Bible ONLY.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/03/2004 04:24:00 PM  

  • I realize that I am responding to a 4 month old blog, but after reading the various comments I just wanted to add my thoughts.

    As I read those "for" and those "against," I see my own upbringing and jaded views of the church of Christ (non-instrumental) coming out in vibrant colors. I have been raised and have attended all four major branches of the Restoration Movement (Non-instrumetal, Disciples, Christian/Church of Christ, and even a few months within the African American Church of Christ) in my 34 years of being on this planet. Not too my surprise, but still very troublesome to me is what most conservative CoC'ers view as the church.

    My brother and I spent two summers with our Mom's parents, who I consider the typical extremely conservative, non-instrment church of Christ'ers - who view themselves as the only one's God is allowing into heaven, as they have the patent on Salvation. I am in no way saying that those who have responded to this blog/post are in this category, but the way some have responded strikes of being close. But anyway, as a young guy, my brother and I never understood the double standard of what went on in the church "building" and what took place at home.

    My Grandfather is a great musician and he and his brothers would get together and play great songs of their growing up, as well as great songs of faith. Also, his second wife ruled the house with an iron fist of which there was no denying. However, at church there was no music, not even a radio and even though our step-grandmother did not say much in church her looks spoke volumes not only to us, but to Grandpa as well.

    Here is my point. What is the church? It is not the building - even though it is hard to convince those outside of the CoC that they themselves do not believe this. As I recall, it is whenever those who have allowed Jesus to become their Lord and Savior, gather to worship him. So would this not suggest that this happens all the time. But I have heard the argument that there is a special time of worship as a body of believers. OK, what time is that, do we pick or does God, and if God does what time of day has he picked?

    Those who are arguing for see that all the way back in Genesis, that God created male and female to walk side by side in partnership with one another. Those arguing against are pointing out the dicotomy in thier own lives and homes (where the "church" met for the first 100 years, and where most churches meet now - worldwide).

    I realize that this all may not be put together very well and I have not adequately addressed the various issues that have been brought up, but one must look at Scripture as a whole, and not simply pull out random scriptures as a basis for tradition. I value my Restoration heritage, as I believe it to be striving for God's ultimate truth and our response to it, but at the same time I see this heritage being perhaps the most hypocritical and dogmatic as we put God and his word in our Box (the church building) and only visit it three hours a week. No wonder we are seen as being very out of touch with God, as we have limited our time/place/thoughts/worship of him.

    By Blogger Donald Philip Simpson, at 2/10/2005 09:00:00 AM  

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