Mike Cope's blog

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Highland just received an invitation to the "Contending for the Faith" lectureship with such scintillating class topics as (I kid you not): "Are We Holding a Form of Anti-ism Because We Oppose False Doctrine and False Teachers in ACU, OCU, Harding, FHU, DLU, and the Like?" "Are We Occupying an 'Anti' Position When We Oppose the Church of Christ Disaster Relief Agency?" "Anti-ism Is Not God's Answer to Liberalism" "The 'Hats-and-Hair' Doctrine Refuted" "Is There Biblical Authority to Eat in the Church Building, and If There Is Such Authority, Does That Same Authority Authorize Gymnasiums and the Like?" I have a suggestion for another class: "Is It Appropriate to Appoint a Committee to Rearrange Chairs on the Deck of the Titanic When the Whole Thing Is Sinking?" Perhaps also this one: "How to Be Opposed to Almost Everything But Still Not Be Considered Anti." - - - - My Beloved is not a morning person. There are certain times (this morning, for instance) when she has the opinion that I'm too happy, too loud, and have too many lights on. Now she's up, of course. School teacher, you know. I think she's waiting for a school board who will admit that 8:00 is too early to start school. A 10:00 - 5:00 schedule would work better for her. - - - - Here are some groups I really appreciate: Healing Hands, International Disaster Relief Effort Health Talents, International Rapha International (led by one of my former elders, Ray Hughes) Malawi Project White's Ferry Road Relief Ministries Partners in Progress International Health Care Foundation Bread for a Hungry World Manna International Of course, I know more about some of these ministries than about others. (I just finished touring one of the Healing Hands facilities, for example.) But I appreciate all these efforts to reach out to the needs of this world that God so deeply loves. Perhaps you know of other ministry groups. Right now our children have been focusing on helping one orphanage in East Africa. In light of the huge needs of the world, in one sense that isn't much. But it is something.


  • Do you have to be opposed to hats and hair at the same time? Can you be opposed to just hats but not hair? Or maybe even hair but not hats?

    By Blogger Emily, at 3/02/2006 05:00:00 AM  

  • I was raised in a very strict, but very loving non-institutional (hereby known as "Anti") church of Christ (with a small "c" for their sakes). As many of us can attest, I still am not aware of all the many ways in which this religious heritage has impacted my life. Something I've found intersting however as I move into adulthood is my relationship with the church as "institution".

    My childhood church was adamantly opposed to supporting "institutions" with congregational money, and yet the church itself was organized and run like an institution! As I moved away from that group, I found more "institutionalized" churches addicting. They were filled with loving people who understood grace, and were actually putting the congregation's money to some of the organizations you listed toward the end of your post. As I continued to grow and change, I attended a very large Church of Christ (big "C" for their sakes) that put their money toward institutions, yes, but they were just beginning to see that living missionally was just as important (if not more) than throwing money at mission-organizations. I liked this idea a lot.

    Now I am trying to decide if churches meeting in living rooms, in coffeeshops, and under palm trees can put their money toward more direct needs - like helping the neighbor down the street pay his utilities, or supporting other "missionaries" to new neighborhoods in their own city.

    One church decided recently to free up their budget for missions and benevolence by moving to house churches. Over the past thirteen years, they have donated ONE MILLION dollars to their community. And this was only 6 simple churches in a network! As I sit reflecting on my religious journey, I am amazed at the roller coaster ride I've made with institution and religion. I feel like I've almost come full circle.

    By Blogger Mark, at 3/02/2006 05:27:00 AM  

  • Mike, For some good reasons (which I can't go into here) my mother is now attending a very conservative church in Garland,Texas. Instead of enjoying some time at Highland the morning before lectureship, being a good son, I went with her to church. The message was "How To Have A Successful Gospel Meeting". Lord love a duck.
    May we extend to them the same grace God extends to us.

    By Blogger Randy, at 3/02/2006 05:43:00 AM  

  • Thanks for mentioning the relief agencies. COC Disaster Relief has funneled MILLIONS of dollars in supplies to the ravaged Mississippi Gulf Coast (where I live). As a flood victim, I am pleased to tell you that I cook on a stove that came from COC Disaster Relief, store my milk in a refrigerator that came from them, and wash my clothes in a machine that was sent from Nashville to the Coast. I will never forget what they have done for my family. Nor will the thousands we have been able to help via our outreach recovery effort. This national disaster has disappeared from the news media except for how it relates to New Orleans. God has blessed our church to be able to contine rebuilding our city. People from every faith family have been here to help and continue to come and send supplies. I stand amazed at God's big Family! It is often the agencies that keep this happening as the 'man in the pew' moves on to other needs specified often by the news media. Since in Pascagoula, MS we have no casinos, and we are not New Orleans, we are invisible to the public eye. Yet COC Disaster Relief, Hope Missions (Christian Church), and Operation Love Thy Neighbor continue to funnel people, supplies, funding, and prayers our way. There is also a Churches of Christ Dister Response Team that was on site at our church just a week or so after Katrina. They set up a grill and cooked hamburgers in a dead city. People lined up 20 deep to get a hot hamburger. I have tears in my eyes now as I remember how that felt ... and how wonderful Mark and Laura Cremeans are. Well, I could write for days about this and how important it is that we are prepared for the next big disaster. Hearts here on the Coast are open like never before. God is using this tragedy to swing wide the doors of the Kingdom. Sorry for the long comment ... thanks for mentioning the relief agencies.

    By Blogger JD, at 3/02/2006 05:46:00 AM  

  • True story --- many church historians report the "anti" movement began right here in my fair city of Lufkin, Texas. Needless to say it is a bit of a polar opposite from my home town of Abilene. Several years ago a police report was filed in the local paper stating that a specific church of Christ (one of numerous anti's here) had experienced a break-in. The report stated the culprits "broke in through a kitchen window" and then proceeded to steal a few things.

    Yep, you guessed it right - the preacher wrote a scathing letter to the paper stating emphatically their church had no kitchen, and then he took liberty to take pot shots at all churches committing the grievous sin of eating in church, which of course Paul preached so strongly against in I Corinthians.....Lovely, just lovely.

    By Blogger KentF, at 3/02/2006 05:53:00 AM  

  • hey just found your blog through another youth minister, Landon Smith, and thought I'd check it out. I can't beleive I missed that lectureship. Oh well maybe next time. I'm currently working with a church that used to be Anti and has been working it's way out of it, as the elders have studied and have been correcting in teaching. But we still have some with a narrow view of the Bible, God, the Church and His Family.
    I'm going to have to check out your blog more often now. I like what you have to say.

    By Blogger sparquay, at 3/02/2006 05:53:00 AM  

  • I'm curious to where Cat moved te Abilene operation of Healing Hands Intl.

    I know the S Judge Ely building is no longer their home...

    By Blogger Agent B, at 3/02/2006 06:01:00 AM  

  • Agent - Right now, Healing Hands has moved from the Judge Ely building to three other buildings. I think they're working on a plan for the future. What a great ministry!

    JD - What an amazing testimony! Thanks for giving us an "insider's report."

    Mark - I love it! Full circle.

    By Blogger Mike, at 3/02/2006 06:06:00 AM  

  • What?! An orphanage in Africa? Now brother-in-error, you know that's not in the pattern, don't you?


    By Blogger James, at 3/02/2006 06:26:00 AM  

  • I know one of the building Cat moved HHI to. Which one did you tour, Mike?

    By Blogger Val, at 3/02/2006 06:31:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    I just met with Johnny Jordan, president of Rapid Hope (www.rapidhope.org) the other day and am really high on their effort to serve all in need and do it interdenominationally. Their board consists of c of c's, christian churches and baptist churches and it is going to be huge.

    As far as the anit invitation...

    God letting them into heaven ... grace.

    God letting me into heaven...grace.

    Me seeing the look on their face when they see me and other "nutballs" entering the pearly gates...priceless.

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 3/02/2006 07:01:00 AM  

  • One of the presenters I recognize as a man who, as preacher of another congregation in our state, spread lies about our congregation, while claiming that his congregation was one of the very few faithful in the whole state. That congregation no longer exists, and he left the state.

    That doesn't give me many warm feelings about the whole thing. Perhaps it should be "Contentious for the Faith."

    By Blogger TWD, at 3/02/2006 07:01:00 AM  

  • I can't believe I missed that women only lecture. I was going to listen on-line (as a Man) and wonder about the anti-men stance and whether I or the teacher was in bigger trouble.

    Oh well, I can read about it next time I go home and my mother has certain publications laying around for me to read.

    By Blogger TCS, at 3/02/2006 07:09:00 AM  

  • Val - The one near Highland. I'd like to see the other one -- the one I believe you can get me into! -- sometime.

    Quile - priceless, bro. Come back for Hernandez breakfast burritos.

    By Blogger Mike, at 3/02/2006 07:17:00 AM  

  • RE: Contending for the Faith Lectureship

    I'm scared. What do you think their interpretation is for '... and the Like'?

    Do they, like, have a Lectureship Tent? I could, like, have a booth and sell my new games:
    1. Spot the Sinner - (for beginners)
    2. Strike the Sinner - (for more mature players)

    Might not be able to bring along the versions for computer because, like, is there even Biblical Authority for computers?

    Now I'm really scared!

    By Blogger Deb, at 3/02/2006 07:23:00 AM  

  • "Our Young People Will Grow Up Having Had No Faith Instilled in Them Whatsoever But Hey, at Least We're Right"

    "Biological Proof: Dancing Will Get You Pregnant"

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 3/02/2006 07:27:00 AM  

  • Re: "...not a morning person"

    One of our junior high administrators found research that indicated teens did better between the hours of 10 to 5 than from 8 to 3.

    Dianne is just ahead of her time.

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 3/02/2006 07:28:00 AM  

  • Oh, and with regards to this anti-stuff:

    When I worked at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, we all thought the anti-churches were the a capella churches down South!

    What a tolerant group we are! :)

    By Blogger Deb, at 3/02/2006 07:29:00 AM  

  • I can't believe they left out a class such as:

    "Clapping at Bible Camp - The Ramifications of Ovations."

    By Blogger cwinwc, at 3/02/2006 08:03:00 AM  

  • I've been on both sides of the fense. I was raised in a Church of Christ supported orphan home (Childhaven in Cullman, Alabama). Then, when I was 20, I associated myself with the non-institutional group (known as antis here) and stayed with them for 26 years (including preaching full time for 16 years). I recently left the Church of Christ and the Restoration movement as a whole.

    The problems I see in the non-institutional movement are there, I believe, in seed form in the mainline churches and the Restoration Movment as a whole. Patternism and Restorationism themselves I believe lead to exlusivity and division.

    This is not to say that I reject folks in the Church of Christ or the Restoration Movement as brothers--I do not. I love them all very much, but I simply don't believe I can serve God as a part of the movement.

    Consequently, when I hear one part of the movement (those more to the left) critique those on the right I have to smile and think, "they are not as far apart as they think they are."

    By Blogger Ahnog, at 3/02/2006 08:10:00 AM  

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    By Blogger Kathy, at 3/02/2006 08:17:00 AM  

  • Deb, re your "Might not be able to bring along the versions for computer because, like, is there even Biblical Authority for computers?"

    It helped a dear one of mine, strong anti-cofC member, to change some opinions, by asking him if he no longer believed in using the Bible and hymn books? The question arose from his condemnation of the use of PowerPoint presentations for sermons and screens use for songs and hymns.

    He looked at me as though I'd lost it, but giggled, literally giggled, when I reminded him that both the Bible, and hymn books are now published from computer generated copy. [btw-I've always been a sassy brat. LOL]

    We do get into the silliest arguments - taking up time, energy and resources from sharing the Good News with the desperate and lost. :(

    By Blogger Kathy, at 3/02/2006 08:20:00 AM  

  • Here's one of the ironies: some "branches" of the noncooperation (anti) movement were quirky about things like Bible classes, Bible colleges, etc., but were filled with grace and with instincts concerning social justice and ecumenism.

    By Blogger Mike, at 3/02/2006 08:42:00 AM  

  • Hello All

    I'm back. Been gone a while. Lots happening, but am trying to "claw my way back."

    I had to comment today. My mother's family is all of the "anti" (a word I really don't like) group. I have an uncle and a cousin who are ministers. Many cousins went to Florida College. When I am with them, they are kind and congenial and loving.

    My parents did not go to an "anti" (once again -- don't like this word) congregation mainly because of my daddy. My mother came to have a good conscience about things, but still, I believe, struggles -- as I struggle sometimes also. (Oh -- what "baggage" can do.)

    When my daddy died and my mother had a stroke, I canNOT describe how my mother's family rallied around us. Their continued support during my mother's ongoing recovery process is . . . priceless.

    While, theologically, I am SO (oh SO SO) far from them, by grace we are all in the same place. I have to admit that I laughed out loud at Joel's comment. He is so right!

    But, then I felt bad about laughing. The main thing I want to offer is a word of caution with the "jokes" and "punch lines" lest we start to become like anyone else who is sure they are "right."

    I like to believe that as, though the years, our family has "held up" and we have taken care of my parents, etc., that we have created a bit of "tension" with them as they think of my spirituality. I believe that this is the only way we can finally unite, not with words of jest.

    Lovingly submitted.

    By Blogger vtc3po, at 3/02/2006 08:50:00 AM  

  • I'm just glad to know someone finally has the nerve to confront that bastion of liberalism and change agents -- my alma mater -- Freed-Hardeman University.

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 3/02/2006 08:51:00 AM  

  • LOVED Quile's comment! I've wondered if there will be more "jaws dropped" when trumpets are sounded, harps are stringing, & JOYFUL expressions are everywhere--- & "making melody in your hearts" will be no more.

    By Blogger annie, at 3/02/2006 09:00:00 AM  

  • I have many family members in the so called "anti" church. Would we want them bashing us on a blog? We are all Christians and I want to see us all enter through those pearly gates together. I don't want to see their SHOCKED faces as someone said. I hope I don't have those feelings of "I told you so" toward a fellow Christian on the day of judgement. How sad!!!! Let's remember we are all sinners and jokes and comments toward others are sad, real sad. I may be finding my daily inspiration elsewhere if this will be the tone of this blog.

    By Blogger waters86, at 3/02/2006 09:06:00 AM  

  • One more note -- I'm a huge fan of the "question" format in the titles at these kinds of things.

    "Is Clapping Acceptable in Worship?"

    "Can A Woman Serve Communion?"

    As if someone might think, "I can't miss this lecture -- I have no idea where they're gonna come down on this thing!"


    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 3/02/2006 09:15:00 AM  

  • I like what Randy said about extending grace.

    By Blogger Beverly, at 3/02/2006 09:21:00 AM  

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    By Blogger LikeSoTotally, at 3/02/2006 09:35:00 AM  

  • Yes, Deana!

    By Blogger Coping, at 3/02/2006 09:45:00 AM  

  • I'm a tad sheltered and thought you were making the whole thing up until I actually followed the link. Wow!

    Like Joel said, it will take all kinds of grace to get them AND ME in the pearly gates... And luckily, God gives all kinds of grace!

    By Blogger SG, at 3/02/2006 09:48:00 AM  

  • I love the fact that the lectureship planners seem to think that there are false teachers at Harding and FHU (who are mentioned by name) but apparently think none are at Pepperdine. Woo-hoo! Pepperdine is approved by Contending for the Faith!

    J. Wiser
    Athens Bible School (non-institutional), Class of 1996

    By Blogger Malibu Librarian, at 3/02/2006 09:56:00 AM  

  • I had no idea "Contending for the Faith" held conferences. When I was a teenager we lived across the street from a family that worshipped at a "one-cupper" church of Christ congregation (no cups, no classes). In fact the father was the minister there.We had a wonderful relationship. He and my mom would study the scriptures together. They loved and respected one another. We even went to church with them from time to time (They didn't really feel comfortable coming with us, and we were ok with that.) Since they were "one-cuppers", we always tried to sit on the front row (Just kidding).
    One other point from a complete stranger and my comment will be done. When I went on a mission trip to Russia while in college, a member at one of the Russian churches of Christ asked me what I thought about "Jubilee". The group that had been there before us felt it was important to let our Russian brothers and sisters know about the evils of Jubilee (a conference in Nashville, Tn). I was speechless...And they'll know we are Christians by our love....

    By Blogger Suzie, at 3/02/2006 10:17:00 AM  

  • thanks mike. rick is preaching a great series on unity right now...last night's was especially good, and hopefully will be on the RHCC podcast soon. this conference sounds like it is another perfect example of those "adventures in missing the point"...in fact, the post i sat up writing until three in the morning has alot to do with this as i now ponder all of this from the perspective of a parent...i am thankful to be a part of a generation, and pray to see it even more in generations to come, where, as Rick put it, spiritual power is sought over the patterns of an institution.

    By Blogger tine, at 3/02/2006 10:29:00 AM  

  • It's funny how groups get labeled with a name by outsiders. Often the name is used as an insult but eventually the name is incorporated into the group and worn as a badge of honor. Quaker, Shaker, Mormon, and Christian are a few examples. i wonder if "Anti" will ever achieve this status.

    Anyway, my wife and I always seem to stunmble into "anti" churches while we are travelling. When we were on our honeymoon we enjoyed attending a small anti church in Barbados. It was great meeting with them and encouraging them (they needed it). It was sad to see how much they had isolated themselves from the community. We saw people streaming to the worship services at the Pentecostal and Baptist churches. Only a few older people showed up at the COC. We are thankful for them though and enjoyed the fellowship.

    By Blogger Joel Maners, at 3/02/2006 10:45:00 AM  

  • Its kinda funny, I went to that Lectureship website and the only video you can't view is the "womens only" one. that is kinda funny...

    By Blogger Beverly, at 3/02/2006 10:50:00 AM  

  • Excuse my friend, CWINWC. We do Bible camp together. I will get a copy of Deb's advanced software and take care of him!

    Make love, not war!

    I'm thankful to God that he has given me peace with my heritage (hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized, be faithful till death, institutional, non-premillenial, non-denomational, non-instrumental, non call your preacher pastor or reverend, cooperational except with heathen denominations, brand of church of Christ), although per the parenthesis you can see that I still have some "issues."

    May God forgive us all for our "meanness" and "ugliness" expressed toward any of his children.

    I love Carl Ketcherside's statement, "Wherever God has a child, I have a brother or sister."


    By Blogger Steve Puckett, at 3/02/2006 11:00:00 AM  

  • Speaking of irreverent humor, Mike, when ARE you gonna post a link for "Mike Cope Sings the Classics"?!? We've waited long enough!!

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 3/02/2006 11:52:00 AM  

  • BTW the Contentious Lectures are available in WMV format for your perusal.

    By Blogger son of ol red, at 3/02/2006 11:58:00 AM  

  • I got that invitation from the good brothers in Spring, too - today. For a lectureship February 26 through today.

    The topic that left me scratching my head was: "IS OPPOSING SUPPORT FOR COLLEGES FROM THE CHURCH TREASURY IS NOT 'ANTI-ISM'."

    I guess that depends on what your definition of which "is" is.


    By Blogger Keith Brenton, at 3/02/2006 12:36:00 PM  

  • I am currently struggling with Ahnog's comment. I have been a participant in a lot of conversations that have been hard on the thinking of those of the CFTF persuasion.

    Recently I have been convicted of that behavior. When we find ourselves attacking those of the other side, are we really that different than they are? Or, as Ahnog wrote, 'maybe [we] are not as far apart as [we] think we are.'

    God give us all the grace to be a source of life to others, especially those who think differently than we do.

    By Blogger Eric, at 3/02/2006 12:37:00 PM  

  • I've never met a person who wasn't anti-SOMETHING. How about you?


    By Blogger David U, at 3/02/2006 12:38:00 PM  

  • Liberals are those who will only fellowship those to their left. Conservatives are those who will only fellowship those to their right. Are these the definitions we want to live by?

    Mike, I know that you have been hurt by a lot of contentious people through the years in the name of the gospel. Many have. And to all those (including me on many occasions) who strike back with sarcasm and parody, do we not find ourselves with the same kind of bitter mindset?

    We have been given freedom and grace by Jesus Christ. Let's not find ourselves in chains to our brooding over those who with whom we have a slightly different take on the work of God in the world. We seem to hail our discovery of unity, but are quick to throw rocks back at those who won't join the happy bandwagon.

    By Blogger Cary, at 3/02/2006 01:03:00 PM  

  • 2 things:

    1) "A sense of humor is a gift from God." - Stephen Bailey

    2) "People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Love them anyway." - Mother Teresa

    By Blogger Stephen Bailey, at 3/02/2006 01:17:00 PM  

  • Stephen Bailey - That's a great quote by Stephen Bailey. We suffer from a serious inability to laugh.

    By Blogger Mike, at 3/02/2006 01:43:00 PM  

  • I would love to help out with the orphanage in Africa, I want to go there. We also have a prayer ministry if anyone needs prayers you can email us @ weprayforyou@gmail.com Mike, I thank you for doing God's work!

    By Blogger Joy, at 3/02/2006 01:57:00 PM  

  • "Is There Biblical Authority to Eat in the Church Building, and If There Is Such Authority, Does That Same Authority Authorize Gymnasiums and the Like?"

    If I start a house church, do I have to eat out all the time?

    Can it be Church's fried chicken?

    By Blogger L, at 3/02/2006 02:54:00 PM  

  • One last comment, Mike, then I'll hush:

    I really hate to see that hats 'n' hair doctrine refuted, don't you? For aging guys like you and me, hats & hair are pretty much all the hope we have.

    And to quote the great theologian, Jimmy Buffett: "If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane."

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 3/02/2006 03:20:00 PM  

  • The TRAGEDY of all of this...

    It makes the church of Jesus look so...very...irrelevant to the problems people face every day.

    It makes God weep...over the lost not saved, over the Bible used as a weapon on his own people.

    It makes "religion" look just...that much more...out of touch with people--oh, but maybe that is a good thing :o)

    Let's just keep pulling people...into the LIGHT.

    By Blogger Glenn Drysdale, at 3/02/2006 03:56:00 PM  

  • Meanwhile, while they are railing against everything, the group here gets together to talk about how sad it is that they don't understand what God wants from them.

    Sounds vaguely familiar, doesn't it?

    Blogs - The bulletin of the 21st century to write up those you disagree with.

    I enjoy most of your thoughts, Mike. I even like to read the ones I don't agree with, but this is becoming a recurring theme with your blog and several you link to.

    By Blogger John, at 3/02/2006 04:40:00 PM  

  • Leland, I think you meant "Church's Fried Chicken... and THE LIKE."

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 3/02/2006 06:26:00 PM  

  • I grew up in the “traditional” church. When I did not agree with them, they disfellowshipped me for baptizing people who had been divorced for unscriptural reasons. As I grew away from them they lied about me, spit on me, beat me to the ground and ultimately nailed me to a cross. And what am I suppose to say to them? God help me because I don’t think I am there yet.

    By Blogger Clint, at 3/02/2006 06:41:00 PM  

  • I find it interesting that a post that was primarily about disaster relief / helping ministries (which looks very much like Jesus / church) drew only comments about sects within the churches of Christ and how they do not look much like Jesus. Shall we dig out that old Pogo quote again?

    Thanks for trying, Mike!

    By Blogger JD, at 3/02/2006 08:03:00 PM  

  • I just don't understand why even have this discussion. For the most part the Contending for the Faith crowd are good people, and all this does is to give them a bit of attention. More than anything else, I hate comments that come across as making fun of people. I grew up at the Getwell Church of Christ in Memphis. When I look back on that experience I sometimes wonder if I was raised in a cult, but then I realize that inspite of all of the things that I now see as off the mark it was still the place where I fell in love with Jesus. It was the place when I was a kid where 45 teens met every Sunday afternoon to visit nursing homes and hospitals. As I have gotten older (47) and faced a life threatening illness I feel more led to just serve the Lord and help as many people as I can. When I sense that people are starting to make fun that is when I am ready to change the channel.

    By Blogger RC, at 3/02/2006 08:25:00 PM  

  • I don't think Mike was being contentious with the "Contending for the Faith" group. They provide their own caricature of themselves. If you go to one of their services, it is as if you are in the Twilight Zone. Yes, their may be some similarities, but I think that has to do with having the same great, great, great, great, great, grandfather Campbell.

    By Blogger David Michael, at 3/02/2006 09:34:00 PM  

  • One thing I like about the "anti" folk is their skepticism about the institution. I think it goes too far, but swallowing the institution whole without question is not healthy either.

    Sadly, most in the anti group get real sectarian. It does not have to be that way.

    I would think that the anti group would be excited about simple churches and house churches.

    By Blogger Fajita, at 3/02/2006 09:39:00 PM  

  • John 13:34-35 "A New Command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you ,s o you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another."

    By Blogger preacherman, at 3/02/2006 09:54:00 PM  

  • I feel like God has a great sense of humor but surely not even he is laughing at the critical spirit prevalent in many of our churches. It must grieve his Spirit. Love is so much more motivating!

    By Blogger Paul, at 3/03/2006 03:30:00 AM  

  • Mr. Cope, I'm surprised at your ridicule and sarcasm toward your "anti" brethren. I notice you are not that way toward the Christian church and I doubt if you would be toward the Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, or even toward the Muslims. Don't you think an apology is in order?

    By Blogger terrysj, at 3/03/2006 07:36:00 AM  

  • Mike, I love & appreciate you, your deep love for Christ's church, & your self-depracating sense of humor. Lighten up, people!

    By Blogger annie, at 3/03/2006 07:53:00 AM  

  • wow. lots of diversity in the comments today. Here's the deal... right now I'm watching a streaming video from the "Contending" lectureship FREE of charge (thanks for the link Mike). I'm a longtime visitor of the Pepperdine lectures, but I've never been able to download the lectures for FREE afterward. Kudo's to Contending for publishing their message for the masses.

    By Blogger R Debenport, at 3/03/2006 08:32:00 AM  

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    By Blogger Brian Mashburn, at 3/03/2006 01:43:00 PM  

  • I love my more legalistic brethren. But I hurt that I have had to protect myself from their doctrine. I love thier deep, sincere desire to be right. But I hate that their desire to be right has often usurped thier ability to be love. I love that they want all people to know the truth. But I hate that in their evangelism, they fail to actually and only point to the Truth (Jesus). I love their zeal to share what they know. But I hate that believe that it is by what they know that they are saved. I love those people that think they are saved by what they see as "Christ's rules" rather than Christ's Person, but as a recovering Church of Christer, I am particularly vulnerable to the false convictions of my past that they represent. I think Mike, as a faithful spokesperson of so many of us, shows incredible restraint in his comments in dealing with our family tree.

    By Blogger Brian Mashburn, at 3/03/2006 01:48:00 PM  

  • Brian,
    That was beautifully said.

    By Blogger MamawJaney, at 3/03/2006 03:23:00 PM  

  • As a person who does worship with a church of Christ (Yes, I use it as a description, not a sectarian title) who believes Biblical Authority is important for how we should worship, work and what we believe today, I would like to find any studies, whether websites or books, or material, from those who do not believe that as to how we can know what the Lord's church should be or is.

    If the New Testament is not to be used as a pattern or authority for what we should do, worship or teach today, then how can we know that God approves of what we do? Mike or anyone else?


    By Blogger Holmes, at 3/05/2006 10:43:00 PM  

  • The trap is the difference between scripture and our interpretation of scripture...between a real pattern found in the Bible and a grid that we lay over scripture and use to make a pattern that isn't really there. The trap is in believing that our reading of scripture is somehow more right than that of others who are also reading it. This all ends up as little more than a religious version of humanism.

    Recently, an elder in a very rigid CofC, who espoused the OTC doctrine--one true church... attended an area-wide Bible study in a very conservative town, where hundreds meet every week. He did this for two years without telling anyone in his congregation (guess why?). Well, recently he said this (albeit privately): Those people are just as sincere as we are. I can't believe any longer that they are going to hell because they read the same Bible and just don't see everything like I do.

    Now that might get some unity going!

    By Blogger Glenn Drysdale, at 3/06/2006 10:43:00 AM  

  • Glenn,

    I see what you're saying, as people do disagree over Scripture, but where do we (or should we) draw the line. Isn't there at any point that you would say, "Okay, that's heresy or that's a false doctrine or teaching." Do you fellowship Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons? If not, why not?

    Or anyone else answer for that matter.

    By Blogger Holmes, at 3/06/2006 05:48:00 PM  

  • Those people are just as sincere as we are. I can't believe any longer that they are going to hell because they read the same Bible and just don't see everything like I do.

    Glenn, the problem with this statement is 1) it's purely an emotional appeal and 2) using that reasoning, Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons are indeed saved as well.

    What I don't understand is who you won't fellowship with?

    Also, if people can't understand God's word alike, then why would God give us his word if he didn't expect us to understand it alike?

    By Blogger Holmes, at 3/06/2006 05:54:00 PM  

  • Actually Glenn, I take that back. What I said wouldn't be true in the last comment since Mormons and JW's do not read the same Bible.

    However, my former question still stands for anyone to answer. My concern in all this is that in our efforts to obtain unity, we've "thrown the baby out with the bath water", so to say.

    I'm trying to understand the other side. Again, if there are references or studies/books/websites on this issue you'd recommend, feel free to recommend. :)


    By Blogger Holmes, at 3/06/2006 06:22:00 PM  

  • Joel, the problem is if you are wrong. Truth only comes from God, not our understanding of scripture. If you are right then you will stand on that day before your God. But if you are wrong then you are guilty of condemning children of God and it would be better for you to have a millstone, you know the rest. Do not think I am judging you I am not. I to struggle with lines. It is good for you to believe, just remember, we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, all of us.

    By Blogger Clint, at 3/07/2006 01:25:00 AM  

  • I just love how the cutting-edge CoC folks are all about love and grace, are so assured that they have been enlightened as to the future of teh church and God's intent, and yet cannot wait to mock those who see things differently (albeit only those in the same theological heritage...wouldn't want to mock another denomination, would we?).

    Speaking only for myself, it provides a great argument for walking away from organized Christianity as a whole.

    Known by our fruits, huh?

    By Blogger X, at 3/07/2006 07:22:00 AM  

  • “Joel, the problem is if you are wrong. Truth only comes from God, not our understanding of scripture.”

    Clint, so God’s truth exists, but we don’t need to understand it? Huh? That doesn’t make sense to me.

    ”If you are right then you will stand on that day before your God. But if you are wrong then you are guilty of condemning children of God and it would be better for you to have a millstone, you know the rest.”

    I agree with you. Even Paul said that not all should be teachers for this reason (James 3:1), but we can also infer from this that there is a body of knowledge that should be taught.

    But what are you suggesting as an alternative? Not to be dogmatic or sure about what you believe? That’s not the picture that we see in the New Testament either. Even those who say that “church of Christer’s” are being “legalistic”(a misnomer) are dogmatic or sure of that.

    ”Do not think I am judging you I am not. I to struggle with lines. It is good for you to believe, just remember, we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, all of us.”

    Well, actually you have judged that I’m too strict. My intention is not to purposely cause anger, but I’m trying to reason out the mindset here. I agree with you here that we are to work out our salvation, but again, you are expecting me to be able to understand by correctly interpreting your reference to scripture this refers to which goes against what some have been saying on this blog.


    By Blogger Holmes, at 3/07/2006 06:01:00 PM  

  • “I just love how the cutting-edge CoC folks are all about love and grace, are so assured that they have been enlightened as to the future of teh church and God's intent, and yet cannot wait to mock those who see things differently (albeit only those in the same theological heritage...wouldn't want to mock another denomination, would we?).”


    Thanks for spreading the love yourself.

    Speaking only for myself, it provides a great argument for walking away from organized Christianity as a whole.

    Really? The argument that there is no real dogmatic truth in the Christian faith except that we should all agree to disagree and be united in agreement that at least, if nothing else, Jesus Christ is Lord (even if that does depend on all of use interpreting that from the Bible alike, but shhh – don’t tell anyone)would probably do it for me.

    What I’m against is the mindset that says that we all differ when we approach scripture with our own biases and background so it’s not big deal if we all understand it differently.

    Known by our fruits, huh?

    But producing fruit is based on the Bible. I infer by that statement that you expected me to understand that verse in the same way you understand (interpreted) it. See?!! We can understand the Bible alike! There’s hope people!

    The fact of the matter is that the Christians of the 1st century were very concerned with a "thus saith the Lord", being concerned with what the Lord did say (Acts 15).

    Since no one has offered any studies, websites or books on this issue from their point-of-view, I’d just to leave a quote from Dave Miller’s thought-provoking book “Piloting the Strait” and then I’ll leave.

    “It is not coincidental that the “new hermeneutic” advocates frequently speak of “freedom” and “unity.” They speak of the need for dispensing with the old wineskins to make room for the new wine. They speak of the need for a hermeneutic that will cause Scripture to be “more relevant,” help “in getting closer to God and each other,” be “more palatable to an age that denigrates authoritarianism,” and be able to “relate to people where they live” without being “insensitive and impersonal.” (pg. 117)


    By Blogger Holmes, at 3/07/2006 06:43:00 PM  

  • Joel,

    I think you and I may actually be on the same page (I've even read Piloting the Strait).

    It's just my frustration with all those who think that, 2000 years later, they obviously know more than the Bible writers did.

    By Blogger X, at 3/08/2006 11:07:00 AM  

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    By Blogger Jim Shelton, at 3/08/2006 04:16:00 PM  

  • Regarding the CFTF lectureships; some people are simply to be pitied. And others, like some in the groups you listed, are to be admired. Personally, I need to spend more time looking up at those to be admired than being distracted by the others. However,. . . . . I once knew about a CFTFer (is that a word?) who got all twisted trying to explain why paved parking lots were authorized and gyms were not. Of course, its easy, one's an expedient and the other is an addition. (That last sentence is sarcasm, by the way!)

    By Blogger Jim Shelton, at 3/08/2006 04:18:00 PM  

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