Quail Springs Church of Christ “Disfellowshipped”: A Proposal for Reclaiming Unity

quailsprings.gifDavid Guin commented,

But I think [the churches] do need to consider how to clarify that the ad-buyers spoke falsely when claiming to speak for them. Perhaps a joint service with Quail Springs as a demonstration of shared love for Christ regardless of each congregation’s views regarding instruments (and invite the ad-buyers), or a demand for a retraction from the ad-buyers. That would be a good test of their character.

I’ve moved to this the level of a post in hopes that the Oklahoma Churches see it. A joint church service is a good idea — indeed, a necessary idea. Let me expand on it.

Anybody can buy an ad. Anybody can write a letter to the editor. But actions speak louder than words.

(1 John 3:14,18-20) We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. …

18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

John said it’s just not enough to express your love for your brothers — you have to demonstrate that love by action. And he says that doing so gives assurance of our salvation. That should be a more-than-sufficient motivator!

If we don’t act when action is needed, we don’t really love, John says — and we remain in death. John doesn’t allow for a middle ground.

In v. 18, John says we must love “in truth.” “Truth” in 1 John, and many other places, means the truth about Jesus — particularly the truth of the gospel. And in this setting, nothing I’ve heard would better show the power of the gospel to overcome barriers and break down walls than a joint service.

Now, properly understood, taking communion with someone is not a declaration that this person is doctrinally perfect — just forgiven — just like the rest of us.

Something like the following seems to me to be what ought to happen:

* A church other than Quail Springs should rent a large facility for a Sunday-morning service and invite all the other Churches in town to attend.

* A very capable preacher should preach the sermon, and Mark Henderson, Quail Springs minister, should preside over the communion table. (It just seems most powerful this way — there’d be no ambiguity at all about what’s being said.)

* Singing should be a cappella, so all may participate in good conscience.

* Prayers for love, unity, and healing should be offered from many congregations.

* I wouldn’t mention the ad. After all, this is the sort of thing we should have been doing anyway, right? “Autonomy” does not mean isolation.

Some churches will refuse to participate because they won’t commune with the damned, and they’ll consider Quail Springs damned. They’ll show their true colors to their members and the watching world.

Others will refuse to participate because, even though the leadership considers Quail Springs within grace, many members do not. (Such Churches need to do a better job of teaching the gospel to their members.)

But a precious, Christ-like few will break bread with Quail Springs. I mean, Jesus broke bread with Pharisees, publicans, and all sorts of other sinners. Why not fellow Christians?

This will be news. It’ll be reported and reported positively. The press will dutifully collect quotes from the men who bought the ad, and they’ll say hateful things. They may even run another ad. They may even disfellowship all those who attended the service. (If so, they’ll just prove how obscene their views are.)

But the public will see that many Churches of Christ love each other and want to be truly united — in action and in truth. And it will help heal the image of the Churches in the community.

I pray that enough congregations would be willing to take such a step to show a wondering world what kind of people we really are.

Our actions define who we are. Our inactions do, too.

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About Jay Guin

I am an elder, a Sunday school teacher, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a lawyer. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. I’m a member of the University Church of Christ. I grew up in Russellville, Alabama and graduated from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University). I received my law degree from the University of Alabama. I met my wife Denise at Lipscomb, and we have four sons, two of whom are married, and I have a grandson and granddaughter.
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0 Responses to Quail Springs Church of Christ “Disfellowshipped”: A Proposal for Reclaiming Unity

  1. Alan says:

    That reminds me of a quote:

    If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. – Desmond Tutu

  2. Charles McLean says:

    I think this is a marvelous idea that unfortunately will not be able to overcome a mountain even higher than IM. That is, that the individual congregational Sunday Morning Service is sacrosanct and is not to be dismissed, no matter how noble the reason.

    I appreciate the Tutu quote, and it reminds us that neutrality is not an option here. While I may indeed be neutral regarding many a doctrinal spat, in this case, there has been the public claim made that my brother (and by inference, others) is no longer part of the family of God. If one does not take a stand against this most fundamental kind of evil, one is not neutral at all.

  3. Darrel Collier says:

    It may seem hopeless to some to write and admonish those who condone any type of “worship” on the grounds that biblical silence equals a license to practice whatever pleases the masses. However, the bible calls for us as Christians to “warn the unruly” (I Thes 5:14), “mark them which cause divisions and offenses…and avoid them” (Rom 16:17); “yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother” (II Thes 3:15).

    Therefore, I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that divisions exist among you, within the Quail Springs congregation; and I partly believe it. For there must be also factions among you, that they that are approved may be made manifest among you.

    When therefore ye assemble yourselves together, it is not possible for all to teach and admonish one another through singing with grace in their hearts to the Lord (Col 3:16): for in your separate assemblies some practice a “contemporary” form of worship, with the use of mechanical instruments, while others follow the biblical pattern of singing with the fruit of their lips—one is entertained and the later is edified.

    What, have ye not houses to entertain yourselves in? or despise ye the church of God, and put them to shame that would rather worship in spirit and truth? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you? In this I praise you not.

    For I received of the Lord that which the scriptures teach, that the Lord’s body in the first century spoke to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in their hearts to the Lord (Eph 5:19).

    It is commendable of the 300 members who chose to wear the whole armor of God (reminiscent of the 300 Spartans) despite the odds they faced. Unfortunately, the remainder are “puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that [they] that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you” (I Cor 5:2).

    It is my plea that the church at Quail Springs will repent and pray that their divisiveness may be forgiven…(Acts 8:22, 23).

    In brotherly love,
    Darrel Collier
    Temple, TX

  4. Jay Guin says:

    Davd wrote,

    I feel that these things he has done to each one should be brought out in a public venue since the acts were done in a public venue.

    Davd,

    You've not given me a lot of facts to work with, but if I'm reading you right, I rather like the plan.

    Under Matt 5:23-24 and 18:15ff , the offended families and the accused need to be reconciled. A private meeting, over a meal, is entirely appropriate.

    I've known cases where a penitent sinner has gone forward to confess, the church surrounded him with love and forgiveness, but he'd not yet resolved things with the people he actually sinned against. They were left sitting there with unanswered questions.

    He should first go to the individuals where reconciliation is required and then go before the entire church.

    After all, it's often easier to go forward and read a statement than to face the people you sinned against in private, where they have a chance to express how they feel.

  5. Davd Mann says:

    My question is on Disfelohship.

    I’m a member of a Church of Christ.

    Today we had someone in are assembly. that had brought evil into or Congregation for the past 7 years and we forgiven him time after time…so today we had him stand up in front of the Congregation to be accountable for is actions….

    He was asked not to come back in and worship and fellowship with us for a period of at least 30 days. During which time the preacher is going to ask the offended families into sit down and have a meal with the offender and point out the things they have against this individual and ask him to account for the things he has done to offend each family. I feel that these things he has done to each one should be brought out in a public venue since the acts were done in a public venue.

    I feel this is not the way God works.
    It looks like they are saying , If today was judgement day he would say ok all you sinners, I’m giving you 30 days to get right and in the 30 days i wil give you a disciple to tel you know what you done wrong and how to fix it. COOL!!!!!!

  6. JB says:

    Jay…I totally agree with you. Part of the problem today has been with a "generic" pattern. Ya'll come forward and say that you've sinned and we'll all forgive you, even though you've not sinned against us, nor do we know what we are forgiving or praying for. I think these elders are trying to use Mt. 18 as a point of reference and trying to bring real reconciliation. Without knowing all the circumstances, I applaude them for trying to shepherd people through a troubling situation.

  7. Jay Guin says:

    Thanks, JB. I think there are occasions where someone coming forward needs to be told to get things right face to face with the person sinned against first.

    I know of a case where a woman came forward to confess adultery. But she had been wisely counseled to first go and confess her sin to the wife of the man she'd sinned with. Now, that takes guts, but that's also how it ought to be.

  8. JB says:

    You are right Jay. I remember attending a meeting in an "African-American Church." Two ladies came forward and sat on opposite ends of the building on the front row. After the invitation song the minister said, "Sister ________ has come forward. Sister, stand up and tell them what you did." After that, the other sister was told the same thing. I remember thinking, "Now this is a church that takes sinning seriously." lol

  9. Amy says:

    I think it is very unfortunate that such an add was ever run. I think this type of judgementalness is what turns people from the Church of Christ. The fact that people are focusing on MUSIC baffles me. Jesus never once mentions music or worship in the New Testament at all. I think if it were an issue impacting salvation, He would have. I think we need to keep the main thing the main thing – and music is not it!

  10. Jay Guin says:

    Amy,

    It is also strange that the more traditional elements of the Churches of Christ are utterly incapable of articulating a rule for what doctrines are salvation issues and which are not.

    They always seem to be sure as to which are which, but I've yet to hear a standard. What scripture tells us which errors damn and which don't? You'll never get a straight answer from our conservative brethren — not because they are dishonest, but because they don't know.

  11. Ken Sublett says:

    It isn't a question of tradition or love but of truth. The NACC under David Faust at the time was invited under the ploy of 'unity' but laid out the full rationale (?) for the use of instruments.

    All of the proof text prove that there is little knowledge of the story line beginning with musical idolatry at Mount Sinai. It is easy to miss Stephen's point when he said that God turned them over to worship the starry host: and that is what they did made clear in the Bible and confirmed by the Jewish Encyclopedia.

    There is no "music" word used in the Bible as we know it: it is called noise and was used to make the lambs dumb before the slaughter.

    The instrumentalists in fact lay claim to using TRADITIONALISM as a way to authorize what they do as worship: they also invented the "law of silence."

    I believe all of this small group have been duped by the NACC and prove that they are not "ready for prime time" and should not presume to become a musical sectarian based or the paper prepared by the NACC and followed by the handful of preachers so tiny that it gives one a warm feeling about the Bible literacy of preachers and elders.

    The unity forum has given up after 25 years of discord since the Christian church finally sected out of the Disciples denomination in1971.

  12. Ken, you still beatin' that old drum (pardon the expression)?

  13. Ken Sublett says:

    Isn't that better than plucking and beating the tambourine?

    What both ends of the keyboard missed should have been covered in remedial reading, grade 6. For instance, if you missed Acts 7 (Amos, Isa etal) where God turned them over to worship the starry host because of musical idolatry–that because of transgression — and you missed that God gave kings in His anger and took them away in His anger and twist a plague stopping animal slaughter as an exorcism and you use that to say that God COMMANDS instrumental praise and WE must not be disobedient (cause the Holy Spirit person told him to sow discord) knowing that 1/3 of those you were hirelinged to protect will begin to flee from you, maybe MOST have missed that olden testament course.

    There is no nice way to say that this small band of intentional discorders deliberately lie about God's Word. The alternative of having an advanced degree and NOT know the truth is worse perhaps. That is because "corrupting the Wiord" means "selling learning at retail."

    Most of my review of Rick Atchley's "white paper" is posted under David Faust because he was president of the NACC at the time and was making the rounds of the "christian" colleges under the flag of unity but was presenting the full court press documented as a defense probably begining with Payne's book. If I told you that all of the "plucking" proof text used by Burgess etal are in the context of older males grooming a young "minister" that would not pass as "oving" but that's a fact.

    If I post the context and define words from original resource (not required for the actor-preachers) to prove that even the out of story line "assertions" are really falsehood, they why aren't the WAGED people demanding a test before drinking the KoolAid.

    Why is it that a fading old man have to supply the factoids as self-defense for most groups suddenly invaded by the musical soul-snatchers.

    Did I tell you that the BEAST in Revelation is well defined in the Classics (learned even by simple simons back then) points to the sophists including rhetoricians, singers, instrument players–for a price.

    Sure, one of the definitions of the "beast" is "a new style song or drama." Well, I am trying to clean up my four posts on Henderson so back to my bagpipes in a literal wilderness. Why don't you examine the claims for yourself and report back?

  14. Jay Guin says:

    Ken,

    I've deleted your comments about Mark Henderson's personal situation, because this site is about doctrine and practice not personalities.

  15. Ken says:

    Sorry about that: I was genuinly interested. I watched the dominos tumble beginning with my old church in Seattle. They all work off the same list of "lexicon lifts" which go back to the 1920's of Payne just before the NACC began to leave the Disciples in 1927: too late for the church of Christ to have become "sectarian" back in 1906.

    I bought a copy of Payne which was one of the original's with a pasted-in "return to senders" which were given to prominent Nashville preachers under the covers. That brought on the Boswell Hardeman debate. The Disciples had no rationale in the beginning and it didn't end well.

    The same "white paper" and coaching help was used by all of those discorded churches. I tried to warn (names) before it happened but I think that if a powerful "thought leader" as they were called says something is true it has a strong influence. He was sure that there was no problem: just read the list and the case is proven.

    My 30 years of retirement has allowed me to collect most of the important historical documents–begining with clay tablets much older than Moses–because of the common "God loves music" of religionism and "woops! Why is there such negative, bad connections in the Bible, church history and the founders of denominations." They knew that the Bible is not metrical so when the Reformation tried congregational singing there was nothing to sing so they wrote their own Psalms-only. The first attempt at singing as a ACT is recorded as in 373.

    I am worried about all of those who were convinced that we did the Christian church wrong when they were not finally DElisted by the Disciples until 1971. So, it was a good faith sincere question and I understand.

  16. Theophilus Dr says:

    Follow-up #2:

    Quail Springs Church of Christ, the first church group in the state of OK to form a Peacemaking Team on record with Peacemaker Ministries, on April 7-9, 2011, is hosting a …..

    Conflict Coaching and Mediation Training Event

    conducted by Peacemaker Ministries. Training and hours can be credited toward a certification in conflict coaching and/or mediation.

    Read the announcement and information on the Peacemaker Ministries website:

    http://www.peacemaker.net/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=aqKFLTOBIpH&b=3052959&ct=8954149

    This event is almost exactly one year after the public reconciliation mentioned in the previous post.

    All of this is a testimony to the grace and power of God.

    Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

  17. Theophilus Dr says:

    Follow-up:

    Among all the referrals to embarrassing articles in the Daily Oklahoman concerning the Quail Springs Church of Christ, perhaps there is a reference to a more recent article relating what happened in the Quail Spring church's auditorium on April 11, 2010. But, if it is here somewhere, I have missed it.

    The on-line article that began on the front page of the Daily Oklahoman on Sunday, April 25, 2010 reporting a public confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation between Mark Henderson and the elders of the Quail Spring Church of Christ can still be retrieved from the newspaper archives, but now they make you subscribe to get it. The words of the article, without picture, can still be read at:
    http://www.allbusiness.com/society-social-assista

    May I suggest that showing the world how Christians can use the love of Jesus Christ and the gospel of God's reconciliation to us through the blood of Jesus is far more effective in bringing glory to God than showing a continual internal, scripturally weak, and divisive spirit of argumentation about disputable matters. Related to anything, including instrumental music.

    As Jay said in the top of the first post on this thread, "actions speak louder than words."

    If the world doesn't see Christ is His church, where else will they get the message?

    How's that been working for us?

  18. Jay Guin says:

    Theophilus Dr,

    Thanks for sharing the good news about these events at Quail Springs. Some readers have gloated over their struggles, but it looks like they are landing on their feet and headed in a very good direction.

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