Profiles in Apostasy

As many are aware, the Contending for the Faith Lectures held recently were called “Profiles in Apostasy #1.” The speakers took on a number of books from the more progressive Churches of Christ — evidently asserting the damnation of the authors (that’s the meaning of “apostasy,” after all).

So they’ve now posted videos of their lectures — except they skipped the lectures delivered by women (to be sure we men don’t accidentally sin by listening a lesson taught by a woman?).

I recommend that you buy and read every book they condemned. Put a copy in your church’s library, too. I’m a fan of them all. And write the authors and encourage them. Not everyone feels the way I would about being branded a heretic.

You see, I’m disappointed not to have been condemned, as so many Godly men and excellent books made the list. But I’m heartened to see that this is only the first of such lectureships. So maybe I’ll make the list next year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

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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49 Responses to Profiles in Apostasy

  1. Pastor Mike says:

    Not long ago you changed the purpose statement to suggest that your ultimate goal was to bring a measure of unity to all christians. There were those who boldy asserted that your blog may not have been a particularly effective tool to reunify the CoC.
    Having read this truly inspired response to so obviously incomplete a list of apostatised tomes, I believe it would be safe for me to observe they may be correct.

  2. johnny says:

    The "Lord's Supper" will always divide us until we jetison this Judaizing ritual.

  3. K. Rex Butts says:

    I am listening to Johnny Oxedine's review of "Come to the Table" by John Mark Hicks not only because I have read the book but also because JMH was a professor of mine and a very influential person in my life.

    It makes me angry to listen to the utter arrogance and accusations made not on the content of the book but on JMH personally. But at times I wanted to almost cry because of the rhetoric employed to distort not only the content of the book but JMH himself. And this is all from a person who admits that he does not know JMH and therefore he presumably has the right to treat him as he does.

    The speaker make no attempt to offer a theology based on scripture himself but only takes time to discredit the theology of the book, by unethically quoting JMH out of context to further his own agenda.

    What is clear is that Oxedine only read the book to find fault with the book…whenever a person reads any book with that agenda they will get exactly what they wanted REGARDLES OF THE BOOK'S CONTENT.

    I cannot believe the reviewer just called JMH a "poser-false Christian" and "a snake in the grass."

    I am absolutely shocked.

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  4. K. Rex Butts says:

    And Oxedine just said that JMH "hates God". Wow!!!

  5. Several things

    (1) I can't hear any audio on the videos, not sure why.

    (2) The banner behind the speakers reads "For those who love the truth…" It is not "For those who love one another…" or "For those who love the Lord their God…" Oh well.

    (3) On one of the videos, the camera was set back so I could see much of the interior of the building. There were about 20 people present. WOW! I didn't realize that people still had these type of events – a "lectureship" where the speakers outnumbered the listeners.

    (4) I am the type of person who wonders about the purpose any event. I am unable to find a purpose to this one. At least a purpose that I would like to have someone apply to me.

    (5) I wish I could have a conversation with some of the people involved to learn about what they are doing and their motivation.

  6. Bob Harry says:

    Dwayne

    Your point 5. You don't want to have a conversation with these guys. Believe me, you would either be in tears or you would want to get very angry. They are right and you are wrong.

    Jay and JMH are to be admired for wanting to unite all Christians.

    Bob

  7. masmith1980 says:

    I've found that conversations with people such as these rarely result in anything productive.

    I wonder (but I'm not willing to watch the video to check), did Oxendine begin his diatribe with a prayer? Because Dr. Hicks begins every class with prayer. I may not be "trained" to the extent that Oxendine is, but I'm much more qualified to comment on Dr. Hicks' relationship with God, because I know the man and can see the fruit of the Spirit in his life. For someone to make the assertion that a complete stranger "hates God" turns my stomach.

  8. John Grant says:

    Pastor Mike, HUH?

  9. JMF says:

    This pains me to watch. Indeed, this is my COC heritage. All of the preachers in the congregation of my youth were of the CFTF ilk. I've only recently come back to Christ after completely falling away for most of my 20's.

    I'm confused on whether or not one should even suggest anyone watch these videos. As I've come back to Christ, I am finally allowing the HS to work in my life and help me to connect to God on a spiritual level. That has truly changed my ability of discernment, and it has changed my reaction to sin. That being said, I occasionally struggle with porn. I say that to tell you, I get the same convicted feeling when watching these men destroy good brethren as I get when I view pornography. The feeling that I am openly allowing evil into my mind. That confuses me, yet I am trying to always be open to what the Spirit is trying to tell me.

    I was both upset and angered at the treatment of my "unknown" mentor, Brother Maxey. I say "unknown" because I've never spoke/written/communicated with the man, but he is the person I directly credit for showing me the heart of God and freeing me from my chains. Moreover, he is a man in which I can see the Spirit moving and breathing, and to see him mocked and ridiculed the way he was absolutely broke my heart. If Al reads this, I'd just want him to know that I am praying for him, and to not even for a SECOND think that the way they portrayed him is the way that all others' do. We see the evil, and we've got your back.

    If you don't know what I am referring to, it is the Open Forums on the 2nd and 3rd days (i believe). Being on top makes you an easy target, and the way they mocked and belittled Al is something I can't even BELIEVE happens in my faith heritage. I warn you, the Open Forum videos are flat-out disturbing. Necessary items to have on hand should you choose to view would be: a trash can for vomiting, a punching bag to relieve the stress, and a box of Kleenex for the reaction to be expected of any normal, Christ-centered human.

  10. Bob Harry

    I really do wish I could have a conversation with some of the people involved to learn about what they are doing and their motivation.

    Agreement or reconciliation or whatever is not the goal. The goals are learning and understanding their ideas.

  11. Pastor Mike says:

    John Grant – My post was supposed to be a tongue in cheek effort jumb on Jay's post and his tongue in cheek disappointment that he was not among those so attacted by the personalities in the videos. I apologize if I obfuscate.

    I haven't watched the videos, and given the reaction by those who have, I doubt I will. I feel to do so would be to succumb to the same urge that causes people to slow down and gawk at a bad traffic accident.

  12. John Grant says:

    Pastor Mike

    Thanks! Went over my head.

    I'm lucky my wife knew what OBFUSCATE meant.

    Am I doing that now???

  13. Bob Harry says:

    Dwayne

    Good luck. We have been in the COC for 53 years, much of our earlier days were spent in a very negative environment. Non everything, much to the detriment of our children, five.

    I believe we have helped many people away from that environment. However,I believe our time would have been better spent in evangelism. But who knows, we are guided by the Spirit to do his bidding. Back in those days we were guided but did not realize it as we were never taught about his indwelling.

    I don't know what to tell you about a dialog with the conservatives, many are good people and would gladly talk with you. You may even persuade some to a more spiritual versus legalistic understanding of God's will.

    You have to weigh the value of your time and priorities, guided by the spirit. There are so very many lost souls that need Christ, that have never had an in depth conversation with a Spirit filled Christian such as yourself. It would be better, in my very humble opinion if we all stopped the dialog about trivia and went for the saving of the lost. In all due time, and for some of us it won't be long, we will find out the truth when we see Jesus face to face.

    I hope this helps you.

    In Christian Love to a great Brother in Christ

    Bob

  14. Adam Legler says:

    I'm listening to some of them right now. So sad. A good reminder how we all need to have a humble attitude and open mind to the Spirit. These are the kind of people who will not even look at the other side of an arugment with an open mind.
    These kind of teachings have destroyed many people's faith. All we can do is pray for them.
    I can't wait to immerse myself into the books they are so upset about!

  15. Adam Legler says:

    It's also not ironic that there is hardly anyone there listening to them!

  16. Pastor Mike says:

    johnny, on March 3, 2010 at 10:49 pm Said:
    The “Lord’s Supper” will always divide us until we jetison this Judaizing ritual

    I'm a bit confused, given that Jesus told us to do this. I'm wondering what your point is. I know the Salvation Army doesn't observe this sacrament, and I'm sure there are others that don't. I recognize that the Lord's Supper was instituted at an observance of Passover, a thoroughly Jewish feast, but it seems that if we are to be people of the Word (both the Older and Newer Testaments), it would seem best to observe what Jesus told us to observe.

  17. Randy Lucas says:

    Pastor Mike,

    johnny has been commenting and explaining his views here:
    http://oneinjesus.info/2010/03/02/the-lords-suppe

  18. Pastor Mike says:

    Randy, thanks. I'll pursue the question no further.

  19. Nick Gill says:

    What's even more ironic is that they'll count our mournful hits on the Youtube sites as support for their heretical and hateful stances.

    That's why I'm not watching them – I want their videos to get as few hits as possible.

  20. Clint P. says:

    Nick,

    That is the exact reason why I have refrained from watching them despite my curiosity.

  21. JMF says:

    Nick/Clint:

    Still, I remain torn on whether it does one good in any way to watch these.

    Being said, I don't follow the Youtube thoughts. If you go to the site (as Jay linked) it takes you to the WMP videos…not Youtube. Is this what you guys' meant? I'm with you, if this was on Youtube I wouldn't want it to get hits. But even if you can count views on a platform like what they are doing (WMP), it is only known by the person running their website I'd think.

  22. Adam Legler says:

    Numbers can mean anything you want them to. If the person running the site knows it is linked to this blog then he/she can just as easily assume that it is those of us simply checking out what all of the fuss is about. Not that we agree or support the messages.

  23. JMF says:

    I can't help but to look at everything from a business perspective…that is just the way God made me I guess. But analogous to business–much less looking at the nature of sales, communication, marketing, etc–I truly can't see what they'd ever hope to achieve with a message like this.

    Think about it–this was a multi-day lectureship…the entire premise being to "mark false teachers." But was anything else even offered? Is the idea that they would expect to just get up there and belittle other brothers…and the world full of sinners would come running? This would be no different than had Paul gone about challenging Jewish legalism, but then not offered Christ as the New Way. One must have a message.

    Why is this substantial? Does anyone have any realistic idea of what percentage of the COC would be of this persuasion?

  24. Guy says:

    This is rather appalling, and i have actually attended lectureships like this in the past. But i don't see how this is "our heritage." The majority of congregations i've been associated with certainly aren't like this. And even the ones who may put up a flyer for this lectureship still have a majority of members who could care less about what these books say. Seems to me that there is simply a loud and obnoxious minority–not that the CoC is permeated with this sort of "heritage."

    –Guy

  25. Nick Gill says:

    Guy, we don't really get that option, any more than an American gets to say, "Harassment of Indians and persecution of Blacks isn't part of American heritage – it's just some stuff that happened."

    Like Nehemiah suggests in his brilliant prayer in Neh 1, and as Jesus suggests in his incarnation and baptism, we've got to own it all. WE did these things, we ARE doing these things. God help us.

  26. Guy says:

    Nick,

    Do you think that if you're great-great-grandfather was a slave owner, that somehow obligates you in the present to make restitution to the present-day ancestors of those slaves?

    i am a Christian, am i not? Does that mean i'm also responsible for the Crusades and that i have to own it as *my* heritage?

    What's the difference?

    –Guy

  27. Kris says:

    WOW! I didn't listen, but based on what Rex said… I just can't believe that a sane person would say ugly things about JMH. I've only met him once, but even in his writings one sees love in his heart… and academia. :)

    I wish I had the strength to stay in and promote change like JMH and Jay, etc., but life is so much better now out of the CoC. Everyone told us when we left that "every church has problems", but truly in my experience the grass IS greener on the other side.

    Thanks Jay for your work.

  28. Nick Gill says:

    Guy, I don't know. I know that if my great-grandfather was wealthy, and that wealth had been passed down through my family, that I would be legally entitled to some of it. If such a claim works for good stuff, it might also be relevant for a debt owed by my great-grandfather.

    But we're not talking about legal and financial responsibility. We're talking about historical and spiritual relationship – that's what heritage is about. Read Nehemiah, Guy, and ask yourself how he dealt with the sins of his forefathers. Did he only confess his own sins, or did he own the guilt of his community as his own?

    Why was the sinless Jesus baptized into the remission of sins, unless he was saying that he was taking responsibility for the sins of Israel (and the world)?

    We can't wear a name (like Church of Christ, or Christian) and, at the same time, tell people, "Don't judge me by the name I wear" or "I only want you to think about the good stuff people wearing this name have done." That's just not how life works.

  29. Pastor Mike says:

    Nick, I'm inclined to agree with Guy. When things like slavery or the Crusades come up, I have to acknowledge that there are some ugly chapters in the church's past, but the church as a whole has acknowledged, apologized and (most importantly) repented of those blights in our history. At that point, I am not personally responsible to make reparations, but I am personally responsible to live out the gospel to those perceive themsleves still held back by virtue of their ancestory.

  30. K. Rex Butts says:

    As a graduate student, my classes were filled with academic rigor as you can imagine. My two classes with JMH were no different but I do remember him taking time out of the academic rigor in the class to spend time in prayer and reading scripture just for the sake of devoting ourselves to God.

    That say a lot about his love for both God and his students.

    If you want to read a further compliment for JMH (and two others) that is more personal to my experience, click on my name which will take you to my blog where you can read my latest post "Passing the Torch."

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  31. Guy says:

    Nick,

    i think you've got something about Nehemiah. God seems to deal with the Israelites collectively on many occasions–punishing the entire nation at times even though surely not every single man, woman, and child were guilty of the crime. However, God also made distinctions at times between particular persons or portions of the group who were guilty from other persons or portions who were innocent (Josh 7 for instance). Do you think Nehemiah's confession of other people's sins actually absolved those people of those sins?

    That's all well and fine either way. But i don't understand why i should feel responsible or guilty or like i need to go make it up to people for what those guys said at the Profiles-in-Apostasy lectureship. i don't see that the "CoC" is analogous to the nation of Israel in the sense that the "CoC' is collectively guilty or collectively innocent on account of actions undertaken by only a portion. First, the "CoC" is a body in name only. That body is radically spectrumized in values, practices, and tenets. Many of us are very forthright that we're not even claiming to be in unity or harmony or "in fellowship" (whether voluntarily or not) with other large portions of that body. Second, should i think that God has some sort of special covenant with the "CoC" as a body? i think (though i'm hazy on the topic) that He does have a covenant of a collective nature with all disciples. But i don't think "CoC" is the self-same as "all disciples." Thus, i'm not sure why i should feel a special collective responsibility with any and every portion of the "CoC."

    Maybe i'm wrong. i'm certainly willing to hear you again on the matter. What exactly is it that i'm obligated to do in response to the sins of other members or portions of the "CoC" and why?

    –Guy

  32. Randall says:

    In a comment above one person wrote the following:
    "… I have to acknowledge that there are some ugly chapters in the church’s past, but the church as a whole has acknowledged, apologized and (most importantly) repented of those blights in our history."

    I believe many, if not most congregations of the CofC at one time taught that we were the only ones saved. Every congregation I have become familiar with during my 60 years used to teach that doctrine. I know a lot of those congregations no longer teach that the CofC is the one true church, though there are many that still teach it.

    I do not know of a single congregation that has ever publicly acknowledged (for example, during a congregational assembly) that they have changed their position and apologized for having held that belief in the past.

    Perhaps there are a few (many?) that have heard such a public apology that could share the story with those of us that have never heard a public apology.

    I do know that ACU made a public apology for the way they treated blacks in the past, but I never heard them apologize for having taught preachers that we are the only saved ones. I did hear some folks complain about ACU's apology for the way they treated blacks b/c they thought an apology was unnecessary or not appropriate.

    My experience has been similar to what Kris described. The grass IS greener on the other side.

    Peace,
    Randall

  33. Gary says:

    Guy, first of all, I'm not following you around the blogosphere — this is "coincidence," or is it??

    I say that because it seems to me your reaction re "responsibility" for historical (and more importantly, continuing) brutal sectarianism in the CofC is remarkably similar to your reaction regarding the Tim Wise "white privilege" issues under discussion on another blog. I won't go into fuller detail because it may be somewhat off-topic here, but please consider the issue cited by Randall — the failure to recognize, openly acknowledge, and do everything reasonably possible to REMEDIATE injustice — whether or not we PERSONALLY committed it — actually perpetuates its existence.

    I join Kris and Randall in sincere kudos to Jay, Al, and others who are "fighting the good fight" but I also join them in telling you "the grass IS greener" outside the box. No, there are no perfect churches, but there are a host of better (more-open, less-sectarian) options readily available. The problem I've experienced is there is a dearth of folks in CofC who will openly acknowledge and REPENT from religious bigotry, in word and in practice. And as Jay has noted often in the past, even in "moderate" groups, the most conservative elements generally set the standards simply because they are the most insistent, and the greatest threat to "peace" if their preferences are not honored and enforced.

    Gary

  34. Guy says:

    Gary,

    i'm at a loss on the other blog. My point there is nothing but a formal critique of an argument, i never said whether or not i agree with the conclusion. Since i haven't taken any content-relevant position over there, i don't see how it could be similar to anything said here.

    i certainly agree that it's my responsibility to treat people justly and to exercise compassion and other Christian virtues. What i don't understand is how what people said at this lectureship is somehow my fault, or that it's up to me to apologize to others for it, as though the blame falls on me for what they're doing. And i don't understand how i have to identify with it whether i want to or not (it's "my heritage"). If any of that is true, i simply haven't seen the clear and persuasive argument for it yet.

    –Guy

  35. Gary says:

    I thought I detected a similar theme in both critiques, but maybe I'm wrong. There are distinctions between the situations, obviously, but the point I'm trying to make (poorly) is that bigotry, prejudice, and injustice must be recognized, rooted out, openly acknowledged and condemned, and rectified — regardless of whether a particular individual has been or is an actual perpetrator. And I think one of he reasons that doesn't happen is that folks excuse apathy in the face of injustice on the basis that they didn't personally perpetrate it.

    I might also note that Jesus was not personally responsible for the oppression of folks that was occurring during his time. But he openly challenged it, resolutely condemned it, and demonstrated by his actions that he would not quietly acquiesce in it. He was incredibly pro-active in his efforts to address it and relieve it whenever and wherever he encountered it. He was not in denial about it, and he didn't consider it "somebody else's problem." At huge personal risk, he set about to rectify it.

    Despite the yeoman's efforts of Jay, Al, JMH and other stalwarts (many of whom are being scalded by the CFTF crowd) there remains a HUGE amount of apathy and denial among the CofC rank-and-file, and the persistence in practice (if not always openly pugnacious) of segregationist conduct towards other Christ-followers. Why are the topics being addressed regularly on these "progressive" blogs not being openly addressed in congregations and among leaders in the CofC? Far too often I have heard (but only privately) "well, I don't really believe/support the continuation of that kind of doctrine/practice, and I'm not personally guilty of thinking/acting in that way, but you know we can't be divisive, etc., etc., etc." And the beat goes on . . . .

  36. Guy says:

    Gary,

    i definitely agree with your first two paragraphs. i didn't mean in any of my comments to anyone else to say otherwise.

    My contention was originally about the "heritage" comment–as though i have no choice but to identify with this thread of the CoC such that there is some sense in which i am blameworthy for their actions. Nick chimed in with the OT examples, which i think are good. But i don't see how my personal religious heritage operates in the same way as that of Israelites in Nehemiah's time.

    if those speakers in the lectureship are guilty of slander, hypocritical judgment, incompassion, etc.–of course i think all of that is wrong. But i don't see why i have to "own" it as though it represents where *my* faith has come from or as though there's some sense in which i am *guilty* for it just because their Sunday building and my Sunday building both have "CoC" on the signs out front.

    But i don't mean by that contention to imply that incompassion or judgmental-ness or slander or cynicism is all "someone else's problem" and i don't ever have to get my hands dirty.

    –Guy

  37. Gary says:

    And I don't mean to accuse you, personally, either. And the two situations you and I are contemplating are different in many respects. I'm not trying to suggest they are an exact replica. In connection with both of them, however, I do think there is widespread failure to appreciate the insidious effects of the problem(s) except in their most egregious forms. It's hard to ignore the blatant nature of the CFTF diatribes, just as it is to ignore overt racism. But I'm deeply concerned that more subtle forms of bigotry (whether racial or religious) continue to go largely undetected BY THE folks who DOMINATE in a particular (sub) culture. And I do think there are very direct parallels there.

    As discussed on the other blog, most folks who benefit from "white privilege" do not even acknowledge its existence. It is my studied observation that most CofC folks do not even recognize that maintenance of the "identity markers" of CofC heritage (to use an oversimplified label, just for brevity and convenience) results in a kind of religious prejudice and segregationist practice that is "invisible" to insiders, yet obvious to outsiders. It may just be me, but I see true parallels in the obliviousness of whites to things that are obvious to people of color.

    So what I'm trying to address is the need for folks of good faith to recognize the problem(s) and become pro-active in addressing them, quite apart from whether they personally created or sought to maintain them. The more we've shared, the more I think we are not as far apart as I feared. It's just that I've dealt with so many who refuse to see/hear, and many of them have used "justifications" that sounded similar to what I thought you were saying. I'm sorry if I sounded accusatory. We all need to get our hands dirty here. Peace, bro.

  38. When I first saw the schedule and title of the 2010 CFTF lectures a little less than a month ago, I was frankly livid. Several of the targets of its investigation are men whose works have blessed me a great deal, even if I didn't agree with every jot and tittle in every one of them.

    The anger was ruining my LIFE Group night for me on February 10, and I've blogged about it here.

    So I prayed for each one of the CFTF presenters by name each morning before their presentations. I didn't have any real hope that God would impose His Holy Spirit on them as He did with young King Saul in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Samuel+10&version=NIV&quot; rel="nofollow">1 Samuel 10 and then ornery King Saul and his men in <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Samuel+19&version=NIV&quot; rel="nofollow">1 Samuel 19, but even if my prayers didn't change them or the presentations, it changed me.

    You can't pray for someone – even in spite of themselves – without beginning to care about them and love them just a little bit.

    I would have to say that the ones I've seen and listened to in the videos are well-studied in the school in which they find satisfaction, bold and willing to proclaim what they believe. At the same time – from the handful of videos I've watched – I'd also have to say that they are thin-skinned, can dish it out but can't take it, and are utterly shameless in their misappropriation of scripture and utter abuse of genuine logic.

    Each presentation I've seen begins with a lengthy defense of the presenter's biblical "right" and "mission" to castigate and condemn his target, sometimes to the point that there is little time left to actually examine the work in question.

    If the name, teachings and/or character of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, actually find a way into the presentations, it seems to be an accidental cameo in order to prove a point.

    During the beginning of an open forum session, a presenter was taking delight in having elicited critical and probably poorly-worded reactions from targets who responded. I do not exaggerate; he was delighted. "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth." ~ 1 Corinthians 13:6. I simply could not watch all of that one.

    The presenters I saw will proof-text completely out of context, and one presenter even built a straw man case, prophesying what Todd Deaver would say – that the presenter's use of the scripture was out of context – and then the presenter defended himself against the un-made accusation.

    The presenters I've watched can't see the logs in their own eyes and therefore see no need to remove it while vigorously skewering and roasting their targets over the flames of hell over splinters – some of them imaginary splinters.

    In short, they're men just like me and possibly you.

    And I don't know about you, but I need people to love and care about and pray for me.

  39. Gary says:

    I would like to know, from any and all readers of Jay's blog who remain in CofC congregations, whether the topics Jay has so courageously tackled here, are being openly addressed or confronted IN THEIR HOME CONGREGATIONS? I don't want to compile a list of those topics, but surely any semi-regular reader here knows the kinds of issues I'm referencing. The "identity issues," for example.

    I'm obviously aware of the higher-profile "progressive" congregations that have openly addressed at least some of the issues, but I'm interested in knowing whether these topics remain "taboo" for open discussion by leaders and members in more rank-and-file, "mainstream" churches. Has any discernable trend developed "in the pews" or "among the elder's" that has led to open and candid discussion of these "unwritten creedal positions?"

    I have, along with most of you, seen a definite and very positive trend in ONLINE discussions, which seem to me to involve folks who share interest and concern, but who also seem to be fairly sparsely scattered, geographically, as best I can tell. How many of you are members of congregations that are openly engaged in the kinds of discussions that are taking place in these progressive, grace-oriented blogs???

  40. Bob Harry says:

    Gary

    Absolutely these issues were addressed some years ago and they would agree with Jay's position. They were large congregations of 600-700 in attendance.

    I believe they have gone beyond the trivia that we see in the Lectures Jay has posted and are more into evangelism, outreach and spiritual growth.

    Bob

  41. Bob Harry says:

    Jay

    I listened to some of the Lectures and I must say they were lacking in depth and substance.

    In my working days we had professional seminars that were well organized and top rate.

    I'm very saddened at the mud slinging and lack of love.

    Bob

  42. Guy says:

    i also want to add my two cents about a deeply important matter concerning this post:

    The flute-playing skeleton graphic is WAY rad.

    –Guy

  43. K. Rex Butts says:

    Keith,

    I appreciate your reminder that we are still to love these bretheren. It is a challenge to love and be angry and right now, after hearing what I heard, I am angered. Mostly so because I have heard rather conservative thinkers critique the more progressive thinkers before (e.g, Owen Olbricht's critique Jimmy Allen's view of rebaptism) and it was done respectfully with charity and without character assasinaition.

    But what I heard goes beyond conservatism. What I heard… If the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit is to accuse the person doing the work of God of doing such work by the power of evil, then what I heard – to say that someone work of God is done because they hate God – begins to border on such blasphemy.

    I did send the CTF an email and I did try to be candid but loving and respectul in my tone. I don't know if it will do any good and if other people's suspicions are correct, I don't expect it to do much good. But I do feel that when any Christian engages in baseless and egregious character assasinaition that such Christian(s) needs to hear that such behavior is unacceptable.

    But I have read each of your blog prayers and prayed that prayer with you. And you remind me – and all of us – to not let justified anger dimish our desire and duty to love those who have caused the anger.

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  44. Jay Guin says:

    Guy,

    Thanks. I take pride in my iconography. :)

  45. John Grant says:

    Gary

    In the conservative churches of Christ I'm familiar with here in Alabama, they teach all but them are going to hell.
    No exceptions!

    I've talked to several preachers and tried to get them to come to Jays site and they did, only to quickly let me know they saw error right away and will not come here any more.

    The conservative churches of Christ around here are in real upheavel creating sect after sect and that explains why there were no more there. Only that particular conservative sect would of been welcomed.

    Their saying outwardly that any that teach any thing but what this particular congregations sect teaches is going to hell, church of Christ or not is causing many splits and so the congregations get smaller and smaller and more and more exclusive. Not only will Al or Jay be knocked and condemned, but all other splits that differ with them as well.

    They have created a problem for themselves no one knows how to solve. Their own rules and exclusiveness are destroying them from within. They get older and older as the youth leaves.

    Its sad as we see the congregations getting so small they can't afford preachers like the ones we see on those tapes.

  46. nick gill says:

    Guy,

    Patrick Mead tells a story about being the speaker at a gospel meeting. During the course of that meeting, he went to a convenience store to buy a Coke or something, and the clerk noticed that he "weren't from around here." (He's Scottish)

    He told her that he was in town from Detroit for a week.

    The clerk asked him why, and he said he was speaking at a local Church of Christ.

    He says the lady's entire demeanor changed. Before the word "Christ" in "Church of Christ" left his mouth, she'd taken three steps back, gone white as a sheet, and her mouth went from a smile to a bitter and hard line.

    People have hurt other people deeply in the name of the Church of Christ – and in the name of Christ (search "Westboro Baptist Church" on YouTube). When we encounter those wounded, scarred souls, we cannot pass the buck and pretend that we've never fallen short of our calling to live like Jesus.

    Jesus didn't just go around making things better. Gary wrote:

    might also note that Jesus was not personally responsible for the oppression of folks that was occurring during his time. But he openly challenged it, resolutely condemned it, and demonstrated by his actions that he would not quietly acquiesce in it. He was incredibly pro-active in his efforts to address it and relieve it whenever and wherever he encountered it.

    I'd say Jesus went even a step further from THAT. Jesus was baptized into the remission of those sins. He accepted responsibility for the sins of Israel (and the world).

    If we are Christians, if we're going to wear the name of Christ alongside other broken images of God, we cannot absolve ourselves of what comes with that name. That's part of the reason we've got to do better – so that the people coming along behind us won't have quite as much to apologize for and clean up.

    The clerk in Patrick's story deserves an apology – and she's never going to get one from the people who hurt her. Who will give it to her, except for a Christian who will humble himself and convey the kindness of the Spirit?

  47. Jay Guin says:

    Nick and all,

    One of the all-time great stories is in the book Blue Like Jazz. A group of Christians opened a "confession booth" on a very secular, very worldly college campus. When students came in, the Christians confessed the sins of the church. All who visited were deeply touched and the effort helped open many doors. (Miller does a better job of telling the story. Read the book.)

    I understand the objection to collective guilt. I am not guilty of the crusades. But lots of people see Christians as guilty of what other Christians have done in the name of Jesus — and sometimes confessing that those are sins and that at least this part of the Christ's church will never do those things again is a good way to start a conversation.

    We've all been trained to approach the lost by persuading them of their sinfulness. We might do better by first confessing our own sinfulness — and then they'll be more likely to understand and confess that they have sins, too.

  48. Larry Short says:

    I love Keith's actions. It is so great to find a positive (prayer) thing to do to the negative.
    In the early seventies, I went ot a meeting of Ira Rice. His rant was about 1 hour long, and I wished to leave of speak up after about 15 minutes. I was just out of my teens, and many older Christians seem entralled with the message, so anything I did would seem disrespectful.
    I do not read National Inquirer or CFTF. What they do is forbidden by the parable of the weeds.

  49. Guy says:

    Nick,

    i'm not really sure i agree that Jesus "accepted responsibility" for the sins of Israel and the world as you say. He was certainly willing to be the ransom price for the release of the hostages. But i don't see how that means He admitted *guilt* in the matter.

    i have no trouble seeing that the westboro baptist church doesn't represent all baptists. i certainly don't drive by any local baptist church and scoff that they must be full of funeral protestors. One group of people did those things. Not the mass.

    More to the point–i think three issues are being conflated. (1) If someone does something wrong, or if there is some structural injustice in the world–should i as a follower of Christ be willing to do something about it? (2) If someone does something wrong and they are in any way associated with me, does that make me *guilty* of their wrongdoing? (3) If someone shares some association with me in name only, does that mean he and i necessarily represent each other in our actions toward others?

    i'm affirming (1) and denying (2) and (3). By affirming (1) i don't at all see how i've advocated "passing the buck." If (2) is "yes," then i must admit i really don't know how to understand personal moral responsibility at all. If (3) is "yes," i believe it leads to the same sort of "reputational" reasoning that conservatives have used for years to make people feel guilty about any little harmless slight that could look funny to anyone. i think concern with "reputation" gets very Pharisaical very quickly.

    –Guy

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