Monthly Archives: August 2013

30 August

Try the “clean Bible” challenge

By |2019-04-11T02:08:51-06:00August 30th, 2013|Uncategorized|16 Comments

Years ago, I determined to learn the truth about some unanswered questions I had in the back of my mind about various doctrines. I knew the answers would come from the Bible, but I had investigated these doctrines for years, and kept arriving at similar conclusions without an overwhelming sense of confidence about them. In hindsight, those questions did not get answered overnight, because they had been ingrained into my thinking over a period of many years. But I had to start somewhere. Keep in mind, that by this time, I had accumulated several Bibles, which most of you will recognize as the "recommended" ones in the sect. The Thompson Chain Reference Bible and the Dixon Study Bible were my two favorites, with my Thompson [...]

28 August

Dinosaurs and moon landing conspiracies

By |2019-04-11T02:08:45-06:00August 28th, 2013|Uncategorized|50 Comments

With some of the more bizarre doctrines of the church, you have to laugh a little or you'd cry. Please don't misunderstand this post to be about poking fun or mocking in any way. I assure you that I'm doing no such thing, and everything written here is written in love, and with the intent to enlighten and edify. Can someone hold some wacky opinions and still fit into the paradigm of love under the New Covenant? Yes, no doubt. But elevating men and women to the status of being more revered and spiritual than anyone else just makes wacky opinions more likely. The thinking cap tends to get hung up on the rack gathering dust. Let me just admit here that there are a [...]

26 August

Speaking the same thing

By |2019-04-11T02:08:44-06:00August 26th, 2013|Uncategorized|11 Comments

I have never seen a group misapply 1 Corinthians 1 about "speaking the same thing" so radically as this church does, and with such devastating results to freedom of conscience and congregational autonomy. "Older ones" get sent as delegates to what amounts to the Church of Christ Convention (not unlike the Baptist Convention). We typically call this May Week, or May Meeting, or sometimes March Week. Stanton discusses and debates petty matters of conscience, and returns with "new understandings" for the congregations to adopt. In a national game of follow the leader, the congregations do so, posthaste, as good followers do. This charade of unity-keeping is performed under the guise of living up to Paul's instruction in 1 Corinthians 1:10 to "speak the same thing." But [...]

23 August

The paradigm shift from law to love

By |2019-04-11T02:08:42-06:00August 23rd, 2013|Uncategorized|72 Comments

I almost corrected her when she said "God never fails" but then I realized that since "God is love" she's actually right on. Out of the mouth of babes! This could be a book-length article, but it won't be. It's just an appetizer; something to whet your appetite before a life-long meal at God's table discovering his love for yourself. I've found the understanding of God's love to be the keystone in the arch spanning God and man, his creation. It's what makes the Bible, God's inspired history of mankind's time on Earth, make sense. Without an understanding of God's love, the Bible--yes, even the Word of God itself--becomes merely a "sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal." It is a chaotic compilation of laws, commands, [...]

23 August

Rules for prayer

By |2019-04-11T02:08:40-06:00August 23rd, 2013|Uncategorized|8 Comments

These rules for prayer are the doctrines and commandments of men. They are nowhere found in the Bible, and the attitude they teach is one of constant judging, because you supposedly have to know whether someone else's prayer is being heard by God before you can acknowledge their prayer by bowing your head or closing your eyes. You can't pray for anyone NOT in the church, with some exceptions (if it's a child, or if you're praying for an unbeliever's salvation) No holding hands during prayer (is this a church-wide prohibition, or something individual congregations adhere to?) One must say "in Jesus name," not "in our Savior's name," not "in the name of our Lord," not "in your son's name," etc. If you don't say [...]

22 August

Why remove the evidence?

By |2019-04-11T02:08:39-06:00August 22nd, 2013|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Yesterday, I quoted an anonymous blog I had run across a year or two ago that was very obviously from someone in the church. Growing up in the sect, I immediately recognized the distinct jargon used on the site. The blog was obviously this person's notes during Bible classes or lessons: Oops, what happened? Where did it go? Imagine my surprise to find that the blog has now been deleted! Actually, I'm not surprised at all. I anticipated this would happen and saved an archive of the entire site for future reference. Here's what I quoted, with a new link to the Google Cache version of the page: Those that you share a common bond with and like interest, are those that you most [...]

20 August

By their fruits you will know them

By |2019-04-30T09:56:47-06:00August 20th, 2013|Uncategorized|30 Comments

An oft-repeated exhortation growing up in this church was Jesus' piece of wisdom: "By their fruits you will know them." Of course, it was always recited using the King's English, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Here is one such passage in context: Matthew 7:15-20 - Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not [...]

19 August

Yes, it’s a denomination

By |2019-04-11T02:08:34-06:00August 19th, 2013|Uncategorized|3 Comments

The sect will insist that the church is named "Church of Christ" and there is no other acceptable name. This comes straight from Merie's Church Lesson, but honestly, it used to be widely taught in mainstream churches of Christ as well. Thankfully, truth is prevailing, and that practice is slowly going away, because it is entirely unbiblical. This may be a shock to you, but the Lord's church is not once named in the Bible. Ever. In fact, it is not even a human organization, so it needs no proper name to distinguish it from other human organizations. It is a purely spiritual organization, and believers are added to it by God. They then proceed to seek out other believers to meet with, and that [...]

19 August

Non-member class indoctrination strategy

By |2019-04-11T02:08:33-06:00August 19th, 2013|Uncategorized|21 Comments

Let's visit the question of why non-member classes are used almost exclusively for inducting and indoctrinating new members rather than actual public meetings of the church. This is a powerfully effective approach for attracting the right personality type, but interestingly enough, it's not at all how it was done in the first century. Why is that? Answer: message control. Since most visitors never come back after the first class, recruiting is purely a numbers game. The more "contacts" you funnel into the class through knocking on doors, the more prospects you have. The first class weeds out the ones who know enough about the Bible to smell a skunk. Those will never come back. The second class weeds out those who don't know anything about [...]

18 August

The many faces of “Anonymous”

By |2019-04-11T02:08:31-06:00August 18th, 2013|Uncategorized|16 Comments

It wasn't easy to make the decision to write this blog under my real name, because I didn't want to hurt my mom, and I still don't. It's extremely difficult to do this, because I love her to death, and want nothing more than for her and her long-time friends to know the love, joy and peace of God that I know, which passes all human understanding. Nevertheless, I believe it is crucial for the truth to be told openly and boldly, now more than ever, because the church has crossed far too many lines in making the Word of God of no effect by its traditions, changing doctrines, and man-made rules. So I proceed, purely out of love. I sincerely hope that all those [...]

14 August

Wildly out of context verses

By |2019-04-11T02:08:30-06:00August 14th, 2013|Uncategorized|47 Comments

It amazes me the lack of Bible understanding among church leaders who spout Bible verses profusely without even a basic grasp of the context of the verse or what the author was trying to communicate. There is always an appearance of deep spiritual insight and Biblical authority, but a closer look at the scriptures suggests they need to go back to the basics of the Word before attempting to teach others. That's not to say I have it all figured out, by any means. I've never claimed such. But that's the thing; they have. They have claimed for decades to have the Holy Spirit's guidance into "all truth," while everyone else is claimed to NOT have that benefit. So when you make a claim like [...]

13 August

Planting seeds of doubt

By |2019-04-11T02:08:26-06:00August 13th, 2013|Uncategorized|13 Comments

Some have questioned my wisdom in "planting seeds of doubt" about the foundation upon which so many have built their faith, i.e. the church. However, I sat through plenty of non-member classes where the primary strategy for making converts was to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of attendees about the errors they once believed. So I ask: Shouldn't we not only plant seeds of doubt about teachings we believe to be erroneous, but nurture them? Isn't that a duty of Christians, to seek truth relentlessly? Didn't Peter plant seeds of doubt in the minds of his listeners on Mars' Hill? How about Paul, when he told the Galatian church that he marveled how soon they had wandered away from the pure and simple [...]

13 August

Inaction leads to a seared conscience

By |2019-04-11T02:08:24-06:00August 13th, 2013|Uncategorized|12 Comments

A truth from Scripture that I recall being taught from my earliest memories is how the conscience can so easily be seared with a hot iron and become numb to repeated violations. Sadly, this is happening to members of the group who repeatedly witness wrong things and stay silent out of fear: People are rebuked publicly without mercy, and without even having been approached privately first. Non-member teens are called out publicly for their misdeeds, humiliating them and their parents, and usurping parental authority. Entire Bible class sessions can be taken up with unmerciful public rebuking, with little or no actual study of the Bible. Gossip and evil surmising. Retribution, "witch hunts," and intimidation used against those who try to speak out. Truth doesn't need to [...]

12 August

Rules for marital sex

By |2019-09-26T10:46:06-06:00August 12th, 2013|Uncategorized|118 Comments

This is a subject I intend to handle with as much tact as possible, but I make no apology for treating the subject boldly as well as 100% scripturally. It is important to speak the truth on this, because the oppressive reach of church teaching extends even into the sacred realm of the marriage bed, which Paul declares to be "undefiled." The church leaves no sacred cows, so unfortunately, neither can we. I believe sex within marriage to be a gift of God, and something to be enjoyed without guilt or shame. The teachings of the church on sex seem to start with the premise that it is dirty and shameful; hence rules such as abstaining on Saturday night. In one instance, a woman was [...]

8 August

Speaking the truth in love

By |2019-09-27T14:39:09-06:00August 8th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The challenge in any situation where brothers disagree with one another is to be able to speak the truth boldly, but in a loving manner so that the other party can actually hear your words. I'm not going to say I've been entirely successful at that here, but that's been my sincere goal. Some posts may have accomplished that more successfully than others. So how do we do this in real life? How do we discuss disagreements about weighty matters in a way that both sides can still feel the love? Obviously, it's much easier said than done. A tip that has helped me--although I still fail at it--is to assume good motives. Part of the reason why debates are frequently ineffective at changing hearts [...]

7 August

When are rules not rules?

By |2019-04-11T02:08:19-06:00August 7th, 2013|Uncategorized|141 Comments

It's hard to avoid talking in circles when discussing doctrines with members of the church, simply because words don't mean what we would expect them to mean. Thus, the conversation goes in circles, because the meaning of words keeps shifting. A case in point was a recent conversation about rules. It was denied emphatically that the church had extra-Biblical rules. I asked if church members were allowed to have Facebook accounts. There was a long pause. "There is no rule against it, but it's taught against." So how exactly does that work? Does the word "rule" mean something different to them than to me? If I, as a person of authority in my household, instruct my kids not to have a Facebook account, that's a [...]

5 August

Unbiblical teaching against wine

By |2019-04-11T02:08:18-06:00August 5th, 2013|Uncategorized|9 Comments

The church routinely substitutes its own human reasoning in place of what the Bible actually says, and this couldn't be more the case than with the teaching against wine. Drinking wine continues to be taught against, apparently, although it is now OK to cook with alcohol if someone else buys it for you. With that, let's put aside the traditions of men and take a look at what the Bible really says about alcohol. If you're a Christian, you may be surprised to know that the Bible doesn't make a blanket condemnation of alcohol. Instead, the Bible's teaching on it is consistently one of moderation, not prohibition. Both the Old and New Testaments actually come right out and authorize drinking alcoholic drinks. This passage from the [...]

5 August

Gossip, evil surmising, and slander

By |2019-09-26T09:05:24-06:00August 5th, 2013|Uncategorized|7 Comments

Word of this blog and a separate private Facebook page have apparently spread like wildfire and made its way into sermons, Bible classes, and face to face confrontations, with accusations being thrown around left and right about who they think is instigating it all. What's sad is how wildly false the accusations have been. Tongues have been wagging about the blog with all sorts of false assumptions, and it seems to me like the dictionary definition of gossip, evil surmising, and slander. I've personally heard false accusations against three or four different people in the last couple of weeks, myself included. This culture of gossip (under the guise of keeping the church pure, because we have to have a good pretense for it, after all) [...]

4 August

Why no elders?

By |2019-04-11T02:08:15-06:00August 4th, 2013|Uncategorized|94 Comments

In over 45 years of existence, this sect still has no Biblical eldership in place. Why is that? Answer: Because a core group of people have led the movement from the earliest days of the church, and Biblical leadership would threaten that power structure. A dynamic of largely female leadership was in place from its inception as a division from the mainstream churches when Merie was withdrawn from. (You didn't know that Merie was withdrawn from by East San Diego Church of Christ in 1958? Oops, they conveniently leave that out of their history.) Merie clearly preached, and I sat through many a sermon of hers. Of course, they didn't call them that. The difference was only one of semantics. Because she sat while preaching, [...]

4 August

Fear and intimidation tactics

By |2022-10-28T04:54:27-06:00August 4th, 2013|Uncategorized|237 Comments

1 John 4:18 - There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. Since starting this blog, I have been sent thank you notes from members, former members, and children of members. Those still connected to the group almost always ask for anonymity to prevent retribution in the form of public rebukes, withdrawals, or "marking and avoiding" of themselves or family members. Several have come to me with tangible fear that if the church leaders found out they were talking to me, there would be severe consequences. Others have told of confirmed instances of gossip and slander that have been spread about them. Some tell [...]

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