Yearly Archives: 2017

2 October

The real “Off Church”

By |2019-04-18T08:05:01-06:00October 2nd, 2017|Uncategorized|281 Comments

In the Stanton sect, the term "Off Church" has only one meaning: Churches of Christ that do not follow Merie's teachings. Who declared the Churches of Christ to be "Off Churches"? Merie, and only Merie Weiss. No one else has had the authority to declare a church "off." Years ago, an early follower of Merie, disappointed by Stanton's drift away from some of Merie's core teachings, spoke out against current leaders (just as Merie did against the leadership in her day). She was rebuked, and when she stood her ground (as Merie did), she was "marked and avoided" (an invention of current leaders supposedly harsher than "withdrawal"). Guess what? This disciple of Merie then started her own sect, declaring Stanton to be the Off Church, [...]

10 August

Should Christians be pacifists? Um, no.

By |2019-04-11T06:02:21-06:00August 10th, 2017|Uncategorized|31 Comments

Stanton's version of non-violent philosophy obviously has its roots in Merie's teachings. I remember the night the Stanton congregation discussed whether to fund the publication of Merie's book, Put Up Thy Sword, on this subject. The church's discussion (at least the one I remember; there may have been more) took place in the living room of Dawna Graham (now Bejar), my best friend's mom at the time. I remember thinking at the time about the discrepancy between the church financing a book written by a fallible human while preaching and teaching against the scores of denominations built on teachings in books written by fallible humans. It seemed incongruous to me, but I wasn't at an age where I was able to voice disagreement with my [...]

3 August

Let’s dispel the myth of the Lord’s Treasury

By |2019-04-11T06:04:05-06:00August 3rd, 2017|Uncategorized|103 Comments

One of the most divisive doctrines churches in the Stone/Campbell movement have come up with is the notion that the treasury—the money donated by church members—is somehow a sacred fund, or the "Lord's Treasury." This belief naturally creates an explosive cache of ammunition with which to shell "the enemy" over every difference of opinion on how to use those funds. Stanton is not the only group to fall into this error; it's also common in mainline and conservative factions of the churches of Christ. Here are a few disputes that have created schisms among believers: Can a church build kitchens and fellowship halls with the "Lord's money?" Can churches support Christian colleges with the "Lord's money," individually, or not at all? Can members hold bake [...]

28 July

How to disagree with people you love

By |2019-04-11T06:04:58-06:00July 28th, 2017|Uncategorized|64 Comments

Some commenters here wrote recently about disagreeing without being disagreeable. As a result, I thought it would be good to write about how to disagree with people you love. That should be everyone, right? I've actually heard SCOC members mock the saying, "we can disagree without being disagreeable." To them, that's false unity, because disagreeing and remaining brothers in good standing are mutually contradictory. I'll attempt to show you why they are not—in fact brothers in disagreement is the only way we can ever be. That's because the basis of brotherhood is relationship, not shared opinions, and the basis for maintaining that relationship is love. If you love someone as a brother, as a spouse, or as a son or daughter, of course you aren't [...]

26 July

How can a loving God send someone to hell?

By |2019-04-30T09:42:50-06:00July 26th, 2017|Uncategorized|7 Comments

The fierce wrath of God is used a lot by Stanton in their fear campaigns to recruit new members and keep them in line. This abuse of the fear of God, though, is not without cost. Former members and children of members are often left disenchanted with the God of the Bible. How could a loving God torture his own sons and daughters in this place we call hell? Their answer is usually either that there is no God, or if there is, he's certainly not loving. This age-old objection to the Biblical God due to his supposedly harsh judgment of hell is not unique to those who have been impacted by Stanton's bad theology, unfortunately. Answers to this objection by believers have too often [...]

23 July

The unwritten rules

By |2019-04-11T06:06:56-06:00July 23rd, 2017|Uncategorized|506 Comments

I'm told that in an August 2002 meeting between Tacoma and Portland, it was admitted by leadership in a talk that the church has a separate set of unwritten rules outside the Bible. (If anyone has audio of this, I'd love to get a digital copy.) I'm happy to hear that Stanton's unwritten rules may have been acknowledged publicly. Why no one has called them out over this horribly unbiblical practice in the 15 long years since it was acknowledge in 2002, I have no idea. I can only presume it has something to do with group-think, or the fear of withdrawal for murmuring, or other intimidation tactics that keep people quiet in the face of ludicrously unbiblical nonsense. Unwritten rules? Really? Non-member classes used [...]

20 July

An open letter to SCOC preachers, teachers, and evangelists

By |2019-04-11T15:23:26-06:00July 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|42 Comments

Dear Stanton leadership, Merie was a big fan of open letters to the leadership of the churches she disagreed with, so I have to assume that this is an acceptable way to communicate with you. Since I have the benefit of the Internet, I'll refrain from mailing copies to members' homes, as she did. (Wasn't that murmuring, by your definition?) I have tried other ways to start a friendly dialogue, including an email in 2004, numerous offers to my mom to have anyone talk to me about the Bible, attempts to engage my sister in simple conversation about the Bible, even offering to have coffee with any church leaders who happen to be visiting here in the Boise area. The silence has been deafening. But [...]

19 July

Rules for relocation

By |2019-04-11T06:09:41-06:00July 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|18 Comments

It has come to our attention that members of Stanton mistakenly believe they are free to relocate their families anywhere they wish. This is simply not the case. God has ordained every member to be a part of the body where he sees fit, and he's clearly put us in charge of telling you where that is. Relocating because of a job, school opportunity, or worldly reason like raising your family in a better community is not allowed under any circumstance, unless it is your unbelieving spouse forcing it on you. This way, they take the blame with God for the unauthorized move, not you. To avoid further confusion, we thought it best to publish an updated list of rules to guide members in relocation [...]

17 July

Rules for prayer

By |2019-04-11T06:10:21-06:00July 17th, 2017|Uncategorized|90 Comments

Prayer is such an important topic, so it's important that we do it right. We would not want anyone talking to their creator as if he's their father, or anything gushy like that. We must always approach the throne of grace cautiously, with a great deal of formality, keeping in mind our own superstitions, cultural norms, and rules of men. Only pray for Stanton members. God has enough on his hands dealing with our little group, we shouldn't burden him with requests regarding non-members we don't even know personally. The only time you can pray for someone NOT in the Stanton Church of Christ is if it's for their salvation. This means you should not pray for your enemies (real Christians have a lot of them), nor [...]

13 July

Did Moses write Genesis—and if so, how?

By |2019-04-11T06:11:02-06:00July 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Was Genesis written by Moses, or mashed up from unknown sources by unknown editors, as proponents of something called the Documentary Hypothesis (DH) would like us to believe? Maybe neither, as it turns out. There is an alternative hypothesis that makes a lot of sense and still allows for the divine caretaking of the history of mankind. Could God have miraculously revealed to Moses direct knowledge of events and private conversations that he himself was not privy to in order to create the book of Genesis? Absolutely. But is that the most likely explanation? Probably not, in my opinion. The Wiseman Hypothesis, sometimes called the Tablet Theory, provides a beautifully simple explanation of how Moses could have come into such detailed knowledge of events that [...]

10 July

The poison pill of bitterness

By |2019-06-11T16:11:20-06:00July 10th, 2017|Uncategorized|13 Comments

There's been some discussion lately about bitterness. I think this is a good conversation to have, and a timely one. My goal here is not to judge anyone for any bitterness they currently feel, but to provide some advice and encouragement to (a) make the decision to struggle against it, and (b) actually take active steps to do it. Why would you want to struggle against it? Because if you don't, you will destroy yourself, not the other person. Bitterness is not something to be messed with. It is a poison pill that will ensure a life of unhappiness for the person who lets bitterness grow in their heart, and will only encourage those who are the targets of their bitterness to justify their behavior. [...]

3 July

Your own personal Independence Day

By |2019-07-06T14:16:24-06:00July 3rd, 2017|Uncategorized|101 Comments

1 Corinthians 7:23 - You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. (NIV) Galatians 5:1 - For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (ESV) Being enslaved to human masters can wear on a person. Whether it's having to seek counsel for what color or style of underwear you want to wear (no, I'm not kidding), or whom you marry and when, Jesus didn't buy our freedom only to hand us over to the rabbi class of the so-called One True Church. God created the human spirit to be free, made in his image. Humans need autonomy, and that need matures and grows as we move from our teen [...]

26 June

Is necessary inference really necessary?

By |2019-04-11T06:14:17-06:00June 26th, 2017|Uncategorized|59 Comments

If you Google "necessary inference," you end up finding almost entirely Church of Christ websites, or websites about the Church of Christ and it's sometimes unique doctrines. The reason? The term was popularized by Church of Christ preachers using a three-finger recital of how we establish Biblical authority for modern church practices: command, example, and necessary inference. But adherence to this methodology didn't come from Alexander Campbell, or even his father. "While Thomas Campbell, in his Declaration and Address, says we should use command and example to understand what God would have us do, Alexander Campbell, in his Christianity Restored, spends a hundred pages on hermeneutical principles and never mentions "command, example, and necessary inference." (Stafford North at Oklahoma Christian University) "We only pretend to assert [...]

21 June

Merie, in her own words

By |2019-04-11T06:15:04-06:00June 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|39 Comments

This website has always been about trying to create some transparency for Stanton, so their beliefs, teachings, and practices can come out of the shadows. To that end, let's see what Merie, the founder of the sect, said about various her own words. And for those who would argue that the opinions of Merie don't matter today because she's long gone, would you dismiss the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy, Ellen G. White, Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russel, and other denominational founders on that basis? Of course not. Merie's opinions do matter. If she hadn't taught what she taught over 50 years ago, Stanton wouldn't be here today. Stanton's legitimacy as the self-proclaimed "One True Church" rests squarely on the soundness of Merie's teachings. [...]

19 June

No, Jesus didn’t come to divide households. Not even close.

By |2019-04-11T06:16:05-06:00June 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|21 Comments

One of the most powerful rhetorical devices to rally the troops around the church's flag has been its language of martyrdom. Everyone is out to get them, and they love to talk up how much they're hated and persecuted by "the world" and their non-SCOC family members. But at least they know to expect and prepare for this kind of unfair treatment; Jesus predicted it, didn't he? Matthew 10:34-36 - Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own [...]

14 June

Seven tips to draw closer to God

By |2019-04-11T06:17:46-06:00June 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|8 Comments

We all need some shortcuts to help us in our spirituality. It's a busy world, and those in the church have a busy life, with all the various church functions to attend. There's Sunday morning worship, Sunday afternoon fellowship, Sunday evening Bible class, Monday personal work, Tuesday midweek Bible study, Thursday nonmember class, the occasional Friday night fellowship, and don't forget last minute confessions and studying for Sunday on Saturday. Anything we can do to save Christians time in drawing closer to God, we're happy to help. Here's a list of our top seven things you can do to draw closer to God. Surely there's more, and as you think of them, please leave them in the comments. Seven tips to draw closer to God [...]

13 June

Tips for loved ones

By |2019-04-11T06:18:50-06:00June 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|37 Comments

Many people have found the blog recently who don't have firsthand experience attending the sect. Their only knowledge of it is through a family member or loved one. The more you hear, the more red flags pop up. Sirens go off in your head, but you don't know enough to do anything about it. But the more you take the time to learn about the sect, the more your loved one's behavior can start making sense. Only then can you get inside their head and help them rethink their commitment to the teachings of men. That's why this blog exists, to deepen everyone's understanding of Stanton's historical roots and the premises of their often bizarre unbiblical doctrines. Don't get me wrong, understanding them doesn't justify [...]

7 June

The Orwellian side of the church

By |2019-04-11T06:20:23-06:00June 7th, 2017|Uncategorized|8 Comments

If you're a Gen-Xer like me, George Orwell probably had a big impact on your political ideology. His landmark 1984 was required reading in my English Literature class in high school, and for good reason. I graduated a couple of  years after the title year of the book, and right smack in the middle of the Cold War. The fight against communism wasn't so much a geopolitical fight, but an ideological battle for truth, against propaganda, and against totalitarian regimes who would try to control the masses by controlling the flow of information. Is it just me, or are there some troubling similarities between Orwell's Big Brother and Stanton leadership? The desire for total control over the flow of information, and the tendency for members to [...]

15 May

Merie was right on this one

By |2019-04-11T06:20:47-06:00May 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|501 Comments

No, you can't withdraw from a nonmember. On one facet of "withdrawal," Merie was dead right, and current Stanton leadership is stunningly wrong in their quest to quash dissent. I remember her teaching that once someone leaves the church, the church can't "withdraw" from them because they've already "withdrawn" themselves from the group. For this reason, the church cannot take disciplinary action against a nonmember. The sect has been apparently taking liberties with this, and stretching itself to extend its reach on disciplinary measures. They've even invented new forms of discipline to rise up to the task, like re-interpreting "mark and avoid" to fit their current desire to suppress dissent. But I'll tell you right now, they are just sowing the seeds of tyranny. Here's [...]

9 May

Can women teach men?

By |2019-04-11T06:21:10-06:00May 9th, 2017|Uncategorized|16 Comments

Can women teach men? As a vocal critic of Merie's unbiblical leadership in the formative years of the Stanton churches, my opinion might surprise some. I have not been critical of her teaching as a female--only of the actual things she taught. I do think it's fair to point out the hypocrisy of how Stanton teaches that women should be absolutely silent "in the church," yet when the closing prayer for the "worship service" is done, all bets are off. They can teach in whatever capacity they want, because it's outside the times 10:00 to noon, or whenever their churches meet. I do believe women can teach men within very broad Biblical boundaries, which I'll offer my thoughts on here. But women being "silent" during [...]

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