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 to routinely mock other sects for having their books of rules in addition to the Bible. Does not writing extra-Biblical rules down somehow make them more acceptable?
How is this practice in line with sola scriptura, i.e. scripture alone, which I thought we all agreed on in principle? How is this even in the same universe as the Stone/Campbell motto of speak where the Bible speaks, and be silent where it’s silent? Spoiler alert: it’s not.
It’s way off base, totally unbiblical, and just more evidence of the distance Stanton has traveled away from the Bible. Not that it was terribly close when it started. But that’s a different story.
Nevertheless, I will commend leadership for admitting to this practice of binding unwritten rules. Before you can fix a problem, you have to be honest enough to admit you have one.