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14 August

Leading our families out of the wilderness

By |2019-08-14T23:03:30-06:00August 14th, 2019|Uncategorized|5 Comments

The men in Stanton, or on the outskirts of Stanton due to family connections, have typically been cajoled and worn down into submission to the powers that be. I'm convinced Stanton top brass intentionally bleed the leadership qualities out of the men in the congregations because they feel threatened by leadership of any sort. This is why the "No Elders" Clock has been ticking for well over 50 years. Yet bold leadership is exactly what's called for when it comes time to start extracting your family from the grips of Stanton's control. Who will have the courage to lead their families out of the wilderness? The beating down of a man's leadership instincts can come in many forms. If it's not directly at the hands [...]

5 August

Spiritual Abuse: Are You a Victim?

By |2019-08-06T08:19:03-06:00August 5th, 2019|Uncategorized|18 Comments

By Martha Long A while back, someone commented on this blog with a video link on Spiritual Abuse. It was very interesting. Many of the signs covered were exactly what many of us have experienced in Stanton and spoken about here on the blog. While a few of the signs (such as sexual abuse by leaders) are not a typical part of Stanton's modus operandi, there were so many other signs that point to spiritual abuse in one form or another in Stanton that it's hard to deny that Spiritual Abuse is part of Stanton's culture. So, what is spiritual abuse? It can be defined as abuse in which leaders find ways to control your life for the purpose of accomplishing their goals. I think [...]

19 July

Denying the moon landing and dinosaurs

By |2019-07-19T22:07:31-06:00July 19th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

On the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 — which my father in law contributed to as an electrical engineer — I thought I'd write about a couple of the anti-science positions of Stanton. Stanton came from the old-guard of Biblical exposition: If your understanding of the Bible contradicts science, throw out the science. Don't even question that maybe your exegesis of scripture might be wrong. Don't get me wrong. I'm not here to say that the scientific establishment speaks the truth all the time. It has become very politicized as government funding has taken over what I like to call Big Science. Scientific schools of inquiry are incentivized by their funding biases to produce conclusions that I don't always agree with (think Big Pharma, for [...]

12 July

For Immediate Release: Stanton COC Source Says Teachers Are Actually Rabbis

By |2019-07-15T08:40:07-06:00July 12th, 2019|Satire, Uncategorized|8 Comments

Stanton, Calif. - In a surprising move, an anonymous source in the Stanton Church of Christ said the Teachers and Main Teachers of Stanton affiliated congregations nationwide are planning to start referring to themselves as "Rabbis," the Pharisaic teachers in Jesus's day. The source says this change took decades to come about. "We started off referring to members who taught classes as 'teachers,' she said. "But we gradually elevated them from a position of honor to a position of authority. We then decided that every last decision in a member's life be made with the counsel of teachers. Underwear choices, vacation plans, whom you can marry, whether you can relocate your family...everything." She says because every congregation has a teacher, it also became necessary to distinguish [...]

6 July

Sacrificing on altars of Stanton’s own making

By |2019-07-06T14:16:59-06:00July 6th, 2019|Uncategorized|1 Comment

The essence of idolatry is the creation of one's own rules for religion. If you make the rules, those who can be convinced to follow them are like clay in your hands. Nearly 3,000 years before Karl Marx and Hitler discovered that, and put the state in charge of religion, Jeroboam had already beat him to it. His rebellion against Rehoboam's despotism ended up splitting the Kingdom of Israel into the divided northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Having lost access to Jewish religious life in Jerusalem, Jereboam made a calculation. He decided to build his own altars and appoint his own priests so his subjects wouldn't have to cross into Judah's territory to worship in Jerusalem. Why not just give the people [...]

4 July

Ryan Messano’s Story

By |2019-07-26T15:08:56-06:00July 4th, 2019|Uncategorized|51 Comments

Ryan asked me if I would post this account of his withdrawal. As readers know, Ryan and I do not see eye to eye on everything.  However, I think there's value in hearing his account of the events. To that end, here is Ryan's story, in his own words. --Kevin The 2016 May Trip, had a topic that had been scheduled for years.  It was a study of Romans 16:17 'Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them'. The May Trip question was to ascertain if this was talking about withdrawal or excommunication.  It was expressly chosen to address my excommunication, since mine was the most recent one. The contention [...]

2 July

Does God cause bad things to happen to good people?

By |2019-07-02T19:08:45-06:00July 2nd, 2019|Uncategorized|6 Comments

I think it's fair to say that anyone raised in Stanton, or who attended there for any length of time, came away with some distorted views of God's nature. Is he wrathful? Vengeful? Loving? Is everything bad thing that happens to me because I sinned and didn't confess it in the proper sequence (privately, then publicly, prior to the Lord's supper, standing up, and with the right formulation of words)? It all depends on how you read the Bible—or didn't, as the case may be. Perhaps a teacher in Stanton warned you that if you were to leave (what they disparagingly call "falling away"), God may punish you with car accidents, cancer, miscarriages, the loss of a child, and more. Maybe you've even had one [...]

31 May

New Atheism and smashing babies against the rocks

By |2019-06-11T09:13:17-06:00May 31st, 2019|Uncategorized|34 Comments

The Bible says "happy is he who dashes your little ones against the rocks," so God must be evil. So says the New Atheist Movement, led by authors Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens. These Four Horsemen, and others with them, have made significant inroads against Christianity in the pop culture. This is not good from my perspective, but it is reality. And it's not surprising. After all, parents have outsourced their parental job to government schools, social media, and Netflix, and eagerly let pop culture icons like Katy and Miley raise their kids. Sects like Stanton teach a distorted view of God as well, and contribute to the problem. I've seen so many people escape Stanton and turn to atheism in [...]

24 May

No, Sunday is never called “worship service”

By |2019-05-24T18:02:12-06:00May 24th, 2019|Uncategorized|15 Comments

We often call the Christian assembly "worship" or "worship service." But if we're going to use "Bible terms for Bible things," should we? Maybe, maybe not. Let's think this through. Is the congregation primarily a format designed to follow a specific pattern of prescribed worship and service to God? Or is its purpose to strengthen and build up believers to steel them against the persecutions they might face? In short, is it for Him or for us? These are two very different philosophies that lead to two very different conclusions about what happens "in church." I really don't like saying that phrase anymore, since we are "in" the church (the called out of Christ) no matter where we are. But I used to be in [...]

22 May

Six easy tips to measure your relationship with God

By |2019-05-24T18:42:27-06:00May 22nd, 2019|Uncategorized|8 Comments

Not sure if you're right with God? Here are six easy tips to measure your relationship with God and know that you're going to heaven: Keep perfect church attendance. This is definitely one of the most important measurements of your spiritual status. Attend. Every. Service. Don't be like those really bad people who "fall back unto perdition" and stay home when they are sick, or their spouse or child is sick. Attend more nonmember classes. This is a really easy tip if you want to get ahead in your "relationship" with God. God wants more converts. Obviously, showing your commitment to attending a class to recruit new converts is exactly what God wants you to be doing. Don't question it, even if it causes problems [...]

21 April

He is risen – and other holiday issues

By |2019-04-21T22:43:05-06:00April 21st, 2019|Uncategorized|90 Comments

"He is risen." This often repeated phrase is the Christian community's traditional greeting on what people call "Easter." Stanton typically distances itself from any holiday observances, even secular ones like Mother's Day. In doing this, they take a page out of the doctrines of other sects like Jehovah's Witnesses. I unfortunately carried these feelings long into adulthood, thinking (because it was what I had been told) that people who celebrate Easter just care about the Easter bunny. But it's simply not true. Yes, there are some secularized people who are "Christians" in name only, and there will always be those. But that is not the end of the story. So is it really against scripture to observe this or any other holiday in our American [...]

6 April

Welcome to the new site!

By |2019-04-11T07:41:03-06:00April 6th, 2019|Uncategorized|53 Comments

Some housekeeping notes: The domain is now permanently changed to StantonBlog.com. It should redirect automatically, so just set your bookmarks accordingly. Commenting will be slightly different, so please feel free to test and post your feedback on the "Need Help?" tab. You may sign up for an account to make your posting easier, or you may comment without creating an account. It's up to you. I strongly suggest choosing a "pen name" if you prefer to post anonymously in order to facilitate more meaningful conversations. They can be difficult to follow when there are dozens of people named "Anonymous." :-) "Popular Posts" and individual page counts for articles will be reset to zero. I'm looking into some options for transcribing those counts directly into the new database, [...]

4 April

Rewinding Christianity (almost) to the beginning

By |2019-04-11T05:42:18-06:00April 4th, 2019|Uncategorized|25 Comments

Sometimes I think those of us who say we want to restore the "ancient order" of the New Testament church don’t really want to bring the church back to its most primitive state. It is much more comfortable for us to bring the church back to the almost-ancient order of things–perhaps the end of the 1st century–rather than the day of Pentecost. Yes, we give lip service to wanting to rewind the clock on church history a bit. Hence the catch-phrase "Restoration Movement" (although I prefer the name Stone-Campbell Movement, for reasons I'll write about later). But few would be comfortable going all the way back to the beginning. What do I mean by that? Well, consider that by the end of the first century, [...]

3 April

Hide it under a bushel, YES!

By |2019-08-16T09:26:00-06:00April 3rd, 2019|Uncategorized|13 Comments

Some of you may remember this great little song in kids' class and babysitting: This little light of mine Ain't gonna let it shine This little light of mine Ain't gonna let it shine Let it shine, let it shine, not one time Hide it under a bushel, YES! Ain't gonna let it shine Hide it under a bushel, YES! Ain't gonna let it shine Let it shine, let it shine, not one time Let's let Satan SNUFF it out! Ain't gonna let it shine Let's let Satan SNUFF it out! Ain't gonna let it shine Let it shine, let it shine, not one time Knock all over the neighborhood.... You get the idea. I had a lighthearted conversation with some people recently about recording [...]

23 March

Where are all the radical Jesus followers?

By |2019-04-11T05:54:39-06:00March 23rd, 2019|Uncategorized|220 Comments

Merie relished the word "militant." Perhaps she was militant, but I think in all the wrong ways. She wasn't afraid to refuse mentoring from older and wiser Christians her entire life, for instance. She fearlessly split churches (the only legitimate reason for Biblical withdrawal). She was even withdrawn from for her divisiveness in 1958 and never "made herself right" (Stanton's lingo). She attacked the elders and preachers of her day relentlessly in her open letters, militantly and publicly. This is also something the modern SCOC withdraws for. She attacked and separated herself from friends and family, dividing marriages (including her own) and separating fathers and mothers from each other and from their kids. All this was in pursuit of her little experiment in "militancy." As [...]

21 March

Taping fruit to a dead tree

By |2019-04-11T05:55:42-06:00March 21st, 2019|Uncategorized|104 Comments

Someone told me a few years ago that there's an expression in the SCOC that "dead churches" are just taping dead fruit to the tree, or taping fruit to a dead tree. I'm not sure now which expression they use, but I really like the latter. It's the equivalent of saying someone is just photoshopping their results, or astroturfing them. It's a very colorful phrase that is packed with a lot of meaning. Ironically, though, taping fruit to a dead tree is precisely what Stanton does. In fact, it's the only thing a legalistic church, Stanton or otherwise, can do. There is no better metaphor for legalism (law-keeping as a means to justification before God) than taping fruit to a dead tree. Our human will [...]

20 March

My Story, by Craig Cusick

By |2019-04-11T05:56:22-06:00March 20th, 2019|Uncategorized|10 Comments

I apologize that I've had this article in the queue for quite some time. I finally got it processed and uploaded—Craig, thank you for your patience and the time you spent writing this. Craig, whom many of you have seen in the comments here, preached for many years at the Portland congregation of SCOC, but increasingly saw areas of disagreement with other teachers and evangelists. He stopped preaching eventually, and it was mutually decided with "counsel" (advice from a teacher) that his baptism wasn't good; he was declared "not" a member anymore. He continued to attend on Sundays without taking the Lord's supper, just to spend time with his family. But after May Week 2017, a preacher returned and told him that his baptism was [...]

20 March

Marriage, sex, and submission

By |2019-04-11T17:17:53-06:00March 20th, 2019|Uncategorized|18 Comments

That title should get your attention. :-) My wife and I have been enormously blessed in our marriage. It's not a perfect marriage—no marriage is, because it's made up of two imperfect people. Things cannot be greater than the sum of their parts. Or can they? We have had highs and lows in our 29 years. But just as the highs get higher, so do the lows—they get higher as well. Higher highs and higher lows is good in investing, but it's a spiritual experience in marriage. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'm not saying you have to be a Christian to have a good marriage. I'd like to say you did, because I would love for all of you to be believers [...]

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