Question 4: How many errors do they have to teach for us to recognize error when we see it?

For those who are still dragging their feet in indecision as to whether or not the “us only” doctrine of our past one-cup heritage could be right, let me ask a question: “How many things do they have to teach that are erroneous in order for us to recognize error when we see it?”

If I understand this question correctly, the author is concerned/frustrated by the lack of action and reaction on the part of some to the sectarianism in the one cup Church of Christ. I must admit that over the years I have had some concern/frustration in this regard as well. I find it interesting that brethren will act and react hastily to challenges or questioning of the unwritten creed that identifies the party by sincere and studious believers, but will ignore manifestations of the party spirit by those imbued with their own abilities, authority, and power to control when the latter are much more culpable and detrimental to the cause of Christ.

Different people have different reasons for their behavior. I know, and know of, a number of brethren who over the years do not/did not agree with some of the interpretations and practices of the sectarian posture of the one cup leadership. Some decided to leave the party, not Christ, voluntarily without making a “fuss”. Some were forced to leave because they wouldn’t surrender their freedom in Christ. In most of the cases I know about where brethren were forced to leave, the procedures used by the brethren doing the forcing wasn’t very ethical, loving, reasonable, or scriptural. Some, like myself, who spoke up were never casually or formally approached by brethren to discuss concerns, but were blackballed through cowardly gossip.  Some who stayed were feared for one reason or another to speak out or up. Some had strong family ties or lifelong friends and they wanted to belong. Some, especially “preachers” had economic reasons. Some who decided to stay said that we need to work slowly from within to bring about change.

It is with the last that I had/have my most concern and frustration. Had a number of these brethren spoken out or up and been more assertive and forthcoming, I think some significant changes would have occurred in the one cup faction of the Churches of Christ. Instead that passivity contributed to the continuance of the sectarian posture of those leaders in control and power, and the brethren who did speak out and up were left in isolated situations to fend for themselves and suffer the consequences.

Today the one cup segment of the Churches of Christ is hurting from its sectarianism. Its “population” is declining in the United States. Congregations are going out of existence or combining to stay alive. Some congregations are being “excluded” because they exercise their autonomy. Many congregations are populated by older people because the younger are not staying within the one cup fold once they get on their own. More and more of those near middle age, both individuals and those with families, are looking and going elsewhere to find a better Christlike atmosphere. Then the most unfortunate consequence of the sectarianism of the one cup Church of Christ is that some are completely dropping out, abandoning their faith or at the least suppressing it.

I realize this isn’t a pretty picture. Also, I realize that some change is occurring, but it’s coming about in the wrong context. Personally I don’t want some of the concepts and doctrines and teachings of the one cup Church of Christ to cease or die and I don’t think they will. What I want to cease or die within the one cup Church of Christ is the party spirit, the sectarian attitude, the “us only” mentality. I want us to have a broader view of fellowship and a greater realization of God’s grace which will lead to a freedom from legalism. Our goal should be to manifest the image of Christ rather than to condescendingly and judgmentally and self-righteously convey to people that they should join us because we are intellectually and scripturally right in our interpretations as to some select concepts and methodologies relative to the New Covenant scriptures.


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