26.) I have through my family history and myself over 90 years plus in the “one cup” Church of Christ and it’s very hard to have had to make the shift to grace centeredness. What advice would you give me and what I teach my children who only know about one cup Church of Christ and now dad is teaching something he has violently opposed for all of these years?
I can readily identify with the circumstances of the writer of this question. My family history in the “one cup” Church of Christ is similar in time. I was raised to be a legalistic, party member and early on vigorously opposed those “brethren-in-error”, digressive innovators who weren’t sincere and didn’t respect the authority of the scriptures. I learned better and the grace and love of God gradually changed me. During this change we had and raised three children.
In the first place I didn’t jump ship, and I don’t recommend this unless it is absolutely necessary. We still assemble with a congregation that uses one cup, has no classes, and doesn’t use instrumental music. For the most part though, I and the congregation where we assemble have been blackballed. No one has ever approached me personally or scripturally to discuss their concerns about my thinking and practice, or charge me with a sin that would violate the will of God and warrant formal withdrawing of fellowship. Numerous, numerous times I have asked brethren for such information and they refuse to respond to me.
What effect did this have on our children? Our two daughters still assemble with us on a regular basis. Our boy quit, citing his treatment by some brethren as part of the reason. I hope and pray and think in time he will repent of his decision.
What I am trying to convey is that it is not easy. You don’t have to compromise your convictions on the use of one cup, no classes, and instrumental music, but at the same time you need not be a party man or sectarian in attitude. All truth is important, but not all truth is equally important. Brotherhood or recognition of brethren in Christ is more important than seeking to impose convictions about “disputable issues” upon alleged erring brethren by coercion or exclusion or division.
Be true to God and be true to yourself. Even though you change, your children will recognize your integrity and sincerity over time. Better they see change in you in this regard then for them to come to the same conclusions as you later in life and wonder why your remained a party man. As I said earlier, it is not easy, but God will see you through. Men may oppose us for seeking to be Christ-like, but God doesn’t.
Much of what I said may sound platitudinous, but that’s due to my shortcoming with words, not my feelings or what’s in my heart. In closing there seems to be more light at the end of the tunnel than when I made some of my changes in thinking almost fifty years ago. More brethren are challenging and questioning the partisan attitudes and practices within the “one cup” Church of Christ. More brethren are exercising their right to study for themselves and draw their own conclusions. More congregations are seeking to truly exercise their autonomy wherein I think is a vital key or solution to many of our problems. Despite the agony with which some of us lived over the years, and many are now experiencing, a brighter day of freedom in Christ seems to be upon us. Praise God!
J. James Albert