Tell Us Why You Left the Church of Christ

Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

March 29th, 2005, 3:08 pm #11

Lest you be tempted to start another huge discussion about instrumental music here, this is NOT the thread for that issue. A whole thread at the Sunday School in Exile forum is devoted to music, called "Boswell-Hardeman Discussion on Instrumental Music in the Worship." That classic debate more than covers the whole subject from biblical and historical perspectives. I would encourage "Anonymous" and all other interested parties to go there.
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Ken Sublett
Ken Sublett

March 29th, 2005, 4:54 pm #12

I left the Church of Christ because there was too much condemning, particularly for music, clapping, hand raising, etc. If anyone could show me a verse in the Bible where it condemns musical instruments, please show me? I have heard the argument "The Bible doesn't say TO use instruments, thus we should stay away" many times, so I did my own Bible research. Please read the first few verses of Psalms 33, where David instructs us to sing AND use musical instruments. Also, nowhere in the Bible does it say to build church buildings to worship in. Something to think about.
The problem with a thread like this is that it gives VENT to people who have no love for the truth. Annie Mouse is just FABRICATING this. It is a clear confession of the postmodern lost mind that God has given them the right to INFILTRATE and DIVERT and do "anything to save more souls." However, that gives us the chance to SHOOT DOWN the false teaching over and over.

http://www.piney.com/Psalm.33.html

ALL of the "instrumental" psalms prove that they are the product of the KING and commanders of the army. That is because all instruments and loud singing was outlawed in Numbers 10 except for signals and for going to war. David praises as a MILITARY leader and NEVER as a minister of God.

Psalm 33 This is the only instrumental Psalm which is not clearly magical or judgmental. This is not surprising because PRAISE SINGING, like the Greek "odeing" or hymning was a way to enchant or drive the enemy warriors into panic and cowardice. However, if you read closely you will see that it recommends activities never permitted in the temple slaughter pen.

You have to remember that the INSTRUMENTALISTS were "improvized" by the KING and the COMMANDERS OF THE ARMY. They had the normal NATIONAL task of performing at CIVIL animal sacrifices and other functions. You will notice that of the instrumental Psalms, Psalm 33 is picked on because it is not as MILITARY and judgmental as ALL of the other instrumental Psalms. I have tried to categorize the instrumental Psalms and you will see that MOST of them have no instrumental comments. Amos specificially condemns Israel because they took David's songs and instruments RIGHT INTO the sancturary along with wine women and song.

Remember also that the silver trumpets were given for signals including military movements. The Psalms were not PRAISE SONGS for congregational worship with David as the Musical Worship Minister. Rather, like the story of Gideon, these were TAUNT songs known in connection with all ancient warfare. You twanged bowstrings, played instruments and tried to prove that OUR GOD CAN LICK YOUR GOD. It often worked and the enemy simply panicked and ran. Imagine a band of british coming at you with drums and bagpipes. One scholar noted that such instruments are intended to ENRAGE you so that you marck into the valley to certain death.
  • <font color=blue>The establishment of the kingdom itself was an act of rebellion against God" (David Lipscomb, Queries and Answers, pp. 226, 227, and Gospel Advocate, 1899, pp. 376, 377).</font>
The king, kingdom and the temple were LIKE THE NATIONS because that is what God turned them over to because of the musical idolatry at Mount Sinai and the later elders "firing" God and demanding a king "like the nations." God understood this especially in Israel but also in Judah so that they could worship like the nations.
  • <font color=blue>Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God. De.8:20

    You say, "We want to be like the nations, like the peoples of the world, who serve wood and stone." But what you have in mind will never happen. Eze.20:32 </font>
The "nations" believed that their god lived in houses just as David thought that he sing, played and danced before Jehovah in the Ark of the Covenant. That superstitious PRAISE meant to make yourself so VILE that no god could hurt you. All of the nations believed--like modern singers and musicians--that the gods lived especially in musical instruments. David played his harp trying to AWAKEN God but we are told:
  • <font color=blue>Woe to him who says to wood, 'Come to life!' Or to lifeless stone, 'Wake up!' Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it. Hab 2:19

    But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him." Hab 2:20 </font>
The Levitical "musicians" were warriors under the king and commanders of the army. They did not worship God but:
  • <font color=blue>And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: the porters also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded. 2Chr.8:14 </font>
The service was to the priests:
  • <font color=blue>Abodah (h5656) ab-o-daw'; or abowdah ab-o-daw'; from 5647; work of any kind: - act, bondage, / bondservant, effect, labour, ministering (-try), office, service (-ile, -itude), tillage, use, work, * wrought

    Abad (h5647) aw-bad'; a prim. root; to work (in any sense); by impl. to serve, till, (caus.) enslave, etc.: - * be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, do, dress, ear, execute, / husbandman, keep, labour (-ing man), bring to pass, (cause to, make to) serve (-ing, self), (be, become) servant (-s), do (use) service, till (-er), transgress [from margin], (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper. </font>
That is identical to the Hebrew Abowdan which is the same as Apollo or Abaddon or Apollyon who again DIGS UP the locusts or musical worshipers for the end-time rise of a Monarchy "just like David."

Ken
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Anonymous
Anonymous

April 5th, 2005, 10:31 pm #13

I was raised in the Church of Christ but somewhere along the line, I got sidetracked. I started going to my sister's Southern Baptist Church and was invited to play the organ there on Sunday nights when the month had five Sundays. That church had a "Fifth Sunday Sing," more like a talent night of sorts instead of a formal worship service. Various members of the congregation would "perform," most of whom sang religious pieces. I played organ pieces. Afterwards, I noted everyone slapping each other on the back and telling each other how good their performances were, including me. It was like we had gone to a self-serving, tell-me-I'm-a great-act show. When an organist post became available there, I was invited to fill it, and I did. At the time, I had rather uncertain convictions about instrumental music and the Bible's take on it.

After a time, the church drifted away from "traditional" music and turned more to rock and contemporary styles with a heavy beat and a rock band. While organ music was still used occasionally, the emphasis was more on "show" music. The membership even had several semi-professional singing groups just itching to make it big in Christian music, and they often appeared for Sunday AM performances, all to thunderous applause, like everyone was in a concert, not a worship service. Folks often would jump to their feet with their ovations, especially if the music was loud, fast, or packed with intense emotion.

There was an ongoing feud between the traditionalists and the contemporaries there, for the pastor insisted on having "blended" services, which really stressed the contemporary and threw a few bones to the old traditionalists. In short, while the drums crashed and the praise band screeched, the old folks grit their teeth and held their hands over their ears. And while the old, softer hymns were played, the teens and other youth squirmed in their seats and rolled their eyes because there was no rock-and-roll. So no one was really pleased, except the pastor, who ruled with an iron fist.

Finally after nearly four years I got fed up with it all and resigned as organist, having seen what instrumental music and performers could do in a church with people's feelings and egos. Perhaps this was just a bad experience and perhaps I would have fared better in another setting. But I never really felt totally at ease playing there (old Church of Christ principles haunting me all the time).

Now I believe it was my subconscious telling me that what I was doing was just plain wrong. After further biblical study, I became firm in my conviction that the purest worship is that with the least distractions, and by distractions I mean choirs, soloists, instruments, drama, and all forms of entertainers. Worship must be an active process, not passive as when a congregation sits back and watches passively as someone supposedly "brings them into the presence of God" with a musical number. No one can worship for you. You must do it yourself, whether it be in your closet or together with a congregation. By having musical instrumetns and musical performers, we run the risk too often of being caught up in the "talent" of the performers and lose sight of Him Whom we worship. It's much safer to remove all potential obstacles.

So I have returned to the "old paths" of the Church of Christ, and I have not played for a church since that time. I love organ music, but new convictions now prevent me from returning to that kind of worship.
good job to return to the church of christ. Besides, there will be no salvation in music playing, but only he that does the commands of our savior Jesus Christ. Music is not neccesary in our demands to be saved anyway.
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Anonymous
Anonymous

April 5th, 2005, 10:37 pm #14

Read too much into scripture. They are not silent where silent. Much of the coc teaching is garnish. The no IM music thing is so thin, if it were ice on a pond, you would fall through! Pious elders, teachers, preachers. think they are the only christians and the only ones going to heaven. Make up doctrine from a few proof texts taken so far out of context it boggles the mind! Can't dance, can't drink wine, when it was clearly done in the NT. The flimsy reasons the coc give? Some baloney about the appearence of evil or causing someone to stumble! Get over yourselves!
If you want to go to a dance or have earthly fun, you should go to a concert. There is to be no confusion in Gods true church. Besides if you think the church service is boring, how are you ever going to enjoy heaven. There will be no drunkeness in heaven of no earthly music instruments.
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pmw
pmw

April 6th, 2005, 4:32 pm #15

This thread invites former members of the Church of Christ to tell us exactly why you left this faith. We are always being told that the Church of Christ is a vanishing sect, so we would like you to tell us why. What made the Church of Christ odious to you? Was our doctrine too strict? Was there too little love? Did you prefer instrumental music over a cappella singing? Did you want more programs and interactive features with group participation? Were the sermons too long or too theological? Spill your guts! Unload your heart! What drove you away? Usually, something most significant compels people to leave their faith entirely and embrace another, or none at all, so we’re here to learn from you, not condemn you for leaving. If you respond, please include as much of the following information as possible:

1. The exact reasons why you left. Please be very specific. Please refrain from generic responses like, “I hated the Church of Christ.”

2. If you left and then later returned to the Church of Christ, what specifically brought you back?

3. What, if anything, would you have the Church of Christ do so that people would not leave? In other words, what changes, if any, would you need to see before you would ever be willing to return to the Church of Christ?

If by responding, your intention is merely to bash and criticize the Church of Christ, there are plenty of other threads at this site which will allow you the opportunity to vent. In like manner, taking issue with those who respond will serve no purpose in this thread. Take it elsewhere.
The attitudes that are expressed on this site are why I and thousands of others are leaving. No love for each other and I would question whether God is really in the picture. Total focus seems to be on "self". Got to be "right" at all cost. Sad indeed.
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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

April 6th, 2005, 6:08 pm #16

So if we take your advice, we should stop trying to follow God's Word so much (being right), because doing so makes us selfish and unloving. I guess that Christ was selfish when He said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15 KJV). I guess Christ was lying when He said through John, "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievious" (1 John 5:2-3 KJV).

So 1 John implies that we should readily follow the Word of God, because His commandments are not grievious (except to those in rebellion against Him).

All "love" begins with love for, and obedience to, God's Word, as the Scriptures stipulate. Without obedience first, we could manifest all the love for all the people in the world, and it would mean absolutely nothing.
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Tom Brite
Tom Brite

April 11th, 2005, 7:19 pm #17

An interesting site to check out so that you will get some feedback on this topic is www.ex-churchofchrist.com.

Tom
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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

April 12th, 2005, 2:17 am #18

Tom, thanks for the link. So far, most of the so-called “responses” to this “Tell Us Why You Left the Church of Christ” thread have been bash-and-criticize postings which only serve to be destructive and not helpful. These haven’t provided much of a biblical insight why people left the traditional Church of Christ. Maybe the ex-churchofchrist.com site will be more revealing. After a quick perusal, I list a few features of the site below, and interested parties can check them out.

First, the site lists the basic tenets of Church of Christ beliefs. I'll quote them exactly:

“1. Adult baptism by dunking under the water to be saved from one’s sins. Baptism is viewed as not only a symbol, but the moment of salvation.”

“2. Taking the Lord’s Supper (usually unleavened bread and grape juice) as a symbol, not a sacrament, every Sunday.”

“3. A capella singing (though there is a sizable instrumental Church of Christ group in the Midwest, associated with Central Christian College of the Bible who believe that it is wrong for men and women to wear shorts above their knees). The more conservative congregations use songbooks with shaped notes (doh re mi fa sol la ti, each having a different shape). Shaped notes date back to the 1700s as a help for people to learn to read music. The conservative Churches of Christ, a small Presbyterian group, and the Holdeman Mennonites are among the last to still use shaped notes, except for Sacred Harp singers who have clubs all over the United States to sing 200 year old songs a capella in four part harmony. Churches of Christ (south) split from the Christian Church and the Disciples of Christ (north) during the Civil War over instruments of music used in worship and denominational organization. The O'Kelly movement of the Christian Church eventually joined the United Church of Christ. There is also a sizable group in Australia called the Churches of Christ that are similar to the Christian Church/Disciples of Christ in the USA.”

“4. No denominational hierarchy, even anti-denominational. Each congregation is independent. Communication with other congregations is facilitated by journals/magazines, bookstores and colleges each associated with a particular wing of the Churches of Christ. Campbell, a postmaster, spread his beliefs by means of magazines which he edited. Churches of Christ are reputed to have the most religious magazines per person of any religious group.”

“5. Each congregation is led by elders elected by the congregation. The preacher is called a preacher, evangelist or minister (not a pastor, a term used by the Churches of Christ to describe an elder).”

“6. Salvation is by works and grace, not by faith alone, or grace alone. It is Arminian in doctrine.”

Next, the site expounds on what it considers to be the allegedly “unbiblical” doctrine which Churches of Christ teach. I'll just list them here and comment as needed:

“1. You can never be sure you are saved.”

I’m not familiar with this premise. Matt. 13:1-23 relates the parable of the sower, which implies that it is possible to receive the Word, then fall away. Hebrews 6:4-6 also implies that it is possible to obey Christ at first, then fall away and never return.

“2. Only people baptized in the Churches of Christ will be saved.”

See the essay “Who Is Going to Heaven?” in the thread “Apostate: Jeff Walling.”

“3. Every time you sin you are lost until you ask forgiveness.”

Matt. 6:14-15 deals with forgiveness of trespasses. If we forgive others of their trespasses, Christ will forgive us of ours. If we do not, He will not. Luke 17:3-4 also states that we are to forgive those who repent and ask for our forgiveness after they have trespassed against us. By these examples, if we sin against Christ, then repent and ask His forgiveness, He will forgive us. Those who sin but who neither repent nor ask for forgiveness have cause for concern.

“4. Obedience is following the blueprint in the book of Acts.”

Obedience is following the entire Word of God as outlined in the entire New Testament.

“5. Worship is following the blueprint in the book of Acts.”

The entire New Testament is a “blueprint” for worship. Saying that statement # 5 is “unbiblical” would imply resistance to some or all commands given in the Word.

“6. God is reluctant to forgive.”

I’m not familiar with this premise. Comments to # 3 above would contradict this.

“7. Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10) are an example of how we will be punished for wrong worship.”

I am familiar with this passage only as one illustration of the law of exclusion, that these two priests were slain for introducing that which God had not specifically commanded.

“8. Uzzah (II Samuel 6) is an example of how we will be punished for wrong worship.”

See comments for # 7. Only priests were to touch the Ark of the Covenant. All others would be slain.

“9. Instruments of music are forbidden and unacceptable to God in church worship” (includes usual arguments about instruments in the Old Testament and Revelation mentioning harps in heaven).

See the thread “Boswell-Hardeman Discussion on Instrumental Music in the Worship” at the Sunday School in Exile forum.

“10. The Lord's Supper must be taken every Sunday.”

Christ only said as often as we eat the bread and drink the cup (also 1 Cor. 11:26). Acts 20:7 implies the first day of the week. To say that statement # 10 is “unbiblical” implies an attitude of resistance and complaining, that there is something odious or unpleasant, perhaps even inconvenient, about taking the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. Why not approach the Lord’s Supper with reverence and contentment?

“11. I have to be worthy to take the Lord's Supper.”

Written as such, this statement would imply that only the sinless can participate. Only believers are to take the Lord's Supper, and in a worthy manner. In 1 Cor. 11:18-34, Paul upbraids the Corinthians for turning the Lord’s Supper into a common meal and not observing the Lord’s Supper with proper reverence: “When ye come together therefore into one place, (this) is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating every one taketh before (other) his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?…” (verses 20-22). “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink (this) cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (verse 27). “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body” (verse 29).

“12. Missing a church service is a sin.”

Hebrews 10:25 encourages us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Pointing a finger every time someone happens to miss a service violates Matt. 7:1-2.

The web site failed to include two other allegedly unbiblical Church of Christ tenets:

“13. It is sinful to dance.”

“14. It is sinful to drink alcohol, either by the thimbleful or the barrelful.”





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Anonymous
Anonymous

April 13th, 2005, 10:55 pm #19

This thread invites former members of the Church of Christ to tell us exactly why you left this faith. We are always being told that the Church of Christ is a vanishing sect, so we would like you to tell us why. What made the Church of Christ odious to you? Was our doctrine too strict? Was there too little love? Did you prefer instrumental music over a cappella singing? Did you want more programs and interactive features with group participation? Were the sermons too long or too theological? Spill your guts! Unload your heart! What drove you away? Usually, something most significant compels people to leave their faith entirely and embrace another, or none at all, so we’re here to learn from you, not condemn you for leaving. If you respond, please include as much of the following information as possible:

1. The exact reasons why you left. Please be very specific. Please refrain from generic responses like, “I hated the Church of Christ.”

2. If you left and then later returned to the Church of Christ, what specifically brought you back?

3. What, if anything, would you have the Church of Christ do so that people would not leave? In other words, what changes, if any, would you need to see before you would ever be willing to return to the Church of Christ?

If by responding, your intention is merely to bash and criticize the Church of Christ, there are plenty of other threads at this site which will allow you the opportunity to vent. In like manner, taking issue with those who respond will serve no purpose in this thread. Take it elsewhere.
Leaving the traditional church of Christ was not something I did on a whim. It's where I grew up; it was my heritage. However, I grew increasingly disillusioned with the membership, with the unjustifiable belief that the churches of Christ are the exclusive heirs of Heaven. I no longer believed I was there to worship the Lord, but rather that I was there to have my card stamped and to learn about how we were right and the rest of the Christian world was wrong. The one statement above all that makes me cringe is to hear someone in the church of Christ refer to the faithful of other denominations as not being "members of the church." That in and of itself is blasphemous. Who are we as humans in any denomination to declare who does and who does not make up the body of Christ? I never learned to pray, to truly commune with the Lord, until I left the traditional church of Christ. I never experienced true worship until I left the traditional church of Christ. I never understood the fullness of God's grace and mercy -- the fathomless depth of his love -- until I left the traditional church of Christ. Where do I worship now? I worship with a congregation that has become a haven for people just like me, the "recovering" former church of Christ members. There are no mechanical instruments in our Sunday worship. We baptize by immersion. But we do not believe that the whole of God's Kingdom is contained within the churches of Christ. We recognize that we are all still learning and growing. We extend a hand of welcome to anyone who wants to join us, and we find ways of working with diversity rather than using it as a measuring stick. We teach baptism as a necessary act of obedience but not as the solitary turn-key solution to salvation. I could go on and on because the reasons for my departure from the traditional church of Christ go much deeper. But let me end by saying that modernizing the church does not mean glossing over the teachings of Christ. However, it does mean that all churches regardless of the name on their sign must recognize that the effects of a broken world necessitate periodic adjustments in how we embrace the lost and love them into salvation.
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Perry
Perry

April 16th, 2005, 8:35 pm #20

This thread invites former members of the Church of Christ to tell us exactly why you left this faith. We are always being told that the Church of Christ is a vanishing sect, so we would like you to tell us why. What made the Church of Christ odious to you? Was our doctrine too strict? Was there too little love? Did you prefer instrumental music over a cappella singing? Did you want more programs and interactive features with group participation? Were the sermons too long or too theological? Spill your guts! Unload your heart! What drove you away? Usually, something most significant compels people to leave their faith entirely and embrace another, or none at all, so we’re here to learn from you, not condemn you for leaving. If you respond, please include as much of the following information as possible:

1. The exact reasons why you left. Please be very specific. Please refrain from generic responses like, “I hated the Church of Christ.”

2. If you left and then later returned to the Church of Christ, what specifically brought you back?

3. What, if anything, would you have the Church of Christ do so that people would not leave? In other words, what changes, if any, would you need to see before you would ever be willing to return to the Church of Christ?

If by responding, your intention is merely to bash and criticize the Church of Christ, there are plenty of other threads at this site which will allow you the opportunity to vent. In like manner, taking issue with those who respond will serve no purpose in this thread. Take it elsewhere.
I left the COC because of the hypocrisy. Just like Ken puts it, they are two sides to the same coin. Libs versus Conservatives and they are both getting rich. We just have worship in our house. If we find a small congregation that does not believe in taking money to construct new church buildings then we may resume going to formal worship services.

Perry
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