Tell Us Why You Left the Church of Christ

Joined: February 14th, 2004, 10:46 pm

May 14th, 2005, 1:08 pm #41

I was uncomfortable with the exchange with Brian. You made it clear that you do not want to debate theological differences on the site (earlier post regarding music) but when someone mentions a theological difference people do jump on them (again see earlier posts)...you can not have it both ways (I believe that only theological reasons are sufficient but you have kind of asked people to not get into them so what you will be left with is personal preference reports which you will then say are inadequate).
I think Brian was right to ask "why do you want to know" because he was anticipating being bashed (I don't actually know him but I presume that was why he asked) and also earlier you had said you did not want to get into theological debates on this thread.
There are a lot on non-coc people on this site who are here because of the changing going on in their churches and I wonder if this thread is, although interesting, off topic. Do you want to gather this information so that you can say that all the reasons are shallow and inadequate and have less to do with the leading of God than the preferences of man?? I hope not...
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Joe
Joe

June 2nd, 2005, 2:36 pm #42

Brian, thanks for going into detail about why you left. That's all we desired from the very beginning. You didn't need to beat around the bush about it. I can't guarantee that others won't jump down your throat about your reasons, but I at least appreciate your honesty. Of course, I do not agree with many of your theological views, but as you noted, this is not the thread for debating them.

Now for others who aspire to post on this thread, take heed. This thread was created to study why people leave the Church of Christ. Earlier I stated our reasons for desiring this study, yet some are unwilling to accept those reasons. Very well, those who fault our reasons may do themselves and us a service by simply not posting here. It's your choice whether you respond or not; no one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to do so. But if you decide to respond, just make life simple by giving us your SPECIFIC, DETAILED reasons for leaving and let us worry about WHY we want to know. There's no need to be evasive and uncooperative. Also please have the courtesy not to abuse this thread with hateful, spiteful responses.
Brother Bill and others with ears to hear:
Charles Pretlow has a book out that seems to hit the nail on the head.
http://www.revelationsix.com/bookdata/CHAPTER%201.pdf

I read the online first chapter, my wife is reading the book, her reports on the book it seems that Mr. Pretlow has a handle on what is wrong with the Church in America.

In the first chapter Mr. Pretlow has raised a couple of RED flags with my "rule of thumb" acid test: 1)He is not using the KJV. 2)He thinks Bush is a good saving moral christain president. 3)He tinks that the Holy Spirit and the Church is restaining satan, which leads me to believe he does not understand II Thess 2:6&7, but other than these he has hit the nail on the head. It is a good read, you will just have practice scriptural reaping (Pick the good and leave the bad).

To God be the Glory
Joe McKnight
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Anonymous
Anonymous

June 15th, 2005, 8:52 am #43

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 was born into a COC family, attended church three times a week, and was sent to a private COC school K-12. I was never baptized in the COC because even as a young child things did not add up. I was taught that God is love, but there was not much love at home, at church, or at school. My mother was emotionally unbalanced, and continues today to save my soul with every conversation we have. My father, considered to be a pillar of the church, beat me with a belt on a regular basis. Within the church I saw a lot of condemnation of people on the outside and a lot of hypocracy on the inside. It was legalistic and controlling. The school I attended had the second highest delinquency rate in the city, probably because we were pressured to be perfect instead of just kids. It has been particularly difficult for me to be a member of my family once I became an adult. My parents have had such a narrow view of the world and of life and I just do not fit into that narrow view. My father died a couple of years ago. During my last visit to see family my sister revealed to me that my father felt as though he had made a lot of mistakes with me. It was news to me because he never spoke such words to me before he died. In fact I can never remember him every apologizing to me for anything. I made a lot of compromises in my life (and I am still suffering the consequences of those compromises) in order to please my father. But in the end he left me hanging on my hook, and it makes me realize that the compromises I made to my own life were in vain. My mother will tell you that all she needs is her faith, and that her faith has been what has carried her through life. But a few years ago she finally had a complete mental breakdown, spent a few months in a psych ward, and takes a handful of pills every day in order to be able to walk out the door. Within my family nobody has allowed themself to get to know me as a person. They are too afraid because I am outside of their understanding. I think this is a direct result of the dogmatic opinions of the COC. It is just too restrictive. I really do not have any good memories of the COC. It is strange that I found this message board today. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about the COC, but was searching for information this evening. I went to see a film today that was about sexual molestation. I was molested as a child by a man who was a leader in the church. I was eight years old. I'm not sure about his name but can remember what he looked like, so I was surfing the web tonight to see faces of people who are still leaders of the church. There were a couple of people who stuck out in my mind, meeting the image of the person I remember, people who were in my church when I was eight years old. I found a lot of information about both men that I suspected and they are both respected leaders in the COC.
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Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

June 17th, 2005, 8:11 am #44

<font color=indigo size=3 face=Times New Roman>Anonymous:

Really, “I feel your pain.” I gather that a major portion of your post deals with specific personal experiences—and used as reasons for “leaving the church” which, by your own admission, you were never a member of. But speaking of religious faiths in general, it’s without exception that personal and family problems exist in all of them.

I also gather that your references to the church are in general terms—too restrictive, dogmatic, condemnatory, hypocritical, legalistic, controlling, etc. But we also find those and other attributes in different churches—too freedom-oriented, defensive of their dogmas, too hierarchical in organization, etc.

I think we need more specifics from you. Don’t we find numerous warnings, restrictions, specific commands, rules, principles in the scriptures? Christ’s church is too restrictive in what specific areas? In your opinion, what specific doctrines do not conform to the teachings in the Holy Scripture? Don’t you believe that baptism toward the remission of sins is essential to salvation … and why not? What is your definition of legalism?

It’s totally unfair for anyone to blame the church of our Lord on the basis of personal experiences or another person’s behavior.

Donnie </font>
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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

June 17th, 2005, 2:56 pm #45

I'm in agreement with Donnie in that one should not up and leave the Church of Christ because one's personal life has been filled with pain and suffering. There are abusive people in every faith, unfortunately. Just look at the number of Roman Catholic priests who have emerged in the news over having allegedly molested children. "Anonymous" writes at length about having been molested by someone who was a "leader" in the church. Was this unrighteous person a legitimate excuse for leaving the Church of Christ? Were there not many other righteous people in the church? The buck stops with each individual person.

As I survey the previous posts, I find that the vast majority (perhaps even ALL) of those who left the Church of Christ did so strictly for personal reasons, not because they found that our doctrine was completely unscriptural (one person claimed unscriptural doctrine, but in the final analysis, his own personal preferences lead him to that faulty conclusion).

As "reasons" for leaving, all too often most folks claim that we are:

1. "Too legalistic." This is an excuse for not wishing to follow faithfully the tenets of the New Testament. For example, to insist on baptism by immersion in water for forgiveness of sins and salvation is "legalistic," yet the New Testament commands it (Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 3:21).

2. "Too restrictive." This is an excuse for not wishing to follow the tenets of the New Testament faithfully. For example, to bar women from leadership roles as elders and deacons is "restrictive" (even chauvinistic), yet the New Testament authorizes only males (1 Tim. 3). To ban musical instruments in worship is "restrictive," yet the New Testament does not specifically authorize them (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16). What the NT does not authorize in worship, we do not practice in worship.

3. "Too judgmental and unloving." This is an excuse for supporting false teachers and churches who alter, subtract from, or add to, biblical principles so the Church will be more acceptable to the masses. For example, condemning the worldly practices of the Change Movement is "judgmental and unloving," yet the New Testament authorizes us to expose and avoid those that promote false doctrine (Romans 16:17, 2 John 9-11). The NT also condemns those who alter biblical principles (Rev. 22:18-19).

4. "Too self-righteous and believe that they are only folks going to heaven." This is an excuse for not wishing to do all that one can to be right with Christ through obedience to His Word. If one strives to follow Christ in all that HE has commanded (not what the denominations say), veering neither to the right hand nor to the left, is there any reason to believe that person will NOT be saved? (2 Tim. 4:6-8).

5. "Too wrapped up in doctrine while neglecting the poor and destitute." This is an excuse to focus on good works while ignoring specific biblical doctrine that may conflict with one's personal preferences. If we love God/Christ, we will keep ALL His commandments (doctrine) (1 John 5:1-5), which includes caring for the poor and destitute (Matt. 25:31-46). All verses KJV.

Therefore, to those who contemplate leaving the Church of Christ, examine your hearts very carefully and realize that the act you are about to commit is indeed based on petty, personal preferences, not on biblical principles.
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Anonymous
Anonymous

June 18th, 2005, 3:05 am #46

Dr. Crump,

Your response to my posting is exactly why I left the COC. You asked for reasons, and I gave reasons. Then you attempted to re-label my reasons as excuses. You are giving me what I have always heard. I know and love some very fine COC members. I was immersed in COC beliefs more than anyone else that I know. I searched for Christ in the COC and did not find Him there.

It has been suggested that I might have chosen another religion because it might fit me better. This again is all I have ever heard, so please try to come up with something new. One’s personal experiences, what that person sees, hears, and lives are perfectly legitimate to bring to the table of faith. What I did not mention before about the physical abuse that I experienced was that much of it happened when I was in church. Squirming in my seat during church services would get me yanked out into the courtyard where I would be beaten with a belt. It was in full view of the other members of the church. It was abuse but was re-labeled as discipline. The only person who ever reached out to me as an abused child ended up molesting me. He had his own agenda and was not concerned with my welfare at all.

There was another child molester at the COC school I attended. He was arrested after trying to solicit sex from a young child in a department store bathroom. He was the Dean of Students. The school responded by saying he had had a nervous breakdown. There was no investigation into whether or not he had molested children at the school. It was simply re-labeled and covered up. Catholic priests who sexually abuse children were considered child molesters, while someone within the COC who did the same thing was having some emotional problems. I saw the same re-labeling with alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness - you name it.

I mentioned in my original post that I witnessed too much condemnation of people on the outside and too much hypocrisy within the COC. I found Christ in another Christian faith. Within that faith people are free to be who they are and are able to be honest about their own spirituality and understanding of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. The same problems exist in any church, but I do not wish to worship in a church that pretends to be immune to the human condition. I am happy for anyone who has found Christ within the COC, but I did not.

I have forgiven everyone who has wronged me in the past. One has to forgive in order to live life. You have attempted to re-label my reasons for leaving the COC and turn them into what you call excuses. You cannot change my experiences or my beliefs to fit your way of thinking. I know that might be all you know how to do, and I forgive that too.

I’m not sure what the true intention of this thread is. The first post led me to believe that it was strictly a fact-finding mission regarding the reasons why people have chosen to follow another faith. But some of the replies to the responses seem like there might be an agenda attached.
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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

June 18th, 2005, 8:37 pm #47

Anonymous, no matter how much you may try to defend your reasons, you still passed the buck. So you squirmed in your seat and were yanked out and disciplined ("beaten") with a belt. Was that an excuse to leave the Church of Christ? Absolutely not! You had bad family experiences. Excuse to leave? No! One cannot hold the Church of Christ (or any particular faith) to blame for one's unfortunate family experiences, whether they occur inside or outside the church. As I said before, the buck stops with the INDIVIDUAL. But I'm not going to be able to convince you otherwise, because you are adamantly opposed to the Church of Christ for PERSONAL reasons. And from what I discerned, your reasons for leaving were certainly not sound at all, for they had NO biblical basis. If you look close enough, you'll find hypocrites, child molesters, perverts, drunks, drug addicts, and other undesirables in ALL faiths, just as you found certain kinds of abominable people in the Church of Christ. They're called SINNERS. In fact, once in a while, you may even find whole congregations in ANY faith where the members all behave in an unchristian manner. In that case, you may choose to find another congregation, for such a congregation has become corrupt, but you DON"T desert your basic faith over what others do. Only YOU are accountable for YOUR actions, not someone else. You must work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

The reasons for leaving the Church of Christ (or ANY faith) should be based purely on BIBLICAL reasons: If that faith fails to follow the New Testament to the letter in ALL things prescribed in the Gospels, the Acts, the apostolic epistles, and the Revelation; if that faith fails to minister to people to save their souls (it seeks more to entertain them and give them a jolly, good-time experience as the denominations do). And believe me, I was once a member of another entertainment-oriented "denomination."

I'm happy that you think you "found Christ" in a faith other than the Church of Christ. I say this next for your own good: I encourage you to examine that faith closely and determine whether that faith is truly following the New Testament in ALL things and not base your conclusions on the superficial fact that this other faith may make you feel good about yourself. Is your new faith less "restrictive" than the Church of Christ? If so, does it conflict with the New Testament? Does the doctrine of your new faith match that of the New Testament? Most other faiths find some way to skirt the simple but strict teachings of the New Testament; many folks don't want to walk the "narrow path" therein and thus turn aside for greener, more pleasing faiths that cater to personal whims and desires.
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Joined: February 14th, 2004, 10:46 pm

June 18th, 2005, 10:17 pm #48

Wow--this fellow says he is following Christ in a non-coc church--couldn't we just be happy for him?? I am glad he attends, presumably reads his Bible and prays. We don't need to pressure him. He didn't say he goes to a "seeker-friendly" church which this web site is designed to instruct people on...for all we know he goes to a doctrinally sound non-coc church. As I said in my earlier post: this thread seems to want to say that anyone who leaves does so for personal preference and not by the leading of God. I think this guy knows that people caused his difficulties and not the coc but if he can grow at another site let's allow him. He didn't say anything to lead me to presume that his church was not sound--he just said it was not coc and you made the presumption. The tone in your email was unkind, frankly.
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Anonymous
Anonymous

June 19th, 2005, 2:31 am #49

Anonymous, no matter how much you may try to defend your reasons, you still passed the buck. So you squirmed in your seat and were yanked out and disciplined ("beaten") with a belt. Was that an excuse to leave the Church of Christ? Absolutely not! You had bad family experiences. Excuse to leave? No! One cannot hold the Church of Christ (or any particular faith) to blame for one's unfortunate family experiences, whether they occur inside or outside the church. As I said before, the buck stops with the INDIVIDUAL. But I'm not going to be able to convince you otherwise, because you are adamantly opposed to the Church of Christ for PERSONAL reasons. And from what I discerned, your reasons for leaving were certainly not sound at all, for they had NO biblical basis. If you look close enough, you'll find hypocrites, child molesters, perverts, drunks, drug addicts, and other undesirables in ALL faiths, just as you found certain kinds of abominable people in the Church of Christ. They're called SINNERS. In fact, once in a while, you may even find whole congregations in ANY faith where the members all behave in an unchristian manner. In that case, you may choose to find another congregation, for such a congregation has become corrupt, but you DON"T desert your basic faith over what others do. Only YOU are accountable for YOUR actions, not someone else. You must work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

The reasons for leaving the Church of Christ (or ANY faith) should be based purely on BIBLICAL reasons: If that faith fails to follow the New Testament to the letter in ALL things prescribed in the Gospels, the Acts, the apostolic epistles, and the Revelation; if that faith fails to minister to people to save their souls (it seeks more to entertain them and give them a jolly, good-time experience as the denominations do). And believe me, I was once a member of another entertainment-oriented "denomination."

I'm happy that you think you "found Christ" in a faith other than the Church of Christ. I say this next for your own good: I encourage you to examine that faith closely and determine whether that faith is truly following the New Testament in ALL things and not base your conclusions on the superficial fact that this other faith may make you feel good about yourself. Is your new faith less "restrictive" than the Church of Christ? If so, does it conflict with the New Testament? Does the doctrine of your new faith match that of the New Testament? Most other faiths find some way to skirt the simple but strict teachings of the New Testament; many folks don't want to walk the "narrow path" therein and thus turn aside for greener, more pleasing faiths that cater to personal whims and desires.
Dr. Crump,

You asked a simple question and I gave you an answer. I did not ask for your opinion, analysis, or judgment. In fact, you have wiped your feet on the guidelines you created. You have no authority to judge me or the decisions I have made in my life. You have no authority to validate or invalidate anything I have done in my life. I’m not seeking your guidance.

Unfortunately, I did not read any of the other posts before replying the first time. If I had I would have immediately realized that your intentions were not to gain information from people, but to preach and judge. Why the dishonesty? If you had been honest you would have said, “tell me why you left the COC and I will give you my judgment.”

Instead, you set out bait to lure people in and then exposed your true intentions. Sounds like predatory behavior to me. That is the way abusers do their work. Why have you chosen such predatory tactics? Does it give you a jolly when you pass your judgment? Does it give you a jolly to preach at people? Does it give you a jolly to treat people like they are spiritually inferior to you? Are you able to be straightforward about your intentions, or are you afraid you will be rejected if you do? Do you use predatory tactics by choice, or were the same tactics used on you?

Who do you think you are to pass judgment on me? Who do you think you are to tell me what I should examine and what I should question? Who do you think you are to pick around in my life experience and then tell me what is right and what is wrong about it? What makes you an authority on what is Biblical and what is not? What makes your opinion truth? Where does the buck stop with you? You are not interested in “learning” from people who left the COC, you are interested in working your agenda. Why the dishonesty? I’m not interested in playing a sick little game with you.
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Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

June 19th, 2005, 4:28 am #50

<font size=3 color=indigo face=Times New Roman>Anonymous:

I have just reread Dr. Crump’s three guidelines for responding: (1) … Be specific … please refrain from generic responses like, “I hated” the church of Christ; (2) If you left and later returned …; (3) What … to do so that people would not leave….

It appears that in response to #1, you have covered [quite in detail] a lot of ground on the basis of your own personal experiences with your “environment” (but everyone has his/her own set of experiences—this includes myself). For intellectuals like you—and I meant that sincerely—your unfortunate set of circumstances in the past is hardly a valid point for discussion in this thread in light of the differences in doctrinal matters, vast or small, among various religious groups.

In addition, this website’s main focus has been on issues regarding changes taking place in churches—changes that have caused people either to be alienated or to leave their home congregation because the leadership has allowed or forced such changes to occur. I don’t believe that Dr. Crump’s intent was to use this thread as a confessional in order to relieve guilt or pain, although we sympathize and commiserate, or to use this thread to discuss social issues regarding child molestation, physical abuses, etc., and immoral lives of other people.

In essence, I have gotten the same impression that while you were specific in your initial post regarding your unfortunate experiences while growing up (and you added even more of the same in your subsequent post) … the impression that you literally hate and feel resentful toward “the church of Christ”—it is obvious! How else can I make that statement without sounding rude? And in your third post, you sounded hateful to Dr. Crump—this time personally.

Regarding point #2—this is somewhat inapplicable for the reason that, and I believe it is safe to say, you have not returned.

Regarding point #3—you haven’t made comments or suggestions. Or, have you? I guess it remains to be seen.

Now, let’s go back to point #2—the reason for the title of this post. “Did I misunderstand this declaration in your earlier post?” Your original statement was:
  • “I was born into a COC family, attended church three times a week, and was sent to a private COC school K-12. I was never baptized in the COC because even as a young child things did not add up.”
With your level of intelligence, you would not soon forget this scriptural doctrine that a penitent or repentant sinner is not added to the church (Acts 2:37-42) until he has been baptized into Christ in order to have his sins remitted in the blood of the Lamb. Your declaration is that you were “never baptized in the COC because….” And the logical and intelligent conclusion is that you were never [your own word] a member of this church in the first place. And, therefore, you never left the church you were never a member of. Is this making sense? [Believe me … I’m not judging you. I’m only trying to make sense of your declaration. OK?]

Donnie </font>
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