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Brother Bill and others with ears to hear: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.
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.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 were 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.
Dr. Crump,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.