Part 5: The Scheme of Redemption
and the Ministry of Regeneration [see previous post]
Growing up as many people did in Churches of Christ, I heard countless sermons that ended with a call to baptism, including a quick rehashing of the five steps leading up to baptism, the opportunity for which all were given as an “invitation” song was sung. It was communicated that if your heart was right and the sermon had stirred you, then you had heard and believed the word, and the next step was to repent and confess before being baptized. This has helped lead me and countless others to the Gospel. Continue reading →
Growing up in the Churches of Christ, it was advertised to me as long as I can remember—in sermons, in Bible classes, at camp, in outlines and tracts, on bulletin boards, on websites, and in personal Bible study with someone about to become a Christian. God had a plan for us to be saved, avoid Hell, go to Heaven. It was obtainable in five simple steps: Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess, be Baptized. It was easy to memorize, easy to count. It was a bullet point plan to perfection. It was a reachable solution that I myself could perform to be a good Christian. And for a number of years in my youth, I assumed it was the best way to view the operation of being saved by God. Continue reading →
A look into the history of the Restoration Movement, “Campbellism” wave, and how historically the mainstream Churches of Christ ceased to preach against war in the wake of persecution from the government.
From the Conclusion:
“When I wrote these, I wrote them
for children who were told that dancing is tantamount to sex.
For girls who were taught that their bodies were shameful by preachers who blamed Bathsheba for David’s sin.
For families where brothers and sisters were not even allowed to swim in the same pool for fear of arousing unnatural passions.
For those who have lived in constant fear of hell because of a soteriology that can only be described as, “Once saved, always in jeopardy.” For those who have been deprived the comfort of the Holy Spirit’s presence in their life by preachers who told them that the Spirit dwells only in the Bible.
For entire families of preachers who have literally been kicked to the curb without notice because of a homiletical misstep or a personality conflict with a power-hungry eldership.
For those who have been told, “We will not even baptize you until you divorce your wife, because your marriage is unscriptural. It is better to break up your family than to burn in hell.”
For the women who have been “put in their place.”
For the LGBTQ family members who have spent hellish years trembling in the closet.
For the young alcoholic booted out of the Christian college without so much as an offer of help or treatment.
For the young man with a porn addiction who confided this to an elder and was threatened, “I’ll bet your momma would be real ashamed if she knew what you were doing.”
For the men with porn addictions who were told in the Open Forum of a Christian college lectureship: “I don’t see how it’s a problem. I love to go fishing, but if Jesus told me not to do it, I’d get rid of my rod and reel. It’s that simple, boys.”
I wrote these for everyone who has ever felt the need to pray, “Lord, protect me from my brethren.”
from Day 3.1:
Brother Jones waved a dismissive hand. “My views on Hell were well known amongst those people years ago, Calvin,” he said. “Up until a few months back, they just thought of it as one of those pet anomalies every preacher is allowed to have. Let me give you a few examples: Alasdair Cornwall, one of the eighteenth-century visionaries whose ‘back to the Bible,’ non-denominational preaching spawned our little movement, was an Arian, and I’m not even sure if he knew who Arius was. The pioneer revivalist ‘Onion’ Jim Throckmorton taught that it was a sin to get sick. O. D. Gypsum, the much-venerated Greek professor at Steed-Ramrick University from 1923 until 1965, was a staunch pacifist. Yet all these men are quoted freely from Brotherhood pulpits. Then, there’s a slew of outright bigots, such as Lloyd Q. Sargent, Jephthah Wigglesworth, and Zebulon Butcher, who put down their black brethren in their journals and belittled any white congregation that allowed a black evangelist to come preach there. But they are still seen as heroes for their strident defenses of orthodoxy, despite such blatant manifestations of a sinful attitude. It wasn’t an odd perspective on Hell that caused them to put the ban on me, Calvin. I’m in trouble for a much graver display of heterodoxy than annihilationism. And now that I’ve offended them in a great matter, they are calling me to task for every small matter, as well.”