“The Differences Between Us and You, and the Rest of Them

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This is the letter I wrote to a young disciple:

“You asked me through text messages if there are differences between us and you and the rest of them. Answer: There are. Your father and your uncles may have read about the many segments of the Restoration Movement; yours and mine are just two of these.

“There is the ultra liberal church of Christ, to which the Disciples of Christ belongs. Some preachers in this group no longer hold to the inerrancy of the Scripture, and their authority seems to be: If the Bible does not prohibit it, then it is ok. The Disciples use instruments of music in their worship. At one time they had mission societies. They also have women pastors.

“The second group is the Church of Christ/Christian Church people, who use instruments of music in worship but have no mission societies. Oh, excuse me, at one time they had mission societies, and these too created further divisions among them. They no longer have these.

“Then there is the premillenialist wing of the Church of Christ, who believe that the church is not the kingdom promised in the Old Testament. They still look forward to the 1,000 year reign of Christ in the city of Jerusalem when He comes again.

“There is the one-cupper church of Christ, who emphasizes the use of one cup in the Lord’s Supper.

“There is the non-Sunday school class people who put more emphasis on the ‘unity of the whole church’ even during worship, so they don’t divide the members into classes.

“There is the non-institution churches of Christ… [They] have no Bible colleges and orphan homes; they also believe that the church collection should only be used for the saints, meaning members of the church only.

“Then there are churches belonging to the Boston Movement, headed by Kip McKean.

“Then there is us. We have radio programs, TV programs, orphan homes, Bible colleges. We don’t use instruments of music, and we have no mission societies.

“Some in our group have also been divided over the issues of divorce and remarriage.

“So, how many divisions is that? Nine. And it keeps growing. I decry this kind of happening in the brotherhood for which Christ died.

“Janelle, I hate division. I don’t like to be a part of the group that promotes division. I don’t feel comfortable being called a ‘liberal’ because I am not.

“I have opinions. It is my opinion that in matters of faith, all Christians should be united; in matters of opinion, we have liberty; but in all things, we should have charity toward one another.

“One time I worshipped with the church in [name of church deleted]. They are an instrumental group if I am not mistaken. But the preacher there knew that I belong to another persuasion; and that day when we worshipped, I heard no musical instruments being played to the accompaniment of the gospel songs that we sang.

“I can worship with people in your group. I did so one time.

“A church in [name of place deleted], who was started by a preacher supported by the ‘non-institutional’ brethren in the States, merged with us. These Christians never knew about the issues that divided us. We had a united fellowship in songs and the Lord’s supper and in prayer. They are now a part of the church that I had organized in [name of place deleted]. That church still remains there to this day, and they now have deacons and elders.

“At the beginning of your studies in [name of school deleted], I received an email from a certain [name deleted] asking for the church address in [name of place deleted]. I was not sure if it was you or your father who wrote me. I tried to help you find the address of the church, and I never considered the difference between us as something that should keep us apart as brethren in fellowship.

“I suggest these options:
(1) You may worship with the church in [name of place deleted]. I already contacted them, gave them your cellphone number. Anytime they might call you. It is your choice if you shall worship with them. Or,

(2) You may worship with the group in [name of place deleted]. You have gone there already. Do you like them? Are you comfortable with them?

(3) [Or your] last option is for you to worship alone, in the privacy of your room; or urge your [relatives] to come and start a group of your own persuasion in [name of place deleted]. If I visit your place I might look for your group and worship with you, if you will accept me.

“If not, I may worship alone.
. . . . .. .
“Someday, we shall meet each other, maybe not in this world but in eternity. I want you to always remember that like you, I love God and Jesus and I love to serve them. I am striving to obey His will.

“Janelle, I don’t want to be shackled by human opinions, like institutions, colleges, or rituals, like cups, or impositions like ‘church collection for saints only.’ …I want to be guided only by the commands of Jesus. Examples are not commands; they only tell me how commands were followed. I may have opinions, but as I have said, I don’t want to bind these on you.

“You have my Christian love and my prayers.

“Ed”

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