Oct 7, 2005

Beware; The Yoke Might Be On You

After reading David U's post on Sectarianism on his blog, Light and Salt; my memory was jogged regarding how the CoC I once attended refused to share anything with any "false" churches in their community sporting any name other than "Church of Christ" on their church signs. Their reasoning was based on 2 Cor. 6:14 (NEV)
"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?"
Unless you have spent some time with the legalistic branch of the CoC you may find it difficult to believe that generally this group will not pool their resources, or work hand-in-hand with the Baptists, Nazarenes, Methodists, or any other religious group, regardless of how desperate the situation may be in their community.

When a non-christian home was almost destroyed by fire, several different brands of churches in the small community banded together to help rebuild the home. The CoC in this town refused to join this band-of-churches because they believed it would unequally yoke them with unbelievers, and as a result they would be walking in darkness.

One rebel elder, and four or five of us "fellowshippers of darkness," decided to join the "apostate" churches and help rebuild the home. We worked side-by-side with Baptists, and a member of the Pentecost church until the job was finished, and enjoyed every minute of it.

While we were acting like carpenters, the verse quoted above was tossed into the conversation several times by our preacher, and several others, in an attempt to prove how wrong we were during our "ungodly" alliance with the unbelievers.

The CoC where I attended also refused to join the other churches in the community for an Easter observance, because we would be seen as unequally yoked with them, and give the impression that we were just another denomination.

Unfortunately, there are still ultra-legal churches (at least in CA) that subscribe to the same old illogical traditional interpretations of scripture that I was nurtured with many moons ago.

To repeat myself from an earlier post; "Old traditions never die; they just hang around forever."


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Nancy said...

I totally understand what you're talking about, having grown up in the CoC. It's so puzzling, isn't it?

iggy said...

I think a does of the good samaritan would be advised. haha.

it used to amaze me how much people worry about their own sanctification... when it is really God's that He has given to us. it is not that He trust us to keep it but that He will keep what He gave to us in us for His Names sake. Too often this sactifiaction is confused with self righteousness... and that is sad.


Hoots Musings said...

I could spin some tails about my Aunt and Uncle that would curl your toenails. Legalistic is too kind to describe them.

Here are some of their issues:
-Disfellowshipping their son and his wife because he was divorced and remarried, missing out on the joy of two of their grandchildren.
-Having family reunions at the buidling that is not attached to the church building because we cannot eat or drink in the main building.
-Alcohol never touched the lips of "my Lord" as we hit the pew in anger...instead declaring it was raisin paste.

All the while abusing your children when they were young with beatings. Never encouraging your children and adopting a young girl and turning her into a modern day Cinderella.

Now they are old, lonely and in their minds, they defended the faith. Jesus said, "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scibes and Pharisees, you shal not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:20

Larry said...

The issues of your aunt and uncle mirror thousands of other lives that have been, and are at this time being destroyed, because of their self-righteousness and adherence to a legal church system.

I know of two sisters who did not speak to each other for the rest of their lives (over 30 years) because they differed over supporting orphanages using the church treasury.

Churches of Christ in one small town where I was raised would not associate with each other in any way because of their argument over how many cups (many, or one) was scriptural during the communion.

In many of these ultra-conservative churches there is only one approved practice, and it's only their infallable interpretation of scripture that is acceptable. If we disagree, we're lost with no hope, unless we repent and accept their narrow mindset.

Thurman8er said...

We all have tales like this to tell.

What thrills me is that I see more and more CofC's and CofCer's who are embracing their brothers and sisters who worship differently. I get excited when I see signs of unity and I try desperately to focus on them and not on the traditionalist nonsense.

That they may all be one...

Hoots Musings said...

Praise God the legalistic ways are waning. I feel very sad for my aunt and uncle, because they have missed so many joys life offers.

On the up side, we have to unite and love one another. The example of my legalistic family caused me to take a 180 and to live a grace filled life.

We love all inspite of their views whether they love us back.

Larry said...

I agree, many in the CoC have made great strides to break from their legalistic approach, and now offer the hand of fellowship to all those God has chosen.

Small churches seem to have the hardest time realizing their not exclusively the church; many of these little groups put such a bad twist on Christianity that their children become confused, and often abandon God completely.

Of the 10-12 known CoC groups in the city I called home for the last 20 years, at least half
(unfortunately) have legalistic leanings, however, there are Christians within these groups that do not buy into the "we alone are the only church" belief.

Most members of these legalistic churches (the ones I'm familiar with) are good honest people, and believe with all their hearts they are following God exactly like the scriptures teach. While I consider them my brothers and sisters, there are many in these ultra-conservative churches that believe you and I are reprobates :)

Hoots Musings said...

inging to the tune of "I am proud to be an Okie from Muskogee"

I am proud to be a reprobate in the Church of Christ...

Anyone care to add the next line?

(I have lost my mind due to having too much time on my hands...Lord give me a job soon!)

jettybetty said...

It just never made sense to me growing up--I think it's a God thing I even kept trying--once I discovered grace, theology started making a lot more sense--I am thankful God got a hook in me and wouldn't let go--now, church is a totally blessed experience for me!