Jun 26, 2006

discussions with a pentecostal preacher

Recently I had the opportunity to engage in a candid conversation with a Pentecostal preacher that revealed some interesting thoughts regarding how he, and other "pastors," perceive the Church of Christ.

He was curious why COC ministers always refuse invitations to work with the local Ministerial Association in supporting their efforts to create a better community, and especially to promote Jesus in the community. Evidently all (or nearly all) local churches partner in this work.

This group (by his definition) does not set any rules that govern churches; it is an informal group with the goal of making an impact in their city by working together to promote Jesus, and in no way geared to promote any particular church, or agenda.

According to many in the COC it is unscriptural to join such organizations based on their interpretation of 2 Cor. 6:14-16:
"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; ..."
These verses serve as proof-text for many in the COC for refusing to unite with other denominational groups for any reason, even when these groups are trying to better their communities by introducing Jesus to the unchurched. By twisting these verses into something not intended, we are insinuating that members of the Ministerial Associations are unbelievers, lawless, in darkness, in accord with the Devil, and not a temple of God.

Combining resources and working as a team with "denominational churches" has usually been taboo for the COC regardless of the situation, or the good that could be accomplished. Is it any wonder that in some communities the COC is viewed as cultic, isolationistic, and self-centered!

How can it be wrong for Christians from different "churches" to unite in a concerted effort to help their community? In the wake of Katrina many Churches of Christ did unite with other religious groups to help their communities, but it usually takes a full-blown catastrophe for this to happen.

Just wondering!


jettybetty said...

Larry, I realize I live in the very liberal Texas--but our preachers/pastors do belong to those groups--and I fully support them in doing so. Our congregation has ongoing projects with several other denominational churches, too. I pray God will be glorified!

L.E.Meredith said...

Larry I have wondered if a baptist were to come across a loyal CoC conservative up in a tree with a lion on the ground, would his help be refused? because he was carrying a fiddle.

Larry said...

Glad to hear that Churches of Christ are working with other churches to glorify God in Texas. It's rare in the San Joaquin Valley of California to see the COC willing to join forces with any denominational group, regardless of the need.

As a teenager (many moons ago) the COC in our small town refused to be associated in any way with the denominational groups, to the point of not sharing the religious page in the town newspaper to display our "worship" schedule.

Very sad indeed!

Larry said...

You most certainly have to refuse help from any Baptist bearing a fiddle; after all, how could any TRUE Christian acknowledge a fiddling denominational sinner?

Just can't be too careful. :)

Milly said...

I'm having a difficult time believing that all COC's turn down helping and joining efforts. It’s too easy to lump everyone together. I was told my husband and I couldn’t take communion together when we were married in my COC church by the Catholic church. I’d doubt that all the Catholic priest would have said no. I married a Catholic man who is now COC. :-}

Larry said...

All Churches of Christ are not guilty of refusing to work with other groups not associated with their particular tribe. In my post I used words like; "many," "usually," and "some" which indicate that not all Churches of Christ, or members within those churches feel this way.

It's not uncommon in this part of the country for the COC, especially the conservative tribes, to ignore any group doing a good work unless it's wholly organized and managed by the specific COC tribe your a member of.

Sad to say, but for many years I was a part of a conservative tribe of the COC honestly believing that by working with non COC groups we were participating in a sinful endeavor.

Milly said...

I agree with you I do know that some are like that. I attend a "radical" so too speak one. Yep we have an amener in the crowd. :-} How will they change? They just might not because just as they love to sit in the same place every time they won’t want change. Sad but true. We are the ones who must lead the changes so that folks know how we truly are.

Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

Larry I have just stumbled onto your blog. I am really enjoying reading a number of your blogs. If you get a chance come by mine at http://stoned-campbelldisciple.blogspot.com/

I will be back . . . so said Terminator.

Bobby Valentine

Royce Ogle said...

If my house is on fire I don't think I'll check the theology of everyone who brings a bucket of water to help put the fire out.

Jesus ate with sinners and we can't do something to help our communities working alongside others who claim Him as Lord?

God help us to stop trying to be holy and righteous in the energy of the flesh.

Royce Ogle

Larry said...

Appreciate your comments.

Those claiming to love God often put a lot of theological hoops in our way and demand us to jump threw them exactly the way THEY think we should.

God's grace and love to all who believe in His Son is often questioned by those who think they alone are His children.