“…contend for the faith…” PART 2

The title of this series comes from the opening verses of the New Testament book of Jude.  My tribe, the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ have, in the past (and still in certain segments), really liked to contend.  Sometimes we’ve liked to contend about things that really aren’t worth contending about (musical instruments in church buildings, anyone?).

Part of the deal about this whole essentials vs. nonessentials issue is drawing the line in the sand.  What issues are, as the old schoolers say, tests of fellowship?  What issues are deal breakers–if we don’t agree on them, then we cannot and will not hang out and work together?  There are some issues that are universal for all times and places.  The person and work of Jesus, for example, is the ultimate deal breaker (just read 1 John, and you’ll definitely see this to be true).  That’s why we don’t fellowship with the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses–they have distorted the person and work of Jesus.  There have been, however, issues that we’ve drawn a line in the sand that, looking back, we really shouldn’t have.  Like I mentioned earlier, in the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, music has been a deal breaker.  Music caused an actual split in our movement back in 1906 (that was the officially recognized date–the schizm occured much earlier).  Straight up–that was retarded.  It short circuited the fastest growning Christian movement in the history of our country.

So the question up for discussion today is this:  what issues are deal breakers for you?  What issues do you draw a line in the sand over?

Let’s get it started–and don’t just give a list.  Tell why these issues are deal breakers for you.


About Aaron

Aaron is a follower of Jesus. He's married to his smokin' hot wife Laura and is the father of three adorable girls. He enjoys a robust cigar, a complex root beer, a good movie, writing, football, thought-provoking books, and rousing discussions about subjects you're not supposed to talk about (like theology and politics). Religious people irritate him (because he once was one). He's on a quest to find the perfect dry rub and sauce for ribs.
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3 Responses to “…contend for the faith…” PART 2

  1. David says:

    F. Lagard Smith wrote book a few years back entiltled “Who is My Brother?” and in it he describes various levels of fellowship. I can’t recall the details right now & the book is at home. Anyway, there are degrees to which i can work with others. It depends on how intimate the fellowship i guess. I can work with Catholics at the homeless shelter for instance, but not in a church planting effort. I guess I could use traditional “church memebrship” as a point of discussion. Those who believe in the gospel of Christ and have repented & been immersed would be those I consider brethren and eligible for “church membership.”. Since this is the beginning of fellowship, it is where I start. Beyond that it becomes much more complicated. Yet, really only a denial of Christ and/or and unrepentant lifestyle would break fellowship.

    Another way to look at it is to consider where I’d “go (or not go) to church.”

    A church that denied the innerancy of Scripture is out = no authority, no absolute truth.

    Also out for me would be churches that could be described as charismatic, word-faith, egalitarian, Calvinist (reformed) or paedobaptist. Could we work at the foodbanl together? Sure, but that’s a different degree of fellowship – not family fellowship if you will.

  2. Stuart says:

    If they confess Jesus is Lord (and this presumes a belief in the resurrection), I have a hard time not calling them brother. I’m not saying they’re right about everything, but I err on the side of fellowship. God will make the ultimate call.

    I also lean towards open membership (though I’d like to note that I don’t think church votes are mandatory (or even advisable) and certainly don’t override the elders). And I think the biblical pattern for becoming a disciple should be taught (I imagine the ones who would offer the most resistance would be transfers anyway). However, I think the elders should have stricter standards for those who would teach in the church.

    • Stuart says:

      Btw, hopefully I chimed in late enough to avoid getting too many glaring looks. As I alluded to earlier though, I didn’t hold this position until reading some Alexander Campbell. I used to have a lot longer list.

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