Free In Christ

Finding Freedom in the Churches of Christ

Archive for January 2010

Away Until February

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I’ve decided to take a couple week vacation from this blog. I really want to be able to make this blog great but can’t if I don’t take a little time off every now and then. A little blog Sabbath might do me some good. Feel free to comment though because I will still be checking them. C’ya in February.

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Written by freeinchrist

January 15, 2010 at 2:50 pm

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Christianeese

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A friend of mine (who doesn’t go to church) was talking to me the other day about Christianeese. Christianeese is the special language that Christians speak that is a combination of biblical references, old church words, and King James English. Sometimes it is very difficult to realize that most of the world no longer speaks Christianeese and can be very confused by it.

This friend was not raised in the church and has very little use for it today and isn’t sure if she believes in God. So for her, these Christianeese words and phrases can sound utterly ridiculous.

For example, she was in a marriage & family class at her college (non-religious school) and a boy in her class was asked how he made his marriage work. This boy (who I would guess is a Christian) responded “I try to love my wife like Christ loves the Church”.

Although any person who has gone to church knows what this means, my friend had absoulutly no clue and thought the guy was crazy. To her, this means that you should love your spouse as much as Christ loves church services. That really is laughable except that it is so sad. This boy really solidified my friend’s idea that all Christians are stupid and I would like to publicly thank him (wherever he is) for helping my friend take a couple more steps away from knowing Jesus.

As Christians, we should be careful what words and bits of wisdom that we share with the world. As Jesus said, we should not throw our pearls of wisdom to people who are not Spiritual enough to receive them. This is why we should share the Gospel with the world but keep doctrine to ourselves. Doctrine is for the Church only and our words should stay “in house”. It is important that we be able to speak the language of the culture when we are among them and leave the Christianeese to ourselves.

This boys real problem is that he was trying to preach doctrine to a group that needed the Gospel preached to them instead. It would have been quite adequate for him to say “I try to love my wife” and leave it at that. A marriage & family class is not the appropriate place to preach the Gospel anyway.

Written by freeinchrist

January 13, 2010 at 8:00 am

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Questioning Declared Bad

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I just heard yet another sermon on why questioning traditional interpretations is the same as questioning the scriptures.

This one concerned the creation account in Genesis 1 and why a person must believe in 6 day creation or deny the truth of scripture.

After skimming through the alternatives, this preacher decided that if you believed the bible was true you just had to believe as he did.

Here are the problems I had with this.

1. He didn’t explain how a person was denying the truth of the bible by believing the alternatives.

2. He did not distinguish between literal and figurative truth. If the author didn’t intend the reader to take something literally, then it is only true when taken figuratively. When Jesus said that He was a sheep He did not intend for us to believe that He was man, God, and a sheep. He was using a metaphor.

3. The preacher had not done enough research on the topic to be discussing it. He didn’t even mention the literary framework view that is likely the strongest of the views.

This sermon upset me because it validated a teaching that I believe to be wrong and fueled the fire of a hot button issue to a congregation that had not done the research to properly discuss the issue.

Written by freeinchrist

January 12, 2010 at 8:00 am

A Prophet Without Honor

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In talking about my friend leaving the church of Christ, an important thought keeps popping into my head “A prophet is without honor in his own town among his relatives” I am thinking this in regards to the fear that many have of telling their families and friends of their decision to leave.

I can see the wisdom in the statement that Jesus made when rejected by His own town and I think it is still true today. The people that taught you as you were growing up are very unlikely to accept you teaching them ( even though you are older). Regardless of how much study you have done, your family will likely not accept your ability to accurately teach them a new subject just because it is you doing the teaching.

So, what do you do?

Some hide their beliefs as I did for many years. I just tried to be quiet and not bring up the differences I had with the church of Christ. I know that God would forgive them for their mistakes anyway so why push it and create discord? It didn’t seem worth it.

The problem with this is that it kept me from doing what I needed to do in my own walk with God. I spent so much time and energy hiding that I wasn’t able to do what I needed to do for me. I had found a new way and was too afraid to walk in it. All the good that I could have been doing was being done in secret as I hid my light under a bush (so to speak).

Others come out on the attack ready to take down the legalists and make them pay for all the pain they’ve caused the body of Christ. These people march into their home churches (or family living rooms) and declare the entire system as heresy and want everybody to repent in sackcloth and ashes. These are the macho types who should be carrying a machine gun when they preach.

Although I admit that Jesus used this tactic when he chased the moneychangers out of the Temple, I wouldn’t recommend it. People in the church of Christ have a very combative style when it comes to defending doctrine and are likely to become very hostile. When this happens, you are likely to lose your wits and become hostile as well. You will find yourself fighting with an enemy that used to be a friend. It doesn’t work.

Unfortunately, many who are fighting for their freedom in Christ eventually give up on the hope of ever having it. With huge institutions, preachers, family, and friends working against you it can be hard to keep fighting for the dream. It may not feel worth the struggle.

Just remember, this is how Christianity is supposed to work. Jesus said that the Gospel was a sword that would tear people apart, tear families apart, and even tear churches apart. Jesus knew that this would happen and thought that the Kingdom was worth the risk.

Remember also that your struggle isn’t new. Christians have been fighting for freedom in Christ pretty much since the founding of institutional Christianity. This fight has been going on for over a thousand years and many have given their lives for it. Their are a great cloud of witnesses for our cause. You are not alone.

So, what do you do when you’ve changed your position and others haven’t?

You live in your freedom in Christ. It is not necessary to hide the new life that you have found and you shouldn’t. You should walk in the way of Jesus without fear. It is not appropriate to go to all of your friends and family and try to change them. Jesus didn’t do that. Jesus lived such an incredible life that people wanted to change to be like Him. He didn’t have to “blow the doors down” to convince them. When He did this in the Temple, it didn’t even work. The people He offended did not convert (it wasn’t His point to convert them anyway because He was making a statement about the Temple system). They actually tried to kill Him. The people that did convert were the people that saw the Father in Him and wanted to be like Him.

Jesus knew (and we should as well) that people cannot be controlled like puppets on strings. They have to want to change. The only way that our families and friends in the church of Christ will want to change is if they see the change in us first. Our freedom in Christ lived out will show them the result of the journey before they decide to even take it. It will show them that the journey is worth the struggles that come with it. It will also show them that the journey will not lead them into heresy and is not a journey away from Christianity but a journey deeper into it.

Written by freeinchrist

January 11, 2010 at 8:00 am

One of Many Such Stories

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I just heard today that another of my friends have made the difficult decision to leave the coc. I totally understand this. One morning you just wake up and realise that you have nothing in common with your old self.

Then a whole bunch of emotions start setting in and many questions as well. How am I going to tell my parents? How will they take it? Will they ever speak to me again?

I have had many friends go through this and I have my own struggle with this. I haven’t really left because there is nowhere else I want to go. I want to be the church and I no longer care for going.

So, how do I deal with that? How do I explain my views without sounding crazy? I have been studying many years to come to the positions I have come to. Can I really explain them in a couple minutes?

What would you do?

Written by freeinchrist

January 10, 2010 at 8:00 am

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Loving Our Kids On Purpose

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Based on the recommendation of Wayne Jacobsen, I recently picked up Danny Silk’s “Loving Our Kids On Purpose” and I really thought this was a great book. I’ve only recently become a parent so I don’t know much about it myself but it seems that Danny Silk does. He talks about how we should raise our kids in the same way that God takes care of us as His children. This book is really about how we use power in relationships and could be useful even for people who don’t have kids. I highly recommend this book.

Written by freeinchrist

January 9, 2010 at 8:00 am

God and 1 Corinthians 13: Keeps No Record Of Wrongs

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1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love keeps no record of wrongs. We are also told that God is love. If that is true, does God keep a record of wrongs.

Many Christians think so but as Darin Hufford explains in “The Misunderstood God” (available in the Store) this just isn’t the case and it is very important that it works this way.

I was raised in a religion that taught that God very much did keep a record of our wrongs. The whole point of the religion was to have as few of these wrongs as possible and hope that God would forgive you for the rest. This isn’t the point, however, of the message of the gospel. We are saved totally by grace and do not stand before God based on anything else. God loves us and looks at us as His beloved children. God truly keeps no record of our wrongs.

He also keeps no record of our right actions either. He does not bless us because of the good things we do. He blesses us because He loves us. He does not save us because of the good things that we do, but because He loves us.

God keeps no record of wrongs. Rejoice and be glad that we can have a relationship with the Father without any fear or manipulation. Praise God!!!

Written by freeinchrist

January 8, 2010 at 8:00 am