Something else from Buff, the reformer.greenspun.com : LUSENET : church of Christ : One Thread
(Feel free to comment on Buff's article.)
BUFF SCOTT, JR., TheReformer _________________________________________ Questions For Thursday Q. "Holy cow! Tell Joyce for me, 'You go, Girl!' I left my 'church' a year and a half ago. It was painful and heartbreaking, but God has been with me the whole way. He has brought me so far. I cannot describe the depth of my faith and trust in Him. He has been so faithful to me. He brought me to a place where He basically said to me, 'Who's it going to be? Me or the church? Who are you going to serve?'
"I knew I was doing the right thing, but it was the most difficult thing I have ever done. It's a long story. We all have one, but it's a glorious story for me and my Savior. He has shown me so many wonderful blessings that I never would have had if I had stayed with the church. It was like the church stood in the way of my relationship with Him. Isn't that ironic? Far too many people 'don't get it.' Some day, could you tell us your story of church addiction and grace? Tell us how God helped you overcome?
"Thanks for sharing all of your 'stuff.' You're a great encouragement to me and my friends."---Georgia.
A. I was set free from partisan religion a few decades ago. The experience was invigorating! As I sought to be freed from spiritual slavery, Deity operated upon my heart to alter my self-righteous attitude and modify my course. It was a simple but serious procedure. The only prerequisites were that I cast aside my sectarian shackles and open my mind and heart. In essence, I was deprogrammed.
Did I leave Jesus when I abandoned organized religion or the religious establishment? Goodness, no! He and I are closer now than ever before. As a result of my surrendering institutional religion in favor of freedom in Jesus, I am now a 'believer at large,' a free-thinker, and one of God's instruments for reform. No human being and no partisan group or church does my thinking for me any longer. I arrive at conclusions after careful evaluation, study, and prayer. Simply stated, I have cast aside the chains of religious orthodoxy and deserted the Establishment's status quo. God has blessed my ministry of reformation abundantly.
I'm not formally identified with any church or religious party. I'm a free man in Messiah Jesus. With the Spirit's direction, I think independently and I arrive at my conclusions independently, regardless of what Calvin, Campbell, Wesley, Luther, and all the others taught. There are good teachings in each man's history, but neither is my polar star. My Polar Star is Jesus---none other. Consequently, no one may preside over my concepts and teachings insofar as dictating my walk with the Lord. I will gladly absorb and happily accept advice from godly men if it coincides with what I conscientiously believe is truth and understand as heaven's grace. But I will no longer bow my knees to the "powers that be" of the religious bureaucracy. I'm a free man in Messiah Jesus. Praise His Name! I will no longer be enslaved to organized religion.
Organized religion? Yes, but let me explain. I believe in an organized life. I believe the believer should have his priorities organized. I believe in an organized mind and an organized schedule. Organization, of itself, is pleasant and necessary. But I have problems with organizational structures and programs and projects within the body of believers that have supplanted the simple, informal but serious life depicted in the lives of early believers. Literally, and in this vein, we have organized ourselves out of practical existence. Overall, our programs, projects, and organizations have deflated our capacity and our enthusiasm to reach the unreached. Jesus said to get out and go, but we have come in to stay. Now you know.
Q. "Can one be saved in a sect, and if so, why advocate abolishing sects? Should we take a stand against denominations because one is lost inside them, or should we let the sects stand, as salvation is assured in all of them? I respect you very much and await your answer."---Johnny.
A. I was saved when I was serving a sect (non-instrumental Church of Christ). The sect didn't save me. Jesus did in spite of the sect. One is saved when he is receptive to the message of salvation, even if a sectarian delivers the message. Sects should be abolished because they create and promote division within the family of believers. Jesus pleaded for unity (John 17). The sectarian, party spirit is as much a work of the flesh as immorality, drunkenness, witchcraft, debauchery, idolatry, and hatred (Gal. 5:19-21). Why cling to one while rejecting the others?
Q. "Are these hardcore non-instrumentalists still part of the kingdom despite their narrow views?"---Seth.
A. If they have experienced the new birth, they are redeemed children, irrespective of their legalistic spirit and doctrinal defects. Please note that the Corinthian congregation was spiritually and morally corrupt. Yet Paul addressed them as the "congregation of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Messiah Jesus and called to be holy" (1 Cor. 1:2).
Could they have been saved eternally had they refused to correct their doctrinal and moral blemishes? The scriptures seem to imply rather strongly in numerous sections that one's eternal salvation is in jeopardy should he demonstrate a rebellious spirit toward his Maker. If you'd like me to submit those scriptures, I'd be happy to do so. ---------- To connect to my Web site, click on
Until next time, take care and God bless.---Buff.
-- Nelta Brock (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 20, 2002