Barred From Heaven?
Please do not hold it against me having been born into a great family of spiritual people. My heritage does involve a few things to make you wonder! I recall making "Instruments of Music in Worship" a key test as to whether a person could go to heaven. Fact is we were willing to consign those who differed with us to the doom of hell because there was "No Biblical Authority for Pianos and other Mechanical Instruments in Corporate Worship Services". Decide for yourself: Two of our "Scholars", J W McGarvey and David Lipscomb both believed it was a sin to use "Instruments in Praise to God in Worship". McGarvey didn't believe brethren should divide over it and Lipscomb did. The former was of the "Disciples of Christ" denomination and the second of the "Church of Christ" denomination. Which do you think was right on with Scripture? Who held God's dream and Jesus's fervent prayer for "Unity of the Spirit" dearest? My choice is McGarvey! A close look reveals that "Worship in Spirit and in Truth" is what our life is all about (Romans 12:1, 2). But get this: There is nothing mentioned in Scripture about a "worship service" or "litergy". Those are man-made concepts which serve his purpose in keeping God's people divided and unity impossible.
If one is barred from heaven over adding instruments, what about those who add "worship services"? Think about it! Comments welcome.
Church of Christ Facebook
Gifts too precious to purchase with money are often taken for granted like: life, love, family, friends, air, water etc. Some are born into wealth while others into poverty. Aren't you glad you were not born into some religion which encourages human life as a sacrifice in a cruel ritual of death? Maybe you've been taught to love your fellow persons. Some were, like me, born into a heritage in which we believed we had spiritual matters so perfectly sized no one could "hold a candle" to us. I, for a period of time was a "career pulpit minister" and pretty well knew how to perpetuate the exclusive agenda. About a quarter-century ago I began to realize that my heritage was not as perfect as it had pretended. Courage to change as mentioned elsewhere on this website was put to the test. "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches." I'm thankful that my temperament was flexible enough to make needed changes. It's called integrity. The cost was to be relegated to the heretic trash heap. Through it all I loved my persecutors and those who just did not understand. I envisioned myself as God's test case for my brethren. I wanted to ace the test. You may delight to "read my story" and profit by it. Much of it is being unleashed on Facebook in a group entitled, "Church of Christ Facebook". Now, I have no small task of bringing more understanding, friending and love to others along with some rather rough and seemingly "uneducated" participants. You are invited to be a significant part of the adventure of how grace works in our lives even when faced with criticism and opposition. Try to see the positive amidst all the negative and claim your stake in making our world a better place by mutually playing a valuable part.
The One True Church
Here's a poem quite thought provoking. See what you think of it.
The One True Church
One Sabbath morn I roamed astray, and asked a Pilgrim for the way; "O tell me, whither shall I search That I may find the one true Church?"
He ansered, "Search the world around; The one true Church is never found. Yon Ivy on the abbey wall, Makes fair the falsest Church of all."
But, fearing he had told me wrong, I cried, "Behold the entering throng!" He answered, "If a Church be true, It hath not many, but a few."
Still following where highway led. The elms made arches overhead, We saw a spire and weathercock, And snow-white church upon a rock--A rock, where centuries before, Came sea-tossed pilgrims to the shore.
My sandals straightway I unbound, Because the place was holy ground. I cried, "One church at last I find. That fetters not the human mind." "This church," said he. "is like the rest; For all are good, but none is best."
Then far from every church we strayed, Save Nature's pillared aisles of shade. The squirrels ran to see us pass, And God's sweet breath was on the grass.
I challenged all the creeds, and sought What truth, or lie, or both, they taught. I asked, "Had Augustine a fault?" The Pilgrim gazed at heaven's high vault, And answered, "Can a mortal eye Contain the sphere of all the sky?" I said, "The circle is too wide." God's truth is wider!" he replied.
"Though Augustine was on his knee, He saw how little he could be; Though Luther sought with burning heart, He caught the glory but in part; Though Calvin opened wide his soul, He comprehended not the whole. Not Luther, Calvin, Augustine, Saw visions such as I have seen."
While yet he spake, a rapture stole Through all my stll inquiring soul. I looked upon His glory brow, Entreating, "Tell me who are THOU?" "But such a splendor filled the place, I knew it was the Lord's own face! I was a sinner, and afraid! I knelt in dust, and thus I prayed: "O Christ, the Lord! End Thou my search, And lead me to the one true Church."
He spake as never man may speak--"The one true Church thou shalt not seek; Seek thou, forevermore, instead, To find the one true Christ, its Head!" The Lord then vanished form my sight, And left me standing in the light.
Poems of Dawn (1915)
"Gold" Nugget Find
Check out my short article on the "Coming Soon!" page for a thought provoking article, "Life Beyond the 'Religion' Restriction" if you dare! Leave what's bad about religion and enjoy Life to the fullest...now and forever! Give feedback, share your wisdom.
Writing on Facebook
Been sort of busy on FB lately responding and posting important information relative to spiritual concerns. My posts do not go over well with my heritage much like Martin Luther's enlightenment didn't go over well with the Institutional Church of his day. Although most posts were under the "Churches of Christ Salute You" heading, you may find some of my posts interesting. Really, I'm a guy who loves the Lord but questions traditions. You may be aware that some great people like Emerson faced these challenges. Jesus was always "against the grain" of the religious Pharisees. Feel free to comment and make suggestions. We're all trying to get better, aren't we? None of us are perfect and can stand improvement.
Just noticed that 29 "Christians" were killed including children who refused to denounce Jesus. If you ever heard of or read, Fox's Book of Martyrs you are aware that many avowed followers of Jesus suffered horible deaths because of their stubborn will. I was introduced to the book in my teens. I'm not into horror movies yet I intend to remain conscious of the fact that dying for one's faith can and does happen today. The least I can do is acknowlege it and resolve to be faithful unto death. Question: Have you ever wondered what you would do if you were faced with death or denial of Jesus as Lord? How we live and talk from day to day may be a good indication as to what we would do. Blatantly disobeying or dishonoring God may be a good indicator. If we stubbornly resist evil perhaps we are martyr material. If we go our own way blindly and ignore God's will we may never die for our faith. Whoever loses his or her life for Jesus sake shall find it...a sobering thought to enable our standing the test!
Not the Least
When experiencing life several areas come to mind. As mentioned on the "Coming Soon" page you may recall my statement that though alphabetically last the Spiritual is not least! You may have a favorite area of the six major areas. Mine happens to be the Spiritual since our relationship to the Creator is the one which lasts for eternity. God created man to live forever! All the other areas of life are important but the latter is the most important to me.
My expression was noted early on when I decided to "wrinkle my face" with eternal matters. So I decided to be a pulpit minister as early as my teen years. I 'sidetracked" to academic education "to fall back on" just in case. Not a very professional decision! The academic experience was good but I was not a professional student. Cop out? Well, I still went into pulpit ministry after about a year-and-a-half. In a few years I decided to "get an honest job" and continue to live the life Christians are meant to live. It occurred to me that even Jesus likely saw his "secular" work as a carpenter in the light of worship or service to God and to humankind. For the ideal person of God our work is as "unto the Lord". To us there is no "sacred" and "secular" because "unto the pure all things are pure". So if you are fortunate enough to be a housewife, a doctor, a garbage collector or whatever you are special because your honest labor is dedicated to God and His crowning creation (people) created in His image. Yet it happens that my first love is to build people for eternal bliss inasmuch as possible. Until the ultimate phase see your work as honorable service and yes, change to "something better" if you see fit to make it happen. Find your purpose!