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Ex Church Of Christ Minister

I was a full-time preacher in the CoC for over 20 years.  My own sinfulness drove me out of the church as well as the unforgiving spirits of those in the church.  But praise Jesus' name; He gave me time to repent not only of my lifestyle but my faulty doctrines, and legalism as well.  As crazy as it seems, I just recently finished a 3 year term as an Elder at a large Calvary Chapel in Southern California and the Lord has totally reshaped and changed my life.  You can see more of my story on my blog at www.askpastordon.com .  It is truly amazing how God has transformed my life and blessed it so much more.  I now cry during worship, am moved by the Holy Spirit, etc.  However, I still have a great love for my previous CoC brethren and pray for them constantly.  There are a lot of good folks in that fellowship.  One wonderful thing they did teach me, was to search out "chapter and verse" regarding my beliefs.  That principle has carried me a long way!  However, their way of interpreting these truths has at times, gone by the wayside.  I am so turned off by legalism now.  I guess, once you've lived legalism, preached it for years, and then change; at that point you want nothing more to do with it! 

I discovered that you CAN have freedom and peace in Christ!  You CAN enjoy the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in your life!  My experience as a preacher in the Church of Christ gives me some wonderful insight in discussing with others who are still trapped in legalism, the truth of the Gospel.  Pray for me as I pray for you!

Be Blessed!

 

Don

dmdk66 dmdk66 56-60, M 12 Responses May 7, 2010

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Hi,
My name is Mike Shrum, and i wonder if the clicks, that now make up the Church of Christ, realize that the Church was not founded by Walter Scott or Alexander Campbell. I have decided this past Sunday to leave the CoC for good simply because of the gossip and unforgiveness of forgiven people. I have been hurt, and heart broken by this click, but now i realize how pathetic it is to make another individual believe you keep the law to the letter and so does your click. If we find one smudge in your life, you are out of this Church and going to hell.

Here is some encouragement. I went through years of sexual abuse starting age 4, then severely bullied through 9th grade. I was bullied to the point that i was going to kill myself. I had the gun to my head and slowly began to just give up and pull the trigger. Then out of no where something turned my head in the direction of the Bible. I was at my lowest, Jesus was there. I opened the Bible and it fell to the verse stating, " I knew you when you were still in the womb". At that moment I began to see myself in a whole new light. I put the gun down, because God was telling me that I was not meant to be this beat up, heart broken person that this world turned me in to. I began to see my sin habbits taught to me from a young age.

I have to go now, but what i am seeing is that if i had killed my self that day, there would still be gossip and clicks in the CoC. I was a member here at the time i wanted to kill my self. When i had to gun ready to fire at my head, Jesus showed up, not a click. This is hope.

Mike

I am an ex member and member of the Churches of Christ. At the age of 18, I joined the Church of Christ (Non-Sunday School). Then in the Fall of 65, I went to Ft. Worth Christian College for 2 years and then two years at Abilene Christian College (Now ACU). I preached for a year in Colorado and resigned to do Alternative Service as an Conscientious Objector. The legalism, lack of the Holy Spirit, and their overall approval the the Vietnam War drove me out. That was in 1971. After leaving the COC, I taught at a charismatic Bible College, graduated from seminary and served as a minister with the Friends Churches (Quaker), House Churches, Mennonite Church and a community church. My wife and I attend a Christ-centered Methodist Church. I am not a minister there, but we enjoy the singing and preaching I am a retired Registered Nurse.
Check out my ex Church of Christ blog at:
www.garycummings.wordpress.com

God's blessings to all, Gary

Hey Gary, I know what you mean about legalism and lack of the Holy Spirit among many CoC. BELOW I quoted an article that show symptoms of problems among Churches of Christ since the beginning of the Restoration Movement. I'm not for Calvinism....since "God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth" I Tim. 2:4 But to say the Holy Spirit doesn't convict unbelievers about their standing with God is wrong. I mean I would rather say "convict" instead of "speaks to" as part of the article below says....but are the more conservative CoC saying the Holy Spirit is not active in evangelism. Well the early years of the RM it was commonly taught JOHN 14-16 was promised to the apostles and today we are "Word only." Well we are Word only, and the Word does not exclude the Holy Spirit. And then to say the Holy Spirit does not keep us faithful..."that's our job." So I guess we are faithful by our own power. And does God still "cause us to will and to act according to His good purposes." The idea that's "our job" as if it's Calvinism to include the Holy Spirit is nothing more than Religious Humanism. And legalism is a problem of the heart, and only in Christ when we continually turn to the Lord is that veil removed. Anyway below is a quote from an article, I see they are concerned about some good things but it shows the leaven that's in the CoC, and leaven that only expositional teaching of the whole books of the Bible can deal with instead of pasting and copying certain verses anyone wants. Here's the quote from the article, can you see what I mean. Below it will be the link.

The Commentaries Have Taught “Us” Calvinism (cf. I Corinthians 4:6)

What comes to mind when you read this: “The Holy Spirit speaks to unbelievers about their standing before God”? That statement came right from the “Irresistible Grace” false doctrine out of John Calvin’s commentaries (http://www.e-providence.org/fivepoints.htm). However, the quote I gave was not of Calvin, but a member of the “church of Christ”. The quote above came from the Uniontown Church of Christ, which assembles in Cherry Tree, PA (http://www.uniontowncoc.com/For_Your_Reading.php). That same article went on to teach Perseverance of the Saints saying: “Not only are we in Christ, but we have been ‘sealed’ there permanently at the moment of salvation. We have become children of God, and what He has done cannot be undone. The Spirit is God’s pledge that we now belong to Him, and that someday we will live with Him eternally” (http://www.uniontowncoc.com/For_Your_Reading.php). For one, the Holy Spirit does not speak to anyone to convert him or her to Christ (Mark 16:15-16, John 6:63-64, Acts 2:37-41, Acts 8:25-39, and Romans 10:14). Secondly, the Holy Spirit does not keep anyone faithful, that is our job (John 8:30-32, Acts 14:22, Romans 2:7, Colossians 1:23, and Revelation 2:10). Christians certainly can fall away (Luke 8:13, I Corinthians 9:24-27, I Corinthians 10:12, I Timothy 4:1, etc.). The church in Cherry Tree, PA has fallen prey to Calvinism through their ignorant teachers (cf. I Timothy 1:7).
http://www.wordsoftruth.net/wotvol10/wotbulletin09192010.html

Hey Don, I just read your post and can relate so much. I was not a preacher but I can still relate. This is my first response to a letter since I just found this site 20 minutes ago. And posting on a cell phone. Well now I am also with Calvary Chapel and hope to write more later.

Thank you for your response. God bless

I am so glad you are free. My family and I were missionaries in China - non-denom, not CoC. A Church of Christ in central WY asked us to be their preaching family. They said they wanted to change and grow. I only teach Bible. I don't care about human traditions, and this soon made them mad... but quietly. I baptized 12 people in a year, was working hard - then suddenly a small core turned no me and turned others on me. They even gathered the ladies and told them to write letters against me... or the church would split. Their main issue? I don't believe a musical instrument will take people to hell.
My family and I were shattered. We thought these were our family and friends.
The Christian church heard what happened and offered me a job. We are now experiencing a freedom that we felt in China. God is good. He rescued us from that cult.

I commend you for your changes in your path. Everyone has a Destiny however the journey is not written. This was your calling as I have mine. I was conditioned since the age of 3 when I entered Fostercare that I deserved bad treatment because I was in Fostercare. The Church of Christ Home that I ended up in used the justification for their abuse as God's Work. This was not God's work, it was UnGodly Discipline! The use of God is not appropriate. It is a moral obligation to take care of others who are in difficult situations that are not of their doing. Especially children. Your acknowledgment was good. When you don't acknowledge/repent to the person whom you did wrong. You cannot be forgiven. I do have forgiveness in my heart, however I want an acknowledgement of what was done to me. My experience has and will affect me for the rest of my life. Has my abuse affected them? No, tI don't think so. They do not even think about what they did and attributed to me and the other children. Their lives where not changed at all. It's all about the money. Blessings to you!

I have the same, I left recently, about 5months ago and I feel so much pain towards the people who used to be my friens, i know they will never treat me the same way again. it is pretty hard on me. If anyone can help. I am strugging in my relationship with God as well as I am confused which church to go to.

I hurt for you. I used to say I would never set foot in a COC again unless it was "to preach FREEDOM to the captives!". But of course, they wouldn't ever let me do that, because I'm a woman. I did get a little bit of healing when I went back to the COC building from my childhood, laid hands on all of the doors, and prayed for all the poor people going into and out of those doors who had never heard a message of grace and mercy from our Lord. Praying for people I had never met, and would never meet, helped me with my own pain.

I agree. Once I Ieft the COC, I don't ever want to enter the buildings or read anymore of their materials. I feel a spiritual renewal knowing I have been set free from legalism. Like you, I can worship with a free heart and praise God...not constantly worrying about going to Hell every minute of the day. " I'm free...praise the Lord I'm free. No longer bound, no more chains holding me."

You are free in the Name of Jesus Christ

If doing what God said do, how He said do it and for the reason He gave is legalism, then we should all be for it. It's not legalism in the sense it is being espoused in previous post ...as if by works, but it is legalism in the sense that all authority has been given to Christ. He is our Lord and King. Christianity is a monarchy with Christ as the Head, the ruler if you will. We are under law today...the Perfect Law of Liberty. That Law infers a legal system. Not a legal system of works as the Law of Moses, but still a system ruled by a monarch - Christ. There is nothing legalistic about obeying and following God's word unless you label obedience such. Jesus Christ only established ONE church. He only authorized ONE religion. Today there are thousands. Are they from Heaven or from Men? If it didn't and doesn't matter to God what people do and what they believe...why leave us any instruction at all. It's been man's opinions, likes, desires, and such that has got him in trouble since the beginning...true or false? Since when does man know better than God how God should be obeyed and worshiped. I wouldn't be so quick to throw Christ church under the bus. There are more doctrines being taught, believed, obeyed and practiced than one can keep up with. The question is: Can they all be right? Of course not. If truth sets one free, what does error do? It enslaves. And Satan couldn't be more pleased with all this division. It takes one drop of a foreign substance to pollute a glass of pure water. It only takes one word to change the truth into a lie...thou shalt NOT surely die. May God Bless and Have Mercy on Us All.

It's not God's word that is legalism, it's how it is practiced and taught by some. It's about preventing God from doing the work and us manipulating the situation. It's the unforgiving spirit and lack of love shown toward the sinner.

I was raised in the Cof C by a very devout mother who I loved dearly. However, I could never accept that only members of C of C were going to heaven. Even though, now 64 and not a member of Cof C, I continue to feel my family sees me as "a bad person". It was difficult to move past that ingrained mind set of only one religion.

It is the same for me, I can not and could not ever accept that only the most perfect of Cof C member would get to heaven & everyone else on earth would go to hell. Half of my family are still very strong & active in that church. I am sad that they and all of my childhood friends think I am going to hell since I will not come back to their church.

My husband has gone to the coC for years. I love hime so and know that his zeal is real. I love Jesus and want to serve him. I am confused though. I can tell though that the "real" members think that I'm not "as good" as them". It makes me not want to go to church ANYWHERE. I am sick and tired of their taking attendence in the back during services... why do they do that? Also sick of them specifically naming the Baptists and Catholics and anyone else that they feel like talking about that day. My husband quotes verses to me like: <br />
" Don't throuw your pearls before swine" and Ye that have ears can hear. Why do they think that that won't upset you?

You have every right to be concerned. The verse your husband quoted was entirely taken out of context which the CoC so likes to do, Jesus was talking about the good news of the gospel, not about different churches. In your heart realize that spiritually, you are superior to those who look down on you. Jesus went through the same thing. God bless you.

I don't find anything wrong with "legalism" if it is done with the proper spirit. Conduct a keyword search in Strong's concordance on the word "careful" just in the book of Deuteronomy alone and see how adamant God was in how we should handle his revelation. I agree there is a problem in churches today but what you call "legalism" should be more aptly regarded as "phariseeism." What's the difference? I wouldn't define legalism as necessarily bad if it means a careful handling of, and obedience to, God's word; that is, a striving to be right and to understand what God's will is no matter the personal cost. The problem is in phariseeism, where brethren bring misguided zeal and unscriptural prejudices to the table and wreak havoc in people's personal lives; in the business, work and worship of the church ("that's the way we've always done it"); in disregarding important biblical passages on a host of other issues, preferring instead to be guided by their own hearts and not the Bible.

Legalism:
1.
strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit.

I think one thing that has been difficult for me to get over was the loss of connection/fellowship with my brothers and sisters that disowned me after I left the CofC. It was hard to not be able to speak or visit them anymore. I am crazy or what? There was a huge hole in my heart for a long time after "escaping the grip" of this legalistic church because I missed the people I felt so much love for.<br />
<br />
thank you for your post

I know exactly how you feel.

A couple of months ago my uncle, who lives out of state, was preaching at a church in a neighboring town. I went to the CofC to see him & hear him preach. It was unbelievable to see so many of my childhood friends and families that I haven't seen or heard from in years. I have known them my whole life. Wow! I love & miss them.
I miss my childhood friends & the families who loved me.
Listening to the sermon was another thing entirely. I will never go back. In honor of my presence, the sermon was on "the one TRUE church" and how everyone else would not be saved.
I left feeling sad for them and for my childhood.
I now realize that I am so happy with who I am and every experience has made me who I am today, even being raised in "the church".