A Christian sister responds to a recent gracEmail as follows: “You claim to be a member of the Church of Christ but often have much different views, many closer to certain denominations. I’m curious as to why you claim to speak as an expert, as if you somehow have your finger on the pulse of all of the autonomous sections of the Church of Christ. If you don’t agree with the beliefs of the Church of Christ, instead of stirring up arguments, why not find a denomination that is better suited to your own personal beliefs? You are not the judge of anybody. I am a child of God and your criticisms are not edifying or helpful. To those you want to convince, you offend. Those who agree with you are not members of the Church of Christ. What’s your point? Strife? You have no better or worse handle on the word of God than others. And if you can’t handle the criticism, you shouldn’t propound your views to anyone.”
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You are certainly right that I am not the judge of anyone, or an expert on what everybody else believes. Perhaps you will allow me to be a somewhat-knowledgeable observer and commentator, however, in view of 50+ years of heavy involvement in the Churches of Christ as a preacher, author, elder, teacher, publisher and active member, and more than 35 years of intensive observation and interaction with believers in other denominations. I serve where God has placed me — which makes the Churches of Christ my home base, but which also includes opportunities to minister from time to time among Christians in many other groups.
You would likely be surprised to discover how many people in the Churches of Christ today do appreciate and often agree with the thoughts you read in these gracEmails. As in Ezekiel’s ancient vision, the Holy Spirit is breathing over many “dead bones” and dried-out skeletons are coming to life, many of them within Churches of Christ. When Jesus is presented in his true glory and power, arid deserts blossom, stagnant seas become fresh and teem with new life. God’s true people are not recognized by their names or their claims but by their love for God’s Son, their imitation of his example and the “aroma” of Christ’s reconciling and healing presence wherever they go.
I surely don’t want to stir up strife unnecessarily. I sincerely do try to stir up thinking, and to spur people toward godly reformation, growth and wholeness. I am very sorry that you don’t find gracEmail edifying. If you wish me to delete your name I will do so at once. You receive it now only because you requested it. If you do cancel gracEmail, I pray that you will find encouragement and godly stimulation elsewhere. May God bless you and those you love.