As noted several times on this web site, the hard core Church of Christ denominations believe that they are the only church that has it right. To disagree with them is to disagree with God. To go to a different church is equal to not going to church at all.
So what happens to relationships if you decide to move to a different church? I can tell you first hand what happens. For I have experienced it with family and friendships as well.
My father said he would rather simply not go to any church if it wasn’t a Church of Christ. My brother wrote me a letter and said I was acting, “like Lot and his wife seeking the greener grass on the other side of the fence” all the while, “leading my family to hell.” While growing up there was a man who was an elder at the church I attended who questioned, “how could I be so ignorant to turn my back on everything I was taught growing up.” He also made sure to mention that my decision to leave the Church of Christ would endanger me of going to hell.
I can think of quite a number of people for which I care deeply. These are good people. Even my own family members who wrote such disparaging things to me, they are good people. I love them and I know they love me. We still talk, break bread, have holiday’s together but our relationship is strained. They have reluctantly learned to agree to disagree. Yet they still hold a hint of superiority that their right and I am heading to hell.
This is written with humility. Even though I feel some residual hurt there absolutely is no desire to “get even”. I still care about these people. I have good memories with them. They played a part in my growing up years. Yet the fact remains that spiritually I have moved on.
My departure from the Church of Christ came 15 years ago. I don’t feel that I am BETTER than these people. I don’t feel more spiritual. I simply found that the hard core Church of Christ teaches error. I feel that the grace of God will cover their sins. Salvation does not come through perfect theology or interpretation but rather through faith. Obviously, there are some fundamental truths that every Christian MUST agree to in order to bear the name Christian. (A good reading resource on that is here)
The purpose of this writing is to bring to your attention the difficulty it will bring to your relationships within the Church of Christ if you decide to leave the Church of Christ denomination. The longer you have been there, the more difficult it will be. Even if you have a strong resolve it can really be disheartening that people can say and do some of the things they will say and do.
Walk humbly with the Lord. Don’t be arrogant or haughty. Do not think of yourself more highly than you should be rather be aware and alert, knowing the reason you have left the Church of Christ. Be able to defend your positions. This defense does not have to be public but it can just be Scriptural reminders of why you disagree and why you need to move on.
You may be called an enemy. You may be treated as an outcast. Remember that Christ, the Prophets and the disciples all suffered the in the same and worse way. Be joyous that you were counted worthy to be treated this way.