“You just need to sit a while and let us minister to you.”
Those were most likely the most helpful and comforting words I had heard. Pastor Doyle Jackson from The Church Next Door had shared them with me as we met for dinner on several occasions and discussed our lives and our theologies.
If you are preparing to venture away from the Church of Christ denomination, most likely they are words you need to hear as well. Find a place and heal as you let other brothers and sisters minister to you.
But how do you find the right place? How do you avoid getting into another damaging church atmosphere or cult like setting?
The Church of Christ has got to be one of the most ignorant collections of theologians history has ever known. There is no way to substantiate such a large statement but there is truth in that hyperbole. Even though that statement is said with tongue in cheek it goes a long way to describe the infancy and lack of elementary truths most Church of Christ leaders do not grasp. (Hebrews 6:1)
Hard core Church of Christ will tell you they do not study “Theology.” They avoid the word and term all together. I am not certain as to why but if I had to guess it is because “denominations” study theology. The hard core Church of Christ will do everything it can to not appear “denominational.” I have joked in past that when the Church of Christ learn that Methodists pray and Baptists use hymnals, the Church of Christ will stop praying and using hymnals.
Theology is the study of God. The best place to get that is THE BIBLE. Groundbreaking revelation is it not? You can study what other sources have to say about theology and a SHORT LIST of good books will be at the end of this article. However, first and foremost, it is important that you simply study the Bible. Read it through as often as you can. That may mean once a year, for others it may mean a few times a year. Read the Gospels several times a year. Only three chapters a day gets you through it in a month.
Get some good study tools to help you understand the parts that are difficult. These study tools will help you get through some areas where there seems to be contradictions. The first list of books at the end of this article are study tools to help in this process.
Pray and fast for the Holy Spirit to guide you. The Church of Christ spends little, if not zero amount of time on the Holy Spirit. Having spent about 25 years in the Church of Christ, I cannot remember one sermon, class or series specifically spent on the Holy Spirit. One does NOT have to be a Pentecostal to know and understand how powerful the Holy Spirit is. Remember, it is God living IN YOU. Romans 8:11
I can personally testify how I prayed that God would guide me to good teaching and preaching. This most likely was the most significant step in my spiritual maturity. I can take NO credit for this, it is all God’s grace towards me. God answered that prayer with a resounding YES.
Getting healthy spiritually means feasting on God’s word. Develop a theology – once you begin studying theology you will know what that means. This does not mean you have every answer to every question. It does not mean you know exactly how the end times will play out. Jesus’ own disciples could not even figure out the very time they were living in let alone how the end times would come to pass. What it DOES mean is you have a good grip of Scripture and can glorify God by being an active member of His body the Church. (1 Peter 3:15)
Find a body of believers with whom you find comfort AND a body of believers that teach MUCH on the grace of God. Those who have been in the hard core Church of Christ NEED TO HEAR about God’s grace.
Did you know Noah was ONLY righteous because God’s grace towards him? Did you know that Abram did what he did ONLY because of God’s grace? He was an idol worshiper when God called him. (Joshua 24:2,3, 14).
This is NOT ordinarily taught in the hard core Church of Christ because it does not fit their agenda. Most people think Abram just got it together one day all on his own OR that he was righteous and BECAUSE of his righteousness God used him. THIS COULD NOT BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!
God was gracious to everyone who had a relationship with him in the Bible. Period. We are ALL unholy and unrighteous (Romans 3:12) and spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and the only reason we are alive is that God was gracious towards us. The ONLY reason we seek to worship Him is that he worked in us first. (John 6:44, 65) Grace upon grace.
Please, the please from Church of Christ Recovery is do not wander from the Spirit of God. Allow a church to minister to you, all God to be gracious to you and heal. Enjoy the freedom God provides.