Church discipline called ‘extreme case’ of homophobia

ken-willis-ridgedale-chattanooga

Ridgedale minister Ken Willis

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (BNc) โ€” After following the biblical command of discipline, the Ridgedale congregation has been accused of demonstrating an “extreme case” of “homophobic” attitudes.

After a high-profile case in which a Christian mother showed support to a lesbian daughter, the congregation confronted the mother in private with the choice of repenting from her open support of sin or leaving the church.

Family members portrayed the mother as being “distraught” over the church’s action.

The Times-Free Press quoted Matt Nevels, a former Baptist minister who now leads a homosexual support group, as saying, “I’ve never heard it extended to other family members like that. That is definitely an extreme case.”

Ken Willis, minister at Ridgedale congregation, was interviewed for the story. He noted that the church acted consistently in dealing with other sins.

On his Facebook page, Ken identifies himself as the former pulpit minister of the congregation.

BNc has contacted Ken and will update the story with his comments.

Numerous Facebook comments by Christians reflect the opinion that the church will see more pressure from the world and opposition from Christians for taking up positions as the Ridgedale congregation did.

J.J. Hendrix’s Internet radio program, “The Swish,” devoted its Aug. 21 edition to the story. He emphasized that the action taken by the Ridgedale congregation was dealt with in private. The program is part of the Brown Trail congregation’s outreach in Bedford, Tex.

“This is another example of anti-Christian bigotry persecuting the Lord’s church. We must stand strong with each other and with congregations like Ridgedale that are standing for the truth. The liberal media wants to shut us up, we cannot be ashamed of the gospel. Let’s rally around Ridgedale and stand for God’s Word and God’s plan,” J.J. said in comments to BNc.

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

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48 Comments

  1. Bill Cartwright

    Church discipline is laid out in the Bible and no it is not to be done in secret as some who decide they are God or do not listen to God as Moses when he beat the rock rather than speak to it. Saul did not destroy all of the land God gave to him but decided what is good for God and his people and justified his deeds saying he did it for the good of God’s People. There are many unanswered questions as was this child or person a member of the Body of Christ and if not there is nothing in God’s Word for disciplining an unbeliever. Did the mother support and encourage her daughter’s lifestyle or did she support her daughter as in loving the sinner and hating the sin. The Church is under fire because it has left the Whole Counsel of God and is unrepentant not because the majority of it is obedient and repentant. Gossiping and Backbiting is rampant along with Pride and the desire to be God rather than the Servant and apathy. Would love to study with anyone who disagrees. Bill Cartwright Bible Student

  2. Jason Boddie

    Bill Cartwright,Bible Student, are you a member of the Church? If so, then you should know the role of the Eldership and also know that what they did was entirely acceptable. If you not perhaps you should study further.

    • Billie Cartwright

      Yes I am a member of the Body of Christ and my preference of worship is as the Church Christ established in the first century. Thanks for inquiring and Calling me friend I hope it is as Christ defined in John 15:15-17 to reveal all the Father has revealed to you. May God bless us both for our search for the truth. 1st.Corinthians 5:12-13 Church discipline is for those in the Body of Christ and not those outside of it. Matthew 18:15-17 It is clear anyone in the body of Christ can Initiate the process it does not have to be an Elder, but in a congregation where Elders are present they should oversee it. I will address the duty of an Elder a little later. If someone is sinning willfully one person should go to them with the word of God and ask them to repent and change their ways. One should also after approaching them, should intercede for them in prayer. If the sinner repents there should be no gossiping or backbiting. 2nd. Step if the sinner continues is to take two or three witnesses with you and ask for repentance and continue in prayer. 3rd. Step take it before the congregation explaining all that has transpired and again in front of congregation ask for repentance and if it is rejected then the congregation is to not fellowship with that willful sinner. In Galatians 6:1-4 it tells those who are Godly should do discipline in a gentle and humble way and the point of discipline is to get the person started on a path of repentance.
      The role of a Elder in the body of Christ is to Shepard the Flock according to the word of God not to worldly wisdom and logic. Your friend in Christ Bill Cartwright.

  3. Johnie Scaggs, Jr.

    Knowing the elders and the church at Ridgedale, I am sure they did everything according to the Word of God. We need to get ready for the battle that is upon us. The world hates the truth and they are set to fight against the truth. This is just one more means by which they will attempt to overcome the Lord’s church. Remember the words of Paul, “Be ye steadfast, unmovealbe,…” (1 Cor. 15:58a).

    • Bill Cartwright

      Either the person who wrote the article left out something as I suggested in my first posting or the Elders skipped all three steps in Mathew 18 and did as they pleased. Read the article carefully the first two paragraphs. If the Elders did all as instructed by the word of God they should post the facts as it was done. was this girl a member of the church? Did she or her mother try to push the Girls agenda in church. As the article reads the World is right and the Church is wrong! Bill Cartwright

  4. Phil

    I am a firm believer in adhering to New Testament teachings. however, in this situation, I believe this congregation has opened itself up to a humongous law suit! I don’t have all the details. however I am reminded of the account of Jesus Christ and the dishonest and greedy tax collector Zacchaeus. what did you do with him? He went home and had lunch with him! just sayin! Lol. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Bill Cartwright

      I have read several of your response’s and the question about my education is that I have very little and the last grade I completed in a formal school was the ninth. To be considered a scholar of the bible, I am not and I am no more than I stated in the beginning a student of the bible with considerable time on my knees and asking for Understanding and discernment of the scriptures. I first read the Bible when I was about 22, because a man I worked for welcomed a sinner into his house the reason I read the bible because one morning I awoke to shave and got sick at what I saw starring at me. I was baptized into the body Christ at 37 and I will be 70 in December. I am not the husband of one wife and my daughter at 33 whom we adopted from India had a birth defect in her heart about the size of a dime and it ruptured one evening about 10;00 pm. while watching television and no she was not a member of the Church. My oldest so who is 49 has fallen away from the church and my youngest is 42 and is not a member of the church. I had someone in our congregation come to me and say that one of our members had been in prison and the question I put to all did this disqualify him from being a Christian or knowing the word of God, If so I to am disqualified for I have been in jail. Now that you know all of or most of my sins does it change the meaning of God’s word just one tick of the second hand. Am I a bigger sinner than the Elders or the young lady and her family when does the church not Christ forgive me or them. One last thing for the person who said there is nothing in the bible about loving the sinner and hating the sin. I will not look up the chapter and verse for you, god hates all sin and it is said repeatedly and whom so ever hates anyone is a murderer and will not enter the kingdom of Heaven. As I part I leave you with a few thoughts we are to rescue all that we can from the second death and we can accomplish that by doing what God says and not serving man or placing our faith in man May God bless you one and all for your search for the truth and join me on my knees today praying for the church this congregation and its elders that God may forgive them of their sins and give them the spiritual wisdom to shepherd this flock. In Christ we find Life Bill Cartwright

  5. Pray for the mother, the lesbian girl, and the congregation of Christ.

  6. John griffis

    The media seldom supports the scripture or the church. If we teach and hold true to the scripture the world will find fault. We must hold up the hands of the Godly. Who are we supporting?

  7. You can twist the Scripture, but the plain teaching is that practicing homosexuals will not enter Heaven. That having been said, we all have a duty to teach one who is in sin. If teaching does not prevail, then the discipline of withdrawal is incumbent on all the congregation. This is NOT a punishment; it is to show the sinner that he/she will not be in the fellowship with saints in Heaven.
    If following the Word of God results in a “humonguous law suit” so be it. Are we to put the law of man before and above the Law of God? Can we trade the plain teaching of the New Testament for a lie in order to please the current culture? I certainly hope not!

  8. Judy

    The Ridgedale Congregation did exactly as the Word of God commands. They are to be encouraged for their actions for what they did is not easy and is done out of love for souls not out of contempt. You need to read and understand the scriptures before you jump to conclusions. This was done in private and should have remained private. Sadly there is an attack on Christians and religion in general. I support this congregation whole heartedly.

  9. Willie

    First of all, I think we need to clarify what “open support” on the part of the Mother means. How did she openly support her daughter? Did she openly state that homosexual behavior is acceptable to God or is she simply being a loving Mother to a child as any Mother would be? Is she hating the sin but loving the sinner? Without a clearer knowledge of what this Mother’s open support was, how can anyone be judgmental as to right or wrong?

    Homosexual behavior is unacceptable to God, but so is the extreme hatred that some have for homosexuals. God expects the Christian to have a loving attitude, even when correction occurs. I think we need to remember and have the attitude of Jesus who condemned but also exhibited a loving attitude for the woman taken in adultery. What is really the purpose of correction? to run off? to bring about repentance? Are any types of sexual sins worse than the other? For that matter, are any sins? I wonder how many adulterers are present at any given congregation at any given service?

    No, I do not approve of homosexual behavior, but I do disapprove of attitudes that haughty and unloving. God does not approve of homosexual behavior any more than he approves of haughty attitudes. Let us remember to condemn the sin, not the sinner.

  10. You ALL need to wait until ALL the evidence is in! Otherwise, you may be passing unrighteous judgment on good brethren, John 7:24.

  11. Jason Boddie

    Bill, I say this in all love, I feel my tone may come across wrong in print. However, please know I am just talking brother to brother.

    I can tell by the way you write that you are either very educated, and Biblically scholarly or you make great efforts in sounding so. I hope it is the former. So, I plead to you to use your head, and tap inot logic.

    Do you really think that because the steps leading up to the withdrawal weren’t step out in the article, that the eldership of that congregation did not follow the course of action set about in scripture?

    Secondly, the article is talking about the elderships withdrawal from the parents of the girl, not the girl. Her parents were certainly members of the Church, and subject to the guidance of the Elders.

    As for the question of what was “open support” in this case. It was more than just parents encouraging their daughter. They were seen in public venues, the courthouse, in open support of their daughters fight for same sex benefits for her partner at work.

    http://timesfreepress.com/news/2013/aug/21/repent-or-leave/

    Bill, I have one last thing for you to consider.I Tim 5:19, I am sure you know the verse. These men, who I assume you have never met, are tasked with a huge responsibility. Before excepting that task, they they were “vetted”, they had to met qualifications. They are qualified to fufill that role by scripture, I don’t know if you are or not. My guess is you are young, so probably not. There are things that they have learned through the wisdom of years that is just perspective that we don’t have.

  12. Just a quick observation of what I’ve read so far,

    No where in the scriptures can you find “hate the sin, love the sinner” or a variation there of.
    Reference the woman caught in adultery, while Jesus did command the first stone be thrown by someone without sin, he also told the woman to go and “sin no more”, or stop living in sin in her adultery. So there was an action required by her.

    As a parent, I cannot not think of anything one of my children might do that would prevent me from loving them and showing that love to them.
    Paul ate and visited openly with sinners in hope of brining them to Christ. The point of withdrawing is to get the person to return to the church and the congregation has the responsibility to accept them and love them and welcome them back.

    If a church wanted me to withdraw from my child, to say the least, we’d have an argument on our hands.

    Mike

  13. ken hargesheimer

    Is being homosexual a sin or is the act the sin? Sometimes genes in the body go haywire: babies born without an arm, etc or lips not right. I believe that, likewise, genes concerning sexuality go haywire Ken

  14. dave

    I wonder if this congregation also disciplines its members who have remarried after divorce. If so, then I see no problem here. However, if they choose which sins to discipline then they are hypocrites.

  15. charles shepherd

    Thought I saw somewhere that this was a hoax.

  16. Willie

    I have just read the newspaper article posted above. What I read was a Mother who was present for her child just as Jesus’ Mother was present at His crucifixion. Based on what I read, if being present for your child equals approval of deed, then we have to conclude that Jesus’ Mother, who was present for His crucifixion, approved of His crucifixion.

  17. all who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution

  18. Randall K. Maxwell

    As a spokesman for the church of Christ, (as many are called but few chosen). I say this, but oh what a mess you have made of things! On behalf of Kat Cooper’s family as a gospel preacher I demand that the “leaders” of the Ridgedale church of Christ, publicly repent of their arrogance in threatening and believing that withdrawal is a simple matter to be done by a few on behalf of the church! This attitude is reminiscent of the clergy lay system of the Catholic church and the belief that we can individually dictate terms of fellowship with God’s will. It is true that elect ladies, elders, deacons, preachers have been allowed to “appointed” members to good works in weak congregations. However withdrawal (kicking one out) can only be done in mature congregations through every member (cf. Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:4,5, etc. all). Perhaps you are unaware that “office” of elders simply means the “work” of elders, and perhaps you are unaware that the church is spiritually organized by Christ being the head, the High Priest, the Arch while every other member has equal authority in the royal priesthood, due arbitration of Christ through the whole church (cf. Rev. 1:5, 6). We do exercise our authority, individually begging that you repent! Our salvation is nearer than when we first began, and the times of our ignorance, though perhaps winked at, must come to an end. How dare you slander the name of Christ, and cause the church to be viewed upon in such a negative light! We used to have individuals (cf. elect ladies etc) approve or unapproved members, but it is time for every member to participate (2 John 10), at any rate why would you not seek out the authority of God as delivered through the whole church? We do grant you the arbitration that you refuse to grant, if you so chose, through two or three witnesses we can debate, or If you persist we can take it to the church (Matt. 18:17). I beg of you to simply repent, so that this whole mess will be behind us all! BTW you too Kat Cooper’s family!

  19. Willie

    This is in reference to a response above about “no where in the Bible do we find hate the sin, but love the sinner.” If you thought I was saying that is in Bible, you need to go back and reread my post more carefully. My reference to the woman taken in adultery was to show Christ’s compassion on a sinner, not to say that nothing was required of sinner. As I understand what I have read, it is a member’s child who is not a Christian who is in question. What I am concerned about here is church discipline being carried out on a Mother for being present for her child–how far will this go? Will churches then start disciplining parents whose adult children have not obeyed the gospel, those whose children commit adultery, etc. To me a Mother has a right to be present for her child; otherwise, we have to condemn Jesus’ Mother for being present for Him. I am among super sinners every day–working, talking, shopping, etc., but I do not support their sins, and I hope church elders won’t expel me for this. If they did, they’d also have to expel themselves!
    As for me, my unconditional love as a parent compels me to say that I will be present for my children, not to support any evil activity they engage in, but to say “I love you unconditionally, and I am here as a Christian, trying to influence you.”
    In answer to which is sin, homosexual behavior or being homosexual :
    Hate is as sinful as homosexual behavior. Homosexual behavior (meaning engaging in homosexual sex acts) is sin. A person who has homosexual inclinations but does not engage in homosexual behaviors can be just as acceptable a Christian as anybody.

  20. Jason Boddie

    Wow Randall, are you actually suggestng that Elders are not selected, and that their is no scriptural blueprint for how they are selected. That their post isn’t an honored one, meant to be taken seriously? Furthermore, are you suggesting lady leadership?

    Maybe I misread your post…..I hope so.

  21. Jason Boddie

    I think it is also worth noting that we may not be aware of what “supporting their child” means in this instance. I get the distinct impression, and i could be wrong, that it was a little more than just going to court in support. I get the feeling that they may have spoke out in support of, or at the very least their words or action gave the impression that they condoned the action. I wouldn’t be the first time that the media reported just enough to make the cause of Christ look bad, it seems to be the agenda.

    I will not “call out” the eldership or “leadership” of this congregation because I know I don’t have all the facts. I am comfortable that the decision they made, having all the facts, was the right decision for the Lord’s Church

  22. davis

    But Jason, would you be “comfortable with the decision they made” if they also have members who are not scripturally married? Shouldnt they be disciplined also?

  23. Kevin Beard

    To those who have criticized the actions taken by the Ridgedale eldership: Are you not guilty of the very thing you criticize? Which of you knows the facts of what happened? The only information prompting any of the comments here has come from a newspaper. Is a newspaper reporter a reliable source for accurate information regarding the spiritual leadership of the Lord’s church? I do not have any information about what happened between the leaders of the Ridgedale congregation and the members in question other than what is reported in the story. That information is certainly insufficient to provide a basis for me to make any judgment regarding whether their actions were appropriate or not. Therefore, I will not draw any conclusions. I will do this, though: I will give my brethren the benefit of the doubt in not condemning their actions unless it can be proven that they acted contrary to God’s will. I believe love for Christ and His body demands the same from every child of God.

  24. Samuel Garner

    I applaud you, Bro. Ken Willis and the Ridgedale Congregation, for standing on the word of God. Keep doing what you do in the spirit of love. As believers dedicated to the spreading of the will of God on earth, we must all establish ourselves as advocates of bible-based relationships. We are ministers, teachers, counselors, and practitioners with this held in mind. I believe you have done what God and Jesus Christ would want for all Christians to do. May you be richly blessed in your endeavors. Our hearts and thoughts go out to you as we battle this humanistic society for the case of Christ. Always remember, love is the foundation of Christianity, but obedience is the life of the faith. God Bless!

  25. For this congregation to have done anything other than what it has done would have been wrong (Ezekiel 3:18-21; Ephesians 5:8-12). That is unless someone can provide evidence that shows that they did not follow what Jesus himself said to do, which I have yet to see. So any comments that are being made in a negative manner toward them seem very much unjustified.

    The fact that the mother is not a homosexual (or any other relative who may have been a professed Christian in this situation for that matter) has no bearing on what the congregation did, or what they should have done as a body of believers. The fact of the matter is that the support/promotion of such behavior is condemned along side with the behavior itself (Romans 1:32).

    On top of these facts, the fact remains that some sins are more destructive than others. Yes, all sin can lead to the same condition and place, and God forbid that we preach any differently, but if one thinks that all sins are “equal” when it comes to the danger and effect it bears on families, congregations and nations then that person does not have a balanced view or understanding of what the Bible teaches concerning sin (Luke 13:1-5, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, 1 John 5:16-17, Hebrews 10:29, 13:4).

    I have also seen a comment or two on here that “equated” what this mother did to what Jesus’ mother did by showing up at His crucifixion. That’s a sad, sad comparison and attempt to justify what this mother may have done by showing her “support” for her daughter. How one can try to biblically justify the actions of a mother who shows up to support a daughter caught in the depths of sin by comparing it to a mother who supported her child when he was being crucified for sins is something that I cannot understand, and it is a mentality and statement that needs to be repented of.

    One must understand that it was it Jesus himself who said, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10:37). And this unfortunately seems to be a case where these words are not being taken to heart by the mother, for a parent who shows up to a court case (or any legal situation) to show his/her support to a child who is trying to further any cause of sin is revealing a heart that is more concerned about the happiness of a child than his/her holiness.

    From what I understand, according to the stories being released, this situation has nothing to do with hate on the congregation’s part, but rather an attitude of hate that is being shown toward a congregation who is actually showing love toward this woman – for if they had remained silent about her supposed support, their silence would have revealed the hate that so many are accusing them of right now.

    “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:6 – NKJV)

    “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” (1 Timothy 4:16 – NKJV)

    “Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.” (Proverbs 25:12 – ESV)

  26. Willie

    Dear Mr. Adkins: I will pray for your haughty attitude in downgrading and being judgmental about my mentality–I have three educational degrees after my name. How many do you have? No, that is none of my business nor do I really care, but I see ill will in your statement and am concerned that a Christian would stoop so low in order to disagree about something or to push his points when all the facts about this situation are not known. I do hope that when you seat yourself in your church pew on Sunday morning that you reflect on your judgmental statement. I do not know you, and frankly I am glad that I don’t. Anyone who judges the mentality of another whom he has never met nor seen is not someone I care to know.

    Frankly, I think some who have posted are more concerned about matching wits than the truth. In my opinion, all would be better off to remain silent until all the truth is in–think about the damage already done to the Lord’s church.

    This to Bill above: Stay faithful to Christ and His church; don’t let anyone keep you from Heaven. You have as much right to express your views on this situation as anyone else.

    In conclusion, I would like to say that my previous reference about Christ’s Mother at the cross was to say here was a parent standing by a child who had been condemned by law and society, and if the Mother at Ridgedale was simply there for her daughter but not supporting her life style, how could that be wrong? If a child has to go to a court of law for some charge, is it wrong for a parent or parents to go with him or her?

    • Dear Mr. Willie:

      Your point about Mary being at Jesus’ cross has no point. The woman’s daughter was not in court due to her spiritual convictions toward God – in fact, it was quite to the contrary. The woman’s daughter was in court due to her promotion of a sinful lifestyle – not due to a mistake that she was pennant toward. Can you not see the difference??? Your “argument” has nothing to do with this situation and it is an injustice to compare it to Mary’s presence at the cross of Christ.

      As to your comment about “haughtiness” I believe your “accusation” has no point there as well. All you’re doing is getting distracted and distracting others away from the what the issue at hand is: a woman who is woefully caught in sin, a mother (as it seems according to the situation) who is not helping due to her concern for her child’s happiness and not holiness, and a congregation that was forced to make an unfortunate decision based upon scripture and not upon the whim’s of what culture says should be done. The judgment, as far as what’s been revealed, was made with a righteous judgment, as I showed before in my previous reply (John 7:24).

      My comments made concerning your “mentality” (or anyone else’s for that matter) has nothing to do with education. Where do you even get that? A “proper education” has nothing to do with a person’s capability of understanding the gospel or the righteousness of God (1 Corinthians 2:12-16). In this situation, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7), not an earthly education. Also, I do not have to meet you, or anyone else, to discern whether or not what you say is spiritually true – and what you said in comparison to Mary was false…again, see above where I clearly, according to the scriptures, make my point.

      You condemn/chastise me for “judging” your mentality, yet you say, “Frankly, I think some who have posted are more concerned about matching wits than the truth” and “but I see ill will in your statement” and “I do not know you, and frankly I am glad that I donโ€™t” and “Anyone who judges the mentality of another whom he has never met nor seen is not someone I care to know.” Is this not a case of the kettle and the pot, because you just did what you’re “correcting” me for doing. I have ill will when I say this, but do you not know yourself?

      You tell others to remain silent because all of the facts are not known, yet when it comes to “why” the mother was at court you still speak about a situation that you don’t even know exists. Further more, show me where “ill will” was expressed in my words. Because I said that repentance was needed? If that’s the case my friend, then your attitude toward repentance if obliviously the issue and it goes beyond the posted story and my comments.

      I did not speak one ill word about the woman, or the woman’s daughter or even you. What I spoke was the truth concerning the facts that have been revealed about this terrible situation. If I am wrong then show me where I am wrong, but please do not tell me that I harbor “ill will” only to turn around and castigate me according to what you “think” my words meant. My words were plain, true and spoken in the best interest of the church according to God’s revealed will.

    • My apologies when it comes, “I have ill will when I say this, but do you not know yourself?

      It should have been “I have no ill will when I say this….”

  27. Janice

    I haven’t read through all the posts here, but I have read enough to be somewhat disgusted. People are speculating and supposing and blabbing, some saying we don’t have all the facts and some saying we need more information, some preaching. Just HOLD ON a minute and think. No, we don’t know all the details. Do we need to know? NO! The Ridgedale church does not owe anyone an explanation. To publish the facts would be wrong because it would be the same as gossip. Why doesn’t everybody just DROP this and move on?

  28. Janice

    Excellent post, Eugene Adkins.

  29. Jason Boddie

    Davis, come on. Yes, I would have an issue if the were a couple in an unscriptual marriage, and it was not addressed. In fact, in my home congregation we had such a case. 2 new converts who were not in a scriptual comment. They were studied with, taught the truth on the matter and have made the adjustments, so as to be members in good standing in the Kingdom.

    Do try and minimize sin by saying, “oh yeah, well do you do the same thing with this other sin” is only deflection and helps nothing. STand for the truth in all occasions and you can never be wrong. I don’t know the good Sheperds at Ridgedale, and as such they will recieve the benefit of the doubt in my mind. I am sure they would address an unscriptual marriage the way it should be addressed

  30. dave

    Jason, please dont misunderstand my point. In no way would I try to “minimize” sin. I am just saying that virtually EVERY congregation of the Lords church has at least one couple who is not scripturally married. By this I mean they have married couples who had been previously divorced for reasons other than fornication/adultery. But for some reason this sin is treated much differently (no discipline). Homosexuality should be disgusting to anyone who knows how God stands on the issue. But for the elders to make this situation an instance for public discipline and not unscriptural marriage reeks of hypocrisy.

    • Jason Boddie

      Dave, I find it difficult to believe your assertion that virtually all” congregations have atleast one unscriptually married couple amongst the membership. If there are any, I would hope that it is because the eldership doesn’t know.

      I will say this, in my congregation if you come in and request to place membership you have to meet with the Elders and that is a subject that is discussed. If it is a problem, there is some studying involved, and the issue has to be addressed.

      Jason

      • I wonder what would happen should a non Christian divorced and remarried couple come in and study and be baptized, would they be allowed to be members? Let’s not get into “voting” on who can and who can’t be a Christian here. Just my 2 cents worth.

  31. dave

    Jason, I think you would be very suprised at how many couples have been married, divorced, remarried for reasons other than adultery. And I find it difficult to believe that if a couple were to desire to place membership in your congregation the elders would not allow them to unless they get divorced again! For the record, I live in northeast Mississippi and its one of the most conservative areas in the country, with seemingly hundreds of church of Christ congregations.

  32. Willie

    Dear Mr. Adkins:

    Perhaps I can put this into language you can understand. My statements are simply trying to say that just as nothing can separate the Christian from the love of Christ, nothing can separate a good parent from the love of a child. The love a parent manifests for a child should be unconditional regardless of what the child does–no, I am NOT saying that the parent should condone a child’s sin. Sin is sin, but a good parent continues to love a child regardless of what the child does just as Jesus continues to love us when we sin. The love of a good parent continues in spite of what a child does in hopes of influencing the child . What if Jesus stopped loving us every time we sin?

    Let me make myself clearer on another point: I do not know whether the Mother in question was simply there for her child or there in open support of homosexual behavior. If she openly supported homosexual behavior, the Ridgedale church had a responsibility to take action. If she were there only to show love for her child, that is another matter. Since all the facts are not known, it is useless to speculate on the matter.

    As to my Biblical mentality, I studied Bible every day for four years and will continue to study for the rest of my life. However, I make no claim to knowing or having all the answers. Several years ago, a debate team that I was on, which debated against Harvard University, debated a team that I will not name. A member of the opposing team made a remark about the mentality of my debate partner, whom I must admit was not well prepared. During my rebuttal, I reminded the opponent that we were not debating the mentality of my partner, but the issue at hand. Although the other team presented far better argumentation, we won the debate because of the reference to my partner’s mentality. In conclusion, I will say that I consider myself to have a good knowledge of the Bible. Although some preachers who come out of the 6-8 weeks of study at present day Bible schools are good, I have a greater respect for those who prepare themselves for four years; I feel that they will be better prepared to defend against error. I do not know if you or a preacher or not, but just in case, that statement was not directed at you. It is simply to say that I consider myself well- grounded in scriptures. I would not in any way comment on your knowledge of the Bible because as I said earlier, I do not know you

  33. Willie

    Correction: Line 5 from bottom w should read; “I do not know if you are a preacher or not…”

  34. Jason Boddie

    Dave, I hear what you are saying. However, let tell you a story.

    We have a lady who is a member of our church who is a new (less then 2 years) convert. Her mother, who recently passed, was a longtime (40+ years) member of or congregation. This new convert started coming with her mother when her mother started to get older and could no longer drive, she was in essence her mothers ride. She had resisted the Gospel her entire life, but for what ever reason she got it and was Baptized.

    We have a “new converts” class on Sunday mornings with one of our Elders as the teacher. It is in large part Q & A, and at her Moms request she ask to study a little about marriage/divorce/ and adultry that can result if the marriage is not scriptual. Her husband was not a member of the church. Through their studies she came to realize that her marriage was not scriptual. I don’t know who had been married before, maybe both, but it really doesn’t matter. The marriage was unscriptual.

    She told her husband that she had been baptized, and that they needed to sit down with someone from the Church. The Edlership, and Preacher started studying with him and he was eventually baptized.

    Here is what I know.

    1. She moved into a different part of the house when she realized the problem.
    2. She made sure he understood why.
    3. God did the rest.

    These two people are still faithful members of the body. To my knowledge if there were a couple who desired to place membership, they would be asked about this subject. It is a requirement to have your spiritual hose in order. Does that mean we are perfect as CHristians? Well, you know the answer to that questions.

    I hope this helps you know how it is where I worship. I thank God for the strong Eldership that we have. Men who are willing to stand because it is written, without worrying about what will be written.

  35. Dear Mr. Willie:

    The issue isn’t about whether or not a parent should stop loving a child who is living in sin. You can try to make it that if you like but it’s not. The issue is about the support a Christian parent is providing by showing up at a court case in which the woman’s daughter was trying to promote her sinful way of life; and whether or not the congregation at hand was acting “homophobic” or even unscriptural and how the world has reacted toward their decision as the original post was discussing.

    Again, the love of Jesus is not the issue. The love of a parent for their child is not the issue. The issue is about the difference between supporting the emotional happiness of a child and the spiritual holiness of a child. There is no way that this sister could have supported the holiness of her child if she showed up to support her daughter who, again, was in court to promote a depraved a lifestyle.

    You say it is useless to speculate, yet that is exactly what you did concerning the congregation’s actions, the mother’s intent and the meaning of my words.

    When it comes to your mentality (i.e. your point of view), your education, your debating experience and your feelings about who is or isn’t prepared to preach has nothing to do with the conversation. I said that a mentality (a POV) that compares what the mother of Jesus did during his crucifixion and what this mother did during a trial/legal case that revolved around her daughter’s promotion of sin is wrong. There is no spiritual justification for that comparison in this situation. It reaches too far to prove a point that isn’t there.

    As you said yourself, you may not want to know me, but your feelings, or the lack thereof, do not change what Jesus said when he said, “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37) and it seems as if, according to what has been revealed, this principle applies to this situation.

    Now unless you wish to again point out some “phantom” ill-will or haughtiness that you think I have, which you accused me of but failed to reveal, I will consider this reply to be simple enough, truthful enough and enough said as far as I am concerned.

  36. dave

    Jason, maybe I missed something but did you say the woman STILL lives in another part of the house?

  37. Willie

    I have just found and read an article in the newspaper which clearly states that the Mother in question and other family members openly support daughter’s homosexual lifestyle. Therefore, her presence at her daughter’s side involved more than just showing motherly love–article clearly states that Mother and other family members support her homosexual activities. In view of this and in keeping with what the Bible teaches, the elders had not only a right but a responsibility to try to bring about correction in a Biblical manner.

    • Bill Cartwright

      Willie let us assume because of the time difference that the magazine article is correct and we believe that we should speak where God speaks and be silent where God is silent. I will put it another way, the unspoken word of God is just as powerful as the spoken. In Matt.18:15-17 and the only the only time that any thing to do with discipline is done quietly or in secret is the 1st. step and it is done that way to protect the one sinning; if they repent there will not be any gossiping and backbiting. the 2nd. step is done in front of 2 or 3 witnesses and the 3rd. step takes place if front of the congregation. This is the only way God gives us to stop fellowship with someone who is willfully sinning. If you or the Elders have another scripture that speaks to their actions please share and no I know the duties of an elder and I do not find anywhere in scripture that they can do as they see fit or the way they think best, because Gods way is the only acceptable behavior for a child of God. If this upsets any of you I ask your forgiveness. I am reminded of other messengers whose message was unacceptable and they were stoned. Have I not stated God’s Word; please let us speak to each other in Gods Wisdom giving chapter and verse. In Christ we find Life. Bill Cartwright

      • Willie

        Bill,
        I agree that everything should be done in a Biblical manner. I do not know any facts about how the elders carried out what they did. I am saying that in any situation that requires correction the example for correction given in the Bible should be followed.

  38. Judy

    Thank God for brethren in Christ who are standing for what the Bible teaches. IITim.4:2

  39. judetheobscure

    janice is right. we’re comparing education and backgrounds and turning this into a shoving match. how about all of us pray for the CHURCH, the Church of Christ we ALL belong to, whether in texas, england, india, tennessee, and hope their decisions are based on the bible, and what our Father wants, rather than what man thinks he knows…as we are guilty of exactly what we’re condemning…thinking we know better than the post above us. we’re doing exactly what satan wishes, dividing instead of unifying. we aren’t enemies, guys. put a lid on it. i pray for all of us that we can be humble enough to ask forgiveness from one another and know we know nothing: God knows all. and i pray for the mother AND the daughter AND the church, because ultimately, i want all of us to attain the same goal. i just lost my sister in a house fire a year and a half ago, and although i don’t know her heart, she had fallen away. do you think if i had a chance to post a message to her right now, i’d be telling her about my degree? i’d be screaming on the keyboard for her to grasp Christ by the hand! encourage your brethren.

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