Tag Archives: orthodoxy

Checklists, orthodoxy and leaving a church

There’s a little questionnaire making the rounds of Church of Christ discussion groups on the Internet. I haven’t seen the original source, so I won’t mention who is said to be the author.

It’s titled “QUESTIONS FOR MY LIBERAL BRETHREN.” Most of the questions are in a yes/no format. Question #17 has multiple parts. I’ll paste it in here as I’ve seen it on other sites:

17. Which of the following practices do you think you nullify a congregation’s standing with God?
A. Use of sacred images and paintings in worship___ B. Use of holy water___ C. Burning incense____D. Use of clerical garments___ E. Communion with bread alone?____F. Communion with bread and water____G. Offering sprinkling or pouring for baptism___H. Speaking in unknown tongues___ I. People being “slain by the Spirit”___J. Instrumental music in worship____K. Praise by paid performers____L. Daily Communion____M. Communion observed with weddings and funerals___N. Communion as part of a potluck meal____O. Infant baptism___P. Woman preachers and elders_____Q. Charging for baptisms____R. Dancing for worship____S. Reciting the Nicean Creed___ T. Lighting sacred candles___ U. Singing or praying in Latin, Greek or Hebrew___ V. Expecting Holy Spirit baptism____W. Infant baptism___X. Making the communion service a sacrifice of the mass___

When this was posted to a group that I’m a part of, I pointed out that the items listed said more about this person’s bias than anything else. When challenged as to how I would “improve” the list, I suggested a few additions:

Owning a building
Paid preacher
Sunday school
Allow unscripturally divorced people to place membership or be baptized
Multiple cups in the Lord’s Supper
Homogenized grape juice in the Lord’s Supper
Use of non-KJV Bibles
Taking Lord’s Supper on Sunday night
Taking Lord’s Supper on ground floor
Support orphan’s homes
Support cooperative evangelistic efforts

There are members of the churches of Christ who would call others “liberal” for doing the things I’ve listed. If we’re going to offer an honest list for evaluation, shouldn’t we go beyond the things that we personally object to? Shouldn’t we list what others object to about us?

All of this got me to thinking about when and why I would leave a church. I want to explore some of that, but thought I’d ask my wise readers to guide me as I get started. When would you decide it necessary to leave a church? On what basis?

How would you go about it? Would you leave quietly or would you want others to know of your decision? Would you approach the leadership? Would you discuss it merely with a close circle of friends or would you contact as many people as possible?

Looking forward to your thoughts.