(Note – 6/12/06 for an update on this story, click here) 

(Note added: For posts I’ve written on this topic as a result of the responses to this one, please check this post and this post and ESPECIALLY this post). 

Since last night the news has been filled with reports of the Tennessee Church of Christ minister, Matthew Winkler, who had been murdered. The police were looking for his wife and three young daughters. Today the wife and daughters (ages one, six, and eight) were found, and the wife, Mary Winkler, admitted that she had killed her husband. No one knows why.

When I first heard the news – especially the part about the man being a Church of Christ minister who preached sermons that were “strictly Bible-based,” I couldn’t help but think about my own experience in the Church of Christ. Then when I heard that the wife had admitted to the murder, I swear my first thought was, “Well, and no wonder!”

Before I go further, I want to stress that I sincerely feel awful that the man was killed. The wife not only killed her husband, but she also has ruined her own life and the lives of her three daughters. The three little girls have lost both parents. It’s a tragedy, and I know NOTHING about the case other than what has been reported on the news – which is that no one knows why the woman murdered her husband.

With that said, I have to say that I sure have some speculations about it. The Church of Christ is an oppressive church. I had no idea what the COC’s beliefs were until I attended one of their churches regularly during 2003. I won’t go into the reasons for my one-year stint at a COC, but I stayed as long as I had to, and then I got the heck out of Dodge.

It’s a “pick and choose” religion – They pick the scriptures they want to believe and ignore the ones they don’t want to believe. They don’t have any instrumental music in their churches because they say there is no mention of it in the New Testament. Supposedly they “add nothing to the Bible and take nothing away from it” or something like that. I guess they forgot all the “praise Him with harp and cymbals” type verses in the Old Testament. Psalms 33:1-3 is an example: “Let all the joys of the godly well up in praise to the Lord, for it is right to praise Him. Play joyous melodies of praise upon the lyre and on the harp. Compose new songs of praise to him, accompanied skillfully on the harp; sing joyfully.” Or maybe the Old Testament doesn’t count. As I said, they pick and choose.

The belief, though, that I feel is truly dangerous is their belief about the role of women in the church. Women are not allowed to speak or take any leadership role whatsoever in church services. The church takes the Bible verse about how women should be quiet in church (which had to do with Biblical times when women were not educated) and ignores the fact that there were women prophets.

Women can’t even lead singing. Sometimes they’ll have four men up front during hymns – one each for bass, tenor, alto and soprano. Song leaders are necessary since there is no instrumental accompaniment. It was hilarious once when we attended a COC-affiliated college church service and they needed someone to lead the soprano part, the “liberal” college allowed a woman to lead (guess they couldn’t find a guy with a high voice) – BUT they made her SIT in the back of the church (so none of the church members could see her) and had her sing into a microphone. It was an exercise in futility, though, because no one could hear her. A scandalized church member probably turned off her mic.

Women can’t pray in Sunday School classes either. However, they ARE allowed to teach children’s classes, and they can provide food for church gatherings. Generous of the men, isn’t it?

I forget where microphones and projection screens are mentioned in the scriptures, but surely there’s a Bible verse about them somewhere since they’re both used during each service at all the COC churches I attended.

One petty/catty observation: I remember during one church service watching the ushers as they walked up to the front of the church – pot bellies hanging out — and I thought, “Yes, now those are truly examples of superior beings.”

The thing that saddened me the most, though, was the children – Young girls talking about “choosing” submission – not even realizing that their choice was the result of years of indoctrination – and not knowing how oppressive and damaging that submission would become after years of marriage. And then the boys strutting around with their superior attitudes – because actions speak louder than words, and one of the COC’s foundations is that men are better than women. Women are to be seen (when they take care of the children and men) but not heard. Talk about the makings for wife abuse!

The ministers talk about how women are treasured and uplifted in the COC – that the submission of women is like a gift to them. I think many of them really believe it, too. It’s sad, and it broke my heart to see two young people I truly cared for being brought up with those beliefs. Even though I’m no longer in their lives, I worry about their future.

I went into the COC not knowing anything about it. I was open and receptive and looking forward to meeting the people there and being involved in the church. I went from surprise and interest eventually to disgust. As I learned more, I found that it was just silly. I know there are many good people in the church – many solid, well-intentioned, Christian people. However, that doesn’t negate the damaging effects of their erroneous beliefs. I knew there was no way I could remain in such a church.

And that brings me back to the murder. Later news about the murder mentioned that the couple had met at a COC college. So here we have a woman – married to a COC minister – a minister bound to diligently preach COC doctrine – and with three young daughters – the wife thinking about the prospect of the three girls growing up in such an oppressive religion – no way to escape (since divorce is not a viable option for a COC minister) – my guess is she reached the breaking point. Well, obviously she reached a breaking point since she murdered her husband.

Maybe I’m totally wrong – maybe I’m right. I have no idea. There are several theories circulating around the blogosphere. I will be following this story in the coming weeks and months. It will be interesting to see if a life of forced submission and subservience had anything to do with the murder.

Others blogging on the topic: historymike’s musings, Lubos Motl’s Reference Frame,  Assorted Babble, EBBP, Pundit Guy, biblioblography, Jane Genova, World Views, Daffodil Lane, Mountaineer Musings, Home Sweet Home,

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199 Responses to “Tennessee Church of Christ Minister Murdered by Wife – No wonder?”

  1. Luboš Motl: The Reference Frame Says:

    links from Technoratithe Academia, an ideal place that encourages hypocricy – and that often prefers the form over the content. This is why this Hungarian pastor has been less popular than Matthew Winkler. In fact, the Church of Christ also likes to oppress women as the Median Sibling convincingly argues. [IMG] Figure 2: Matthew Winkler, a minister Although many bloggers are ready to invent far-reaching theories about Matthew Winkler, I continue to assume that he was primarily a victim of a murder, and I find it highly

  2. Mike's Thoughts in a Delirious State of Mind. Says:

    links from Technoratichurch and have no business according to scriptures within the church today. The CHurch of Christ believe their’s is the only true church..thus the name Church of Christ. I found a site written by a woman I think you should pay attention to:http://themediansib.com/?p=432 PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Follow all the links reffered too in this blog. A womans perspective on issues that I believe will need to be addressed within the trial if it is to give justice both to the dead husband and to the mental state of the woman

  3. Gary Says:

    I think you should wait for your judgements until the facts are in. You are right about one thing. You are being very catty and petty.

  4. sarahk Says:

    funny, i was married to an adulterous sex fiend in the church for 7 years, and i never once considered killing him.

  5. mountaineer musings - other musers on i don’t know what to think Says:

    Kramer auto Pingback[…] Pingback by The Median Sib » Tennessee Church of Christ Minister Murdered by Wife – No wonder? — 25 March, 2006 @ 1:07 am […]

  6. Jane Says:

    I appreciated your observations. All I knew about the COC was the ‘no musical instruments’ thing.
    It will be interesting to see the entire story unfold.
    BTW, I think Gary, the above commenter, must have missed the sentence where you explained that these were your observations and opinions about the church NOT a judgement against the wife.

  7. carol Says:

    Carol – this is well thought out and non-judgemental. As Jane said – you point out it’s your personal observations. You are certainly not catty or petty. You also point out that you are speculating.

    I think it will be interesting to see how this all unfolds.

    I’ve also had some involvment with that church – many years ago – and found it to be very restrictive and condescending towards women. I personally would not want to participate with a religion like that. Most of the people I knew who went there at the time did not practice the religion outside of the church.

    Whatever the reasons or circumstances 2 young lives are destroyed and there are 3 parentless children who will be forever changed because of these events. It’s terribly sad.

  8. carol Says:

    Thank you, Jane and ? (not “carol” – probably Beth instead)
    Gary didn’t leave his email or URL – which means he’s just a troll who goes around making negative comments but without the courage to identify himself.

    The comment about the potbellies was catty/petty – at the time it was a humorous observation. And I prefaced the remark as such. The rest of the post stands.

    Obviously something was very, very wrong in that family. Time will tell what it was.

  9. Luboš Motl Says:

    That’s a convincing story – and nice blog title and theme, by the way. I’ve added a link to your analysis to my article about it,

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2006/03/mary-winkler-motive.html

  10. Mike Says:

    As a former member of the Church of Christ, for 18-19 years I feel for Mary Winkler, I dont condone her actions, but being there first hand and knowing what the Church is all about, perhaps will aid her defense. However the crime happened in Tennessee, any jury is bound to be full of Church of Christ Men and Women, this is a case of a must for it to be moved out of the state for Mary Winkler to recieve a fair trial. Tennessee is a hotbed of a Church of Christ on every corner just like Mcdonalds.

    If a issue of the Church is brought up as a defense, this trial must be moved.

  11. Mike Says:

    Sorry.. I also linked to your blog for my posting.

    http://www.mikesdelirium.blogspot.com reffering to above comment.

  12. Jason Says:

    As a “member” of the CofC I can say some of the things you say are true. Just realize that there is no governing body over the CofC and that their belief principles differ from one church to the other. I would prefer you speak to the church you visited/attended instead of making a sweeping generalization about believers who happen to attend a CofC.

    Jason

  13. carol Says:

    Good point, Jason. I understand that each church is separate. The ones I attended are in the Nashville area and in Arkansas (the college-associated one). However, aren’t the guidelines of no instrumental music and women unable to speak or participate in leadership roles in the church (except for taking care of or teaching children and doing other behind-the-scenes jobs) and also submissive to the husband in marriage pretty much standard throughout all COC churches?

  14. Jason Says:

    Unfortunately, yes, but we are starting to see some movements to the contrary. Some of our more “progressive” CofC’s are removing that name from their building signs so that non-believers and believers alike will not automatically stereotype. A church should be more about encouraging one to grow in Christ in love and not man made tradition and legalism. Oak Hills, the home of Max Lucado is one in particular. Highland CofC in Abilene could be the next? Maybe Farmers Branch CofC in Dallas (where my wife and I attend)? I have attended each of these churches over the years and have received some ridicule for the decision. Mike Cope is the minister at Highland and he once served as the minister at the College CofC across the street from the school in Arkansas. God can change hearts and reveal new things, even to an old heart!

    By the way, God does command wives to submit to their husbands. The problem occurs when men don’t love their wives as Christ loved the church. Jesus was God in the flesh and humbled himself to live among us. Many men today have a problem with humility. If I don’t love my wife as Christ loved the church, why would she ever respect me, or even submit for that matter? I wouldn’t expect her to. Moreover, scripture does not say “women, submit to all men and live oppressed.” Christ offers freedom. He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Shame on me if I ever interfere with God working in my wife’s heart and life.

  15. David Says:

    Note: I do not hold with much of CofC teachings. Have never been a member or regular attender of a CofC church, but have known many who have been, including many “ruling elders” and “teaching elders” in CofC churches, have read CofC lit, including books used by some CofC schools that turn out no few “teaching/preaching elders”. It’s a wacko theology IMO, but…

    One thing to keep in mind about CofC churches, Carol, is that they vary more than perhaps any single “denomination” from church to chrch. (And yes, I know that one thing nearly all CofC churches have in common is that they deny being a “denomination” *sigh*)

    Most of the characteristics you mention as CofC are in fact common to many CofC churches. Some are almost universal, some relatively rare, in my knowledge. The reason for that is the peculiar polity of CofC churches which is fiercely independant, in such a way that the local organization pretty darned well decides what is “right” based on a consensus of those who are running THAT congregation.

    The polity is more involved than that, of course, but it is largely the historical roots and current polity that drive the theology of local congregations, and that makes for a wide degree of variance in some of the areas you outline—not that many CofC folks will admit that… heh

    As a sidebar, I used to tell friends who were CofC that they needed to either excise the lord’s Prayer OR the Revelation of john, cos the one has Jesus telling his deciples to pray that the Father’s will be done “on earth as it is in heaven” and the other speaks of instrumental music in heaven… Can’t deny instrumental music in churches unless you delete one or the other…

    Oh. Well.

    But the “no instruments in churches” is probably the least serious fault in CofC theology. It’s simply a symptom of remaking the scriptures (and their God) in their own image, instead of the other way around.

    Want something even weirder? Here in America’s Third World Countyâ„¢ we have congregations calling themselves “Church(es) of Christ” that are renegade Mormons who consider the LDS to be heretical cos it doesn’t include some other mythical “scriptures” cooked up by Joseph Smith. Cultic weirdness. by comparison, the other more “normal” CofC churches are downright mainline…

    *sigh*

  16. goldenpoppy Says:

    So you have no idea whether you are right or wrong, and still you posted this? I believe there are plenty of Proverbs that warn against speaking foolishness, engaging in baseless speculation, gossiping, but perhaps you did not spend much time during your experience with that congregation engaged in much Bible study. You would not be alone.

    I cannot discount your experience with a “church of Christ” – it is your experience, and I have no reason to doubt the truthfulness of your account. However, your experience, as narrow as it is, especially, can hardly be the basis for judging all congregations that call themselves by the name “church of Christ.” I have been an active member of eight autonomous congregations, on the West Coast, in the Northeast, and in the southern states. The only generality I might note would be that some congregations in the south (not the ones I choose to worship with) were more likely to be “churches of Christ” in name and appearance only, being afflicted with the Southern tendency to avow a holy appearance as more important than a holy life.

    I am assuming that the “church of Christ” you worked with was one of these name only, having long past gone down the road of institutionalism, further and further away from the gospel. and. ultimately becoming no different than the Methodist or Baptist churches down the street. Too bad you did not take the opportunity to judge the congregation against the standard I assume it still purported to follow – the Bible – and then when you found it to be in error, you should have spoken up, or moved on in search of another congregation sincerely trying to follow the pattern of New Testament Christianity.

    Max Lucado and his congregation (yes, more his, than Christ’s) only changed its name after a Baptist group encouraged it. That congregation has not shared a spiritual heritage with the churches in Antioch, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, etc, for years and years. And that congregation is not the only one mired in error and hypocrisy.

  17. Judge not Says:

    Many of the comments about the church of Christ seemed made in ignorant judgement. People in the church of Christ are sinners. They are not perfect as the writer seems to think they should be. Perfection is to be had through Jesus Christ. They succonb at time to the whims of the devil to solve their worldly situations rather than trusting in God through His Christ.
    The devil is the reason for this tragedy not, Christ’s church.

    Judgenot

  18. carol Says:

    Now you’ve done it! You have criticized a religious paradigm. You should know by now that once someone is washed in the blood of the lamb their sense of reason, proportion and logic takes a hike. You are messing with their eternal salvation and no questioning of their beliefs is possible. As you can see, the Christian Taliban has rallied to the defense and my guess is you are one more comment away from damnation. Well, at least you have your head and are merely a heretic and not an infidel. These folks are quite serious about everlasting life and none take their religious tenants with a “grain of salt”. They are all Hell bent on the road to salvation.
    Chuck

  19. Joan Says:

    Carol, your post was logically, rationally, and thoughtfully written. You clearly stated that you do not know the reason for the murder, but that you had an oppressive experience with a church identifying itself by the same label as the one this family belonged to. Those readers who have written condemning responses to your post have shown their nature by the fact that they commented anonymously and defensively and indulged in name-calling and judgmental declarations. Your post was thought-provoking, sincere, and contained nothing that would inspire such vitriolic response from reasonable people.

  20. carol Says:

    Joan, don’t worry. I’m not concerned about the people who wrote negative and JUDGMENTAL things condemning me for being judgmental. It’s funny that they don’t see the hypocrisy of what they’re doing. Of course they didn’t leave their email or URL. That’s why I pay little attention to what they write.

    By the way, Jason, I appreciate your remarks. While you clearly disagree with me, you didn’t resort to name-calling and judgment, but rather you presently your argument rationally and respectfully. That’s how reasonable people interact. Thanks.

    It’s an interesting and tragic case. Eventually we’ll find out why she murdered her husband.

  21. goldenpoppy Says:

    I suppose “they” includes me? And because I disagree with you, therefore I am judgmental and negative? And because I don’t leave my real name and email at a site that (1) belongs to someone I don’t personally know, and (2) is visited by people I don’t personally know and trust, then my post is automatically dismissed without merit? I don’t care much whether you dismiss my post or not, or call me judgmental or negative. I am not the one who has contributed to the proliferation of posts about the Winkler case and, in effect, disparaged, misinformed, and muddied the issues and circumstances surrounding the case with speculation and gossip. I am not one who has colored the conversation with one’s own lingering resentment and frustration with a particular congregation. It is one thing to have an open and honest discussion of the problems within the church. But your post, based upon your narrow experience, and one apparently quite influenced by your own arrogance and smugness is not one which I consider to be of much use ultimately. “Potbellies” during communion? Yes, catty, as you admit, and a sign you were out of touch with Christ’s teachings. A better focus during communion might have been Christ on the cross. We know we are saved when we love the brethren. Not too much love, for the brethren or anyone, in your gossipy post (and not as much reason or logic, either, despite your friendly readers’ assertions.)

    Those who have come to your defense are to be commended – we all need friends who come to our defense – and they are certainly within their rights to do so. They might considering sharing a bit of that love and concern with the Winkler family.

  22. Jared Says:

    Well a very interesting discussion on this blog….first time vistor here. I am glad to see that there are some real people left out there. I am orginally from Idaho and have been transplanted here in Henderson, Tenn. Henderson is the home of the CoC school Freed-Hardeman University were the Winklers attended and Matthews father is still Prof. Selmer is just down the road a bit. I myself have attended CoC only a couple of times amd decided it wasn’t quite the flavor of christanity i prefered. However legalistical or oppressive to woman the church may seem i do whole heartedly agree with Jasons comments and dont push my wife to submit based on that one verse in the bible….even though i like to joke around about it. I am however concerned about how this case is shaping up. So far from Mary Winkler we have….I did it…I’m sorry….not guilty!!!! This to me is very odd. To me it seems that the Defense will be arguing not guilty by the way of Insanity due to the pressures and stresses of having to live a perfect life in an oppressive enviroment. This is a very scary notion!!!!! In todays society and culture what keeps any of us from a similar defense in the event of wrongdoing!!! Maybe i am just jumping to conclusions here but it seems that would give us all a liscence to Kill. Sure my wife and i continually cope with raising children in stressful and hostile enviroment and i would hope that we do not have to watch our backs (no pun intended) with each other. Is your spouse not supposed to be your one safe haven? Mary Winkler could face excommunication for divorce before facing murder 1 charges. The argument that she had no way out due to divorce not being an option holds little weight with me unless CoC frowns on divorce but advocates murder. Also forgiveness seems to be very important to her congeration,,, so she could not have been fearing eternal damnation for divorce and not for shooting her husband in the back. Instead this sounds to me a woman full of Anger wanting retaliation and retribution for some perceived wrong. I mourn for marriages across the country. Just some thoughts…

  23. Jared Says:

    Maybe everyone (;-) should re-read their previous posts under and in the all unshadowing light of Christs Love and Salvation, and in so may learn an important lesson. I direct this specially towards those that Profess to follow Christ and live having received his love and vow to pass it unto others, we would all do well to follow Christs example…. even Mary Winkler.

  24. Kim Says:

    I think that spiritual abuse can happen in any church body. Controlling individuals will use whatever means they can to control others. I don’t know if the Church of Christ is a church body that can give controlling people a opportunity to abuse others, but it seems to be a church body that may lay the groundwork for this to occur. I do not think, though, this was Mrs. Winkler’s motive. I think it was a personal issue and not a church issue. There are other avenues she could have taken to leave this life. I will pray for her children. May God give them hope inspite of this terrible tragedy.

  25. www.Ex-ChurchofChrist.com :: View topic - TN coC preacher Says:

    Kramer auto Pingback[…] interesting blog article: http://themediansib.com/?p=432_________________Are you there God? It’s me, mnala […]

  26. carol Says:

    Carol – I didn’t realize this was posting my comments with your name. I just now saw that – I’m trying to get logged out – I’m wondering now if I’ve been posting as Carol all over the web! lol

  27. carol Says:

    Sorry – did it again – this is Beth )

  28. TNT Says:

    Comment by Jason — March 25, 2006 @ 8:41 pm
    By the way, God does command wives to submit to their husbands. The problem occurs when men don’t love their wives as Christ loved the church. ..
    ———
    Well, Let me see, Jason….
    “God” commands women’s headcovering in worship….yet NADA….NONE in the COC’s!
    Yet practriced without exception for 1500 Years…that’s One-Thousand-Five-Hundred!
    Nothing was clearer to the early church and thereafter.
    Pure Hypocrites.
    I condemn the tactics upon women in CONSERVATIVE ranks of the COC for their hypocracy…They breed this type of “we are the only ones to interpret the “bible” mindset. Their Cultish indoctrination is relentless…Calls get made if you miss even one 3 3 per week church gatherings..Indoctrination “camps” for the young EVERY holiday period…and summer..Just like the JW’s…another “restoration” sect of the very same era in purely American protestantism.
    I rode that horse for years and finally found out it was mule.
    Bible only? BUNK.
    You have to go outside the bible to EVER decide (by Tradition) what the books are to be in the bible…it has no scriptural Table of Contents!

    Now, this woman was charged with 1ST DEGREE murder….not 2nd or 3rd or manslaughter. So, some degree of planning without the defense of fear for life or passion was involved.
    God willing, I hope to see this through. But I think the COC membership may have been a coincidence and not the apparent cause.. I hold my judgement on this one.

    Kim Wrote:
    I don’t know if the Church of Christ is a church body that can give controlling people a opportunity to abuse others, but it seems to be a church body that may lay the groundwork for this to occur.
    ———
    It is!
    So, Now you know.

  29. Linda Says:

    I was a COC minister’s wife for over 30 years………………………it is life in a fishbowl!

  30. Linda Says:

    We’re now divorced….I couldn’t live up to HIS expectations!

  31. Linda Says:

    Are there any more women out there, like me, who have been married(now divorced) to COC ministers? I’d like to know how what caused their marriages to end in divorce like mine.

  32. carol Says:

    Interesting discussions. I have great empathy and concern for both Matthew and Mary Winkler and their families and church. Obviously something was seriously wrong in their marriage. Thanks to everyone who has shared their ideas, beliefs, opinions and experiences. Anyone else? -)

  33. Norma Says:

    We have two CoC churches in our community, only one is non-instrumental. I think they are very congregational in polity (as are Lutherans), so not all are the same. I’ve never attended one, but I don’t think your experience would represent the whole group (they don’t call themselves a denomination, as I recall).

    The CoC have no corner on denying women an official role in the church. Our ELCA congregation does not ordain women or have women preach from the pulpit, or teach mixed Sunday school classes, nor are they in leadership/administrative staff positions. We can read scripture and serve communion in services and sing in choir and quartets. However, as in many churches, the women’s activities at UALC are the most vital in the church and a structure to serve the women’s needs has grown up along side the “official” structure. In many churches the women are the “parachurch.”

    It’s odd with all we hear about women’s rights, that the large growing churches seem to officially or just subtley keep women in the background, which in turn allows men to step forward into leadership which is what keeps the families coming into the church together.

  34. carol Says:

    Norma, you bring up a good point. That was one positive thing I noted about the COC churches I attended – the men DID step up into leadership positions. They had to, or the church wouldn’t have been able to do anything since the women weren’t allowed to have any leadership.

    I would think the COC you attended that has instrumental music would be the exception. At least that is the impression I get from reading about COC, my own experiences, and from what I’ve heard.

    I would have to do some research about your last statement. It doesn’t seem to me that the large growing churches either officially or subtley keep women in the background. However, I don’t know. Would have to look into that and see.

    I come from a background where women have become leaders in the church, and it seems very natural to me. I have known two women ministers who preach very Biblically-based sermons, are definitely not militant feminists and who are accepted and welcomed into those leadership roles by both men and women – even at little conservative country churches. They’re simply doing what God has called them to do.

    Thanks for stopping by, Norma. Your comments are always helpful and thoughtful.

  35. Norma Says:

    Just a slight correction, Carol. I said I had NOT attended (or even visited) a CoC but there are 2 in our suburb. I attend http://www.UALC.org (web address). Other very large evangelical churches in Columbus where women do not serve in leadership are Grace Brethren, Vineyard, and World Harvest. There are large Baptist churches, too. There are probably others. UALC has about 5,000 members and 3 campuses, 11 services and is ELCA Lutheran.

  36. Matt Says:

    If there are any former CoC members, please visit this site:
    http://www.ex-churchofchrist.org

    There is a support bulliten board for those that have left. We have discussed this topic.

  37. carol Says:

    Sorry Norma. I was hurrying and didn’t take time to check my comment before posting. Thanks again for your comments.

  38. Jim Says:

    Christ loved the people of this world and the church so much that he gave his life for it. we are to love our wifes the same way. If we do this then our woman will all be treated with resepct and love. COC woman have much to say in the church and are well heard. You had a problem with the COC because you were not allowed to take over, iis what it looks like to me. WE all have a roll in life some think theirs is to be men when they are woman and some men think they should act like woman.

  39. Just Another PK Says:

    To Jim: I am a PK, raised in the CoC, and I saw my mother experience a lot of abuse–as well as myself and my younger siblings–from my father, who has also always been known as the “perfect” preacher, “fantastic person”, “full of charisma”; our family was known as “the perfect little preacher’s family”, and my mother was always in the background; nobody in the many congregations we were tacked onto the back of cared one BIT about my mother, or us children–until of course my younger brothers got old enough to start acting the “little men”, aping our father.

    I have problems with the CoC because in many cases it acts like a denomination. It acts like it thinks it’s better than the God of the universe. I have problems with the CoC that I likely will never overcome because of the paternalistic arrogance of the weak men inside it. I have stayed with the CoC but I am ambivalent about it, to say the least. There are some very good things about it, but again, when men who are preachers within, and who are elders and deacons within, start putting themselves first instead of the Lord Jesus…problems will grow, and fester and putrify. Just like the current tragedy with Mary Winkler.

    To Linda: I tried to get my mother to leave my father many times but she refused saying that it would “ruin his career”. Talk about brainwashing!!!

    I am confident that Mary felt she had no other choice but to commit murder. That she had reached the end of her rope with her husband. I am confident that she knew, as a woman in the CoC (and where so many people, including other women, GUSHED over her husband all the time and marginalized her) that she could get no redress, no help. That divorce wasn’t an option, apparently, and that her husband knew nobody would believe her or help her. My own father would mock my mother, and myself in later years when I threatened to expose his wicked, abusive ways to others in the church. “Nobody will believe YOU,” he’d say and laugh. And you know what?

    He was right. For years and years I’ve tried to “out” him and with absolutely no success, and this to people who have SAID they were my friends. Yeah, right. Like the people who say they forgive Mary…but I bet in private it’s a LOT different story…I bet it is. Been there and done that. Threw up on the teeshirt.

    Nobody has believed me–except my fellow PKs in the CoC. Because we all have similar stories to tell…very similar to the one that drove Mary to the act of murder. I would bet money if I had any to bet that Mary’s life was — bless her heart–extremely similar to what my mother went thru, what I went thru, what so many of my PK friends have gone thru. If we don’t find out here and now, we will find out at the Judgment Day just what was so horrible that drove her to shoot her husband.

    Mr. Jim sounds like he is part of the problem, part of why Mary Winkler got to the desperate straits she reached, and sounds like he would be one of my father’s most intiimate companions.

    (Note to Jim: The above is NOT a compliment.)

    Just Another PK

  40. Carol Says:

    Yes, we all have rolls in life. I like mine with a little butter and apricot preserves. Sorry, Jim – just couldn’t resist. I make typos all the time myself.

    Anyone who knows me knows I didn’t want to take over the church. I’m a rather shy type of person. It was just silly, though, when they were trying to get people to teach an adult Sunday school class, that women were not even considered. Despite what COC people say, their religion is not Bible-based – except in a pick-and-choose fashion. And all that stuff about treating women with love and respect – actions speak louder than words. Sure, there are many people in the COC who have wonderful, reciprocal marriages. However, the belief system is one that appeals to and even encourages those who would abuse their wives and children.

  41. LadyBug Crossing Says:

    You are absolutely correct! Right on target! It seems to me that the men who respond to you are all yahoos who don’t have a clue about women. They want to be in control… You and I both know that is never gonna happen.
    LadyBug

  42. The All Spin Zone / Mary Winkler and the Blogzome Says:

    Kramer auto Pingback[…] Joan at Daddy’s Roses looks at the speculation. She seems to think the compelling part of this case is that Mary is attractive, holds a responsible place in the community, and that she killed her Pastor husband. The children are also part of the case, of course. Joan doesn’t talk about race, but I’ll get to that later. Joan thinks it is natural that the case is getting so much publicity, and that it is also natural that folks are speculating. I’ll take Ice any day. Perhaps I believe speculation about such a tragedy is a little classless, but that isn’t stopping folks. The Median Sib thinks that perhaps Mary Winkler buckled under the pressure of being a submissive Chruch of Christ wife. Home Sweet Home posits domestic abuse as Mary’s motive and also pushes the post-partum depression theory, as our own commenter Bellanaples practically screams about. Oh, people of all faiths here are jumping the gun here and weighing in on this tragedy. Perhaps it is natural for people to ask the question, so I can’t condemn such behavior, but it seems a bit distasteful to me. But there are other trends. Charles North at The Altar of God is defensive in the extreme. He’s ready with the “media hates Christians” theme, and he’s running with it. (Bill O’Reilly, your “War on Easter” is waiting. . . ) I wonder if he knew there were organizations that actually think some congregations of the Church of Christ are cult-like? Gee, no wonder he’s defensive. Travis Stanley is also lashing out at Nancy Grace, who hinted about whether the Church of Christ is a cult. lisa39 is also defensive about the Church of Christ as a cult, but she points to some schismatics she says really ARE a cult. And there’s some people in this post at Le Petit Morte who are ready to believe a wife of a Church of Christ Minister could be driven to shoot her husband. Man, there’s a lot of finger pointing going on over this tragedy! I’m seeing some big-time fracturing going on over in the right wing side of the blogzome, and the heavyweight Right Wing Radical Christian Clerics are yet to have their say, but I’m willing to bet that they’ll blame Nancy Grace, too. These guys are mad about Nancy, for instance. Heck, we on ASZ have zeroed in on Nancy in our time, and this is her new Aruba. No, Tennessee will not give her as many tanning opportunities, but she’s going to milk this story. The wingers will have it that Nancy pulled the trigger before long, because she’ll be on this story. It’s a white woman after all. I said yesterday I wouldn’t write more about this case, but I’m still fascinated. Remember, just two days ago you heard it here first, that this story will replace the “white girl in distress” syndrome. Meanwhile, young black women are dying with not near the focus. There’s certainly more to be said there. Maybe tomorrow. I’m SpinDentist, and I approved this message at 17:12:20. Permalink :: Category – Holy War :: :: No Trackbacks :: […]

  43. We Interrupt This Broadcast Says:

    Is Anyone Searching for Anything Other Than Why Mary Winkler Killed Her Husband?…

    I am amazed that a huge majority of my last 100 referers to this blog have been for searches about Mary Winkler. And, this all before the authorities reveal the motive for the killing.

    That said, …

  44. Becky Says:

    I have been a member of the church of Christ all my life. I have been in churches that have a lot of the characteristics that have been mentioned(no instrumental music, women only teaching Sunday school, etc.), but I did not feel that I was oppressed in any way. I am an outspoken woman, and I did not feel that only by being in the pulpit did I have a say. In reference to hypocrisy, I have to say that I have never known ANY church to not have any hypocrites. We are human with human thoughts and human decisions. If you find a church that is able to follow everything in the Bible, let us all know. All churches pick and choose which verses they believe to be more important. I do not believe that it is wrong to have instrumental music which is why I have chosen to go to a church of Christ that chose to have more than one service where members may choose according to their preference. I guess that I feel a need to defend the church to which I belong, but I know it is not necessary. I do not believe there is a correlation between this woman being the wife of a cofC preacher and her choice to commit murder. However, I too am interestd to see the motivation behind the act….if one is ever given.

  45. Robert Says:

    This all around is a very unfortunate event. It is tragic for the deceased husband, for the wife that is now detained by the police and the children who are now forced in the middle of what they once thought of as a great home. I think it is wrong to say that his wife snapped simply because of their religion. You say that you have been to the Church of Christ before. However, one thing that you fail to mention is that while all of them claim to go only by the Bible, out of this group there are many different congregations. The Church of Christ has no government like Assembly of God or others who have a central government. Therefore, they one that you visit may be completeley different from the Church of Christ down the road. Many do not understand this. Many believe that if you have seen one, then you have seen them all. I have been congregations just like the one the Winklers attended. That congregation is nothing like you have described above. Each Church of Christ is autonomous of each other and because of this there are different opinions in some congregations contrary to the will of God. Perhaps you would be interested in corresponding with me in this regards. I would enjoy speaking with you.

  46. Father Grigory Says:

    “Comment by Jason — March 25, 2006 @ 8:41 pm
    By the way, God does command wives to submit to their husbands. The problem occurs when men ”

    (Comment deleted by blog owner… no profanity/blasphemy allowed here)
    Organised religion is a cancer that needs to be wiped off the face of the earth…

    screwballs leading sheeple

    Prior to christianity and islam, the predominant religion , at least in much of europe was paganism, a religion where in certain respects, women held postions at the apex of the pyramid. Many “witches” (a term applied by the church) held special healing powers and women were recognised for there intuitive abilties. Christianity as well as islam are strictly male dominated..islam uses terror and violence to get people to submit.

    when one person represses another, they indirectly limit what they can expereince in life..pur malignancy

    If you continue to let organised religion put you in a state of patholgical trance (as well as the cultural mores of our dysfunctional soceity) you will never become fully human, just a cultural mammal who becomes less and less of a mammal every day

  47. carol Says:

    Christianity, for the most part, has changed with the times with MOST churches giving women equal opportunities for service within the church. Some congregations obviously have not changed with the times.

    Father Grigory – if you choose to leave further comments, please don’t use vulgarity. You can make your point without it.

    Becky, thanks for your remarks. I agree that there is not a church anywhere without some hypocrisy present – because we’re all human. We strive to do God’s will and to live by His principles, but we fail many times.

    Robert, it has been mentioned a couple times in the comments to this post that the Church of Christ has no central governing body – that each church is a separate entity. Thus, each church has its own rules/guidelines. I only attended three different Church of Christ churches – in two different states.

    Thanks to everyone who has commented. I think the discussion is helpful in understanding each other. Regardless of what Mary Winkler’s motive was, I think the speculation about it is not a bad thing.

  48. Kim Says:

    Christianity is about Jesus and the cross. Jesus died and rose again for us and He has given us heaven freely with no string attached. This truth is for all men and women in all cultures around the world. We are no longer under the law because Jesus fullfilled it. Legalism is a cancer and can affect almost any church found on this planet. Mrs. Winkler may have been affected by the legalism that her church body promoted. It may have caused her to feel suffocated and without the ability to escape.I don’t know. It seems that she did something totally out of character. This woman had some tough issue going on in her life. I will continue to pray for Mary and her children.

  49. Jennifer Says:

    Got here by way of a Google blog search. I just wrote on the same issue. I grew up in the Baptist church, which is strikingly familiar to what you report about the COC.

  50. Aaron Says:

    Geez, where to begin…

    I also grew up attending churches of Christ…very conservative ones, I might add. I attended a church of Christ affilliated college, Oklahoma Christian, and continued attending churches of Christ. I have lived in many different places, and have seen many different “flavors” of churches of Christ, including some where I almost went back outside to see if I had read the sign correctly. I have also attended non-church of Christ congregations (I hate to use the term “churches,” since we are all part of “the church” if we are believers). Right now we (my wife, me and our 7 kids) attend a very “progressive” congregation. Do we have women preachers? No. Do we have women deacons or elders? No. Do we use instrumental music? No, but our elders made a public statement last year that it is a matter of tradition, not doctrine.

    Now, concerning how women are treated…spousal abuse does not run along denominational lines (by the way, when I use the word “denomination,” it means what it means…”a type, a delineation”). Anyone who says that Mary Winkler must have killed her husband is assuming WAY too much that they don’t know. Maybe they ARE right…but we don’t know that for sure. But what if he had been a Baptist preacher? An Assembly of God? Buddhist??? How would people have reacted? I don’t think my wife would say she is abused. She went to college where I did; she got her BSE and taught Special Ed for 7 years. When our 3rd and 4th children were born (twins), she decided she wanted to stay home. That was HER decision…trust me, I was worried about the drop in our income, but God took care of us. Now, she homeschools our kids.

    Those of you who are painting with such broad strokes about church of Christ members need to step back, take a deep breath and look at the bigger picture. For some yet unknown reason, Mary Winkler’s husband was shot in the back with a shotgun blast from 2-3 feet away. She has confessed to doing it. It’s a HORRIBLE crime, and 3 little girls now have to deal with it for the rest of their lives. This is NOT a church of Christ story…it is a human tragedy.

  51. Aaron Says:

    I just realized I left out a couple of words in my post…

    …Anyone who assumes that Mary Winkler must have killed her husband —because he was abusive—

    Sorry…I was thinking faster than I was typing!

  52. Rebecca Says:

    Ephisians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverance for God” is not to be ignored. Christians are taught to submit to each other, women to their husbands, all Christians to the elders of a congregation, the elders and everyone else to Jesus. The problems come when people try to force others to submit. Children are to obey or submit to their parents, but the parents are to love and not provoke them to wrath. Husbands love their wives sacrificially, “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it.” Since we all submit to one another, sometimes the husbands submit to the wives. The point is that we all treat each other right, but sometimes a decision has to be made that everyone doesn’t agree on. Who makes that choice? The one whom you are submitting to. The very very important thing to remember is that the action of submission is VOLUNTARY. It is a mindset of the person submitting and is not something to be forced on someone. A husband has no right to demand submission and is not accountable to God for the actions of his wife. Is she refuses to submit to his leadership, that is between her and God. He can not force submission. Nowhere in scripture is he given permission to do this. My father is a church of Christ minister and he lives his life this way, as does my own husband.

  53. Aaron Says:

    Good point…he can’t DEMAND it, but he can definitely EXPECT it. You are so blessed to have grown up in a household where everyone “got it.” The whole concept of submission is so misunderstood by non-Christians, and sadly, my a majority of Christians as well. I am NOT the “boss” of my wife. I am the head of my family, as Christ is the head of the church.

    And you are also right…”husbands, submit to your wives…” How many men even know that, let alone practice it?

  54. Liz Says:

    I am a member of the church of christ in Texas and your info. is very wrong. Women are in praise teams that can go on stage. Women can say a prayer in class if they choose. Not sure where your church under a rock was.

  55. The Median Sib » Mary Winkler - Motive? Tragedy! Says:

    […] I wrote a few days ago about this case and that post received many comments.  Quite incredible the number of comments and the amount of traffic this one story has generated.  It is a story filled with questions, incredulity, and controversy. […]

  56. Rhian Says:

    I was glad to discover this blogsite. Your personal experience with COC jives with my own memories of the COC as a child, where my father’s family was heavily invested, not so far from the southern Tennessee parsonage where this unfortunate murder occurred.

    I am not a member of the COC and never have been, but my whole life has been affected by the curious ideology of this organization because my father was raised in its beliefs. One thing you didn’t mention is the *emotional abuse* of wives that men can easily fall into as a result of the transparent devaluation of women. The marriage vow “obey” takes on new meaning in the context of COC family life. As you say so aptly, they pick and choose: the “honor” part of the marriage vow is not practised, or perhaps it is re-interpreted as “obey.” There is no equality of treatment: women can easily be mistreated, and it’s sanctioned by the COC’s ideology.

    It’s my opinion that the COC is a type of CULT. A cult demands compliance in all aspects of daily life, without question. It is an unorthodox version of Christianity that purports to be “more Christian” and “more pure” than any other type of Christianity. A cult invades people’s private lives and attempts to control them. I believe this cult, the COC, can lead to socially marginal behaviors and beliefs. All of the talk about “loving” and “caring” is a smokescreen for a cult of destructive male-centered brainwashing and mind control that is destined to produce intense family stresses, especially for wives.

    Your observation of the pot-bellied men in church is, from my own memory, quite accurate. The majority of people who attend COC, it seemed to me from my own observations, were grossly overweight individuals. My guess is that low self-esteem and neediness are endemic in this population, perhaps as a result of the emotional abuse in the home.

    Every last person I ever knew who was in any way connected with COC had serious issues with physical and / or emotional abuse, and the majority were stuck in life-long destructive relationships with private lives reeking with shame. Many of them pass the syndrome along to their children, who continue to pass it along to their children, long after they have stopped attending the COC.

    When I was a child I had the feeling we were living in a Nazi concentration camp. It was daily denigration and abuse of my mother, who was *not* COC but Baptist, and daily physical and emotional abuse of all the children. We kept it a secret. My mother kept up a front. Had she divorced my father, she would have lost us, because he had a job, and she didn’t. We meant everything to her. Had she told relatives, they would have dismissed her remarks as mean or crazy. Had she called authorities into the picture, my father would have used his charm, education and financial success to talk his way out of it, and probably none of us would have spoken against him, to maintain the secrecy of the shame in our family. Anyone reading these words who has experienced such a family situation will recognize the dilemma we were all in.

    It is my suspicion (and my suspicion only) that Mary Winkler was in a similar situation. Somewhere along the way, she realized that the lives they were leading were a sham, and she had no one to talk with about her concerns who would support her (including church members, family members, neighbors, or social services people). Perhaps her mother would have given her some support, but she had died just two years earlier, and Mary was all alone in her grief and her frustration. Perhaps we will never know what the straw was that broke the camel’s back.

    Anybody can go over the edge, even a very good person. A cult can turn rational people into confused lunatics who obey unethical religious dogma without question, and maintain the secrecy of their confusion and shame, making them think they are leading the “right” kind of life. The COC is a cult that produces secretly abusing families and maintains them in the shackles of intense shame and fear.

  57. Mark R Says:

    Most incredible blog comments I have ever seen. Never have so many commented so much about so little with such meager knowledge. So many people willing to make this killing (we do not know if i is murder) justifiable without all but the sketchiest facts and almost no evidence. And the Church of Chirsit crtiques have a little more to offer from a mountain of ignorance. But honest ignorance. Over the last 50 years since I left Ortkodox Judaism for hyperOrthodox Christianity, we have seen 90% of the congregations fit the negatives evolve to a little over half. At MIT, the congregation has a woman minister, songleaders, communion servers and teachers of both sexes. Let’s please wait to discuss this tragic famly and event and pray for them. Ther will be plenty of time for harangues and vitriol. There always is.

  58. Becky Says:

    Wow! All that I can say is wow. It seems that the cofC is being condemned on so many levels. I just want to say that I don’t devalue any of your experiences, but you have to understand that not all cofC’s are like that. I am sorry that these bad things happened, but perhaps we need to put more focus on the individuals instead of indicting the church they attend. My church is not a cult. It is a loving group of people that are certainly not perfect, nor do they profess to be. My husband and I both attend the church. He does not abuse me either physically or emotionally or expect me to bow at his every whim. That is a gross misuse of the word submit. I know that there are some hurting people out there, but please don’t use your particular story to misrepresent the cofC. What you are putting out there is not what I’ve commonly seen, and I’ve attended MANY over my 30 years. It also fuels the fire of hatred that others may have for any church at all. What happened is tragic, but don’t blame the whole cofC.

  59. Melinda Says:

    This has nothing to do with the Winklers but condemning the ch of Christ. I chose the church and attend a very conservative congregation. I love my life and my family and would not want to be any where else. We have an awesome preacher who preaches from the scripture and the scripture only. Not all churches are the same. I do not feel abused by the church or my husband and read my Bible to understand the scripture which is what we should all be doing.

  60. Lubos Motl Says:

    Dear Carol,

    I hope that you won’t let any negative feedback to eliminate smile from your face. Although it is clear that other people may have different priorities and feelings inside the Church of Christ, for me, your experience matters, too. It is not surprising that some of the people from the Church won’t like what you wrote.

    All the best
    Lubos

  61. carol Says:

    I agree that the comments here are incredible. However, most are from real experiences that people have had – including mine. Speculating here on the cause does nothing to help or harm Mary Winkler or affect the case in any way. I was shopping today and saw the story made the front cover of the current PEOPLE magazine. The story is front-and-center and our discussion here has nothing to do with it. It is only normal and sensible to try to make sense of something that is so horrific. And it is helpful to see all sides of an issue. My experiences at the COC were not all negative at all. There were many fine people, and they were all very welcoming and nice to me. My speculations are based on the underlying theme/beliefs that I observed in person.

    So comments of all kinds are welcome here (well, except for the profane and blasphemous – which I will delete). I take no offense as long as you are expressing what you feel politely and respectfully.

  62. Rhian Says:

    I hadn’t even read all of the posts above when I entered mine. My first thought about COC was “CULT” and now I see that lots of others have come up with the same impression, “CULT,” including Nancy Grace. Members of cults are unable to see their own predicament because they are too immersed in the brainwashing and dogma. The nature of cults is to keep their dirty secret under wraps, although they themselves do not recognize their indoctrination as dirty or a secret. They usually consider themselves “special” and “above” everybody else. People who are locked into a PACT OF SHAME are helpless to see their own predicament.

    My guess is that Mary Winkler had tremendous multiple life stresses she was dealing with (post-partum depression, three kids to look after, an itinerant job, the loss of her mother, school, impression-management in the glass-house parsonage), as so many people have noted, plus the burden of keeping the domestic emotional abuse a secret.

    The reason she isn’t talking, and isn’t making any move to have a hearing or get out on bail, is because she is still hoping to keep the abuse secret. She didn’t shoot her husband for nothing. Something, some series of behavioral events, led her to feel he was a MONSTER who had to be terminated in order for her three children to have a decent life. If he wasn’t a pedophile working on the kids sexually, then he must have been emotionally abusing not only Mary, but also absuing the kids in order to hurt Mary and keep her in line. In many cases of emotional abuse, a father will abuse the kids in order to maintain control over his wife and maintain the PACT OF SHAME.

    I am familiar with that modus operandi. The father abuses the kids, and the mother is helpless to do anything. He probably cited verses from the Bible when he abused them, something Mary would have had a hard time coming to terms with — it was a case of COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: Mary believed in the Bible like any Christian, but she also believed that abuse was wrong like any mother would, and there was no way she could resolve the two truths. The COC creates this kind of COGNITIVE DISSONANCE in its followers. It’s a CRAZY-MAKING form of brainwashing.

    I am glad to know Nancy Grace feels the same way I do about COC being a CULT — she is a charismatic woman, and I am glad to see important commentators like her taking a stand. It can help save some lives from destruction if they hear her speak the words on TV.

    COC is a CULT, just as perverse as Anton LaVey’s CHURCH OF SATAN. In the case of Church of Satan, at least they acknowledge that their values are not mainstream. In the case of COC, they are parading around as “holier than thou” and more Christian than Christian. COC is a freaking CULT, and it’s time the public finds out about it. It was wrong for Mary Winkler to pull the trigger on her husband, but I can understand why she did it given the COC context and its CULT practices and beliefs, and its PACT OF SHAME.

  63. Kim Says:

    I think we need to make a distinction between a sect and a cult. I think the COC is more like a sect. It abides by a strict dogma and set themselves apart from other chuch bodies. When a person leaves a cult, they get back their family, when a person leaves a sect, they lose their family and their support system.

  64. Rhian Says:

    Well, they can be both. Just take a look at the Oxford English Dictionary definitions for each word. I believe both words can be applied appropriately to COC:

    sect —

    1. (Obsolete usages)
    A class or kind (of persons) — (obsolete usage)
    2. The human race — (obsolete usage)

  65. Rhian Says:

    Sorry, my post took off before I was finished:

    Well, they can be both. Just take a look at the Oxford English Dictionary definitions for each word. I believe both words can be applied appropriately to COC:

    sect –

    1. (Obsolete usages)
    a. A class or kind (of persons)
    b. A religious order
    c. The (human) race
    d. Sex (now only in illiterate usages)

    2. (Obsolete)
    a. Distinctive costume (of a class or order)

    3. (Obsolete)
    a. Body of followers or adherents

    4. A religious following; adherence to a particular religious teacher or faith
    a. Applied to any of the main religions of the world, as Christianity, Judaism or Islam; the principles, or the adherents collectively, of these faiths (obsolete usage)
    b. A system of belief or observance distinctive of one of the parties or schools into which the adherents of a religion are divided; sometimes spec. a system differing from what is deemed the orthodox tradition; a heresy (obsolete usage) — A body of persons who unite in holding certain views differing from those of others who are accounted to be of the same religion; a party or school among the professors of a religion; sometimes applied spec. to parties that are regarded as heretical, or at least as deviating fro the general tradition.
    c. IN MODERN USE — commonly applied to a separately organized religious body, having its distinctive name and its own places of worship; a ‘denomination.’ Also, in a narrower sense, one of the bodies separated from the Church.
    (there are additional meanings that don’t relate to this issue)

    cult —

    1. (Obsolete usage) Worship; reverential homage rendered to a divine being or beings
    2. a. A particular form or system of religious worship; especially in reference to its external rites and ceremonies.
    b. Now frequently used attributively by writers on cultic ritual and the archaeology of primitive cults.
    3. Devotion or homage to a particular person or thing, now especially as paid by a body of professed adherents or admirers.

    DRAFT ADDITIONS (to the Oxford English Dictionary) SEPTEMBER 2004:

    Cult —

    Designating cultural phenomena with a strong, often enduring appeal or a relatively small audience; (also) designating this appeal or audience, or any resultant success; fringe, non-mainstream.

    A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.

    (Quoted from the Oxford English Dictionary, available online through subscription)

    My views:

    So, COC is a “sect” in that it is a separately organized religious body.

    And in my opinion, COC is also a “cult,” because it is a relatively small group, having a particular form of religious worship with reference to its “external rites and ceremonies” (e.g.their ritual practices are characterized by socially sanctioned taboos on musical instruments, dancing and alcohol, extreme gender hierarchy, female silence, male voices, etc.), small audience, “fringe,” non-mainstream, and regarded by others as being “strange” or even sinister.

    I belive the term “cult” is even more relevant to COC than is “sect.”

    COC is a weird perversion of Christ’s message and of the Bible. They pick and choose to support their own peculiar practices and beliefs, which can produce sinister results in the community and family. QED — Mary Winkler, the perfect wife, shot her perfect husband to death for no apparent reason, the reasons being closely guarded within the PACT of SHAME and SILENCE of this fringe religious cult.

  66. Rhian Says:

    If you doubt that COC is a “cult,” just search online for “cult” and you will find many articles describing the attributes of a religious cult. Just one for example:

    International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) website: http://www.csj.org/
    Cultic Studies: Information about Cults and Psychological Manipulation

    Information on cults, cultic groups, psychological manipulation, psychological abuse, spiritual abuse, brainwashing, mind control, thought reform, abusive churches, extremism, totalistic groups, new religious movements, alternative and mainstream religions, group dynamics, exit counseling, recovery, and practical suggestions for those affected by or interested in these subjects

    ARTICLE: “Dysfunctional Churches”
    http://www.csj.org/infoserv_articles/enroth_ronald_dysfunctional_churches.htm

    Ronald Enroth, Ph.D.
    Cult Observer, 1992, Volume 9, No. 4

    Excerpts:

    “As behavioral scientists remind us all too often, that most basic of social institutions—the family—is increasingly subject to frailty and failure. The label that is currently popular for unhealthy families is “dysfunctional.” Unfortunately, sociologists of religion (as well as many ex‑members) know that some churches are also dysfunctional, even to the point of being spiritually abusive. If truth in advertising standards could be applied to religion, some churches would be required to display a sign reading: “Warning: this church could be harmful to your spiritual and psychological health.”

    “Sadly, spiritual and pastoral abuse is more prevalent than most people believe. Like child abuse, it often goes undetected, or else it is strongly denied. Spiritual abuse is inflicted by persons who are accorded respect and honor in society by virtue of their positions of religious authority and leadership. When such leaders violate the sacred trust they have been given, when they abuse their authority, and when they misuse their ecclesiastical office to control their congregations, the results can be catastrophic.”

    “What are the hallmarks of unhealthy, aberrant churches? The key indicator is control‑oriented leadership, ministers who have a need to “lord it over the flock.” Abusive leaders demand submission and unquestioning loyalty. The person who raises uncomfortable questions or does not “get with the program” is cast aside. Guilt, fear, and intimidation are used to manipulate and control vulnerable members, especially those who have been taught to believe that questioning their pastor is comparable to questioning God.”

    ANOTHER ARTICLE: “Cults: Questions and Answers”

    Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.

    Q. What is a Cult?

    “Contemporary cults, then, are likely to exhibit three elements to varying degrees:
    * members’ excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment to the identity and leadership of the group,
    * exploitative manipulation of members; and
    * harm or the danger of harm to members, their families and/or society.

    “These groups tend to:

    * dictate sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel;
    * claim a special, exalted status for themselves and/or their leaders; and
    * intensify their opposition to and alienation from society at large.

    My views:

    The COC has “charismatic leaders” who reinforce the group’s beliefs and values, which involve management and social control of members’ behavior, thoughts, actions, and the expression of feelings. The COC claims a special exalted status, and they are a “fringe” group in society. Matthew Winkler was such a “charismatic leader” and a proponent of COC dogma. His wife was bound into a pact of silence due to COC dogma; her actions, thoughts, behaviors, and feelings were managed and controlled by her husband, as positively sanctioned by COC dogma.

    In many cults, people are required to abandon their old ways and their own feelings, and are required to follow the cult dogma. In some cults, a follower must give up their worldly possessions, or at least a portion of them, to the cult community. In some cases, this can also involve cutting communications with members of the family who frown on the cult. A follower who attempts to depart from the dogma of a cult may find they are cut off from further communication and support of the community — as would have happened if Mary Winkler had gotten a divorce, or broke her silence about her feelings and thoughts and spoken out. So far, she has attempted to keep the secret of what led her to pull the trigger. She is still in the thrall of the COC cult.

  67. anonymous Says:

    Interesting speculation. Has anyone ever thought that maybe this guy was abusing his daughters which drove the mother to kill him?

  68. Rhian Says:

    I think abuse of one of the children or all of the children has got to be an important part of the puzzle. One of the articles I read described Mary’s afternoon that day, substituting at school — including the older daughter’s class, and she seemed irritated with her daughter, while talking animatedly and nervously on her cell phone and pacing. My suspicion is it was the oldest child. Perhaps Mary had a final showdown with him in the bedroom because that’s where it all happened. It’s important to remember that the shooting took place in the bedroom — that’s symbolic. She could have shot him in the kitchen, the hallway, the living room or anyplace that people normally hang out in the middle of the day. But in the late afternoon, he was in the bedroom. The children did not see the shooting according to reports. So she must have wanted to confront him in private about a very private matter that the children shouldn’t hear about, probably with the door closed. My guess is she had the rifle hidden so that she could use it when she had the opportunity, if she felt it necessary. She probably tried talking with him about the abuse and he refused to listen, turned his back on her, and she went over the edge. She was taking antidepressants, and that could have been another factor. The alternate scenario is that he was sexually abusing one of the daughters in the bedroom that afternoon, with everybody else there, and she caught them together — but this doesn’t make sense to me and I think the first scenario is the way it happened.

    I suspect (and this is pure speculation) that one of the daughters had been telling her mother about the abuse in the days preceding the shooting, and that explains why Mary seemed irritable with the daughter in school. She was probably talking with her husband on the cell phone about the situation and he was refusing to acknowledge her concerns, that’s why she was pacing. The abuse had probably occurred multiple times before, and Mary had probably tried to discuss it with him before, and he probably invalidated her each time. Mary became panicked and went over the edge.

    Who could she talk to? Her mother was dead. She had no real support. She was fearful of the COC community finding out — and still is! Her husband had a lot of social credit with the COC community, and they would have supported his story, not hers. She was a cornered animal with nowhere to turn, no friend, no support. So long as he remained alive, she would have to live with the HORROR and SHAME growing inside her, with no relief in sight, and her children in danger of ongoing abuse. A mother’s strongest urges and motivations derive from her children’s welfare, and my guess is that she acted in the children’s defense. She had to kill him, because he was a MONSTER. This is pure speculation, and I bet I’m right. I can’t think of any other reason why this would have happened the way that it did.

    Mary Winkler is a good person who did a bad thing: she was pushed to the edge through ongoing emotional abuse, with no help from anybody, and with her children in danger, likely from sexual molestation, and almost certainly from emotional abuse of the worst degree.

    The idea that it was premeditated: I think she had a plan in mind that she would try to confront him one more time, and if it didn’t work, then that was it. And once again he invalidated her and humiliated her. She went off the deep end. In that sense, I do not think it was “premeditated.” She plead “not guilty” to first degree murder. I believe it was a murder of passion. He drove her over the edge. JMHO

  69. carol Says:

    I have my own beliefs – as I wrote in the post. I believe there was abuse going on and Mary felt there was no other way to protect herself and/or her children from the abuse. .. unless she is bi-polar and was having a delusional episode. Other than that, I just can’t see a mother killing the father of her children. I’d really like to find some statistics comparing abuse in families of COC as opposed to other protestant denominations.

  70. Kim Says:

    carol, I do, too. I do not think she is bi-polar, but a woman in shock. She was protecting her daughters. I know she was doing whatever she could. My hope for anyone in an abusive situation to find someone safe to confide in and leave the dangerous situation.

  71. The Median Sib » My Cruel, Callous and Mean-Spirited Opinion about the Winkler Murder Case Says:

    […] Last week I wrote about my speculations concerning the murder of Matthew Winkler.  In that post, I mentioned that Mary Winkler might possibly have been dealing with some issues stemming from the Church of Christ’s oppression of women – that maybe the COC’s demeaning (my opinion) policies towards women had something to do with her resorting to something so extreme and out of character. […]

  72. Kim S. Says:

    Has anyone ever lived in a foreign country and seen obnoxious americans come in and give a bad name to what we feel our country represents. Unfortunately every person is different and our individual behaviour is not necesarily because of what race we are, what country we were raised in, or often what church we attend… Our behaviour is because of a personal choice we make to respond to our personal situation.

    My brother and I grew up in the same environment yet reacted very differently. Our parents got a divorce, I was sexually abused – yet my brother is sitting in prison with a life sentence and I am a Cristian missionary in Mexico. Go figure. I love my brother. He is a great person who just made some really bad decisions. It was not the fault of his upringing… it was his decision.

    Mary Winkler made her decision. This decision was not because of her church. When are we going to stop looking for a way out and instead make people own up to their bad decisions. She will have to face the consecuences, like my brother has, and this is a tragedy. The poor daughters are the ones who will have to suffer most.

    I am a member of the church of Christ and I am proud to say so. The church is a loving family who only is trying to do God’s will in a very difficult and aggressive world. I am a woman and have NEVER felt oppressed in the church. I am married to a minister and have NEVER felt like I am stuck with no way out. Yes, it is difficult to be in a fish bowl, but life itself is hard no matter where you are and Jesus never promised a bed of roses.

    Do we condemn all catholics because of one pedofile priest? Do we condemn all televangelists because of one Tammy Fay Baker situation? The list can go on. Is there any religious group who has a perfect record of no scandals? Even Jesus’ closest followers had a Judas! Does that make them a cult or a sect or something of the sort?

    Please, don’t judge the church by its members or you will never get to see the truth. The church of Christ simply means it is the church purchased by His blood. If you have obeyed his gospel – you are a member of this church, whether or not you congregate in a building with those words written on the wall. Also, you can congregate with Christians and still be wallowing in sin and commit terrible things. Being a member of the church, a Christian, even a minister or his wife doesn’t mean you are above to the influences of satan and the temptation of sin. Only Jesus was perfect and we can only try to live up to his example and follow in His steps.

  73. Rhian Says:

    People do not make decisions in a vacuum. People are products of their culture. People’s decisions are often shaped by their religious beliefs. Some religious dogma is more controlling than others. COC (in the South) is a highly controlling belief system — it regulates many areas of a follower’s daily life, including their dress, their thoughts, their dancing, their ability to speak, and so forth. In southern COC churches, men often feel they Rule the Roost, and women must kow-tow. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is a common feature of the culture of COC. So is emotional abuse. Many of the people in my family were raised in a COC community and the abuse is transmitted from generation to generation. It is a culture, a way of life, a belief system, that shapes the lives and thoughts and behaviors and the decisions of its followers.

    I do not believe that Christ’s blood “purchased” the COC — this seems like patent heresy to me. Christ is not COC property, nor is his blood. Such a notion is clear evidence of cult thinking. What’s important is Christ’s message, which is for all the world and for anybody who wants it, freely given, and not purchased or possessed by any particular church, and certainly not what some odd group drummed up to make its cult followers feel special.

  74. Blue Star Chronicles » Mary Winkler, the Preacher’s Wife Says:

    Kramer auto Pingback[…] One of the best discussions I’ve seen is at The Median Sib. […]

  75. Becky Says:

    It appears to me, Rhian, that you have a personal problem with the cofC, but I don’t know what facts you are dealing with. I live in the south and attend the cofC. I have attended a liberal cofC and a conservative cofC. The two are very different, but they work within the same belief system. One church has instruments even though many do not. We are allowed to speak our minds….just not preferably in the middle of a sermon. No one has ever in either place told us what to wear. I don’t know where you got that information. When I was growing up, I wore jeans to church instead of shorts, but that was my parents’ decision…not the church’s. I guess a long time ago dancing was not “preferable”, but that hasn’t been the case for years. I am 30 and never grew up that way. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is not what I would call common. My parents never even spanked me. I think the part that bothered me the most is that you all feel that we are brainwashed. We apparently are too immersed in the brainwashing to understand that we are all brainwashed. Are you serious?? I am not abused in any way by my husband, nor by my father growing up. People also keep commenting on the fact that Mary Winkler may have felt that no one would believe her in her church if she said she was abused. I don’t see why. I have seen three preachers who had to leave because of some kind of abuse. In those cases people clearly believed the women involved. Again, I just feel that there should probably be more information given before people decided to blame their church. That is so ridiculous. There are bad people everywhere….in every church…in every pulpit.

  76. Philip B. Says:

    I too am a member of the church of Christ. I am not going to say anything that hasn’t already been said except for maybe one point. Christ died for all. If you think that the church of Christ is the only group that takes scripture out of context you are extremely mal-informed. We live as New Testament Christians. Where in the New Testament does it mention worshipping God with mechanical instruments. If you mention Revelation then I will tell you that is talking about Heaven. Revelation is a symbollic book and you cannot take everything written there as what is exactly to be done or understood. Next, if you follow one part of the Old Testament ( using mechanical instruments) why aren’t you doing the rest of what is said in the Old Testament. Are you sacrificing? Are you following all the rules from Leviticus about how things are to be cleansed (human and otherwise)? Maybe if we all read the Bible more then we could actually discuss why we do what we do instead of making senseless assumptions. And no, I’m not saying I know the whole Bible or that I’m holier than anyone here or elsewhere. Back to the starting topic of this whole thing, the Winkler murder is a very sad happening, but maybe this can help to spread God’s word from those who don’t know about the Bible and want to know more about it.

  77. Philip B. Says:

    Another quick post about another topic mentioned: Abuse keeps popping up in posts here. That is a possibility but it has not been proven yet. What if Mary was suffering from postpartum depression? Or what if she is taking the blame for someone else? Just because she took the blame for it does not mean that she actually did shoot Matt.

  78. me Says:

    Before you accuse, do your research. I am a member of the church of Christ; and I suggest to you that we do try to follow the Bible as best we can. Since each congregation is autonomous, some have drifted way off of what the ‘standard’ church of Christ congregation teaches; so don’t judge all by the light of one.

    The ‘churches of Christ’ teach the Bible alone; because God wrote it – He said everything He intended to say; and purposefully hushed–So, who are we to change (add, remove, alter) anything He has commanded?

    In response to the origional post:

    Instrumental music: When you make an agreement with someone, and both of you do your part, then it is completed. In the same way, the Old Testament law was fulfilled through Jesus. Thus, it was no longer the governing law. Therefore, the New testament law is what we are under today. In the New testament, we see no record of the church ever worshiping with instruments. In addition, this fits the pattern – in the old testament, everything was a physical copy and shadow of Heavenly things to come: a physical temple, a high priest, animals were sacrificed, and physical instruments of music in their worship. In the New testament, we are a part of the church; through the real sacrifice – Jesus – for “the blood of goats and bulls cannot wash away sins” (Heb. 10); and we worship with the real ‘instrument’ – “…Singing and making melody with your HEART to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19)

    Women in the church:

    Women are not to take a position of authority over men in worship, because woman was taken out of man; that is what the Bible says (I Corinthians 11) God created us that way: Children submit to your father and mother; Women are to submit to their husbands; who have been commanded to love their wives in return. Men are to submit to Christ – it’s not a dictatorship; we are all going to be held accountable on the day of Judgement for our own actions. (Are you ready?)

    (Btw, one guy leads singing – he just sings the melody; it’s not a problem, everybody sings the four parts.)

    Not a cult; a family – if you had a big family get-together, and someone was a no-show, would you call to see how they were doing? God designed His church as a family – God the Father, Jesus our brother; we are all brothers and sisters if we do the Will of God. We look out for one another perhaps even more than genetic families do; because We are children of God; and for some, the only family they have.

    We are all sinners who have been forgiven by Jesus; and we are all trying to do the same thing: Get to Heaven, and take as many people with us as we can. Welcome to the family of God. We want everyone – sin is sin in the eyes of God; no sin is ‘bigger’ than another. We have prison ministries; yes I have brothers and sisters in Christ who are in prison for life. God is in the business of forgiving and forgetting; not erasing consequences on earth for them.

    Romans 6:23:
    For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Acts 2:38:
    Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

    I encourage you to ask questions about the church, but find answers – don’t just assume! Here are some websites I found that have been beneficial to me; perhaps you will benefit from them, as well:

    http://www.apologeticspress.org/
    http://www.studylight.org/com/bcc/
    http://www.searchtv.org/
    http://www.christiancourier.com/
    http://www.gbntv.org/

    Again, I encourage you to ask questions; but find the answers, too. These sites should be of use to you in that, as well.

    Always read the Bible – the more you read, the more you’ll know. Like anything, if you want to know more, you have to study it.

  79. Rhian Says:

    “Women are not to take a position of authority over men in worship, because woman was taken out of man”

    This is quite simply a Fundamentalist rationalization for male dominance and abuse of women.

    Human evolution began millions of years before the Bible was written. The Bible is an imperfect, human-created, allegorical account of how the world works and God’s part in it. In the Beginning, there were Apes, and through Natural Selection, there came to exist Humans. And before Apes there were a couple Billion years of Life evolving on Planet Earth.

    The earliest Humans were egalitarian hunters and gatherers; men and women treated one another as equals, because they were both valued equally in society. For 98% of human existence, humans worked to create rules that required people to share, cooperate, and reduce aggression. That was the basis of human success.

    What made men and women unequal was not God, and not some Biblical story created by humans, but the greed of men. A few thousand years ago after farming was invented, the men began to fight one another over control of the land and men claimed all the important property for themselves. They began to place demands on women to produce male heirs. Women were relegated to breeder status, treated as less intelligent and less capable, made to be dependent upon men economically. In some places men lorded it over their women and abused them, telling them to kow-tow and shut up.

    It is now the third millennium, and in some places, some men continue to think like this. The COC is a haven for males who think like this, and because gender inequality is institutionalized in the COC, it’s a place where women can easily be abused and be made to feel they have to keep quiet about it.

  80. The Median Sib » Women’s Place in the Church - Is the Church of Christ right? (Winkler post follow-up) Says:

    […] People continue to read and debate the post I wrote over a week ago about Mary Winkler’s killing of her husband, a Church of Christ minister. If you want to read that post or others, go here, here, and here. In the comments section, people have argued about what the Church of Christ believes or doesn’t believe and what it practices or doesn’t practice. There are strong and passionate feelings both pro and con. For the most part it has been a civilized discussion. I’ve only had to edit one comment that crossed the line. After reading all the arguments for the submission of women in the COC and the arguments about why they don’t use instrumental music (which probably has more to do with saving money than with any Biblical misunderstanding since they do a LOT of things in their church and services that are not found in the New Testament), I figured it was time to provide some background for my beliefs. […]

  81. Babs Says:

    I grew up in the Church of Christ. For the last 20 years I have attended other churches or none at all. I have come to realize that whatever religion a person is, they generally think theirs is right, or they wouldn’t believe it. I have found this to be true of Christians, Jews, Sieks, Muslims, and all of the others. There are good people and bad people in all religions and all societies. I am female and, frankly, never aspired to wanting to lead prayer, preach, lead singing, teach, etc., etc., etc. Nor did I aspire to cooking for the after service luncheons or dinner on the ground, etc., etc. I guess if I had liked to cook, I could have chosen to be a Methodist, since they are known in the south as “chicken eating methodists.” No derision intended, here. I can tell you this, that from my experience, the people who make up the Church of Christ congregations are no different from those who make up the other Christian or what have you groups. Most of the folks I knew were decent, law abiding, moral people. In my family there was no distinction made as to what I could do with my life versus what my brother could do with his. We were given the same educational opportunities, etc., etc., etc. I don’t know what happened in this family. Maybe she was abused or maybe she didn’t like the life of being a minister’s wife and living in a fishbowl, or maybe she had a lover, or maybe he had a lover, or maybe she was just crazy, or maybe he was. He has been described as “charismatic.” Often the more charismatic and popular ministers of any religion have more temptations laid at their feet, as they speak of the “love” of the Lord and seek to “minister” to the people of their congregations. Maybe it was simple unfounded jealousy for whatever reason or maybe it was jealousy with a basis in fact. But, whatever the reason, it is a tragedy for the lives of everyone. I have heard people refer to the Church of Christ as a cult. It isn’t. This is a human tragedy. It isn’t a Church of Christ tragedy. This kind of thing happens in every church, though, thank heaven, in small numbers. Is the Catholic Church a cult? They have their defined roles for women, too. What about the Baptists, the Muslim Sunnis and Shiites, the liberal vs. orthodox Jews, and on and on. The bottom line is how do we treat ourselves and our fellow human beings. I would hope everyone would see this as a human tragedy, because that is what it is and that is all it is.

  82. me Says:

    Concerning Rhian’s comment:

    Evolution cannot explain how these things (even earth and elements themselves) came to be. Would you believe the big bang theory? Then you would have to believe this too: “There was an explosion in the middle east yesturday; no damage occured; however, we now have a new solar system to explore!” – You know that’s not possible! Everywhere you turn in this world; you find evidence of a DESIGNER. You were created by God; in God’s image; and it would be wise of you to remember that!

    Most of this site ( http://www.apologeticspress.org ) is proof upon proof after fact after fact that prove the evolutionary theory to be false. The fact is, evolution is based on nothing; cannot account for its beginning; cannot be proven, and has no way to disprove all the evidence that goes against it! Open your eyes! See Design that Demands a Designer! Explosions only destroy; they do not create!

    The Bible is faultless and true. How else do you explain its’ being around for thousands of years; failed attempt after failed attempt to destroy it; its’ perfection even though it was written over the course of sever thousand years by over 40 different men, from completely different parts of the known world; in completely different languages?!?

    Search the scriptures. Ask; and find answers. There is no other truth!

    “In the Beginning, GOD CREATED the Heavens and the Earth.” ~ Genesis 1:1

  83. Mike Donahoo Says:

    So, let me get this straight, because women can’t song lead or preach sermons during the worship service, that means they’re oppressed? What is your definition of oppression when it comes to coC women?

    If anyone thinks he or she is completely right an any religion without any humility to maybe entertain the thought that there is a chance they could be wrong…I have pity on them. They live in their own little world of self interest. You can never approach that person with anything because they’d be too close minded.

  84. carol Says:

    Mike Donahoo wrote: “So, let me get this straight, because women can’t song lead or preach sermons during the worship service, that means they’re oppressed? What is your definition of oppression when it comes to coC women?”

    When any group is not given the opportunity to express their beliefs or share in the ministry of a church, then that group is oppressed. The COC practices a “pick and choose” interpretation of the Bible – ignoring where Jesus himself told women to go and share the gospel. And it is much more than not leading songs or preaching. Well, I’ve already explained how I feel about it. It is just silly, and the COC is the poorer for missing out on the real contributions that women can make in ALL areas of the church.

  85. Sis Says:

    What I find so sad in most of these posts is that you are condeming the church of Christ, which makes it sound like the church committed the murder not Mary Winkler. We all need to be held accountable for our actions. What this blog is doing is blaming the church. I attend a cofc in Nashville I went to a coc University. I do not feel lower then the men. I read my bible and worship as the New Testament Christians did. These people that say we pick and choose should remember we go by the New Testament and the examples. Stop blaming the church start blaming the woman.

  86. carol Says:

    Once again, people are choosing to say I’m BLAMING the COC. Read the post carefully before making charges like that. I have not blamed anyone.

  87. Kim S. Says:

    This is a hard issue, and we always want someone to blame. We are horrified by the idea of someone taking another life and fight for a reason. She has to have been abused. She had a lover or he did. It has to have been the church, yeah, that’s it. Such an oppressive thing it must be for her to have felt that murder is the only way out.

    The church is not a cult nor is it oppressive. The fact that some people would try to twist the scriptures to justify their actions doesn’t mean that the scriptures actually condone them. The fact that there are men who want to oppress women in the name of the “church of Christ” doesn’t mean that this is what the church and it’s doctrine (aka – the BIble) condone.

    The fact that some men, in the name of “allah” or their muslim faith, decided to fly a plane full of innocent people into a building, doesn’t mean that all muslims are of the same idea. Shall we judge all muslims on a few? Shall we judge the church of Christ from one memeber’s sin?

    People make mistakes. People commit heinous crimes. The church doesn’t. Not if is truly following the teachings presented in the Bible. The Bible is perfect, it’s followers are not.

    I appreciate the dialogue of this blog and I hope that in all of this we can come to a greater awareness of what the church of Christ truly is and not just what some of its proclaimed members do.

    The church is not a cult, as said earlier.. it is a family. People outside of this family have a hard time understanding. It is not a religion or even a denomination… it is a relationship… first with our creator and saviour, then with each other. It is an open relationship where we are allowed to voice our oppinions, no matter our gender, and one where we are allowed to disagree but yet are called to respect and not to judge.

    Even in the Bible, Paul talked about how the message of the cross is foolishness to some but it is power for those who are saved. (I Corinthians 1:18) – so I guess it makes sense that the world will find us crazy for believing in God and following his commands, especially when they do not jive with what the world preaches.

    The world preaches independance. God teaches dependance on him. The world preaches equality through position or role, God teaches equality through acceptance, creation, value and love. We are not equal with men because we do the same things they do. We are equal because we were created by the same God, in His same image with the same intrinsic value. I don’t feel I have to preach to a congregation to assert my equality. I know I have it and I am confident in that. God gives my that confidence not because he wants me to lead singing, but because He loves me and sent His son to die for me.

    Ok, enough “going off” for now. I am interested in what you all think.

  88. Babs Says:

    One more follow up. I found it amusing that you think the Church of Christ doesn’t have instrumental music because it costs too much, possibly. That’s not it. But let me share this with you on the issue of instrumental music. I dated a wonderful Orthodox Jewish guy for 3 years and in our discussion of religion I learned that . . . guess what . . . they don’t have instrumental music either. They blow the shofar, I think it was, once a year or such, but no instrumental music in the service . . . this, despite little David playing on the lyre and writing all of those songs that scripture refers to. Can you imagine, no instumental music, even though David played the lyre and insturments are mentioned in the old testament!!!!!!! Hopefully, you are getting my drift on this. In fact, it is hard to tell who is doing the picking and choosing, isn’t it, if you look real close. Personally, I think every group picks and chooses, whether or not they can admit it and even though they may try not to. Although I attend a non COC church, I still like congregational singing without instruments and choirs. Not that they aren’t sometimes beautiful, but I personally feel cheated if I have to sit and listen to a choir and don’t get to join in on every song. I am not a good singer, it’s just part of the worship experience for me. Also, I can’t stand to sit in church and feel like I am at a rock concert. There are others that love that experience, undoubtedly. Do I think anyone is going to hell for having choirs or instrumental music . . . truthfully, I don’t. Murdering your husband stands a much higher chance, I would say. Oh, and then there is the questoin of is there really a hell or not? I will leave that to each of you to decide for yourselves. My advice is be the best person you can be regardless of what door, if any, you walk through on Sunday or Saturday or whatever day you worship or don’t. By their fruits ye shall know them, I believe it is.

  89. me Says:

    Suppose you and I make an agreement: I will give you a certain book if you will give me ten dollars. So, you give me the money, and I give you the book. At this point, our agreement is completed. You can’t hand me another ten dollars, and expect me to keep giving you books; our transaction is complete.

    In the same way, God made a covenant back in the beginnings of the old testament. This covenant was completed when Jesus came, died, and was raised from the dead. At this point, God’s covenant was complete. He then established a new covenant that we follow today, which is recorded for our learning in the new testament. Since we are under this new law, the old law is simply there for our understanding of our history; not for us to follow. The old law includes instruments in worship; the new law does not. This is why we do not use instruments; it has nothing to do with “pick and choose” doctrine.

    Also, concerning the role of women in the church, it is not as strict as some of you seem to think it is. No, they cannot lead public prayer, preach, or publicly lead singing, but unless it’s religious, there is no problem with a woman taking a role of leadership ‘over’ the men. (ex: setting up a bulletin board – she can tell what to do; instruct an art class; etc etc.) On top of that, the story of Tabitha that we read in Acts chapter 9 may very well be of a woman who converted many people to The Way. If a man is not a christian, it’s okay for a woman to study with him; that is different than standing before him preaching. Once he becomes a christian, once he is apart of this family, those roles change.

    “pick and choose”? No, just study the scriptures closer – God’s Word is perfect; the answer is there!

  90. carol Says:

    You know, it is really fine with me for you COC folks who are writing here to believe what you will.  As far as all the FH students who have commented, I admire your zeal and dedication to your beliefs. I knew a young COC woman a few years back who I respected greatly. I have absolutely NO doubt that you are living good lives and are living by the Bible as you interpret it.  The no-instrumental music thing is definitely a minor thing.  I enjoyed the singing with no accompaniment at the COC churches I attended.  I have to admit, though, that I am much more uplifted by the singing that is accompanied by a piano or organ.  But that’s not a big deal. 

    I’d like for you, though, to go read this post: http://themediansib.com/?p=451

    I realize that no one on either side of this discussion is going to change what they believe because of this discussion or because of reading the post mentioned above. However, at least that post will provide some insight into WHY so many people feel that the COC has interpreted the scriptures incorrectly.

    And truly, I think we’ve about discussed this topic as thoroughly as we’re going to. I still wish someone at FH would cut/paste what is written at your school discussion board about this post. I’d just like to be informed what people are writing about my blog.

  91. me Says:

    They’ve only said about three sentences – they’re commenting on the lack of sourcing going on; and the ridiculous stereotyping that is so far from the truth that is being thrown around. That’s about it. There’s not much more to say – We all believe the Bible.

    Yes, I’m a Freed-Hardeman University student. Mrs. Winkler was in a math class I’m taking. Just remember; none of us are perfect; and even the Winkler family has forgiven her; not to mention God, so who are you to continue to ‘blacklist’ her? Of course she will still be held accountable – God is in the business of forgiving and forgetting; not deleteing consequences. But Judging is God’s business; not ours!

  92. Sis Says:

    Rhian

    Your comments I have to laugh. I have been a member of the church of Christ my whole life. Several different congregations in several different states. Michigan, Arkansas and Tennessee. I have never been brainwashed or told what I could or could not say and I have left one congregation and gone to another in the same town without anyone contacting me. The coc is not a haven for males who think they are better then me. I am a very opinionated woman just ask my husband. It sounds like you were in an abusive home and you blame it on the church you should be blaming it on your parents. The coc does not sanction mental or physical abuse of it’s members. I read an earlier post of yours that you are not a member and have never been taking from that you are not an authority on the church you say you have family members I take it you mother was not and your parents probably had disagreements about how to raise you no doubt sounds like abuse was involved. Your mother not being cofc should not have been (by your description) afraid to confront your father but yet she didn’t. Did she let the abuse continue? You sound like a person with a lot of sour grapes and too much time on your hands. I have never been told what to do, what to wear and what to say in any of the congregations I have attended. I can come and go as I please, wear what I want. So Rhian, unless you have proof of this and experienced it, stop making ridiculious accusations and slanderous comments about things you know nothing about.

  93. Nakia Says:

    I stumbled onto this site looking to find more info on the reason that Mary Winkler shot and killed her husband, but instead i find myself reading dozens of comments that bash the church of Christ. As a female member of a small congregation in Kansas i find it hard to believe that there are so many people who have not been taught the doctrine of Christ. People want to always comment on the fact that the church does not have instuments in worship, and call themselves going to the old testament for scriptures in favor of it,but if we do one part of the old law of Moses we would have to follow the whole law or those works are null and void, such as the sacraficing of bulls and goats.The key here is New Testament Christianity, even Jesus was under the old law of moses until he died on the cross, and if you find yourself in a church with the name church of Christ on the outside you would need to have knowledge of the scriptures in order to know if the worship of that congregation was acceptable. Many call themselves the church of Christ but few are trully teaching Gods word to the fullest.I suggest all should do their research before leaving such generalized comments and, heres and good source….The Holy Bible..read it,study it, meditate on it and pray that God gives you the understanding you need. Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you. Romans 16:16

  94. texxnorman Says:

    I was raised in the church of christ, attended the Preston Road School of Preaching, and majored in Bible at Oklahoma Christian College. I served a short time as a church of christ minister. I think I understand the doctrine (Biblical rationale) of the church of christ about as well as anyone. I left the church of christ back in the late 70’s, I was eventually ordained in the Episcopal Church, and when the gay bishop was ordained, and I supported his ordination, I was suspended from the Episcopal church. I share this to show how liberal I have become. At this point I would have to say I have great doubts, and might be called an agnostic by some, nevertheless, the impact of growing up cofc has never left me. I have seen great acts of cruelty by members of the cofc. I was the oldest son of 4 generations of oldest sons and all of us were cofc ministers. My breat with the cofc has strained my relationships with my family. I have suffered deep depression for years. I don’t know why this woman was driven to murder, but I eagerly await solid information on the case. I am deeply sorry that anyone was murdered, and that a woman has taken actions that will certainly lower the quality of the rest of her life, and has not only left the children orphans, but has also resulted in them being raised by grandparents that are hip deep in a legalistic denomination. (I know, I know, it’s not a denomination – it is the true church). Will it turn out that the cult-like power of being drug up cofc have played a factor in this crime? I need to know.

  95. Fred Says:

    I only know what everyone else knows and that doesn’t include Mary Winkler’s motive for killing her husband Matthew. I knew his paternal grandfather years ago and suspect the family is still quite decent, respectable, and committed to the Lord. Yes, some local congregations of the churches of Christ have yielded to change agents and no longer exemplify strict but loving adherence to God’s Word.

    Some of the younger generations are rebels that hate any kind of discipline. Life is imperfect and all humans sin. The real question is whether we try to help ourselves inasmuch as we are able, or if we have bought into the expansive and intrusive socialism that is mutually hedonistic and humanistic. The burden on the responsible increases each time someone “drops out” of functional society. The pressure rachets up.

    Mary Winkler likely experienced much pressure, as do all rational, accountable people. Murder is inexcusable so I presume she “cracked” under pressure. It is neither unknown nor inconsistent for us humans to lash out at the ones we love the most during moments of high emotion. There is no reason to blame the church or the doctrine. Most bloggers and commentators could well use a little dose of introspection. Just what have I contributed to society’s betterment today?

  96. Tracy Says:

    There are inconsistencies in any church. Church is a good thing – God wanted it. The problem comes when humans enter the picture. Think of all the problems that Jesus chided the Pharisees for. I grew up and still go to the Church of Christ.
    The basic belief is the Bible – no man made creeds, no central organized body. Especially because of that, it is not good to judge the entire (non-denominational) denomination based on an experience at one particular location. Where I go to church, women lead prayers in Bible class. We have a praise team with guys and girls – upfront. There’s one I go to in Nashville when we visit there that has men and women (about six each) that stand up front for worship. I see nothing wrong with instrumental music – I like it, but I also see nothing wrong with a cappella. Within any given congregation (church of Christ or otherwise) there are different beliefs on given passages or subjects. The restoration movement that CoC came from had as its slogan, “Christians only, but not the only Christians.”

    If you don’t think it’s good to just pick and choose the scriptures you like (I don’t think that’s good either), then what do you do with Ephesians 5:22-33? If the husband is being Christ like, there isn’t even a hint of oppression. It doesn’t say, “Wives submit and husbands ignore this passage.”

    My main reaction is that it is not wise to generalize to the churches of Christ from experience at one or even just a few – especially localized. I’ve regularly attended different CoCs in Dayton, Oh; Salem, IN; Searcy, AR; Nashville, TN; and currently Akron, OH. They all have differences, are almost totally opposite of what you described. I’ve even been to two, three, or four within a given city, and they have noticeable differences. If a church is trying to follow what the Bible says and nothing more, that – to me – is the heart of what the CoC is aiming for. Of course, we will always have the problem that we are humans and we are imperfect. If you find a church that claims to have it all right (which CoC congregations have been guilty of in the past) then don’t go to that church. You’ll end up like the Pharisees.

  97. Trina Says:

    I, like many, went looking today for updates as to why Mary Winkler would have murdered her husband. I didn’t find any, but I did find this site. I find it interesting and some what discouraging as to how everyone is speaking of the church of Christ. I live in the “South” Alabama as a matter of fact, and I attend a church of Christ. I was baptized and married there and have attended the same wonderful churcch of Christ for more than a year now. I have never once felt oppressed. I am often thankful that I can’t lead singing because I can’t sing! I am as equaly to any man in my church. So what if I don’t lead singing or prayer, or preach to the congregation. I can spread the word of God and His son Jesus as well as any man, Baptist, Catholic, and church of Christ. I read the entire bible, not only the new testament, but the old as well. I listen when my minister is bringing the message. He is reading straight from the King James Version, the same, I assume, as many of you read. We all put our pants on the same way, one leg at a time. If you ever walked into my church, the love of Jesus would envelop you and you wouldn’t want to leave. I have seen it posted by others, we are a family. We love each other deeply. I have had some problems in the past, and where other churches would have closed their doors on me, my church has opened theirs wide, as well as their homes. We get together and fellowship with one another, when one is sick, we go to their homes and bring food, visit, run errands, do whatever the others might need. And guess what? The men in church can cook too! I do not understand and I am grieved as I beleive God is by the things said of His church by some of the people who claim to be His children. He is still in charge and nothing surprises Him, and as my wise church of Christ husband says, we should not dwell on the words of foolish people who are deceived, but in fact, pray for them. So that is what we church of Christ members will do for you. May the Lord bless you.

  98. Tracy Says:

    I am a member of the CoC. My dad is a CoC preacher and my grandpa (my mom’s dad) was too. I feel for the person “just another PK”. My mom and her siblings and her mother were verbally abused (and maybe some physical abuse). My father was not. He is a CoC preacher and is not abusive. Crazy but true. I attribute my grandfather’s abusing to the fact that his father was an abusive alcoholic and that is what he learned a father was like (even though he himself did not drink). I am married and consider my wife an equal partner. If I were to ever ‘demand’ anything it would be that she gets her way when we disagree (i.e. that we go to the restaurant that she wanted instead of the one I wanted to go to). We are supposed to outdo each other with acts of kindness.

    I hope a lot of CoC people read this. I hope they see what other see them as and see what stereotypes are out there – some have validity. Like I posted earlier, there are some CoCs that are almost opposite of what was described in the article, but there are those that fit the bill. I believe that it really comes down to human nature and not the aim of the church. That’s where things go wrong. I have a hard time thinking that people would disagree with the idea of what CoC should be. It’s what happens when flawed people get in the picture. As someone alluded to above, if we were all able to follow the Bible – all of the Bible and not just what we picked out – then none of these complaints would have merit. I have had the good fortune of being involved with CoC congregations that generally don’t match up with the description in the article. By the same token, there are things about every one I’ve attended on a regular basis that I did not like or would like to change. Even of more importance – I don’t agree with everything that I believed 2 years ago or 5 – especially 10. It’s good to realize that if one individual can change his/her mind with the passage of time – and each time feel correct – that they probably don’t have it all figured out, and neither does any one church or denomination.

    At our core, we want others to like and accept us. So we try to look good to others. When we talk about what’s right and then mess up (because we are human) then others see hypocrisy (that’s pretty much the definition of it). If we are good at confessing to others (not necessarily in front of a congregation) and are open about being sinful and not perfect then people won’t see hypocrisy. If I say, “It’s wrong to lie. I struggle with it sometimes myself, but I try my best not to,” then someone sees me lie, they are not going to yell, “Hypocrite!”

  99. Hibiscus Says:

    While reading the many comments about this case on this blog and other blogs I find one that is not being writtn about the COC. I want to preface something here before I write what I came here to write, a person doesn’t know they are in a cult unless by providence someone gently, lovingly leads him or her to notice something amiss and this begins to take residence in thier mind and heart. M maybe, eventually it will bare fruit. Some will never leave.

    I may never know if I reach the soul or souls that this is meant for.

    No one is mentioning the fact that the COC, cOC, and DOC’s have a common origin in the teachings of one man, Mr. Thomas Campbell, a Irish Presbyterian Ministers from Ulster who brought his particular brand of this doctrine to the United States in 1807.

    Dr. John Douglas, an Irish preacher, delivered a sermon remarking that in Ireland they are glad he brought it here and did not stay there. That sermon is available at sermonaudio.com.
    http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SermonID=32303165335

    Alexander Campbell, the elder Campbell’s son, followed his father here at the age of 21. He is consider the master spirit who spread this Campbellite movement as the COC’s, cOC’s, and DOC’s are known outside their circles I suppose, since I have never heard a member of any of those “denominations” refer to themselves as such. But outsiders do know what unifying essentials are in their doctrine. The COC’s owe a great deal to Alexander Campbell’s skills.

    Thomas Campbell applied to be accepted to his Presbyterian denomiation here in the United States but his doctrine was rejected.

    Later the Baptist published the Campbellite doctrine. But Baptists are not Campbellites.

    The unifiying distinctives, essentials in these churches, which do make them a denomination despite their followers vehement objecting to being called a denomination, are the following:

    Baptismal regeneration – the blood of Christ is only accessible through their church’s baptism.
    Conditional Salvation – a member must meet certain conditions to be saved and can lose that salvation.
    Church Apostacy – the N.T. church began at pentecost, all fell away afterwards until Campbell restored it in a new organization.
    Wearing of the name COC, cOC, DOC is very important.
    Salvation is peculiar to them, nobody else is saved, anyone who does not wear the name is going to hell.

    Mary Winkler could have belonged to any church and nothing would have changed. But since her COC happens to be her church affiliation and many in COC’s are viewing this blog I thought it was time for me to say something.

    Remember this: The Pennsylvania teen who fatally shot his 14 year old girlfriend’s parents was from a denomination boasting of sound doctrine, of living holy lives, of intellectual higher doctrine, or Reformation, and yet these two souls slipped from their faith’s great historic teachings. Did something extra biblical slip in to confuse the doctrine? I think so.

    These things happen in my opinion so that we stop taking so much pride in our denomination, doctrine, as though we are the only ones with a direct line to God and everybody “outside” this circle is bound for hell or stupid. We boast too much.

    CH, writing from my temporary space on a Bayou in Cajun country

  100. Tracy Says:

    The person “Hibiscus” above is writing about the stereotypic church of Christ. He/She must have missed the part of the reformation movement that stated, “Christians only, but not the only Christians.” (Many people in the church of Christ aren’t aware either). The ignorance of some members or even some leaders in a church does not mean that the entire church is bad. My father, being a preacher, would often have people come up to him and ask, “What do WE believe about…” He would encourage them to look in their Bible and he may let them know his opinion, but he would preface that it was his current view, that his view has changed in the past with more study, and that he didn’t have all the answers. I do the same if someone asks that to me. Growing up, in Bible class – in the church of Christ – the teacher would often say, this is my understanding, but you need to look it up and study yourself (such a very important admonition). I tell people to look up and study the subject when I teach and encourage questions and discussion because I know I don’t have it all figured out. When I’m in a class, it is not rare that I will disagree and share my thoughts and share a scripture to that end. I always try to do so with a humble attitude knowing that I myself could be wrong. I aspire to read my Bible every day (even though I’m not always that disciplined), because I know that it is vital to knowing God (along with prayer and other things).

    I think that at its core, any denomination or individual congregation gets off track when they stop focusing on evangelism and bringing others to know the freedom we have in Christ and God’s amazing grace and mercy. The focus turns inward and becomes ‘who’s right about this or that’. That’s what happened with the Pharisees (along with becoming power hungry).

    Also, it seems inherent in humans that we have the most difficult time believing and accepting God’s grace because we have been so sinful and we feel this need to earn our salvation (I can know this is wrong or even silly on a mental level, but emotionally it is difficult at times because I have sinned so much). This is where the idea of Conditional Salvation comes in – we can’t believe that God is so gracious to actually cover my sins. Once we become self-focused and try feverishly to be perfect to earn salvation (because of our human flaws) then we begin to turn to others and expect the same perfect standard of them. This is a problem that has been going on basically since humans were around. It did not start with the church of Christ. You can find it in any church today (because there are humans in all churches). You can find it throughout history – before Thomas Campbell was alive.

    I go to the church of Christ and don’t agree with ‘Church Apostasy’ as stated above. That is silly (although I’m sure other’s believe it), and I could care less about the name of the church. I always use a lowercase “c” in ‘church of Christ’ on purpose to show that it is not the only church. Plenty of other names were used in the Bible. Sometimes I just tell someone that I go to a non-denominational church because the focus should not be on the church but on Christ.

    Also, I’d like to mention something about Bible translations. Someone above mentioned using the KJV. I personally like the Revised Standard Version because it is more of a literal translation and versions like the NIV take more liberties. I don’t think any version is fool proof because the translation was done by humans who were trying their best, but if one was perfect, we wouldn’t need any others. It’s always best to go back to the original language and even then, we can misinterpret. For people that think it’s KJV or nothing, ask yourself if Jesus used the KJV (I’m not anti-KJV).

    It saddens me that there are so many negative views about the church of Christ and it saddens me that so often, those views are validated because of actual negative experiences in particular churches. I would love for all CoC members to read this article and comments so that some people could wake up. I agree with most all of the negative statements – i.e. that these things have and do occur in the CoC, but I don’t think they are right and I know because of my personal experience that they do not describe the whole of the CoC.

    I don’t believe that only CoC members are going to heaven. If you can find a good denomination to fellowship and brings you closer to God, go for it. I’ll call you brother or sister. Try not to then look down on other churches and say that they are wrong and you’ve got it all right or you’ll become the very thing that is being criticized. Christ prayed that we all might be one. It is because of pride and wrong doing that discussions like this even have any grounds. When the un-churched see this it only hinders the possibility that they will come to know Christ.

    I see my purpose on earth as simply to Glorify God. Not to get everything right. Not to be perfect. Not to be part of a church that has it all figured out. Simply to Glorify God. I pray that God will be glorified through discussions like this. I pray that peoples hearts will be softened. I pray that pride and oppression decreases.

  101. Tracydanger Says:

    Kramer auto Pingback[…] Article about the chruch of Christ PLEASE read this article: http://themediansib.com/?p=432 It is a look at how a lot of people view the church of Christ. Read it with an open mind and don’t just be defensive. Make sure and read the comments (I’m in the midst of reading them all). It is a good faith exercise. I think that there have been lots of mistakes in every church. The importance of reading this article and especially the comments that follow is that many people feel this way and it is good to know where people are coming from. Below are some of the comments I posted on the article. Some of them won’t make total sense without having read the article and comments from the blog first because they are reactions to them. ————- There are inconsistencies in any church. Church is a good thing – God wanted it. The problem comes when humans enter the picture. Think of all the problems that Jesus chided the Pharisees for. I grew up and still go to the Church of Christ. The basic belief is the Bible – no man made creeds, no central organized body. Especially because of that, it is not good to judge the entire (non-denominational) denomination based on an experience at one particular location. Where I go to church, women lead prayers in Bible class. We have a praise team with guys and girls – upfront. There’s one I go to in Nashville when we visit there that has men and women (about six each) that stand up front for worship. I see nothing wrong with instrumental music – I like it, but I also see nothing wrong with a cappella. Within any given congregation (church of Christ or otherwise) there are different beliefs on given passages or subjects. The restoration movement that CoC came from had as its slogan, “Christians only, but not the only Christians.” If you don’t think it’s good to just pick and choose the scriptures you like (I don’t think that’s good either), then what do you do with Ephesians 5:22-33? If the husband is being Christ like, there isn’t even a hint of oppression. It doesn’t say, “Wives submit and husbands ignore this passage.” My main reaction is that it is not wise to generalize to the churches of Christ from experience at one or even just a few – especially localized. I’ve regularly attended different CoCs in Dayton, Oh; Salem, IN; Searcy, AR; Nashville, TN; and currently Akron, OH. They all have differences, are almost totally opposite of what you described. I’ve even been to two, three, or four within a given city, and they have noticeable differences. If a church is trying to follow what the Bible says and nothing more, that – to me – is the heart of what the CoC is aiming for. Of course, we will always have the problem that we are humans and we are imperfect. If you find a church that claims to have it all right (which CoC congregations have been guilty of in the past) then don’t go to that church. You’ll end up like the Pharisees. ————- I am a member of the CoC. My dad is a CoC preacher and my grandpa (my mom’s dad) was too. I feel for the person “just another PK”. My mom and her siblings and her mother were verbally abused. My father was not. He is a CoC preacher and is not abusive. Crazy but true. I attribute my grandfather’s abusing to the fact that his father was an abusive alcoholic and that is what he learned a father was like (even though he himself did not drink). I am married and consider my wife an equal partner. If I were to ever ‘demand’ anything it would be that she gets her way when we disagree (i.e. that we go to the restaurant that she wanted instead of the one I wanted to go to). We are supposed to outdo each other with acts of kindness. I hope a lot of CoC people read this. I hope they see what other see them as and see what stereotypes are out there – some have validity. Like I posted earlier, there are some CoCs that are almost opposite of what was described in the article, but there are those that fit the bill. I believe that it really comes down to human nature and not the aim of the church. That’s where things go wrong. I have a hard time thinking that people would disagree with the idea of what CoC should be. It’s what happens when flawed people get in the picture. As someone alluded to above, if we were all able to follow the Bible – all of the Bible and not just what we picked out – then none of these complaints would have merit. I have had the good fortune of being involved with CoC congregations that generally don’t match up with the description in the article. By the same token, there are things about every one I’ve attended on a regular basis that I did not like or would like to change. Even of more importance – I don’t agree with everything that I believed 2 years ago or 5 – especially 10. It’s good to realize that if one individual can change his/her mind with the passage of time – and each time feel correct – that they probably don’t have it all figured out, and neither does any one church or denomination. At our core, we want others to like and accept us. So we try to look good to others. When we talk about what’s right and then mess up (because we are human) then others see hypocrisy (that’s pretty much the definition of it). If we are good at confessing to others (not necessarily in front of a congregation) and are open about being sinful and not perfect then people won’t see hypocrisy. If I say, “It’s wrong to lie. I struggle with it sometimes myself, but I try my best not to,” then someone sees me lie, they are not going to yell, “Hypocrite!” —————- The person “Hibiscus” above is writing about the stereotypic church of Christ. He/She must have missed the part of the reformation movement that stated, “Christians only, but not the only Christians.” (Many people in the church of Christ aren’t aware either). The ignorance of some members or even some leaders in a church does not mean that the entire church is bad. My father, being a preacher, would often have people come up to him and ask, “What do WE believe about…” He would encourage them to look in their Bible and he may let them know his opinion, but he would preface that it was his current view, that his view has changed in the past with more study, and that he didn’t have all the answers. I do the same if someone asks that to me. Growing up, in Bible class – in the church of Christ – the teacher would often say, this is my understanding, but you need to look it up and study yourself (such a very important admonition). I tell people to look up and study the subject when I teach and encourage questions and discussion because I know I don’t have it all figured out. When I’m in a class, it is not rare that I will disagree and share my thoughts and share a scripture to that end. I always try to do so with a humble attitude knowing that I myself could be wrong. I aspire to read my Bible every day (even though I’m not always that disciplined), because I know that it is vital to knowing God (along with prayer and other things). I think that at its core, any denomination or individual congregation gets off track when they stop focusing on evangelism and bringing others to know the freedom we have in Christ and God’s amazing grace and mercy. The focus turns inward and becomes ‘who’s right about this or that’. That’s what happened with the Pharisees (along with becoming power hungry). Also, it seems inherent in humans that we have the most difficult time believing and accepting God’s grace because we have been so sinful and we feel this need to earn our salvation (I can know this is wrong or even silly on a mental level, but emotionally it is difficult at times because I have sinned so much). This is where the idea of Conditional Salvation comes in – we can’t believe that God is so gracious to actually cover my sins. Once we become self-focused and try feverishly to be perfect to earn salvation (because of our human flaws) then we begin to turn to others and expect the same perfect standard of them. This is a problem that has been going on basically since humans were around. It did not start with the church of Christ. You can find it in any church today (because there are humans in all churches). You can find it throughout history – before Thomas Campbell was alive. I go to the church of Christ and don’t agree with ‘Church Apostasy’ as stated above. That is silly (although I’m sure other’s believe it), and I could care less about the name of the church. I always use a lowercase “c” in ‘church of Christ’ on purpose to show that it is not the only church. Plenty of other names were used in the Bible. Sometimes I just tell someone that I go to a non-denominational church because the focus should not be on the church but on Christ. Also, I’d like to mention something about Bible translations. Someone above mentioned using the KJV. I personally like the Revised Standard Version because it is more of a literal translation and versions like the NIV take more liberties. I don’t think any version is fool proof because the translation was done by humans who were trying their best, but if one was perfect, we wouldn’t need any others. It’s always best to go back to the original language and even then, we can misinterpret. For people that think it’s KJV or nothing, ask yourself if Jesus used the KJV (I’m not anti-KJV). It saddens me that there are so many negative views about the church of Christ and it saddens me that so often, those views are validated because of actual negative experiences in particular churches. I would love for all CoC members to read this article and comments so that some people could wake up. I agree with most all of the negative statements – i.e. that these things have and do occur in the CoC, but I don’t think they are right and I know because of my personal experience that they do not describe the whole of the CoC. I don’t believe that only CoC members are going to heaven. If you can find a good denomination to fellowship and brings you closer to God, go for it. I’ll call you brother or sister. Try not to then look down on other churches and say that they are wrong and you’ve got it all right or you’ll become the very thing that is being criticized. Christ prayed that we all might be one. It is because of pride and wrong doing that discussions like this even have any grounds. When the un-churched see this it only hinders the possibility that they will come to know Christ. I see my purpose on earth as simply to Glorify God. Not to get everything right. Not to be perfect. Not to be part of a church that has it all figured out. Simply to Glorify God. I pray that God will be glorified through discussions like this. I pray that peoples hearts will be softened. I pray that pride and oppression decreases. Posted by Tracydanger at 09:29:06 – No comments […]

  102. Babs Says:

    The Catholic Church is the real true church – I am sure you all know that, if you are or have ever been a Catholic. Or is it catholic?

    The Mormon Church is the real true church – I am sure you all know that, if you are or have ever been a Mormom. Or is it mormon?

    The Baptist Church is the real true church – I am sure you all know that, if you are or have ever been a Baptist. Or is it baptist? Do they baptize by immersion or do they sprinkle?

    The Methodist Church is the real true church – I am sure you all know that, if you are or have ever been Methodist. Or is it methodist? By the way, how the heck did they come up with that name? I guess they’ve got the method to salvation . . . or was it founded by John “Methodist” Wesley?

    The Presbyterian Church is the real true church – I am sure you all know that, if you are or have ever been Presbyterian. Or is it presbyterian? I thinik we all know where that name came from. By the way, do you know how to turn a Baptist into a Presbyterian? Give him a check book.

    The Epicsopal Church is the real true church – I am sure you all know that, if you are or have ever been Episcopalian. Or is it episcopalian? You can’t be in that church unless you can spell it first.

    The Church of Christ is the real true church – I am sure you all know that by now, if you are or have ever been a member of the Church of Christ or, in this case only, if you haven’t, right?. Or is it church of Christ? Or is it church of christ? By the way, you know when Jesus was talking with the woman taken in adultery and he was criticized for it and he said, “Let those of you who is without sin cast the first stone.” And the Bible says they all turned and left because they weren’t without sin. Remember that one? Well, we can be sure that there were no members of the CofC or cofC or cofc there, or she would have been stoned to death. That is my joke that I made up years ago while a member of the _of_. If you’ve heard that joke before, I was the originator. I can tell that, because I grew up in the C(c) of C(c)hrist. By the way, no offense intended – IT’S JUST A JOKE, FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am a Christian, or am I a christian? Maybe I should just be a Jesusite or jesusite, or a N(n)azarene, or a S(s)on of G(G)odian or what have you.

    I truly believe that Christ had a sense of humor. I am sure Abraham and Moses did.

    Will the Catholic Church let me, as a non-catholic, take communion with them? If not, is it because I am not Catholic or catholic or a Christian or a christian? If so, then have they changed their stance on that since I was a child? Will the Catholic Church ordain a woman as a priest? No?! Pray tell, can you tell me why? They must be a lot like those Church of Christers, or is it church of Christers? Or Baptists? Or other CULTS?

    To bad Mary wasn’t C(c)atholic, cause then we could say that she must have been influenced by a child molesting priest; or a Mormon, because then we could say she must have been influenced by living in a family headed by a bigamist or polygamist; or an Episcopalian, or a Methodist, or a Presbyterian, or something else, cause then we could just all stand there and scratch our heads and wonder what on earth went wrong.
    But since she was a member of the Church of Christ or the church of Christ, res ipsa loquitur – the thing speaks for itself. Well, and no wonder! I can’t wait for the answer to the “Why” in all of this. Not that we will ever know, now that she has an attorney. All I can say is, “Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah.” Or should it be “blahg, blahg, blahg, blahg, blahg?” Don’t know when I have had so much fun! What will happen to this blog or blahg if it turns out her reason has nothing to do with religion or being an oppressed, downtrodden, hushed up, second class, abused, degraded, spirit broken, tired of cooking, tired of being kept barefoot and pregnant, minister’s wife, then we will all have to just . . . Get a Life . . . won’t we? I think we need to send this blog site to her attorney . . . his defense case and research has all been done for him . . . case closed . . . not guilty . . . ? Oops, only if we can get a change of venue! Yeah? Right?
    Okay! What else can we talk about now?

  103. carol Says:

    Babs, thanks for the laughs. I’m rather sick of the topic myself.

  104. Babs Says:

    You’re welcome, Carol. By the way . . . I enjoyed reading about your mom!!!

  105. me Says:

    The church was not founded until after Jesus was raised from the dead. Jesus lived His life under the Old law; He was a Jew.

    I am a christian. I wear the name of Christ. Doesn’t it make sense that the family of believers with whome I worship would also wear that name? The church is not capitolized; just as the “Smith family” does not capitolize the word family. “Christ’s body” — the “church of Christ”.

    No, we do not claim perfection; the only man who ever could claim perfection was Jesus Himself. What we do claim is to follow the Bible to the best of our ability. We do not add or take away; if you think we do, ask for an explination, because it may just be a misunderstanding on your part (like the earlier discussion of instrumental music in worship). We do not want to alter God’s Perfect Plan in any way.

    If you do not follow God’s Will, you cannot go to heaven. God is a pure, perfect God, and it is impossible for Him to be in the presence of sin – if you do not do as the Bible says, so that your sins are forgiven, then it is impossible for you to go and dewll in the presence of God; because He is holy. Too many people fall for the “too nice to do that” God. The fact is, if you want to live with God, you have to do it by the only way – the blood of Jesus. Don’t forget that the bible also calls God a “jealous God”; and a “Just God”. His bountiful love hase been made available to us through His Son; there is no other way!

    The word “baptism” in the origional Greek language means “to immerse” – when one is baptized, he or she is “burried with Christ” in the grave (symbolized by water) and then ‘raised’ to walk in newness of life. When you burry someone, do you just toss a few handfulls of dirt on them; or do you cover them deep under ground? Likewise, baptism means to fully submerge an individual in water.

    (Mary was also a Jew) Mary was “conceived by the Holy Spirit” — God created human life; He can also (and did) create a baby in her womb!

  106. carol Says:

    Hello “me” and thanks for stopping by. I also live by the Bible. I, too, am a sinner – as we all are. You know the reasons for your beliefs and can relate them effectively, and I commend you for that. Although I disagree with your interpretation of the scripture, I have no desire to argue with you. The very scriptures that you use as the basis for the rigidity of your beliefs are also the basis for my beliefs which are more flexible. At the heart, though, the foundation of our beliefs is the same. As I said previously, Jesus knows our hearts. You are following His teachings to the best of your ability and understanding – as I am.

    As you suggested, though, I’d like an explanation about a couple things – because I truly and respectfully do not understand. Someone previously tried to explain the instrumental music thing, and the explanation made no sense to me. If you don’t add or take away, how do you explain the use of a baptistry, microphones/projection screens, printed bulletins, individual communion cups, etc? None of those things were mentioned in the New Testament. The previous commenter wrote that Jesus commanded us to worship, and those (the microphones/projection screens) are aids in worship. I can think of no greater worship aid than a piano or organ or other instrumental music? How do you distinguish between one worship aid being “okay” to use and something else being “not okay”? I know the instrumental music thing is not a major issue. However, it seems clear to me that the use of instrumental music in worship wasn’t mentioned in the New Testament because it was such an obvious thing. I was truly blown away when I learned a few years ago that the COC believed it was wrong to use a piano or organ to accompany hymns in church. While I enjoyed hearing and participating in the a cappella singing at the COCs that I attended, I missed the beauty of the worship music from the churches I grew up with. One advantage of attending the COC for a year is that I now appreciate my own church even more.

    While I respect the sincerity of your beliefs, I would never be a part of another COC. And my experience at the COC was NOT negative. The people were friendly and accepting. The singing was beautiful. The minister couldn’t have been nicer. He preached the Bible every Sunday – as did the COC minister at the church in Searcy that I attended and the other COC churches in Nashville that I attended. However, having grown up in a church where people strive to treat each other as Christ treated people, it was unacceptable to me to be in a church where half the population was treated as inferior.

    Having come from a church where I regularly taught Sunday School classes (to men and women) and was often asked to lead the prayer in class, it had never entered my mind that anyone would think that was wrong. I am a shy person – and teaching Sunday school or praying in a group is not something I WANT to do necessarily. I did it because it was a need that I could fill – a service I would render. My mother wrote that her call to preach is not a call to authority but a call to service. And it’s true – I see that every day in her life. She’s 83 years old now, and last Sunday she preached at the early and late services at a large church (the minister had to be out of town and asked her to fill in for him). She’s recovering from surgery and hasn’t felt well in a long time, but she won’t pass up an opportunity to serve Christ in the church. God called her to service him in ministry, and God wouldn’t call her to do that if it wasn’t in his plan.

    In the COC that I attended regularly, they needed someone to fill in as a Sunday School teacher one week. The people in the class joked about having a woman do it, but it was obviously just that – a joke – not something they’d consider. When no man immediately volunteered, the male teacher said he would call some of the other men during the week to find someone. The women I met there were interesting and knowledgeable about the Bible. To me, the COC is missing out on the full use of the God-given gifts of half their members.

    Christ came to take away the old law, and it seems to me that the COC has created a new LAW contrary to the love and grace that Jesus brought to the world.

    I feel very sad for all the young COC women who have so totally bought into the women being submissive to men belief. It’s okay now while they’re young, but as they grow older, many of them will begin to realize that such an unbalanced relationship couldn’t have been the way Jesus wanted us to be. Submissive to God – always. Mutually respectful and loving to each other – yes. Always putting the other first – yes. One gender submissive to the other gender – no.

    If you disagree, I welcome your civilized and respectful comments.

  107. me Says:

    Concerning Carol’s comments:

    For starters, Here is a copy&paste of an earlier post that I made that answers some of your questions; then I’ll add to that:

    “Suppose you and I make an agreement: I will give you a certain book if you will give me ten dollars. So, you give me the money, and I give you the book. At this point, our agreement is completed. You can’t hand me another ten dollars, and expect me to keep giving you books; our transaction is complete.

    In the same way, God made a covenant back in the beginnings of the old testament. This covenant was completed when Jesus came, died, and was raised from the dead. At this point, God’s covenant was complete. He then established a new covenant that we follow today, which is recorded for our learning in the new testament. Since we are under this new law, the old law is simply there for our understanding of our history; not for us to follow. The old law includes instruments in worship; the new law does not. This is why we do not use instruments; it has nothing to do with “pick and choose” doctrine.

    Also, concerning the role of women in the church, it is not as strict as some of you seem to think it is. No, they cannot lead public prayer, preach, or publicly lead singing, but unless it’s religious, there is no problem with a woman taking a role of leadership ‘over’ the men. (ex: setting up a bulletin board – she can tell what to do; instruct an art class; etc etc.) On top of that, the story of Tabitha that we read in Acts chapter 9 may very well be of a woman who converted many people to The Way. If a man is not a christian, it’s okay for a woman to study with him; that is different than standing before him preaching. Once he becomes a christian, once he is apart of this family, those roles change.

    “pick and choose”? No, just study the scriptures closer – God’s Word is perfect; the answer is there! ”

    …In addition…

    You commented on the things we add to our worship (microphone. projector, many cups etc.) vs. the things we don’t (instruments)

    In answer to that: The “many cups” vs. “one cup” is caused by a misunderstanding. When Jesus “gave it to them” the word “gave” in the origional language indicates ‘divided it up and gave it to them’. This would indicate several different cups.

    In concerning the use of projectors, pews, microphons, etc; these cannot be rolled in to one with the instruments, because instruments play a DIRECT role; while microphones and projectors play an INDIRECT role. Does that make sense? Instruments are an attempt to change worship at the heart of the issue. They are trying to play an active role in the worship. Those who use them expect them to go straight up to God, mixed with the song, and please Him. On the other hand, a projector simply provides words for us to remember; it does not directly affect our worship; If we didn’t have it, we would probably sound the same on most of the songs; same with the mic. This cannot be said for instruments; their goal is to directly alter the worship. Let me know if that makes sense, or if more explanation is needed.

    Concerrning women, add this:

    I Timothy 2:12-14 reads: “12I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.”

    I Corinthians 14: 33b-35 reads: “As in all the congregations of the saints, 34women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”

    Don’t even begin to see us as ‘crippled’ in this matter; We are following GOD’S pattern! Don’t you thing He knows best!?! HE CREATED US!

    In addition, do you know how suffocating the roman and greek women were treated? They actually had to get permission from their husbands to go from one room to the next! God, on the other hand, commanded husbands to:

    Ephesians 5:25-33 reads: “25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31″For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

    I Peter 3:7 reads: ” 7(I)You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with (J)someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”

    Don’t misunderstand this verse – it didn’t say women are second-class citizens; it said they are to be given extra honor just for being women.

    You see, God designed that women submit to men; but likewise that men are to return selfless love, honor, and respect to women. If that pattern is followed, there won’t be a problem with abuse. Remember, the woman was created because it was “not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” — as God said. God designed women in a special way. This in and of itself demands a special place of respect.

    . . . What, then, can a woman do in service to God?:

    Profess religion and godliness (I Timothy 2:9-10)
    Learn (I Timothy 2:11)
    Teach and train other women (Titus 2:3-5)
    Participate in worship (John 4:24)
    Teach and admonish…singing (Colossians 3:16)
    Teach privately (Acts 18:24-26)
    Be a companion / helper (Genesis 2:18)
    Lead others to Christ (I Peter 3:1-6)
    Submissive (Ephesians 5:22)
    Helpers in Christ Jesus (Romans 16:1-4)

    Again, God had a plan. He designed each of us for a specific purpose. He knew what He was doing!

    Lastly, in response to this quote from you, Carol:

    “Christ came to take away the old law, and it seems to me that the COC has created a new LAW contrary to the love and grace that Jesus brought to the world.”

    Love and grace, yes; but ONLY if we follow His law! Love and grace, yes; but don’t forget that our God is a Jealous God; and a Just God. He cannot – Not will not; but He CANNOT tolerate sin. Because He is pure, it is impossible for Him to be in the presence of sin! Therefore, we can ONLY reach Him through Jesus; through the explicit pattern laid out for us in the Bible. Don’t fool around with eternity; there’s only one Day of Judgement. Take this life while you have it to search the Scriptures and to come to know the truth; so that you can follow it; and therefore so that your soul can be saved! Don’t look to sugar-coat an issue as serious as this one! We seek to follow the Law of the New Testament; so that we can obtain that very love and grace of which you speak. Because it is only obtainable for us through the Bible; God’s perfect plan.

    Let me know if you have any more questions; I look foward to them!

  108. hmmm Says:

    After reading so much here, I just have to comment…

    I was born, lived and still live in TN. I grew up Baptist in a town where the c of c was as foreign as Hindus and Buddists…I never thought much about the c of c beliefs until I married one…I really felt they were like Baptists without a piano..plus since my husband doesn’t believe much of their more extreme doctrines it has never been a problem…we attend this church to please his family..and before you slam me for that…their are other factors…we attended a more “modern” congregation for a time..but then his parents who are pretty old both became very ill…and we felt we should not cause additional stress to them so returned to the more conservative congregation…but here is what I have observed after nearly 15 yrs at a large Southern, hard-core congregation…and that is that… yes…they do treat women as second-class but it is very suble …at least at this church…it is a congregation of almost 1400 members and I know not one woman who is a professional…you will find a few teachers and nurses…but no lawyers, no doctors, no engineers…which I originally thought odd as I am an engineer with a M.S. in engineering…but then as I attended more of the Sunday School and Wed. nite classes I could understand why…women are encouraged to have a family more in keeping with 1950s America – to have children, be homemakers, to not work outside the home… if at all possible…after 5th grade… girls are not in classrooms with boys until college age…I taught a SS class for a while and even had a 4th grade boy tell me that once he was 12 he was a man and didn’t have to listento him anymore…I would go to social events outside the church at members homes or even inside the church and if a woman expressed any opinions in a conversation… the men just listened politely but just continued like she had never spoken…I found and I find it sad…because the indoctrination is so complete…I mean if you grow up as a girl with c of c parents and attend a c of c school and then college plus you will find that most hard core c of c folks do not socialize with non- c of c…and then date and marry c of c…you are going to think just like you are taught that you shouldn’t want anything more than to marry, have a family and serve them and the Lord…you certainly aren’t encouraged to want a CAREER!… thank GOD my family, church, father never felt that way or taught that way…but this is just my EXPERIENCE.

    The other observation I have is that none of the c of c seem to acknowledge their history…there was no c of c as the churches are today before the late 1800s..the c of c movement was a breakoff from the Presbyterian denomination just as the Baptists were…in fact Alexander Campbell was baptized by a Baptist minister…how ironic is that??? I have a question for the Freed-Hardeman students…are you even taught church history??

  109. kim Says:

    Its sounds like the c of c is a legalistic church. They have made rules were there are no rules. As Christians we live by the letter of the spririt,not the letter of the law. Jesus fullfilled the law and now we live in freedom. If the c of c chooses to worship and abide by certain laws, that is ok as long as they do not make it as a way to stay straight with God. Remember that Jesus freed us so we could serve Him with a clear conscience and the Christian life does not have to be a burden to bear. The joy of the Christian life is due to the fact Jesus died and rose again so we could live in confidence. We have many choices in how we worship and live in the Lord.

  110. carol Says:

    Kim – thanks for commenting!  You wrote exactly what I believe – based on the New Testament.

    “me” – If I were you, I wouldn’t use the ten dollars/books analogy again. That just simply isn’t analogous in this situation. It’s kinda like someone else who compared baptism to burial – immersion would be full burial, and sprinkling or pouring would be “throwing a few handfuls of dirt” on the casket. Do you TRULY believe that it matters to God HOW we are baptized. Do you truly believe it matters to God whether or not we have instrumental music in our worship services? Do you truly believe that God wants to keep women from fully serving him in a church?  God is concerned with our hearts, our intentions, and how we serve him.

    I had another question I had. Although I visited the campus of the college in Searcy and even talked to a couple of professors and sat in on one presentation (beautiful campus, by the way), I don’t know if women professors are allowed to teach male students. Since it is not in a church, that’s allowed, isn’t it? 

    It’s interesting that I’ve received several emails from people who have chosen to “chastize” me via email for this post and the comments – rather than leaving a comment for others to read. Of course all the chastizers are COC members.

    And “hmmm” I’d never slam you for attending a COC. As I have said repeatedly, the people in the churches I attended were very friendly, and I believe they were well-intentioned and Bible-believing people. They’ve needlessly put restrictions on their worship and their lives that keep them from being able to fully respond to God’s calling in their lives. However, that’s their choice for the most part.

    My heart breaks for young COC women because they use phrases like “direct aids to worship” and “indirect aids to worship” seriously. I don’t care whether the COC uses instrumental music or not. Just don’t try to pass it off as Biblically-based. The New Testament doesn’t mention lots of things, but that doesn’t mean that everything not mentioned is forbidden. And the young COC women have been indoctrinated to the point that they have internalized all these rules about who women can talk to about God – and the level of what they can talk about with Christian versus non-Christian men. And they believe that by being treated as an inferior, they are being honored — and that someone who disagrees is trying to “sugar coat” the gospel. It’s easy to believe that as a young woman full of ideals and enthusiasm – especially right in the middle of a COC campus and when COC is practically their whole world. I would like to hear from “me” in 20 or 30 years when she’s had to deal with being a second class citizen for a long time, and the thrill of being “honored” in such a way has worn off and the reality has set in.

  111. me Says:

    I defend my beliefs with the bible. Jesus Himself said “IF you love me, you will keep my commandments” – You see, it is not a case of “you don’t really think He would do that…” It’s a case of love – I am not a second class citizen! In 20 or 30 years I see my self as my mother is now; in 50 years I hope to be as my grandmother; and even as my late grandmother lived her life – not second class; simply fulfilling a different role! A marriage is a team – a team that decides things together; and pursues them side by side! Sure a woman can lead; just not in a religious setting; because this is how God DESIGNED the church! Who am I – who are YOU – to alter GOD’S PLAN?!? Of course I know people with very distinguished careers; who are female! I go to college with both male and female members in every major and minor; to my knowlege! There is nothing wrong with that! The only thing limited by the Bible is a woman taking authority over a man in a religious setting; and a wife who does not submit to her loveing husband. (also, of course, the bible requires a man to love his life with a selfless love; fully sacrificeing himself for her.) You see, this is all the Bible demands. I am still very active in the church! I can help in many, many ways; just not leading men in worship! I still work for the Lord!

    Concerning the old/new law; the old law was always leading up to the ‘new covenant”. The old law was COMPLETED when Jesus was killed, and raised up again. Now, God has established a new covenant with us; just as He said in His Word; and that is why we cannot follow the old law – it is no longer valid for our lives today.

    I encourage you to read Hebrews chapters 8 and 9 – these two chapters contain a great deal of explanation about the old law being replaced by the new; therefore nullifying the old; and setting the new law in place – the new law, of which Christ is the mediator.

    I said that about baptism. In the origional language, the verb ‘baptismos’ means ‘to immerse’ – what does that mean? Sprinkle? I should say not!

    Carol: you said “Do you TRULY believe that it matters to God HOW we [. . . ] Do you truly believe it matters to God whether or not we [. . . ] God is concerned with our hearts, our intentions, and how we serve him.”

    In this, you ask and answer your own questions! God is concerned with how we serve Him! Of course! That’s why He commanded what we see in the Bible!

    When you say to me: ‘God doesn’t really care…” you are brushing off the commands of GOD! Do you think He would have commanded it if He didn’t care!?! OF COURSE He cares! If you are in the throneroom of a king here on earth and he tells you to do something, do you really think it’s a good idea to do anything but immediately obey him!?! How much more important when you are coming before THE ONE, TRUE GOD!?!

    On top of that:

    Jesus says in John 14:15: “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

    Pretty clear. I love Him; I will obey ALL HIS COMMANDS.

    Revelation 22:18-19 reads: “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

    Pretty clear – God wrote the Perfect book; the Bible – don’t change it!

    Yes, we study church history, but we are not the first christians; we are mirroring the New Testament church to the best of our abilities; because the Bible hasn’t changed!

    Search the Scriptures. Know the truth! Ask so that you may find answers; but make sure that the Bible can testify to those answers! Never put anything above God’s Word!

  112. carol Says:

    Thanks again, “me” for sharing your beliefs. I have explained what I believe and why I believe it. You have done the same. We will have to agree to disagree. I respect your enthusiasm and devotion to your beliefs, and I wish you well.

  113. kim Says:

    Me, I would encourage you to read the book of Galatians and while you are reading it-do it without thinking of your c of c dogma.

  114. me Says:

    And I would encourage you to look at this resource:

    http://www.studylight.org/com/bcc/

    And always search the scriptures for the truth!

  115. hmmm Says:

    Carol,

    This is a great site for the history of the churches of christ and what their beliefs are..its from the dept. of religous studies at the University of New Foundland…it was great stuff about not only the churches of christ and the Baptist church…nothing on this site is trying to say anything about beliefs being right or wrong…just the historical facts of the origins of the movement…and so glad I stumbled across your blog…very nicely done!

    http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/restmov.html

  116. me Says:

    that’s great, but remember that it doesn’t really matter who taught what when; all that matters is what the Bible teaches. That is the inspired, unchanging, perfect, inherent Word of God.

  117. hmmm Says:

    Really…me…your whole belief system is direct from MAN…the Campbells…Father and son…everytime a c of c tries to defend their beliefs it is thru the “canned” responses taught by the church….which goes back to a little book that all c of c use…”why we believe what we believe….the c of c are the legalistic, Pharisees of modern times…so caught up in the minutae that they miss the entire message of Christ…

  118. me Says:

    We take the Bible for what it says… because God wrote it. What could be more straight-foward than God’s teaching?

  119. carol Says:

    God didn’t write the Bible. The Bible was inspired by God and the writing was directed by God. However, men – fallible, sinful men – did the actual writing. And they wrote it based on the times in which they lived. The legalistic interpretation of the COC goes against the very grace, acceptance and forgiveness that Jesus taught. The people I’ve talked with from COC churches are so brainwashed by the indoctrination of the COC that they can’t see how wrong it is – at a very basic level. I’ve read every single entry in this long thread of comments, and there hasn’t been an explanation for the COC beliefs that anyone except those that have heard nothing else all their lives would embrace. “Me” I would guess that you attended a COC-sponsored school K-12, and apparently now you’re attending a COC college. You’ve heard nothing but COC doctrine your entire life, and the times you’ve heard other beliefs, it has been in the context of “Why those beliefs are wrong and the COC beliefs are right.”

    I truly feel sad for you and the life you have chosen.

  120. me Says:

    Actually, I went to a very diverse public school of about 2,000 students. If we were as legallistic as you suggest – not accounting for culture – than we would force all men to shave their heads; and women would not be allowed to wear jewelry; or have a career.

    The difference is, we believe in the Bible as the perfect word of God. He can creat the world and preform miracles; don’t you think He can control what appears in written form for His Bible? OF COURSE He can! That is why you cannot find errors; even though many of those inspired writers wrote about things they had no Idea about! This book was written over a period of thousands of years by people from completely different parts of the known world; in completely different languages; and yet, it is perfect! Only God can do such a thing; of course He is the cause for exactly what they wrote!

    Since the Bible is the perfect, inherent, inspired Word of God, we hold fast to its teachings. Not their society’s teachings; but the ones that apply to us simply for being human beings. God made us Male and Female. For each of us, He designed a role in His perfect plan. You doubt that distinctions should be made? Then how come it’s always the women that have to be pregnant? Because God designed it to be that way. Even in Genesis, God explains that He would “make for him a suitable helper…” See, even from the beginning, God designed for the man to lead. Not to dominate, but to lead. Partners, but one is still the ‘head of his household’. We hold this because it’s how we were designed by God; not because it was the Roman culture. So then, in the New testament, God’s word teaches us that it is to be that men should lead; not women. Don’t you think God knew what He was doing when He set up this system? Children submit to parents; wife to husband; husband to Christ. In the reverse, Christ’s love to church, men to women, parents to children.

    My beliefs are backed up with truth and logic. If you don’t believe that, I encourage you to find something wrong about that logic. (do some research here: http://www.apologeticspress.org). You share your opinions with ‘I think…”; but I’ve done my best to use the scripture, or somethin else concrete.to back up my statements.

    I leave you with this: If you can’t believe in a God who can cause the perfect book to be written to guide all of mankind; if you don’t think God is as strict as He’s seemes, then what kind of a God do you think He is? Because He’s a lot more than you’re giving Him credit for! perhaps you should reconsider Who you believe in.

  121. Becky Says:

    Okay, my only comment is……where in the world are these churches of Christ that you are attending?? My only guess is that they are more country and perhaps more backward areas. I go to a church of Christ in a metropolitan area. No, I have never been able to get up in the pulpit and preach, but women are certainly “allowed” to be up there. There have been skits with women characters…even as leads. Women are on our praise teams, and they don’t stand in the back so no one can see them. We can lead prayers and teach classes. There are plenty of “professional” women in my church…even though I am personally offended that teachers and nurses are not considered professionals. As a teacher with my master’s, I consider myself quite professional. However, since your definition of professional is doctors and lawyers and such, there are plenty of those at my church…and every other profession that I can think of. I actually know VERY FEW stay at home moms even though I consider that a well-respected job as well. But the main thing that I’ve seen here are the comments about women not going out to spread the word. We are ALL called to do that, and my church certainly doesn’t teach that any differently. I’ll be the first to say that we don’t follow the Bible absolutely. Who does? I’ll also say that there are probably churches of Christ still teaching that they are the only ones going to Heaven, but those are definitely in the minority now. On that subject….even though it’s not often preached, I’ve had plenty of friends from other denominations try to convert me. Why would they bother to try and convert me unless they believed my soul to be in danger?? I guess maybe they think their denomination is the only one that’s for certain as well. I think the most annoying part is all you people out there who act like we’re all brainwashed. That is absolutely ridiculous! Please stop spreading all the lies. If there are specific churches to which you are referring, I’d almost rather you just call those out than act like we are all one and the same. I am a strong woman. I have taught Bible classes. I have invited others to my church. I sing on a praise team. I am a professional woman who plans to continue in my profession after I even decide to have children. My husband does not beat me nor expect his say to rule over what I want. I am just sickened by all the people who may read this and think all churches of Christ are like those you mention.

  122. Kim Says:

    Becky, I’m sure your c of c church is more open to women having more opportunities in ministry, but overall the c or c churches tend to have a legalistic interpretation of the Bible. This legalism can lead believers to follow rules instead of living by the Gospel. Legalistic church bodies tend to use fear and guilt to force people to believe in the Bible. They use the lines, “If you do not do this or that, God will not be pleased with you”. I hope everyone who does belong to the c of c denomination reads Galatians and lets the message of the Gospel reign and not fear.

  123. The Median Sib » Blog Archive » Mary Winkler - the story that won’t go away Says:

    […] in the Church – Is the Church of Christ right? (Winkler post follow-up),   Trackback  Permalink   Filed under: This ‘n That Leave aComment […]

  124. me Says:

    Actually, Becky, I’m from OKC. . . not very ‘out in the middle of nowhere’, if you know what I mean. If I wanted, I could go just a few minutes from my house and find a group that teaches what you have discussed. But, it still doesn’t follow God’s design, or God’s commands. Like I have been saying all along; I believe the Bible; period.

  125. cassie Says:

    All Christian religions are oppressive to women. It was only in the last part of the last century that women were even allowed to serve as ministers. In that type of a situation, I am not surprised Mary Winkler killed her husband. In that type of an environment, a stay at home mom with probably no other outlet for conversation other than her church (who will side with her husband) or husband, three small kids to take care of…sounds like a recipe for a mental break ro me…

  126. Bill Says:

    Actually, I was involved with a woman who was a member of the COC for a short time and what a miserable group of people it was! The sugn in front whould read “WE ARE THE ONLY TRUE CHRISTIANS ANYWHERE” because that is not onlywhat is taught, but practiced as well. Not to suggest that the people there are not hypocrits’ in the short time I attended there was one member arrested for pornography, another murdered by an in-law, several who laughed and joked over lunch about a recent abortion clinic bombing being “God’s Will” and a pastor/preacher/whatever they are called who abruptly quit one Sunday and disappeared……who knows what he was into ? This was in addition to the wife beaters, I could name names on those.
    Basically, I wanted no part of something so negative and so hateful. If Christ was supposed to be about Love, well , that sure was not what was practiced in the COC. I couldn’t get over the cultic “We are the only real church” philosophy. You were right in that they pick and choose what they want from the Bible. Interesting is tht most of them, when asked, don’t even know how the Bible came into existence. They simply say “Oh , God wrote it” They also have no explanation for why Campbell needed to “Restore” the church when Jesus told Peter that he would build His church upon him, and the gates of hell would never tear it down. Unless it was torn down byu the gates of hell, then why would it need to be restored? and if so, does that mean Jesus’ prophesy to Peter was wrong?
    That is the problem though when any religion or church tries to base it’s dogma on part of a written book. The bible was assembled in the Roman empire as a way to authenticate which versions of different writings were accurate and origianl;. Many texts were left out or lost becasue they could not be authenticated, or some may say, because they did not match up to what the religious leaders of the time wanted. Remember, the Romans were a people of consitancy, they would have preferred to have everything written into one text for everyone to share. Up until that time, the stories of Jesus were told orally, and we all know how stories can change a little at a time from one person to the next. Anything written, and again, rememebr the very low literacy rate, was written only for the reference and to reach first century Christians. Therefore, the bible is not, and was never meant to be, the complete and final word of God as many suggest, and the accuracy of anything written within is again based on oral traditions from years after the events happened.

    I have recently joined a Satanic group and it has turned out to be the most enlightening experience of my life….kind of a blend of Gnosticism and paganism. The people who belong to this movement are law abiding citizens; not pornographers of wife beaters like I knew in the COC. Any transgression with the law is means for expulsion from the group. The people are actually nicer and friendlier than the ones I met in the COC all those years ago. We don’t go around openly advertising our beliefs or trying to convince others; in fact, proselityzing is not allowed. Unlike what you may have been told, we are a highly intellectual group, made up of highly successful individuals . One common thread is our disdain for groups like the COC, who fail time and time again to practice what they claim to preach. We as Satanists respect he constituional right of each person in America to choose what they believe and what they follow, even if we do not agree with it. This philosophy is not shared by most Christian fundamentalist groups. And you don’t see Satanists murdering and bombing abortion clinics, but the members of the COC seem to enjoy it.
    NOW tell me on the basis of action, who is good and who is evil?

    What does that say about the COC ?
    At least I am not a hypocrit……

  127. Babs Says:

    Wow, Bill! Not a hypocrite in your group, huh? Not one pornographer or wife beater among you? Now, really!! What a special little group you all must be! No hypocrits among you, huh? Boy, that’s a new one. That would have to be a first!!!! Gee, you sound just like those CofC folks, now don’t you? You got it right, I can see that. Holy Satan!

  128. carol Says:

    Well, Bill, I would say that a Satanic cult is evil. Even though I disagree with the COC interpretation of the Bible, I have said all along that I believe most of them are good people at heart and are trying to interpret it as best they know. Deliberately siding with Satan is just crazy. Sure, you have that right, but I sure wouldn’t say that’s good or right or sane.

    And Cassie, I don’t agree that all Christian religions are oppressive to women. And even among the ones that don’t offer equality, there are varying levels of oppression. And Christianity is eons better than Islam and other religions.

  129. Babs Says:

    Bill, have you read the Divinci Code and do you really mean Satan or just mother earth and the early nature/fertility pagan gods, in which the Wicans believe? But, just remember . . . if your group is made up of humans, then, sorry, but you have hipocrits and the gamut of human foibles among you.

  130. Babs Says:

    spelling error – hypocrit (not hipocrit)sorry! Human mistake

  131. Kim Says:

    I don’t think the reaction to Christianity should lead anyone to try the other side. Christianity is good. Jesus gave us a new lease on life. He set us free. CoC takes this freedom and adds to it, just like the Galatian Christians did in the Bible. Paul tried to address this in this book. I love being a Christian. I know who I am in Christ. Jesus is my best friend and I’m glad I know Him.

  132. carol Says:

    Hey Babs – typos are allowed here. Lord knows I make plenty of them myself. -) Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

    Kim, I agree with you except for the part I’ve already written about many times in this post and comments – won’t keep repeating it. I appreciate your taking the time to comment and for visiting THE MEDIAN SIB.

  133. kim Says:

    Carol, I am sounding like a broken record, aren’t I? Sorry! I just hope Christianity isn’t given a bad rap just because of a few so-called Christian mess it up.

  134. carol Says:

    Kim ,please don’t apologize. I totally respect and admire your enthusiasm for your beliefs – and I wholeheartedly agree with almost all of them. I also worry about the real message of Christianity being distorted by some people. I don’t believe it is oppressive at all, and studies have shown that sincere Christians are the happiest and most satisfied people. (Can’t remember where I read that, but I could probably find it if I took the time to look it up). I enjoy discussing issues, and I hope all this debate about the COC hasn’t sidetracked us too much. I do appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read this LONG list of comments and then took additional time to comment. I think I’ve learned a lot. I hope you all will take the time to read some of the other posts here at THE MEDIAN SIB. There’s lots more besides religious discussions.

  135. Bill Says:

    Hey Carol
    No we are not Wiccan. More complicated than that, I don’t want to go into any details here about who we are or what we believe, this is not the forum for that. All I can say is that the concepts of good and evil are not what most people thnik. I do not think of our group as Evil; Rebelous, yes, but only because there are things against which we should rebel. We are not perfect, we make no claims to be, but we are who we are after years of deep study, investigation and soul searching. We do not take things at face value, but rather we investigate and thoroughly examine what is sold to our society in the name of religion. We do not harm or seek to harm others; we do not recruit, nor do we advertise. Yet more and more come to us with insights and experiences similar to our own. And sadly, one overwhelming theme we hear day in adn day out revolves around the failure of christianity. That much is measurable.
    As to the topic at hand, we still don’t know really why this woman killed her husband, the afore mentioned minister. Lots of speculation. Let me disclose this fact to you.
    When my ex-wife was taking her doctorate in psychology, as a requirement for her degree, she along with another student had to moderate a sort of “encounter group” for adult female college students who were incest survivors. There were 12 ladies in the class, each was an insest survivor. I was not told any names of course, as this would have breached confidentiality, but I was made privy to a very disturbing statistic: nine of these twelve ladies had been molested by a family member who was clergy. Of the nine victims, one was molested by a grandfather, three by uncles and five by theirfathers. Of these nine clergymen, well, look at this: one was pentocostal, one was catholic (Probably an uncle) , two were baptist, three were from “non denominational Bible chuirches” and two were from the church of christ. Yes, that is right, coc clergy gets into this kind of abuse too! That really sickens me. And people wonder why I am where I am now.
    I could not help but notice that with the exception of the one catholic, all the other eight were basically part of some fundamentalist Christian movement/cult. All represent what could easily be a totalitarian religion.
    In this sampling, 75% of the perpetrators were clergy. Now this was in the Southwest, in the “Bible belt”, so I don’t know if any national statistic has ever been tabulated. This was at a state run non religious school as well. But the fact that 3 out of 4 incest victims could be the result of Christian clergy really disgusts me.
    Maybe we should keep this in mind before we refer to Matthew Winkler as a “victim”
    As far as oppresive churches go, well, there seems to be a common thought in the coc that goes “well it is ok if we kill, but not if someone else does” or “Well God says the laws of man don’t apply to us” or “We should be in a theocracy, not a democracy.”
    Plain and simple: NO one has the right to abuse, harm or injure anyone else, in the name of god, Jesus, the bible, or anything else. No right whatsoever. Try telling that to a church, a movement, who gave the world such people as Olympic bomber Erig Rudolph and Susan Smith, the woman who drowned her kids in South carolina and tried to say that a “black man did it”. Would the coc still stand behind them as “good christians ?” They are probably still members of it. And that is a good part of why I am not involved.
    So how do YOU define evil? I define it church of christ.

  136. kim Says:

    Bill, So are you saying that Christianity causes people to abuse their kids? Or are you saying that those who say they are Christians abuse their kids? I have known individuals who were in your camp and their lives were full of violence and hate, not peace. I hope you tread lightly as you pursue your new religion, the angel of light doesn’t let go easily.

  137. Bill Says:

    No Kim
    I am simply saying that of a sampling of 12 people who were part of an encounter group, 9 of the 12 were victimized by Christian clergy.
    I am not saying that ALL Christians abuse their kids, but I am saying that clearly SOME who say that they are Christian abuse their kids. The evidence is there.
    As for members of our group who abuse children, well, if that is the case, then let us know names and specifics. Child abuse is against the law, and we DO NOT go against the law, like Susan Smith , Eric Rudolph, or Mary Winkler. All three of those are/were members of the coc…..My point simply is that their are such members of the coc who seem to think that their god has given them some right to work outside of the laws of society. THAT is not acceptable in any form. And we simply do not tolerate the abuse of others, or violations of other’s rights in the name of coc, al-qieda, or any other religious group. Now tell me again, who is evil…those who practice evil, or those you just do not understand? Because we are not an evil group,because we initiate no evil, but it would seem that there are many members of coc and other fundamentalist christina sects who do…………….

  138. kim Says:

    Bill, I know that child abuse is against the law, but most of all, it is against the second commandment of God. Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself and when anyone hurts a child with their actions, the Lord wants that person to confess that sin and stop that action. I also agree that the coc is an organization that takes bibical truths and adds to them. I do not agree with their slant on God’s Word. I hope you do know that there are many Christians who do not believe in abuse. They are kind, loving, gentle, caring and noble people. Also, I do know people who have been part of your group and what they went through wasn’t a pretty picture. Thank God that Jesus rescued them.

  139. Babs Says:

    “As far as oppresive churches go, well, there seems to be a common thought in the coc that goes “well it is ok if we kill, but not if someone else does” or “Well God says the laws of man don’t apply to us” or “We should be in a theocracy, not a democracy.” Just curious, but where the hello did you get that idea? And where the fink did you come up with the idea that Eric Rudolph and Susan Smith were members of the Church of Christ? Are you using the term coc loosely as to mean any Christ believing church, like Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Churches of God, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church of Israel, and yada yada yada? If not, then what the heck are you smoking?

  140. Abba's Girl Says:

    No one can know why Mary killed her husband. A lot of good is coming from the questions pro and con concerning Christ and His Church. I don’t have a church because I didn’t die for one. I believe just the mention of Christ’s name will make a difference in someone’s life. Grace and Peace be unto you in Jesus Name.

  141. Renee Says:

    Jason,
    Jesus was God in the flesh and humbled himself to live among us.

    If the above statement is true, reckon who was Jesus praying to in the Garden?

  142. Raymond Says:

    Has the question been asked: is she pregnant?

    Looking at her mug shot it appears that she might have melasma otherwise known as the mask of pregnancy. I understand that condition is hormonal and can also be caused by birth control pills. So is she pregnant or was she avoiding pregnancy? Could she have a “hormonal imbalance” ? What might that have to do with her motive?

  143. Bridget Says:

    I would be the last person to judge Mary or her husband because that is not any of our job to do. I honestly have never even tried to image why she might have done what she did. What I will say is that God stated “Thou Shalt Not Kill” and he gave no circumstances to which that should be altered for any reason. The world in it’s entier has problems, issues and sorrow, but we can not allow those things to over come us and we committ murders. I feel sorry for her and the precious girls more than anything. Instead of judgeing and assuming we should pray for them all. That’s what they need now more then anything, what’s done is done and can’t be changed no matter what.

  144. Rita Says:

    Carol,
    Have been a member of local C of C for @40 years. Am educated. Your original statement at the beginning of this blog are eerily like my own. I think your are right on track and your insights are correct. Your initial reaction was exactly mine. Am tired of suppressing my talents, opinions, and natural gifts that I cannot offer to our church because it would be “against the scriptures and god”. Don’t attend quiet as often and mostly go to other “demoninations” (Carol will understand why that is in quotes.)where I feel I can truly worship.
    Rita

  145. carol Says:

    Thanks everyone for continuing this discussion. It’s fascinating to me to read all the different viewpoints, and I have learned a lot via this discussion. And, RIta, yes I know why you put “denominations” in quotes! -)

  146. Bill Says:

    Religion is a disease.

  147. Wife Shot Minister After Argument Over Money - Feminism Is A Destructive Hate Movement Says:

    Kramer auto Pingback[…] Typical female response here.Tennessee Church of Christ Minister Murdered by Wife – No wonder? Friday, March 24th, 2006 at 5:55 pm by carolher Webpage is here The church is oppresive to women and he had it coming.What BSQUOTE Matthew Winkler could have been involved in pedophiliaIn the first days of the case the media was looking for reasons why she did it.And women were already pointing anything at him as if "He is to blame." […]

  148. GladIgotout Says:

    I dated a man in the COC and attended church with him on multiple occasions. I can say that from the beginning I could see his disrespect for women. He tried to control me in many ways, and after months of this I realized that he was emotionally and verbally abusing me. My feeling is that this has alot to do with his unbringing in his church.

    I also wanted to note that this same man has an uncle who was ostrocized from his family because of having a divorce. This is not accepted or tolerated for any reason in the COC. The family pulled away from him, the man because extremely depressed and ended up shooting his ex and killin ghimself. I beleive this would not have happened had they NOT been members of this church.

  149. Larry Says:

    Apparently this had nothing to do with abuse or church of Christ “dogma.” This was about a different kind of abuse that is just as destructive, the abuse of money. Read http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060701/NEWS03/607010374 for further information and keep praying for Mary, her daughters, and everyone else touched by this tragedy.

  150. carol Says:

    Thanks for the comment, Larry. I think I referenced the very same article in a post on this case a couple days ago – check this link: http://themediansib.com/2006/07/03/more-on-the-mary-winkler-case/

  151. Revonda A. Kirby Says:

    It is so heartbreaking to me to see how intolerant so many of you all can be about the belief systems of others. Don’t you see it as a little ironic that you are bashing others for being oppressive and intolerant with your own intolerant opinions. And, I might add that many of your remarks are so hate filled and grounded in ignorance. When I first read these remarks yesterday, I chose to ignore them because of the above stated reasons. But, something kept nagging at me. So, I chose to state a few facts for the record.

    I am a woman reared in the church of our Lord. I was reared in McNairy County, Tennessee and attended high school in Selmer. I am married to a church of Christ minister,who was educated at state universities and at Freed Hardeman University and who I might add was reared as an Episcopalian.

    I am intelligent, educated, an attorney, well versed in the Bible (which I might add I could discuss at length to counter certain erroneous statements made in this blog), not brainwashed (left the church of my own accord and returned to the truth), never oppressed by my father or husband or any other man in the church. I might add they have always been my grandest supporters.

    I know the mothers, daughters, and sisters of this community. Maybe you should ask the majority how we feel—not a hostile, judgmental, biased minority.

  152. carol Says:

    So if people disagree with you, they’re hostile, judgmental, biased and a minority. Interesting. . .

  153. Terri Says:

    Well, to cut a very long story short, I found the Mary Winkler story by complete accident when I was running a search for something else and I have just spent the last 3 hours following links, blogs and message boards about her… I`m from England and I live in Japan.

    I`ve been a Christian since I was 11 and I have never heard of this “Church of Christ”. It seems to be me that all blogs get people writing ill-informed rubbish and biased rants, that`s to be expected but I am pleased to see that most of the people posting on this topic seem to be articulate and respectful. That`s nice.

    I was brought up in the Church of England but I strongly believe that the denomination one chooses to attend should be irrelevant, it`s just a different type of hymn we choose to sing, right? Or so I thought until I started reading all this… Who ARE these Church of Christ people?! I always perceived the Catholic and Anglican churches to be quite misogynistic but they have nothing on these people…

    I guess I should really refrain from commenting because I am not well-informed enough but as usual, I can`t seem to help myself! You will have to forgive me… I sang the offertory music this morning in church with the help of my friends an alto and a pianist and all I have to say about that, is that I would never set foot in a church that didn`t allow me to sing from the front… and not just because a goodly portion of my congregation is tone deaf, either!

    It`s all very sad. The things that are being said here remind me a lot of the things that were said about Opus Dei after the illustrious Mr B. published his insidious, one-sided, ineloquent rant “The Da Vinci Code” (see the next issue of my church magazine for my thoughts on that one…!!) things always look different to people on the outside I suppose… but anyway, now people are saying that it isn`t to do with the Church of Christ but some money scam… There is a lot about this case that just doesn`t seem right to me… hasn`t anyone interviewed the children who are old enought to talk??

    Probably, I should have deleted this since I haven`t managed to adequately articulate my thoughts but it is almost 1.30am and I feel wrapped up in this, I had to have a bit of a rant or I don`t think I`d be able to sleep.. I`m very sorry.

  154. carol Says:

    Terri – you hit on my point exactly. Most people in the COC were raised there and don’t realize how bizarre their beliefs are to most people. And if they do, they have been indoctrinated to be GLAD that they’re bizarre to others because they feel it validates how “right” they are. Their interpretation of the Bible seems silly to me.

    However, our minister this morning talked of how Christians are FIRST members of Christ’s church universal – THEN members of specific churches or denominations. Again, I don’t agree with them, but I also don’t think they’re condemned (as they apparently think I am). We’re all Christians who sincerely interpret the Bible to the best of our ability.

  155. rita george Says:

    Your comments are very insightful and informative. Truly not catty. Wonder why some people are so defensive about truthful observations. Must be a COC Member.

  156. Graham Says:

    Hello to all…

    Here is my experience: My very best friend just got married. She was raised in the coc and immersed in its doctrine. Her pastor (during premarital counseling) declared to her that if her husband told her to kill another person and she complied, she would NOT be sinning. If her husband told her to kill another person and she did NOT do it, she WOULD be sinning.

    Not saying that Mary Winkler was told to kill…just giving my experience with the creepiness of this “church.

  157. carol Says:

    I have a hard time believing that. An average of about 50 people each day read this post as a result of a search about Mary Winkler. If you’re COC, please respond to Graham’s comment. I’d be interested in hearing others’ experiences. I just can’t imagine that the COC would condone such advice. That would make women not have any personal responsibility except to obey their husbands.

  158. Abby Says:

    I’m not sure what COC any of you attended, but I and most of my friends are COC. I have never heard it taught that COC are the only ones going to heaven, that it is ok to kill if your husband says so, or that women should be subservient. There are many different sects of all churches, so maybe you shouldn’t generalize your experience or what you’ve “heard” to all COCs. Many of these comments say things like “strictly follow the Bible”, etc. What is wrong with that? Aren’t all Christians trying to follow the Bible and what Christ says? The COC that I attend is a loving, encouraging, forgiving and energetic group of people. Frankly, I find most of these comments to be ridiculous but funny. Most of them show ignorance on the part of the author.

  159. carol Says:

    On the contrary, Abby, I think most of the comments show an interest in religion and in understanding Biblical teachings. It doesn’t seem fair to call people “ignorant” if they disagree with you or discuss something that isn’t part of your particular experience.

    As far as women being subservient. I guess that depends on your definition of subservient. I think the COC makes women subservient and relegates them to “second class” stature by denying them the opportunity to respond to God’s call through full participation in all aspects of His church.   Especially when doing so is the result of a very narrow and incorrect interpretation of one passage of scripture.
    That’s my opinion, and it is based on intensive scripture student and not on ignorance.

  160. Abby Says:

    Carol,
    The word ignorant means uninformed, not stupid, so my use of ignorant was correct. I am a COC woman and by no means am I second class. I participate as much or more than most of the men where I attend church whether I am standing at the front and being seen or not. I do not need attention to feel like I am participating. I have never been treated as a second class citizen by anyone at church and I am not speaking from an ignorant standpoint. I have a graduate degree, and I have attended several different denominations throughout my lifetime.
    Many people have different interpretations of scripture and that is fine with me…I will not call yours incorrect simply because it is not mine, although I too have done “intensive scripture” study.

  161. carol Says:

    Again, Abby, your use of the word “ignorant” is misused. Your experience isn’t the same as others, but that doesn’t make their experiences (or mine) with the COC not real or informed. I’m very glad that you don’t feel second class in your church. Many COC women have told me that they don’t feel second class. Many COC men have told me how much they respect the women in their lives. Obviously God has not called you to a church leadership position (other than teaching women and children or preparing meals or doing behind-the-scenes work). How about women who ARE called to preach or teach and are unable to follow that sacred calling because of your church’s rules about women not speaking in church or being in a position of leadership of COC men? The COC limits women’s ability to follow God’s call on their lives. And I, too, have a graduate degree, and have attended several denominations – including a Church of Christ.

  162. Abby Says:

    I’m very happy for you and hope that you will follow God’s calling for you, whatever that may be. God is the ultimate judge, thank goodness, so I don’t have to judge anyone on whether what they think is correct or incorrect. All I can do is what I think is best. I’m glad that you are doing what you think is best and I am happy to hear anyone that has passion for Christianity.

  163. On The Road to Freedom Says:

    As one who has lived with an emotionally abusive c of c husband, I can affirm that the men in the c of c only know how to abusively ignore people, both men and women. They move on with their programs and pursuance of people who have money just like any other church organization. They claim to have the truth, with very little practicing of it. Those with real deep problems are left alone to cope even with their abuses of people in the hopes they will leave and make them look less bad.
    There are problems that are not allowed to be spoken of publicly for fear of ex-communication or being put to more shame than one’s situation has them in.

    I can guarantee the c of c had much to do with Mary’s loss of control. Reaching out for help is suppressed from every direction. When one gets the nerve to reach out for help, it is limited to band-aids. If the band-aids do not cure the situation, you are left on your own.

    Being raised by a family of many generations in the c of c, where I place my trust in my teachers, my expectations for my church “family” far exceeded reality when push came to shove. Even when I asked for specific help when I decided to divorce my abusive husband, all that was done was to go to my husband and ask him if there was anything they could do that “would not make things worse?” My request was that they call him in to their elder’s meeting and pray with him often. Imagine that–prayers can make things worse.

    I fully believe all things happen for a reason to promote the plan of God. I believe the c of c is getting what it has delivered to other denominations for many, many years—judgment. May all churches be cleansed of this Phariseeism. I know having been through all that I have been through I have found out so many of the lies that are believed among the c of c members and spent many years seeking God to correct them.

    By the way, they claim to be autonomous, meaning self-ruled instead of ruled by a “central office”. Yet, they meet at the c of c colleges to discuss the issues and attempt to come to agreement. The c of c creed gets written, without being written as creed, at these “lectureships”. Independent thinking is rare, but becoming much more prevalent as people begin to realize the bondage they have been under is not God’s. So, at least today, there is exposure to the rigid, pharisaical beliefs of the past and the need to replace them with the Truth of Christ and His life.

    I have chosen to leave the c of c because no matter how recovered a church thinks they are, they are often governed more by complaints of pharisees among them. They are often older, and often have the most money. Concern for their offenses far outweighs truth.

  164. carol Says:

    It has been my belief ever since I experienced the COC for myself that although OF COURSE there are good and loving and Christ-like people in the COC, by its very nature it attracts and cultivates abusive people.

  165. Penelope Says:

    This is a very well thought out article and while no man should have to be killed, one has to wonder what went on behind closed doors. I can say this with some confidence. I was married to an abusive minister for twenty years and it took me a long time to work out the means and the strength to leave. While Mary Winkler most assuredly committed a crime, I believe there were extenuating circumstances that pushed her to the brink of an already weakened psyche resulting in her husband’s death. Whether they were from the church itself (very well could be, some parishioners are a tad off-kilter) or behavior on the part of her husband (there are definite signs of abuse there, people need to examine all of the facts available up to this point) the fact remains that a man was killed and it will be surprising if Mary is actually convicted of said crime.

  166. msm Says:

    There is a lot about this case that just doesn`t seem right to me hasn`t anyone interviewed the children who are old enought to talk??

  167. Vincent Eagan Says:

    You are wrong to blame the church for the sinful actions of this woman. I happen to know Mary and I knew her husband as well. I myself am also a minister of the church of Christ. Were your reasoning that this is why she killed her husband true, we would have a lot more examples of it, now wouldn’t we? Yet you can not even point to ONE other example, either of a preacher’s family or among the membership. Your pride has allowed evil specualtion to run rampant, and false teaching to creep in on your part. What you are telling people is just plain wrong, and that makes you a false prophet.

    Your report of your opinions about the church is filled with half-truths, and, dare I say it, hypocrisy. You like to point out what you feel is others hypocrisy, and fail to recognize your own. I am sure you realize already that the verse you used to try and prove mechanical instruments of music were used to worship God in biblical times was actually Old Testament and referred to TEMPLE WORSHIP. They also sacrificed animals there. We don’t do that today, do we? That is because the mode of Worship has CHANGED since Old Testament times, just like most everything has changed. We are allowed to eat pork and deer venison. We are allowed to wear more than one type of fabric at once. We do not have to follow all the hygiene rules they followed then – we are under a new Law.

    Today we live under Christianity. The worship is pattenered after Synagogue worship – NOT Temple worship. We pray, teach/preach, give of means, and sing – without instrumental music – just as they did then. See, you failed to mention that in the Synagogue they NEVER used instrumental music. You failed to mention that in the New Testament church, it was never used until the EIGHTH CENTURY – 800 years after the church was established.

    Your hypocrisy shows in that while you accussed the church of ignoring biblical passages, you did just that yourself. You even admit that there is a scripture which literally states that women should keep silent during the service. This is a command from God himself – if you want to argue about it, go argue with him, not me. There were women prophets, yes – such as Phillip’s 4 daughters – yet can you show me where it says they prophesied in the church? Can you show me that they prophesied to men and not just to women? I think you can not, and yet I can show you where the Bible says “I suffer not a woman to teach.” If the church says they follow the bible implicitely, then we MUST by all means follow what these scriptures teach.

    Your comments about “pot bellied ushers” was surely uncalled for, and had any of them published comments referring to some physical limitation of some women, you would be all over that, wouldn’t you?

    I, too, would like to believe there is some overwhelming, obvious reason why Mary did this – as I already said, I know the family. But until she is honest with herself, and tells us what that reason is, we do not know. Her attorneys certainly aren’t going to be honest about it. They have made little side comments here and there to the press to fuel every rumor they can think of, from your own musings to insinuating he was a peadophile, in hopes of putting doubt in EVERYONE’S mind so that by the time a jury is chosen, there’s no way they haven’t heard the rumors. I do not believe we will find truth in this trial. All Mary herself has suggested is financial struggles and her own gullibility to be victimized by rather well-known frauds.

  168. carol Says:

    Vincent, we are both Christians, and we are both interpreting the Bible as best we can.  However, there is something unusual about the COC – something that is characteristic of cults and other extremist beliefs – and that is that there are organized support groups – both online and off – for people who have left the COC.  The beliefs of the COC in regards to women in the church are so oppressive that they actually MAKE people sick.  Many people who grow up in the COC have come to accept and expect that attitude – and they, like you,  have their rote explanations for why that is the way it is supposed to be.   Sure, there are only rare instances in which a woman might kill her husband – as Mary Winkler did.  And we still don’t know if that even had anything to do with the murder.  However, there are many cases of women leaving their husbands and leaving the church and having to join support groups and get counseling to get over the damaging effects of living in such an atmosphere.

    Your beliefs are based on YOUR interpretation of the Bible.  The verses in the Bible about women being quiet in church and not teaching men were based on the customs and what was going on at the time.  Rather than choose to believe that those words were intended to apply for all women throughout the rest of time, I believe, instead, Jesus’ own words when he said to Mary Magdalene to GO and TELL the good news of his resurrection – and to tell it to his disciples who happened to be . . . (gasp!) MEN!  He told a woman to share the good news with men. 

    And until you can show me where in scripture it says that you should use microphones and projection screens and communion cups and hymnals and a baptismal font – then don’t tell me that the ONLY reason you don’t use instrumental music is because it is not mentioned in the New Testament.  As I said in previous comments – I don’t care whether or not you use instrumental music.  Just don’t try to act like it’s because it’s not mentioned in the New Testament.  That’s just ludicrous.  99% of the stuff used in church services nowadays was not mentioned in the New Testament.  Just as hymnals and microphones and projection screens are aids to worship (which is what the NT instructs us to do) – so is instrumental music.

    With the requisite qualification that OF COURSE there are good people in the COC, it is also a mecca for men who will grasp at the opportunity to use a misinterpreted Bible verse to validate their oppression and abuse of women.   Nowhere does JESUS tell us that women are second class citizens in the church.

  169. Vincent Eagan Says:

    Nor ARE women second class citizens, including in the New Testament Church of Christ. That some men might try to use a misinterpretation of scripture to cover up their sin of abuse is not something that is limited to the Church of Christ – we both know that many people in many denominations are guilty of the same thing. Misinterpretation of Scripture was even at one time used to rationalize slavery.

    I find your telling me what I believe to be offensive. “Don’t tell me that the ONLY reason you don’t use instrumental music is because it is not mentioned in the New Testament” is you telling me what I believe. I happen to be aware that this IS in fact the ONLY reason I do not use or support the use of instruments in worship – that is your perogative not to believe it yourself, but please do not attempt to tell me why I do or do not support something.

    The use of projection screens and song books do not change the element of singing. Addition of an instrument DOES change the element. All these other things you mention are merely aids and not additions. While you may think we are alone in our convictions concerning the use of the mechanical instrument, there are much more common names that you may have heard that also oppossed it – Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, John Calvin, and Martin Luther to name a few.

    True there are some who are pharisaical (tares among the wheat). These type of people are a cancer to the church everywhere, and once again this is not limited to the Chruch of Christ. You speak of the Church of Christ being the ONLY one to have spurred support groups – I am interested in knowing if you actually researched that before you said it? I researched it for five minutes before responding – that’s all – and I easily found support groups for the following: ex-Baptist, ex-Jehovah’s Witness, ex-Mormon, ex-Presbyterian, ex-Catholic, ex-Episcopalian, and ex-Lutheran. For the record, those are also the only ones I had time to look up. Given an hour, I could probably make a list that would bust your set post word-limit. -)

    I will also mention for others who have had bad experiences with the Church of Christ that there is a renegade group that you DO need to watch out for, that does cause a need for a support group and counseling, and this is those who are associated with the Boston Movement, more recently known as The International Church of Christ. This group is extremely legalistic, and you will know them by their structure. Look out for watch signs such as the use of “Prayer Partners” – a tiered power-structure of small groups who study together. Your “Prayer partner” will be a mentor type person who will eventually take over your life, telling you where you may live and work. They will badger you to confess to them all your sins for the past week, and if you don’t confess enough , they will accuse you of holding back until you confess more supposed sins that you have committed. These groups, we oppose to the very end.

    As for all these support groups for ex-Christians, well, the Church is a support group for ex-sinners, and I believe I’d much rather be a part of that group.

  170. carol Says:

    Well, Vincent, I wrote two long replies – deleted them both , and then wrote another reply – and when I tried to post it, it was lost. So perhaps it was not meant to be.

    Basically, I wrote that I have no desire to argue with you. My mother often says that Christians should stick together. There are enough forces in the world against Christianity. So we should stand up for each other.

    I expect someday to meet you in heaven where Jesus will let us know just how insignificant these little details are. The important thing is belief and acceptance of Christ as our savior and then living a Biblically-based life to the best of our abilities through Christ.

  171. Vincent Eagan Says:

    I have just one thing to ask then. If you in fact have no desire to argue, why do you make such sweeping generalizations and harsh judgements against the church in your article?

    As far as the details being insignificant, that all depends. I know that Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write what he did, and he said to stand fast in the faith, and to hold to the tradition which the apostles had taught. Thus, if it is in the Bible, I doubt it is an insignificant detail. If God took the time to have it written down and preserved for all time, it must be pretty important to him that I know that.

  172. carol Says:

    I didn’t make harsh judgments or sweeping generalizations. I expressed my thoughts and opinions based on my experience and understanding. You might take a look at your own role in making judgments. I wish you the best.

  173. Jess Says:

    Don’t all organized religions fall into the “pick and choose” category?

  174. art Says:

    I can testify as to the cultish tendencies in our case.
    Our family left, sent notarized letters of withdrawal, which were either torn up or thrown away and our children were pursued to come back, both thru other kids and adults.The membership was not told that we had left even after a year, so was sending cards and letters etc.

    There were practices done in that church that the most laid back of parents could not ignore. Neglect of the kids on trips, inappropriate interactions, manipulation, deceit, and outright lies plus deliberate infliction of emotional distress on the kids as a form of punishment for the family for leaving.

    Nice folks?

    Not really. Our sin? Disagreeing with the elders over something very important to our family.

    This was mainstream COC.

    I don’t worry about going to hell. I have already been there.

  175. ISTP Dad » Is Anyone Searching for Anything Other Than Why Mary Winkler Killed Her Husband? Says:

    […] That said, here’s another blog entry explaining how the Church of Christ denomination squashes women into rather tight virtual corsets. Remember that Andrea Yates and her husband went to one of those. Mary Winkler did too. […]

  176. Jim H. Says:

    I wanted to share my experience with the Church of Christ. My younger brother and I were brought up in “The Church” by our Grandmother.We attended the East Walker Church of Christ in Sumiton Alabama.We were ages of nine and ten at the time and since we had no Father we were prime targets for child molesters posing as preachers (and on the Church payroll). For some time my brother and I were too scared and confused to even to mention it to one another. One day we did share what happened with one another and were surprised to learn that both of us had been molested. Our uncle was a deacon in the church at that time and is now an Elder. We felt that we could go to him and that he would do something about what happened. Rather than jumping to our defense, He frightened us by telling us that it would create a big problem and we would have to go to court but if we really wanted to go through it he would do something about it. We then said no and he said “o.k” sounding quite relieved. Years later we realized that he was more interested in protecting the image of “The Church” than protecting his own nephews. As the years passed we learned that other boys were molested in the same church. As we have matured and realized the seriousness of this matter we have become even more angry at what was done to us. These criminals escaped justice by hiding and being protected by the church leadership. There are some good people in the Church of Christ but there are also some evil ones. Adding insult to injury, my Grandmother who loved the church with all of her heart was forced to sit in the audience and be led in singing for appoximately 30 years by the man who molested her grandchildren because the leadership refused to take action.

  177. unknown Says:

    I married a man who grew up with Matt and grew up in the same church as he did. We don’t go to church because he says if he goes it will be to a COC and only a COC. I see a lot of things in him that I never knew existed and one of them is “the woman is to clean, cook, and make sure the laundry is done acording to his mood at the time.” This collar is put this way, this collar is put that way, these pants are folded this way and these pants are folded that way, these socks go this way,( you get the picture!) Tomorrow it could change. If not…I have been beat up verbally, called stupid, had things thrown at me, told he will make sure my kids are taken from me, he’s jumped up and down clinching his fist screaming, “you’re suppose to be submissive!” and I’m not going to say the rest. Everything you say and do is not good enough. One day, you’re not making enough money and the next, you’re not home enough. He likes to pick and choose from the bible as if it were a weapon. (even old testiment) I could understand her view on life. She did it before he did.

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  180. carlton sells Says:

    I was born and raised in the Church of Christ. When I became 17 I began to study for myself and tried to find out if I was really doing what the Church of the NEW TESTAMENT was doing. I also began to look at other churches to see if they were following the examples set forth by the 1st century Christians and the church that is found in the New Testament. After 11 years of wandering around in the realm of religion I can proudly say that there is no religious body calling themselves a “Church” even close to trying to hold true to the principles and teachings of the NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH except the CHURCH OF CHRIST. There are so many that could be tackled, but for now I’ll just tackle one that is major: Instrumental music.

    True, the bible does state praise Him with harp and cymbals” type verses in the Old Testament. Psalms 33:1-3 is an example: “Let all the joys of the godly well up in praise to the Lord, for it is right to praise Him. Play joyous melodies of praise upon the lyre and on the harp. Compose new songs of praise to him, accompanied skillfully on the harp as you brought out, but what you fail to realize is that there was no church in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is a record of God’s grace, mercy, and love for his children. It is not irrelevant, however it is not the pattern for the NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH. The Old Testament and it’s laws were written for God’s chosen people of that dispensation, which were the children of Israel. This is why they worship patterns of the O.T. have no bearing on how we worship today as New Testament Christians. There is no biblical account of instrumental worship to God in the N.T. only accounts of SINGING. Therefore as members of the Church of Christ we lift our voice on song as the New Testament Christians of the 1st century did.

    TMS: I’m so glad you’re so proud of your knowledge – however prideful and pompous your statement may be.

    .(I can proudly say that there is no religious body calling themselves a “Church” even close to trying to hold true to the principles and teachings of the NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH except the CHURCH OF CHRIST)

    How do you justify using microphones, projectors, etc. in church then? There is certainly no mention of them in the New Testament. There is no way to get around the fact that your church picks and chooses what you will follow. Microphones and projectors are no more “aids to worship” than instrumental music is. And how do you know that the early Christians didn’t use instrumental music to accompany their singing? The “no instrumental music” thing is just so absurd, I find it difficult to understand why so many people stick with that reasoning. If you step away from the indoctrination and parroting of what you’ve been told all your life, it makes no sense at all. The New Testament doesn’t mention many things that the COC does today.

    I have attended many different churches, too, and I daresay I’m probably much older than you and have attended and studied religion, the New Testament and Christ’s teaching more than you. And I see that MOST Christian churches are very much patterning themselves after the teachings of Christ. From your statement, it is obvious that your “research” was certainly not unbiased.

    I would suggest that the judging attitude you exhibit in your comment – and the judgmental attitude exhibited by many of the COC commenters here – are the exact opposite of what Jesus wanted for his followers.

  181. carlton sells Says:

    Your age has nothing to do with your knowledge and understanding of the scriptures. Though you may be older than me, to say your knowledge of the scriptures is superior to mine is “PRIDEFUL and POMPOUS”. If that is the way you took my statement, I apologize for coming across in that manner. The fact still remains, the Church of Christ is the most biblically sound church in the world today.
    That being said not all who carry the name Church of Christ are doing things in the ways set out by the Bible. Which leads me back into instrumental music. You will never read in the bible about microphones and projectors, but what it seems like is that you are trying to justify your point by using irrelevant information. The issue is not with projectors or microphones, it is with instrument of music, and the fact of the matter is that in the NEW TESTAMENT we are told to SING not PLAY. Men introduced instrumental music into New Testament worship, this was not the pattern set forth by the New Testament church. In the Apostle Paul’s letters to the churches in Corinth(1 Cor 14:15), Ephesus(Eph 5:19), and Colosse(Col 3:16) the bible only mentions SINGING. There is no mention what so ever of PLAYING INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC in worship to GOD in the NEW TESTAMENT. If you could provide scripture to validate your point about instruments being “aids of worship” in the NEW TESTAMENT that would bring a lot of understanding to my young mind.

    TMS: So you agree that using microphones and video screens is not following the New Testament since it isn’t mentioned in the NT?

    And I didn’t say my knowledge was superior to yours. And the following quote is an opinion – not a fact.

    The fact still remains, the Church of Christ is the most biblically sound church in the world today.

  182. follower5 Says:

    I run into people saying that the churches of Christ are legalistic all the time…but people tend to forget that Jesus himself gave commandments to be followed…look at the sermon on the mount in it’s entirety. Before he died he gave us “rules” to live by, things that would show his love through our behavior.

    Certainly no church is completely right, no matter the denomination. Most of your observations have been made on churches traditionally based…ask many of the college age kids who are members of the church, and you see a new face starting to emerge. One of getting back to the sermon on the mount, and living lives as his disciples.

    I have been raised in the coC, and still willingly make a choice to go there while I am in a public university. A great deal of the most influential people in my life have been women, you might think that is ironic. These were some of the most Godly women I’ve ever met and had no issue with not leading in services, and honestly if you asked a large majority of the women I’ve ever known, they wouldn’t want too…

    The musical instrument thing to me, as a “progressive” isn’t that big of a deal. However I do find it odd that even the likes of Luther, Calvin, and many other astute theologians didn’t want musical instruments in services, but yet the coC always get bashed. Also no one can explain why many of the early christians, since they were jewish, didn’t use instruments when they were readily available to them. Or the fact that in church history the first person to introduce instruments into worship was a Pope hundreds of years after the apostles had been dead. A commentator on the history of the early church, not sure of his name readily said “the early christians were of such spiritual fiber, they would not have used instruments.” Ultimately, to each his own in this realm.

    The comment about the system of beliefs I have being a cult, is hurtful, especially for any Christian to say that. I have been involved in many different “denominational” ideas having friends I would go to church with, and really mine never seemed much different.
    I’m from the south, and by stapling such a harsh label on a great group of people who are loving and caring in any capacity is not showing the love Christ came to bring.

    That is the problem though today with Christianity, we have become this religion instead of the Way. A group of people who are far more concerned with arguing about differences than talking and celebrating about our similarities.

    so ultimately, as Lee Camp so eloquently put it…what are we AMERICAN Christians or are we american CHRISTIANS? Do you follow this religion as an a American or are you a disciple that just happens to live in America?

    It has also come out, with the winkler trial that she was involved with a pyramid scheme and was emptying funds to cover her trail. Her husband found out. That may have had something to do with this mess.

    I don’t like responding to blogs, but I felt that after reading this it had to be said..the words we say need to be carefully chosen as not to tear anyone down(James 3:1-12). As Christians we should stick together, we follow the same Triune God, from whom all blessings flow. I cannot condone some of the beliefs that were wrong when they first arose amongst some of the early restoration leaders, but I do think some of their intentions were good. I can however tell you that those huge misconceptions don’t exist in all coC’s and to be that stereotypical is harsh and rather hurtful. But I guess with autonomy that is bound to happen. Let’s try uplifting rather than tearing down.

    TMS: I agree that, as Christians, we should uplight rather than tear down. I certainly don’t see what I have written as “tearing down.” It is an expression of my disagreement with the COC interpretation of the Bible. I choose to go by what Jesus said about women – rather than what Paul wrote to a specific church about a specific issue. And if you want to worship without instrumental music – go knock yourselves out. Just don’t say it’s because instrumental music isn’t mentioned in the NT. No one has YET to explain why other things that are not mentioned in the NT are used in a COC service – but not instrumental music. You are welcome to worship as you see fit. I just get tired of the same arguments and explanations that don’t make sense except to perhaps someone who has heard them so much that they don’t question them or look at them objectively.

    Hope responding to a blog wasn’t too distasteful to you.

  183. Bob Says:

    Evidently you went to the COC for something other than to learn the Bible because you did not learn much. If you had learned to rightly divide the word of God you would not be making some of your statements. And as far as one can tell you went there because of some ladies that you liked. You would have learned that the limits set upon women were by the apostles of Christ who were inspired by God. (read I Timothy 2) It is very interesting to see someone criticize something that they are ignorant in their learning of a subject and only think that what they think is right because they have determined what is right in their own mind. You would do well to read and understand the word of God before you try to expound upon it. It is easy to criticize something that one does not know anything about. Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers,and Columbus were criticized and made fun of. We have a lot of people making fun of Christians and God but when they wake up in hell it will not be funny to anyone including me. Please spend your time more wisely and learn the Bible and the truth. Most of our lives are filled with enough hatred and untruths. Get beyond the smoke screen and address the real issues. I wish you well!

    TMS: If you only knew the extent of YOUR assumptions in what you wrote. It was enjoyable to read, though, because of all the indignant posturing. I won’t take the time to argue with you. You obviously didn’t take the time to read my posts on the subject very carefully.

  184. oh my word that woman is her mother... « Sha-pow! Says:

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  185. Martin Says:

    Carol, what an interesting read, just wanted to add my thoughts.

    I am a CofC member, along with my wife. I have been a member since college, although technically I was raised in the church, I only count my “conversion” as coming in my early 20’s. My experience is very different from many here. My parents were members of the CofC, but encouraged me to study for myself and be critical of any denomination including CofC (yes I know, undemonination or whatever). My parents said they always hoped I was a “Christian” in the broadest meaning of the word and I attended UMC, Lutheran, Baptist and non-denominational churches in my life. I am a social liberal, democrat-voting lefty and an active and open member of the CofC. Why? Because in my experience, God wanted his Church to be simple and easy, and while many of my brothers may quarrel over legalistic matters or the form of worship, most are simply people who love God and want to serve God to the best of their abilities. No creeds, no centralized dogma, no membership requirements or oaths of allegiance. Just a group of Christians joining together and trying to understand God and His will for us.
    My wife is a CofC member who was raised in an “oppressive” dogmatic family and church. She has kept many of her more conservative beliefs, although “submissive” would never, ever describe our relationship (she made sure our vows included “love” not “submit” or “obey”). I support her need for more conservative views, because a sin of conscience is a sin (see Romans), and I don’t see conservative views as a fundamental flaw when self-imposed. My wife is a very talented person who has been fulfilled serving God outside of the worship service as have I. You will not find either of us accepting an eldership or song leading or leading a prayer in worship. Most of our Christian lives are outside of worship where women and men are equally valued and needed. My conservative wife has taught the bible outside of worship, to men, and has been encouraged by even the most conservative elders I know.
    I do not think all CofC members are good or bad, all churches are a collection of admitted failures and sinners. Some still have many obstacles to overcome, no church has a monopoly on God and no church is free from scandal and trouble. Read the NT and even churches full of apostles had fraudulent and bad members. I think the mark of the group at Selmer was its eagerness to forgive the wife for what she had done without knowing the whole story. That shows me that the church members there understand God’s message.

    By the way, the scripture on women’s roles in the Church are generally attached to exhortations of humility, gentleness and modesty from all Christians. Men as well as women should keep those lessons in mind. As I said before, I appreciate your views, your openess and eagerness to discuss and share differing viewpoints. If it’s safe to say so, I hope you’d call me a brother in Christ despite my current affiliation. Take care.

    TMS: My mother (the 84-year old ordained minister) tells me often that Christians need to stick together. There are enough forces in the world against all Christians. I would be totally against a woman (or anyone) leading a church service in order to prove a point.

  186. Megan Says:

    I don’t usually leave posts because I feel like most of the time there really is no true discussion occurring. However, this time I feel the need to comment.
    I understand that some people have bad experiences with any group or church that they are associated with or have been associated with. Is it logical to base one’s opinion on one incident? For example, suppose I had a bad experience at one restaurant that happened to be a chain. Would it be logical for me to assume that because of that one bad experience, all the other restaurants of this chain must be terrible also? No, logically this does not make sense because there are many factors involved. It may be human nature to jump to the conclusion that all of those particular kinds of restaurants must be terrible, based on my experience with one, but it would not be logical or reasonable. Well, in the same way, it is illogical and unjustified for one person to label a certain group in a way based on one experience.
    I will speak honestly here, no matter how much people may vilify me: I am saddened that individuals have had bad experiences with the church of Christ. All people sin and make mistakes; those in the church of Christ are no different.
    The church of Christ strives to be guided by the bible, the holy, inspired word of God. The church that I am a part of recognizes that God is the standard; his word is the standard. We must fit our lives to his standard, not the other way around. If this makes me sound like a militant, legalistic person, so be it – I cannot help what other people decide to think about me. The truth is in the bible, and those truly seeking it will find it.

    What I see going on here is the humanistic worldview infiltrating our society. It directly opposes the bible and the Christian worldview. If you would like more information about these two worldviews in conflict please go to the website: http://www.biblicaltheism.com.

    There is much else to say, but not enough time. I don’t know if this will help anyone, but I have tried my best.

    Thanks.

    TMS: Thanks for taking the time to write, Megan. My comments were based not only on my experiences at three different churches of Christ, but also in discussion with many COC folks – and seeing for myself the way that God can work through women in the ministry. It is my belief – based on scripture – that the COC deliberately misinterprets the scripture and because of that they limit what God can do through people. It is a pick-and-choose church. The people who have commented here have, for the most part, regurgitated the standard party line of the COC – from years of indoctrination. You are free to believe as you wish. I am free to disagree with it and find it foolhardy. Jesus came to do away with the old law of submissive women. He made women equal in God’s eyes. And equal in God’s eyes means equal in worshipping God. The whole thing about women being silent in church was addressed to one specific church about a specific problem at that time. It wasn’t guidance for every church from that time on. And the issue of no instrumental music is just silly – and very dreary. I have yet to hear or read of any argument that addresses it adequately. I keep getting the same arguments that, if one honestly thinks about them, don’t make sense in light of the other things that most COC use during church services. If you don’t want instrumental music, that’s fine. Just don’t say it’s scriptural – because it isn’t.

  187. Gilgamesh Soul Says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog. You observations about the CoC are correct. Their legalistic method of interpreting the bible will drive anyone that wasn’t brought up in the church batty. I grew up in the CoC, but I somehow shook off the brainwashing. Some say I threw the baby out with the bathwater because I’m an skeptic now, but people can think what they want.

    Your instrumental music argument is a good one. Not only does Psalms in the OT talk about using instruments, the NEW TESTAMENT COMMANDS CHRISTIANS TO SING PSALMS!!! (Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16)

    CoCers have their tired, worn-out response to this argument, though: Psalms says to perform animal sacrifices, too, so should we follow those verses too??? Of course, with the same breath, they will use OT verses to back up their claim that when God says “sing” it only means “sing”. Nahab and Abihu, for example, gave “strange fire” as a sacrifice to God, they say, and see what happened to them???? God said to use ONE fire, and that excluded everything else. Likewise, they argue, when he said SING he meant SING and nothing else!! Total double standard. ANYTIME you use the OT to back up your argument you can say “well, that’s the old law, should we go back to animal sacrifices????”. If a CoCer is using that argument, his back is up against a wall.

    The conservative CoCs are a dying breed because younger people I think see through this shallow argument and understand the double standard. The more “liberal” or “progressive” CoCs still have non-instrumental music, but they understand that it isn’t a “salvation” issue and that it is purely tradition.

    Your observations about the divorce issue are correct, too, but no one really talks about it that much. If all the things Mary claimed were true happened, then SHE HAD NO WAY TO GET OUT OF THE MARRIAGE. She can “separate” but she can’t remarry!!! Wife beating is not a scriptural reason for a divorce!! What a joke!! Making her dress up in risque outfits is not grounds for a “SCRIPTURAL” DIVORCE!!! The only way for her to remarry or to get out of the marriage is for the husband to die. She can ask forgiveness for that, but SHE CAN’T ASK FOR FORGIVENESS FOR THE DIVORCE BECAUSE IT IS A CONTINUING SIN. If she divorced, asked for forgiveness and then got remarried, the CoC position is that SHE’S STILL SINNING. But if she kills the husband and “truly” repents, then it is PERFECTLY SCRIPTURAL TO MARRY AGAIN. Embarassing for anyone to defend, but this is CoC doctrine to a T.

  188. jan a. Says:

    Has anyone considered that religion could be totally left out of this? Many people of all religions and no religions murder their husbands. I am a member of the Church of Christ, and as a woman am not beaten down or abused in any way. We let the men lead the service and wait on or serve at the communion tables. There is scriptural basis for that. I don’t think the church of christ is a cult. They do vary in their beliefs. Saying all the churches of christs are a cult is like saying the Catholic church is a cult. Thousands of priests have been abusers, have molested so many. Why single out the church of Christ? I would like to know what evidence was presented in the trial that showed that Mary was abused? Maybe she was, but didn’t hear anything about it? People are speculating all kinds of things, but none of us know what really happened. What facts have come out. If she did spend a lot of their money on a Nigerian money laundering or cheating scheme, I’m sure he was angry. Maybe she is bi-polar or borderline personality….obviously something was wrong, but just because they were church leaders, don’t blame it on the church.

    TMS: In the trials, very convincing evidence and testimony was given that Matthew Winkler abused both his wife and his daughters. He’d put his hands over the baby’s mouth and pinch her nose to keep her from crying. He both physically and sexually abused Mary.

    I personally don’t understand how anyone can, in good conscience, be a member of the Church of Christ. I realize others think differently. It’s a repressive, divisive and limiting interpretation of scripture.

  189. chris Says:

    I apologize that you have had a bad experience with the coc. However, you have to realize no matter where you go satan will be there. I for one love the singing with no music, one song leader not many. My wife obeys God and submits herself to God and myself as I submit myself to God and her, read eph 5 slowly. If the husband is obedient and loves the lord, he will treat his wife as a treasure and not a slave, the emphasis is placed on the husband loving his wife, therefore the wife will willingly follow his lead, because he listens, is tender anc caring. I know the old testament talked of harps but it also talked about sacrifices, and hebrews 9 and 10 talks about Christ being the better sacrifice doing away with the old, but leaving it there to be an example and a historical text. The only real disagreement i have, is the women being silent, that text definition deals more with a leadership role, an order set by God, it goes God then Christ then man then woman. God is specific, ask moses, he couldn’t go to the promised land because he hit the rock when God said speak to it. That’s not what I want to happen to me or any other person. Hopefully you will visit more churches of christ, but may God continue to bless you.

    agape

    chris

    TMS: Chris, you have the COC teachings down pat. I don’t intend to ever visit another Church of Christ. Their beliefs go against what Jesus himself taught. I belong to a small, Bible-based congregation where ALL believers are welcomed and treated equally – as God intended. The music is rich with meaning and enthusiasm and has instrumental accompaniment. May God bless you, too.

  190. Robin Says:

    Just found this post on google. I won’t say much because I don’t think it will matter.
    The church of Christ does its best to follow the example of the new testement church. There is no mention of instruments, so they are not used. I understand that there is no mention of “projectors or screens or even songbooks” in the bible, yet they use them. Some of them are hard-nosed conservative people. But let’s face it, they know their bible. Sometimes, many times, they do put so much focus on doing things the way the new testement depicts that they forget about the people. But, as has been mentioned, this is not everyone.
    You don’t like the fact that women are not given leadership roles, then you talk that over with God. Elders, deacons were to have one wife…Had to be male!
    There is no authoritative motives.
    That being said, it doesn’t matter that this man was a church of Christ minister. It doesn’t matter that she was a wife of one. SHE MADE THE CHOICE TO KILL HIM!! Judas was a member of Jesus’ 12, yet he made the choice to betray Jesus. Should we look at Christ and think, “Well, he was just so dog-gone rebellious, I see why Judas betrayed him.” NO, of course not. Judas made that choice.
    The church of Christ is no more responsible for this death than I was for Abraham Lincoln’s. She made the choice. And did she grow up in the cofC? Probably so…so I don’t think that had anything to do with it. Her husband was obviously an abusive man. That doesn’t mean every church of Christ minister is abusive. Let’s not pass judgement on the whole litter because of the one runt.
    To the person who judges a people who follow God to the best of their ability I say this: Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand for the Lord is able to make him stand. Romans 14:4

    TMS: Ah, I just love people who comment and don’t bother to read all I’ve written on the topic. Just get off your high horse. I never blamed the COC for Matthew Winkler’s murder. I gave my opinion as to the POSSIBLE ill effects of such a narrow-minded and legalistic interpretation of the New Testament. Of course Mary Winkler made the choice to murder her husband. Next time take the time to really read what I write instead of going off on illogical tangents. I do disagree with your statement that COC folks know their Bible. They know a legalistic interpretation of it – but without consideration for context and intent. Anybody can memorize and parrot something they’ve been indoctrinated with. Jesus came to do away with the old “Law” and he himself made no distinction between men and women in their service to God. It was Paul – writing about a specific situation that did that. I’ll take Jesus’ words of inclusion and love anyday over Paul’s of exclusion.

  191. Lance Says:

    My initial reaction in reading your post and the subsequent responses was one of total embarrasment. I feel so terrible that your experiences with the Churches Of Christ have driven you to the point where “You don’t intend to ever visit another Church of Christ”. I am so sorry that you have had this type of experience.

    Even if it has absolutely no impact on your feelings, I would like to explain, as best I can, my beliefs on some of the issues that have caused you to feel this way.

    Let me preface by saying that my father has been a Church of Christ minister for over 40 years. He is a very loving husband and father who cherishes his wife and children and has impacted many lives for good in his years of service to the Lord. But, I have never relied on him to tell me what I should believe. “Belief” should always be established by the individual’s study of the Word and search for the wisdom that God wants to give them. The teachings of other people should be the beginning of our search for the truth, not the end.

    Concerning instrumental music: I love instruments and play the guitar at home alomst every day (gospel and other genres). However, I believe that acapela music is the best way to praise God in a worship assembly. I do not believe that the Bible teaches that it is wrong to worship God with instruments and I don’t have a problem with anyone who disagrees with me on this point because it certainly is not an issue central to salvaltion. However, I do feel that having instrumental accompaniment in the worship assembly can change the focus of the service from worship to entertainment. My belief is that acapela is the form of praise in song that is the most likely to involve everyone in attendance in the song service and keep everyone focused on God rather than the music. I agree that the use of instruments for praise is prominent in the Old Testament, but the church did not exist yet in the Old Testament, so these passages deal with settings other than the assembly of the church that was established by Christ.

    Concerning the wife’s submission to the husband: The problem with this issue in the Church is that many men overlook the “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” part of the passage in Ephesians 5. How could a woman have any response other than submission to a man who places her needs so far above his own that he would willingly suffer a humiliating and excrutiating death in order to save her? If a woman feels confident that every decision her husband makes is based on his consideration of her needs before his own, submission is the natural response. This passage is as much an instruction to husbands as it is to wives, if not more. I agree with you that some men in some Churches of Christ don’t see it that way. But I want to assure you that many men in the Church of Christ, including this one, do see it that way.

    Concerning women’s role in the church: Women are a vital part of a heathly church family in many ways that don’t involve children or food. The scriptures do clearly teach that men are to fill the roles of elders and deacons (1 Timothy and Titus)and there is no mention of women having a role the worship service that I know of. But that does not mean that women’s only involvement in the church is in children’s classrooms or the kitchen. Almost every ministry that exists at the church I attend involves women and many of them are lead by women. The church is a body made up of many parts and each part does its work to build up the body and glorify God.

    I don’t know if anything I have said will cause you to reconsider any of your feelings toward the Church of Christ, but I do ask that you remember that the “Church” is the members, not the sign out front. In any church affilation you will find members (and entire congregations) that get off track in their thinking and practices. Many of us that are members of the Church of Christ will love you and treat you in a manner that reflects Christ.

    God Bless You.

  192. Wendy W.L. Says:

    <p>The C of Christ believes in the role of women as the Bible dictates it to us. Husbands love their wives as Christ loved the Church. We are commanded to stay silent in churches but that doesn’t mean we have no voice–there is just a different way going about being heard. Any woman in the C of Christ more than a couple of years can clearly understand this. We do not use instruments in services because there is no mention of it in the New Testament. The Old Testament law was wiped clean with the New Testament. As a woman, I have never felt, “less” than any man standing on the pulpit leading song or prayer. Each gender have their role and we would all be better off if we quit trying to redesign what God has already set in place. Our job is not to question. We will understand when the time comes.</p>

    <strong><em>TMS: Glad you’ve got it figured out, Wendy. It’s your choice to follow what Paul wrote to one specific church about one specific situation rather than what Jesus himself said. And the fact that instruments aren’t mentioned in the New Testament is the lamest thing I’ve ever heard – especially considering all the things that COC folks use in their services that aren’t mentioned in the NT. Only someone who is so thoroughly doctrinated as to write “Our job is not to question” wouldn’t see the silliness of such a practice. It’s fine to not use instruments in worship – just don’t say it’s based on the Bible/NT. God gave us minds so we could use them. He WANTS us to question. That’s the only way our faith will be authentic.</em></strong>

  193. Bob Says:

    It was not until 200 years ago that instruments of music became popular in the worship service. For centuries after the church started in Acts 2, Christians understood instruments were not approved by the Lord, it is God who has the right to say, because He is the one being worshipped. Why does the Vatican not use instruments? Why do millions of Greek Orthodox members not use instruments? Even a few Baptist churches do not use instruments. The churches of Christ are not the only ones to sing acapella. Proof of vocal only singing in worship is easily found even outside of the Bible. A quick study of music history reveals church music was vocal. Recognized church reformers stood against instrumental music in church such as Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Wesley, yet their “followers” today utilize it. Please fully study subjects before drawing a conclusion.

    TMS: You’ve got it worked out in your mind’ Enjoy. Oh, the Lord didn’t mention the use of microphones or of indoor baptismal fonts – so obviously you wouldn’t use those either.

  194. Bob Says:

    It’s your turn: tell us why you do use instruments in worship.

    TMS: because they help us make a joyful noise unto the Lord. They help us express our love and worship of Christ.

  195. Bob Says:

    <p>Where is the verse that says New Testament Christians need an instrument to make a joyful noise? How does the trumpet player follow the command to sing with a trumpet pressed on his lips? A true Christian does not need external stimulus to be joyful. His joy is expressed from his heart. His faith is strong enough he does not need a sideshow to stimilate his spirit. God created us. Man created instruments. How do you know God even likes the sound of an instrument, especially when used to replace or cover up the sound of His creation, His children? Does he like the sound of our Harley Davidson motorcycles as well as some of us in this world do? Instruments were used in pagan worship of their fake gods, but the early Christians did not use them, not because they were not available, but because of the scripture. How does a church justify spending thousands of dollars on organs and instruments instead of using those dollars to save the lost, purchase Bibles, feed the needy? Evidently you have not heard the beautiful singing of many congregations that instruments would only distract from. Besides, this is worship to God, not ourselves. It should be different than a nightclub show. In God’s family everyone is a star, not just the solist or the instrumental musician. Worship is directed to God, not ourselves, so we need to minimize worldly distractions and focus on the Lord Almighty. God is to be glorified, not the guitar player. Why don’t you try to be a better singer for the Lord? Try to do your best at what God did tell us to do, not on what He didn’t tell us to do. Microphones are not used in any congregations here, but even if they were, they only amplify the human voice, they don’t replace it or cover it up. From high school you should know there are two different kinds of music: vocal and instrumental. Only one was specified by the Lord. A microphone isn’t music. But God did not specify indoor or outdoor water for baptism. Of course water is a liquid, just like singing is music. Using your reasoning, if instruments are acceptable because they are music like singing, then motor oil can be used for baptism because it is a liquid like water. And Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Cherry Coke can be used for bread and fruit of the vine of the communion service. That should help us be more joyful! Using this type of justification for what YOU want to do rather than what God specified has no end. And it pushes God’s word out of the picture. Perhaps you need an instrument to be spiritual, but I am so thankful for our Savior Jesus Christ that no human made instrument is capable of increasing my expression of love to God. </p>
    <p>Go to your library and get a good music history encyclopedia. It will inform you that Christians used vocal music. These books were not written by someone from the church of Christ. It is simply a fact. What was the original meaning of the word “acapella”? It did not mean “vocal music” as we use it today. It originally meant “as done in the chapel.” Even the source of the word tells you that vocal music was the music in the church of the Lord.</p>
    <p>So if you are stranded on a deserted island, are you going to be unable to joyfully praise God because you do not have an instrument? Base your joy on Jesus, not on an instrument. </p>
    <p>God does not judge a church based on having the best band in town. Change your focus to the Lord.</p>

    TMS: You have your justification down pat. Your arguments seem as silly to me as mine apparently seem to you. Jesus didn’t forbid instruments, and to not use something because it isn’t mentioned in the NT seems ridiculous to me. Instruments don’t replace our voices. They simply accompany them. They change our voices no more than a microphone does. However, I grew up with wonderful instrumental music in church. Then I attended a COC for a year and saw the difference. Worship is in the heart of the believer – not in the presence or absence of an instrument. People are behind each instrument – instruments are just an accompaniment to and extension of a person’s worship. I love acapella singing, but it isn’t the ONLY way to worship God.

    The difference between us, it seems to me, is that you are eager to judge people who don’t believe the same as you believe. And judge quite severely and pompously. I, on the other hand, say it’s fine to worship without instrumental music…just don’t say it’s because Jesus didn’t specifically mention them. Jesus didn’t specifically mention many things. Using that argument is inconsistent at best. However, Jesus DID command us to worship God – and that is what we’re both doing as best we can and in the way we feel God commands us.

  196. Bob Says:

    Many times in services with instrumental music I have heard entire songs played with only the instruments and no voices. Often I have seen instrumental music services where the band or organ was so loud you could not hear the voices. In these situations the instrument is replacing the voice. Scripture tells us to teach and exhort one another by singing and no instrument can teach and exhort. If Paul would have been playing the guitar when in jail, he never would have taught salvation to the jailor. But by singing words Paul was able to bring others closer to the Lord. Noah did all the Lord commanded him to do: he built the ark from gopher wood. By God specifying gopher wood He told Noah what He wanted. There was no reason to tell Noah, “don’t use oak, don’t use pine, don’t use maple, don’t use ash”, etc. If the Lord had to say “do not” to everything man can devise, the Bible would weigh 200 pounds and no one would be able to use it. And how long can you stand to read long lists of “don’t’s”? He does specify what He does want, and by respecting what He asks for there is no need for Him to say “do not” to everything else. The reason is not only that God did not mention instruments, but what He did mention: singing. We should do our best with things He asked for. God told us to assemble together but He did not mention where. So Christians are free to make decisions about whether to have a building, meet in a house, gather under a tent, etc. But God did say the type of music He wanted. Out of respect for God and what He decided to reveal to us in His word, I will do exactly as He specified. God is the ultimate judge of all, so I will strive to please Him. My efforts are only to plant His seed in others. Matthew 7 tells us of many people who thought they were doing God’s will but were refused entry into heavenly fellowship with God. I hope to prevent some souls from being in that line. I pray that you will not be in that line.

    TMS: I’ve never seen/heard instruments replacing voices. Instruments are played in the background at times – during the offertory or other quiet times. I find them very helpful in focusing on prayer. During Holy Communion, they especially seem to help me focus on prayer and worship. They are an aid to worship – certainly not a hindrance. Perhaps in some churches the emphasis may be on the instrumental music and not on the worship it’s accompanying. Perhaps in some COC churches, the lack of instrumental music magnifies other distractions. That was my experience – at times. God calls us not to judge one another. Our interpretation of scripture varies – not in major ways, but in minor ways. We worship the same Lord – Jesus Christ. God knows our hearts, and I know my heart is sincerely trying to understand and follow His will for me.

    No one is going to change beliefs as a result of this discussion. You COC folks are doing your best to live the way you believe God instructs you. I’m doing the same. My best wishes to you. As my mother often says, there’s enough conflict in the world between Christians and non-Christians. We Christians need to stick together.

    I have disabled comments to this post – something I should have done a year ago. Folks keep making the same points, and I keep coming back with my same points. I think everything that needs to be said about the topic has been said.

    My prayers and thoughts are with Mary Winkler. No matter how you view the case, there are no “winners” here. God bless those three little girls whose worlds have been turned upside down.

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