So these things God has been showing me. I thought I was handing them over and dealing with them when I asked to be expelled. Apparently not. Though I am freed from many of the legalistic tendencies I struggled with inside the church, I still have some residual mindsets to overcome. I also thought I was over idolizing the church, the people, and the lifestyle, but I soon found out I am not.
After I received these replies I realized something I should have done a long time ago. Something God has continued to ask of me, but something I was not willing to do, prior to this month. That something is to sever all ties with this beloved church of mine. As long as I continue in its midst I will continue to struggle with legalism and idolizing it. God brought to my heart that I needed to apologize to the girl that was expelled at the same time as I because I was wrong in my treatment of her. She severed all ties with the church (as much as she was able, anyhow) immediately. She would not go to the council meetings or defend herself with anything other than a letter. At the time I did not understand her actions and motives and I thought she was wrong for acting so.
As I studied these doctrines in the “Bible Doctrine and Practice” Book, the light has been shed on many questions I have asked about, but never received real answers to. Always, ALWAYS before when I asked questions that pointed out some flaw or friction within the “doctrine book” I received answer full of circular reasoning. Just as in the letter I shared in part 1. There was no real answer to my questions, merely answers that brought more questions, or return the direction of the finger to me. I know now that this is because questioning the doctrines is questioning the church which is questioning God’s commands, in their eyes.
But. The doctrine book is full of men’s surmising. :
“Menno Simmons writes that when “transgressors and willing despisers…are known and then not excluded after proper admonition, but [are] allowed to remain in the fellowship of their religion, then ,in my opinion, she ceases to be the church of Christ” (The Complete Writings of Menno Simons, p.746).” (Bible Doctrine and Practice, p.181)
“(6). The sixth sign is the pressing cross of Christ, which is borne for the sake of His testimony and Word… This very cross is a sure indicator of the church of Christ, and has been testified not only in olden time by the Scriptures, but also by the example of Jesus Christ, of the holy apostles and prophets, the first and unfalsified church, and also by the present pious, faithful children…The Complete Writings of Menno Simons, pp. 739-742.” (Bible Doctrine and Practice, p. 180)
The entire book is full of the wisdom of men, the faith’s founders Menno Simons and John Holdeman, who, having received word from God that he alone should reestablish the True Church in 1858. Intermingled with bits and pieces of scriptures that may or may not be taken out of context.
For example, under the chapter about the doctrine, “The Church of God” it says,
“All the spiritual graces discussed throughout the kingdom are gathered together in a visible and bodily manifestation in the church (Col. 2:9).” (Bible Doctrine and Practice, p.169).
Let us examine Colossians 2:9 in context:
“8. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. 9. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10. and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11. In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the fresh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ,” (NIV)
It says nothing about the church, but speaks of spiritual fullness in Christ… Unless I am mistaken. In which case, please correct me.
The book also says that “We may say that she is the visible and organized manifestation of the kingdom of God. She is the pinnacle (the highest point) of God’s kingdom of grace on earth.” (Bible Doctrine and Practice, p.169). It also says that words of Isaiah agree with this thought, quoting Isaiah 2:2,
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” (KJV)
Now this may just be my opinion, but that sounds a little prideful. Especially given the FACT that they believe they are the one (and only) true church of God on earth… Again, just my opinion though.
Continuing down the page,
“Who is in the kingdom, and who is in the church?
All who are saved are in the kingdom, but not everyone in the kingdom is in the church. Picture the kingdom as a large circle, with the church as a smaller circle in the center of the kingdom. One enters the kingdom by inheritance upon becoming a child of God through spiritual birth (John 3:3-5). “Inherit the kingdom” is the term usually used in the New Testament to describe how one enters the kingdom. Only those already in the kingdom may enter the church. The entrance into the church is by baptism. Baptism is the only means of entrance into the church mentioned in the Bible. On Pentecost alone three thousand souls were baptized, “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:41-47).” (Bible Doctrine and Practice, p.169).
Really?? Two kinds of Christians?? Kingdom Christians and True Christians?? Anyway…
“All the spiritual graces of the kingdom are in the church. But in the church they find full expression and are organized and more visible. On the other hand, not all that is in the church applies in the broader realm of the kingdom. For example, the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper necessitate an organized body to be observed properly. The same is true of scriptural discipline. The two-fold office of the ministry–ministers and deacons–relates to the operation of the church.” (Bible Doctrine and Practice, p.170).
The underlined part really impressed me. How does it not, if we are all CHRISTIANS?? All of us who believe in Christ — who died for my personal salvation, in my place, for my sins — are believers in Christ and part of the body whether we are members of your denomination or NOT.
There are so many scriptures that indicate that every believer becomes part of the body of Christ, the Church, when they repent of their sins, believe on Jesus as Savior, and are baptized with the Holy Spirit (John 10:16; Ephesians 2:14-16, 5:30 with 1:4; John 11:52; John 17:20-23; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 6:17, 12:13, 27; Revelation 3:5, 20:15; Romans 12:5, 1:6; Colossians 3:15; Hebrews 2:11,12; Acts 2:47, to name a few) . All are welcome to take communion, all are welcome to be baptized, all are welcome to kneel at the foot of the Cross with their woes and ask for help. There is none of this crap, yes, I said CRAP, about such things can only be done depending on if they are a member of your denomination or not.
I mean, so what about the rest of us then?? We are never to take communion in remembrance of what Jesus did for us? Are we never to be ministers or deacons or missionaries?? Are we to never baptize those who repent and believe?? What about those who have no idea what the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, is ?? Never heard of it?? They just on the one road to hell because they got screwed out of meeting some of the “True Church”‘s membership?? I doubt it! Stop limiting God’ power!! The Holy Ghost is there for all have! For every man to be connected to God with and to be able to use to discern whether or not something is God’s will for his life.
Sorry, I am just a little passionate for this. I always hated the thought that no one else was as good a Christian or was simply a “Nominal Christian” because of their not being a member of our “church”. I was so deceived and if I have offended anyone because of this point, I am sincerely sorry and wish only for your forgiveness.
PS. I think there will have to be a part three….