In re Dialogue, by Mac Deaver

[I received this email from Mac. I asked for and received permission to post it here. I’ve also been notified by Phil that he is withdrawing from the conversation due to lack of time. — Jay Guin]

Dear Todd and Jay,

It is pointless to continue the back and forth correspondence. I am glad that I had the opportunity to briefly engage you in this forum. However, it is now clear that we are not making much progress with each other this way.  As long as the Bible constitutes a pattern, you and I will all have to wrestle with certain questions and face certain difficulties. There are things to be said in response to your latest posts, but I have chosen only to say a few final words.

I will briefly list the following points: In your effort to exaggerate grace to the point of sanctioning corrupt worship, you have –

1. Attacked the knowability of moral law (thereby attacking the nature of man and the nature of moral law itself)[You simply do not comprehend what you are here doing];

2. Attacked the concept of the New Testament as a pattern though you have tried to argue for a general but not too specific pattern;

3. Advocated the view that a person can walk in the light and be a practicing fornicator at one and the same time, thus turning the grace of God into lasciviousness (cf. Jude 4)[This alone, indicates the impoverishment of your cause!];

4. Admitted that the belief of some doctrines damn the soul but then argued that a sincere saint cannot be lost by the acceptance of any false doctrine;

5. Denied believing in “once saved-always saved” but then argued that a sincere saint cannot, while remaining sincere, be lost by doctrine or action;

6. Argued that “sincerity” is the equivalent to “faithfulness” on the part of a saint though the Bible teaches differently;

7. Attacked the biblical concept of knowledge. Since you think that Phil and I are inconsistent on fellowship and because we do not know the eternal destiny of every saint, we cannot know what to teach as divine obligation or duty;

8. Undermined the very concept of obligation by suggesting that our inability to know the eternal destiny of a man implies that we cannot know what our actual duty is;

9. Tried to make a way for grace for the weak but not for the rebellious, when the fact is that weakness itself can lead to or be associated with rebellion (You treated king Saul’s case of disobedience as rebellion rather than weakness, when his “fear” of the people led him to rebellion. Was that “fear” a form of weakness?).

    10.  Redefined “repentance” so that it does not necessitate the cessation of fornication or corrupt worship practice!

    11.  Attacked the very idea of knowing the truth by so blurring the distinction between truth and error as to make walking in truth the same as practicing fornication, at least in one suggested case! You have become epistemological agnostics as far as your concept of the gospel is concerned.

    12.  You have so explicated some complex individual cases as to deny the application of plain truth to the easier cases.

    13.  Argued for the extension of divine grace to those who constantly practice sin while the Bible teaches that it comes to saints who walk in the light[Just here you have turned grace into license to do wrong].

    14.  Unintentionally you have attacked the moral and doctrinal difference between the church and the world, claiming that as long as a saint or an alleged saint has a “heart for God,” he cannot be doing wrong [thereby abandoning biblical concept and language for an invented vague expression that somehow allows immorality to sincerely continue].

    15.  Argued so as to deny the ethical significance between a one time act and a continuing practice.

    Let me say this finally. I want all men to be saved just as God does (11 Pet.3:9; 1 Tim.2:4). However, God has told us that few men will be saved (Matt.7:13, 14) in spite of the availability of the matchless love and grace of God. Grace is always connected to truth, either to the acquiring of it or to the walking in it. Jay and Todd do not serve either sinners or saints well in their effort to disassociate the grace of God from attaining the truth and actually walking in it. The “solution” that they offer to the problems and difficulties that we face constitutes no solution at all! Their effort simply becomes another doctrinal error that becomes a part of the brotherhood landscape.

    The grace that Jay and Todd offer is not the grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a different grace because they advocate a different gospel (cf. Gal.1:6-10). Evidently they have been too much affected by the religious corruption in the world and by the constant division within the church. It is my view that they have wrongly reacted to the mess we have to face. The world will always be corrupt (1 Jno.5:19) and the church will always have to face its own divisiveness (1 Cor.11:19). We neither help the world nor the church by disvaluing truth in an attempt to get grace to the world. It seems to me that one of the fundamental differences between Jay and Todd on the one hand and Phil and me on the other is that (1) Phil and I still see the necessity of teaching one’s duty in spite of the fact that we do not know what God will do with certain individuals at judgment whereas (2) Todd and Jay, on the other hand, since we cannot determine in all cases what the eternal destiny of some folks is [we do not sit in the seat of God], actually wind up undermining what the clear duty is. The duty becomes a fog or it disappears altogether. And they think this is a solution to the alleged problems that we have in the matter of fellowship!

    I hereby propose that we have a four night oral public debate in 2010 in Tennessee. If Todd and Jay can formulate a proposition with which we disagree and which states the actual issue between us, then I will come to Tennessee and debate Jay or Todd in the spring or the fall (but not the summer) of next year. They do not need to accept or reject this proposal on the internet, however. They simply can send their response by e-mail or snail mail.

    With regard to things we cannot know, there are many. With regard to the destiny of many Christians, I would have to say that I do not know. But I know that neither Jay nor Todd nor Phil nor I have the right to engage in corrupt worship and practice immorality and claim that God’s grace will cover it. I sincerely hope that Jay and Todd will come back to the truth of the gospel. I will continue to pray for them.

    In sincere Christian love,

    Mac Deaver

    Explore posts in the same categories: Apostasy

    47 Comments on “In re Dialogue, by Mac Deaver”

    1. […] withdrawn from the discussion due to lack of time. Mac has also withdrawn. He’s allowed me to post his final email expressing his opinion of the discussion and issuing a […]

    2. Randall Says:

      Sounds like a cop out to me!

      There was agreement to have the conversation in this forum and now a request/demand to change it to a debate sometime next year. This forum allows for the possibility that a person could thoughtfully consider his words before he shares them, and allows the other person to thoughtfully consider what was said before he responds. All readers can take their time in evaluating what each person had to say. The CofC history in debates has generated a reputation for being like a kerosene lamp in that it generate more heat than light.

      Why not simply respond to what has been presented rather than make a bunch of accusations and cop out?

    3. Blaze of Glory Says:

      I agree 100% !

      This is a cop out and an excuse to NOT defend what they claim as truth.

      This only demonstrates that they do not have the answers.

    4. Royce Says:


      In my view you and Todd are nuts if you accept his challenge to debate. You both have been fair and forthright. The problem is that all 3 on the “conservative” side have been unable to articulate a consistant defense of what they believe.

      Al Sharpton is a good debater but is as crazy as a loon about most of his ideas. Get my point?


    5. Jody B Says:

      Please define corrupt worship for me as it is laid out in scripture.

    6. Jody B Says:

      …oh, and New Testament, corporate worship only please.

    7. Jerry Starling Says:

      I am disappointed that two men with as high a standing in the brotherhood as Mac Deaver and Phil Sanders have do not feel that continuing Grace Conversation is worthwhile. I fear this will only widen the gap between “progressives” and “conservatives” and the Churches of Christ will see another painful split – or worse, will continue to see churches in decline as our young people move on or drop out.

      Rather than face up to inconsistencies between practice and teaching, it is easier to hurl unsubstantiated accusations and withdraw. Randall is correct in saying that written discussion is better than oral confrontation. What makes Mac think oral discussion in the “debate” format will be more productive than the written discussions here on this site? Much more material than four nights of debate could cover is already here in much more detail and with more precision of expression. Does “shooting from the hip” provide more reasoned discourse than carefully considered statements and responses?

      Perhaps it would be better to present arguments limited to three thousand (or some other number) word exchanges. That way, the sheer volume of the exchanges would not become overwhelming. Just a thought you might want to consider.

    8. Michael Ray Says:

      Disappointed, but not surprised.

      If the goal is to rationally and carefully explore the distinct positions each side has, this is a great forum in which to do that.

      But if every post you write only serves to make your position less and less defensible (or understandable) and the weight of your own contradictory statements begins to cause your house of cards to collapse, then I guess your best defense is to quit.

      To me, this does not bode well for the future of Churches of Christ. We no longer speak the same language. How else could the accusations above be made by brother Mac Deaver? While we often use the same words, we may as well be speaking Swahili and Portuguese for all the good it does us.

    9. Jeff B. Says:

      Pardon me for I am speaking from emotion.

      I cannot describe my disappointment and anger at the sheer dishonesty and cowardliness that Mac and Phil have just displayed. Up until now, I considered them both to be men with whom I disagreed, but greatly respected. No more.

      Like many others, I had great hopes for this forum as a way to have respectful dialogue between the two major divisions within the COC. I had these hopes because, like our Stone-Campbell Movement founders and Christ himself, I desperately want unity. Dialogue is the first step to this unity. The representatives of the progressive side of this debate have honorably displayed the spirit of Christ throughout.

      This “hit and run” tactic, on the other hand, is just plain cowardly. Mac Deaver, how DARE you stand in condemnation of ME and then refuse to either defend your position, change it, or shut up until you can do one or the other. And I imagine that you will now, by implication, stand up in a pulpit or write in a publication about how your own God-fearing, faithful son will burn in eternal torture. But you wouldn’t even complete the discussion with him!

      Shame on you Mac Deaver! Shame on you Phil Sanders!
      “Contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3)
      “Always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within you” (1 Peter 3:15).

      Pharisaical cowards. Sorry for saying it, but I can think of no more accurate way to label what has just happened on this site.

      Jay and Todd, please make an effort to find someone, anyone from the conservative camp who will continue this dialogue, as I think it is tremendously valuable for our fellowship.

    10. David Himes Says:

      I share the disappointment expressed here, but not the emotion. Frankly, I think this outcome is often the outcome of this kind of discussion. I know Jay sought to insure a different outcome.

      However — what really matters?

      What really matters is loving one another the way Jesus loved us.

      While this is interesting, it doesn’t matter to me.

    11. I agree with David Himes.

      I like the concept of this Grace Discussion, but I have seen the same conclusion in vastly different fields. I read a lot of engineering academic publications. A question is posed to two people, both send in their replies, the replies don’t answer the question that was asked but put forward something the person wanted to say. Each person is given a change to rebut what the other said, they do, but their rebuttal has nothing to do with what the other person said, but is a second point of something they wanted to say in the first place.

      I find this all fascinating how smart, loving, caring people can talk past one another instead of with one another.

      So like David, what really matters is loving one another the way Jesus loved us.

    12. Frank Says:

      Would Jesus give so quickly?
      In my mind Worship is not what you do 10 to 11 on Sunday morning, it is what you do 24/7. It is a way of life, an alternate life stile.
      In 60yrs. I’ve learned that if I believe something so strongly that I am willing to condemn them to he11, I’m in all probability wrong. I’m told to love not judge.

    13. Alan S. Says:

      We can readily see where this mindset in our traditions has led us: The Stone-Campbell Movement beget the Christian Church, which beget the Disciples and the Churches of Christ. The Disciples beget the Independent Christians. The Churches of Christ beget the premillinialists and the anti-premillinialists; and then beget the one-cuppers and the multi-cuppers; and then beget the cooperationalists and the anti-cooperationalists; and then did much more begetting; then the Churches of Christ beget the International Churches of Christ which later did their own begetting; and now the Churches of Christ have beget the “progressives”, the “conservatives”, and the “radical exclusivists.” We have done a lot of begetting in only a few generations.

      I think the “conservatives” would prefer to separate themselves from the “progressives” but do not want to be the ones to make the first move of formal division, and so they seem to act in ways to drive the “progressives” into frustration so that they will leave (and thus take the blame for causing a formal division).

      Jay and Todd and like-minded “progressives”/”less traditionalists” are to be commended for not taking this bait and for striving for unity even when others want to resist unity.

      As for Mac’s proposition, debates are for opponents. Conversations are for friends and allies.

      So who best represents the body of Christ on earth?

      Alan Scott

    14. mattdabbs Says:

      You aren’t going to force someone into a conversation they no longer want to have. Maybe it is mature and wise of Mac and Phil to take an out rather than to do more harm than good.

    15. Steve Says:

      I love the way you look at things.

      Jay and Todd,
      I would be very interested in hearing the rest of your position and propose that you continue to post the rest of your statement here (although I know you have done a lot of this on your personal blogs) – you could have a one sided conversation that the rest of us could respond to.
      Because of Christ,
      Steve Valentine

    16. nick gill Says:

      But Matt, don’t you see that that is precisely the problem? These are two men “reputed to be pillars” in the conservative community, who claim to desire unity in the brotherhood, who are unwilling to do the hard work of conversing with their brothers who disagree.

      If they are unwilling, why should those they lead act differently?

    17. mattdabbs Says:

      I am in favor of giving people the respect they deserve and the benefit of the doubt. I can’t tell you how many times in the past I made accusations and said things that I later found out were unfounded. If only I had known the whole story I wouldn’t have said it. So I find the more graceful approach is to leave it alone. I don’t know their hearts so bottom line…when I don’t know I assume the best rather than the worst.

    18. Nicodemus Says:

      Well, well.

      The shame this has brought upon the conservative viewpoint, a viewpoint that I have held most of my entire life, is immense.

      I have yet to see a reasoned, direct response to Todd’s thesis in his book from *anyone* on the conservative side.

      It is becoming more and more difficult to believe that there is a response.

      So, I will continue my journey.

      Thank you Todd and Jay for helping me see the light.

      Thank you Mac, Phil and Greg for showing me what was really behind the curtain. Oz was just a list of generalities and platitudes.


    19. nick gill Says:

      Matt, I hear you very well. You’re right about respect and grace.

      I just can’t read this list of accusations and see it as mature and wise.

    20. mattdabbs Says:

      You make a good point. If you think about this in context it makes more sense. This was a letter to Jay and Todd and not a farewell letter to the blog and readers. I think it would have been written differently if it was written with the intention of being posted. That at least means if you think it was disingenuous to go out on that note at least it was only to a couple of people and not the masses. Still wouldn’t make it courteous but at least less obnoxious.

    21. laymond Says:

      Royce, we sure wouldn’t want a debate where, the loons could pop up and say something, unlike this one has been. As I recall Royce you were among the first to declare this forum an exercise in futility. And you were right this debacle has only caused hard feelings among people who claim to be Christians, and would probably not have existed, at least personally, but for this “Christian forum” . No I don’t blame anyone for not taking part in such a useless defamation of the word of Christ, As a matter of fact I applaud them.

    22. Rich Says:

      In the game of football, a team may chose to punt when the short term goal isn’t reached. This provides a time to regroup and strategize. It is not necessarily an indicator of the eventual winner.

    23. Alan S. Says:


      By agreeing to let this be posted, Mac did make this a farewell to the blog. Not exactly a graceful exit (no pun intended).


    24. Alan S. Says:


      But with a punt the team is still in the game. In this case the team has left not only the game but the field of play.


    25. I appreciate the willingness of all the participants to engage in this conversation for as long as they did – Jay, Todd, Greg, Phil and Mac.

      I understand the frustration of all parties at trying to find a common language to speak when more than a hundred years of divergent teaching and language have made it so difficult.

      And I’m sure that all of them have very busy schedules, but this is a dialogue worth having.

      Does grace cover sin? All sin? All sin but doctrinal error? All but some doctrinal error? Which doctrinal errors?

    26. Rob Woodfin Says:

      Jay and Todd have been declared “epistemological agnostics.” I looked up that term. The best meaning I could find: Jay and Todd don’t believe they possess all knowledge. Frankly, such an accusation leaves us with the necessary inference that the accusers believe they do. Such a group does not need to be debated, they need to be prayed for. Sadly, I think many of them would bristle at the thought.

      Perhaps there are some conservatives in our fellowship who still seek common ground. But as multiple newsletters catering to that segment continue to push for expulsion of any and all who don’t measure up, I’m afraid the battle will continue til the bitter end. While countless volumes have been written on what constitutes an apostate, I believe the conservatives believe it boils down to this: An apostate is any progressive (or liberal) in the Church of Christ who would attempt to restore the Restoration Movement motto, “Christians only, but not the only Christians”

      I attended an Elderlink conference in Atlanta earlier this year. One of the segments was a group of elders and a minister from a congregation in Indiana who have made tremendous strides in the past few years in setting aside Pharisaic attitudes. Listening to them describe the impact they are now having in their community was such a blessing. I told one of the coordinators after the session, however, that as edifying as it was to hear what this congregation is doing now, I would have much preferred to learn more about how they made the trip from “self-righteous remnant” to “partakers in grace.”

      I think Jay’s proposed 1 John exercise (a few days ago) might provide a wonderful discussion along the lines of how to escape sectarianism. Perhaps that might be one direction this blog could take now that Mac has ended his side of the discussion with a Bronx cheer.

    27. Rich Says:

      Alan S.,

      I don’t personally know Mac and Phil or their personal plans. I just know the discussion isn’t over.

      What saddens me most is if anyone makes a decision based on the incomplete discussions here. I too have seen incomplete results from this type of forum in the engineering sphere (from Dwayne).

      I believe that Jay and Todd definitely demonstrated the higher communication skills in this type of discussion environment. They made some good points in some areas. However, my personal studies land closer to the position of Mac and Phil although from different reasoning than given here.

      Blessings to you as well,

    28. Zach Cox Says:


      Am I hearing you say that you will take up the football to start the second half 🙂


    29. I grew up in the same fellowship as Mac and Phil. I have been watching with great anticipation this discussion. Mac and Phil you helped me a great deal in bringing clarity to some things I suspected about the “conservative view” for many years. Todd and Jay thank you for the insight and willingness to place yourselves in the direct fire of discussion. While this discussion did not necessarily bring unity to the brotherhood it certainly brought clarity to my mind concerning many views that had troubled me for some time. I am not bright enough intellectually to grasp every doctrine perfectly nor am I strong enough to make perfect application of those I grasp. Todd, Jay thanks for showing us what “sound doctrine” in these matters actually is. Praise God that my salvation doesn’t rest totally on my shoulders. God speed to those who continue to preach Jesus.

    30. laymond Says:

      “Does grace cover sin? All sin?”
      All but one Keith, but sin needs to be admitted/confessed, and asked to be forgiven. It is not an automatic process. We have a part to play in that as well. We have to want what God has to offer, enough to ask for it, and to believe he will give it.

      Jn:15:7: If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

    31. Kelly M Says:

      I have never made a comment before and have been reading with interest as the conversation continued. It is very disappointing that all are not able to continue.
      I used to be in full-time ministry in the CoC and now that I run a small business, I find my personal study time reduced. The hours of study that all 5 men were putting in to this conversation must have been very significant and I was grateful for their hours of hard work.
      The arguments put forth were thought provoking and opening my mind to more indept study, that I hope to continue to do as time allows. However, I have attended and ministered at what would be called “traditional” churches my whole life. I have to say, like others, that Todd and Jay have being doing a great job of presenting their conclusions. I pray that Mac, Phil or someone would see the need in the cause of unity to continue this discussion.
      It has been stated that they do not have the time, which I can totally relate to as well. However, it seems that if Mac and Phil believe as they do about the dangers of the “progressive” brethren, that it would be of the highest concern to continue the discussion or seek a suitable replacement.
      I disagree with Mac that this discussion is not making progress. I know their are dozens, maybe hundreds of people just like myself that are just reading without making comments. We are very interested in what is being said by both sides. Maybe because most that make comments are on the side of Jay and Todd it appears they are arguing with someone that has already made up their mind. That is not the case with me!
      If what Jay and Todd are teaching is wrong, it needs to be refuted to be so for the sake of unity!
      If what Mac and Phil are teaching is wrong, it needs to be refuted to be so for the sake of unity!
      If both have right and wrong points, they each should be confirmed for the sake of unity!
      How can so much of what is written and preached by our brethren be focused on the dangers of “change agents” and leaving the Word and we cannot find the time to create a defense of the Gospel for further unity in the body of Christ??
      I do not personally know any of the 5 men that have worked at this discussion, but my impression from my reading of their various articles, blogs and books is that they all have a sincere love for God and the church. For the sake of the church I pray that this discussion will continue in a forum where I can continue to study and weigh what is being said and continue to weigh my own conclusions against the Word of God.
      I ask that all of you join me and pray for unity in the body of Christ. I know that my wisdom is nothing compared to God and maybe it is better for the cause of Christ that this forum end. May God’s will be done!
      As others have stated, I do not see how a verbal debate makes for a better forum.

      God Bless…

    32. Jay Guin Says:


      We will be posting some additional material covering the third point of our position, as we’ve not yet had the chance to even present that teaching.

      Thanks for the encouragement to continue.

    33. Jay Guin Says:


      Thanks for bringing up Todd’s book Facing Our Failure. I’ve set Google to do an automated daily search on the title, and if anyone is attempting to refute his argument, it’s not happening on the internet.

      Matt Clifton and Gil Yoder both began critiques on their websites and both very quickly gave up. Since then, there’s been complete silence among the conservatives.

      The conservatives cannot even state their position on apostasy. When Gil began his review of Todd’s book, I challenged him to disprove Todd’s argument simply by stating his position on apostasy. The response: silence and the end of Gil’s series of posts on the subject.

    34. Mac’s email reminded me of the movie “War Games” where the “War Operations Plan Response” (WOPR) computer finally determines that the “best move is to not to play”

      Mac, Phil and Gregg,

      “How about a nice game of Chest?”

      Jay and Todd,

      Please reply to what Mac said in his email.

      David Lightman
      Seattle, Washington

    35. Jay Guin Says:


      We’re posting a reply tomorrow morning.

    36. Randall Says:

      This is disappointing both b/c it leaves the outcome unfinished and also b/c of the tone. There was a lengthy comment about six weeks ago (following Mac’s previous series of posts) that addressed the tone of Mac’s posts. As I recall, the thrust of that comment was that Mac’s tone was harsh and lacked an indication that Mac was striving to understand the perspective of Jay and Todd. So the most disappointing thing to me is that I do not see any change in Mac’s tone from the previous posts to his last post.

      I was born into the CofC almost 60 years ago and I am familiar with the way we interacted with those with whom we disagree. I understand that was a sweeping generalization, but I wish so much that we would work harder at understanding the other person’s point of view and be a little (a lot?) slower to condemn them as lost.

      While we all can live with the way this is winding down, it does still matter to me. I view the CofC as family, dysfunctional family, but family none the less.

    37. Terry Says:

      I especially appreciate Matt Dabbs’ comments on this post. With his spirit, a little reconciliation could take place among us.

    38. Clarene Dinkins Says:

      Amen, Mac and Phil. Good job! Glad the conversation is over as far as the internet.

    39. If I were Mac and Phil so would I. Hard to defend their position.

    40. Clarene Dinkins Says:

      It is hard to defend something that says nothing.

    41. James Says:

      Dell and Clarene, your comments are (possibly)why the time has come to end the discussions. You two are not learners or searches but critics. All four men put in their study and their hearts, so, why be so critical? I don’t know any of the four men but they all did their best. They did what they did to help and to unite but it is not going to happen. To many people like you (let me add Royce in there too)to harp and criticize. These four men will not be the One to end this discussion but I hope you KNOW the One who will.
      Matthew 13:24-30, Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; (25) but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. (26) But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. (27) So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ (28) He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ (29) But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. (30) Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”

    42. James you have no clue as to what I am? I grew up at the feet of men like Mac. In the past I have held the same damaging and judgmental views as Mac and Phil hold today. The legalism that is spewed forth by those who hold these views is doing tremendous damage to the cause of Christ. Mac’s arguments are the same tired diatribe that has been presented since Daniel Sommers first introduced this poison more than 100 years ago. The “conservative” element of the church wants unity only on their terms. Either you hold their view as gospel or you are lost. There is nothing between. Before you peg me as anything you would do well to actually ask me what I think. Otherwise you are guilty of the same mistakes made by most conservatives, you are judging without the facts. Thanks for your concern and deep insight.

    43. James, have enough courage to put your entire name to your post.

    44. James Says:

      I began my walk with Christ as an adult and I too “grew” up with men as you say like Mac. I do not agree with much that they say. You too want to unite only on your terms. Disagree with a conservative and he’ll write you up in his bulletin. Disagree with one who’s thinking is progressive or liberal and he will attack you with snake venom. As to a last name there are at least seven on this post here with no last name. I guess they are dastardly cowards too? In closing, so I want be guilty of judging you, tell me what do you think? Dell, if I may use only one name and if you will allow me I will take back the name I called you, “critic.” I do not know you. Now Tell me what do you think?

    45. James I certainly will allow you to take back the name you called me. I did not hold it against you. I do believe that if you are going to strongly state your opinion that you ought to have the courage to give your name, this includes all who post. I do not believe that holding different views is necessarily wrong in and of itself. The holding of different views becomes a problem when we bind those views on others as truth. The Pharasees bound their views as the only view acceptable. Their interpretation of Scripture became the standard by which everything else was measured. The same thing has happened with a segment of the church today. Their interpretation of Scripture has become the standard by which all is judged. This makes their interpretation binding on all men in their eyes. This is an impossible position to defend. This is where we find Mac and Phil. Not only does this divide the body of Christ it also takes away the direction God intended for the church. Instead of preaching Jesus we become keepers of the faith. This attitude toward all things spiritual is destroying the ability of the group we know as Churches of Christ to reach the world for Jesus. This attitude of judgmentalism and legalism paints all of us with the same broad brush. I for one do not wish to be viewed as holding these beliefs and views. I will always consider any who is following Jesus, who has accepted his gift of salvation and obeyed the gospel of the master as a brother whether I agree or not with all they teach. We can do one of two things we can either stand in the center and look out to where we believe the circle of fellowship is drawn or we can allow Christ to be in the center. If He is in the center we can look to Him and allow Jesus to draw the circle. As for me, I will leave Jesus in the center and allow Him to draw the circle.

    46. Nick Gill Says:

      I didn’t think of the privacy aspect — you’re right. Even though he gave permission for it to be shared, it was not written that way.

      I appreciate Mac’s work here and his Christian life — one of my best mentors comes from the Deaver circle of influence, and I owe most of my Christian life to his unwillingness to let me go.

      What matters most is that Christ is preached.

      in HIS love,

    47. “Epistemological agnostic” pretty obviously refers to someone who does not believe the acquisition of knowledge is possible, not someone who claims to not possess all knowledge. This straw man tactic is not helpful to the discussion.

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