The elders of the Grandview Church of Christ at 95 Armory Road in Tompkinsville, Kentucky have asked me to post a disclaimer stating that the views and conclusions I have been presenting both on Facebook and on by blog (maxdray.com) do not in any way represent their views on the matters I have discussed. I take full responsibility for everything I have posted.
Now, having complied with their request, I believe you, my readers, have a right to know how it came about that I am posting this disclaimer. I do not want anyone to think of this in any way as an attack upon the elders at Grandview. They are good men who sincerely believe they are right and are trying to do what they believe is the right thing. I know they sincerely believe what they asked me to do is right. I believe they are mistaken. I love all four of these men dearly. I have been good friends with two of them for fifty years. It tears my heart out that our friendship is now destroyed. I would like be friends with them just as before, but it will never be the same. I still love them and would do anything I could to help them. But I cannot allow friendship to stand at the expense of principle.
This is simply a statement of what has happened and why. Since I have been asked to post the disclaimer publicly I do not think I am violating any private confidence, but simply explaining the reason for doing so. I believe that I owe them and you as exact an account as I can give as to why this came about. If they take exception to my doing this I will allow them space both on Facebook and on my blog to state their exceptions.
I had made a statement before the congregation last Sunday. I told them that I was making that statement because my articles had been published and because of the controversy they had created I had been marked by many brethren. I told them that I had wrestled with in my own mind for 25 years and that I could see no other conclusion. I told them that I was not trying to force anyone to believe anything – that the only reason I was publishing my thoughts was to ask people to think. I told them I was only offering what I consider to be a better way of looking at the Bible and to accept it as an alternative to the usual approach. What I am offering may not be the only way, nor the best way, but a better way.
I told them that I had hesitated to “place membership” at Grandview because I knew that I differed with them on these matters. I had finally decided that I would just say nothing about our differences because I believed I could be of help to them. That is all I have tried to do in the five years I have been there. They said that I had helped them. I have taught Bible classes, led singing, preached and did their radio program for about nine months while they were without a preacher. I have always tried to offer constructive comments in Bible classes.
I have made no issue of the differences I knew we had over how to interpret the Bible. I sat and gritted my teeth when CENI had been taught. I had mentioned to one of the elders and another man that I took exception to the usual CENI approach, but had not attempted to persuade them to accept my views. I told them in my statement that as far as I was concerned nothing would change between me and them – that if anyone wanted to know what I believe they could ask me and I would gladly explain what I believe and why I believe it. I told them that if there was any difference in our relationship they would be the ones to make that difference.
Last evening after Bible study the elders asked me to meet with them in private. They stated to me that they thought by examining the Command, Example, Necessary Inference method of determining Bible authority publicly I was hurting the influence of the Grandview church. They asked me to print a disclaimer, which I was not hesitant at all to do. If I have hurt the influence of the Grandview church, I offer them my sincerest apology. That was not my intention at all.
They then attempted to persuade me of what they perceived as my error. When I did not accept their reasoning for the very reasons I have already stated in my recent articles they asked me to publish a retraction. I refused to do so merely on the grounds of their demand when I have given what I believe are valid reasons for my thinking. They said they were afraid I had damaged their influence with the young people and with the people they might possibly have been able to convert in the future. Again, if I have done damage to anyone, I offer my deepest apologies.
I asked them if they wanted me to leave Grandview. They told me that I could stay but that they could not use me in any way in which I had previously served during the five years I have attended Grandview since they believed I am a “false teacher.” When I told them I could not remain under their stipulations I then told them I would leave. I simply cannot in good conscience meet their demands just in order to remain at Grandview.
I sincerely love the people at Grandview, including the elders. I am deeply sorry that they can no longer accept me as a member at there. I will miss all the good people there. They are like family to me. I do not feel that I have done them wrong in any way other than having not made my views known to them when I first came to Grandview. I had what I consider valid reasons for not doing it and I wanted nothing more than to be of service to them. I doubt that I would have been accepted had I made it known to them.
I am sorry we live in a world in which one cannot freely and frankly express one’s thoughts without censure. I am sorry that brethren feel that something that is admittedly a device for Bible study – a tool – has been made a matter of faith and fellowship. I am sorry we live in a world in which honest disagreements cannot be discussed with an open mind and without prejudice.
I weep, but I will survive.
I will resume my articles on A BETTER WAY tomorrow.