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The only ones going to heaven
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GuitarHero



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:43 am    Post subject: The only ones going to heaven Reply with quote

I have been surfing about the web tonight, looking up stuff on the COC. As I read through a couple of message boards and blogs, what kept slapping me in the face was their response to a certain question.

"Why does the Church of Christ think they're the only ones going to Heaven?"

Each and every preacher who posted immediately asserted that they had never ever under any circumstance heard anyone in the COC say those words. Why, to even suggest it! Who in their right COC mind would say that the COC was the only ones going to heaven??? Surely that is just some hateful denominational persecution, because no one in the COC would say such a thing!

(Several of them, on different sites, went on to snark how "not even all of the COC was going to go to heaven." They thought that was pretty darn funny, rather than pathetic and sad, as I thought.)

So as they tried to make the distance from that claim, they went into a verbal dance that would rival any moves that Michael Jackson might have ever thought to try. I mean this is some fancy footwork. One preacher did some dancing that would make Fred Astaire absolutely plaid with envy. He talked a lot about things like the universal church vs. the local church. He then said that anyone who asked this question was just being dishonest anyway, and they were in error for using the "Church of Christ" as a denominational name, because clearly the Church of Christ is not a denomination (because, of course, they live in a land where everything is what it is "because I said so.") They only saved people are the ones who follow God's will exactly, he said. And guess what? The COC follows God's will to a T, so thus the circle is complete and the COC ends up STILL being the only people being saved.

Another guy goes into a long-winded tl;dr rant about how, yes, other denominations do believe the right things just like the COC does. The only problem is that they don't believe ALL the right things. So while those churches get some things right, the COC is the only church in the whole wide world that gets absolutely EVERYTHING right. Thus, COC = saved.

I think I respect one preacher's honesty the most. He pretty much just comes out and says it.

Another preacher (who, incidentally, I know IRL and actually was at his wedding) acts shocked and surprised. NEVER, and I mean NEVER, had he heard anyone in the COC teaching they were the only ones going to Heaven. This is despite the fact that he went to FHU at the same time as I did, and heard those very words there time and time again.

So basically, they shrink horrified when someone says "y'all think y'all are the only ones going to heaven!" They act like it's unbelievable that anyone would say such a thing. And then they go on to explain to you how each and every denomination is wrong because of some little something, and ultimately the COC is the only church doing it right these days, and you gotta do it right to be saved, so thus you gotta be in the COC to be saved.

Does anyone else's head hurt from all that going in circles?

Why do they LIE about not teaching this?
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Evolved



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:52 am    Post subject: Re: The only ones going to heaven Reply with quote

GuitarHero wrote:

Why do they LIE about not teaching this?


Because they know how it makes them look, and on some level, they probably know that it is wrong. It's the same way they can say that they "only follow the Bible" but in reality, everyone knows that they treat the Bible like a buffet line. It is all mind numbingly stupid. It's an Emperor's New Clothes kind of thing. Another reason to loathe the coC.
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charmschooldropout



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I can remember knowing (or at least inferring) from a very young age that only the CoC was going to heaven. That is what I heard taught the whole time I was in there.

The concept never made sense to me intellectually, but emotionally I guess I was too afraid to seriously question it. After all, the lake of fire is a pretty big scare factor.
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GuitarHero



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That "buffet line" treatment is a large part of what has led me out of the COC. Up until about 2009, I was a strong believer in "The Pattern." I thought everything was laid out exactly how it should be done in the New Testament. So as I began to try to look for and study the pattern, I kept coming across those inconsistencies. Why don't we fast? Why do we demean men with long hair but let women cut theirs? Why don't we meet in each other's homes, etc. etc.

I find that the COC picks and chooses what they want. And if something makes them look bad, they will all but lie about it and try to explain it away.

Charmschooldropout, yes, that is exactly what I learned from many a preacher in my young days in the COC, and it is certainly what I was told at FHU. I heard it preached, perhaps not in so many words, but the idea was definitely put out there. And I know for a FACT that I preached it as a COC preacher, much to my chagrin.
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faithfulstruggling



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:33 am    Post subject: Re: The only ones going to heaven Reply with quote

GuitarHero wrote:

Why do they LIE about not teaching this?


I am fully aware that many C of C lie and claim that this is not their belief.

However, I was raised in the C of C, and I know they are lying. I heard it said many times growing up. Ask them if they think Methodists are saved. Ask them if they think Baptists are saved, or Catholics or Assembly of God. They will say no.
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Evolved



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This really brings up my A#1 problem with the coC-the outright lies. I would have so much more respect for them if they just came out and said “Yes. We are a denomination. Yes, we are the only ones going to heaven. Yes, we don’t follow the Bible to the letter-we follow our own interpretation, just like every single other denomination. If you don’t like it, don’t join.” If they said that, I would have no problem with them at all-I may disagree with them, but at least I would think they were honest. I hate their obvious lies and their insistence on repeating those lies, when everybody-themselves included-know that they are lying. The whole coC philosophy brings to my mind the old adage, “don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining”.
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faithfulstruggling



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They probably also deny that they require church attendance three times a week.
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GuitarHero



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is the evidence that the COC isn't a denomination aside from them just saying it's so?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very, very interesting thread. I haven't read all the articles you linked, GH, but I hope to have time soon. But you are spot on. We LIE about that teaching. As I've been struggling lately, trying to figure out the best way out of this for my family, this teaching is at the heart of my problem with the coc. It's one of the cards that makes the whole house fall.

As I've mentioned my uncertainty to a couple of people whom I trust very much, they deny it. If you first deceive yourself, it's easier to, yea impossible not to, tell the lie. I honestly believe that those I've talked to believe what they're saying. The classic, "I'm not their judge; God is" response, coupled with "But they're doing things the wrong way. They're not following the Bible." They really believe that explanation is sufficient.

I have denied the teaching myself. I think that when I lied about it, I deep down knew I was lying. I did quit lying about it eventually and just come right out and claim exclusivity and justified it by saying that the NT Christians viewed themselves as an exclusive group, too. Don't respect my eventual honesty. It's a horrible belief to hold even if you're honest about it.

This is among the most false, horrifying, cultish, and damaging doctrines of the coc. The lying about it isn't terribly far from the JW Theocratic War Strategy. It's perhaps worse because at least the JWs reluctantly admit they'll lie as part of Theocratic War Strategy.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

faithfulstruggling wrote:
They probably also deny that they require church attendance three times a week.

They absolutely deny this in word. However, miss a Wednesday while you're out of town and see how you're treated. I saw a member make the walk of shame for not attending on a Sunday while she was traveling. I admire her humility, but despise the self-righteous pressure that made her feel compelled to do that.

I wonder if those who deny this really believe what they're saying.
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Jacki



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was not taught the COC were the only ones going to heaven. What I was taught was that the COC are "Christians only, but not the only Christians." That was the party line I heard over and over. The problem, though, is that no one can identify these other Christians. We know they are not the Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, and so on. So who are they? I was lead to believe there may be some lone congregation, in some remote location, that read the Bible and interpreted it all correctly and operated exactly like the COC, even if they didn't call themselves such. OR, that there were a few people in denominations who secretly did not believe in the teachings of their church but, in the hearts, were really COCers, even if they didn't know it. Those were true Christians.

Of course, the implication of all this is that only the COC go to heaven. But I honestly never heard those specific words taught in any COC I attended.

GuitarHero wrote:
What is the evidence that the COC isn't a denomination aside from them just saying it's so?


No ruling headquarters or written creed.

They do have a creed, even if they don't write it out. How else would they be able to judge if a congregation deviated?
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Jeremiah



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will say I never heard anyone explicitly say they think they are the only ones going to Heaven. It was (and is) always implied though.

Major Premise: To be saved you must do this.
Minor Premise: We are the only ones that do this.
Conclusion: We are the only ones saved.

Both premises were taught, but the conclusion rarely if ever explicitly stated.

Now I can hardly read the New Testament without beating myself up for falling for (and even teaching myself) such BS for so long.

Consider this one:

Major Premise: Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be filled with it. (Mt.5:6)
Minor Premise: Being filled with righteousness means being saved. (Mt.25:46)
Conclusion: Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be saved.

And of course there are many outside the coC who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness.

Scripture also never teaches that we are saved by how right we are or how well we are able to understand and apply what is taught. We are saved by grace through faith, in spite of our weakness and ignorance.

So I ask this. Does scripture ever tell us how exactly we can discern who are the true disciples of Christ? Granted, only God knows the heart, but are we anywhere told "if you see xyz in a person, then you know they are mine and belong to me"? Yes it does! By their fruits you shall know them. Not their intellect, not their adherence to rules, etc.

Hmm..., are there any outside the coC bearing good fruit in their desire to follow Christ's example? I must declare them a brother in Christ.

It all goes back to the absurd legalism and patternism lenses they read the New Testament through. Seeing they do not see, hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand...
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ACUAlumnus



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One context where this comes up unavoidably is when a coc preacher is called upon to conduct the funeral of someone who was not coc. My uncle the coc preacher once told me that he was going to have to conduct the funeral of a Baptist (the husband of a coc member) the next day. Although he personally believed that his Baptist friend was now in heaven, he was distressed by the fact that he couldn't say so without offending the whole coc congregation.
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faithfulstruggling



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeremiah wrote:

Major Premise: To be saved you must do this.
Minor Premise: We are the only ones that do this.
Conclusion: We are the only ones saved.
..


Yes, that was the logic precisely.

It is a works-based doctrine, as well. You have to do X, Y and Z in that order to be saved.
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agricola



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I grew up in the coc and was explicitly told that 'we are the only ones' with the truth and 'only members of the coc are going to heaven - 'and not all of THEM!' as if that made it better.
I was ALSO taught that there were rare, rare people out there in the denominations who were ALSO 'real Christians' just like the coc 'because they know the truth' but nobody actually IDENTIFIED any such person - and it was clear it was individuals, not any other church/denomination (I think the idea was, surely there must be a few folks out there who would be saved, but for one reason or another were unable to attend an actual coc due to some personal circumstances or something).

I was also told I should identify myself as 'Christian' and not 'Protestant' for instance - although it was equally clear that we were definitely not CATHOLIC and what other choice was there?

Mother wanted me to check 'other' on those demographic things, and write in 'Christian' instead of checking the Protestant box.

yep. We were It. We were the Only Ones. Coc or nothing - and even if you were a coc member, you STILL weren't reliably Saved, because you had to be a PERFECT member, in order to make the cut....


Sheesh.
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