From: Al Maxey
Date: Sunday, March 1, 2009 4:09 PM
by Al Maxey
Issue #388 ------- March 2, 2009
I received an email a couple of days ago from a very dear friend and beloved brother in our Lord Jesus Christ, Dr. Don Givens, who is an author and gospel preacher, and with whom I was privileged to work and worship in Hawaii for a number of years when we were both serving as ministers over there...
Don and I have both been "written up" together in the Non-Institutional periodical Guardian of Truth...
Don also mentioned in his email a letter he had received from Homer Hailey, who preached at the same congregation I preached for in Honolulu, Hawaii (although years earlier).
Many of those Hailey had baptized were still members at the congregation there when I preached for them (from 1992-1998).
Don gave me permission to share his email and this letter with all of you..
Following is Don's very encouraging email to me and the letter from Bro. Hailey:
Hello My Brother,
I had to write a note to you about fleeing the factionists and parting with the partyists.
I came across a very interesting letter from my beloved professor and fellow preacher, the late Homer Hailey.
As you well know, Homer Hailey was a true scholar and a highly educated, though humble, servant of the Lord.
I just found an old letter he had written to me back in 1990 when I was in Hawaii. I want to quote from it, as it is very insightful and is so pertinent to what is happening today in the brotherhood.
Here is that quote from Bro. Hailey:
> Dear Don,
> The ungodly treatment of brethren
> by those who presume to be "pillars
> in the church" is a sad and tragic thing.
> I am so sorry to hear of your support
> being cut off -- even with no notice --
> but such seems to be par for the
> They have been doing it for years.
> The present condition within the
> brotherhood is a matter of concern.
> The fact that one cannot differ from
> others on points that need fresh
> thinking and discussion without
> getting hanged by the "powers that
> be" is really disconcerting.
> The fact that one cannot express any
> differing views even in a private
> setting without getting hung high
> and dry is truly upsetting and a sad
> state of affairs within our brotherhood.
> Bro. --------- will get hung high and
> dry for his book on some
> controversial matters, and with your
> books and your writings, you'll
> probably get kicked out of the church
> (i.e., their church) by the dozens of
> Diotrephes there are in it.
> Though many will continue to hold on
> to traditional legalistic policies, there
> seems to be a growing number that
> are looking for a more spiritual life
> and fellowship, who are seeing more
> and more the fact that we are saved
> by grace and not by works of law.
> So many do not want to understand
> that (as Paul writes in Romans) we
> are saved by grace through faith,
> and that we will not get to heaven
> just because we got everything right
> and possessed all knowledge.
> I hope your book Growing in Grace
> will do well.
> Your Friend and Brother,
> Homer Hailey
> August 28, 1990
I was brought to my knees in praise when I reread this letter from my old friend, who, as you well know, was a leading figure among the Non-Institutional brethren.
In his latter years, when he dared to write a book on questions involving marriage and divorce, he was labeled and libeled by his own brethren.
Al, we need more and more true scholarship in our fellowship.
There is too much suspicion of any real biblical scholarship, and there is almost the idea that one should never become too educated, but just keep parroting the same old traditions that have been handed down, or else one is "not sound."
I love you, brother!
February 27, 2009
I concur completely with my brother and friend on the need for genuine biblical scholarship over mere mindless regurgitation of party tenets as though they were timeless, eternal truths sent forth directly from the Throne of God.
I am firmly convinced that if the disciples of Christ would simply spend more time truly thinking and reflecting upon God's Word, and less time seeking to defend the traditions of long deceased forefathers from one's faith-heritage, the number of schisms and factions within the Family of God would be significantly reduced.
If the oneness for which our Lord prayed [John 17] is ever to be achieved, we are going to have to be willing to place on the table each and every one of our many sacred cows and revered rituals for thorough review.
And we're going to have to be open and honest enough to embrace change when such is truly necessary to bring ourselves more in line with God's will.
This is going to be painful for many disciples, but the alternative to such sincere biblical scholarship is the perpetuation of the faulty exegesis and misguided applications of the past.
It is time for us to step out boldly and acknowledge the distinction between tradition and Truth, thereby ceasing our incessant separation from one another over the tenets of the former.
Such division is shameful and should be forever shunned by disciples simply seeking to love Him and one another.
I'm fond of saying:
> You don't have to be my twin
> to be my brother.
To the great chagrin of my more legalistic brethren, some of whom are dear friends, I refuse any longer to discriminate between disciples of Christ based on party, position, practice, perception, preference or pattern.
Wherever the Father has a son or daughter, Al Maxey has a brother or sister. Period!! If you're in Him, you're with me.
This is not popular teaching in some Churches of Christ (although such congregations are decreasing in number and relevancy very rapidly).
Indeed, in their view it is absolute heresy. Everyone knows (right?) that WE are the "One, True Church," and that all others are godless "denominations."
Everyone knows that WE are the only ones who have properly perceived Truth and the only ones who practice it perfectly.
WE are bound for heaven; all others are bound for hell.
There sits before you a weary sexagenarian (Al is turning 60-RLBaty) who is sick unto death of such sectarian arrogance!
It is Satanic!
That I once used to think this way shames me even to this day.
I will never, ever preach, practice or promote such nonsense again!!
One reason that I honestly believe we are presently witnessing a dramatic decline in our movement (and in many other conservative, rather fundamentalist, groups) is because the younger generations are largely abandoning the rigidity of religion for the simplicity of relationship.
They are no longer interested in loyalty to a brand-name, but loyalty to His Name.
I often hear it stated that our youth are deserting the church.
I believe they are finally discovering it.
It is not about patterns performed precisely in a particular place ... it is about a relationship with a Person lived out in one's daily life.
"Church" isn't something that one goes to, it is something one IS.
You are called out ones -- called out of the world and into relationship with the Father through the Son.
I personally have no desire whatsoever to spend the remaining years of my life on this earth engaged in silly sibling rivalries!
My Father's Family is much bigger than the factions of my forefathers.
Thus, it's time to set aside our sectarian feuding and begin behaving as brethren. We have wasted far too much time trying to conform those around us to our own image.
As I contemplate my journey through life thus far, and as I look to whatever time my Lord has allotted me in the future, I feel a deep longing to bring more precious souls out of legalistic bondage in the future, and a deep disappointment that I have not been able to free more in the past.
Could I have done more to rescue more?
But, I must not let my frustration over missed opportunities distract me from the daily opportunities my God will provide in the future.
(O)ne person CAN make a difference.
Too many seek to excuse their lack of action by suggesting that just one person, standing alone, is powerless to effect any real change.
Nothing, though, could be farther from the truth.
History is literally filled with the names of men and women who dared to stand boldly and courageously for their beliefs, and, in so doing, forever changed the lives of those about them ... and in some cases actually altered the course of history.
Never fear standing up and speaking out for what you believe in.
From a Minister in California:
Thanks for putting the driving motivation of your ministry into clear perspective in your last Reflections article "Prancing Patternists."
We all need to forget the "prancing patternists" like Broking, Brown, Denham, Hatcher, et al, as they are truly a lost cause.
But, we need to work and pray like crazy to rescue those in their clutches who are still willing and able to think for themselves.
Please keep up your amazing ministry!
For every legalistic character assassin out there, there are a hundred grace-filled believers lifting you up and supporting your brave ministry.
> Sadly, I must completely agree with
> your "lost cause" assessment regarding > those factionists whom you named
> I have been trying for many years to
> reach those men (and others like
> them), and the more one seeks to
> share a vision of love, mercy, grace
> and acceptance with them, the more
> they retreat into law, patternism and
> a spirit of exclusion. It is heart-breaking > to witness.
> However, there IS still hope for some
> of those whom they have succeeded
> in duping with their devilish duplicity.
> It is for them that we should labor,
> and it is for them that we must
> continue to expose the evils of these
> godless religionists.
> For example, the annual Contending
> for the Faith lectureship was just held
> in Spring, Texas at the Spring Church
> of Christ where David Brown (the editor > and publisher of Contending for the
> Faith magazine) is the preacher.
> The second presentation was on
> MDR and was presented by Darrell
> Out of curiosity, I watched that lesson
> (in which he made several "jabs" at
> both Todd Deaver and me), and it was
> so filled with false teaching on the
> subject that it was appalling.
> He informed people who had been
> divorced and remarried that they
> would all have to terminate their
> second marriages if they ever hoped
> to be saved from going to hell.
> He told them that even their baptism
> would not save them until they had
> divorced their present spouses.
> It was all I could do to sit still as I
> witnessed this abominable abuse of
> our Lord's teaching on MDR.
> And yet, it just confirmed once again
> how very important it is for us to reach
> out to those being misled by these
> false teachers and try to rescue them
> from such egregious error.
> --- Al Maxey
From David Brown, Editor & Publisher
of Contending for the Faith Magazine:
I am very sorry for you, but it certainly appears that you will have to learn, when you step into eternity, that you've been wrong and standing in opposition to the Truth of the Gospel.
But, Al, you will never be able to declare that many of us have not attempted to get you to see your error.
If you ever decide to come out from behind your emails and electronic publishing to meet on the public polemic platform to orally discuss a subject upon which we differ, please contact me.
Al, believe it or not, I do not hate you.
In fact, I love your soul and want to see you in heaven.
Therefore, I will continue to offer to debate you.
I have no reason to believe you will ever change your stance on oral debating, but I will continue to offer to debate you orally.
However, if you refuse to debate orally, is there any person of your persuasion that you know of who would engage in a public four night oral debate?
From a Reader in Oklahoma:
Keep swinging, Bro. Al.
You're making great headway!
The ultra-patternists are really feeling the heat.
More and more people are leaving their hate-filled teachings and are breaking the shackles of tyranny.
After just a taste of freedom, most never go back to bondage again.
Every ultra-legalistic congregation is losing people in droves, and most of these people are attaching themselves to congregations that have broken the shackles of legalism.
Brother, these legalists will never defeat you, so fight on.
From a Reader in [Unknown]:
I am giving you a standing ovation for your most recent article on "Prancing Patternists."
All of your Reflections have been great lately, but this one is simply outstanding.
You are so right about all of it.
I have known several who have gotten out of the legalistic, patternistic sects, but it is so hard for them to do so, and the damage done to them remains with them for years.
However, these people are now experiencing the freedom and the grace that our God so much wants us to have.
Thanks, Al. Keep up the good fight, brother!
From a Minister in Tennessee:
I just read your latest article -- "Prancing Patternists."
Your analysis of the legalists in our churches is dead-on!!
Trying to make headway with someone who is imbedded in legalism is like trying to knock down a brick wall with a feather.
God bless you, my brother!
From a Reader in Colorado:
Dear Bro. Maxey,
I know only too well the feelings these brothers are going through who have contacted you for advice as to how to deal with legalists.
You are so right, brother -- there is no way to rationally deal with the hardened legalists.
In their minds, they alone have the Truth.
Also, these people get together and feed off of one another.
They're like a pack of vicious dogs on the attack.
Individually, they will rarely attack, but put them together and it will look like they haven't had a meal for months!!
Please keep up the good work, brother.
Someone needs to confront them. Hang in there!!
From a Minister in California:
These bands of legalistic rule-makers are ridiculous.
You have far more patience with them than I, brother!
God bless you, brother.
From a Reader in Michigan:
Dear Brother Al,
You should be proud to be listed by Darrell Broking among those deemed "sinful to work with."
If he had any guts at all, he would have added other names to his list as well.
Names like Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone.
I am also disappointed that he didn't list other heroes of mine, such as Carl Ketcherside, Cecil Hook, Leroy Garrett, and Olan Hicks.
What a Church of Christ Hall of Fame list it would have been then!!
From a Reader in California:
These letters are always so enlightening, and it is heartening to see and understand that we are not alone in our endeavor to break free of legalism and all it entails
(as you know, my husband and I have been gone from the one-cup, one-loaf, non-instrumental music, etc. group of the legalistic Church of Christ for 27 years now).
Hugs to you and yours!
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