I include here a full record of the initial exchange of e-mails between Bro. Jesse Winn and myself with regard to his article, "The Church of Christ: Some Thoughts on Change," and my response, "A Few Words About Change." Follow the links to find the articles in question. I appreciate Bro. Winn's attitude, and I hope to further our discussion in the future.
I juggled the e-mails so they appear here in the order they were sent.
My name is Hal Hammons, and I am the pulpit preacher for the East Hill church of Christ in Pensacola, Florida. I hope all is well with you and that Jesus is being glorified in your corner of the vineyard.
I became acquainted with you when a FB acquaintance posted a link to your article, "The Church of Christ: Some Thoughts on Change." I agreed in principle with your core statement,
I believe that, generally speaking, as a movement, we (the churches of Christ) need to be less afraid of change when necessary and more willing to question things.
It seems, though, that you and I would disagree pretty strongly on how to define "necessary."
Some of your points are well taken. One or two I didn't quite understand. But most of them seemed to fall into the same basic category of discussion -- whether or not to accept the Bible as wholly authoritative, independent of cultural norms or the preponderance of modern public opinion.
I was going to put some thoughts down on paper relating to the general subject you raise (without bringing up your name -- I don't see the point), but I thought I would reach out to you first and see if you wanted to have an exchange of thoughts. I'm not a big "debater," per se, but I do like to talk! If you are interested in a civil exchange -- public, private, or in writing -- please let me know. I want nothing more than "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:3).
In any case, you can check out my work at halhammons.com. I'll post this weekend's articles, Lord willing, early next week. If I do write on the subject, I'm sure it will show up soon.
Please pray for the work in Pensacola, as I will for the work in Tuscumbia.
First thank you for the kind spirit. It is in short supply right now as you can imagine. So, even with our disagreements, I respect that very much and I pray God's blessing on you and your congregation because of your heart.
I feel I need to explain some things just for the sake of understanding. First, I believe that all of the Bible is inspired and that all of the NT holds the same authority. There is no disagreement there. Second, I don't believe every view I listed is a necessary view or that each one is necessarily right. I realize my human weakness and bias. Third, my point was not the views I listed, but the fact that "we haven't arrived" so to speak. In other words, the views I listed were examples of changes I've made (right or wrong) but the point of the article is that change is sometimes necessary and we need to always be willing to make changes when necessary (and we always need to be willing to "test all things" more than once or twice).
As far as communication goes, I would be willing to have phone calls and emails here and there that are informal, but I simply do not have time for a detailed conversation over each point in a formal context. I just have too much going on personally and ministerial to do something like that. But Feel free to have causal emails or phone calls with me whenever we are both available.
Last, You are more than welcome to use and critique my article in whatever way you wish. I only have a few requests that I ask in return: 1) Please remember the spirit (overall point) of the article that I mentioned above and don't make it just about the views I mentioned only as examples of my point. 2) Please make clear that while you might disagree with me and I might be wrong, I do have reasons for every view that I have and I get to those views by study, prayer, meditation, conversation, and the Holy Spirit. That doesn't mean I think I'm necessarily right about all my views (we are all wrong about something) but it means that I am not trying to "change the church for emotional reasons to become more appealing to the world." I didn't post my reasons for my views because that wasn't the point. I have other articles that do that. 3) That I am allowed to see whatever it is that you right about the article.
I trust from your previous email that you are a Christ-like individual so I am not worried about your integrity.
Thanks so much!
Thanks for the quick response. I infer from your note that others have commented on the article in question and not necessarily in a positive way. Personally, I've never seen the value in acting like a jerk. Some, apparently, disagree. Oh well, God will judge us all.
I don't normally do this, but I think I would like to include your response, and perhaps my original note to you, when I post the article(s) in question. Attempting to paraphrase your words would not be as effective, I think. I can delete your name if you like. If you don't mind me using your name, I'll include a link to the original article to let you speak for yourself more fully. Let me know what you think. I'll assume you are OK with it if I don't hear from you.
None of us has "arrived" yet. With God's help, one day we will.
Amen to that last statement. By the grace of God we shall one day be as he is, and by that same grace we are counted righteous until then.
I am in agreement with your last post. I will leave my name up to your judgement as to whether is will be helpful or not. Thanks again for your kind spirit. I assure you, whether right or wrong, I am not out to divide the churches of Christ. I trust you will believe me whether we agree on doctrine or not.
God bless you!
I do believe your attitude is right, agree or disagree. And I don't flatter either of us that we are capable of dividing the churches of Christ. Any human who thinks along those lines has bigger problems than his doctrine.
Amen to that
Sent from my iPhone