Josh wrote:Sudsy wrote:I'm curious about the Holdeman 'true church' concept. In GAMEO it says 'Attendance at other churches and participation in intimate spiritual relationships with nonmembers are regarded as bordering on "spiritual adultery" or listening to "false prophets." How do CGC believers regard non-CGC believers ? Are they considered 'saved' or 'born again' ? Or is it that anything outside the CGC teachings are 'playing with fire' so to speak and you could lose your salvation ? I'm not clear on where any group who identifies themselves as the 'true church' regards others not a member of their church.
Not looking to quarrel but to understand more about the CGC group.
Like most other conservative or plain Anabaptists, the CGC views the individual believer as quite a different thing than a church, which is a collection of believers (or a collection of believers mixed with unbelievers).
We believe that there are many sincere followers of Jesus all over the world. Some of them are in the CGC. Some of them are in churches that are not faithfully following Jesus as a whole church, even though some individual believers in them are. And we believe some faithful followers aren't in any church at all.
We take seriously the injunction to "judge those within your body" instead of judging those without; if we believe we are a true church of God, then our duty is to make sure we stay that way. That's where most of the focus on being a true church ends, including rather frequent admonitions in conference papers, the Messenger of Truth, from the pulpit, and from other brothers during sharing time at church to take heed that we do not trust in our church membership or our status as a true church of God to think we can get away with letting laxness, sin, and the world creep into either our individual lives or into the church as a whole.
Now, for a person who was born and raised in the CGC, spending a lot of time in close spiritual fellowship with non-CGC members tends to be viewed with suspicion, particularly if the choice of with whom to do so is people who are in a significantly more worldly direction. Spending time around people in the Nationwide and Ohio Wisler affiliates near my home church wouldn't cause much of a stir; spending time around slightly less conservative people, or a generic evangelical setting, definitely would.
We do have a strong belief that those who are not preaching the gospel as we understand it (particularly nonresistance) could very well be false prophets. I can't say I disagree with this belief. I don't believe it's productive to try to have close, intimate spiritual fellowship with someone who believes a follower of Jesus sometimes picks up a gun and shoots people.
Thanks Josh. Personally that is a little too 'narrow' for me as I don't link the Gospel with non-resistance and have experienced good fellowship with those who do believe there is and has been a time for a Christian to 'wield the sword'. We just don't fellowship around that issue. On the other hand, I would regard 'pouring' over 'immersion' as not narrow enough in practise. I'm glad though that you have found a group that best fits your understandings of following Jesus. Some don't have as many positive things to say about the church they attend.