Unity Proposal

Well, the ICOC Unity Proposal Group has gotten their work done. The proposal has been drafted and is complete.

Unfortunately, you can't see it yet. (EDIT: I guess it came out today, 2 days earlier than intended but still several days after some recieved it.) It was sent out to certain church leaders and others. I'm not sure who got on the list and why. My minister evidently did not get it, or so it would seem from an email I received from him yesterday. I have a copy, but only because a friend got it off an anti-ICOC site where it had been published and sent it to me. I've only read as far as the first page introduction to see that it has explicit instructions against electronic distribution. So I closed it and will read it after it's officially released, it says Monday the 13th. No offense to the brother who sent it to me, I just couldn't in good conscience read it if the authors didn't want it public yet, even if I think that's silly.

But I wonder, why all this secrecy and clandestine spreading the word to only certain leaders? Are only some leaders important enough to receive it in advance? If it was meant to go to all leaders and only did not because of a lack of contact info, do they mean to imply that the leaders are more important than the run-of-the-mill members?

Once again we've managed to create a controversy over a side issue (distribution of the Proposal) that will distract and taint the actual debate on the proposal itself. It seems so silly, but maybe it's just me.

I'll be reading it this week as will the other deacons and our minister, I'm sure. I'll be able to comment on the actual content then.

Though I have an opinion on whether we as a church will sign it, I'll keep that to myself until it's been read and debated. Sorry.

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Back in September the UP folk announced their work was done and it's on to the next step for the UP. (Yeah, I'm late on this, it's been in draft on my blog for around a month. Sorry.) If you... Read More

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Ecclesiastes 5:2
"Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few."

It's way too long (12 pages) and appears to only say what the ICOC has been about since I can remember.

Quote from pg. 7
"Many changes were indeed necessary, but we suffered a great loss of many of our connections during the duress by abrupt responses. This loss was largely rooted in the clash of human nature with the disappointing disclosures, misinformation and long surfacing of tensions that had been suppressed by the strong parental control of the institution. Hindsight reveals how this eventually led leaders of some churches proudly declaring their independence from other figures, and then the people they led proudly declared their own independence from such leaders."

They just don't get it.

The proposal says that it is based on "sound biblical principles". If that is so, then why the need for this proposal. Wouldn't the Bible be sufficient. Evidently the Bible is not "sound" enough to accomplish what these men want to accomplish. Alot of the same old thing. Scripture used out of context to justify a practice. I must agree with BEG. "They just don't get it".

I thought there was some very good content in the proposal, especially the section on humility. I'm praying to approach this all in a humble way.

There's still tons of dancing around this issue of exclusivity. On one hand, "not the only Christians". On the other hand, strong opposition to actually admitting any one else may actually be saved by Christ's precious blood.

I'm all for maintaining some unity, but we'll be building relationships with other churches too - and that seems to be somewhat of a sticking point. What do you think?

Hey Mick, You're comment #1,000! Congrats, you've won, uh, well nothing. :-P But hey, I've got 1,000 comments!

Back to the proposal, I'm only about 3/4 of the way through it. I'm a slow reader and I'm taking a bunch of notes that I'll use for my discussion with the other leaders here.

So far, I'd agree that there is some very good content, and the section on humility stood out to me as well.

More later after I've read the whole thing.

I agree that humility is a good thing and should be strived for on a personal level and focused on at a teaching level. But, how can one say one is humble or wants to be humble and then have statements like those who became autonomous were prideful and because of that their people followed their example and left them. What about you? Nobody left the churches that didn't claim autonomy? My memory never was good but I don't remember any apology or recognition of things they did wrong in the unity letter or any other examples of humility. The ICOC was always good at making good sounding statements like "our books are always open" when in reality the culture persecuted those who questioned the books. Or saying we aren't the only Christians when in reality that is what was believed culturally.

I agree that the letter sounds good on one level but it's true spirit seems hidden in suttleties and how they dance around the issues. It seems to me the letter was written in kind of a if we could write a set a rules five or six years ago that would have protected us from what happened this is what we'd write.

The ICOC continues to throw away an amazing opportunity to be humble and holy by saying "we blew it this is what we did and allowed to happen. I am sorry and although Jesus is the only one who can truly heal our hearts I will do whatever I can to be like him and help. I am sorry that I ran from the cross and from my cross and succomed to my fear but now I pray that I can humbly lay myself down upon it and cling to it. I vow to specifically and publically apologize for every sin I can remember affects anyone other than myself and will use other mature Christians to determine whether the ones that I feel only affect me really do or may have affected others. I am scared now but I want to be like Jesus. I want to be open even to the pain I don't deserve. To forgive and not retaliate to surrender and cling to the hope that faith provides." But, you can't mandate someone to be humble.

Seems like some things never change...

Let me expound...

Self Proclaimed, exclusive religious organizations within themselves usually breed prideful leaders. There are countless examples. This is usually due to a hierarchy of leadership (not in the book of Acts; nor reinforced by the epistles, unless you look at Paul and the evangelist's responsibilities, and that is due to the unique requirements of an evangelist which is to develop church planting, growth, and unity by direct appointment of an apostle. There are no justifiable scriptures that define a hierarchy!) But yet, speculation and undeclared dogma penetrates and seeps into daily interpretations of scripture (although some feel lost without the mandated structure of the Coleman/McKean concept of Christianity, but sadly, learn to rely on said structure, therefore inhibiting their ability to grow in and gain mature faith). These structure hierarchies have no option but to develop a leadership position/s that is required to force the structure into stability. Predetermination of future faithfulness and humility is a risky business. In order for that to be self fulfilling, there would have to be an extreme amount of self inflicted control. Although the scripture says that the Word of God is useful for teaching, training, rebuking, and correcting in righteousness, and obedience (a love for God) to the scripture should be encouraged; but not forced by abusing a scripture like that 2 Timothy one, and emotionally, mentally, and spiritually manipulating weaker, damaged, or ignorant brothers and sisters into complying with that previously mentioned undeclared dogma. The need for a unity proclamation of any type is required in order to carry out an extra biblical institutionalized practice (with this I speak not only of the ICOC, but all Mainline churches of Christ, and Christian churches). Respect for the word as it stands alone MUST be any and all doctrinal requirements, nothing more. Of course, I haven't read the document yet, just going by the comments of others.

I read the Unity Proposal. I was going to email you directly, Doug, and you can remove this post if so desired. It looks like they are trying to retread the same old tire. I was with them for a little while, kind of, then they started talking about church organization and relationships. Why is there a need to have a formal organized document, or record, in order to maintain unity? The bible should be sufficient. I ask myself questions like, "Did the early church have such documentation; and if not, why?" Although communication today is a 1000% better than it was 2000 years ago, why do we still need formal structure? This formal structure is the only way to accommodate the flawed Coleman (Robert E. Coleman wrote a book called "The Master Plan of Evangelism" in which Kip McKean and others stake there fundamental understanding of scripture)/McKean dogma, and allow it to be effective. Other than going into why I think that this paradigm is flawed, I will instead just rely on scriptures like Matthew 8:12-13 which says:

"On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

I see this Unity Proposal, and I see the same old thing with new terminology attached to it. "Let's learn from the past, but not change the fundamental errors that lead us here in the first place." I see that there is a deep desire to maintain the same paradigm, and that there are many of those who are willing to dive back into it again. So instead of trying to bring aid to the "healthy", perhaps I shall look at the "sick" instead (on a personal note). It is just so very sad to me to see this group of loving, dedicated, passionate people, miss the elephant in the room.



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  • I read the Unity Proposal. I was going to email you directly, Doug, and you can remove this post if so desired. It looks like they are trying to retread the same old tire. I was with them for a little while, kind of, ...

    Paul Frederick
    Unity Proposal
  • I keep doing that!...

    Paul Frederick
    Unity Proposal
  • Let me expound... Self Proclaimed, exclusive religious organizations within themselves usually breed prideful leaders. There are countless examples. This is usually due to a hierarchy of leadership (not in the book of...

    Paul Frederick
    Unity Proposal
  • Seems like some things never change......

    Paul Frederick
    Unity Proposal
  • I agree that humility is a good thing and should be strived for on a personal level and focused on at a teaching level. But, how can one say one is humble or wants to be humble and then have statements like those who b...

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