REFLECTIONS
by Al Maxey

Issue #314 ------- August 29, 2007
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Out of opposition, a new birth.
Carl Jung {1875-1961}
Psychology of Transference

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A Disciple's Difficult Decision
Do I Shake Off the Dust and Leave, or
Do I Stay and Fight On for Change?

There is a wise old saying I learned many years ago that offers some food for thought -- "Some people reach the top of the ladder only to find it is leaning against the wrong wall." Some are so intent upon climbing the ladder of success that they take no note of where it leads. As a result, many succeed only to fail. In defense of such persons, however, let it be said that many honestly believed that their ladder was leaning against the right wall; that when they had successfully climbed each rung and arrived at the pinnacle, they would achieve what they had genuinely set out to realize. Thus, not only sadness, but oftentimes shock, awaits them at the top. I have known people, for example, who devoted years of their life to becoming school teachers, only to learn, when they had arrived at their goal, that teaching school was not for them. They had climbed their ladder successfully, but it was against the wrong wall.

This happens with respect to our educational goals, career choices, personal relationships, financial goals, and, yes, even in our spiritual quests. In life, some of our ladders are already placed against certain walls from the moment of our first breath. I was raised up in the Churches of Christ, for example, because that was the group with which my parents were affiliated. I climbed the ladder against that wall without question for many years. There came a point in my life when I questioned whether I wanted my spiritual ladder against that particular wall. Perhaps there were other walls more suited to my own spiritual journey. To make a long quest brief, my ladder is still against that wall, but it is there now by my own choice. I should also point out that along the way, in my journey through life, I have come to some rather significant spiritual perceptions about the nature of the ladder I climb and the wall against which it leans, perhaps the greatest of which is that my life and my personal worth are really not all about either of these two. One of the greatest dangers in life, and in our quest for eternal life, is that we can become so obsessed with the rungs of our own ladder, and so enamored by the wall right before our faces, that we lose sight of what truly constitutes our identity. It is not the ladder or the wall, but He who stands above both with outstretched arms to welcome us. I am of worth because I am His, not because my ladder is better than someone else's, or that I am higher on mine than they are on theirs, or that my wall is the "right" one and theirs is not.

All of this can be especially troubling to a disciple of Christ Jesus when it begins to become apparent that perhaps they have had their ladder placed against a wall that simply is not right for them. Each of us, as we grow and mature in Him, continually assess our goals, our efforts, our focus, our associations and our priorities. We make adjustments where needed; we change when necessary. When our sincere evaluation leads us to the determination that a major shift or transformation of life is required, this can be one of life's most traumatic moments of decision. It can also prove to be one of the most costly. In spite of all the talk about freedom and grace and love, the sad reality is that few look favorably upon those who choose to relocate their ladder! Even the apostle John, the disciple of love (as he is often characterized), sought to hinder another disciple simply because that man's ladder was propped against a different wall [Mark 9:38; Luke 9:49]. Let's face it, dear brethren, the power of "brand loyalty" is great ... even in religion. One questions and challenges it at one's own personal risk. Moving one's ladder to another wall will bring a flood of response, and some of it will not be positive. Those who are contemplating change must be prepared to pay the price ... and, sadly, many are not. As a result, they continue their climb up a wall they now know leads nowhere, and their frustration grows as they step up each new rung.

At some point in life, most all of us reach that critical point in our climb when we halt for a moment and reassess where we've been, where we are, and where we're going. Before we take that next step, we must come to a personal decision regarding the remainder of our journey. Some disciples come to this point sooner than others; some make their choice more easily than others; but, unless we're content to be blind followers, most do arrive at this moment of decision. Our own families, friends, traditions and faith-heritage play fairly significant roles in how easy or difficult this choice becomes for us, as do our own personal expectations, aspirations, perceptions and purposes in life. When this point of decision comes with respect to our spiritual journey and those with whom we choose to associate during that quest, it can be painful indeed. As a minister, for example, I have had to make the difficult decision several times over the past 30+ years as to when it was time for me to advance to the next phase of my work for the Lord. I have been richly blessed during this journey in that I have never been asked to leave by a congregation; the choice was always made because I felt God had new challenges ahead for me, and my family and I always moved on to the next work under very favorable and supportive circumstances. Nevertheless, these were painful decisions, as the people we were leaving behind were dearly loved by us (and still are). In Hawaii, for example (where I served for 6 years as minister of the Honolulu Church of Christ), a great many of the members came to the airport with us and loaded us down with flower leis as we boarded the jet for the mainland. There were many hugs and tears as my family and I transitioned to the next phase of our service to the Lord and His people. Yes, change has its price ... even under favorable circumstances.

Sadly, not every transition is as positive as that described above. For some disciples, leaving a congregation of believers with whom they may have associated for a number of years becomes a bitter, heart-wrenching experience. Perhaps they no longer share the same vision as their brethren in that location. Perhaps turmoil and conflict have arisen between them and their fellow disciples, with relationships growing increasingly distant and cold. Thus, a point will come, unless one is some sort of masochist, when a serious, reflective reassessment of one's associates on this journey of life will need to be made. In determining one's course for the immediate future, one will ask a series of pointed questions of oneself, chief among them being: Do I shake off the dust and leave, or do I stay and fight on for change? In other words, one must weigh in the balance: what is best for me and what is best for them? Is the choice wholly black and white, or are there acceptable shades of gray where the good of both may be achieved? How one answers will determine one's course of action ... and, indeed, one's future.

Recently, on the Internet group made up primarily of former and current members of the infamous Mars-List, which is known as At The Village Gate (a group started on January 5, 2007, consisting of about 137 members largely from the Non-Institutional Churches of Christ), one of the two owners raised a question that focused on the very concern mentioned above. This man, David Arnold, who is in his late 70's and serves as the minister of the Compton Road Church of Christ in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, wrote the following comment to his list members on Saturday, August 18, "I have been wondering why some folk stay in the local churches with which they have much difference" [message #756]. In other words, why haven't they reached that point of decision in their spiritual journey? Since these few disciples seem to be truly at variance with the spiritual personality and focus of the majority within their congregation, why haven't they considered moving their ladder? This is a legitimate question to which there may be any number of equally legitimate answers. Perhaps they haven't yet built up the courage necessary to move. Perhaps they have not yet reached the level of dissatisfaction that would dictate such a change. Perhaps they've even determined it would be better for them to remain and fight on for responsible change among their brethren. Perhaps they have family and loved ones there with whom they don't want to part fellowship. There may be any number of reasons. But, Arnold's question is one worthy of consideration.

Coming from an ultra-legalistic perspective, Arnold believes the reason some stay in "churches which ... are holding to the truth" is "in order to 'convert' those there to their own liberal philosophies ... changing those who are conservative in their faith and practice, who are seeking to follow the revealed will of God in the New Testament, so that they will accept the more liberal philosophies of those seeking change. ... Is it possible that such persons are simply 'stirring the pot' and striving to be the 'devil's advocate'?" [message #756]. Yes, such is possible. After all, Paul spoke of those who were preaching and teaching out of selfish ambition, envy, strife, pretense and impure motives [Philp. 1:15-18]. Some do indeed stay within a group with whom they differ solely to "stir the pot" in a negative sense. Others, however, may well be there to "stir the pot" with more positive goals in mind. If a congregation is becoming increasingly legalistic, or perhaps increasingly apathetic, some may choose to remain in order to promote a growing awareness of God's grace or to fan the flickering spark back to life within the dying embers. Therefore, there are clearly both pure and impure motives for remaining with a group of disciples with whom one may have significant differences (whether those remaining are "liberal" or "legalistic"). Jesus noted that there were a few people in Sardis who had not soiled their garments [Rev. 3:4]. One wonders why these disciples chose to remain. What was their motivation? After all, Sardis was in big trouble according to the Lord's evaluation of them. Why didn't these people get out? We may never know, but it is quite likely their presence may have been the only factor that kept the Lord from removing the lampstand of that congregation. Yes, there can indeed be positive reasons for remaining, one of which may be that the very survival of a group depends on you staying!

Brethren, there are real people out there hurting because of all the politics and power struggles being waged within congregations of the Lord's church. This is a pathetic state of affairs, and it is proving costly. Disciples are moving their ladders; they are finding new walls. And, frankly, can you blame them?! Many faithful, grace-centered, Christ-focused brethren are growing increasingly frustrated by the legalism they perceive within their groups (and, yes, the reverse is also true: many ultra-conservative, legalistic patternists are also growing increasingly frustrated by the "liberalism" they perceive within their congregations). Although they've sought to facilitate change in these areas, they are met by overwhelming opposition and castigation. At some point these disheartened disciples must make a decision: do I stay and fight on for change, or do I leave for the spiritual safety of my family and myself? A growing number are understandably choosing the latter. Brethren, let me share with you a heart-wrenching email I received just a few days ago, one which truly personalizes this difficult dilemma of disciples within the family of God. I'm withholding the identity and even the location of this brother for obvious reasons.

My heart truly goes out to this dear brother and his family. Increasingly, they were faced with the encroaching darkness of legalism, and it finally became more than they could bear. For their very spiritual survival, they made the decision to leave so as to find a more grace-centered fellowship. This exodus from religious rigidity is occurring more and more throughout Christendom, and it is especially being observed within the many legalistic factions of the Churches of Christ. Those who are more focused on a pattern than a Person are a dying breed, and, frankly, I thank God for that!! Their demise is long overdue! It is my fervent prayer that with each passing day the universal family of God will see an increasing number of liberated disciples; men and women and young people who have fled their bondage to enjoy freedom in Christ. Those of us who are already free in Him may hold high the beacon that lights the way out of the darkness, but it is truly almost impossible to force one to live free. That can only come when they themselves choose to be free. On September 22, 1936, in a speech delivered on the 74th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved." In other words, those in bondage must come to that point of decision previously discussed; they must make the conscious commitment: "I will be free, regardless of the cost." Only then will they have found the strength of conviction to move their ladder to a different wall. Our task is to light the way, lend a helping hand, and embrace them in love as they turn to the Light.

To the above brother and his dear family, who have recently left their bondage, and who are now experiencing the outpouring of hatred from those religionists they have left behind, I extend a sincere prayer to the Father that He will now pour out upon you an abundance of blessings. May you be comforted and encouraged in the journey ahead; may He lead you to a warm, loving, accepting fellowship of believers who will truly assist you in your journey to our eternal home. I am confident that at some point in the future, when the hurt has subsided, you will look back upon this decision to depart the darkness as one of the best you ever made. Don't let guilt or doubt hold you back, or cause you to hesitate. Step boldly into the glorious future our Father has in store for you. You are free ... live it. And share it with others. "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery" [Gal. 5:1].

Although many disciples, like the family above, choose to abandon congregations where Law reigns supreme rather than the Lord (and I certainly applaud those who make this decision for their spiritual well-being), nevertheless there are others who choose to remain among these deluded disciples in the hope of helping them to perceive the way of the Lord more perfectly. This ministry is not for everyone; it takes a very special person to remain where darkness reigns and proclaim the way to liberty. It is dangerous work and can prove personally costly. These men and women will sacrifice much for the sake of their beloved brethren in bondage. The disappointments will be many and the victories few, but they are more than aware that each soul is precious, and if they are able to lead only a few to safety, these few rescued souls are people who would likely have perished had not these brave liberators devoted themselves to staying among them "behind enemy lines." I firmly believe God has a special reward for such persons who stay behind to point the way forward. These are the special forces in the army of the Lord. They are heroes!!

Some of these heroes are battle scarred; they bear the wounds of their spiritual conflict. After detailing the nature of the battle against legalism, and his tireless battle for freedom, Paul ends the book of Galatians with this observation: "I bear on my body the marks of the Lord Jesus" [Gal. 6:17]. Paul wore these battle scars proudly, for they were acquired in service to his Lord. This evening, as I was penning these very thoughts, I received a telephone call from a dear friend who preaches in the beautiful state of Arizona. I have known this brother for many years, and for several of those years he served with me as my associate minister. I love and respect him with all my heart, and he is truly a bold defender of freedom in Christ Jesus. The congregation at which he was serving, in spite of his best efforts, was being victimized by a particular person hungry for power. In the end, my dear brother's effort to preach grace cost him his job. He, like the apostle Paul, now bears the marks of Christ. He, like Paul, is a hero of faith. He was willing to stay and fight, and for his commitment to the cause of Christ his reward on that day will be great. Keep this family in your prayers, brethren, that God may open a door for further ministry to them in the days, weeks and months ahead. They are hurting, and they need your prayerful support. In an email to me later, in which he reviewed in quite some detail the specifics of his struggle at that congregation with this individual, he wrote, "Dear Al, It was so good visiting with you on the phone. If ever I need to vent, I know I can count on your loving encouragement and support. I feel an injustice has been done to my family and me, however I cling to the words of James who said, 'Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.' Al, you may use any of this in your Reflections if it will be helpful to others. Please pray for me and my family as we strive to serve Him in another place." I had informed this brother of the nature of the current issue of Reflections, and he was willing for his pain to be shared if it would help another face the challenges of service to our King. He is a brave soul, and although he has been dealt a severe blow, he is more than willing to stand back up and return to the front lines to continue the "good fight" of faith. May God bless him and his family!!

Brethren, each day you and I face countless challenges to our commitment. Each day we face new moments of decision as to what our attitudes and actions will be. With each new day comes new choices. Do I remain or do I leave? Do I press the battle to the enemy or do I fall back and regroup? There is no answer that can easily be applied to all people and all circumstances uniformly. We must each assess the situation on its own merits, and then, with the aid of the Spirit who indwells us, make the decision that accomplishes the most good for the most concerned. At times this will mean moving on; at times it will mean fighting on. It will always mean relying on the strength and wisdom of the Lord. He will never desert you. Never fear the pathway that lies ahead, no matter how fearsome that pathway may appear ... He has walked it ahead of you, and He will bring you safely through. May each of you be richly blessed in your spiritual climb toward the pinnacle where Father and Son await to embrace each Spirit-filled, Spirit-led disciple. See you at the top!!

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Readers' Reflections

From a Reader in Texas:

Brother Al, We just returned from our two week vacation in Colorado this past week, and I could hardly wait to read your articles that I had missed. I always love your quotes at the beginning of your articles, and I find my spirit stimulated by your approach to your subjects. You continually manage to demonstrate the absurdity of the legalistic mindset by your logical, intelligent and spiritual debate with these people. I pray that you will be in good health and have a long life so that you may continue to keep those of us spiritually alive who love your writings. God's blessings to you!!

From a Minister in Arkansas:

Brother Al, "Odd Paths Advocate" is an interesting choice of words. You might be interested in one sister's description of this publication -- she calls it the "Old Pharisees Association" [OPA]. As you can imagine, that characterization was not well-received by them. Alan Bonifay (the one who wrote about the refilled cup "heresy") is certainly an "Old Pharisee." I haven't been around Alan in about twenty years now, but back then he fancied himself as quite an accomplished scholar. In the view of most, however, he was mediocre at best. It doesn't look like he has improved much over the past twenty years (maybe he's even slid backward on the scholarship scale). Back when I first met Bonifay, about thirty-five years ago, he was jokingly called "Pope Boniface." It seems this was a rather prophetic metaphor in view of his present actions.

From a Reader in Nevada:

Dear Bro. Al, Your last Reflections regarding the OPA folks is a terrific piece. However, as a One Cup member who refuses to fall under the entanglements of legalism, let me say that there are many, many good folk in the One Cup brotherhood. It is my wish that they would step forward and silence people like Bonifay, and others like him. But, as in so many instances, the good folk sit silently by and allow the ugly to raise their heads and voices and take control of the brotherhood. I realize, of course, that you are very aware of the many good folk in this brotherhood. This brotherhood needs one good inspired and godly man to step forward without fear of the loudmouths in this brotherhood and put forward the paths of God rather than the paths of Satan. By the way, Alan Bonifay is known in the One Cup brotherhood as "The Little Sheriff." Brother Al, never take me off your mailing list for Reflections!!

From a Minister in Texas:

Brother Al, I am a minister in the One Cup fellowship. While I agree with your assessment of Alan Bonifay's editorial, I do not want your readers to conclude that either Alan or the OPA reflect the reasoning and spirit of the One Cup fellowship. It is truly unfortunate that the journal long-hailed as the voice of our brotherhood is controlled by the most narrow-minded among us! Brother Al, please be assured that there are many Christ-centered, Spirit-filled souls who reason soundly and love broadly. Most of us ignore the OPA and its editors as we worship and serve in our local communities. Jesus' harshest words were for the Pharisees in Israel, and He never, "for the sake of peace," conformed to their traditional laws; rather, He confronted them openly. Like you, I believe our response should be the same as our Lord's when it comes to the Pharisees among us. A brother recently noted that there were about 6000 Pharisees in Jesus' day, and there have been at least that many in every generation since. While sometimes embarrassed for/by my narrow-minded brethren, I also rejoice to see the Lord working powerfully to change the hearts of many people within this fellowship. May God bless more and more of us with open minds and gracious hearts! Grace and peace to you, brother.

From a Minister in Kansas:

Brother Al, One Cup man here. I've just finished reading your latest Reflections on the "refilled cup," and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I knew that the "OPA Hounds" would soon be snapping at your heels as you have long been sharing the reflections of your many One Cup readers (in the Readers' Reflections section) with the Reflections family. I appreciate so very much you letting the brotherhood know that not all One Cup brethren are cut from the same cloth. I know many One Cup brethren who do not receive the Old Paths Advocate; it is viewed as nothing more than a rag sheet used by a few to control One Cup congregations. Although the OPA power brokers preach long and hard about congregational autonomy, they will not allow it to be practiced. Free thinking people are a danger to their control over local churches and their view of what these congregations "should believe." It is my personal view that these men are divisive, and that they should be marked as per Romans 16:17-18 and Titus 3:9-10.

The view espoused by Alan Bonifay (spill the cup and you must start over) is not a view held by any of the brethren I know! The elder he attacks sounds like a reasonable brother looking out for the flock entrusted to him. There is NO basis in Scripture for the practice advocated by Alan. Accidents happen, and I'm sure the Lord is well aware of that, and that each congregation needs to handle such situations as they see fit. Bro. Al, I seriously doubt that you will ever hear from Billy Dickinson or Alan Bonifay with respect to the things they had to say in the Old Paths Advocate. It is easy to write negative things about others when you NEVER intend to answer any questions they might ask of you. Billy Dickinson should be ashamed for attacking you when all he had to do was call you or email you with his concerns. Unity in diversity is the ONLY type of unity brethren can have!! As a matter of fact, I learned about unity in diversity from the OPA power brokers! These men hold many diverse views on many Bible subjects, yet they have no problem working with one another within their little circle. However, they do not allow this practice of diversity outside their own circle. All brethren who take the OPA approach to the treatment of their fellow disciples should be ashamed of themselves!! May God give us the decency to discuss our differences without trying to destroy one another! God bless all who seek UNITY!!

From a Minister in [Unknown]:

Bro. Al, Thanks so much for exposing the flawed logic and legalism displayed by the OPA. The OPA is a great example of the power an extremist faction can hold when few are willing or able to effectively oppose their positions and leaders. Fortunately, you are correct: the tide is slowly, but very surely, by the grace of God, changing among us within the One Cup movement. Not surprisingly, I have also heard lessons about what to do when the "one loaf" breaks apart during the "pinch by pinch" passing -- one must only partake of the larger portion!! To provide some clarity about Billy Dickinson and his brother, Jerry -- these two grew up in the "digressive" church, and when just children their parents were "shown the truth." In fact, several of our preachers grew up in "digressive" congregations. Since they already knew about Jesus, the only message they felt they were left to preach (that is unique to the One Cup church) was about our legalistic issues -- one cup, no Sunday school, hair trimming, pants wearing, anti-institutional, anti-Christmas, anti-Easter, etc., etc., etc. Trust me, Al, there are enough "anti" positions for sermons every Sunday of the year! Thank God, however, when these men do get around to preaching Christ crucified, they do a wonderful job, and so we can only continue to encourage them to do that. Thanks again, Al, and please keep up the great work you are doing. May God's grace set us all free!!

From a Reader in [Unknown]:

Bro. Al, After reading the editorial by Alan Bonifay on the sin of refilling the cup, I wanted to do nothing more than go wash myself. I am ashamed that he is hiding behind the name "Christian." I shudder to think that there are people like him in the church who are wasting their precious time deliberating such things. Think of how many people he could have uplifted in that same amount of time he wasted berating this elder for simply using common sense. It is almost unbearable! And yet, I'm sure that if we stood in front of him and asked him questions, he would just dismiss us as heretics. When backed into a corner, his type won't answer, nor will they listen with an open mind. They just gloat with the surety that they are more righteous than you!

From a One Cup Minister/Author in California:

Dear Brother Maxey, I am glad that someone besides me has finally had the courage to speak out against that gang of deceivers at the Old Paths Advocate. I fully expect to see a mass exodus of people from that legalistic herd if the head boys don't soon wake up and smell the roses. God have mercy!! May He bless you, Bro. Maxey.

From a Liberated One Cup Minister in Missouri:

Brother Al, I didn't put this issue of Reflections down until I had read everything in it!! I am so thankful that you are responding to the teachings of the Old Paths Advocate. I really hope that they will take you up on your challenge to engage them in a productive soul-saving study of God's Word, and that they will print this exchange in their publication. We have needed this for a long time. As was said of Esther: who knows but what God has raised you up for just such a time as this. Thank God for Al Maxey!! Brother, I have sent this issue of Reflections to about 20 people so far.

From an Elder in Missouri:

Bro. Al, These misled brethren once again miss the point. The container is not of any concern, but rather the contents. Where on earth did this one cup fallacy come from anyway?! Whether one cup or many is truly a matter of personal judgment, and it should never be bound on anyone. Why can't they read Romans 14 and 15 with discernment? Oh well, I know that these attacks against you must wear on you. However, keep up the good work and don't let these nay-sayers get you down! I am so glad you are sharing your reflections with us all, as well as the thoughts of your readers from around the world. The Lord's Body needs good writers and thought-challenging material so it can grow and continue to be relevant in this changing world of ours. The nature of the Internet will assure that your Reflections will be "floating around" for a very long time!! Again, keep up the good work, and may the Lord continue to bless you and yours and your work.

From a Minister in Tennessee:

Brother Al, I just read about the One Cup brother's arguments on restarting everything in the Lord's Supper if the cup was spilled or ran out. Humorous, but sad. Of course, Alan Bonifay's operative theory, one held dearly by many in the Churches of Christ, is the nonsensical "silence" doctrine. His ramifications show the error of this doctrine and its utter stupidity. It leads to the type of law-making that he pontificated about in his editorial. Ahhh, the silliness that is far too often our "gospel."

From a Minister in South Carolina:

Dear Bro. Al, I loved your discussion about refilling the one cup. Thank you for the work you do through your weekly Reflections. I just returned from a two week mission trip to South America. The small congregation in the jungle had been given communion trays and disposable cups. These "disposable" plastic cups were washed and re-used each week, but their number had dwindled through breakage. They were forced to refill these individual cups twice during the Lord's Supper to serve the whole congregation. Rather than making this a doctrinal or salvation issue, they simply did what was necessary to serve everyone. Starting the whole thing over never entered their minds! By the way, bottled grape juice is difficult to find in the jungle. Without refrigeration, it is also impossible to keep from week to week once opened. Sometimes they rehydrate raisins to make the juice for the Lord's Supper. When bottled juice or raisins are lacking, the congregation improvises with fresh squeezed juice from passion fruit. On that particular Lord's Day, "passion fruit" took on a whole new meaning for me!!

From an Officer on a Navy Ship at Sea:

Ahoy Brother Al, The attacks on your person no longer really surprise me; I never cease to be amazed by them, but am no longer surprised. However, the anti-refill doctrine has me scratching my head. I would say that the "logic" of these legalists boggles my mind, but with what I have seen since being onboard this ship, I do not think anything can boggle my mind anymore, brother! I know that I have not written much lately, but I want you to know that I very much appreciate the effort you put forth each week. Your writings are an encouragement to me "above and beyond," brother. Thank you. Stay strong, and keep on keepin' on! You are always in my prayers.

From a Ministry Leader in California:

Brother Al, I think the most dismaying aspect of this doctrine is the abject fear that those who practice it must live in. It saddens me beyond description to think of the horror a person might have if he or she happened to be the hapless individual who spilled the cup! There is one thing that I do not believe they ever need to fear, however. And that is: if they continue down this road of bizarre doctrine, running out of the fruit of the vine will not be a problem for them, because the number of individuals partaking will continue to dwindle.

From a Minister in Oregon:

Dear Bro. Al, I just picked myself up off the floor after reading your last Reflections. It appears there are some real "wackos" out there who actually think they are teaching Truth. I truly feel sorry for the folks who've been duped into believing these men. Thanks for straining at gnats, Mr. Bonifay and Mr. Dickinson -- I haven't laughed this hard in a long time!! Brother Al, I pray that you will continue to expose the writings of these nuts. You are doing a great job in helping those in the One Cup and Non-Institutional factions to break their bonds and chains of legalism. I continue to appreciate your Reflections each week.

From a Reader in [Unknown]:

Brother Al, How big of a cup did the apostles use when there were 3000 Christians gathered on the first day of the week after the day of Pentecost?!! I wonder if there would have been a cup big enough to take care of that crowd!!

From a Reader in Texas:

Brother Al, When I read such nonsense, like that put out by these One Cup leaders, I am reminded again about some of the main points my uncle made years ago, when I was just a teenager, when he taught me the gospel. He had left another religious group years before, and was truly a wise old elder. I well-remember some of his words of sound advice. One was: "Don't become Church-of-Christified." Another was: "You will be surprised when you realize that some people would rather believe anything than believe the Bible." I have a question for Alan Bonifay: "How large was that cup in Jerusalem? Large enough for thousands?" What nonsense! God help us!

From a Minister in Arkansas:

Bro. Al, Thanks for being our "poster child." Keep up the good work of challenging both biblical research and tradition. I admire the time and diligence you expend to cause us to think and grow.

From a Reader in New Jersey:

Bro. Al, Blessings to you and your ministry. Thank you for being such a voice of reason in the Kingdom. Your Reflections these past few years have been such an encouragement to me, and also to many others.

From a Reader in Texas:

Dear Brother in Christ Al Maxey, I am a voracious reader of your excellent Reflections articles, and I heartily agree with the conclusions you reach from your in-depth studies of the Scriptures: God's Holy Word! Article after article brings one to the very brink of seeing the problem within the precious brotherhood, and so close to the simple and very obvious solution and cure for the many divisions and contentions that rage and abound among God's elect! These divisions should not be! Christ Himself prayed that we be one as He and His Father are one! Keep up the good work, Bro. Al, and may His blessings rest upon you!

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