by Al Maxey

Issue #331 ------- January 11, 2008
When sorrows come, they come
not single spies, but in battalions.

William Shakespeare {1564-1616}

Horatio G. Spafford, Jr.
"It Is Well With My Soul"

It Is Well With My Soul is easily one of the most beautiful, comforting and enduring of all Christian hymns ever penned. It is an expression of faith and trust in one's God in spite of the raging storms that threaten to overwhelm us. It is an expression of unwavering hope in the face of almost unimaginable grief. It is a hymn we have all sung countless times, yet few may know the trauma behind the writing of these words. They come from a man of God who had just experienced losses hard for most of us to truly comprehend, and who nevertheless maintained a deep love for the Lord. In the words of one biographer, "This hymn reveals a person who had been graced by God to mourn without bitterness, to sorrow without anger, to trust without resentment, and to rest in the peace of Christ which surpasses every man's understanding. The remarkable faith exhibited by the author of this timeless hymn is the same precious faith that is allotted to all believers, one which enables them to believe steadfastly, as the author did, that all things work together for good to those who love our God, and to those who are called according to His purpose." Let me introduce you to this amazing man and his family, and share with you the events that led up to, and also followed, the penning of the immortal words to the hymn "It Is Well With My Soul." It's an inspiring story of faith, courage and conviction that you will not soon forget.

Horatio Gates Spafford, Jr. was born on October 20, 1828 in Lansingburgh (later known as Troy), New York. His father, Horatio G. Spafford, Sr., was a most remarkable man, one who had risen to some prominence in the federal government, as well as being an inventor, author, editor and entrepreneur. He corresponded regularly with such famed American leaders as John Adams, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. At least one letter that Jefferson wrote to Spafford is still extant, and is in the National Archives. It was written from Monticello and was dated May 14, 1809. The elder Horatio Spafford also invented and developed what has come to be known as the Bessemer process for steelmaking. Thus, the young Horatio was brought up in a very well-to-do and politically prominent family in New York. As a result, he was blessed with a good education. He became a lawyer, was admitted to the Bar, and then decided to relocate to the windy city of Chicago in 1856 to practice law. He became a partner in the firm "Spafford, McDaid and Wilson," whose offices were located in the Republic Life Building on LaSalle Street. Spafford specialized in medical jurisprudence. He also invested his money quite wisely in real estate, in the area now known as "The Loop" -- which is the city center. Thus, Spafford became quite wealthy.

The young Horatio Spafford was not just well-versed in secular law, however. He also had a great love and appreciation for the Law of God. He was a devoted student of the inspired Word, and regularly taught Sunday School classes (he especially enjoyed teaching the young people). In time, he would become one of the elders (presbyters) of the Fullerton Avenue Presbyterian Church in Chicago. He also was very involved with the ministries of several of the noted evangelists of his day, especially with Dwight L. Moody. The two would become extremely close friends. While teaching Bible class, his attention was drawn to a beautiful young Norwegian girl, Anna Tuben Larssen (the family later changed their name to Lawson), who was fourteen years younger than he. She was born on March 16, 1842 and had immigrated to America with her parents when she was only four years old. Realizing how improper it would be for him to show romantic interest in one so young, he instead offered to pay her way through a finishing school until she reached "marriageable age." This wedding occurred in 1861 (he was 33; she was 19), after which they moved into their new home, known as "Lake View," which was located on 12 acres north of Chicago. This property was valued at $38,000 in the year 1870 (obviously worth considerably more by today's reckoning). They also had a French governess for their children, a young woman named Emma Lorriaux.

Over the next decade (1861 to 1871) the Spaffords devoted themselves to numerous causes for the public good. Not only were they involved in the work of their church, but they became increasingly involved in supporting several great evangelists. They provided their home as a meeting place for several movements of which they were supportive. For example, they were very active in the abolitionist crusade and supported the National Women's Christian Temperance Union. They were also busy raising a family, and were blessed with four young daughters: Annie, Maggie, Bessie and Tanetta. Everything seemed to be going Spafford's way. He was well-educated, prosperous, had a wonderful family, and they were active in the work of the Lord. The very first line of the hymn he would later write depicted very well his present reality -- "When peace like a river attendeth my way." Spafford's life had been richly blessed. All of this was about to change, however. Like Job, there would soon be unleashed upon this good man and his family almost unbelievable tragedy. Would his faith survive such an assault? That is a question we must each ask ourselves as we daily face the "flaming missiles of the evil one" [Eph. 6:16], sent by a vicious enemy who seeks to devour us [1 Pet. 5:8].

The first significant test of Horatio Spafford's faith arrived in October of 1871. It would come in the form of a conflagration known as The Great Chicago Fire. "The fire started at about 9 p.m. on Sunday, October 8, in or around a small shed that bordered the alley behind 137 DeKoven Street. The traditional account of the origin of this great fire is that it was started by a cow kicking over a lantern in the barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O'Leary. Michael Ahern, the Chicago Republican reporter who created the cow story, admitted in 1893 that he had made it up because he thought that it would make colorful copy. The fire's spread was aided by the city's overuse of wood for building, strong northwesterly winds, and a drought before the fire. Chicago's fire department had also made the fatal error of not reacting soon enough to the alarm" [from Wikipedia]. The result was that hundreds of lives were lost and over four square miles of the downtown area were destroyed. Some estimates declare that close to 90,000 people were left homeless. It was considered one of the largest U.S. disasters of the 19th century.

As was previously noted, Spafford had invested heavily in real estate in the downtown area of Chicago. Thus, during the two days the fires raged through the city, Horatio Spafford literally watched his fortune go up in smoke! Although his home, being north of the city, and his family all survived, his financial fortunes had taken a tremendous blow. Rather than despairing, however, Horatio and his family spent the next two years helping the people affected by the fire to put their lives back together. They used what resources God had left them to assist the homeless, feed the hungry, and comfort the grief-stricken. The Spaffords used this great tragedy as an opportunity to show the love of the Lord to others. Rather than feeling sorry for themselves, they reached out to others. Rather than hoarding what they had left, they shared it with those who had nothing. Their finances may have suffered loss, but their faith did not!

After almost two years of such benevolent efforts among the afflicted of Chicago, Spafford decided it was time to take his weary family away for a much needed rest. Indeed, his family physician recommended such action, as the strain of the past couple of years was affecting his wife's health. They planned to meet up with evangelist Dwight L. Moody [1837-1899] and the great American singer and hymnist Ira Sankey [1840-1908] in England to help with one of their evangelistic crusades, and then afterward to travel some in Europe. Horatio, his wife, and the four daughters traveled to New York to board the ship to Europe. Several others traveled with them, including the French governess and five ministers who were returning to Europe following a conference in America. At the last minute, a business obligation prevented Horatio from making the voyage, forcing him to return to Chicago (a prospective buyer had suddenly died). Nevertheless, the family decided to go on ahead and he would join them later. One of the ministers traveling with the Spafford family promised Horatio that he would look after Anna and the four girls. Thus, they boarded the French steamship Ville du Havre, along with 307 other passengers and crew, while Horatio Spafford returned to Chicago.

At approximately 2:00 a.m. on November 22, 1873, in the eastern part of the North Atlantic, the passengers were jolted out of their sleep by what sounded like two loud claps of thunder. Making their way up to the main deck from the berthing compartments below, the stunned passengers discovered their ship had been rammed by the Irish cargo vessel Loch Earn, tearing the Ville du Havre almost in half. The passengers huddled in small groups as the crew struggled to launch the lifeboats. Only a few were able to be launched, and they were later found to be filled largely with the French crewmembers, rather than with any of the passengers. The Ville du Havre sank to the bottom of the sea in a mere 12 minutes. According to the Christian History Institute, "Anna Spafford and her daughters were seen huddled in one loving cluster, their governess and the ministers nearby. Little Maggie Spafford assured her mother, 'Mama, God will take care of us.' Annie, the oldest of the girls, had seen her mother straining to hold up baby Tanetta, and came to help. She provided re-enforcement to her mother's arms before offering her own consolation: 'Don't be afraid. The sea is His and He made it.' Young Bessie was silent and pale as she clung to her mother's knees." Then, in a terrifying moment, the sea swept over the ship as it sank, casting the passengers into the cold, dark waters of the North Atlantic. Note the following account, again from the archives of the Christian History Institute:

In the darkness of the Northern Atlantic, 226 people perished in the sea when the Ville du Havre sank, including all four daughters of Horatio and Anna Spafford. The bodies of Annie (11), Maggie (9), Bessie (7) and Tanetta (2) were never found. Anna and her governess, however, survived. The vessel that had rammed their ship, even though badly damaged itself, picked up the survivors. The following day, the U.S. ship Tremontain reached the scene and transferred the survivors from the disabled Loch Earn. It then carried them to Wales, docking at Cardiff. From this location, on December 1, 1873, Anna Spafford sent the following brief cable to her husband in the city of Chicago: "Saved alone. What shall I do. Mrs. Goodwin children Willie Culver lost. Go with Lorriaux until answer. Reply Porclain 64 Rue Abouckir Paris." Having received this terrible news, Spafford immediately left on the next available ship to join his wife. A fellow survivor of the sinking, Pastor Nathaniel Weiss (one of the five ministers who had sailed from New York with Anna and the four girls), recalled Anna stating, after the rescue, "God gave me four daughters. Now they have been taken from me. Someday I will understand why." She would later tell friends that her first reaction was one of utter despair. Indeed, it is reported the other survivors looked after her on the way to Wales as they feared she might take her life. However, at a point Anna Spafford said a voice spoke softly to her soul, saying, "You were spared for a purpose!" She then remembered the words of a friend, "It's easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God."

According to Bertha Spafford (a fifth daughter born to Horatio and Anna a few years later), the captain of the ship that was carrying her father to Europe to meet up with her mother called Spafford to the bridge, informing him: "A careful reckoning has been made, and I believe we are now passing the place where the Ville du Havre was wrecked. The water is three miles deep." Bertha recounts that her father, that night in his cabin, wrote the words to the hymn "It Is Well With My Soul," a hymn that one historian called, "The most widely used hymn of consolation in modern Christianity." Shortly thereafter, Horatio Spafford wrote to Rachel, his wife's half-sister, "On Thursday last we passed over the spot where she went down, in mid-ocean, the waters three miles deep. But I do not think of our dear ones there. They are safe, folded, the dear lambs." Ira D. Sankey gives a completely different version of the penning of this poem, saying that Horatio Spafford didn't write the words to this hymn until 1876, and that he wrote them during a period of time when Sankey was visiting with the family. Although there is some debate over when and where it was actually written, I personally tend to favor the account that comes from his own daughter, Bertha. It just seems to me that she would have been in a better position to know the truth of the matter, as she undoubtedly had heard the account a great many times from the lips of her own father and mother.

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
"It is well, it is well with my soul!"

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin -- oh, the bliss of this glorious thought --
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to His Cross, and I bear it no more;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend;
"Even so, it is well with my soul!"

What may have confused Sankey somewhat is that the music for this poem was not composed until 1876. The tune was written by Philip P. Bliss -- Reflections #283 -- and he gave it the title "Ville du Havre" (naming the composition after the ship that went down with Spafford's four daughters). This beloved hymn was first sung in public by P. P. Bliss himself on November 24, 1876 before a large gathering of ministers hosted by D. L. Moody in Chicago's Farwell Hall. This was just three years after the tragic ship wreck, and, ironically, just one month before Bliss and his wife perished in a horrible train wreck. The words written by Spafford -- "It is well with my soul" -- bring to mind (and, certainly, Spafford must have been aware of them at the time) the loss of the unnamed Shunammite woman's only son, who was later raised from the dead by the prophet Elisha. Her famous words of faith, "It is well" [2 Kings 4:26] will long be remembered. Without doubt, they are echoed in the hymn by Horatio Spafford.

Following his reunion with his wife in Europe, Horatio and Anna returned to Chicago to resume their lives together. They would have three more children together. In 1876 they had a son, whom they named Horatio. Two years later, on March 24, 1878, their daughter Bertha (mentioned above) was born. Sadly, however, their little boy died of scarlet fever at the age of only four. Thus, yet another tragedy had befallen this family. About that same time, though, another daughter was born to them (in 1880), and they named her Grace. It was at this time that Horatio Spafford decided to make a major change in his life. He and his family decided to leave America and resettle to the Holy Land. In a letter to a friend, Horatio wrote, "Jerusalem is where my Lord lived, suffered and conquered, and I, too, wish to learn how to live, suffer and, especially, to conquer." Thus, in September, 1881, this family and a few friends immigrated to Israel, settled in a house in the old part of the city of Jerusalem, and established what later came to be known as the "American Colony." Their mission was simply to show the love of Jesus in their daily living to those about them by serving the needs of the poor, afflicted and outcast. This colony of Christians would later become the subject of the two volume Nobel prize winning work for literature "Jerusalem," written by Swedish novelist Selma Lagerlöf.

One Christian historian wrote, "Moved by a series of profound tragic losses, Chicago natives Anna and Horatio Spafford led a small American contingent in 1881 to Jerusalem to form a Christian utopian society known as the 'American Colony.' Colony members, later joined by Swedish Christians, engaged in philanthropic work among the people of Jerusalem regardless of their religious affiliation and without proselytizing motives -- thereby gaining the trust of local Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities. During and immediately after World War I, the American Colony played a critical role in supporting these communities through all the great suffering and deprivations of the eastern front by running soup kitchens, hospitals, orphanages and other charitable ventures." That work has been continued to this very day, and the Spafford Children's Center is still a very active regional outreach to both Jews and Arabs in the city of Jerusalem. It is also still being run by the descendants of Horatio and Anna Spafford, who care for over 30,000 needy children each year. On their Internet site the members of this family write, "Spafford Children's Center is a private, non-sectarian outreach ... still managed by members of the same family, who settled in Jerusalem more than a century ago. Through four changes of government, through wars and upheavals, we have held fast to our commitment to the children of greater Jerusalem." Horatio and Anna may have lost five of their own children in tragic circumstances, but their love for the Lord and others motivated them to turn that suffering into ministry unto tens of thousands of children in need. They rose above their personal suffering and brought the comfort of Christ to others who were afflicted.

In 1904, Bertha Spafford married Frederick Vester, and they had six children together (the oldest of whom was a son they named Horatio, who would later serve as the head of this outreach ministry until just a few years ago). In 1950, Bertha wrote the book "Our Jerusalem," with the foreword written by the famed radio broadcaster Lowell Thomas. Horatio and Anna Spafford, through their descendants and their sacrificial work and their great faith, have left a mark upon the world. They have struck a chord for peace in a very troubled part of the world, and that sound rings out clearly to this day. Horatio G. Spafford died of malaria in the year 1888 and is buried in Jerusalem. Anna Spafford continued their work in Jerusalem and its environs until her own death in 1923. Looking back on their remarkable lives, and treasuring their victory of faith over all Satan was able to throw their way, I think we can safely say of them -- It is well with their souls!!

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Readers' Reflections

You Ain't Gonna Believe This!! -- On November 9, 2007 I sent out Reflections #325 -- An Attitude of Gratitude: Reflective Study of Col. 3:17 -- in which (in paragraph seven) I mentioned, by way of a singular example, the teaching of Brian Yeager, a minister of a Non-Institutional Church of Christ in El Paso, Texas. I think that paragraph contained maybe a dozen sentences. I have just been informed that Brian Yeager, on the following Sunday morning (Nov. 11, 2007), preached a sermon to his congregation in response to that paragraph. The sermon, which lasted 1 hour, 48 minutes, was titled "Guilty (Partially), Just As Al Maxey Charged." He has placed an audio of that entire sermon on the Internet, and it may be listened to by Clicking Here. It is an almost unbelievable tirade, and he even goes so far as to refer to me in his sermon as "Al Maxi-Pads" (a reference to a feminine hygiene product). This just gives you some idea of the depths of depravity to which such hardened, militant legalists have sunk. Anyway, I thought I would provide the link for those who might have the stomach to listen to such ranting for almost two hours. --- Al Maxey

From an Elder in Texas:

Dear Bro. Al, I just this past evening finished reading your book Down, But Not Out. It is a wonderful teaching on God's grace and forgiveness. I will be ordering more copies to distribute to others this coming week. We're presently facing a probable congregational split here because there are a few among us who insist that we must all believe everything exactly alike, and MDR is one of their main issues. Thanks for your help in clarifying this issue.

From a Reader in Florida:

Brother Al, I hope you had a great holiday! I am dropping this note to say that your 2007 PowerPoint Sermons CD that I ordered has arrived, and it is a HUGE treat!! This is so GREAT!! I am a sexist female pig, I guess, cause I just have to ask -- did your wife help design some of the slides? I simply can't imagine a male putting together some of these pretty, sweet, warm and sensitive slides!!! These presentations are ALL so VERY well done, and they have a "flare" that makes it a genuine pleasure to look through them. Thank you again for the gift of these PowerPoint sermons!!

From a New Reader in Kentucky:

Brother Al, My younger brother, who lives in California, just sent me your new article titled "The One Cup Fellowship." He also sent me another of your articles from a couple of months ago. I'm anxious to be added to your mailing list at both my home and work addresses. I will also be sending you a check for your 2007 PowerPoint Sermons CD. I have been contemplating the use of PowerPoint for some time now in my own sermons, and this seems like an excellent opportunity to see how someone else has used it as a preaching/teaching resource. Brother Al, it would be wonderful to have fellowship with others who have come out of the Pharisaic ways of the legalists. My brothers and I grew up in the One Cup, Non-Instrumental, Salute with a Holy Kiss Churches of Christ, and each of us are now ministers. I now pastor a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ; the oldest African-American Disciples' congregation -- dating to 1832), two brothers have congregations called Church of Christ Christian Ministries (they use communion sets and instruments -- one of them also has a single cup on the Table for those who may desire it), and the fourth brother preaches for a One Cup only congregation. We all are in fellowship, however, and believe that we each are serving our Lord, in spite of our differences. Please keep me in prayer, as I will pray for you and for the unity of all those who love the Lord and His appearing.

From a New Reader in Oregon:

Dear Bro. Al, I found your web site while researching Google results for "Church of Christ hermeneutics," of all things! You disagree with CENI, and I agree with you ... because inference is never enough to create binding doctrine! Your articles are very interesting, well thought out, and insightful. Please subscribe me to your weekly Reflections! I grew up in a congregation that was so legalistic that it almost drove me out of my mind. I ran from God until I was 44 years old, at which time I experienced my first heart attack. That woke me up. But, I soon felt well again and forgot God once more, conveniently ignoring His call because I was afraid to go back to that legalistic hell. It wasn't until I realized that God is LOVE, and that Jesus died for me because I could never be good enough on my own to merit life forever with God, that He saved me through faith in His Son, and I was baptized ASAP (in January, 2007). I now care for nothing but Truth, and have no use for the traditions of men. Thanks again for your insightful work. May God bless you!

From a Minister in the Philippine Islands:

Dear Bro. Al, It's just three hours to go before midnight here. As I look back on this fading year, I couldn't help being brought to tears when remembering people like you who have been so greatly helpful in my spiritual walk. Thank you for blessing my family and me with your fine writings! Thank you also for taking the time to respond to my emails, despite your busy schedule. Maraming, maraming salamat sa lahat-lahat ("Thanks for everything"). May God bless you, my beloved brother. I remain forever grateful. Happy New Year!

From a Reader in California:

Dear Bro. Al, I have been a Church of Christ member for over 50 years. I had a very legalistic upbringing, but have matured in God's grace over the years. You are partially responsible for my growth! Thank you, and may God bless you and your ministry! You will never know (in this life, anyway) just how much good you have accomplished. THANK YOU.

From a Reader in Texas:

Brother Al ... Wow!! You hit another home run with that wonderful article on the One Cup fellowship. I'm from a background that uses multiple cups, but I totally agree with your assessment of the "one cup" idea, and also agree with you that they are our brethren! Keep up the good work.

From a Reader in Arizona:

Happy New Year Al, Thank you for that excellent issue of Reflections. One cup or multiple cups aside, your words in that article are edifying for the simple reason that they keep us all grounded in love. I haven't had any exposure to "one cup" congregations, so was wondering if they also use one loaf. It wouldn't make sense if they used one cup, but then used individual or "pre-broken" pieces of bread. Just curious.

From a Reader in Florida:

I'm like you, Brother Al. I would have a little personal discomfort regarding sanitation and the spreading of germs with the one cup practice. But, as for whether it is all that important to use just one cup or multiple cups is soooo irrelevant to me!! Just another straining out a gnat while swallowing a camel, and we have become so good at doing this!!

From a Reader in Montana:

Bro. Al, I thoroughly enjoy reading your thoughts each week. Please keep them coming. I found the following quote recently and thought that you might appreciate it (if you haven't seen it already). It is from Tolstoy. "Most men ... can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it obligates them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught others, and which they have woven thread by thread into the fabric of their lives." Thanks again for your work, Al.

From a Pastor in California:

Bro. Al, Thanks for clarifying the teachings of the One Cup fellowship. We don't have any group like them within the instrumental Christian Church fellowship, so it is rather mind-boggling to me that such personal beliefs have been so elevated to salvation issues. Talk about majoring in minors! The more I see of these legalistic patternists who so militantly oppose you and the grace-centered movement, the more I am convinced they are really just trying desperately to convince themselves that they are right in view of all the inner doubts and misgivings which must overwhelm them constantly. Seeking to live by LAW must make them some of the most unhappy and angry people in all of Christendom. The fear of having to change their attitudes, teachings, and neatly organized laws must be terribly daunting. So, they retrench and hide, sneaking out occasionally, via their periodicals, to fire a vitriolic broadside before scampering back to cover. What a way to live!! Thank God for GRACE. Good job on this article, brother. Blessings to you and your family for a great 2008.

From a Minister in Kansas:

Brother Al, One Cup man here. Thanks for your recent Reflections on the One Cup brethren. We need all the help we can get! I appreciate your kindness and godly spirit. Even though we disagree on the "Cup" question ... We Be Brethren. I know of many people in the One Cup group who feel as I do that brethren can disagree and still treat one another fairly. Some of us do believe "Unity in Diversity" to be a valid concept. In fact, we learned our "Unity in Diversity" not from the "Cups" brethren, but from the OPA powers that be!! Yes, the OPA rulers practice this "sinful doctrine" within their own ranks. One of them believes the guilty party in a divorce cannot remarry, while another believes the guilty party can remarry, and yet they have no trouble working together. Now isn't that amazing!! The very thing they condemn is the very thing they practice!! I could list a number of biblical subjects that the OPA rulers disagree among themselves about, but I will let this one suffice to prove that "Unity in Diversity" is alive and well in the OPA power structure. Yes, we can keep our convictions and practice what we believe is right without cutting one another off. I will continue to use one cup in the Lord's Supper, but I will not cut off those who differ with me on that subject. Bro. Al, Thank You for all that you do to promote unity in the Body of Christ. May God bless all who seek unity!!

From a Reader in North Carolina:

Happy New Year, Bro. Al. Thanks for the update on Darrell Broking's Mountain City, TN congregation. Goodness sakes!! I didn't know they had gone that far off the deep end. But, I'm glad for the brethren who have left and started another congregation, and for the support that they say they are receiving from the other churches in the area. A good friend of mine keeps me posted on the Churches of Christ in the Tri-Cities area (his dad is a preacher at one of the congregations), and, according to him, many of the brethren are leaving their home congregations in that area searching for grace-centered congregations. Unfortunately, there are not many such congregations, and they have been "blacklisted" by the legalistic brethren there. I just keep praying for them, that God will open their eyes and hearts, allowing Him to deliver them out of their bondage and into the wonderful mercies of His grace! God's Peace be upon you for another great year of Reflections.

From a Reader in Oklahoma:

Brother Al, This thought occurred to me after reading my own comments in your last Reflections. Since we're so prone to citing "approved examples," it seems to me that the example of the angels and the heavenly host praising God after the announcement of Christ's birth to the shepherds is a very good example authorizing the celebration of Christmas! And it certainly has a lot more authority behind it than some of the examples we use!

From an Elder in Missouri:

Bro. Al, Once again, well done. The "cup/cups" issue is one of those in which lines have been drawn from one direction, while not from the other ... at least in my experience. Most brethren I know are like you and me: we could easily participate with the One Cup brethren with only a concern for health issues and our own fastidiousness. However, my use of multiple cups has drawn from them only condemnation and severing of fellowship. Yet, I love them as my brethren and do not consider them "out of fellowship" with me. At the heart of almost all such controversies that divide the Body is a lack of love, as you mentioned in your article. The entire epistle of 1 Corinthians is about love, not just the 13th chapter. The Corinthians' lack of love is shown in their approval of sin in their midst, in taking a brother to court, in their abuse of the Lord's Supper, in their neglect of one another in the Agape feast, and in their pride over spiritual gifts. I am convinced more and more as time passes that Judgment Day will be a day of great disappointment for many. Some, who think they have everything "right," will be asked to leave because of their harsh judgmentalism and lack of love. Others will be surprised to see great multitudes that they thought to be "lost" being asked to enter the Kingdom. I thank God that I am not going to be the Judge!! I might not allow myself in!

From a One Cup Minister in Kentucky:

Dear Friend, We do the Lord's Supper the way the Lord Jesus gave it and the Apostle Paul delivered it. I suggest you spend more time on preaching to those outside the Church so they may have salvation and quit wasting your time on our brotherhood. Yes, we believe that using one cup is essential. In case you hadn't noticed, not one person -- NOT ONE -- has ever produced more than one cup in the Lord's Supper using the Bible. The use of just one cup is there every time you read the accounts. It has not changed. The sad part is: salvation could be yours as well, if you would willingly submit to Him on this matter. Please study this out, rather than having a spirit of spite and contempt.

From an Author in California:

Brother Al, Your "One Cup Fellowship" article was a good piece of writing. The attitude manifested by you throughout was excellent also! Over the years there have been a considerable number of One Cup brethren who knew and understood that some things were wrong, but they were afraid to "come out" and speak up. This is changing somewhat. Then there were/are some who knew some things were/are wrong, but who simply prefer the party spirit. Then there is a large group of sheep who are insulated and isolated by the party "shepherds." Also, sadly, some of the best minds in the One Cup fellowship have left over the years. Interestingly, where I assemble we use just one cup, we have no classes, and we do not use instrumental music, yet we are not "fit" to be recognized by the party leaders because we do not make these issues a test of fellowship. So much for congregational autonomy and the right of brethren to study and form their own conclusions! Bro. Al, I love these fellow One Cup brethren, and truly wish that I could associate with them on a much freer basis, but their leaders have implanted in their minds that I am some kind of "bogeyman." Frankly, that would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic!

From a Minister in Oklahoma:

Dear Brother Al, I loved the Reflections on "The One Cup Fellowship," and I especially appreciated the attitude in which it was presented.

From a Reader in Barbados, Caribbean Islands:

Brother Al, I was particularly enlightened by your presentation under the theme "The One Cup Fellowship." It shows balance and an absence of the kind of dogma that has placed the assumptions of mere men on the same plane as the commands of God. Thanks a million! Once again you have, as it were, read my thoughts and produced a much needed and timely word on a matter I was contemplating. You have confirmed my view that one's focus should be on the Christ of Calvary who gave His life a ransom for you and me, rather than on the emblem itself. Al, having the same Father ... we be brethren!

From a One Cup Reader in Nevada:

Dear Brother Al, I read your latest Reflections and it is very good. It is an insightful, honest, and loving review of our One Cup brotherhood. It recognizes the fact that there are many good people in this group. It also lays the responsibility for the sins, failures and lack of spiritual growth at the door of those who would be lords over God's heritage. Sadly, such "lords" are found in every denomination and group in God's Family. Please keep these Reflections coming! I also really appreciate your textual and topical indexes.

Special Offer -- In my last Reflections I mentioned a study by Dr. Dallas Burdette titled A Brief History of the One-Cup and Non-Sunday School Movement. With Dr. Burdette's permission, one of my readers in Albuquerque, New Mexico has put this study in .pdf (Adobe Acrobat 7.0) format and has made this 20 page document available to anyone who would like a copy. It is only 86.3 KB in size, so can be easily emailed to anyone who requests it. If you would like to have this history in .pdf format, just let me know and I will immediately send one out to you. A very special thanks to Bro. Glen Thompson for doing the work on this document. --- Al Maxey

Exceptional Essay -- A good friend of mine, and a dear brother in Christ, by the name of Aaron Goodman, who lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and who has always been so very supportive of this Reflections ministry, has a fabulous blog site that you need to bookmark -- There's a lot of good, challenging reading on there, and you will be edified by Aaron's insights. Be prepared to be made to think, however!! I would especially like to direct your attention to the following essay: Deconstruction, Truth, Meaning: Personal Praxis in the Postmodern Everyday. Aaron and his family assembled with us this past Sunday morning and he's graciously given his permission for me to inform you about his web site, and about this essay (which was actually presented in the form of a lecture recently, and which I understand was very well-received). So, put on those thinking caps and dig in to this contemplative feast!! - Al Maxey

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