I want you to know why we’re no longer attending meetings and why you may not have seen us at convention this year. This is a difficult subject to cover in a letter or even in a face to face conversation, but we will try to at least convey some of our thoughts and feelings so you may be able to understand our position.
In order to dispel possible rumors in advance, we would like to cover some of the reasons we do not have for leaving:
l) We have not been offended. No one has done or said anything to personally offend us, hurt us, or drive us away.
2) We have not rejected God or Jesus or the Spirit of God, and we do not have the wrong spirit.
3) We have not lost our faith in the Lord.
4) We are not guided by Satan.
5) We are not unwilling for the standards.
6) We have not been converted to some other false way or doctrine.
7) We are not confused.
8) We are not dropping out for a while to find ourselves.
9) We are not wanting to be worldly.
Several years ago, I started asking the questions in my mind, “Are we really the only ones saved?” and “Is this really the only way to Heaven?” As I associated with other Christians and saw Christ in them, I started answering these questions with “No, I don’t think so.” But if others outside our fellowship were saved, how many were there? And if they were saved, were they not our brethren? And if they were our brethren, are we not supposed to love them? And if we don’t love them and treat them as our brethren do we really love God? (I John 3:10-11).
In connection with this realization that there are other Christians out there, I started being sensitive to the mocking and derision we sometimes hear professing people use when referring to others. I didn’t like to hear friends or workers putting down sincere Christians or pastors for doing things like saying “Praise the Lord”. I also noticed that along with an obvious lack of love for these people, they considered them worse enemies than Satan himself and seemed to despise and condemn them to a lost eternity. I also became aware of self-righteous attitudes in the people acting this way.
Another question that occurred to me was “Why are more people not saved (in our way)?” I saw other churches being much more diligent and effective in helping and reaching souls for the Lord. I was moved to witness to lost souls but unable to do it within the framework I found myself in–in an exclusive group that self-righteously set and maintained certain standards and attitudes that turned away more people than it attracted.
Then I started learning about the true Gospel: Jesus Christ (God in the form of flesh) died for us to save us from our sins. He lived a completely righteous life that could be substituted for our sinful lives. And he lives now, interceding for us. The good news is that all we need to do is believe on Him and we shall be saved! We need no mediator between God and man, except Jesus Christ. We cannot “earn” our way into Heaven by doing good or being good; it’s only because of God’s grace that we can be saved. Anyone who thinks he will get into Heaven because he has done his best, gone faithfully to meetings, been accepted by the workers, etc., will not make it because the Bible says those who will be judged for their works will be cast into the lake of fire. I want to be trusting in Christ as my personal Savior so I will have my name in the Book of Life, not in the books of works.
We’ve noticed that in the gospel meetings we have been to, the consistent theme is the two by two ministry and meeting in homes, not the blood of Christ. This message is not the true Gospel, and has deceived many into thinking they must hear the gospel from certain people and be in a certain group to be saved. They conform through fear and try to do the things they’re expected to, but they never feel worthy and they can never have the confidence they’re saved. At best, they can only hope they’re saved and that they’re almost good enough for God to accept them. Our main concern now is for people who are not trusting in Christ for salvation, but are trusting in themselves or others or “a way.”
We do feel we were deceived for a long time by the teaching that the way was from the New Testament times, etc. It was a shock to find out when it was started and by whom it was started.
We can look back on our lives and see that everything God has brought us through, including the adversity, has brought us closer to Him, and has helped to open our eyes to the true Gospel. We trust God more now. We love Him more each day. We want to serve Him more. We are enjoying more freedom and happiness in the Lord. All because of what He has done for us in Christ.
We asked ourselves “Where would we go if we didn’t go to meetings?” We realized that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and the important thing is to trust in Him. However, we do plan to attend a community church with sound doctrine that we have found where we can praise and worship God with other believers.
Perhaps you have had some of the same questions and answers. We pray that the information we can share and the communications we can have will bring us all closer to each other and closer to God.
We hope and pray that you and all those you influence will be placing your trust in the only one who can give us eternal life, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If you can still treat us as friends and associate with us, we would like that. If you cannot, we understand.
Don & Kathy Lewis
September 10, 1988
NOTE: Kathy/Kathleen is the author of the out-of-print book, The Church Without a Name.