We wanted to write to our Friends to let you all know where we are on our journey as a family. These last couple of years we have experienced the full range of gain and loss that this life offers. We are glad for every experience that gives us insight into our own feelings, beliefs and ideals. Know that every one of us walks our own path and as such, we all are responsible for our own salvation.
We, like others, have been frustrated in the past with choices others have made based on what we believe. Shiela and I believe that we have released that outlook from having dominion over our future relationships. We have had the privilege of having meeting in our home for several years and having loving relationships with all in the meeting. We value the fellowship of all who call upon God.
We have enjoyed fellowship with many from all parts of the country. We have more recently enjoyed fellowship with others who are not part of the “truth.” We have been taught that there can be no fellowship with anyone outside of our group. So you would understand that this has been one of our conflicts. Jesus promised that the Holy Ghost would reveal His will to all that call upon His name. Thought of the struggle that Paul would have had, with those that he had been in fellowship with as a Pharisee when his revelation of Jesus was known.
Paul suffered for the Truth from those who had missed the point that God is not worshipped through some method or set of rules, but, through accepting the Gift of Salvation. We don’t earn salvation with our very best. It is a freely given gift from God. We cannot by some form or method enter into the Kingdom of God. We know that God is not worshipped in buildings made with hands even homes made with hands, but He is worshipped in the hearts of His people and there will be evidence of this in their walk in the world. If we love God then we are walking in the light He has given us.
We have been led to believe that this fellowship has no founding fathers but can be traced all the way back to Jesus. When you make a fearless search of our history you will not be able to go further back than late 1800–early 1900s and to a man by the name of William Irvine and fellow preacher by the name of Edward Cooney. We weren’t bothered by having a founder so much as being deceived that we didn’t.
So what’s the point? Can we now honestly say that salvation can only come through the workers and all others are false preachers? If we do say this, how did William Irvine receive his salvation? His revelation came and was nurtured through an organization known as Faith Missions, which we understand still exists and is still sending out workers 2×2 but who do not believe that a particular affiliation is as important as the relationship that we have with God.
If you doubt what I am telling you then review the songs and the workers who wrote them. Do you find any workers who wrote songs prior to 1900? It is a little ironic that some of the songs are by well known preachers and Catholic monks. “When I Survey,” was written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748) a well known English preacher. “Jesus The Very Thought of Thee,” was written by Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1150), a Catholic monk. Fanny Crosby wrote thousands of hymns, including, “Tell Me The Story of Jesus,” one of our all-time favorites. She also preached the gospel in the Bowery in New York City, was blind and lived until her mid 90’s.
A second thing you can do is do a search of who professed through what worker, and once again you’ll get stuck around 1900 and won’t be able to go any further
So where else does this little revelation take you? If you have done your homework, and have got the founding father issue under your belt, then where does, “we are the only true way,” statement put you. We can’t be the only way when our “roots” are the same as those we have belittled. We are thankful for those who brought an awareness of God’s will and salvation to us.
How do you deal with the dishonesty? We need to let all accept responsibility for their own actions. It is their service and reward, or the lack thereof. What we would seek to encourage is an honest and sincere evaluation of your own relationship with God, the Son; God, the Father; and God, the Holy Ghost. When this has been your portion, then you will be amazed at what doors will open and what joy you will find. You will not have hang-ups with whether those you are relating to have found God through workers or through some other means. The false barriers that have been created between you and others will disappear and you will find yourself reaching out to a hurting and perishing world rather than withdrawing and criticizing them in their need.
I love that story of the Good Samaritan and all the little lessons that the story has had for me. First, that the man was a stranger and hurt and no one care for him He was dying from lack of care. Two very religious people went out of their way to sidestep this man and his need. Have thought they could have been too busy going to the Synagogue for their religious observances and really missed what God’s will was for them. They didn’t realize helping the stranger was more important than appearing righteous before each other. At that point in time, the Pharisee thought he was in the Truth of God.
Have you ever felt guilty that you have missed meeting because you were helping someone in need? I have come to accept that as I am involved with life’s challenges, that God has some illustrations to help me cope without fear, shame, or guilt. This only involves my conscience and not what anyone else feels is right for me. Likewise, I do not have the right to tell anyone what is right for them for they are only responsible to God for their own personal actions. I’ll say that this has been a real hang-up for me in trying to serve God and has prevented me from growing.
The second story that I have appreciated is the story of the prodigal son. I have always enjoyed how the son was received and honored when he returned home, but these last few years I have appreciated the father’s attitude when the son chose to leave home. We notice that the father never shamed the son for leaving and let him know that he loved him despite wanting to leave home with his inheritance. His welcome home was like a new birth and the joy of a parent receiving that son who could have been dead.
The second part of the story that has been speaking to me is that of the son that remained home and his reactions. To me, outwardly he was doing all the right things, but inwardly he was rotting away with resentment. He was doing all the right things without the benefit of joy. I would like to think our Father was not making idle promises when He speaks of the fullness of joy.
Recently, I asked: “What is the Truth?” I have asked several people, but all professing. Their answer was: a ministry of workers going out 2×2 and meeting in the home. These answers are obviously wrong when we check the Scripture. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Love the statement that we sense Truth more than we think it. We know it more than we understand it. We can see it more than we can explain it. We know all of the words Jesus said were Truth. But we know that is not all of it, because it says there are not enough books to contain it all. No one has exclusive rights to God’s Truth.
The Truth comes to those who are searching for it and is free to those who sincerely love it. The Truth cannot be bought, sold, bartered, or traded. There is nothing secret about Truth, it will find us where we are and the hallmark of those who have discovered the Truth is their eagerness to share it. Lies cannot stand the test of time. Never compromise your right to know Truth. It won’t betray or disappoint you. Actions demonstrate the Truth.
The TRUTH is NOT: Workers going out 2×2 – Meetings in the home – Conventions
The TRUTH is: JESUS – In us when we use His life of service as an example- In us when we are motivated by Love
Shiela and I have enjoyed a new love and freedom that we were missing for 22 years. This new love is with the absence of fear. Some say they can’t coexist. This love and freedom has come at a cost, but it has been worth it. When you can work past the guilt and shame that others try to put on your walk, then you will truly know of the Truth setting you free. We know that the Truth needs no defense and can stand the test of time. Lies do not stand the test and are constantly being defended.
We have found that some may distance themselves from you as you turn loose of fear and start reacting in love. On the other hand, some will draw nearer and you will share a sweeter fellowship. We will continue to love all no matter how they react to our joy and love.
If you have questions call us and we will be open and honest with you as we have always tried to be. Don’t rely on someone else’s opinion—do a search yourself. The words from Ecclesiastes were real to me as I was finishing this letter. “A time to be silent, a time to speak.” I have probably remained silent for too long and when writing said too much, but I trust God’s leading.
Love in Christ,
Ken & Shiela Coolidge
Hobe Sound, Florida, USA
June 20, 1993