A Questionnaire Letter

Article yB Likely Around 2005

A Questionnaire Letter

Article yB

Amos Bender

16375 Georgetown St.

Minerva, Ohio



Firstly considering that Jesus took time to listen to the contentious Scribes and Pharisees, and secondly considering how He answered their questions with intellect and discretion often putting them to silence, would you please take time to read the following aspects concerning the church, and give answers to the questions which are given at the end. yB-1

I do believe God wants his people to be one, and wants them to be separate from carnal churches who do not have the true and one Spirit of Christ. God's people are not to forsake the assembling of themselves together, but are to strive together to keep the faith that once was delivered to the saints. The Scriptures give many guidelines on how God's people are to help one another, and operate together as a body or church. yB-2

Part One

Today much is being said and taught about the church. Following are given several teachings given by numerous ones concerning the church; yB-3

Reuben Koehn speaking of the church in the 1993 conference stated the following; "Later as I thought of the Church I belong to --the church of Jesus Christ-- we are on moderate seas. ... We are on the unsinkable Titanic. The Lord will never let the ship go down. There are no lifeboats. God will never ask His people to leave the ship. To leave is folly. The Church will never be in danger regardless of the seas". yB-4

An editorial article in the "Messenger of Truth" dated March 29, 1989 entitled "The Doctrine Of The Church" contained the following; According to Paul, the Church is "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15). To her, God has vested all the truth that is necessary for salvation and Christian experience (2 Pet 1:3). If any member of the Church of God lack deeper understanding, a greater sanctification, etc., he need not look to some other place, "For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him" (Col 2:9,10). yB-5

One vow the ministers must answer in being officially ordained reads (the deacons must answer basically the same vow); "Do you promise to give heed to all the doctrines of the word of God; to teach and preach them, in accordance with the interpretation of the conference and the councils of the Church of God in Christ Mennonite and to abide in them with unchanging fidelity unto the end". yB-6

During our last week of summer meeting held in July of 1996, much was also said concerning the church, as here follows; yB-7

One evening, three most important ingredients of Christian life were spoken on. The ingredient of having the Spirit of Christ was considered lastly. After speaking of the importance of having the Spirit of Christ and speaking of the verse; "...Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his" (Rom 8:9). It was finalized by stating, if you have the Spirit of Christ it will flow with the church and the brethren, without giving any indications that it ever could be otherwise. yB-8

The speaker felt that the Church had made a good turn or turn around in the 1970's and stated he believed or felt that their would be no divisions therein until the judgment, when God will separate the sheep from the goats. yB-9

It was said you cannot love the brethren if you are excommunicated, and stressed repeatedly that you are lost if you are excommunicated, this again was taught without giving any indications that it ever could be otherwise. yB-10

It was said that the church is Christ's bride and that God or Christ therefore would keep her, it appeared such was said to bestir the listeners to have confidence in the church. yB-11

It also was stated, let the church be your all in all, let her be your everything. yB-12

Some time ago at another service, another very influential minister speaking of God calling individuals to a work, stated very emphatically, if the church has not called you, you have no call, without giving any indications that it ever could be otherwise. yB-13

It often is taught today that one must believe in or accept the light of the brethren and the church, and that all convictions and experiences if from God will fit in and flow with the brethren and church, again without giving any indications that it ever could be otherwise. yB-14

Part 2

Following are numerous Scriptures and situations of history to consider with regard to the above; yB-15

Old Testament Scriptures likely speaking about the Old Testament people of God read "Their is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God... God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early" (Psalms 46:4-5), "They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever" (Psa 125:1-2), "Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords therof be broken" (Isaiah 35:20). Please consider how such promises were given in respect to Zion and Jerusalem in the Old Testament and please consider how God's people of the Old Testament, as a whole often went astray, insomuch they often persecuted those God sent to them. yB-16

Apostle Paul in Gal chapter one stresses his call was of God and not of men (Gal 1:1, 11-12, 15). Paul in Gal 1:11-12 said, "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. {12} For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." Paul after speaking of his special call from God then states; "Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me", then states "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter... But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not" (Gal 1:17-20). Paul then in Galatians chapter two said; "Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem... ...But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:" (Gal 2:1&6). Please not how Paul here in Gal did not emphasize or promote the Church as being his security or foundation. Please note how Paul here did not advocate that the Church is something that one should be grounded upon. Please not how Paul here did not advocate the Church as being a exalted institution possessing almost the unerring authority of God. yB-18

The conference report booklet, (involving the 1896 conference and the calling of ministers) reads, "We believe in the mediate and immediate calling of the ministers. We believe that Moses and the prophets were called directly... ...We believe that God called Paul directly without the instrumentality of man into his office, as we see in Galatians 1. ...We hold and believe that the Lord chose the apostle immediate when the Church was in good standing, and somuch the more would He do so when the Church is in a darkened condition...". yB-19

Apostle John speaking of errors in the church in his day writes, "...but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not... neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them the would, and casteth them out of the church" (3 John 9-10). yB-20

Apostle Peter together with Barnabas and many others because of peer pressure fell into partiality resulting in Apostle Paul reproving Peter to the face (Gal 2:11-14). yB-21

Apostle Paul speaking of needs in the church in his day writes; "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? Thy zealously affect you , but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you" (Gal 4:16-18). (note Paul writing to Timothy says "This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me... (2 Tim 1:15). yB-22

Apostle Paul warned of dangers in the Church after his death saying,: "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock, Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them... ...And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified (Acts 20:29-32). Please note how Paul here did not emphasize the Church as being a solid security but rather advocated being anchored in the God and the Word of His grace as a true and solid security. yB-23

One hundred forty years ago the reformer that initiated the Holdeman church states that he became strange to his brethren, such occurring after he had particular experiences with God wherein he felt a particular call of God (History of the Church of God, Page 123). yB-24

Only four individuals including John Holdeman separated from the old Mennonite church in an endeavor to build on the old foundation of truth. (note within 6 years after this separation around 16 more had united with John Holdeman (History of the Church of God, Page 125&146). yB-25

Around 50 years ago Tobias Unruh because of seeing a shadowing out of spirituality in the Church, in the 1940 conference at Lone Tree, Kansas, (together with much kind exhortation) said; he did not expect to live to see such things as he had seen, and later stated he would hold to his conviction of truth even if the whole Church would fall and give way. (note he also said "I feel to utter a few words of warning, regarding the dreadful times that are approaching. I see it in the Spirit and cannot express the seriousness of it in words;..." Later he also said "For we see the storm coming the dark clouds are rising higher and higher".) yB-26

Christ in the parable of the ten virgins, spoke of the bride all slumbering and sleeping just prior His return. (note in the Russian sky in the 1970's, God wrote it is winter time among my people) yB-27

Part 3

Again considering how Jesus in his day took the time and effort to answer the Scribes and Pharisees with intellect and discretion, would you please give me answers to the below questions according to your honest feelings. If possible I would appreciate your answers or comments in writing. If you request confidentiality concerning your answers, I will endeavor to not let it be known who gave them. You may cut off the remainder of this letter with your answers and return them to the writer. yB-28


Question One

In consideration of the above Scriptures, and church situations as given in part two, do you believe the emphasis put on the church as in part one is sound doctrine, inspired by God, His Spirit, and Word, and such as should be taught by the true church of God? (Please review part one.) (Yes or No? Please circle one) yB-29

Question Two

Do you believe the emphasis put on the church as in part one is helping to keep church members from being at ease in Zion, and helping them to have a deep personal foundation on the Word and Spirit of God such as our forefathers had, which foundation will save, protect, and guide them in any situation they may encounter, and help them to stand in the gap when needed? (Yes or No? Please circle one) yB-30

Questions 3

If you have answered "yes" to the above questions, please answer the following questions. Regarding the church, which church you can trust with such total confidence and security, and regarding both the present and the future, how do you and will you assuredly determine who or where the church is? Regarding the church, which church you can trust as taught in part one, and with regard to the past, present, and future, what does the church include and consist of? How do you define the church?

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Questions 4

If you have answered "no" to the to the first two questions Please answer the following questions. Do you think the doctrine of the church is becoming too much the foundation whereon the church or the brethren stand? (Yes or no? Please circle one). How serious do you think the error is? What do you feel you responsibility is in this situation?

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Dear brethren in consideration of all the above, and many other Scriptures and situations not given, I cannot understand the emphases being placed on the church today as given in part one. Please be merciful to me. Please do not judge me too harshly. I am not trying to be contrary, I am just endeavoring to prove all things and to hold to that which is good. I have suffered much loneliness and rejection, and often am perplexed in making my calling and election sure. Remember you and I both, alone will stand before God, who will try the reins and give just judgment. May we have the Spirit of truth, have a genuine love for the truth, and have our loins girt about with truth, for if we do not it may happen to us as is written in 2 Thes 2:10-12, which reads "...because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:..". I do not mean to judge others lost, I just want to be saved myself. The writer desires the prayers of the saints. yB-33

Sincerely Yours