“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” –
To my dear brothers and sisters of the Sangotedo Church of Christ:
I thank God for the privilege to serve as one of your pulpit ministers for the past five years. I will always be grateful for the love and support you have shown to my family as we have dedicated our lives to serve the members of this church. This letter is to inform you about an important decision that I have made in order to obey God’s command to “watch (my) life and doctrine closely.” Over the past few weeks I have wrestled with the church’s fundamental teachings about the Scriptures in order to truly discern what is best according to the Word of God (). Like Apollos in , I believe we must be taught more accurately in order to please God and not our own traditions. Unfortunately, the present leadership of the church is unwilling to listen to my concerns, so it is with sadness of heart that I have decided to resign from my position and withdraw my membership from the church that I love. The following are my reasons for making such a radical decision:
- God’s church is a Bible church (Old Testament and New Testament) and not just a New Testament Church – . The context of the word “Scripture” in this passage is referring to the Old Testament. The Old Testament applies to our lives as much as the New Testament, except for the Mosaic Law and any teaching in the New Testament that supersedes the Old Testament (Example: grounds for divorce). Sadly, the Church of Christ believes it is only a “New Testament” church and does not look to Old Testament for “training in righteousness” in regards to the leadership of God’s people () or Scriptural concepts in the Old Testament such as “calling out the remnant,” “dating and marrying only disciples,” and “a central leader and leadership for God’s movement.”
- “Be silent where the Bible speaks, and speak with the Bible is silent.” – In applying Scriptural principles to build the visible church, we must obey God’s Word, but where the Bible does not prohibit a practice or name, we are free to use our God-given creativity. . Sadly, the mode of interpretation of the church of Christ from Alexander Campbell is to “Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent.” This mantra has caused much division in regards to different practices such as using cups for Communion, Sunday School and the use of instrumental music – none of which are prohibited by the Scriptures.
- The Church is composed of only sold-out disciples in discipling relationships – . After a person is baptized, Jesus commands that the new convert be “taught to obey everything (He had) commanded.” This is discipling! As Jesus sent out his disciples “two by two” ( & ), the need for discipling relationships is vital in order to obey the “one another” passages of the Bible! Having every member in congregation to be a part of a small group is also a practical implementation of following the example of Jesus evangelizing with His apostles (, 30; ).
- A Central Leadership with a Central Leader vs. Autonomous Congregations – . Throughout God’s Word, when His people were unified, there was a strong central leadership and godly central leader. (Example: Moses, Joshua, David, and of course Jesus and the Apostles). and teaches that local congregations had an overseeing evangelist, who unified the disciples “everywhere in every church.” In the first century, congregations were a collective movement – not autonomous, not self-governing.
- The dream of the evangelization of the nations in THIS generation – , 34. When every disciple of Jesus obeys the Great Commission of , we can see the world won for the Lord! Jesus’ vision for His church was to go “from Jerusalem, to all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (). Thirty-some years later in 61 AD, Paul writes, “All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing…This is the gospel that you have heard and has been proclaimed to every creature under Heaven.” (,23). If the world was evangelized in the 1st century, we can definitely do it again in the 21st century!
Please pray for us as we seek to obey the will of God and not the traditions of men! () As you may be aware, my father, Benedict Atason, has also resigned as lead minister for our sister church in Abia State and we have both decided to join God’s new movement with the International Christian Churches led by Kip McKean. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, as we will be starting a new house church this Wednesday. My information is listed under the Family of Churches section at the City of Angels International Christian Church website at: www.caicc.net. If you chose not to support us, then please keep us in your hearts as we will be praying for you. Thank you again for your love and support for me and my family. May God bless you.
In His Service,
GoodHope Chimaeze Atason