Since God has opened our eyes, we can testify to a closer walk with Him, a more rich, vibrant, and personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We have indeed become much more “gracey,” and may the Lord give us even more of His marvelous grace, so we may obey Him and deny self. Only through grace can we understand that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, of value in our Self that can commend us to God. We deny the merits and works of Self and instead focus on Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We are once more overwhelmed with wonder at His plan of redemption, and we feel a new desire to share the gospel of salvation by faith with others.
We have a renewed love of the precious Word of God and a desire to fellowship with others in the study of this Word and in prayer and worship. May His saints cause the heavens to ring with His praise!
No, we are not “searching” for a Church. We were baptized by one Spirit into that body the moment we believed in Christ, and later we publicized this through the symbol of water. We are the church, and so is anyone who belongs to the Head, Jesus Christ, for the body cannot be apart from the Head. We are joyfully celebrating Christ in the midst of His congregations. Wherever Christians gather and wherever Christ emerges as the hero in their sermons, songs, and worship, there we can fellowship, and learn, and worship in spirit and in truth, fulfilling the baptismal vows we took before you to be faithful to Christ and His Church forever.
Yes, in obedience to Christ, we have abandoned various prohibitions and rules that never were a part of Christian life to begin with. Jesus commands us to “Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” We have left Hagar (Gal. 4:24-31), who is in bondage with her children, in favor of Jerusalem, the free woman. How we wish that you, too, could cast out the bondwoman and experience the joyous gratitude and wonder that comes from childlike trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, knowing “If we walk by the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” How we wish that you could, for one hour, taste the true peace and freedom that liberty in Christ brings. You would never give it up.
And, beloved Holdemans, we will never give up the priceless joy in Jesus Christ we have found. We will, however, never stop praying for you with tenderness and love in our hearts. May God open your eyes.
Will & Vivian Stoppel
To read the first pamphlet sent to 2,000 members
of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite,
Love letter to the Holdemans:
Whether it be of God and No Proselytes in Zion--a Re-examination: (this is the original pamphlet sent to 2,000 members of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite)
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