The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Update - Eastern Orthodox - Hell - Wedding Parable

The Christian church (Disciples of Christ) was the first non-denominational church in America headed by Alexander Campbell. Their goal was to bring all the denominations together into one. They are the ones that started TCU (Texas Christian University). They allow for different interpretations on controversial issues like hell. They encourage the individual to study for themselves and come to their own conclusions on such matters. I just talked to one of the pastors here and asked her if I could hold to the interpretation that some are saved out of hell but not all. Those who don’t come don’t want to. As the wedding banquet parable tells us - many are called but few are chosen. She said “absolutely”. I’m still looking into the church though but I am considering it. I do like the traditional Catholic mass that the Anglican church practices though. I don’t think the “Disciples” do it that way. They do have communion every Sunday but all are invited to partake.

I did run my interpretation by the priest at the Anglican church today that I attend. He’s thinking about it. He told me to give him some time and he would get back to me. He holds to the traditional C.S. Lewis hell (eternal).

There are other non-denominational groups which are called by outsiders “Plymouth Brethren” (because the first ones met together in Plymouth, England). They were started by William Craig and George Müller who found that they were not permitted to have communion in traditional churches unless they joined that particular sect. That they wouldn’t do since they recognized the Christian Church as a single entity founded by our Lord Himself. They rejected sectarianism as a man-made institution. So they met together with other believers “in the name of Christ alone.” These brethren continue to this day. They have communion every Sunday, and body ministry (each male member of the local assemblies can minister to the whole group as he is led of the Spirit. Sisters must keep silent in accordance with the words of Paul in I Timothy 2:12. During the meeting sisters may open their mouths only to join in singing hymns). Any brother (not necessarily an elder) may give thanks for the bread or the wine. These brethren have elders and deacons that are recognized by their ministry rather than being appointed. “Plymouth Brethren” do not practice open communion.

There are 9 different circles of fellowship among them. The beliefs of all 9 are identical. They differ only in the way they accept people for communion. The communion is central to their Sunday morning meeting. All hymns and prayers in that meeting center around the Lord Jesus and what He did for them by his death on the cross. I’ll mention just 3 of their circles and their positions on communion.

The "open brethren"
It was with one of the assemblies of this circle that I used to fellowship. The only reason I don’t do so now, is that I have moved back to the area where I was born, where there are no brethren assemblies. If a visitor or a stranger enters the Sunday morning meeting, he is greeted by the deacons at the door. By questioning the visitor, they try to determine whether he is a Christian, and if they are convinced that he is, they invite him to participate fully. He can not only take communion, but he can minister by suggesting a hymn, praying aloud, giving a short talk, etc. If they sense that he is not a Christian, he is invited to sit on a pew at the back as an observer. The bread and wine are not passed to that bench, and neither is the collection bag (the brethren consider it wrong to accept money from non-Christians).

**The “tight brethren” **
Similar to the open brethren in many ways, except on the communion issue. In order to participate in communion at an assembly of this circle, one must apply to the elders some time prior to attending. I once attended one of these assemblies, but was not permitted to take communion since I had not applied to the elders in advance.

The "exclusive brethren"
These brethren were headed by J.N. Darby. I think it is impossible for an outsider to take communion with these folks.

Thanks Paidion. I’ll see if there is one in my area. Much appreciated.

Here’s the logo of the Christian church (Disciples of Christ):

The assembly building of these brethren used to be called a “gospel hall” or a “gospel chapel.”
I am not sure whether this is still the case.

I looked and looked and I can’t find one here.

The “Tight” and “Exclusive” usually go by Gospel Hall/Chapels, the Open Brethren are Bible Chapels.

I was raised Open Brethren and was one well into my fifties. I love the Brethren Breaking of Bread (Communion) the most, but would not be welcome now because of my new found view on the afterlife and a few other points. :astonished:

That you would not now be welcome surprises me, Pilgrim.

I once taught something in the assembly that was different from, if not contrary to, the usual position (I can’t remember what it was), and the most prominent elder told me afterwards that he found my teaching “very refreshing.”

Oh, by the way, I think there must have been an evolution in the names of the buildings of the open brethren. When I first began attending the assembly in about 1958, it was called “Ebeneezer Gospel Hall.” About ten years later, they changed it to “Ebeneezer Gospel Chapel.” Many years later, they sold the building and built a fancy, new one. My wife and I visited it near the beginning of the third century, and I think if was then called a “Bible Chapel.”

Well in the Assemblies in SW Ontario, I have seen brethren given the right foot of fellowship for airing Calvinistic views, Role of women in church(other then keep silent) or even God forbid any but a pre-trib rapture view. And I’ve seen everybody just glowing with pleasure after a good fire and brimstone sermon. So. yah, I think if I were still attending any of the local assemblies, that I would be asked to leave over my understanding that Abba Father will save all in the end.

I like I said, I love the Brethren, but they have become a very narrow minded lot.

[size=130]The right foot of fellowship! This is the first time I have encountered that one![/size]

I just talked to an Eastern Orthodox church here and told them about my interpretation of hell. I was told that I could hold it and be Eastern Orthodox.
The view is that God saves some out of the lake of fire but not all. As the wedding parable tells us - many are called but few are chosen. Those that don’t come don’t want to.

Here’s the link to the church:

Still waiting on the Anglican