Grace Conversation

March 25, 2009

We need to talk.

Conservatives and progressives in churches of Christ need to work out some things about the boundaries of fellowship. Despite the biblical pleas for Christians to be united, to love one another, and to accept one another without passing judgment, the churches of Christ are known more for their divisions than for their unity and love. We have drawn lines of fellowship in so many arcane areas that most of us have lost count. That needs to change. And changing has to start with respectful conversation.

Thank God, such a conversation is about to begin.

In about a week or so, Jay Guin, Todd Deaver, Phil Sanders, and Greg Tidwell will begin “a conversation regarding the disagreements that separate the conservative and progressive branches of the churches of Christ.” The conversation will be held at graceconversation.com.

Jay Guin is an elder of the University Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is also known for his widely read blog, oneinjesus.info, where he blogs from the progressive viewpoint. He has posted his announcement of the upcoming discussion here.

Todd Deaver is the minister for the Oliver Springs Church of Christ and author of a book titled Facing Our Failure: The Fellowship Dilemma in Conservative Churches of Christ. Todd blogs about this topic at Bridging the Grace Divide, where he has posted an announcement of the upcoming conversation.

Phil Sanders is a frequent columnist for the Gospel Advocate. He served for years as the minister of the Concord Road Church of Christ in the Nashville area, before joining In Search of the Lord’s Way, a Christian media ministry. Phil blogs at Philanswers.

Greg Tidwell is also a columnist for the Gospel Advocate as well as for some other church of Christ publications. He has served for 25 years as the minister for the church of Christ which meets at Fishinger and Kenny Roads in Columbus, Ohio.

Of course none of these men can speak for all “conservative” churches of Christ, nor for all “progressive” churches of Christ. But a conversation has to start somewhere, and this is an excellent place to start.

How can you and I help?

1) Pray! Please pray for a constructive conversation characterized by mutual understanding and respect. And pray that the conversation will lead to greater unity and love among Christians in the conservative and progressive congregations.

2) Link to graceconversation.com. That will improve the search engine rankings, which will help more people to see the conversation.

3) Comment respectfully! Constructive, godly, comments from many people make the conversation more meaningful. Be sure to “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Col 3:12) as you formulate your comments. But please comment!

It is good that this conversation is being planned. Many thanks to the four men who have agreed to participate in it. May God grant these four men, and their readers, the wisdom and patience to make a positive difference in the church that Jesus purchased with his blood.


  1. Saw this on Jay’s blog, which I jsut started reading. Not sure what took me so long.Anyway, the coC at Fishinger Rd is not far away and several of our members have historical ties there. I’m looking forward to hearing what Greg has to say (and the others).

  2. I like this subject on ‘unity’. This must be every true Christians desire. I have not yet read? or listen? this conversation. I will comment farther if I can read or listen. thanks

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