Common Ground, Common Concerns
Acts 4:32 Those who believed were of one heart and one mind....having all things in common.
In Judges 17:6 and 21:25 we read that "Israel had no king in those days; every man doing what was right in his own eyes", and comparing the surrounding context, the ensuing idolatrous worship and moral depravity is glaringly evident to our modern sense of morality. Deut 12:8 says "Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes." Although easier to overlook, the problems of our modern culture, and our own lifestyles would be as equally glaring to the Israelites of old, and if we fail to embrace a unified standard on key issues as an assembly, and ground our children in the same, we will ourselves do no better - each doing what is right in our own eyes, with the end result being equally devastating to the next generation.
Our purpose as an assembly should be to glorify our Father in our work and in our daily witness; to provide a wholesome environment where sons become men of valor for righteousness and our daughters women of virtue; a place where they will ultimately seek to find spouses who embrace the same Biblical truths as their parents, and to reach out to the community to embrace these same beliefs so that it might be "added to the assembly daily the number of those which should be saved" (Acts 2:47). Unfortunately, conservative churches don't see baptisms each Sabbath, or even each month or each year, in spite of the fact that we currently have more children than adults in our assembly, all of whom are growing older, and who will one day soon make individual professions of faith if we do our job correctly. We have become conservative in dress but also conservative in spirit. When is it going to change, where the trend in the homeschool and home-church movement appears to be reverse in that of young people jumping ship to the world-sons enamored with weaponry and camouflage rather than the sword of the spirit, the shield of faith, and the word of God; daughters discarding their modesty and losing their virginity, drinking, drugs, piercings, tattoos, divorcing, agnosticism, witchcraft, suicide, and the list goes on - not only children which have no interest in the values of their parents, but also parents compromising standards, who have become lukewarm and are turning back from the plow. The purpose of this writing is not to point fingers or to name names, but to alert ourselves lest we drift the same direction, and our children look to those who "came out from us but are not of us" (1Jn 2:19) as their role models and examples and future spouses instead.
Is it possible we are each so grounded in the religion which we ourselves have defined, that none of us are willing to admit something is still amiss, and the end result unless we refocus will be the same at the expense of the ensuing generation? It is not my belief that we must speak in tongues or utter prophecy, or heal the sick to have the spirit of Elohim, although some are undoubtedly gifted in this way. But we must emanate the fruits of the spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and temperance, and the presence of these will allow our unity to grow and our witness to go a long way. The purpose of the writing is not to promote uniformity or religious clones, but to guard both against the spirit of individualism (every man doing what is right in his own eyes) and the the self-righteous leaven of the Pharisees (jointly doing what is right in our own eyes without a Biblical basis). Although we may all think we see the error of our brother, we miss the Spirit if we fail to be easily entreated, un-contentious, and un-hypocritical on our own as the Bible exhorts in James 3:17. Acts 4:32 says that those who believed were of one heart and one mind, having all things in common"; therefore if the religious ideology we profess to believe is true, I project that we need improvement in truly upholding it.
This website is not intended to exclusively reflect anyone's personal position on all subjects, nor is its intent to tell anyone what to believe, but rather to be a general outline of what we do hold in common, allowing lenience as appropriate on issues where opinions are varied that in the Father's time, we might all come to a better knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4), yet at the same time seeking to bridge the gap between our varying opinions and convictions. Many of the following tenants have also been upheld by other conservative religious movements at one given time or another, giving rise to questions we are frequently asked presuming some sort of affiliation with either the Jews or the anabaptist movement. Where appropriate it would be beneficial for us to acknowledge such jointly held beliefs to demonstrate that the faith we hold is not a new religion, and call attention to the elements where others may have qualities which we should seek to emulate, drawing from their positive points in reinforcing to our children what we do believe.
Our intent is not to be dogmatic, but to share and be equally receptive to the voice of our Father when he speaks, and our prayer is that in the spirit of Acts 4:32, we may all do the same.