CROSSROADS AT THE CROSSROADS!
T. Pierce Brown
I was at the Spiritual Growth Workshop inOrlandoonJuly 28, 1990and witnessed a scene about which I had prayed for years. The elders of the Crossroads Church of Christ, ofGainesville,Floridastood before the assembly and confessed their error and asked forgiveness for their part in allowing the abuses to develop in what has been known as the “Total Commitment Movement” and “The Crossroads Movement.”
They said that they had not meant for it to develop as it did, and I never doubted that. In the past, I had only questioned what seemed to me apparent and deliberate blindness that allowed them to be shepherds of a flock where such ungodly things were happening. They had been pointed out by many persons from many places and warnings had been given.
This is a direct quote from a part of that confession: “Though we did not approve of these abuses, we are sorry they occurred and ask your forgiveness for these sins. Some examples of these abuses involve one Christian trying to control another Christian, or one congregation exercising control over another congregation.” For a tape of the whole episode and confession, check with the Concord Church of Christ,626 E. Concord St.,Orlando, Fl. 32802 (407) 423-4301.
Their confession, repentance, and desire to be again in fellowship with the rest of us who are also trying to do the will of God moved many of us to tears. I put my arms around him and offer my services in trying to heal the breach and bind up the wounds that have been caused by the insidious, divisive and unscriptural things that have gone on as a result of the methodology of that movement. Since I was going to be in the area, I volunteered to come and preach for them Sunday evening of August 5, speaking on the ONE NATION UNDER GOD program, or to help out in any other way to heal the wounds and eradicate the damage that has been done.
I am aware that many brethren will not approve of such an action, for it is the attitude of many to “let them prove themselves for a year before you have anything to do with them.” I deeply regret that attitude, for Jesus said, “And if he sin against thee seven times in a day, and seven times turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him” (Lk. 17:4). Of course I am aware that they need to prove themselves. I am also aware that the terrible tragedies, broken lives and divided church throughout the brotherhood for which that movement is responsible cannot be undone in a few days. That is no reason for us to keep reminding them of it every week.
Would it not a tragic lack of love for us to respond that way to anyone? The alcoholic father whose children have turned to a life of crime, never to be reclaimed, does not, when he repents of that and is restored, need to be constantly reminded that he is responsible to a large degree for his own children being in hell. He knows that far better then we. At that point his heavy and broken heart needs to be lovingly healed. We may need to watch that alcoholic father to help him make sure he does not make the same stupid, ungodly mistake again, but we need to receive him in love and treat him with gentle kindness.
Since I wrote an article, “Cultism in the Church” that exposed the dangers of the cultish practices which went on at Crossroads and has led to the Boston Movement with all its errors, I think it appropriate that I try to all within my power to help those who want to be helped in the correction of those errors. It is my hope that those papers and preachers who were so eager to criticize the movement, and were so adamant in their denunciation of anything that sounded as if it might be tainted with the dread disease of “Crossroadism” will be just as quick to spread the good news of the statement of the elders and pray for the continued efforts to correct their past mistakes. We know that a person with a contagious disease, contracted as he engaged in persistent sin, can repent and be forgiven of the sin. However, the actual cure of the disease may take a little longer, so be patient. Although there needs to be watchful care that you do not contract the disease, there must not be a refusal to forgive and lovingly help when a person has repented. Praise God for his grace!