Greetings in the name of Jesus,
I would like, through this letter, to tell you why I can no longer serve as the Evangelist for the Goodlettsville Christian Church. I am leaving with no animosity toward anyone. I leave with love and care for each soul at the Goodlettsville Christian Church. The door of friendship stands open. We will not close that door to anyone.
(1) I cannot accept the instruments as a part of the worship service (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Matt. 26:30; Mk. 14:26; Acts 16:25; Rom. 15:9; 1 Cor. 14:15; Heb. 2:12 and James 5:13).
(2) I cannot accept the “newspaper collection drive” and “aluminum can collection drive” as part of supporting the cause of Christ (1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 8,9; Matt. 21:12-13; Mark 11:15).
(3) I cannot accept the “candy sales” of the youth for their projects as part of supporting the cause of Christ (1 Cor. 16:1-2; Matt. 21:12-13; Mk. 11:15; 2 Cor. 8,9).
(4) I cannot accept as a part of the cause of Christ an entertainment project, such as the youth hour and talent show, which takes away from the preaching and teaching of the Gospel for youth project discussions and play/talent show rehearsals, etc. The main point of the Lord’s Church is the edification of the members through the preaching and teaching of the Gospel of Christ. Entertainment does not meet that which is taught through the authority of God’s Word (1 Cor. 14:40; Rom. 14:17; 1 Cor. 11:34).
(5) I cannot accept the ever widening authoritative role of the women at the Goodlettsville Christian Church (1 Cor. 14:34; 1 Tim. 2:11-12).
(6) I cannot accept the use of the general funds to provide the finances for a bus used to bring in children enticed with treats and entertainment. If carnal attractions are used to bring in people, then only carnal people will be brought in (Rom. 1:16; Matt. 28:19-20; Rom. 14:17).
(7) I cannot accept “special day” observances on the Lord’s Day in the Lord’s House (Heb. 10:25; Rev. 1:10; Acts 20:7; Gal. 4:10-11). The Lord’s Day is a day of worship, not fun, food and frolic. What we do within the areas of worship has been laid down for us within Scripture.
(8) I cannot accept “sponsoring institutions” and “institutions” financed from the general fund. The church has authority only to spend its monies on (a) preaching the Gospel to the lost, (b) teaching and edifying itself, and (c) limited benevolent work (Eph. 4:12).
(9) I firmly believe in 1 Timothy 3:7 and Titus 1:5-9 for the qualifications of Elders. These are the qualifications of an Elder and each qualification stands by itself. Each now serving Elder must continue to meet such qualifications.
(10) I firmly believe in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 for the qualifications of Deacons. These are the qualifications of a Deacon and each qualification stands by itself. Each now serving Deacon must continue to meet such qualifications.
(11) I firmly believe that the Lord’s supper is an integral part of the worship service at the assembly of believers. It is not to be taken outside that realm by those who absent themselves from the worship service and then choose to partake at a more convenient time for themselves (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:17-20).
(12) I firmly believe that the Elders of a local congregation are the overseers of the congregation. They are not to be out-voted by Deacons nor are they to be answerable to Deacons. Deacons are answerable to Elders. There is no authority for voting on anything in the Lord’s church. Elders are responsible to right anything wrong within the Lord’s church as soon as possible within the time frame as set by the Lord, not the time frame as set by man. The Church is a monarchy, not a democracy (Matt. 16:18-19; Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:14).
My friends, because of the twelve reasons listed, I can no longer worship with or minister to the Goodlettsville Christian Church. Such worship would be a violation of my personal religious convictions.
Nelson J. Greene, Jr.
Nelson Greene’s Letter To Lakeview Church of Christ
In January of 1975, after viewing the “Jule Miller Film Strip Series” and extensively studying the biblical word “baptism” at the library of Roanoke Bible College, I was truly convinced that I was a sinner and needed a Savior. I heard, I believed, I repented, I confessed and immersed into His Body for the remission of my sins. I was baptized into Christ at the Elizabeth City (NC) church of Christ (group using instruments). Three days later, I entered Roanoke Bible College. My wife Sue had the privilege of being baptized many years before in Nashville, Ohio. This, I thought, ended years of search for the truth of God. This search really began as an altar boy through my years of being a Catholic priest to my move to Goodlettsville to serve as Evangelist for the Goodlettsville Christian Church.
I continued to study God’s Word and became convinced that the Christian Church had many years before lost its First Love. In my search of Scriptures I investigated that institutional church of Christ and was still convinced that they were not the New Testament Church. It was not until I saw the sign at the Lakeview church of Christ (No Kitchens . . .) that caused me to wonder if indeed there was in actual existence the Lord’s church in practice and worship. I decided to investigate this group of people. On Monday, April 21st, after I decided that I could no longer stay and accept the human inventions that characterized the Christian Church, I stopped and talked with Jr. Bronger for the first time; and I was impressed with his answers to my questions (book, chapter and verse). I attended two gospel meetings at his invitation. On Tuesday, I had a lengthy discussion with Jr. and David Lanius at the Bronger’s. After the discussion and upon arriving home I told my wife Sue that “we’ve got to talk,” at which time my wife revealed that she had been expecting me to take a stand against these unscriptural innovations. To my pleasant surprise she stated that she too felt they were wrong.
I informed the Elders of the Goodlettsville Christian Church on April 27th of my decision; and announced to the entire congregation on May 4th my decision. Today we’re telling you that we renounce the human innovations of the Christian Church and everything that is not upheld by the Word of God: (1) instruments, (2) the social gospel, (3) humanism, (4) support of human institutions, (5) modern ecumenical movement between the Christian Church, Disciple of Christ and the institutional churches of Christ, (6) and anything else that is not found in God’s Word, book, chapter and verse.
Today, after so many years of searching, I firmly believe that my/our search is over for the Lord’s Church. We want you to know that we want to be identified with the Lakeview church of Christ and serve under the leadership of the Elders. We ask that you accept us as brother and sister in Christ as we accept you.
Nelson Joseph Greene, Jr.
Karen Sue Greene
P.O. Box 161
Goodlettsville, TN 37071-0161
May 11th, 1986
Guardian of Truth XXX: 15, pp. 463-464
August 7, 1986