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J.E.Choate Links Library

Letters to The ConcernedMembers from J.E.Choate

Who is J.E.Choate?

Seminar on the Willow Creek Community Church Paradigm by J. E. Choate

Proposals for a "New Hermeneutic" by J. E. Choate

A Tale of Two Churches: Belmont and "Old" Hillsboro by J. E. Choate

"Petite, the Poet" - "Petite, the Theologian" - A Critique of "Bad Dreams" by J. E. Choate

The Baby Boomers and Unity in Diversity by J. E. Choate

What Came Out of Jubilee ?93? by J. E. Choate

Darryl Tippens Introduces Jacques Derrida to Churches of Christ by J. E. Choate

The Paradigms and Parameters of Postmodern Theology by J. E. Choate

A Critique of Pseudepigrapha, an Editorial by J. E. Choate

Golden Calf Syndrome by J. E. Choate

Shelly at Calgary by J. E. Choate

The Story of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship by J. E. Choate

Abstracting the Susan Gamble - Mike Cope Interview by J. E. Choate

A Correction and Explanation by J. E. Choate

What Came Out of Jubilee '97? by J. E. Choate

Postmodern Theology: The Beast Slouching Towards Calvary by J. E. Choate

Hughes Says Church Is a Denomination by J. E. Choate

Letters From J. E. Choate


It is now obvious that the bottom line is that the once viable Madison church of Christ has been violated and destroyed. In neo-modern theology "to deconstruct" carries the idea of dismantling a system, and then putting the parts back together to form a new improved "restuctured" system. For example. the "Today's New International Version" of the Bible has removed such geneder refrerences as "he" and "she" to obliterate all gender references. I would call this "gutting" and destroying the true meaning of Scripture.

To say that the Madison church has been "restructered" for the better with the foreign replacement of biblical things with the Willow Creek Community Church way of doing church dishonors the Bible as the Word of God. I say to Buck Dozier that "you have done a great harm to the church to which Ira North brought and Bruce White to serve as ministers years ago.

There are two stories which tell the story of the piteless crass destruction of this once biblical church. An elderly couple long members of the Madison church reached the point they could no longer stay with the church. They came before the church to say they were leaving, and that if either had done anything to bring discredit the church in any way that they wanted to make it right. A lady telling the story said that she cried throughout their statements and that she cried all the way home.

Another long time member put it like this that--she could longer take the likes of the hand clapping and other dramatic displays put on by the praise team and other activities, and she just left.

While we are still interested in the Madison affair, there is no longer any reason to think that the Madison church will reverse its drift into neo-modern ways of "doing church." This is a generational and cultural thing that will be re-vamped by another generation just as confident that they know it all. Let'not forget that all this started in the "watch" of Steve Flatt and Dan Dozier. Dan is now a "spark plug" in Rubel Shelly's community church. President Flatt says he sees nothing wrong in the present actions of the Madison church. This is a free country and they can say what they please, but principle demands that each accept personal reposnsibility for what is now taking place in the Madison church. They may hope that no one is reading what their critics have to say about their actions and believe such, but they are "hoping" wrong.

Most sincerely,

J. E. Choate


J. E. Choate

There is no Scripture which reads: "Thou shalt not gamble". But games of chance are mentioned in Scripture Roman soldiers crucified Jesus who had broken no Roman law. The pious Pharisees who initiated the judgment calling for the crucifixion of Jesus bear the greater share of guilt for his death. It is a human condition of man, not his nature, that he would come into the possession of goods of others without cost to himself in games of chance. Man concocts multiple devices to achieve this goal. The disposition to gamble is as old as the Torah (Mosaic law) in one important aspect. God?s law is that man shall earn his bread by the sweat of his own brow. Gambling fee simple is that man devises ingenious ways and means whereby he may live from the sweat, toil, and tears of others without personal sacrifice.

Lotteries do not cobble shoes, bake bread, run trains, or educate Christian students. Gambling is one of the vices which robs a man of his personal human dignity and possessions. Because gambling is approved in one state does not make it morally defensible in another state. The most compelling argument in favor of the lottery is that the proceeds will go to educate college and university students. Another argument is that the gambling enterprises of Kentucky and Mississippi take away money from Tennessee. Have not our thoughtful brethren considered the option that laws can be passed to tax the gambling money Tennesseans spend outside the state. The calculation is that people in Tennessee living on the bottom rungs of the social and economic ladder will be saddled with paying a much larger share of their earnings to fund education in Tennessee.

And did you know? At the highest levels of leadership in churches of Christ in Nashville, there are those who manage our schools and who sit as elders and preachers in churches of Christ who are now giving their support to legalized gambling in Tennessee. These brethren obviously support the Tennessee state appointed task force charged by the state to recommend how money generated by a state lottery may best be used to assist students pursuing a college and university education.

And did you know that the brother who is the state appointed head of the task force to recommend how lottery money can best be used to support Christian education is the chief CEO of the most honored and revered school in the churches of Christ brotherhood. This brother was not appointed "to represent the Christian young people of our state who would benefit from increased funding of higher education scholarships". This is not the role of the task force. No doubt the "lotto" crowd rejoice in the fact that the influence of Lipscomb University is injected into the picture.

This brother mailed out a letter to church elders throughout Tennessee with a form of specious sophomoric logic to justify his action. He wrote these words: "A recent Associated Press article distributed statewide detailed my appointment to a task force charged with determining how how funds generated by a potential state lottery will be used to assist students as they pursue a college of university education. There are several points I wish to make clear...."

Sarah laughed out loud when she was informed by an angel she would give birth to Isaac. I laughed out loud when a highly respected elder of a local Nashville church of Christ first told me this story. That the state lottery controlled by the state of Tennessee does not alter the fact that a state lottery is a form of gambling, and morally indefensible in any context. I was most interested with our brother?s statement that a lottery is the "most regressive and unfair system of taxation our state government could employ." Our brother leaves the impression throughout the letter he is morally opposed to a state lottery. My brother "thou dost protest too much and too often" of your opposition to a state lottery.

I recently obtained and paid for copies of the of the founders? documents: the Nashville Bible School charter from the Tennessee State Library, and the David and Margaret Lipscomb farm deed from the Davidson County Court House. I heard about those documents over the forty years I taught if college. The whereabouts of the original state charter and the Lipscomb farm deed are not known. I obtained copies of the two documents from the Tennessee State Library and the Davidson County Court House which are now available in the Special Collections Room in the Lipscomb library. These documents first hand written by David Lipscomb should be read by all who claim to honor the traditions of the Nashville Bible School now known as Lipscomb University. Comparisons are most odious to people for obvious reasons. Our brother chose to compare the state revenue generated to the sale of tobacco and alcohol as comparable to a state lottery. How true, but it is not enough! The evils of gambling by whatever name are second only to the world?s "oldest profession". Prostitution is legal in Nevada. The revenue is collected to fund better schools and essential public services. And Nevada law also provides a supplement to the salaries of these sad outcasts of society. Who could even imagine that the upright citizens in Nevada who voted to legalize prostitution and gambling would opt that their daughters join the world?s oldest profession, or tend slot machines in a public airport to promote public good under whatever guise.

Our brethren who say they are unwavering in their opposition to the lottery yet justify their decision to go along with the lottery with the specious argument that to work with the gambling lobby will raise the level of quality education in Tennessee.

Log in, get on line, follow this new gambling game in Tennessee as it plays itself out to some kind of resolution. Oh! for the return of that day when Rubel Shelly, our "Church of Christ" brother, and Bill Sherman, the "Southern Baptist", preacher got on their high horses and rode the roads of Tennessee to keep horse gambling out of Tennessee, and forced bingo out of the Catholic Church. Horse racing is the sport of kings, Arab sheiks, and high minded Americans of great wealth. A great sophisticated Tennessee industry based on thoroughbred racing horses would compete with the Tennessee Walking Horse, and could give thoroughbred horse racing industry in Tennessee a magical name like Churchill's Downs. But a state lottery to fund quality education in Tennessee, or thoroughbred horse racing? You must be joking!

Where did brother Flatt get the idea that he has any personal influence at all to determine that any real good can come out of a state lottery, and especially from a Christian point of view? At the present time, there are two big fusses among the state legislator-- what consortium will run the Tennessee lottery "gravy train" for the money in it; and what percentage of the lottery money goes for scholarships to s s public and private schools.

One of the present "hang ups" is the proposition that honor students who go to private colleges will get only half the amount marked for public college scholarships. We will say that the Lipscomb CEO appointment will give a measure of respectability to a Tennessee State lottery that otherwise it would not have. There is now no amount of damage control which can correct this exceedingly bad judgment. The horses are already out of the starting gates!

It is my opinion that brother Flatt was ill advised by whomever when he chose to chair the state scholarship "task force". Time will provide the answers on this one in the not to distant future. My personal advice, whatever its value, to Dr. Flatt is to back out of this appointment pronto.

Letters to Mr. Choate

The sentiments of brother Choate are right on target.

So, what can I, as a lone individual 900 miles away, do about it or because of it?

There are probably a number of things, but here is my first reaction quick list.

Pray for the members of Madison, both the ones who stay and the ones who saw and will see fit to leave.

The next time I get a call from DLU looking for money, I can draw the quick connection between the leadership of Madison and DLU for the caller and explain that is my reason for withholding further support.

Pray for my own congregation and its leadership that it may not follow the Madison road.

There is one thing that I will not do. I will not waste time worrying that Madison will sully the name "church of Christ." If history is any kind of reliable pattern, we need only look across town and notice that the progressive changers will quickly tire of being identified as such, and a new name will emerge. It is rather like an unfaithful wife who marries another and takes his name, or in post-modern America, manufactures a new one. When scripture uses metaphoric language to describe the relation between Christ and His church, it carries deep into the relationship. "Rochester College" (formerly "Michigan Christian College") has already learned that lesson and acted upon it, one wonders now only how long it will take DLU to make a similar move, for the same reason.

Rodger J. Holtin

Dear Brother Choate,

Your website and articles have helped us to fight the liberalsism in the Flint area of Michigan. The website is carried on our links page and brethren that have come out of the digression printed much of the information and brought the material to services to teach others. This information is helping others who suffered the same to know they are not alone. Its a sad state for those souls unable to weather the storm.

Michael Golwitzer

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