Earlier this month, Krystal Cox (below), a hair stylist and salon owner from Georgia, got a letter from the four men running the Woodstock Church of Christ letting her know she was on the verge of being kicked out.
She fell in love with a woman and was happy and… that’s about it.
You know the drill. She’s in a same-sex relationship, and that violates the anti-gay views held by the Church of Christ. This letter was actually a follow-up. They sent another one to her in early December which she didn’t respond to, so this was meant to be her final warning:
Dear Krystal Cox,
As elders of the Woodstock congregation, we have the responsibility to watch out for the souls of each member of this congregation. As we have previously stated, we feel it is crucial to remind you that our Lord considered it vital that no one can be involved in homosexuality and be in a pleasing relationship with God.
We sent you a letter in the second week of December 2020 that was confirmed by the USPS as delivered on December 10, 2020. A copy of that letter is enclosed. In that letter, the Eldership requested an opportunity to discuss with you this situation and the condition of your soul. We have not received a response to that letter.
In light of your apparent lack of desire to hear our concerns, apparent lack of willingness to repent, and the public display of your homosexual lifestyle, we have no alternative but to withdraw our fellowship with you and must no longer treat you as a sister in Christ. Please understand this is an effort to encourage in you a Godly sorrow leading to repentance.
This greatly saddens us because while we can no longer fellowship you as a sister, we do care for your soul. Our prayer is that one day you will repent and return to the Lord. When that day comes, we will receive you with open arms and love like the father received his erring son in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15.
Please understand that we love you and pray that you will repent, seek forgiveness, and return to worshipping our Father in the Lord’s church. We pray for your spiritual well-being.
If we fail to hear from you by April 30, 2021, we would understand you are not repentant and do not desire to be forgiven of your sinful behavior. That being the case, an announcement to that effect will be made to the Woodstock Church of Christ on the following Sunday. We will announce that we have withdrawn fellowship from you following efforts to establish a dialogue to persuade you to repent. Your name will be removed from our membership role [sic] until you decide to make your life right with the Lord.
It is important that you understand after fellowship has been withdrawn from you, Christians must not interact with you except to encourage you to repent and seek forgiveness…
Krystal, it is our sincere hope that our fellowship will one day be restored. When that day comes, the rejoicing at the Woodstock Church of Christ will only be exceeded by the rejoicing in heaven… Until that day comes, you will not be considered a member of the Church of Christ.
In Christ’s Service,
Talk about an attempt to guilt-trip her into staying in the church… (Why anyone would swap happiness and a loving partner for a lifetime of remaining in a miserable church is beyond me, but these elders need to work on their threats.)
That part at the end is a straight-up “disfellowshipping” — threatening to remove her social safety net by making sure no members of the church ever speak to her again unless they’re trying to convert her. It seems like Cox has her own life outside the church, so this won’t be a problem for her, but there are a lot of people afraid to leave their churches precisely because they can’t afford (emotionally or literally) to be cut out of the lives of all those people.
I would love to ask Cox why she was ever a member of this church, and what her reaction was to the initial letter. I wasn’t able to speak with her yesterday about this article. But I’m glad she doesn’t seem to be scared off by this Christian attempt to steer her straight.
In fact, Cox posted this letter on Instagram precisely because she has no intention of going back to the church. In December — presumably after reading that first letter — she posted about how happy she was:
… I am IN LOVE with the most incredible WOMAN!!… She completely fulfills my soul. She LOVES my kids… I am happier than I have been in so many YEARS…
I am finally FREE. Free to be [100%] percent myself. I don’t care anymore what people thing of me, or about looking perfect to other ppl and on social media… looking like I have the kind of life and family that “fits in” here in the south especially, living in the Bible Belt- shoving myself in this tiny box to make other people feel comfortable. I’m forever done with that BS. I care and love so deeply for my kids and my girl- the ones who truly love me the most. I took control of my life. I took my life back! And I have never felt like such an amazing mother and role model for to my kids. I feel so strong and confident and Secure than I ever have…
If anyone has anything negative to say please unfollow me now, bc my page is about to get REAL GAY…
The Church of Christ has tried this threat letter thing before. Just last month, I posted about how a church in Middle Tennessee sent a similar letter to a woman who was in a supposedly unbiblical “living arrangement.” She, too, posted the letter online because she had no intention of caving in.
That’s the best thing about these threats. They’re sent to people who know better than to accommodate Christian bigotry. By exposing the faith-based hate, they’re actually helping other church members realize they belong to a cult. These letters could actually help more people leave the faith. (At least the sort of people who were bothered by the fact that the Woodstock Church of Christ once hired a pastor who turned out to be a child molester.)
Whatever the case, maybe we need to thank the church leaders for this evidence. Because it sure as hell isn’t drawing people into the church.