|Dr. Bill Crump|
"Some Shall Depart from the Faith; Why?" (by John Waddey)
|June 28 2005, 1:33 PM |
Paul predicted that some would fall from the faith (I Tim. 4:1). In the parable of the sower and the soils, only one of four types proved faithful. (Matt. 13:18-23). There are many reasons why people turn their backs on Christ's church. Among them are:
First of all is the determination of Satan to recapture the soul he has lost to Christ (I Pet. 5:8). Unwary souls are his victims.
Discouragement. This may be in their personal or family life. It may be with difficulties in the church or with poor examples of Christianity.
Weakness of character and purpose. Some folks find it hard to live a disciplined life, to set a goal and pursue it, to be faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10). They started with good intentions but faltered and fell along the way.
False expectations of the church and their fellow-Christians. They expect perfect churches and Christians and are disheartened when they find that all are imperfect like they are.
Poor experiences in worship and instruction in the church cause some to go astray. Lack luster worship, poor quality preaching that lacks a solid Biblical basis, or that is filled with personal opinions and thoughtless assertions leaves folks hungering and thirsting for righteousness and they go elsewhere to find it.
Disillusionment with Christianity in general and the church in particular. This affects many of our contemporaries. The church does not measure up to what they want it to be, so they turn away.
Some are members of the church of Christ by accident of birth rather than by faith and conviction. Their parents were Christians and they grew up "in the Church." They were never truly born again (John 3:3-5).
Some are members by marriage. They "joined" the church to win the favor of the person they loved or perhaps their parents. Having attained their mate, they turned away from that in which they really did not believe.
Worldly influences can draw some away from Christ and his church. Worldly friends, lodges, clubs, recreation. They don't have enough time left in their lives for Christ and the church (Matt. 13:22).
Bad experiences with one or more Christians that hurt them and caused them to wrongly conclude that all Christians were like that. Satan always has one or more counterfeit Christians stationed in most churches.
Lack of encouragement in their early days in Christ or when they went through some trying times. Like babies, most of us need help in learning to walk with Christ (Eph. 4:11-15).
Lack of proper and appropriate teaching and indoctrination that would root and ground them in the faith (II Pet. 3:18).
Some mistakenly conclude that they can enjoy all the privileges of sonship and salvation just by believing in Christ; that the church is optional. Thus for various reasons they lose interest in the church (Matt. 13:19).
Some have not been taught the signal truths that Christ founded but one church (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 4:4) and that denominations are not an acceptable substitute or alternative for his church (I Cor. 1:10-15).
Some are captured by teachers from their former religious connections. Not knowing how to explain their new-found faith or to respond to the false teaching they are ensnared.
By giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils causes many to go astray (I Tim. 4:1). If one fills his mind with false teaching we should not be surprised if he gradually embraces it. Some spend hours before the television watching the theatrical performances of false teachers. They devour books written by authors who are selling something other than pure Christianity. They go to services and activities of religious groups which are not faithfully teaching God's Word. Like the bird lured into the snare they are caught.
A failure to break their ties with influential worldly people who eventfully draw them back into sin. This might include some family members, and especially important social ties (I Cor. 15:33).
A lack of genuine repentance towards their old life and true heart-changing conversion. They never die to sin (Rom. 6:2). In time sin reasserts itself and sweeps them away (Rom. 7:9).
A rebellious heart that was never brought into full subjection to Christ, His Word and His Way (Is. 65:2).
Stubbornness causes some to fall away. They hate to give up cherished beliefs or activities that are detrimental to faithfulness. They resent correction (I Sam. 15:23).
A desire to be like the world about them (I Sam. 8:5). When their spiritual leaders and teachers reprove them for their worldliness they become enraged and refuse to continue in the church.
False pride which makes some feel they should be able to tell the church what to believe, teach and practice. When their ideas are rejected, their pride is wounded and they go elsewhere hoping to be able to assert themselves.
Advanced worldly education and attainments that make some feel too knowledgeable or too important to stay with people who are so simple and old-fashioned that they strictly follow the Bible pattern.
Some lost their faith in the simple gospel while pursing their education. They fell victim to the secular humanism and worldly philosophy that dominates most secular schools. Some wily, unbelieving professor may have destroyed their faith.
Wealth and high social position makes some uncomfortable associating with humble, ordinary Christians. Their desire for association with a higher social set draws them away from the church to some group that offers what they want.
Legalism and self-righteousness on the part of church members will drive those who long for a peaceful, devout spiritual environment.
Some have had their faith in the Bible, in the church, and her Bible-based doctrine and worship undermined by skeptical liberal preachers who lurk among us like wolves around sheep.
Some have been overtaken in transgression and no strong Christian stopped to rescue them and get them back on the straitened and narrow way (Gal. 6:1).
Some do not understand the meaning of God's grace and its role in salvation. They strive to be righteous by their own efforts and fail. They are ashamed and humiliated with their failure. They only conceive of God as their judge who is displeased with them. Not realizing his love, his grace and mercy, which never fails, they eventually give up and cease trying.
Some either were not taught or else did not accept the sacred premise that Christians must be different from the world (Rom. 12:1-2). They did not understand that becoming Christ's disciples would cause some in the world to hate them (John 15:18). Their faith was not sufficient to stand alone with Christ and when the test came they failed.
In our postmodern age many cannot tolerate the idea that a church refuses to change to meet the expectations on 21st century folks. They are offended that a church has an absolute standard that allows of no compromise. They resent a church that judges some things to be unalterably right and some to be unalterably wrong. They are embarrassed with a church that insists it is actually the church of Christ.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
"Why Are Some Apostates So Hostile?" (by John Waddey)
|June 29 2005, 1:47 PM |
Some who abandon the church do so with sorrow and embarrassment. They realize they are wrong and often feel powerless to correct their situation. Like the rich young ruler, they go away sorrowful. For them there is the possibility of a return at some future date.
Some leave, not realizing what they have left behind. They are not bitter. They just think they have found something more appealing to them.
But some, whose false pride caused them to leave, are determined to destroy that which they could not capture or control. They hate those who reproved their sin. They despise that which did not appreciate their "greatness" and importance. They cannot bear to admit they were wrong in leaving the church so they heap all the blame they can create and imagine on the church they have rejected. They are driven to justify themselves and their abandonment of the church of Christ. They attempt to do so by denigrating the church and those who are her faithful members. Being lifted up with pride they fall into the condemnation of the devil (I Tim. 3:6).
John H. Waddey
|Dr. Bill Crump|
"Some Reasons Why Some Preachers Abandon the Old Paths" (by John Waddey)
|June 29 2005, 5:13 PM |
It is distressing to see men who for years have faithfully preached the gospel, turn their backs on the truths they formerly proclaimed and embrace the errors of the change movement. Some enmeshed in this movement are the sons or grandsons of notable Christians who lived and died in the faith. You may ask how can this be? What makes a man turn away from the old paths of Bible truth? Several factors may cause the corrupting of the faith of a man or woman. Consider the following:
For others it was some influential and dominate preacher under whose influence they fell.
For some it was the school where they got their higher education. Many of our Christian schools employ men who see their mission to be to undermine and change the faith of their students.
Some lost their faith while pursuing higher education in secular or denominational schools. Their faith was not sufficient to resist the pressures of their non-Christian peers.
Some gave up their old faith in order to gain the acceptance and approval of the denominational world. They crave its bigness, glamor and respectability.
Some grew weary of standing alone on the Word of God and elected to go with the current of the culture. They stay among us but they tailor they message to please the worldly folks among us.
Some adjust their faith in order to keep their jobs. When congregations absorb the ways of the world, they want a preacher who will tell them that such is OK. If their preacher will not do so they will find another. Rather than lose their comfortable and well-paying positions such men modify their message.
Some are so deficient in Bible knowledge and in knowledge of our past history that they blindly stray from the path of truth and fall into the ditch of error.
Some are in the church of Christ by accident of birth. By that I mean they were born into a family that were members of the church. As youngsters they were baptized but they never had a deep commitment, love or loyalty to the Lord and his church. After a while they come to despise the church. Yet they stay among us, spreading their personal venom and hated for the church of their youth.
Some of them have had a bad experience in the church. Many a man has been attacked and mauled by some of our ultraconservative guardians for some shibboleth he failed to pronounce correctly. Sometimes such victims assume that all members of the church are of that same cut. Often such an experience turns one against the church.
There are likely other reasons we could suggest but these pretty well cover the field.
John H. Waddey
I would like to see change
|July 2 2005, 11:38 PM |
Where God has led me to work for change within the mission field of the "Church of Christ" is three-fold.
First, as Paul did, I want to model my primary passion of bragging about the glorious knowledge of God through the physical incarnation of Jesus and the revelation of scripture. In my local fellowship, I encourqe the leadership to focus on this goal in all that we do. We often get sidetracked with serving those gathered at the religious food trough but we are in a fallen world. And, I enjoy giving grace to those God has purposed for me to work with on this earth. It reminds me of how much grace God has given me.
I might make a side comment that it appears much of the bible study referenced on this site is purposed to know scripture not our God through scripture. I would underscore that those two things are eternally different. The passage that gives me perspective is always Matt 23.
Second, I want to elevate Baptism to a beautiful and sacred celebration of Christ's justification on the cross. And, the beginning God's resurection power expressed in the sanctification process. As well as, the fellowships' commitment to disciple the new believer. I long for the idolity of the baptistry to be torn down. I pray fervantly that no more spiritual babies will be abondoned to die in the dumpster of the discipe-less church. We cannot step back from someone because we got them dunked. We can not feel like "we're done" because we have checked off our trivialized, Jesus-less and self-serving "steps of salvation". Each of us are purposed by God to humble ourselves to more mature Chritians for admonition, encouragement, spiritual direction, etc and also to accept authority to do the same in those who have not yet journeyed where we have been. We need to take back the Great Omision from the Great Commision. Jesus did not say, "read my rantings on a message board" or "listen to my proofed text doctinal dogmantics". He said, "follow me." As his disciples we much encourge others to follow us. And, we respectfully follow those who have come before...when we can find those with the spirit to do so.
I must say here is that I have been a member of the church of Christ for 27 years and while seeking discipleship from coC leaders, from my best count over 70, only 4 men have been willing to share their failure and sucess, pray through struggles and petition God about His direction for my Christian life. (Two of the four were related to me.) I think if the spiritually mature would stop beating up our young and begin to disciple we would see God's power anew. We would all be blessed. The vibrant and clumsy "change agents" could be redirected from diviseness to what they really want: honest/real relationship with God, loving training and genuine Christian community.
I have to tell you that I thank God daily for the men He put in my life to train my by the power of the Holy Spirit. I am fervantly training others to look to train, purpose to train, live to train. I do believe God is raising up in the church of Christ a new generation that has been trained only by the Spirit. A generation that has seen the miraculous, transformational power of God through Spirit-led meditation and understanding of the Word. God has had to do this beyond our church leaders and teachers because the generation in leadership for the last 30 years has been to distracted by the modern worldliness of the church to serve God through Godly disciplship. I have to repent of my part in that self-centeredness.
Third, I want our fellowship to be known for its self-less love of others. I am purposefully developing Godly relationship with everyone that God leads into my life. I have had to dramatically cut back on "church work" to do so but God has blessed me. I am slowly getting better at saying "no" That is purely the power of the Holy Spirit. My wife and I are opening our home two, three, even four nights a week to others to come in and fellowship with us. I believe that the table and the sharing of bread is so important in the church. Christ gave us the communal breaking of bread to foundationally and regularly share our faith in the gift of Christ but the breaking of bread also reinforces the gift of the church. By frequently sharing my bread I am lovingly sharing my life. A life that comes solely and completely from God. A life that I ache for all children to have with the Father.
That is the church of Christ of which I am a member. It is a church against which Satan is powerless. It is a church that is eternally victorious. I do not lose one nights sleep worrying about it losing it's identity or it's Godly righteousness.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
RE: I Would Like to See Change
|July 3 2005, 11:12 AM |
Allans post is quite well-worded, but wading through all the romantic phrases and flowery images made it difficult to see the real meat of the matter. I came away with the impression that Allan wishes to change the Church based more on romantic notions, not because Christs Church as such has seriously fallen out of step with New Testament principles. Change must be made to conform to the New Testament, not to conform to personal whims, desires, and preferences. With that in mind, Ill make just a couple of comments about a couple of troublesome statements that Allan made:
Allan stated: "I might make a side comment that it appears much of the bible study referenced on this site is purposed to know scripture not our God through scripture."
This indeed is merely a "side comment" which really has nothing to do with Allan's "message." It says in essence, "I now pause to bash this web site." Allan implies that those of us who teach the Scriptures at this web site are not teaching anyone to know God through the Scriptures. That, of course, is a judgmental assumption based on a lack of perspective. Friends, I submit that in order to know God through the Scriptures, we must first be familiar with the Scriptures themselves, and that comes by reading and studying the Scriptures, or by having the Scriptures taught to us. We can present the Truth of the Scriptures here, but no web site can make people obey those Scriptures and live their lives daily by them. Hence, in order to "know God through the Scriptures," we must first know the Scriptures and be obedient to them.
Allan also stated: "Second, I want to elevate Baptism to a beautiful and sacred celebration of Christ's justification on the cross...I long for the idolity [sic] of the baptistry to be torn down."
While I again hope that Allan is not trying to be radical, he implies that we make much ado about baptism, that baptism is perhaps not essential for salvation. According to Allan, baptism is "a beautiful and sacred celebration of Christs justification on the cross," yet the baptistry, which further implies baptism itself, is idolatry. This is a complete contradiction. Obedience to Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, and 1 Peter 3:21, which link baptism with remission of sins and salvation, can hardly be considered idolatry.
Lets be careful about wanting to change the Church so badly that we end up compromising the Scriptures. If we truly "know God through the Scriptures," we won't compromise the Scriptures.
no bashing, just a point
|July 4 2005, 1:40 AM |
The point I was trying to clarify Dr. Crump was not to diminish Baptism or the study of Holy Scripture. I was poorly trying to say that they are elevated only because of what they point to/reveal. Baptism and Scripture are not the end point. The graceful, loving, merciful, fearful and just God that gave them is the end point.
I daily study the Word with fearful humility seeking the wonderful God revealed there. I passionately teach water baptism as a part of the process of salvation and the receiving of the Holy Spirit. My point was that we cannot stop there. (and do not hear me saying that I think you do but it often happens) When we focus solely on baptism instead of the God who gave us the plan, the savior and the resurection; that equals idolitry. I think your reference of 1 Peter 3:21 says that well.
I would also say that when we are limited in focus to the moment of Baptism that we never move to the life given therein, that is idolitry. Christ didn't die to give us baptism. He died to give us life.
I think Christ is very clear on this subject in the sermon on the mount and in Matt 23.
I apologize if you felt judged by my comment. I just want to encourage others to go to God to know Him and not to see (for example) if His plan for worship style matches up with our own.
whatever that may be.
We study scripture not to obey scripture. That is something that is blinded by pride, personal perspective, bias. I would put any of the message strings on this board as excellent examples of that point. Instead, we study scripture to know God. Then, as we know God we obey God. Those are two different things
I also apologize for being too romantic and flowery. I tend to bubble over a little when I talk about that which I love.
The meat of what I was trying to say:
1. We have to be about glorifying God and calling on His name in all we do.
I breathe because God gave me breath. I work because gave me skills. I study the word and share with others because I have been taught by the Spirit. I know God because His grace reveals Him to me.
2. It is my humble opinion that I don't know much about discipling. I have not been taught much about it. I have not been mentored in how to do it. I do not see much of it at the churches I have fellowshipped. I do see Christ as the master-discipler.
3. Our emphasis as church families has to be about knowing each other. The first chapters of Acts clearly paint this picture. Jesus modeled this so well for us. If we do not share our lives and know each other then suspicion, assuming the worst, not giving each other a break and judging each others comments rule the day. And no one admonishes, encourages or instructs in that splintering fellowship.
Then Dr. Crump peace, love, joy and unity can abound, as you and I discuss what God is teaching us through scripture . And those who read our discussions, sit in our precense, over hear our comments will know we are Christians by our love.
I do appreciate your passion for the Word. Keep it up.
How to DISCIPLE
|July 4 2005, 10:33 PM |
Making it too "spiritual" Allan:
Matt 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mt.28:20 Teaching them to OBSERVE all things whatsoever I have COMMANDED you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The Holy Spirit has a name: Jesus of Nazareth. He would guide the Apostles into all truth when He returned at Pentecost as pure (holy) Spirit. The Apostles then guided into ALL truth, wrote the Scriptures to MARK those who did not "teach that which has been taught."
That's all, Allan, no Gnosticism of KNOWING through some experience. The church is the ekklesia or synagogue or "school of the Bible." The church has no ability or responsibility to DISCIPLE you beyond that. You are to follow the elders, Allan and not the Discipling Minister, as you OBEY what they teach you through the Word and as you "imitate their style of life."
As the Sabbath was defined in the Old Testament and practiced in the New Testament, the church meets for a short period each week to SPEAK that which is written one to another. You need no priesthood for that. Then the people return to their lives lived without cult control and even "sing and make melody in THEIR heart" in the kitchen or behind the plow. Everything else is a cult.
Now, if you lust for DISCIPLING, you might try to join up with Lynn Anderson who teaches the Promise Keepers DISCIPLING or SHEPHERDING which is the old Crossroads or International Church of Christ cult. Or you might join up with Max Lucado who has hired a DISCIPLING Minister. Then, they would assign you a mentor to grill you about your finances, lustful thoughts about the secretary or other "secret" sexual feelings. He will make you accountable to him even though he is pawned off as a "fellow disciple." Expect that your secret thoughts are going to be filed away to control you in the future.
Yes, Allan, we study the Word of God because God is somewhat LIMITED, you see: he commands through commands, examples and inferences. So, let's give HIM the same power we have. And, no they all lie about it, this is a Biblicall COMMAND intended to DISCIPLE us in obedience because we grow when we are EXERCISED to Godliness. It is also the UNIVERSAL understanding of all of church theologians.
No, Allan, the Holy Spirit is not going to "guide you beyond the sacred pages." Such an aspiration REJECTS God's power to speak through black text on white ink.
Teaching them to observe what He commanded
|July 5 2005, 1:22 AM |
I appreciate your point Ken. I have to stand firmly on the biblical text. I can not manipulate others with God's Word to get what we want. I have to stay away from endless quarrels that bring division. There is no "God told me" card that trumps the biblical example or teaching.
I do disagree with your assessment that the church met for a short time on the Sabbath to speak about the scripture and then went back to rest of their lives. I just do not see that as what God intended our what actually happened.
Jesus lived intimately with 12 men for at least 18 months. They were sent on missions where they returned to be critiqued and retrained. They were held accountable for their mistakes, encouraged and given a place to belong. They were shown specific things that were just for their training. They progressed painfully slow at times and it actually took several miricle to bring it all together.
This model of taking others and spending intimate periods together for training was modeled by Ananias and Paul, Barnabus and Paul and Paul and Timothy. In 1 Timothy 4, Paul reminds Timothy of all of the elders who have directed his ministry and encourages him to be faithful in God's plan for his life that was fortold by others.
The Jerusalem elders were very active in sifting what was being done and taught. We see Peter and Paul coming before them in Acts and the group discussing what was happening in individuals lives and ministry.
In response to my first post. Do you feel our fellowship is primarily about bringing glory to God? Does a stranger come into our midst as local churches and see God's Gospel teaching of Christ's commands in all aspects and moments of our lives? Is love of others the main expression of our response to God's love and His grace?
I have to be honest and say no. When we glorify our tradition or opinion or preference or privacy over God that is idolitry. When we do not submit to the biblical example of spiritual training through the Word and the biblical training disciplines of meditation, solitude, rest, prayer, service, fellowship (all modeled by Chrst) but rather submit to a watered down version of religion we are comfortable with that is idolitry. When we would quarrel about disputes, be mean spirited/hateful to make a doctrinal point or fuel Godless "church programs" that anesthetize the Godly longing of man instead of being the selfless, Christ-like, loving servant to those God brings into our lives that is idolitry.
That is where I see a need for change.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
"Precursors to Apostasy" (by John Waddey)
|July 5 2005, 9:32 AM |
An apostasy is taking place within the ranks of churches of Christ. Marching under the banner of change, those pursuing this course are determined to change the faith worship and practice of our brethren so they will be acceptable to the denominational bodies of Protestantism. The most noticeable changes include willingness to accept the use of instrumental music in worship, the placing of women in public leadership roles in the church, denying the absolute essentiality of baptism for salvation, teaching that the church of Christ is only one of many denominations that are pleasing to God.
Those who have been members of the church for any length of time stand in amazement as they see brethren turning their backs on the gospel of Christ and the church he purchased with his blood and rushing to embrace the faulty notions of men. They wonder what in the world would cause folks to make such a foolish choice? The points following seem to be common factors found in those who are looking for changes to the ancient gospel of Christ.
The leading preachers in the change movement are men of much education. Many of them have pursued their advanced degrees in either secular or denominational universities. There their faith was undermined and replaced with a denominational point of view. They have brought that home and are trying to impose it on our people.
The churches that have embraced the change agenda and those currently sampling it are generally our large, wealthy congregations. Jesus observed, "It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 19:23). Some seem to think that the practice of simple New Testament Christianity is all right for rural folks and the middle and lower classes, but folks of wealth and refinement need something more suitable to their tastes.
Many of those who have opted for change imagine themselves to be quite sophisticated. This flows out of their worldly educational attainments and their wealth. They are embarrassed by our simple meeting houses, a cappella congregational singing, and Bible preaching. They need something new and more challenging for folks of their station.
The major driving force in this movement has been and continues to be some of our Christian Universities. Some of these schools have grown large, wealthy and influential both in the church and in the world. In their early years their leaders saw their role as servants of the church. Today they fancy themselves spokesmen for the church. In their quest for acceptance and recognition in the world of academia they have embraced the current thinking of the worldly denominations and are trying to impose it on the church of Christ. Young preachers coming from those schools are often infected with the virus of change.
Those pushing for change in our churches seem to have concluded that the church is going to die if it continues to follow the ancient paths of the Bible. In their misguided judgment they have concluded that prosperity and survival justify replacing the old faith and worship with a new version.
Evident in the promoters of change is a dearth of Bible knowledge (Hos. 4:6). Even after 4-6 years of study in our universities many of the students know precious little of God's Word. They have studied much about church growth, contemporary religion, ministry, and theology but their accumulation of Bible knowledge has been minimal. Ignorance of the fundamentals of the faith has made them vulnerable to Satan's lies.
Along with the lack of knowledge, we see an evident lack of respect for Bible authority in the champions of change (Matt. 28:20). The demands of society, the will of the people, the theories of the scholars, the pragmatic approach, all take precedence over the ancient teaching of Scripture.
Those pushing for change exhibit a lack of respect and reverence for the church Jesus established. That she cost Christ his life on Calvary, that she was planned from eternity by God himself, that she is his beloved bride, that she is the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 3:16-17) means little to those determined to redesign her. Without blush or shame they lay profane hands on the sacred body of Christ and change her into their own image.
A major factor driving the change movement is the desire to be accepted and admired by worldly neighbors, whether religious or secular (I John 2:15). They frequently write about what our neighbors think of us. They compare us with our denominational neighbors. They bemoan the fact that we are not counted as members of the Evangelical family of churches. They are embarrassed that we insist on immersion as essential to salvation; that we teach that Christ has only one church; that we refuse to interact with denomination bodies. They are willing to sacrifice those distinctive factors that result from taking the Will of Christ seriously...to gain standing with the world.
Those who are rushing to embrace a new kind of faith and worship evidently have little or no understanding of our history as a people. They have lost, or perhaps never had, any sense of identity with those who went before us, who blazed the trail they now travel, who planted the churches and established the schools; who spread the concept of New Testament Christianity around the world. Without that tie to our history, it pains them not to cast away all that was won at so great a cost.
May God deliver us from those who would destroy the church for which his Son died.
|July 5 2005, 4:36 PM |
Thanks for your interesting points and I don't mind the flowery language at all in the original post. In fact it did not seem flowery to me which may say something about me! Anyway, what do you think about the section of Acts where the early church decided not to bring many burdens on new believers. I think they say that if they just follow a couple of "rules" and not get confused by divisive language they will do well. I think it says, as you did, that if we help people get closer to God through the scripture and prayer that the Holy Spirit will convict them of their sin as opposed to us just telling them not to do certain things. You said these changes would be good. The defensiveness you feel from the others is because when we speak of "changes" they are the specific changes that come from the Purpose Driven Movement. This is a very specific program of change which may have been well meaning on Rick Warren's part but when put in practice has caused all sorts of difficulties. Those involved in these changes justify all sorts of sin by the fact that growth almost certainly occurs as the changes take place (even cancers grow however--growth alone does not mean it is from the Lord). I would encourage you to read Paul Proctors "The People's Church--A Wayward Vessel" which mirrors my own situation exactly. I think it will let you know if your church is instituting these particular changes so you can be prepared. If they are changing in the way that you said--no problem , but if you see some of the things he mentions then beware. Kansas Christian
|July 6 2005, 9:53 PM |
I really want to encourage and affirm your passion. You heart for the truth is so good. I have to echo the same thoughts about Bro Waddley. I love the deep longing of your good spirit.
Bro Waddley's essay on LOST MUST BE FOUND is so encouraging and right on.
If I may offer some redirection, please thoughtfully consider three points. If not, stop and be encouraged in my appreciation of your study and passion.
1. The call for "lost must be found" is nothing short of a call for change. I believe you are right on in seeking a constant renewal/sifting/purification/return. We as humans in fellowship are a work in progress. So, both of you should enjoy your role as change agents. Christ is the great change agent.
2. I would put forth that your enemy is incorrect. You single out these change agents. Most of those I know that I assume (hate to do that) you would include in your catigorization would full heartedly agree with most of the points you made in LOST MUST BE FOUND. We can not align against any that are calling on Jesus's name. We must be honest and share where we disagree and study with gthe greatest fervor and always pray for insight/wisdom/discernment. We must open the Word and our lives to them. Remember Satan is the enemy.
a. You are allowing assumption to splinter your unity with others. I would suggest that assuming things that other intend/think/feel is always a great allowance to Satan. Most of your frustration and angst is built on asumption of thought and motive and not the result of intimate, Christ-centered relationship gone wrong with other Christians.
b. I whole heartedly agree that many who are immature but very passionate about the church are doing very clumsy and destructive things. It is then imperative that those of us who are gracefully blessed with insight on one issue invest our lives with those who may not be aware of the dangers they are allowing to be present by their action.
c. This means we have to cling to our "no-out" agreement with Christ when we took him on in Bpatism. Their is no "divorce" from our Christian brothers. Christ has not given up so neither can we. God has placed each of us in our specific situations because that is His plan. We are here to sacrifice our position in the church, our control over the congregation, our respect by the conregation and whatever might be asked. We have to know with out a doubt that we are right with God and no one can take that from us. And, this should be eternal joy to us.
No one is going to be open to biblical teaching if we are screaming it at them with one breath and then praying for their destruction with the second breath. Prayers that were voiced earlier in this thread. Our job is to to glorify God, live completely for Him, love to the point of our own death all He puts in our lives - even the know it all/spiritually enlightened/30-something worship leader.
d. Always remember that God's grace covers doctrinal error. If it doesn't we are all damned.
3. There is no place for fear. I say this with all love for you because the next sentence is important. Christ will take all your fear if you will let Him. The most frequent command made by Christ: Do not fear. I feel fear is keeping you from seeing so much of God's truth. It definately clouds areas of your study, doctrinal stance and writing that I have observed in our short relationship.
Again, I am warmed to my core because of your passion for Christ, His sacrifice, His church and His truth. Keep running the race because you are on the right track.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
RE: No Fear
|July 7 2005, 10:05 AM |
Allan, I am impressed by your constant passion for "change." You stated that Jesus is the "great change agent." Surely you state this because Jesus demands that we must change our lives and hearts to obey His Word; in short, we must throw off the old worldly life of willful sinners and adopt the role as His obedient servants. I would certainly agree with this kind of "change," for it is spiritual.
But let's not allow our passion for godly and spiritual "change" to blind us to the truth about "change agents." The term "change agents" used in connection with the modern church actually implies the antithesis of New Testament Christianity. The modern "change agents" seek to direct the church along philosophies, paths, and directions which are contrary to the simple but strict guidelines as put forth in the New Testament. Change agents, using every imaginable and delightful marketing technique known to man, seek to make the church more acceptable, palatable, and pleasing to the world, but not pleasing to Christ. In order to accomplish this, the church must become pragmatic, become LIKE the world, and deny or soften New Testament principles which may offend or scare off potential "members." Such acts defy Romans 12:2, James 4:4, and Rev. 22:18-19 (KJV). But I gather that you undoubtedly already know this.
You state that "we can not align against any who are calling on Jesus's name." Let's not kid ourselves. Anyone, including Satan himself, can "call on Jesus' name," but the doctrine and gospel that they preach may be different from what Jesus specifically outlined in the New Testament. We are commanded to reject this different doctrine and those who promote it (2 John 9-11 KJV).
Remember, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21 KJV).
Remember, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46 KJV).
This entire web site exists to describe in detail the unbiblical agenda that the "change agents" and the so-called Change Movement are spreading, and to warn people not to embrace these elements of "change." We will continue to warn the world of this heresy by the authority given in Romans 16:17 (KJV).
Re: NO FEAR
|July 7 2005, 11:53 AM |
I would like some clarification on the following statement that you made above: "d. Always remember that God's grace covers doctrinal error. If it doesn't we are all damned." Specifically, what doctrinal error does grace "cover"? While I am in no way saying that one must 100% correct on every point of doctrine, I often hear this statement being used by those advocating various false doctrines - which, by the way, cannot be "covered" by grace. Since virtually every epistle discusses false doctrine/false teachers/deceivers/ etc. it seems to me that one must use God's word to identify what is false and what is not.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
"Death of a Changed Church" (by John Waddey)
|July 7 2005, 4:37 PM |
I received an interesting news clipping about a church in Addison, IL. The congregation had its beginning in 1953. At one time it was a flourishing congregation with plans for growth and expansion. Then came a new preacher with dreams of greatness in his heart. But to achieve his goals, changes would have to be made.
It took their new minister some six years to finish his project. He wanted to reach out to the community. He instituted a program called the Addison Community Days and opened a coffeehouse at the church. While the preacher was able to bring many of the members under his leadership, a small group resisted his changes. They did not like his idea of mixing contemporary styles with their traditional worship. Because of the stubbornness of the few who preferred to worship God as they had for years past, the preacher resigned, taking most of the congregation's members with him. He said he was exhausted from having to deal with such conflicts. He blamed the intransigent members for not wanting "to lose control of what they perceive as theirs." The church secretary, who joined the departing group, agreed that some of the older members had resisted their preacher's leadership and ideas for changes that might attract younger members.
Badly crippled and desperately in need of help if they were to survive, the remnant reached out to the leaders of a sister congregation at Glen Ellen, asking for their help. They forgot to inquire about the direction the sister church was traveling. It too was fully committed to the change agenda but was more than happy to assist the struggling group. Rather than help them restore and rebuild their church, the advisers urged them to change the name of the congregation to Harvest Bible Chapel. They called it their Addison campus. They sold off the parsonage and began a Saturday evening service leaving only
a Bible class for Sunday a.m. Seeing that they had exchanged one bad horse for another, more members left. The 25 remaining members protested that was not what they needed or wanted. They wanted their church back. The leaders of the assisting church responded by sending each member a letter advising them they were trouble makers and no longer in good standing. The "helpful" elders closed the damaged church down. The empty building stands as a memorial to the advancing cause of the change movement.
Oh, I failed to mention, this was formerly an Independent Bible Church. They have the same problem we have. The message and the tactics are virtually identical. The result is the same. An ancient proverb says, "Buyer beware!" In this day of change, church leaders had best wear this reminder like a bracelet on their wrist when considering the employment of any preacher or in accepting help from another congregation. The proponents of the change agenda are a ruthless crew when it comes to imposing their will on a church.
John H. Waddey
|Dr. Bill Crump|
"The Change Movement: Did You Know?" (by John Waddey)
|July 7 2005, 9:06 PM |
Did you know that the change movement of which we continually warn is not unique to churches of Christ? Since we launched our response to the promoters of change I have heard from members of the Southern Baptist Church, Bible Baptist Churches, Independent Bible Churches and Independent Christian Churches who are also concerned about the same kind of movement within their denominational bodies. A small industry of Internet bloggers has blossomed as knowledgeable people share their experiences with and information concerning the change movement. In all these cases the stream flows back to two principal sources: Bill Hybels and his Willow Creek Church Association (Methodist) of Illinois and Rick Warren's Saddleback Community (Southern Baptist) Church of Orange County California. Both of these men and their mega churches found their inspiration in Robert Shuller and his Crystal Cathedral Community (Reformed) Church of California.
Precursors to our current change movement can be traced to the progressive movement that swept through our Restoration brotherhood following the Civil War. The issues today are essentially the same as then: lack of respect for Bible authority, instrumental music in worship, special musical programs such as choirs, singing groups and soloists, open membership, denominationalism, women given leadership roles in the public assemblies of the church, rejection of our back-to-the-Bible platform. Division of our brotherhood was the fruit of that movement. It culminated in 1906. Such will be the certain result of our current change movement. The progressives of last century evolved into the very liberal Disciples of Christ denomination. The same will almost certainly be the sad end of our contemporary promoters of change.
After some 50 years, W. Carl Ketcherside and Leroy Garrett, former champions of the anti-located preacher splinter group underwent a change of conviction and resurrected the progressive agenda of the Disciples of Christ. They devoted the rest of their careers to trying to sell that liberal program to the young preachers of the mainstream of the brotherhood. To the uncritical eye it looked as if they had failed, but after fifty years, it is evident that they in fact succeeded in corrupting the faith of a multitude, especially of young intellectuals associated with our Christian Schools. By the turn of the 21st century, a new progressive movement for change was in full blossom.
Prominent among the current leaders of this movement are Ruble Shelly of Nashville, Max Lucado of San Antonio, Rick Atchley of Ft. Worth, Thomas Olbrecht of New England, Richard Hughes of Pepperdine University, Randy Harris, Carroll Osburn and Douglas Foster of Abilene Christian University, John Mark Hicks and John York of David Lipscomb University, Leonard Allen, Lynn Anderson, Jim Woodroof, Mike Cope and others.
Pockets of change agents are now securely ensconced in several of our brotherhood schools, diligently working to promote their new agenda among their fellow-teachers and students. It is yet to be revealed how many of these schools will be lost but the prospects are not encouraging. Already Abilene Christian, Pepperdine, David Lipscomb and Rochester College are under their control. They were surrendered without a struggle. The annual Lectureships of the Schools mentioned above and their preacher's forums have been primary platforms for promoting their agenda.
The chief organs of communication for the change movement have been Ruel Lemmons' Image magazine, The Wine Skins magazine, and the Christian Chronicle. Of the publishers producing books advocating changes we have the Howard Publishing Company of West Monroe, Louisana, Oak Leaf Press of Arkansas and the Abilene Christian University Press.
At this point (June 2005), several dozen of our largest churches have already been captured and many other congregations are teetering on the brink. Most notable of them are the Madison Church in Madison, Tennessee, the Richland Hills Church of Ft. Worth and the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. Already promoters of change have penetrated our foreign mission fields and planted their seeds of unrest and desire for change. Now, as 50 years ago, conservative brethren have been slow to recognize the problem, slow to rally their troops for defense and slow to respond in a decisive way. This tardiness does not bode well for our future.
Among those responding to the challenge of the change movement have been:
The Church of Christ in Duluth, Georgia with a widely circulated video presentation entitled What Is Happening to the Church?
Darryl Pringle of The Northeast Tarrant County Church of Christ in Ft. Worth who sends out a weekly Newsletter with valuable lessons addressing the change movement.
Bro. Donnie Cruz of Nashville edits the Concerned Members website.
Jimmy Jividen of Abilene has written a number of valuable books setting forth the Biblical basis for several vital and distinctive beliefs and practices of the Lord's church.
Buster Dobbs, editor of the Firm Foundation, Neil Anderson, editor of the Gospel Advocate and Alan Highers, editor of the Spiritual Sword, have given continuous attention to the fundamentals of the faith and the dangers of unscriptural change.
Alvin Jennings of Star Bible Publications has taken a strong stand and written some fine materials addressing the problems of Rick Atchely and the Richland Hills Church in Ft. Worth.
A number of sound men of Oklahoma and border areas of Missouri and Arkansas who have organized and conducted several regional seminars to acquaint brethren with the dangers of the promoters of change.
Dave Miller whose book Piloting the Straits was one of the first to give us a detailed analysis of the change movement.
William Woodson who gave us the excellent Change Agents and Churches of Christ.
Jim Sheerer and Charles Williams who gave us Directions for the Road Ahead.
Russell Dyer, Tommy Haynes and Jeff Jenkins who gave us Redeeming the Times.
David Tarbet and the White Rock Church in Dallas who have hosted several one-day seminars that addressed aspects of the change agenda.
Raymond Bailey and the Ogden Ave. Church in Chicago who have organized an area-wide lecture to address the issues.
The West Bell Road Church of Christ in Surprise, AZ which has been active in publishing the Christianity: Then & Now journal and hosting a website by the same name.
Others have been faithful in defense of the faith in both large and small ways. For all of these we should be thankful.
Major, brotherhood-wide conflicts, such as this are decades in the making. The end will depend on the aggressiveness of the contending elements. A century ago the progressives were victorious, taking 85 percent of our members and churches, all our Christian Schools and virtually all our mission outposts. Contemporary Churches of Christ are the children of that small, surviving remnant.
Some wise sage noted that knowledge is power. Another advised, Know thine Enemy. May this information empower readers to resist the destructive push for change.
John H. Waddey
grace and false doctrine
|July 10 2005, 10:49 PM |
Sorry I didn't respond quickly but we have been vacationing this last week.
I think you raise an important point of clarification. I would say that no one that I have met would hold to a false doctrine.
I, at all times, believe every one of my doctrinal stands to be 100 percent correct or I would not hold to them. My Christian doctrine is of immense importance because it makes me who I am. It directs my response to my life experience in application of what I know in my heart to be God plan from sciptural revelation.
I have to assume that everyone else believes all of their doctrinal beliefs to be 100 percent correct.
I look back on my growth as a Christian and I see many areas my understanding was imature and has grown. I can list 5-6 passsages on which my understanding has changed in the last 18 months. I am constantly growing, being taught by the Holy Spirit, redirected/corrected by teachers and elders and I am testing my faith through daily life. It has made my very humble in my Bible study. I can not ask those that I think are wrong to listen to me unless I am honestly ready to listen to them.
That, is why I believe the idea of this web site is so important. We need to talk through our doctrine, live through our doctrine, wrestle with scripture and challenge each other. I do think fear clouds this discussion often and robs us of the opportunity to cross generationally, culturally, economically discuss what God has taught us. You can see on this site that open, honest, Godly, Scripture-based and humble discussion of doctrinal challenges is often replaced by judgemental, unGodly, self-centered, fearful and prideful banter. This is only devisive.
Two things to remember.
1. I have come to several points that I think on which aggreement is essential for intimacy as Christian brothers. And, Christian brotherhood is a very intimate position that does not automatically include everyone in my home congregation or exclude everyone outside of it.
I tend to think doctrinally in concentric circles and not in lists. For example, the divinity of Christ, the purpose of all to glorify God and the death and resurection of Christ as the relational bridge to God is right at the center. Although I have fairly strong opinion, pre/post/amillennialism is fairly far out on the circles.
When Paul talks about antichrists, he is talking about center circle stuff. (ie-denying the death and resurection, denying the divinity of Christ, denying the humanity of Christ, denying Christ as the path to God/the perfect high priest, the one way) Now, I can not fellowship as a Christian someone who doesn't believe Christ is the one true way but I am going to live along side them trying to teach until they discontinue our relationship.
2. Like Bro Waddey writes there are those "casual Christians" that manipulate scripture, religion, doctrine to do what they want to do in the first place. I would also argue that those who take that track in life fully believe that is correct for them. Here, our lives have to demonstrate that there is a different way: the right way, the righteous way the Holy way. They will either listen to the Holy Spirit as His light shines from our life, words and love or not.
Re: grace and false doctrine
|July 11 2005, 10:23 AM |
I appreciate your response even though you provided no specifics, which is what I expected. Your insights into spiritual maturity are well taken and are somewhat reflective of what Peter was saying in II Peter 1:5ff. All of those things which we are to ADD to our individual character can and often do involve changing our understanding about a particular passage or passages. However, we are talking about doctrine (teaching) here that involves our relationship with Christ - i.e. salvation. Regardless of how someone feels or even believes that their doctrine is correct, they can be wrong. As you stated, a person wouldn't hold to something that they KNEW was wrong.
From your example of concentric circles, it appears that you have been exposed, to some extent by some method, to the so-called "Bulls-Eye" approach to fellowship. The question each person needs to ask is: am I in relationship with Christ? The ONLY way that one can correctly answer "yes" to that question is to see if we have followed the New Testament model. We can KNOW if we have done this, John 8:38, I John 5. Belief in the divinity of Christ and the other things you mentioned does not establish a relationship with Christ. They are foundational to having a relationship with Christ but do not, ALONE, accomplish this because they do not provide for the forgiveness of sin. One cannot be in a relationship with Christ and not stand justified before the Father.
If you more closely examine Paul's warning of the anti-Christs, (Thessalonians and Timothy), you will see that who he is referring to will rise up from within the Church and set themselves up as God. Doesn't it seem logical that these individuals would have accepted that "center circle stuff" that you identified before this fall? I have concluded that Paul is describing what would become the papal system for a true anti-Christ would have to fit all of the characteristics he identified and no other group of people has done this except for the popes. Review the passages concerning the Judaising teachers. They, too, accepted your "center circle stuff" but they were accursed (Galatians 1) because of their doctrine, which would require a gentile to become a Jew before becoming a Christian.
I strongly urge you to re-examine the "Bulls-Eye" approach regarding scriptural fellowship. This doctrine has been used to "expand" the scope of fellowship beyond the lines that the scriptures define. Paul teaches us to maintain the unity of the faith, not to create unity and there are differences between the two. Maintaining unity of the faith involves teaching/following ONE faith (Ephesians 4). The illusion of creating unity means that we are to accept differing and often conflicting beliefs.
Re: "The Change Movement: Did You Know?" (by John Waddey)
|July 11 2005, 10:34 AM |
After sifting through most of the above I thank God for His promise: "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord are God shall call."
Since God "CANNOT LIE" I stand on that "promise" as did those "three thousand souls" at Pentecost. As the Creator and Sustainer of all life His plan of salvation has echoed down through the corridor of time to mere men as I, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." If you have come up with another plan, you are a "Change Agent" and have not been authorized by the Holy Spirit.
Peter made a statement in Acts 2 that needs to be revisited by those today who feel they have all the answers of who is in the body of Christ. Hear again the words of a "eye witness." "You Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men."
Hear again the word of the Lord: "But the Lord said unto Samael, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."
I wonder how many who heard Jesus' words on the mount: "Judge not, that you be not judged" really took into their heart His commandment? Yes, it is a commandment for those today as we strive to live in an ever changing world.
It is my responsibility as a Christian to tell men and women what they must do to be "added" by the Lord into His kingdom. It is His responsibility to sort the "tares among the wheat" (Ma. 13).
|Saved by Grace|
Is this Change.
|July 14 2005, 6:28 PM |
Romans 10:7-12 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
7"or 'Who will descend into the deep?'[a]" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,"[b] that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."[c] 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentilethe same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
This wonderful verse breaks down why we are saved. The change of heart is the requirement for justification, confession before men is necessary unto salvation. But, it isnt the work of a change agent, instead the Word of God.
Yes Acts chapter 2 is clear, but Romans 10 is also clear.
Reducing Baptism to a process, instead of seeing that the change of heart
is why the folks were Baptised leaves so much out of the radical life change that is repentance of sin and heart.
They were lining up to be baptised because they were clearly told the One they had rejected was the one who had been prophesied to be the Messiah.
I'm sure those folks never pointed to their baptism, but by being baptised were pointing to the One who Saves, the Christ.
Maybe the reason some leave is that their Church focus on THEMSELVES and their processes, and how they are the only ones, more an they focus on the risen Savior. Some leave because they actually have been born again, and dont find any spiritual depth where they are.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
RE: Is This Change
|July 15 2005, 10:58 AM |
"Saved" seems to minimize baptism; perhaps s/he implies that it is not essential for salvation. The pseudonym, "Saved by Grace," would imply the same. After all, s/he quotes verses from the NIV which only mention belief and confession, but s/he does mention "change of heart," which implies repentance as well (see Luke 13:3 KJV). "Saved" also briefly mentions Acts 2 (implying the "baptism" passage of Acts 2:38) but appears to discount that for Romans 10.
According to Jesus, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16 KJV). Many have tried to get around this verse by saying that, because Jesus omits "baptism" from the last half of the verse, it's not essential. They completely ignore the fact that Jesus absolutely links belief AND baptism together as two requirements for salvation in the first half of the verse. Jesus did not say, "He that only believeth shall be saved." He said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Jesus does not mention baptism in the last half of the verse because the subject is pointless with unbelievers; that is, an unbeliever simply will not be baptized.
Belief from the heart that Jesus is the Christ is the first prerequisite for salvation, for without it, repentance and confession are worthless. But belief, repentance, and confession are NOT the only prerequisites for salvation - baptism is also an absolute requirement, just because Jesus says it is. Can't we take Jesus at His Word and be satisfied with that?
Furthermore, the NIV considers Mark 16:9-20 as "spurious" by either placing it in brackets, reducing it to a footnote, or omitting it altogether. This is the problem with using a modern translation based principally on the flawed texts of Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, as the NIV and most other modern translations are. Research by the 19th-centry English vicar John Burgon absolutely proved not only that Sinaiticus and Vaticanus were monstrously flawed, but that Mark 16:9-20 was completely genuine. Burgon published his work as "The Last Twelve Verses of Mark." People should read this difficult but important book before embracing any of these modern translations.
"Saved" asked in the title of his/her post "Is This Change?" Yes, it is, when anyone or any movement would lead people to discount portions of the New Testament in favor of others. The Change Movement says that baptism is just an outward sign, that it isn't necessary for salvation. Therefore, many people are not even baptized. They just "whisper" a brief prayer of acceptance, and they're supposedly "saved." Jesus would have us do otherwise.