Re: To Dr Crump
|July 24 2005, 11:08 PM |
I have somewhat decided to review more thoroughly the recent posts in this thread, especially those between Dr. Crump and Dr. Coffman, and I would like to comment on them separately later on. I say somewhat because of possible time restraints that I may encounter later on. As you may know, I havent always been able to keep my well-intentioned promises for that reason.
For now, I would like to say that in my brief review of the posts until the time that Dr. Coffman responded to being addressed in the third person by Dr. Crump, I couldnt help but notice that Bill was not condescending and mean-spirited. In fact, to the point that he was making statements in the same manner that I would have also, by not finger-pointing at anyone. I thought that simply was courtesy on his partby addressing someone in the third person or by stating something as if it were being addressed to whomever the remark would be applicable.
My opinion is that Bill had no choice but to address Allan in person because addressing him in the third person had not been well taken. Even then, I didnt sense any condescending attitude on Bills part. He still hasnt been condescending. I just know that is not his nature. In fact, he feels that its the other side that is condescending towards those who want to simply go by what the Scripture saysno more, no less.
Im sorry that you feel that way about Dr. Crump. But I am convinced that he says what he needs to say (as I do, too) because we have learned in the last few years that respondents who have purpose-driven leanings have subtle ways of deviating from significant topics that RELATE to the Change Movement. Dr. Coffman has brought up doctrinal matters and issues that have nothing to do whatsoever with the purpose-driven cult that has intruded not only churches of Christ, but even other churches such as the one youre affiliated with. In fact, he has presented doctrinal matters that are not what the mainstream churches of Christ believe. Perhaps, they are doctrines that match your own churchs teachingsthe reason why you seem to like what he is saying? Im only guessing, and I could be very wrong about thinking that way. If so, forgive me in advance. But frankly, I have difficulty following Dr. Coffmans main points. He habitually says a variety of things in a given post.
I really hope that I will have the time to go over Dr. Coffmans posts and not even attempt to provide rebuttals but simply list the various viewpoints that he has presented all this timemost of them totally unrelated to what this website is attempting to present so that other congregations may learn what is going on and benefit from our discussions here. If Dr. Coffman is interested in discussing doctrinal issues and matters that are of interest to him, but which are issues unrelated to Rick Warrens church growth methodologies, I would like for him to be aware that this is not the appropriate forum for those doctrinal issues. Yes, we do discuss other issues at times, but frankly, doing so is a deviation from this websites objectives.
I hope I have clarified something without being accused of being condescending.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
No Attack, and That's a Fact
|July 24 2005, 11:29 PM |
Kansas, theres a difference between attacking someone (seeks to hurt and destroy) and using stern, strong language in attempt to persuade someone to follow the New Testament to the letter and not stray from it in the least. As I stated before, upbraid someone or call them to task for anything, to account for their actions, and our over reactive society today regards it as attacking, as being unkind, vicious, ruthless, uncivil, condescending, mean-spirited, etc., as you just demonstrated. Is it condescending to advise someone who seems to be veering away to come back to the New Testament? Is it mean-spirited to advise someone who seems to be veering away to return to the New Testament? You're a "Luke" doctor as you say, a physician I gather, as am I (now retired). While you were in training, did not your clinical professors come down on you very hard when you made mistakes, as mine did with me? Were they "condescending and "mean-spirited" for doing so? You know what they say about doctors' mistakes - they BURY them! The same thing happens spiritually for veering away from the New Testament.
You may believe what you wish, but your interpretation of my posts to Allan is completely off target. If someone else read my posts, they would only be second-guessing my intent, just as you did. And believing that there is really nothing to fear about the Change Movement, as Allan seems to imply, is simply naïve. Thats exactly what the Change Movement WANTS Allan to believe! Now did I just attack Allan because I stated an obvious fact? Honestly, Kansas, you and Allan must learn to develop thick skins if you have any desire at all to battle the Change Movement, for those who rabidly support it are ruthless themselves.
I gather that you and Allan have already decided on what course you will follow, so it would be futile for me to make further recommendations, except that I hope you both will courageously battle the Change Movement with vigor and cling tenaciously to the New Testament in all things. Perhaps other readers sitting on the fence will take courage to defend the true faith with zest, even if the world scorns your efforts and erroneously brands you as "condescending." After all, defending the true faith does not make us popular folks.
Re: To Dr Crump
|July 25 2005, 12:35 AM |
Donnie, please call me allan.
I am sorry if I wandered. The post topic was Godly change in the face of apostacy. I was obliquely trying to point to why I think some are vulnerable to some the destructive leading of the church growth movement. I think we, as leaders and teachers, must be humble and let God sift us to better serve His kingdom and deliver His truth. We have to listen and give grace as those charged to our care struggle with growth, new teaching, potentially destructive paths and uncharted territory.
I appreciate the forum to discuss.
|July 25 2005, 7:51 AM |
Thank you for your review. You are exactly right and that was my point to both Allan and Dr Crump. My point, which you made more clearly, was to Allan that the reason Dr Crump seemed (only to me apparently) to be "hot" about the issue was because we were thinking about very specific change (of the PDC variety)and Allan obviously was not (although, personally I thought he had good points). If you review many of the other threads there have been topics concerning general Church of Christ doctrine which did not really belong on this board so I did not think it necessary to tell him to not post his opinions but I felt that Dr Crump could give Allan some grace since he seemed to be genuinely interested in civil discourse on spiritual matters. Dr Crump felt he was strong but not condescending however his use of quotation marks and certain phrases lends itself to that air, frankly. It is important, Dr Crump, to realize how you come across and usually it is very good but these posts, I believe, were unnecessarily harsh. Since you commented on the quality of Allans language (flowery, I believe was your word) I hope you don't mind me doing the same to you. The reason I entered into the stream here is that I think Dr Crump, Allan and I are in the same arena of thought on most of these matters (at least as much as I can tell from the posts)and I do not like to see disagreement among brothers. And Dr Crump just because I went through the rigorous training of a physician does not mean that I treat others in the manner I was treated by some. KC
|July 25 2005, 8:00 AM |
You assume I go to a Baptist Church because of my posts of 1 1/2 years ago when I left a PDC Southern Baptist church. It was the first Baptist church I had attended. Although my new church has "Baptist" in it's name (to let people know we adult baptize) it is not affiliated with the Baptist organizations (or any organizations) and considers itself a "New Testament" church (perhaps very much like your church in doctrine but with no PDC issues). I wanted to clarify that...I had just switched churches when I originally posted and may not have completely known the doctrinal stance at the time of the posts when I was just beginning to visit and check it out. I understand Allan goes to a Church of Christ and I agree with your statement that I like many of his points. I also like your points and usually Dr Crumps--KC
thoughts and questions
|July 26 2005, 8:45 AM |
Why I read the "concerned members" messages: I keep thinking someday I will read a post that says something like "New people keep getting into positions of leadership in our church--we don't even know who they are--what's up with that?" or "People in leadership at our church have been dressing differently--what is up with that?". I think I will be able, as someone who initially didn't "get it" but has seen the complete spectrum of "changes" to explain and discuss with them. It is the thing that keeps me sneaking back to check and see if these things come up.
What actually happens: A post is started by someone not asking a question but just an essay is listed. As an example this thread we are on now was about what changes are acceptable and which are not. To those of us familiar with the Purpose Driven Movement that is what it is about but Allan, understandably so, thought it was a forum where he could list the areas of change he felt were acceptable and needed.
My comments to Dr Crump: after a review, I think that I felt it was wrong of me to just say "Hey some of your comments make me uncomfortable" and was trying to be more specific using words like "mean-spirited" but really there is just one area which was troublesome to me. When a nice conversation is going on and he then calls the writer a "rebel"--both times (this thread and another) I have felt a real burden for the writer. I would hate for someone to judge my heart in this way--especially as that is not the case. The conversations have gone like this Poster: I think "A" and Dr Crump writes "people who think "A" are rebels and dissenters" and then when the person takes offense at being called that Dr. Crump says "I didn't say you were a rebel just people who think 'A'"...I am not sure if any of the words I used were adequate or proper for how I felt but basically I just thought it was wrong and wanted him to know that even those "on his side" were not happy with the tone of those words. The Bible tells me over and over (New Testament and Old) that God is more concerned with my heart than with the circumstances of my life or my position or anything else so to be told I am a rebel and dissenter against God causes a strong reaction inside me and I am sorry if my reaction seemed too extreme or "thin-skinned".
Question: why hasn't Dr Crump continued his discussion with Allan since Allen gave his name and church--he said those were the qualifiers for continued discourse and then stopped conversing as soon as they were given? Just wondering. KC
|Dr. Bill Crump|
RE: Thoughts and Questions
|July 26 2005, 11:57 AM |
Kansas asked: Question: why hasnt Dr Crump continued his discussion with Allan since Allen gave his name and church--he said those were the qualifiers for continued discourse and then stopped conversing as soon as they were given?
Answer: I wanted Allans identity in case there was any future exchange on the topic at hand. I should have specified meaningful exchange. However, since both sides had made their points, further discussion on that topic would have consisted simply of a rehash of ideas with no further advance. In other words, beating a dead horse. As Donnie Cruz also noted, Allan frequently interjected tangential ideas and concepts that were not germane to discussing the Change Movement. This clearly showed that Allan had difficulty remaining on topic. So to be blunt, why waste more time? Time to move on. I deeply apologize if that seems condescending, even with quotation marks, but its just the facts.
And speaking of quotation marks, lets not get bent out of shape and misinterpret them as a sign of condescension, as Kansas does. They are utilized for emphasis when certain electronic media preclude use of italics (at least I've never been able to post with italics here as others have). So should I interpret the word thin-skinned that Kansas enclosed in quotation marks as a sign of his condescension to me? Another reason to move on. Even now, the discussion (more quotation marks) is going nowhere.
But I will leave Kansas with a parting, general thought, since he has chosen to bring up the word rebel again: Some Christians choose to twist, alter, add to, diminish from, or frankly reject portions of the New Testament, if the latter doesnt suit their preferences, prejudices, and whims. Some are more sly and just hint at embracing any of these atrocities. These people defy Rev. 22:18-19. What words more suitably describe them than rebels and also renegades? So apply these words accordingly.
|July 26 2005, 5:21 PM |
Dr. Crump, Thank you for the reply. I understand now why you have not further corresponded with Dr Coffman. Also, if you read my post carefully, I explained once or twice that I wasn't sure I worded things exactly and apologized for it so I wish you and Donnie would please stop bringing back up my words after I explained and revised. Forgiveness for my inabilities would have been kind...continuing to bring them up is not. I am actually quite well educated and understand the common use of quotation marks but again was trying to show that in some circumstances, at least to me, they were used in a different way. But again you and Donnie disagree and I bow out of the discussion. Lastly, I am a woman. Blessings to you and I do hope Allan continues to post because I enjoy his (and yours and Donnie's) posts. KC
To one who appreciates the forum to discuss
|July 26 2005, 10:04 PM |
From what Ive learned from the latest posts, I think I understand a bit more where youre coming from. I can also see why K.C. enjoys reading your viewpoints so much. I agree with her to a great extent, especially if Im reading your posts without taking into account my own knowledge and understanding of the Holy Scripture. Frankly, though, there are several points that you and I will just have to disagree and hopefully will have the time to discuss them civilly. The main reason for this, as I try to understand the circumstances, is that while it is true that members do belong to the same church, it is not unexpected that there will always be differences among the members of that church. However, I think that in order for unity to exist in a church or congregation, these members should have commonness in major doctrinal issues, such as in the matter of how one becomes a member of the Lords church. For example, for one to propose that baptism is essential to salvation and for another to espouse that baptism, although it is being done, is not essential . . . will just create controversy in that church. Im not saying that you believe the latter, OK? Im just using that as an example for illustration. That subject matter (of baptism) is major in this particular situation. I would say that the solution to this is for the latter to seek fellowship with the church where he finds common ground in such a major issue, instead of disturbing the peace within the church of the former.
Interestingly, you brought up struggle with growth, new teaching, potentially destructive paths and uncharted territory. These are really the kinds of things that are more suited to further discussions. Where have you been all this time, Allan?
You also mentioned we, as leaders and teachers. Im actually not either one by designation or by profession, although I did graduate work in educational administration. But you know how things happen at times. I would like to think that I am teaching others or helping others gain knowledge of the scriptures.
Can I say this? When you said in one post, I am a member of a Church of Christ, it didnt have the same confidence as one would say, I am a member of the Lords church. And really mean it. Im not judging you. Its just my observation. At the same time, I can understand how you may have said it that way to make a distinction that you are not a member of this or that or another religious body.
Well, were glad to hear you comment that you appreciate the forum to discuss. Please feel free to initiate a thread or a number of threads on specific issues and matters that concern you or that should be of concern to loyal members of the church where unity in the bond of peace should prevail.
|July 26 2005, 10:36 PM |
Thanks for your comments. As usual, you expressed your thoughts and viewpoints very well. I think you have convinced me that Allan may not have been aware of what change agents are up to. I think that by now, just like many others, he has a better grasp of the motives of such change agents as they continue to intrude and create confusion and division and go so far as (in the latter stages) acquire once-peaceful congregations. Ill be the first one to admit that churches of Christ are hit the hardest because of our uniqueness in standing for the truth and much of our beliefs are vastly different from those of other religious groups.
I am not going to hide from my understanding of where Allan stands on various doctrinal matters relative to what mainstream churches of Christ believe and how they differ with him. What he has brought to the table, from my own assessment, will create more problems for churches of Christin addition to what the Change Movement has already affected our brotherhood. But I agree that perhaps he is that genuinely interested in civilly discussing these matters.
KC, I want you to know that I enjoy reading your posts very much. I believe that although we differ in certain doctrinal matters, we are together in our fight against the purpose-driven virus that is severely damaging different religious faiths.
but with no PDC issues.
|July 26 2005, 10:56 PM |
I just love your expression: a church
but with no PDC issues. That would make a great thread!!! Or, even a website!!!
Yes, how can I ever forget your earlier posts? You may not realize it, but you have impacted this website because you have expressed yourself many times in regard to the Purpose Driven Church Movement with honest conviction and sincerity.
Again, thank you!
Re: I love being talked to in the third person
|August 2 2005, 2:49 PM |
I've heard people ask if "those folks in the churches of christ do any worshipping or are they arguing all the time about points and sub points"
Allen is sincere, he's honest, he's trying to offer a viewpoint and without surprise he gets slammed. I'm don't know if we're dealing with a room full of Elders, Preachers, Phd's or Sae's (self appointed experts) but I hope your churches are kind and welcoming and I wished you grasped generally we are all imperfect, some are futher along than others, no one is a lost cause or unimportant. But on discussion after discussion, and maybe this is just a result of the kind of folks attracted to this site, there are times of bluntness,rudeness, scarcasim, mind reading and assumptions that are just unfair. But I guess someone will respond "this truth calls me to speak this way." Really? Could it be more loving or encouraging. I wonder if you speak with your wives this way. Bet you win every argument. That make you feel good? I thought so.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
The Wrong Man
|July 25 2005, 8:43 AM |
In his post of July 17, John Rebman states of Bro. John Waddey:
"When was the last time you took a poor kid out to dinner, buy him a pair of shoes, teach him how to throw a baseball, football, play the piano? (I think it is you who used to play the piano in the Baptist/Methodist church: sorry if I have the wrong man)."
Rebman has reason to apologize to Bro. Waddey, for indeed, Rebman not only names the wrong man but the wrong instrument, and he is not too sure about the denomination involved. It is I, not Bro. Waddey, who previously played an instrument in a church; that instrument was an organ, not a piano; and the church was Southern Baptist, not Baptist/Methodist. I am surprised that Rebman did not research and verify the facts before making such accusations against Bro. Waddey.
Recently there have been several posts which have dealt with the subject of attacking others of opposing views. Such attacks have been mean-spirited and condescending, with the obvious intent to hurt and destroy. The vast majority of these attacks have been made by supporters and sympathizers of the Change Movement against this web site, against those who regularly contribute posts to it, and against the Church of Christ. With that in mind, I consider the first half of Rebmans statement above as a personal attack on Bro. Waddeys character, an attack which contributes absolutely nothing to any rebuttal that Rebman could ever muster against Bro. Waddeys essay of "Scenes in the History of the Church," or any other essay, for that matter. Indeed, resorting to such sophomoric tactics not only tarnishes ones credibility, it is more indicative that one has no legitimate rebuttal to present, and it is a completely unchristian trait.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
"Some Things Baptism Can't Do" (by John Waddey)
|August 6 2005, 4:58 PM |
Baptism is a fundamental ordinance of the Christian faith. Christ commanded it (Acts 10:48). Salvation is conditioned thereon (Acts 22:16). It is surely a test of ones faith in God for if we love him, we will keep his commandments (John 14:15). However, with all its value and importance, there are some things that baptism cannot do.
Baptism cannot make a baby a Christian. Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:15). Infants are not capable of believing, therefore, they are not proper subjects of baptism. The fact is infants, young children and those who are mentally deficient do not need baptism, for they are not lost. They belong to God by creation. Only when they have sinned do they need baptism to wash their sins away (Acts 22:16). The disciples were called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26). A disciple is a student. This then demands a level of growth and maturity before one is capable of being a Christian. Not only is infant baptism contrary to Scripture, it fails to accomplish what its practitioners wish.
Baptism will not allow you to keep what you have illegally taken. Peter said we must repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38). If you had stolen my car and then were baptized, repentance would demand that you return it. If you had swindled a person's money, you should do the same. John the Baptist insisted that the Jews bring forth fruit worthy of repentance (Luke 3:8).
Baptism will not sanctify an ungodly lifestyle. It is not uncommon to see folks who live promiscuous and worldly lives, think that because they have been baptized God will overlook their sins. In baptism a drug abuser or drunkard's sins are forgiven, but they must strive to live "soberly, righteously and godly" if they would be saved (Tit. 2:12).
Baptism will not exempt one from the penalties of civil law. Most preachers have seen the person who is afoul of the law show up, desiring to be baptized. He fondly hopes that the fact of his baptism would convince the judge that no penalty should be assessed. While baptism, sincerely sought, will forgive him in God's sight, he must still answer to the civil laws he has broken, even if that means capital punishment for a capital wrong.
Success in baptizing large numbers of people will not make a false teacher right in God's eyes, nor should it in the eyes of the church. Frequently we see obvious false teachers who assume that their success in conversions should make us tolerate their error, or they vainly hope that God will excuse their vagrant teachings in view of their many converts. Sad to say, some thoughtless brethren will seek to justify keeping or using a preacher who is unsound because of his ability to move people.
Many baptisms will not legitimize and excuse a factious movement that has wreaked havoc upon and divided the body of Christ. Strife, factions, divisions and parties are works of the flesh for which men shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven (Gal. 5:19-21). Conduct that causes division makes void the prayer of Christ for unity (John 17:20-21). Christians are expected to give "diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3). A method of evangelism that has disrupted numerous congregations is no less sinful because some of their workers report over 100 baptisms in a year's time.
Baptism is a vital part of the Lord's system. It beautifully typifies the Lord's death, burial and resurrection (Rom. 6:1-5). It is the appointed time, place and means wherein the blood of Jesus washes sins away (Acts 22:16). It puts us into the body of Christ which is the church (I Cor. 12:13). But there are some things baptism can never do. Don't place your hope in such mistaken notions as we have studied. To do so will only bring disappointment and disaster.
Something we all agree on.
|August 10 2005, 1:48 PM |
I can see here that we have some differences in doctrine, some that wont be
resolved. But, at least I see a common thread in our opinion's on the
Purpose Driven Church Model.
This is long but so has been my struggle with it.
The Church growth movement "Purpose Driven" church seems to be held in low reguard. I too think it is a destroyer of church's, whether they grow or diminish in size.
My experience with the growth model has brought much disappointment even grief....
For 15 years I attended a grace centered Church of Christ in the metroplex,
grace centered meaning that yes Baptism was emphasised, but it was made very clear the Grace of God was imputed by Christ sacrifice, not by our following the "new law" better than the other church's. John Featherston was the preacher.
After he was relieved of his duty as minister I knew changes were in the air.
I had no idea what they were talking about but a new Vision was emphasised and banner calling us the "Family of God" were placed in various places. The attendance has dropped from 1200 on the average Sunday to now about 540 on average. I had no idea what the growth movement was at the time now over 4 years ago, I left that Church, but now looking back I see that the PDC model and Classes are firmly in place there. I knew many people and was sad to leave, but something wasnt right. Emphasis which once was all Biblical, was now more man centered.
My wife of Fundamental Baptist background and myself now were looking for a place of worship which emphasized essential doctrines, but at the same time emphasised the Grace of God, through faith on Christ perfect work of atonement, not on our performance or following the "New Law".
We started worship at an Independent Christian Church a fairly large church, but one which emphasized docrine "baptism", the Word, and Christ as our perfect sacrifice for sin. Well two years after starting there, they started these classes that had a baseball diamond design, they also started talking about becoming a mega-church and moving to a cental location a 100 acre "campus". The sermons went from very Bible based to "what a great church we will be" based. Within a couple of months we decided that leaving was the only thing to do.
Now we can see everything they do is based on the PDC model. Rich Atchley has been a guest speaker several times. I guess he follows the same model.
Then we visited several church's many of whom follow this model until we started to regularly attend a Baptist Church where the preacher was very Biblical and independent minded, who made it clear he felt Baptism was more than the baptist church had made it, but still emphasized the perfect atonement of Christ as our only means of salvation. This felt like a church home at last. Within 3 months they started a series "40 Day's of Purpose", guest speakers included the preacher at our past Christian Church and a new building program was implemented.
He said they were going to start doing church in a new way to be more relavant with the surrounding neighborhood. Since I had now been very informed about the "Purpose Driven Model" we left immediatly with no
delay. This was a very sad day, I knew I had to leave, my wife was very adament about this too. They had a wonderful teaching program for the children, but I had drawn a line that I couldnt attend a church based on the PDC model.
Now today after vistiting several more Church's I decided on a church which is an Independent non-denominational church. I had known the preacher for a long time and he had been a Church of Christ minister for many years.
His preaching is totally Bible based as he preaches line by line through the Bible. He does emphasis baptism and has described it as "faith in action" however, we believe and it is preached that Grace is through faith in Christ alone". That His atonement is our Salvation. Music is both accappela some and with instruments some. He also believes the growth movement is destructive.
My only worry is that the church is very small, maybe 100 attendance including kids. So the childrens program is very small. Im sure the reason the church is small is that he follows the Bible very to a tee and there is no entertainmentat all. I pray this older man "Mid 60's" isnt replaced with a Purpose Driven youngster any time soon.
Anyway though we may have some doctrinal disagreements nobody here is more adverse to the PDC growth movement as I have seen first hand its many effects.
1) Man centered format. Emphasises human desires and needs.
2) Entertainment driven worship.
3) Growth at all cost message.
4) Hides core doctrines with fluff.
5) makes once humble servants power hungry.
6) makes once Bible based sermons, valid and earthly sermons.
7) emphasises Tithing as a law, even to the point of reading the Maliki curse.
8) Emphasises the "church" more than the Lord.
9) Uses worldly entertainment, types of music, and pride as focuses.
10)Doesnt rely on the calling of the Holy Spirit to service, but instead
has seminars to get "plugged in"
11)Causes once solid preachers to compromise so they will grow.
12)Compromise, compromise, compromise.
Thats what I see in the PDC model, and the Church Growth movement model.
And I would recommend if your church has been taken over by this model to separate yourself and find a Church which worships in "Spirit and Truth",
instead of following a model to attract by human desires and needs.
Yes, we may have some doctrinal disagreement, but on the PDC model in general, we are in agreement.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
"THE CHURCH UPON WHICH GOD SMILES" (by John Waddey)
|September 3 2005, 3:26 PM |
THE CHURCH UPON WHICH GOD SMILES
Postmodern thinking views the mega church as specially favored of God. With its large clientele, lavish building, flashy preacher, exciting services, huge budget, and many programs and activities, surely God must be smiling on such a church. For those who think in this vein, the following thoughts might be informative.
Of preachers Jehovah says, "he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully" (Jer. 23:28). Many who seek to have mega churches are willing to preach a partial gospel to achieve their goal.
Some who serve mega churches are fond of the recognition and reputation they have achieved. The church in Sardis had gained "a name" among their peers. They were considered a "live" church. But the Master noted that there were only "a few" of them that had not defiled their garments and thus would walk with him in white robes of victory (Rev. 3:1-5).
Some of our huge congregations are quite proud of their income and budget. They operate more like thriving businesses. They manifest little interest in the smaller, weaker congregations around them. The church in Laodicea was like that. They said, "I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing." Blinded by their success they could not see that in reality they were "wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked." They made the Savior sick (Rev. 3:14-17).
Some who lead mega churches broadcast their many baptisms and large attendance. Paul looked at the large numbers who still clung to the Mosaic system of religion and said, "If the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that shall be saved" (Rom. 9:27). Numbers are important only if they represent souls that are being faithfully taught the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) and those baptized, immersed according the Lord's instruction! (Acts 22:16).
Some who have mega churches are impressed with their lavish and stately church buildings. Stephen observed that "The most high dwelleth not in houses made with hands" (Acts 7:48). When God looks at his church he sees not buildings, but his children. The church of the living God is the "house" or household of God (I Tim. 3:15). It is the members, not the building, that constitute the "temple of God" in which the Holy Spirit dwells (I Cor. 3:16). Magnificent buildings may or may not be pleasing to Him! That will be determined by the conduct of those who assemble in the buildings.
The leaders of many mega churches readily change the faith, worship and practices Christ ordained for his church in order to reach their neighbors and keep their young folks. God, however, wants his people to seek "the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein" (Jer. 6:16). If neighbors and young adults say "we will not walk therein" we dare not adjust God's standards to pacify them!
Some who lead mega churches tell of the favorable attention and publicity they have received from the media upon casting off their old image as a church of Christ and pursuing a new "Evangelical" image. But the founder of the church said, "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For in the same manner did their fathers to the false prophets" (Luke 6:26).
Some who are part of mega churches point to the many missionaries they support and the good works they are able to do as proof of God's favor. The Master said, "Not every one that said unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast our demons, and by thy name do many mighty works: And then will I profess unto then, I never knew you..." (Matt. 7:21-23).
John MacArthur has wisely and rightly said of churches, Real success "is not prosperity, power, prominence, popularity, or any other worldly notion of success. Real success is doing the will of God regardless of the consequences." We thank God for our churches, large or small, that have thus grown according to the Master's will. All such He surely smiles upon.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
"Who Is to Blame?" (by John Waddey)
|September 17 2005, 3:09 PM |
WHO IS TO BLAME?
The First Ave. Church of Christ had existed and flourished for sixty years. Its identity and message had never been in question. It was conservative, thoroughly biblical. It was a church of Christ modeled after the pattern set forth in the New Testament.
Then Bro. I. Wanna Change came into their midst. He introduced new beliefs and practices he had learned in Church Growth Seminars. Some he convinced but others objected. For resisting his proposals, Bro. Change accused them of being divisive.
Russell James III aptly describes the absurdity of this situation: "I have never understood why if two men are standing firm in the same place and one leaves to go somewhere else, that it is the man who remains who is called divisive when he points out the separation, rather than the man who left the original position."
In the years ahead, we will see this scenario played out in scores, perhaps hundreds of congregations. When you see those who protest the innovations branded as factious, divisive, legalists or trouble makers, remember such is ever the tactic of church robbers. Remember that wicked Ahab accused Elijah of being the troubler of Israel, when in fact he was the guilty one (I Kings 18:17).
Those brethren who seek to seduce Christians to think of the church as a denomination and seek the fellowship and approval of denominational bodies are troublers of Israel. Those who would lead our brethren into unauthorized worship such as using instrumental music, using women to lead in public worship, taking liberties with the Lord's Supper, are the troublers of the church. Those who deny the essentiality of immersion to sinners' salvation, who accept as brothers in Christ those not scripturally baptized, are the troublers of God's people.
Be not deceived, just as the caught thief or the liar blames others and excuses himself, so do change agents who seek to capture the souls of our brethren and divide churches.
Re: Something we all agree on.
|July 10 2015, 1:46 PM |
What church is this?
Do you know where the pastor John Featherston went to after leaving this church?
Changes, Changes, Changes (by John Waddey)
|October 1 2005, 7:59 PM |
From: JOHNWADDEY@aol.com [JOHNWADDEY@aol.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2005 12:45 PM
Subject: A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith. John Waddey. Christianity: Then & Now
Please take a few minutes to read today's lesson and then forward it to others Christians in your address book. The church is facing serious challenges and needs your help in keeping a steady course, according to God's word.
CHANGES, CHANGES, CHANGES
Change agents are clamoring for changes in the faith, worship and practice of churches of Christ. The changes they envision are profound and fundamental. Congregations that embrace them will no longer be churches patterned after the New Testament (Heb. 8:5). They would no longer be striving to be Christians only. They will not be churches of Christ such as Paul referred to (Rom. 16:16). Instead, they will become denominational bodies, adrift in a sea of human doctrines, traditions and opinions.
When we warn against the change movement, occasionally a well-intentioned brother will respond, "Since we all are imperfect, don't we need to change?" Such answers suggest that we need to specify just what it is that cannot be changed.
I. Some Changes Are Needed. The heavenly side of the church is perfect and unchangeable. But the church on earth will always be imperfect because of its human membership. At our best, we are imperfect people. Our work of restoration is task that is never-finished. When we fail to measure up to any aspect of the revealed faith, we need to change. The key is the direction in which we are moving. Beneficial changes are those that draw us into closer conformity with God's divine standard. When in any aspect of our worship, faith or practice we fail short of the divine pattern we need to change! Only when we are observing "all things whatsoever (Christ) commanded" (Matt. 28:20), are we immune from change.
II. Some Changes Are Inconsequential. Over the years our congregations have made a multitude of changes that were acceptable because they were in areas that were of no consequence. We changed from plain, simple meeting places on the back streets to fine buildings on main thoroughfares. We changed from hand held fans to air conditioning. We changed from 60 minute sermons to 30 minute lessons. We change from one cup to multiple cups for communion. We have changed our hymnals, our Bible School literature and a hundred other matters. Such changes are harmless because they have nothing to do with the essence of the religion of Christ. We still sing, pray, commune, give and study as the Bible directs, as we always did. These changes are the kind we can take or leave without transgression. Most of these changes are beneficial and should proceed without protest. The only reservation would be, if implementing them should be the occasion of strife in the family of God (I Cor. 8:9-13).
III. Some Changes Are Destructive And Forbidden. If the changes proposed would cause us to go contrary to the expressed will of God, they are wrong and must be rejected and opposed.
To beneficial changes that bring us into closer conformity to God's will, we say, Yes! To inconsequential changes we offer no objection! But to changes that lead Christians away from God, that make void the word of God (Matt. 15:9), we not only reject them, we must also object to them with all our strength! We are obligated to contend earnestly for the faith, once delivered (Jude 3). Simply stated, our position is Change? Yes! Apostasy? No!
- To change the music of the church from singing which the Holy Spirit has authorized (Eph. 5:19), to making a different kind of music with mechanical instruments is wrong.
- To change the day we commune from the first day to another day of the week violates the example of the early Christians who communed on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
- A change that would allow women to teach men in the assemblies or classes of the church would violate Paul's inspired restrictions on them (I Cor. 14:33-34 and I Tim. 2:11-12).
- To change the message of salvation from faith and obedience to faith alone is wrong for it violates James' statement that faith without works in dead in itself (Jas. 2:26); also the declaration that Christ is the author of salvation to all who obey him (Heb. 5:9)
- To alter the doctrine of God's grace and claim that He saves us by grace alone violates God's commands that sinners must obey him to receive the promised blessing. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mk. 16:16). The Holy Spirit is given to all them that "obey him" (Acts 5:32).
- To change our view of Scripture is sinful. God describes it as a "pattern" for us to follow (II Tim. 1:13; Heb. 8:5). To teach men there is not a pattern is wicked arrogance.
- To change people's thinking about the nature of the church is wrong. The church is Christ's body, his bride, his kingdom, his family. It is sacred, singular and unitary. To change it into a denomination is an evil thing. It is to make the sacred secular and profane. Other examples might be cited but these illustrate the point.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
The Law of Christ by John Waddey
|November 2 2005, 6:58 PM |
THE LAW OF CHRIST
Inspired writers refer to the New Testament as "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:2); "the perfect law, the law of liberty" (Jas. 1:23) and a "law of faith" (Rom. 3:27). This being the case, how say the change agents among us that we are not under a law of God? They love to say that we should not view the Bible as divine law. Are they so ignorant of the book they claim to teach? Do they not believe what the Scripture says of itself? Do they think they know more about God's Book than the Holy Spirit who gave it? Could it be that in order to sell their agenda to a Bible-believing, Bible-oriented people, they must first convince them that the Scripture is not law, therefore it will be no great thing if its words are ignored?
If the Bible is not divine law, then no man is a sinner. For "where there is no law, neither is there transgression" (Rom. 4:15). If we have no divine law, how can some be called "lawless" in their conduct? (II Thess. 2:7; I Tim. 1:9). If the Scripture is not law, how could some men in the church be desirous of teaching "the law?" (I Tim. 1:7). If there is no law in Christ, we would have no knowledge of sin, or of right and wrong, "for through the law cometh the knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20). If the New Covenant is not God's law, then no man need worry about being judged by it in the last day (John 12:48). If it is not law, then we can do anything we desire in the name of religion and not worry about having to give account unto God (II Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:12). If the Scripture is not law, then James and Paul were mistaken in calling it that. If that is so, how can we have confidence in other things they said? That would mean the New Covenant is not reliable and free from error, would it not? If God had wanted to tell us that His written word is His law to guide and govern us in maters of faith, practice and worship, what do our champions of change feel He should have said, beyond what he has said, to make it clear?
It is true that we are not under the Law of Moses (Heb. 8:6-13; Rom. 7:4). It is true that we are saved by God's grace rather than by law-keeping (Eph. 2:8-9). It is a fact that our response to God must be one of faith rather than an attempt to earn salvation by works of law (Rom. 3:21-22). But it is a flagrant error to teach men that God's Word should not be viewed as law. This lesson our change agents need to take heed to. JHW