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John Waddey
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Discovering Our Roots (A Review)—Part 1

January 1 2005, 3:30 AM 


In 1988 Leonard Allen and Richard Hughes gave us Discovering Our Roots: The Ancestry of Churches of Christ, published by Abilene Christian University Press. While other books have been written to undermine the foundations of the Church of Christ, this was one of the first written by men claiming to be faithful brethren. Since this volume was issued, the attacks have grown bolder and more venomous. Now a sizable band of dissidents have declared open war on the church and are attempting to occupy the kingdom of Christ and make it their own.

To disarm their readers, the authors assure us, “We do not seek to demean the church by implying that it is only a human institution, nor do we want to ridicule the church through a cynical treatment of history. And we do not wish to disturb our sisters and brothers by calling into question cherished beliefs and suppositions" (p. 8). But that is precisely what they proceed to do. They write under the guise of being friends of the church, brethren whom we should trust and follow, but in reality they are subversives whose mission is to weaken the foundations of our faith in order that other teachers and books might be able to bring it crashing down. In large part they have succeeded. Again they tell us, "We did not write this book simply to praise the tradition in which we stand" (p. xii). This is the understatement of the year, for the purpose of the book is to paint a new picture of our past and persuade the unknowing that the Church of Christ is nothing more than a misguided band of sectarians who mistakenly think they have restored the faith and practice of the apostolic church.

The authors open with a verse from Wendell Berry that well sums up their shipwrecked faith. Speaking of the important landmarks of the past, "my mind grew new, and lost the backward way." And such they have!

The declared intention of the authors is to explore the roots or ancestry of the Churches of Christ. These they find in the Renaissance, the Reformation, among the Puritans and the Baptists and the "American Experience." No discerning student of church history would deny that we have connections with these various influences. While the authors do briefly mention that we have roots in the biblical documents, they proceed to develop their thesis that we are primarily the product of the non-biblical forces mentioned above. The possibility that the ultimate roots of those who desire to be simply Bible Christians are in the teaching of Christ and his apostles and the church they planted in Palestine some 2,000 years ago is evidently foreign to their thinking. They fail to take into consideration that the Word of God is the seed of the kingdom (Lk. 8:11). Wherever it is planted in good and honest hearts, no matter the generation, it will produce the same kind of disciples and church that it produced in the beginning.

This book is not without some value for the careful reader. It is like eating bony fish; while there are some bites of worthwhile information about church history, about others who also were interested in restoration and about our own history, there are many bones which could cause serious injury to one’s faith if swallowed. Its greatest value is that it clearly reveals the denominational origins of the "new hermeneutic," a key ingredient of the change agenda, their new found doctrines on grace and salvation and their rejection of the New Testament as a pattern that God expects us to follow. Their inspiration, the reader will see, is found in the theology of Dr. Martin Luther.

This is a book filled with false assumptions.
  1. They tell us, "We (Churches of Christ) have often assumed that our roots are simply in the New Testament and that we really have not been shaped in any significant way by the intervening history" (p. 2). While there may be some with no training or awareness of our movement's past who would say such, the average preacher has not thought so!

  2. They say that to see our roots as essentially biblical "lures us into thinking that we can escape history and tradition entirely..." (p. 3). No educated preacher of the gospel would make this silly assumption.

  3. They assert that, "We ... have simply failed to recognize the traditions at work in our midst" (p. 3). True, all have some traditions. But not all traditions are harmful or contrary to God's Will. It is true that some have traditions they do not recognize. The point missed is that most brethren desire to hold fast to the Word of God and not allow unscriptural traditions to grow up in their midst. When they recognize them, they are willing to admit them and either reject them or modify them so they no longer go against God's Will. The motive of the change agents, with all their talk about traditions, is not to point out our traditional time of assembling or of having gospel meetings, or song leaders; it is to subtly convince the unsuspecting that all we believe and hold dear is nothing more than human tradition. Especially those distinctives that embarrass ecumenically minded change agents, such as weekly communion, acappella singing, our distinctive names, insistence on immersion as a condition of salvation, etc.
The authors labor under the misapprehension that we as a people don't realize that we have historic roots in human history as well as in the apostolic age. But we deny their greater assumption that therefore we are just another denomination. "Since those early days, members of Churches of Christ often have assumed they are a people with no history and no tradition, a people whose only roots lie in the Bible itself" (p. 110). Yet no one has ever said this save the change agents. It is the figment of their fevered imagination. "For restoration ... often begets a sense of historylessness, an identification with the first century church so strong that the intervening history becomes irrelevant or even abhorrent" (p. 152). They need to show us such a preacher or teacher of note among us.

A telling quote is offered from Huldreich Zwingli, "the clear and pure light, the Word of God, has been dimmed, confused and diluted with human principles and teachings so that all those who call themselves Christians do not know the divine will. They only have their self-invented worship, holiness and external spiritual knowledge which is man-made" (p. 21). This quote is a perfect description of those preachers, professors and congregations that have embraced the change agenda and are promoting it among our brethren.

(To be continued…)

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now


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Donnie Cruz
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Discovering Our Roots (A Review)—Part 2

January 2 2005, 2:26 AM 



They reveal the basis of their new theology. They tell us, “Lutheran and Reformed (churches) had different approaches to the Scripture...Does the Bible provide a complete blueprint for all time, laying out the details of church government, forms of worship, and rules for behavior? Or does it rather provide a central core of saving truth, leaving many of the details to human discretion and changing circumstances of time and place?" (emp. mine, JHW). Luther took the latter approach and so have the change agents! (p. 23-24). "Luther believed that Zwingle's insistence on making scripture the exclusive norm for the entire life of the church, including its forms of worship, turned gospel into a new legalism (p. 28). This has become the theme of the change agents ever since they discovered it!

They use examples from other reformers to land subtle blows against their brethren of the Church of Christ. Of Roger Williams, "He saw with keen vision just how easy it was to delude oneself into thinking that one had fully restored the true church. He understood how easy it was to let such smug certitude cloak self-serving ends and justifies mistreatment of opponents." (p. 60). They intend this as a slap at those of us who are strongly committed to the restoration ideal and who are confident in the success of our efforts.

They cite Zwingle, whose extremism even "excluded all audible music from the Christian assembly," as where a strong commitment to restoration can take a body of people (p. 27). In this they imply that this is the natural end of those who insist on restoring the faith and worship of the early church.

In this book, the authors set forth their proposition that rather than a true restoration of primitive Christianity, the restoration fathers were tainted in their thinking by the influence of John Lock and the Common Sense School of Philosophy. They prefer the mystical approach of the pre-modern age, i.e., the dark ages. It is remarkable that virtually all the change agents prefer mysticism, subjectivism and emotionalism to a studied, objective, reasonable approach to understanding God's Word. Perhaps this is because their new-found doctrines and practices cannot be upheld or justified if Scripture is read and interpreted just as any other book of instruction would be.

They remind us that "Baptists, Mormons, Shakers and other radical sects intended to restore primitive Christianity." Their implication is that our restoration movement is not unique nor anything special (p. 89). In their thinking, our brotherhood of churches is of the same value as that of the Mormons, Shakers and Baptists.

They labor to show that our movement was really only a product of social and political idealism prevalent in America in the late 18th and early 19th century; a quest for social and political freedom from the old European tyranny (p. 92) and from the tyranny of the old state churches.

They tell us, "No group uses the language of ‘restoration" more consistently and more effectively than did the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or the Mormons" (p. 94). I am certain that such commendation warms the cold heart of Joseph Smith Jr. Good pluralists and multiculturalists that they are, they can compare the LSD church with us, without noting the vast differences in the two groups. To put the goals and intentions of Joseph Smith in the same category with those of Stone and Campbell and other of our early restorers is slanderous. To leave the impression that the Mormon church is in any way related to the Church of Christ is no less. It leaves one to wonder if they see any real difference. If both are sects founded by men, then there is no essential difference. One wonders if they would have any problem embracing the Mormons as their fellow-Christians?

In discussing Elias Smith and Abner Jones and their New England Christians, they fail to note that many of those disciples flowed into Stones' restoration movement. They say, "the movement (New England Christians), ultimately merged into the United Church of Christ, a contemporary denomination..." (p. 102). We would like to know if they consider this good or bad? If unity is the most important item on their agenda, then they would have to commend this merger.

They tell us, "Even believer's baptism, acknowledged by practically all Stoneites as apostolic, was simply left to the discretion of the individual." They fail to note that they soon became uniform in the conviction of the necessity of immersion for salvation (p. 104). This book is noteworthy for the things the authors do not tell us. It is a selective "telling of the story" as change agents like to say, in order to paint the picture the way they want it to be...not necessarily as it really was.

They say, the "Stoneites' primitivism equally stressed the hastening of the millennial kingdom of God... (they) were convinced that the millennium was near" (Note: they offer no citations for their assertions about the role that millennialism played in their preaching and writing (p. 105). It is no secret that many of the early pioneers held mixed and confused ideas about the millennium. But it is the case that they were not trying to make those assumptions an essential aspect of the movement. In fact they wrote and said relatively little of the subject. The authors are trying to convince the unknowing that our fathers were wrong in rejecting the premillennialism of R. H. Boll and his disciples (ca. 1920-1945) and that we should not allow the millennial speculation of our denominational neighbors hinder our accepting them in fellowship, especially those of the Christian Churches.

(To be continued…)

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now


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Kenneth Sublett
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Bitter Roots produce Bitter Fruit

January 2 2005, 8:26 PM 

If you remember, Jesus warned that "doctors of the Law take away the key to knowledge." These would have included the Scribes who REWROTE God's History specifically, according to Jesus, so that the Pharisees could teach THEIR OWN doctrine to PREVENT the teaching of God's Word.

I have looked as some of the HISTORY revisioned by Hughes and Allen and remembering that they are "doctors of the Law" find that they are completely DETACHED from the Bible, church history and especially the history of the Restoration Movement.

They do not represent the views articulated by the Campbells but are STONEITES. Their "restoration" roots grow out of ancient and even fairly modern Devil worship in modern Iraq or Babylonia.

Saying that the ANTI-instrumental churches of Christ LACK history is based on the historian's total ignorance of TRUE history which you cannot PROCURE from another Phd. In my review I point you to the TRUE writers of history. These prove that NOT being forced to "bow or burn" in paganistic, musical worship is totally consistent with the History of the Bible and 100% of TRUE writers of church history. The view of baptism as for its purpose is 100% faithful to ALL true church history until Zwingli in 1525 gave birth to the VIEWS of the hate mongers out of the stolen universities.

My reading of Satan's introduction of MUSIC to produce MADNESS which the pagans sell as HOLY spirit--especially if it makes you puke and attack the priestess in the holy place--was understood by ALL of church history BUT APPROVED by Satanic cults. Therefore, the ANTI-instrumentalists did not BEGIN to do what they had NEVER DONE. Nor did they STOP doing something. Therefore, you have to have been driven MAD to believe and make HATE ATTACKS on those who FEED you.

As far as I can determine, the Stoneites as late as 1878 latched onto the word PSALLO translated as MELODY to try to JUSTIFY the massive sowing of discord they had produced with NO NEED for Bible authority or CIVIL concern for others. But EXTERNAL psallo or melody meant "shoot reall arrows, shoot love arrows" or "shoot out hymns."

Nevertheless, like the elders of ISRAEL who fired God by demanding SET A KING OVER US, modern elders have SOLD THEIR OWN souls and the prophecy for the first KINGS was that they would move on from CANAAN land to Babylonian captivity. Those getting a sensory orgasm from the worship TEAM and their productions have had their feet NAILED to the diverted TRAIN to Babylon. The universal theory and glad confession is that musical performers of religionism were the HAREM OF THE GODS or DEMONS. I KNOW that it sounds obscene, but THAT was the PURPOSE of music as "worship." I say that they have hitched a ride on the back of the prophecied "Babylon Whore" who in John's view from Patmos was CIRCE or KIRKE. That is why literates say assembly or SKUL even as do Jews of their synagogue.


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John Waddey
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Discovering Our Roots (A Review)—Part 3

January 3 2005, 2:15 AM 



We are told, "As the years passed, Campbell and his followers ... increasingly accepted unity in pluralistic diversity and subtly downplayed a strict adherence to the restoration ideal" (p. 109). No citations are offered for this assertion. They do not proceed to explain that those who "accepted unity in pluralistic diversity and ... downplayed a strict adherence to the restoration ideal, parted company with us at the opening of the 20th century and evolved into the ultra liberal Disciples of Christ denomination. They seek to paint Campbell in the tone of their present day "change" apostasy. It is true that Campbell's militancy tempered as he grew older. It is true that he hoped to lead the various Protestant bodies back to the Bible. It is true that in his latter years he embraced such error as the American Christian Missionary Society which he had rejected in his younger years. That just proves that Campbell was a fallible leader. It is precisely the reason that our brethren have never considered him more than a brilliant preacher, writer and educator. We never viewed him or revered him as our founder, as the creator of our belief system, or as our authority for what we belief or do. The scholars of the Change Movement seem determined to paint Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone as our founders and their writings as the standard by which our faith and practice must be measured.

They tell us, "… the Common Sense (school of philosophy) perspectives rendered their (our restoration forefathers) emerging traditions essentially invisible, at least to themselves. When on occasion they recognized their traditions, moreover, they viewed them as an essentially biblical, primitive, and apostolic and not in any sense the traditions of a particular people..." (p. 109-110). They are set on painting our faith and practice as only traditions such as those of the Baptist, Methodists, in order that we can be more easily convinced to give them up to the clamor of the change agents. With no apparent love or respect for the Church of Christ, they lay the axe to her foundations.

Chapter 10 of this book is worth the price of the book. The authors devote ten pages to "Restoring the Gospel of Grace: Martin Luther." They here reveal the roots and foundations of the change theology. Read this chapter carefully and you will understand what the new gospel of the change movement is all about. It will put twenty other of their books in clear perspective.
  • The authors are enamored with the theology of Martin Luther. Especially his emphasis on salvation by faith alone and the rejection of scripture as the law of God (p. 114-115).

  • They identify with his rejection of the New Testament as a pattern for our emulation. Note these quotes which they offer without contradiction.

    1. "For Luther, the divine Word was spoken supremely in the person of Jesus Christ, not in a mere book" (p. 116).

    2. "For Luther the Bible functioned much like a window in a house...It is so focus on the window that one fails to see beyond it..." (p. 116).

    3. "When Luther proclaimed ‘scripture alone' he always was proclaiming ‘Christ alone'" (p. 116). How does he know this contradictory assertion to be true?

    4. "Luther could point to, "an inner canon of Scripture...a ‘canon within a canon' consisting of those writings that most clearly reveal Christ." This idea shows up repeatedly in the writings of later change agents.

    5. "For Luther insisted...that there is great danger in looking to external forms and patterns, for one is tempted to think that in restoring outward forms alone one has restored the essence. For Luther, the outward forms constitute only an empty shell" (117). This is the basis for change theology.

    6. They tell us that for Luther, "All the external marks and structures were expendable in restoring and preserving this gospel, the living Word" (p. 117). The theme of change agents is here revealed.

    7. "Luther therefore did not look for the restoration of a church that had been entirely lost, but rather for the reformation of a church that had been seriously corrupted” (p. 117). This evidently is the change agents’ idea of what we are about today.

      In a section under "Reform of the Church" they write:

    8. "Luther's view of the hiddenness of the true church led him to reject and warn against the mere imitation of biblical examples and patterns" (p. 118). This is a plank in their new hermeneutic.

    9. "The first task of church renewal, Luther believed, was not restoration of biblical patterns, but rather restoration of the gospel message of divine grace, the recovery of the living Word (i.e. Jesus) through which faith was stirred up and through which believers received forgiveness. Fixation on biblical forms and patterns he believed, too easily obscured the centrality of grace and faith" (p. 118). This is the program the change agents have in mind for us.

    10. "Luther saw serious dangers in the imitation of biblical models" (p. 119). So do change agents!

    11. "For Luther the early age of the church was not an ideal age to which those in the present must return" (p. 121). Here is the basis for change thinking.

    12. "Luther viewed the effort to restore the patterns and traditions of primitive Christianity fundamentally at odds with the gospel" (p. 119), and so do our change agents.

    13. "Such Restorationism, Luther believed, placed human effort above God's grace and was therefore the worst sort of idolatry" (p. 120).

    14. They quote Luther as saying "we do not want to follow any example ... we want the Word for the sake of which all works, examples, and miracles occur" (p. 120). This is the theme song of all change agents.
It seems to me these men have found their heart's home in the theology of the Lutheran church and they should follow their hearts. Perhaps they could help unite the ten branches of the Lutheran denomination.

They describe how the major Protestant churches were seduced by the modern world. "The churches rushed to construct ornate and costly sanctuaries where choirs and organs replaced unadorned congregational singing and where dramatic presentation and church festivals competed with secular organizations for the time and money of the cultured middle class" (p. 139-140). This is a striking contemporary picture of those Churches of Christ caught up in the change movement that is sweeping through our large affluent city and university churches.

Their conclusion and application is expressed thusly: "With such an assumption, a restoration movement easily accumulates an array of full-blown traditions, most of which remain invisible under the traditional rhetoric of scorning tradition."

This book, unlike later volumes by the authors, has some redeeming value; some useful historical information. It is the foundation on which they have erected their house of apostasy. The latter works of other more bolder and militant change agents are full of their ideas and terminology.

It demonstrates that deviation by only a few degrees can over years lead to a total abandonment of the restoration concept. If you want to have a clear and balanced view of the early years of our restoration movement, you are encouraged to read Dr. Earl West's Search for the Ancient Order, available from the Gospel Advocate, or Firm Foundation Book Stores.

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now


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John Waddey
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Down in the River to Pray (A Review)—Part 1

January 28 2005, 1:18 AM 


Dr. John Mark Hicks, professor of theology at David Lipscomb University and Greg Taylor, editor of New Wineskins magazine have given us "Down in the River to Pray." The subtitle of their book is "Revisioning Baptism as God's Transforming Work." The presupposition of the authors is that members of the "traditional" churches of Christ have a faulty understanding of Christian baptism. Their mission is to correct our misperceptions and provide us a new view of the subject. Their interpretation is the product of the "new hermeneutic" that is at work among our university scholars.

Their conclusion is yes, baptism is important; no, it is not essential to salvation; yes, immersion is what the Bible teaches but a sincere believer can be saved although sprinkled in infancy. Yes, Scripture teaches baptism for remission of sins; but no, it is not necessary to understand or believe this.

The book demonstrates how to make a clear and simple matter obscure by means of a "scholarly" approach. It is a vivid illustration of "the language of Ashdod." Following the Babylonian Captivity the Jews were caught up in the pluralism and multiculturalism of their day. Their language was a confusing hodgepodge of Hebrew and Gentile dialects (Neh. 13:24). Hicks and Taylor are enamored with the theological language of denominational seminaries choosing it over Bible terminology. They find it hard to communicate in clear, simple language of Scripture. They prefer the following type of expression: "If we take this ‘narrative' perspective seriously as a narrative indicator, then ‘even when Luke does not enumerate each item of human response and salvific promise comprised in Peter's pronouncements (and he rarely does), those responses and salvific gifts are to be presumed present unless we are given explicit reason to think otherwise" (p. 58). This is classic theobabble! The book abounds in murky expressions designed not to teach the lost the way of salvation but to impress their academic peers with the author's high level of learning and expertise. Blessed is he who can make the difficult easy to be understood. Pity him who takes the simple and makes it obscure. Paul would rather speak five words, easy to be understood than ten thousand words in a tongue (I Cor. 14:19), but he did not have his doctorate from a seminary.

The authors operate under several faulty assumptions:
  1. That Alexander Campbell is the standard and authority for establishing our faith.
  2. That Campbell's Lunenburg Letters trump anything else said by Campbell or other restoration pioneers.
  3. That all brethren prior to their recent movement held a distorted, unscriptural view of baptism.
  4. That only scholars such as themselves can properly ferret out the meaning of God's Word.
  5. They assume the right to be brotherhood critics and interpreters of the faith.
  6. That we are saved by grace and faith alone, before and without water baptism.
  7. That Christians must necessarily derive their faith and convictions from theologians and their theologies than from a simple, honest study of God's Word.
  8. That even when God says something in clear certain terms, scholars such as themselves are not under obligation to accept and obey it.
  9. They assume the position of reformers without understanding the standard from which many have strayed and to which they should be called!
While the reader will find in this book some interesting and useful historical information from the early days of Christianity, the good is far outweighed by the falsity of its conclusions, the confusion it sows and the dangerous recommendations it offers.

The authors do not understand who is and who is not a Christian. Notice, "... further downstream Christians killed and have been killed over their beliefs and practices of baptism" (p. 12). While it is historically true that many Christians were persecuted even unto death because of their obedience to Christ in baptism, I challenge the authors to name us even one "Christian" (by God's definition) who has harmed or killed anyone who differed with him on baptism! Such statements are irresponsible and misleading.

Their purpose is to convince unsuspecting readers that while baptism is something nice to do, it is not essential for salvation. Note this example: "Thus Luke recognizes some believers as disciples (Christians) who had not experienced proper baptism. But this would also mean that he recognized some believers as disciples (Christian) who had not yet received the Holy Spirit" (p. 64). This is the ultimate point they so diligently wish to implant in the minds of unsophisticated readers. Therefore, all of our family, friends and neighbors who believe in Jesus are Christians and we should accept them as such.

The authors' approach is silly and irreverent. Notice: "Jesus dives in with his people who are look for the kingdom of God" (p. 53). Such frivolous language regarding the baptism of our Lord borders on sacrilege.

(To be continued…)

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now


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Ken Sublett
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Down to the River: stolen from Alisonn Krauss

January 28 2005, 1:40 PM 

    Of John Mark Hicks:Martin Luther said, "Your baptism is nothing less than grace clutching you by the throat: a grace-full throttling, by which your sin is submerged in order that ye may remain under grace. Come thus to thy baptism. Give thyself up to be drowned in baptism and killed by the mercy of thy dear God, saying: 'Drown me and throttle me, dear Lord, for henceforth I will gladly die to sin with thy Son" (as quoted in Down in the River to Pray, John Mark Hicks & Greg Taylor, Leafwood Publishers, 2003).
By the definition and condemnation of DOCTORS OF THE LAW, they take away the key to knowledge. You will find it almost universally true that SCHOLARLY QUOTES are taken from OTHER SCHOLARS. This is a way to MAKE POINTS by agreeing. The BAPTISTS rejoice in Hicks quite ignorant look at baptism by claiming that CHURCHES OF CHRIST are now seeing the light. The new LIGHT bulb was forged by Zwingly in 1525 and has been the CORNERSTONE upon which many groups have built their TEMPLE on the "grace only" heresy. However, except for his belief in 'original sin' which led people to sprinkling infants, Martin Luther's views of adult baptism are quite reasonable. Almost as an afterthought he treats infant baptism much like the modern heresy of BABY DEDICATION. Luther wrote:


1. Baptism [Die Taufe] is baptismos in Greek, and mersio in Latin, and means to plunge something completely into the water, so that the water covers it. Although in many places it is no longer customary to thrust and dip infants into the font, but only with the hand to pour the baptismal water upon them out of the font, nevertheless the former is what should be done. It would be proper, according to the meaning of the word Taufe, that the infant, or whoever is to be baptized, should be put in and sunk completely into the water and then drawn out again. For even in the German tongue the word Taufe comes undoubtedly from the word tier [deep] and means that what is baptized is sunk deeply into the water. This usage is also demanded by the significance of baptism itself.
    For baptism, as we shall hear, signifies that the old man and the sinful birth of flesh and blood

    are to be wholly drowned by the grace of God.

    We should therefore do justice to its meaning and make baptism a true and complete sign of the thing it signifies. [Signifies does not mean just a SYMBOL.]
3. The significance of baptism is a blessed dying unto sin and a resurrection in the grace of God, so that the old man, conceived and born in sin, is THERE drowned, and a new man, born in grace, comes forth and rises.
    Thus St. Paul, in Titus 3[:5], calls baptism a "washing of regeneration," since in this washing a person is BORN again and made new.

    As Christ also says, in John 3[:3, 5], "Unless you are born again of water and the Spirit (of grace), you may not enter into the kingdom of heaven." For just as a child is drawn out of his mother's womb and is born, and through this fleshly birth is a sinful person and a child of wrath [Eph. 2:3],

      so one is drawn out of baptism and is born spiritually. Through this spiritual birth he is a child of grace and a justified person. Therefore sins are drowned in baptism, and in place of sin, righteousness comes forth.

Rather than salvation BY GRACE or BY FAITH only, Ephesians 2 proves that BAPTISM is the ongoing PROOF that God saves by "grace through faith."

I notice that the HEAD of the Lipscomb Bible program AFFIRMS HICK'S brand new BAPTIST baptism or Believer's Baptism which is identical to ancient Pagan Baptism BECAUSE you are already saved. Martil Luther repudiates that.

I claim that the THROAT CLUTCHING is some more ShellyLand "taking liberties" with all truth.


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John Waddey
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Down in the River to Pray (A Review)—Part 2

January 29 2005, 2:48 AM 



As they survey church history they admit, "one constant was a consensus understanding that baptism was for the remission of sins and that the unbaptized saved adult was a rare exception" (p. 94). Too bad they and other change agents do not believe this. One of their cardinal points is that baptism is not essential for remission of sins.

They tell us, "Ultimately, Alexander Campbell merged the Calvinian meaning of baptism as a means of grace with the Anabaptist practice of believers baptism" (p. 133). They ignore or impugn the historical and biographical record that Campbell went back to the Bible and found his understanding there. Since they derive their faith from theologians, they assume all other Christians must have done the same. They appeal to Campbell's Lunenburg Letters to establish their doctrine that baptism is not essential to forgiveness and therefore there are Christians among the sects (p. 140-141). These letters are the perennial appeal of all who wish to abandon the Restoration plea. The authors are truly Campbellites.

"Those of us in the Stone-Campbell tradition who hold a high view of baptism are passionate about our understand. We believe it is biblical and we resist any deflation of baptism's significance” (p. 191). We dispute their claim to a high view of baptism. This book belies their claim. They hold the same view as the Baptist church and deny the essentiality of baptism for a person's salvation. Throughout the book they generally refer to "the Stone-Campbell Movement" rather than to churches of Christ. One can't help but wonder if they are ashamed of the name church of Christ and the Christians who are members thereof? Allegedly they are members of the church of Christ!

Their kind of religious practice: Taylor describes a baptismal scene in Uganda, "With the baptismal plunge and lift of every person, the crowd surrounding the grave erupted in wild laughter, slapping their knees and smiling. They delighted in watching each person exit the water, spitting and spewing" (p. 222). Is this the kind of emotion-packed, entertaining baptismal services they recommend for their changing churches? Already they have the applauding and the entertainment setting. "For example, at a church camp in the hills of Northeast Oklahoma we would sing Galatians 2:20 over and over, faster and faster the words are burned into our minds..." (p. 232). This type of activity is the wave of the future for churches pursuing the change program.

What they really believe: They tell us,
  1. "Baptism is a normative means through which God mediates his grace to us, but God is not limited by this means" (p. 238). I ask, how would we know since in their view there is no way for a church or an individual to know who is and who is not saved, since there is no single discernable way of salvation. This is their bottom line. It is nice to be baptized if you want to, but it’s not really necessary for a loving God will extend mercy to those who fail to do so.

  2. "The efficacy of baptism does not depend upon what we believe about baptism but whether we believe in Christ. The object of faith is Christ, not baptism" (251). Thus if one believes in Christ and becomes comatose or insane, we could immerse him acceptably because it doesn't matter what one knows of or about baptism?

  3. "...we reject rebaptism of those who were baptized as believers... Every immersion that expresses faith in Christ is effectively the grace of God...." (253) What then of those baptized as Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox?

  4. "But the first concrete encounter with God is through baptism which is the gospel in water" (p. 254). It is much better to say our first encounter is when we come to faith. The Baptist preacher Jarrell likewise misunderstood the Bible's message on baptism and charged us with preach "the gospel in water" and so titled his book.

  5. With approval, they cite Jack Cottrell, Christian Church preacher and professor, "we should acknowledge that faith is the sole means of receiving salvation and in this sense agree that people are justified by (that is, by means of ) faith alone" (p. 157). No matter what they say about baptism, this is their salvation message!

  6. "We see no reason why women should not baptize those they led to faith in Christ" (p. 254). Moving women into church leadership roles is another key goal of our change agents!
"We believe it's time for a revival in the camps and another preaching down in the river" (p. 255). What would they preach? What would they revive? They are not absolutely sure sinners must be baptized! Poor change agents live such sheltered, cloistered lives. They don't know what is going on in churches of Christ. The theology department of a religious school is not a reflection of congregational life.

They ask, "Is there any unity to be had at the river, where Catholics, Baptists, Methodists and ‘Campbellites' had trod? (p. 256). Here they manifest disrespect for the Lord's people by calling us Campbellites. For 200 years enemies have hurled this epithet of contempt at the church. It has always been rejected forthrightly by those who love Christ and his church! Do they use this as a hateful hiss or as a cute expression to show their ignorance? I can understand them thinking they themselves are Campbellites for they believe Alexander Campbell founded their denomination. These authors, like Esau, readily exchange their biblical heritage for the pottage of denominational theology.

Christian leaders need to read this book, not for information about the biblical teaching on baptism. That is it weakest point. Read it to know what the promoters of change really believe; what their ultimate goal for your congregation is. Those who follow them will be led away from the Word of God and into the swamp of human speculation and opinion. Congregations that embrace their agenda will cease to be churches of Christ, being transformed into yet another denomination. Mark well the names of the authors. You don't want to invite them to speak for your congregation.

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now


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Donnie Cruz
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“Participating in God’s Life” (A Review by John Waddey)

March 21 2005, 3:33 AM 


This book, authored by C. Leonard Allen and Danny G. Swick, is sub-headed "Two Crossroads for Churches of Christ." They describe it as "an historical/doctrinal study of Spirituality in the heritage of Churches of Christ" (p. 15). Those who read this book will find it to reflect the reasonings of philosopher/theologians who have judged churches of Christ to be a flawed and failed attempt at the religion of Christ. They offer us what they feel is the antidote for our ailments. It is a call for churches of Christ to make the necessary changes to be acceptable to the Postmodern world. Conversely, Jesus and the apostles thought the world should change to be acceptable to God (Rom. 12:2). It helps to understand that the authors have embraced Postmodernism as their guiding philosophy. "We who like to call ourselves postmoderns" (p. 92).

The authors build their story around a brief controversy that erupted in the pages of Alexander Campbell's Millennial Harbinger and the Gospel Advocate between 1857 and 1860. The participants were Dr. Robert Richardson, confidant and coworker of Campbell and Tolbert Fanning, president of Franklin College and editor of the Advocate. Fanning was also a friend and traveling companion of Campbell. They take this exchange of articles between two preachers and declare it to be representative of the entire brotherhood, then and now. Richardson argued that the proper approach to understanding God's will was not by a simple rational reading of it. He insisted the spiritual truths must be understood with the mind and the heart (p. 38). According to him, somewhere in the movement "there remained a ‘serious defect which paralyzes the most earnest efforts and renders comparatively fruitless the most successful proselytism'" (p. 41). According to Allen and Swick, "The problem in fact lay primarily in (the fact that) a human philosophy had infiltrated the camp, blocking the flow of Divine Life..." (p. 42). This criticism is interesting since the authors and their fellow-promoters of change are seeking to introduce the human philosophy of "Postmodernism" into the contemporary church. Richardson argued that Fanning and other leaders had embraced and adopted the Common Sense philosophy of John Locke, a system he disparaged by calling it "dirt philosophy" (p. 42-43). The authors use this derogatory term in referring to the reasoning of brethren who do not share their Postmodern view. It is noteworthy that neither Richardson nor Fanning sought to develop a following based on their views about the Holy Spirit and the Christian.

While focusing their attack on Bro. Fanning, the unspoken target is all of those brethren of the church who do not subscribe to their Postmodern views. It would be revealing to compare the work and accomplishments of the authors with that of Fanning. Theirs pale beside those of his. Much of the success of our churches in the Mid-South flows back to Fanning's labors.

The 15 pages of notes gleaned from this book cannot be thoroughly presented in this brief review. We can only provide a sampling. This book reflects the following views of the authors:

  1. That Churches of Christ are a human denomination, seriously flawed and needing renovation.

  2. That as a whole, we have totally misunderstood how to study and understand God's will.

  3. That in general we have failed to understand and thus benefit from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

  4. That as a people we are hopelessly mired in the rationalistic philosophy of John Locke. They would rescue us by leading us to accept Postmodernism.

  5. That the authors have embraced and are calling for a religion of subjectivism and emotionalism.

  6. That by following their doctrine, God will speak to us beyond the Word and "make the words of the Bible a reality in our lives" (p. 76). They look for Divine illumination (p. 48).

  7. That by understanding the Spirit's work as they do, we can walk in a way and engage in practices that are humanely impossible (p. 177).

  8. They recommend to us a "litany" so we can become more consciously "Trinitarian." This would be published so we could repeat it in responsive readings in our worship (p. 188). They also suggest a Trinitarian prayer to be "repeated mentally in the rhythm of one's breathing, inhaling with the first clause of each couplet and exhaling with the second clause" (p. 188). Imagine a Buddhist mantra.

  9. The authors are reaching for a mystical experience with God, such as other pietists have in days past. Their position, by necessity, diminishes the value and importance of Scripture in the life of Christians. It encourages its neglect as they reach for a mystical experience.

  10. The assertions and conclusions set forth in these pages demonstrate that the authors have a very limited and imperfect acquaintance with and understanding of the larger brotherhood of churches of Christ. Perhaps their perception has been distorted by their years in the environment of the seminary.

  11. Their thesis is built upon the premise that members of churches of Christ are devotees of John Locke's Common Sense philosophy. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of our brethren are unacquainted with Locke and have never read a line of his writings. They have constructed a vulnerable straw man and beaten him soundly, but alas their assumption was mistaken.

  12. Readers of the book will get a good sampling of "theobabble." The authors are strong on opaque reasoning and philosophical speculation but weak on Bible knowledge.

The authors are sure that our fathers made a terrible mistake by not following Richardson's subjective approach to religion. Perhaps they could explain why our churches, with their common sense way of reading the Bible, have flourished far more than those of the Disciples of Christ/Christian Churches who followed Richardson's subjective approach? Do they say that those churches are more spiritual than our brethren?

Of Judas, Jesus said, "good were it for that man if he had not been born' (Mk. 14:21). Of this book, we could say the same. An ancient philosopher once said, "Those who drink from tainted wells can expect to be sickened."

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now


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Donnie Cruz
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June 6 2005, 3:24 AM 


This is a massive two volume study edited by Dr. Carroll Osburn of ACU and published by College Press of the Independent Christian Churches. This review covers only Vol. I.

This book was designed with an agenda in mind. The editor is a proponent of the change movement. His later book Women in the Church makes it clear that he embraces the views of Feminism and would like to see women filling roles of public leadership in the church. The authors assembled for this project, with the exception of Everett Ferguson and possibly John T. Willis, seem to question the traditional understanding of public leadership of the church being restricted to Christian men. While they labor to impress their readers that they are really neutral scholars in search of new light, each in his or her own way seeks to clear the road of obstacles so that women may assume roles hitherto closed to them. To most of these scholars any scripture that might appear to limit women from filling public leadership roles is overcome by applying newly found methods of interpretation (The New Hermeneutic) or by declaring it a cultural matter. To them contemporary postmodern culture trumps the Biblical norms.

It is also noteworthy that those participants with connections to churches of Christ have a common bond. They either received their education from or are presently teaching for Abilene Christian University, Harding Graduate School of Religion, David Lipscomb University, Pepperdine University and Harding University. All of these schools save Harding University have been in the forefront of the change movement that is plaguing the church.

The book does contain some interesting information on the role of women in the Hellenistic and Roman worlds by G. Sterling and Jewish women in the Greco-Roman era (by R. Chesnutt), but those looking for helpful exegesis of texts relating to women will be disappointed. In their attempt to be scholarly they have produced a book that few will read and fewer will find understandable and profitable.

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now


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John Waddey
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July 11 2005, 4:29 AM 


Dr. Everett Ferguson has produced an excellent study on the role of women in the Lord's church. This slim book of 80 pages is the best I have encountered on the subject. It is a more than adequate response to the three volumes recently produced by change agents advocating that women be given a place in the public leadership of the church. Bro. Ferguson comes to his task with outstanding educational credentials and a lifetime of scholarly research, teaching and writing. Those of the opposite view cannot scorn him as an unsophisticated writer lacking the scholarly ability to discuss the issue.

His book covers the full spectrum of the subject of women's role in the church. He opens his discussion with a review of the several roles women filled in apostolic times, showing that none of them establish that women preached in the general assemblies of the church.

He then gives us excellent exegetical studies of the passages that most directly deal with the subject.

  • From I Cor. 14:27-40 he shows in a clear, concise way that Paul did forbid women to serve as public teachers in the assemblies.

  • In analyzing I Cor. 11:2-16 he identifies the permanent principles of divinely ordained male leadership and throw helpful light on the cultural factors expressed by the head-covering for women.

  • His interpretation of I Tim. 2:1-15 points out Paul's instructions that men lead the church in public prayer and that women are forbidden to each or have authority over men in the same setting.

  • From Gal. 3:28 he shows that although men and women are equal recipients of salvation and a place in God's church, the Lord has given them different functions or assignments.

He then answers the claims of those who think they have found a biblical basis for women preaching in the church.

The second chapter of his book looks at the evidence from Early Christian History. He surveys the cultural and social history of Jewish, Greek and Roman society, noting the roles filled by women. He notes that the few examples of women preachers are not found among the broader stream of the early churches, but principally among the Montanists and other heretical sects. The overwhelming majority of the churches limited the public teaching and preaching to men.

The author devotes his third chapter to Doctrinal Considerations. In this he considers the doctrinal instruction regarding men and women in the context of the New Testament. He notes that the divine assignments of men and women are based not on culture but on the nature of God and the order of creation.

He establishes that even though all are equal in Christ, be they male or female, Jew or Greek, bond or free, that equality does not abolish the differences inherent to all. In Christ, a slave was still a slave, a Jew was still a Jew and a woman was still a woman. The limitations imposed by God on women stills stand for those in Christ.

He closes with the lines of an ancient Christian author.

    "Heresies increased greatly because those who received them were unwilling to learn the mind of the apostles, but followed on their own desires, doing what pleased them and not what was right" (Apostolic Tradition, 43:3).

In only one point did I find myself in disagreement with the author and that in a matter he expressed as his opinion. As pressures mount to open the church's leadership to women, every preacher and elder needs to read this book for the information and ammunition it provides. This book may be ordered from Yeoman Press, 110 Meadowdale Dr. Chickasha, OK 73018.

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now


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Donnie Cruz
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“Redeeming the Times” (A Review by John Waddey)

September 1 2005, 3:22 AM 


This book is sub-headed: "Addressing the Issues of the Church in the Present Age." It consists of chapters by a number of gospel preachers and is edited by Russell Dyer, Tommy Haynes and Jeff Jenkins. The authors, each in his own assigned area, deal with the problems being caused by the promoters of change and the agenda they are pushing upon our churches.

  • Jeff Jenkins does a good job calling our people back to serious Bible preaching and teaching that will root and ground our brethren in the ancient faith.

  • Kippy Myers deals with the "Inspiration and Inerrancy of the Bible" which is being questioned by some of the scholars of the change brotherhood.

  • The editors join hands to discuss the matter of "The Silence of the Scriptures" on certain subjects and what our response to that silence must be. They well note that the man who argues that if God does not forbid a thing he must approve it (presumes to know the mind of God).

  • Chuck Monan looks at our past history as religious movement and sets forth the principles that guided our predecessors in the faith. He concedes, "No intelligent observer would deny that there is much room for improvement in churches of Christ" then notes that the fault is not in our method of interpreting the Word, but in living up to that sacred Message. * Gregg Clark discusses the matter of "Law or Love." Since a major premise of the change agents is that Christ saves us by grace therefore we are not in any sense under law, this chapter is very timely. He shows the folly of this view simply by citing those many New Testament verses that speak of the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2).

  • Tommy Haynes deals with the role of culture in determining the faith and practice of the church. Promoters of change are marching in the parade of modem culture. Haynes notes, "This clamor for change is not the fault of the message or the nature of the church. It is the work of a powerful evil entity that wants Christ's message and His body to change." * Tim Pyle points out the dangers of so emphasizing the differences in age groups in the church and a failure to bring these different generations together for fellowship and service. What is needed is more interaction between young and old, not less.

  • Lindsey and Thomas Bart Warren analyze the ecumenism that is the banner of the agents of change. This approach to Christianity, borrowed from the denominational world demands a toothless, convictionless kind of church and disciple. It is the application of the worldly philosophy of Pluralism in the church. Scripture refutes and rejects it by telling us there is but one body or church {1 Cor. 12:20; Eph. 4:4). Ecumenism is the spirit that drives the "Community Church" plank of the change agenda.

  • Dale Jenkins asks, "Does the Church Have to Change in Order to Grow?" He notes that some change is inevitable, but the faith of the church does not change, nor does its essential nature. The changes we reject are those that fall in this last category. * Russell Dyer tackles the problem of "Contemporary or Traditional Worship" He well notes "that worship is not about the preference or benefit of the worshipper; it is about honoring God." He agrees that sometimes "the church must be fine-tuned" but only "where Scripture allows it."

  • Ron Williams deals with the question, Is Instrumental Music a matter of Tradition or of Scripture? He quotes Phil Sanders who rightly asks, "One must wonder how an unscriptural practice, begun centuries late by men, can be from heaven or according to the truth?"

  • Neal Pollard responds to those who are determined to place women in roles of public leadership in the church. He analyzes the many New Testament passages that speak of women's place and work in the life of the church and shows that those pushing for female leaders must find their authority outside of God's Word.

  • Dale Hartman discusses the leadership role of elders in the life of the church and how the qualifications set forth by Paul equip them for their task.

  • Stephen Baily shows the adverse impact that a constant diet of entertainment has had on many young worshippers. "They do not know how to distinguish between what is real and what is manufactured."

  • David Deffenbaugh reminds us that "The Fields Are Still White" for harvest. We must not allow ourselves to be diverted from our mission of evangelism.

  • Ralph Gilmore's chapter, "Can the Bible be Understood in Our Time?” is worth the price of this book. He identifies and refutes the "new hermeneutic" being pushed by the purveyors of change and restates in a helpful way a workable approach to rightly dividing the word of truth that Christians have pursued for ages past.

This book is a helpful addition to the literature of the day. It may be ordered from Clarity Publications, Box 23384, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now


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Donnie Cruz
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September 26 2005, 12:39 AM 


When God wanted the Hebrews to build him a house of worship, he provided them specific instructions on how it should be built. He specified even the kinds of materials to be used. The exact dimensions were given for the tent, and the furnishings thereof. Nothing was left to the creative minds of the craftsmen.

The wood was to be acacia; the cloth was to be linen. The metals used were gold, silver and brass, each used in the object specified. The details were written down for the workers and are preserved to this day in the Book of Exodus chapters 35-38. God straitly instructed Moses, and he those who did the work, that they make the tent and its fixtures "after their pattern, which hath been showed thee in the mount" (Ex. 25:40). They wrought according to the pattern and God blessed and accepted their efforts. He placed his glorious shekinah in the most holy place of the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34).

Ponder the question, what if the tabernacle had been destroyed, by fire, storm or war? What would the Hebrews have done? The answer is simple, so long as they had the Book of Exodus in their possession they had the pattern and could have rebuilt it just as it was in the beginning.

Christ built his church and recorded his will for us in his New Testament (Matt. 28:20). He specifically tells us it is to be regarded as his pattern for his disciples and his church (II Tim. 1:13). Borrowing the very words God spoke to Moses, the Holy Spirit led the writer of Hebrews to say, "See that thou make all things according to the pattern that was showed thee..." (Heb. 8:5).

By the third century men were openly ignoring the divine pattern for the church. One by one, over a period of time, virtually every doctrine and practice ordained by the Master was changed. Eventually the Bible itself was effectively removed from the reach of the common man. It was locked in a dead language (Latin) which none but clerics spoke. It was declared to be the exclusive property of the priesthood of the corrupted church of Rome. Penalties were attached for possessing a Bible. Men were forbidden to translate it into the vernacular of the people.

The great gift of the Protestant Reformation was that the power of the pope to keep the Bible from the masses of humanity was broken. In virtually every country of Europe brave men set about to put the sacred book into the language of the people. Gutenberg's printing press made it possible to produce Bibles in large numbers and at prices many people could afford. Although the church that Christ built had long be corrupted and obscured, the people now had the divine pattern in hand. By carefully studying it, they were able to rebuild that which had been lost. Using a slightly different figure, the author of The Revelation was given "a reed like unto a rod: and one said, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar and them that worship therein..." (Rev. 11:1).

The divine measuring rod was the Scripture. To be acceptable to God the church must meet the divine standard given in God's Word.

Two centuries ago, with the heavenly pattern in hand, our fathers set about to restore the church, her faith and worship, as they were in the beginning.

Today we still possess the pattern. Those who want God's acceptance and blessing will be diligent to see that all things are done according to the pattern.

One last question: How do you think God would have dealt with Bezalel and Oholiab, if the master craftsmen had taken it upon themselves to change various aspects of the tabernacle to make them more pleasing to themselves and the people?

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now


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Donnie Cruz
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November 2 2005, 7:10 AM 

(A Review)

This excellent book is subtitled, "The Music of Scripture." Richard Wolfe, the author, is a graduate of Harding University with a degree in Music Education. He spent 22 years as a missionary in Belgium. Rather than a polemic against instrumental music in worship, the author examines every verse in the Bible mentioning music, whether vocal or instrumental, whether secular or spiritual. I found his analysis extremely interesting and enlightening. His approach refutes some commonly held views about the use of instruments in the worship of the ancient Hebrews.

The author notes there are very few mentions of musical praise in the Pentateuch. Three are acappella, one includes tambourines and dancing with only women participating and one involved idolatrous worship. From Moses to David, the only mention of music for worship is that of Deborah's song where no instruments are mentioned. Thus the early part of the Old Testament is not overflowing with instrumental music in worship.

When David came to power, he made Jerusalem not only his capital, but also the center of the nation's religion. He moved the tabernacle to Jerusalem and organized an extensive liturgy for the tabernacle worship. Instrumental music was at that time added to the worship of the sanctuary, but it was done by God's direction, not simply by the preference or desire of David (II Chron. 29:25).

Many assume that the Psalms are "full of instrumental music." Wolfe's research shows that only 16 of the 150 psalms mention instruments of music. It is also assumed by some that by definition the Psalms were sung with instruments of music. Wolfe notes that in their synagogues Jews sang the psalms without instrumental accompaniment. Thus the common assumptions are faulty. He concludes his review of music through the time of David, by noting that, "Vocal music existed in its own right. By a five-to-one margin, it is mentioned much more often than instrumental music."

By showing that "Old Testament worship music did not have wholesale use of instruments," he neutralizes the claim that the Old Testament gives a precedent for an extensive use of instruments.

His review of the New Testament text notes, "The silence of Scripture concerning instruments in early Church worship is resounding and repetitive. Since our biblical sources never mention instruments for worship purposes, if we are paying attention, we begin to understand that they never used them. This impression is definitely confirmed by historians, who invariably agree that early Christian worship...did not include instruments" (p. 136) His conclusion is, "When Christians worship God with a cappella singing, they have absolute certainty that such music has been ordained by God for that purpose" (p. 147).

The rise of numerous voices among us insisting that the use of instruments of music in worship is an acceptable practice reveals the fact that many of our younger preachers were not properly taught God's truth on this subject. The schools that provided their education obviously failed to do an adequate job.

This book should be assigned reading for all preaching students. It would be helpful for most of the men now filling our pulpits. You may order this book from the Gospel Advocate, 1006 Elm Hill Pike, Nashville, TN 37210.

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now


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“DISTANT VOICES (a Review)”—by John Waddey

January 29 2006, 3:18 AM 


This book by Leonard Allen is sub-headed “Discovering a Forgotten Past for a Changing Church.” Bro. Allen is surely one of the most prolific writers of the change “fellowship.” This book, published by Abilene Christian University Press was issued in 1993, one of the earliest in the program designed to revise the history of the American Restoration Movement of which we are a part. For those who love our brotherhood history this is an interesting collection of information. The purpose of the author seems to be to raise questions about the things most surely believed and practiced by members of churches of Christ. Having sown doubt and shaken convictions, convincing our members to embrace his call for change would more likely succeed.

The author views our brotherhood history as a supermarket from whose many wares he picks only those random thoughts and ideas that meet the needs of his agenda and support his program of change.

He tells us that “seeing the past in a new light, however, can bring clarifying perspective and healing balm...It can provide the impetus toward reconciling old estrangements...” (p.3). When we realize that one of the goals of the promoters of change is a reconciliation with the Disciples of Christ and Christian Churches who departed from us a century ago. The reconciling, they have in mind in for us to do. They think our fathers were wrong in refusing to fellowship those who desired instrumental music in worship and missionary societies.

The author introduces novel ideas and practices found in the early days of our Back to the Bible Movement most of which were eventually rejected by brethren as they grew in the grace and knowledge of Christ. The unspoken conclusion he wishes us to draw is, “Oh my, we have departed from the original teaching and practices of the pioneers of our movement. Therefore all that we presently hold is questionable.”

  • Chapter 2 is about inter-denominational communion services which Barton Stone and his friends participated in. He does not mention that at that point they had not even launched out on their quest for original Christianity. He also relates the “Pentecostal type of emotionalism” that was common at the Cane Ridge Revival. There was swooning, shouting and jerking as untaught people were stirred to excess by the powerful, emotional charged preaching of the various denominational speakers who addressed them. Of course when those of that number set out to find the old paths of Christianity, they soon abandoned that kind of foolish behavior for a more reasonable faith based upon the Word of God.

  • In chapter 3 he relates “The Only Hope for Unity.” From the pen of Barton Stone he condemns religious debating as a practice that will “deaden piety...puff up the vain mind, annihilate the taste for the marrow and fatness of the living word...” (p. 17). Change agents would never debate their cause (Prov.25:9). They much prefer to spread their message in an environment where no one can challenge them. He then relates Stone’s call for “Fire Union by which he referred to union that emerged when disciples had the Holy Spirit dwelling within them (p. 19-20). All change agents fault us for not placing enough emphasis on the Holy Spirit. Of course some of them believe the Spirit enlightens their minds and supplies them miraculous gifts. He tells us that Stone concluded “that it is better to have written creeds than unwritten opinions that carry the authority of creeds” (p. 18). With this he subtly introduces a major cant of the change folks. When we insist we have no creed but the Bible, they insist we do have a creed; an unwritten one.

  • In chapter 4 he tells us of a few female preachers he found in the early days of the movement. He finds one Nancy Cram and a half dozen other ladies who were associated with Elias Smith of the New England Christian Movement. He quotes Nancy Towle (1833), “The excluding of female gifts from the Church of God...I view, as an occasion of great provocation, and as one principal means of immense loss to the Church of the Lord Jesus...” (p. 22). He does not relate that Elias Smith was an erratic person who oscillated between his attempts at restoration and Universalism. Nor does he relate that the overwhelming majority of our preachers and churches did not accept women as preachers. Of course a principle plank in the change agenda is the empowerment of Christian women and providing them a place in the public leadership of today’s church today.

  • In chapter 6 he relates the uniting of the movements of Stone and A. Campbell. He stresses all the things about which they disagreed. “But they disagreed on whether one should allow formal fellowship with the unimmersed. Stone said yes. Campbell said no” (p. 41). Change agents want us to fellowship all who believe in Jesus, whether or not they are immersed. Stone said that “in apostolic times, fellowship required agreement only on a few fundamental truths...” (p. 43). If we can be persuaded to accept the few fundamentals they propose, then they will be left free to change a dozen other aspects of the faith. One of the chief fallacies of Bro. Allen and his tribe is their attempts to make Alexander Campbell and/or Barton Stone’s ideas the benchmark of our faith. They did not found the church, nor are they the head. All of that is the province of Christ. They were great and good men, struggling to escape from the ignorance and error of denominationalism that for 300 years had confused the Protestant world. Change agents love to pit Campbell against Stone and try to establish a spiritual climate of denominational diversity in which all beliefs are to be held in a state of flux. This would allow the promoters of change to stay in our midst, tolerated, while they work to gain dominance of the church.

  • In chapter 7 he records Barton Stone’s words, “I see no authority in scripture, why we should draw the conclusion, that the miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit, is, according to the will of God, withdrawn from the church” (p. 46). Of course Campbell rejected that idea and in the course of a few years so did all the preachers associated with the movement. Change agents seem to conclude that all truth was reached in the first generation of the movement. No allowance is made for growth in knowledge and understanding. They overlook that those noble men were struggling to rid themselves of denominational error, one scab at a time. Some spokesmen for change like to think that the supernatural gifts are yet available to those of superior faith. He also finds that Stone believed the saints will “reign with the Lord on the earth 1000 years...” (p. 52). To find acceptance among the Evangelical churches, some change agents are sympathetic with the speculations of the premillennialists.

  • Chapter 8 is devoted to Alexander Campbell’s Lunenburg Letters in which he expressed his belief that “everyone that believes in his heart that the Son of God; repents of his sins, and obeys him in all things according to his measure of knowledge of his a Christian” (p. 55-56). He concluded that there were indeed Christians among the various sects even among those not immersed. Granting the salvation of the pious unimmeresed is a fundamental point of the change gospel. It is almost impossible for a promoter of change to write without reference to these ill-spoken letters of Campbell.

  • Chapters 9, 10 & 11 are devoted to the theology of Robert Richardson, son-in-law of A. Campbell. Richardson disliked debating and doctrinal controversy. He especially disliked the influence of the English philosopher, John Locke whose “Common Sense” approach to thinking greatly influenced Campbell. He finds the following quote from Richardson to be very comforting for his program of change: “at no time have we separated ourselves, or denied fellowship to a Baptist brother, or refused to receive as a member any one accredited by a letter from a Baptist church. We have, in reality, ever claimed the Baptists as our brethren” (p. 75). This they want for us. He delights in Richardson’s Communings in the Sanctuary and his exploration of mysteries of the religion of Christ. The postmodern mind relishes and craves the mysterious in religion (p. 80-82). This is most evident in the various New Age cults, whose terminology and ideas keep surfacing in the literature of the promoters of change.

  • Chapters 12-14 are devoted to peculiar views of David Lipscomb such as his belief that Christians should not be involved in civil government and that they should not participate in carnal war. Few if any among us today (including Allen) hold these views. Of course he does not dwell on the fact that Lipscomb’s entire career was devoted to opposing a change movement in his day that is virtually identical to that of which Allen is a part. One wonders if his reason for featuring Lipscomb is to seek some respectability for his cause.

  • Chapter 15 is devoted to Benjamin Franklin, the preacher and editor of the American Christian Review. He objected to the costly and ornate buildings of some of the city churches of the mid-nineteenth century. The opening quote from Franklin is an indictment of the movement Allen would promote. “A mighty torrent of worldliness is now perverting and corrupting the pure and holy worship prescribed and authorized by our Lord Jesus Christ...This worldly carnal display will send grief home to many hearts of the old saints. Many thousands now living will grieve” (p. 108).

  • In chapter 16 he finds an encouraging word for the historians of the change movement who argue that even in their darkest days of apostasy, the Roman Catholic Church and her Protestant daughters were still God’s church. Hinsdale wrote, “Despite the ‘fearful apostasies’ across the centuries, the great body of the Historic church has preserved the central facts, commands and promises of the Gospel” (p. 122).

  • Chapters 17 is devoted to 19th century women who were demanding right to preach the gospel. He finds one example within the fellowship of our brethren and alludes to others without explaining that they were principally among the digressive Disciples of Christ and Christian Churches. His description of Silena Moore Holman’s campaign is revealing. “She boldly challenged some of the traditional assumptions...”(p. 127). She developed “her views with considerable skill and verve...she affirmed here commitment to biblical authority.” His description of David Lipscomb’s response is predictable. “Lipscomb’s responses were usually sharp, sometimes patronizing, and occasionally marked by exasperation. Her responses to him...were firm, carefully reasoned, and respectful” (p. 129). Me thinks had Allen been there at the time he would gladly have ordained her to the ministerial office.

  • Chapter 19 is devoted to the saintly James A. Harding. While the apparent focus is on his child-like trust in Divine Providence, the author wants us to know that good brother believed there would be a “millennial reign” of Christ on earth (p. 150). Those familiar with our history know that many of our early leaders had murky ideas about millennialism. But it was not an issue to be dealt with in their day. When it became such, good men went to the Bible to see just what its message was about the reign of Christ. All but a tiny handful concluded it was a spiritual reign of the Christian age and that his kingdom was his church. They rightly rejected premillennialism. But our change agents think they were wrong in so doing.

  • Chapter 20 is devoted to T. B. Larimore who declared, “I propose never to stand identified with one special wing, branch, or party of the church...” (p. 153) Bro. Larimore is treated like the patron saint of the change movement. In a meeting lasting 22 weeks, “Larimore never mentioned the divisive organ issue.” “Larimore simply never addressed the doctrinal issues dividing the movement.” “Never... had he furnished any evidence that he was either for or against the organ or the missionary society” (p. 157). This is a major objective of their agenda. They want to convince our brethren to follow Larimore’s example so they can proceed in their plans to change the faith, worship and practice of the church without hindrance. In his defense, it is noteworthy that Bro. Larimore did take his stand with those who rejected the instrument and the societies. Although not a warrior, he was not without conviction.

  • Chapter 21 is devoted to Bro. K. C. Moser who first articulated the idea of “We need the man (Jesus) not the plan.” This was adopted and used as one of the opening shots of the proto-change agents back in the 1960s. He paints Bro. Moser as a martyr who suffered great abuse at the hands of heartless traditionalists. As all change agents tend to do, he introduces Bro. G. C. Brewer and assures his readers that “Brewer...stand(s) directly behind some of the theological shifts occurring among contemporary Churches of Christ.” (p. 169). Such name-dropping is trading on the credentials of biblical scholarship and reputation for soundness of Bro. Brewer. His published works, especially his “As Touching those Who Were Once Enlightened and His Medley on the Music Question forever demolishes any claim our current change agents might make on is good name.

The author of this book is a man with an agenda. The contents reveal the scraps of information he has gathered and cobbled together in support of his ideas and his plans for the church.

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now


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Jack Mann
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Re: “DISTANT VOICES (a Review)”—by John Waddey

January 29 2006, 10:24 AM 

Gentleman, we can write reams of "scholarship," but it still comes down to the "PROMISE" from the throneroom of the King, voiced by His "Ambassador" at Pentecost.
"Whose soever sins you remit, they ARE remitted unto them; and whosever sins you retain they ARE retained" [John 20:21-23]. Twenty-first century man is not going to change this PROMISE.

Saul"s sins were not "remitted" by Jesus on the road to Damascus. His sins were "remitted" by a preacher, instructed in Apostolic doctrine by the name of Ananias: "And now why tarriest? arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
It takes professional help to miss that....and we find many in the church of Christ today who seem to have forgotten basic apostolic teaching.

Either the King's promise is true, or we need nor "seek first, the Kingdom of God." What we believe about being "lost" has to do with what we believe about being "saved." When you baptize a sinner into water for the "remission" of sins, he either comes out of that h-2/0 a save man or a wet one. True, the water does not "save," as the denominationalis believes that we teach, but his "sins have been remitted" in the MIND of God....and brother's, that is the only place it counts.... I really do not care what you think about me. But, we had better be awfully careful what we say about a "baptized believer," for Jesus said "to love one another as I have loved you."
That was not a suggestion, but a command!
The grace of God, is being "IN" His Son, Jesus!
See you around His table?
Jack Man

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Ken Sublett
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Re: “DISTANT VOICES (a Review)”—by John Waddey

January 29 2006, 8:36 PM 

Jesus warned that Doctors of the Law "take away the KEY to knowledge." That is what they are trained to do, ordained to do and perhaps even predestinated "from old" to do. It is not remotely possible that they could be that ignorant of TRUE HISTORY. John Waddey notes:
    John Waddey He tells us that "seeing the past in a NEW LIGHT, however, can bring clarifying perspective and healing balm...It can provide the impetus toward reconciling old estrangements..." (p.3). When we realize that one of the goals of the promoters of change is a reconciliation with the Disciples of Christ and Christian Churches who departed from us a century ago. The reconciling, they have in mind in for us to do. They think our fathers were wrong in refusing to fellowship those who desired instrumental music in worship and missionary societies.
Knowing the meaning of Scribes, Pharisees and Hypocrites (actors, singers) I should see this as a MARK. However, I am still a bit amazed at seeing how much old PUKE can be licked up and recycled over and over as it bounces around the daisy chain of SELF PROMOTERS.

His friends SEE VISIONS and HEAR AUDIBLE VOICES. The NEW LIGHT is the same old NEW LIGHT which was PENTECOSTAL and never remotely related to the sober, sane church of Christ.

These people are AGENTS working for the Stone Campbell movement which is about the decades old and probably built upon the foundation of Cane Ridge and Witchcraft.

The Reformers led by many people but popularized by the Campbells was NOT at Cane Ridge and never participated in the charismatic practices which Stone came to reject. They are described by ancient and fairly recent Christians in Devil Worship.

The Cane Ridge system was built on more Anglican roots which gave rise to the Pilgrim Holiness or Weslying growth in that part of Kentucky--BOURBON COUNTY.

It is a fact that by following the Thomas Campbell definiton of church as "a school of Christ" and worship as "reading and musing" on the Scripture some of the people agreed to "unite" in the assembly in SOME select churches. Most of the Reformers thought of them as fanatics because Stone held little in common except "back to the Bible." He and they adopted the Shouting Methodists practice as an Act of Worship. They immediately debated over which SECT had defeated the others.
    Leroy Garrett: "The caneridge revival took place in the summer of 1801, attracting 25,000 people. For five days and nights as many as seven preachers, representing several denominations, would address the multitudes at the same time at different parts of the camp, without confusion.

    Multitudes turned to the Lord. Stone described sinners

    responding to the gospel with various exercises known as the jerks, falling, dancing and laughing, and even barking.

    One infidel, a friend of Stone, approached him amidst such demonstration and reproached him for deceiving the people with such antics. Stone responded with a few gentle words, pitying the man for his implacability. At which point the man fell immediately as if dead, and rose no more until he had confessed the Lord.

I think that might be a THREAT for those who know that Garrett rarely gets it right.

Yes, don't the myths just grow and grow and grow. Stone later repudiated the exercises: did Stone fall down as if dead? Stone claimed that the STONEITE wing did not come from God:
    "They (disorders) cannot come from God, for he is not the author of confusion. The apology made in Corinth for the disorders, which Paul condemned, was precisely the same as that urged in defense of these bodily agitations. We ought not to resist the spirit of God, said the Corinthians; and so said all those who encouraged these convulsions. Paul's answer is that no influence comes from God which destroys our self-control. 'The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.'

    "The prophets of God were not like the raving Pythoness of heathen temples, nor are the saints of God converted into whirling dervishes by an influence which is the author. There can be little doubt that Paul would have severely reprobated such scenes as frequently occurred during the revival of which we are speaking. "He would have said to the people substantially what he said to the Corinthians. If any unbeliever or ignorant man come to your assemblies and hears one shouting in ecstasy, and another howling in anguish; if he sees some falling, some jumping, some lying in convulsions, others in trances, will he not say ye are mad?" (Hodge, History Presbyterian Church quoted in Barton W. Stones' Biography, p. 368, 369)

    "A high form of mystical ecstasy flourished mainly at two periods, in the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries, in both cases near the close of great intellectual and spiritual awakenings.

      In cruder forms it has had a continuous history among the lower and less cultured strata of the population. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the Dancers of Chorizates created much excitement in Germany. These wild enthusiasts numbering thousands of the poor and ignorant of both sexes, danced madly in thee churches and streets for hours at a time, frequently until they fell exhausted.

      They saw fantastic visions, leaped high in the air to get out of the flood of blood in which they imagined themselves to be wading, and indulged in many other marvelous exercises, wholly oblivious of the throngs of amazed spectators. Gifts were showered upon them, attracting many rascally imitators and thus offering a breeding ground for shocking immoralities." (Clark, Elmer T., The Small Sects in America, p. 87, Abingdon)
History has examples and they were called witchcraft. The devil or fire worshippers in Iraq did about what happened at Caneridge:
    "To some extent they were contrived, both by those who exhorted and by those who listened and responded. Certain techniques, which ministers conscientiously learned, helped push audiences toward an ecstatic frenzy. Certain hymns, certain tunes worked better than others. Certain repeated and familiar verbal images, those with great resonance for an audience, worked better than others. In many of the greatest revivals the spark was a type of confession--the telling of what had happened to oneself there or at an earlier revival.

    Some ministers learned the most evocative ways of telling their stories. Several sermonic devices--timing, phrasing, pauses, and above all the display of intense feeling--worked." (Conkin, Paul, Cane Ridge America's Pentecost, p. 106, U of Wis.)

      Leroy Garrett: "We give this background so as to point out that it was out of such a Holy Spirit revival that the Restoration Movement in Kentucky was launched. It may appear odd to us now, a people known for our negative reaction to such experiences in the Spirit, that the cane ridge congregation,

      which may well be viewed as the first Church of Christ in America, began amidst a Holy Spirit revolution with such attending phenomena as jerks, shouts and faintings. It was in the heart of this revival that Stone stood in the caneridge pulpit and urged Mark 16:16 upon the hearers."
Well, we KNOW that is a big fat whopper, don't we. Baptism was NOT believed or practiced at that time among the STONEITES or any of their component parts. It was only when people REFUSED to be comforted or assured by witchcraft that a few men went OVER STONE'S HEAD and taught baptism.

The Stone-Campbell Movement is a SLICK WILLIE way to imply that there is UNITY among non-instrumental churches of Christ and the MUSICAL--SECTARIANS of the Stoneite movement.

The only DUPES they have already BELONG to the MUSICAL GROUP and have infiltrated and diverted peaceable churches of Christ.

These PhDuhs CANNOT quote history or the Bible STRAIGHT because God has sent them STRONG DELUDERS. You must think of them as HUCKSTERS or TRAFFICKERS who POLLUTE the Word which means SELL AT RETAIL. Don't buy. They know that FOOLS who love to be FOOLED will not check out the resources and see that they CANNOT quote without bending the truth to fit their scam. That is THE meaning of being post-modern, post-biblical.

I am sure that God has sent BUFFOONS and JESTERS which is the meaning of God pouring out His WRATHE (orge) on people who deliberately pervert the Scriptures as Apostates and Profits.

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Jack Mann
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Re: “DISTANT VOICES (a Review)”—by John Waddey

January 30 2006, 8:53 AM 

Ken, the God of the Bible I know, does not have to send "Buffoons and Jesters," which you say "is the meaning of God's wrath (orge) on people who deliberately pervert the scriptures as apostates and Prophets."

Paul speaks of the "natural man" in his letter to the church at Corinth which is appropiate for the church today. The "natural man" in the church did not "receive the things of the Holy Spirit" as did the Apostles.
Paul would say, "But WE (apostles) have the mind of Christ."

God inspired His messangers to reveal and record His will: once delivered, the understanding, preservation, and transmission of the message rested upon the devotion and fidelity of those who chose to do His will. Read Matthew 25:13 about ability and responsibility.

When men failed of accurate preservation, or intelligent interpretation, or of faithful proclamation to all men, God did not intervene by a miracle; else every time a translation of the Scripture was made to another language, every time a sermon was preached, immediate miraculous guidance would have been necessary. God delivered devine truth to man; the responsibility is man's for the fulfillment of its purpose.

Hear again the words of Jesus in His parable of the talents: "For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his servants, and delivered unto them his goods. Unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one: to EVERY man according to his ABILITY."

Each of us will be held accountable of our "ability" on what we teach about the "kingdom of heaven" with the "goods delivered." The "Buffoon" is not the "natural man" of 1 Corinthians 2:14. Paul's "natural man" was IN the church. My faith does not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God: the "anointing power" of 1 John 2:27.
Jack Mann

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Ken Sublett
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How Otter got UP the Creek

December 27 2016, 5:08 PM 


James S. Woodroof has preached some 50 years among us. His book, published in 1990, was a precursor of numerous similar books calling for changes to the faith, worship and practices of Churches of Christ. Transition is a code word for change. Bro. Woodroof is a smooth, skillful advocate of change; more subtle and diplomatic than most of his fellows. This book is not totally bad. The careful reader will find a few insightful observations in its pages.

On the opening page, the author seeks to establish credibility by identifying himself and his revolutionary ideas with the late G. C. Brewer, icon of brotherhood scholarship and soundness. Bro. Brewer wrote a wonderful book entitled As Touching Those Who Were Once Enlightened dealing with the change agents of his day. He would be no friend to those today who are tearing down what he labored to build.

Bro. W. well describes the thinking of those among us demanding change. Note: Often when a church or a movement reaches the point I believe we have reached, it suddenly becomes pragmatically ecumenical. Abandoning its convictions, it bands together with others who are suffering the same fate. Through organizational union they together hope to stay afloat by jointly dismantling their rudders. Thus crippled, they drift into uncertain waters (p. 6). No more succinct portrait of the change agents and their churches could be painted.

The author says he is concerned about those who are in danger of embarking on uncharted waters without a compass (p. 7), but in actuality his book paved the way for much of the abuse and apostasy that now flourishes among us. Bro. W. believes, Until we get our own house in order we have no right nor reason to address the broader problem of division among those outside our movement (p. 8). There were also problems of division in first century churches. Did that disqualify the apostles to address the broader problem of division? But they did so, did they not? And so should we. He makes a confession befitting for all change agents. It seems self-defeating to write a book advocating unity if the book itself is written in a way which only produces more division (p. 8). This spotlights a characteristic of the advocates of change; they justify their divisive actions, by charging those who do not accept them with being divisive.

The writer says, We are a people of the Book (p. 15). More correctly he should say, we (change agents) were formerly a people of the Book. The champions of change ridicule our emphasis on the Book, calling it legalism, patternism and other uncomplimentary names. They prefer story telling to book chapter and verse preaching. They delight in citing theologians and denominational leaders to establish their points.

He has warm words for three journals that have promoted his concept of unity: Leroy Garretts Restoration Review, Carl Ketchersides Mission Messenger and Victor Knowles One Body (p. 17). Bros. Garrett and Ketcherside were formerly leaders of the Mutual Edification Churches (anti-located preacher). When that movement floundered, they then converted and became leaders of the most liberal element among us and were never accepted in fellowship by the great body of our people. Victor Knowles is a minister of the Christian Church. This puts a clearer focus on Bro. Woodroofs dream for our churches. He cites as positive examples of folks seeking Christian unity the Abilene Christian University Lectures, the Tulsa Workshop and the Kiamichi Clinic of the Christian Churches in Oklahoma (p. 18). Since ACU is the fountainhead of the change movement, this clarifies where our brother finds his inspiration.

To Bro. W. Our burning desire to be biblical has blinded us to the need to be tolerant towards others who have the same desire but who have arrived at somewhat different conclusions (p. 21). If a burning desire to be biblical is sinful we freely confess our guilt. We must be tolerant in all areas that are not fundamental to Christianity and salvation. Even Paul and John were intolerant to those who preached another gospel and went beyond the doctrine of Christ (Gal. 1:8; II John 9). Interestingly, the author tells us that he came to know and love Jesus Christ long after he had been baptized, educated and trained as a minister and preacher. He was a missionary in New Zealand when he was finally converted (p. 26). He says, We have searched the Scriptures, thinking, that in them we have eternal life; and not realizing it is He who is the life, we have failed to come to Him that we may have life. We, like they, have become enamored by the written word to the point of becoming oblivious to the Living Word (p. 29). This is a heavy indictment to lay upon some 2 million Christians around the world, the most of whom, it is fair to say, he has never met. Can he bring forth an example of any member of the church who is oblivious to the Living Word i.e. Jesus? Jesus said, the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and are life (John 7:63). Does Bro. W. believe that we can be saved without the Scripture or by neglecting them? If the Word is of so little value, why does he bother to preach the Bible?

He quotes the early Christian, Eusebius, who wrote of some in his day who ...treat the divine Scriptures recklessly and without fear. They have set aside the rule of ancient faith; and Christ they have not known. They do not endeavor to learn what the Divine Scripture declare, but strive laboriously after any form of syllogism which may be derived to sustain their impiety. And if anyone brings before them a passage of Divine Scripture, they see whether a conjunctive or disjunctive syllogism can be made from it... (p. 30). One can only conclude that the Bro. W. uses this interesting quote to strike a blow against brethren who have effectively used syllogistic arguments in controversy with those who were promoting change. It is wrong and unfair to imply that great thinkers like Bro. Thomas Warren in any way, set aside the ancient faith or that they did not know Christ, or did not endeavor to learn what the Divine Scripture declare preferring to make a syllogism. Perhaps the author has felt the sting of Bro. Warrens piercing logic.

Bro. W. says, We had no more right (maybe not as much, in view of Pauls statement) to preach only the last part of the good news than Billy Graham had to preach only the first part (p. 33). First he should point out to us the preacher who has taught only the last part of the good news. Having done that, he needs to elaborate on Billy Graham having more right to preach only the first part of the good news. Can we conclude from this that Bro. W. would consider the man who preached salvation by faith alone as more faithful to Christs commission than the man who preached salvation by faith and baptism ( Mark 16:16)? Such reasoning helps us understand why numerous change churches have participated in Billy Graham crusades. It also explains why men such as Max Lucado are now preaching that salvation is by grace through faith, before obedience to gospel commands.

The writer tells us, There is much uncertainty and mounting unrest among members of the Church of Christ today (p. 44). But he does not say that such is only among those primed and prepped by the agents of change. That those under their influence are restless and uncertain is obvious to all. But they are only a small part of the whole. Most members of the church continue to hold to the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3) and are happy and confident in their faith.

In defense of himself and his fellow promoters of change, Bro. W. says, those addressing the issue are not causing the problem, but are merely acknowledging the presence of it and attempting to offer some answers? (p. 44). Those familiar with our history know that there has never been a false teacher or agitator who troubled the church who felt he was causing a problem. It has always been their response that those who refuse to heed their demands were at fault.

The author makes an interesting concession on p. 45: There are some mega-churches reporting increase, but most of them must admit that the majority of their growth comes from swelling; i.e., by absorbing members from other congregations about them. His observation is absolutely correct. Speaking of promotionalism, he notes, The mega-churches which provide the community with a wide selection of services are most susceptible to this trap (p. 51) Agreed! Without promotionalism they would wither away. Their recruits would flock to the denominational mega-churches with more elaborate programs. It is primarily in the mega-churches that the change agents have been well received.

Bro. W. charges, the traditional approach to the Holy Spirit by Churches of Christ had been one of ignoring him. We generally believed that when the written word was completed, the Spirits work was forever done (p. 49). Would he tell us just who has believed and taught this about the Holy Spirit. It is common to hear liberals make such unsubstantiated charges against the Lords people and the unknowing take them as facts. In reality they are exaggerated falsehoods. He thinks that the thing that kept us from being swept away by the emotionalism of the early Stone movement was the excesses of Pentecostalism (p.50). He does not perceive that the greater reason was the lack of Biblical authority for such behavior that made our people reject that emotionalism.

While change agents call for a new hermeneutic that will free the rest of us from the old command, example or necessary inference approach to the Bible, they interpret every scripture through the prism of change. Woodroof interprets the historical record of the acceptance of the Gentiles into the church from a pejorative point of view, seeing events in their worst light. He exaggerates the extent of the problem with Peter and the other apostles (p. 65-66). Concerning the acceptance of the Gentiles, he writes, But why all the resistance to this God-ordained transition? Why did Gods people oppose Gods plan? Why was there entrenched opposition, such prolonged resistance? (p. 67) To build his case for change today, he writes as if the failure of some Jewish brethren was the failure of the whole! This is not sound exegesis!

The author writes, Fear of change may also explain the actions of some who attempt to follow Jesus: fear to move forward, fear to make peace, fear to open dialog. It is, however, a hallmark of true discipleship that disciples follow Jesus wherever he might lead... Jesus was an outspoken advocate of change (p.68). He assumes that the leadership of the change agents is the same as Christs leadership. Christ came with a new religion. Can we conclude that is what the change folks have to offer us? Christ was empowered of God to institute change; they are not. Christs change was heaven-ordained; theirs seeks to change what Christ has given us.

It is impressive to note how all change agents tend to say the same thing, use a common vocabulary and examples. This suggests that all have been to the same schools and seminars and read the same books and journals. It is as if they studied the same manual. I wish one of them would tell us the original sources from which they are gathering their materials. I can predict that they are from denominational churchmen who know nothing of, nor care a whit for going back to the Bible, finding and practicing New Testament Christianity.

Bro. W. says, Much of what the Jewish Christians had to recognize as baggage was not just that which resulted from human accumulation, but also that which had come to them through divine revelation (p. 74). This leads me to ask is this where he and his associates are heading? Do they expect us to surrender to change that which is of divine revelation? The author acknowledges that the things they wish to change are things we can go to our graves practicing... (S)hould we recognize that we too are a church in transition; there probably will be no massive revolution in our worship practices or in the general manner in which we believe religiously (p.77). Paul warned that by their smooth and fair speech (divisive teachers) deceive the hearts of the innocent (Rom. 16:18) Here are some of the changes already being widely promoted. You decide if they would effect a massive revolution in the worship of your congregation. * Instrumental music in worship, * choirs and solos; *the Lord Supper as part of a pot luck meal; * hand clapping and applause in worship; * women teachers and preachers; * no more gospel preaching, rather story telling and drama; * accepting our status as a denomination; * fellowshipping denominational bodies, * allowing their preachers to fill our pulpits; * people being saved by confessing Christ and praying the sinners prayer. If these changes would not be revolutionary in your congregation, it is evidence that the change movement is already entrenched there.

Bro. W. tell us, We...are faced with unremitting prospect of their being Christians on earth, as fully acceptable to God as we, who do not look and act exactly like us (p. 77). He does not have in mind unknown souls who on their own have searched the Scriptures and found the way of salvation, rather he has in mind our denominational neighbors. He along with other change agents likes to hold up before the world the various divisions that have occurred over the years and blame us with responsibility for them. Look at the thirty or more official divisions among us... (p. 77). Some folks exaggerate. That some brethren disagree on whether Christian should go to war does not constitute an official division; nor does disagreement about women wearing head coverings; nor most of the 30 he mentions. Many today can agree to disagree on numerous nonessentials that once troubled our fathers. The process is called maturation. By the way, I wonder what makes a division official.

He charges, We have been guilty of severing the body of Jesus from limb to limb. We have divided over such matters as cups and kitchens, organs and orphans, race and ritual, pastors and personalities, contribution and cooperation and a host of other things (p. 78) This does have a cute poetic ring but it is exaggerated and seeks to blame all with the sins of the few. I ask Bro. Woodroof and his fellow agents of change, how he would respond if an element arose in the church where he preaches demanding that he not be paid for his work, or that they remove their fellowship facility or that they use only one cup in communion? Would he concede out of love, tolerance and a desire for unity? Would he try to teach them? If he saw them gaining ground among his members and threatening to overwhelm the leadership what would he do? If the mistaken brethren were frustrated in their attempts to impose their opinions for change and withdrew themselves and started a new congregation, would it be his fault or theirs?

He says, We like the Jewish Christians of the first century, have been sitting in a position of sectarian elitism for years (p. 86). Does this include Bro. W. and his Christian ancestors? Does it include his fellow change agents, or only those who do not embrace his call for change? Name-calling proves nothing. But it does reflect the authors degree of love and appreciation for the church of Christ and his brethren within it. He tells us, I have spent, and am presently spending, my life pursuing pure doctrine. But I insist on letting God determine what that doctrine is...(p. 94). Would he inform us just how God tells him what is central and what is peripheral doctrine? Does he have a source of information beyond the Bible that the rest of us mortals have? He says, Jesus himself was preached as the only message. There was no other (p. 107). Why then did the Holy Spirit guide the apostles to write the epistles if they are unneeded and per him the root of our lack of unity? He notes, there have been believers in every generation, especially among restorationists, who so revered their own traditions that they felt justified in excluding all other believers who did not totally share their beliefs. This is purely and simply sectarianism... Based on a few cases, he proceeds to casts guilt on the whole body of Christians.

On one hand he argues that we should just preach Christ and not let doctrine divide us. But then he says, the call for us to preach Gods message and let that be enough has nothing to do with the ongoing need to nourish and strengthen the new convert in the whole counsel of God. It does not advocate abandoning the letters of the Apostles which address the further equipping of the saints or the organizing of the church to be the body of Christ in the local community. It does not negate the addressing of specific problems of the corporate church and the correcting of abuses... (p. 110-111). He wants it both ways. Preach Christ and that is enough, all else is divisive. But we do need to preach from the epistles and address the specific needs of the church. These opposites cancel each other, do they not? Why then does he fault us for preaching the whole counsel of God; Gospels, Acts, Epistles and Revelation?

He writes, We have shed blood to establish the sufficiency of that God-designed process apart from denomination accretions. Surely we will not abandon it now... (p. 111). But it is Bro. Woodroof and his coworkers who are in fact trying to change (i.e., abandon), the faith, worship and practice, that God designed for his people. He states, I have often said that Rom. 14:1-15:7 is the Spirits attempt to clean up the mess caused by the events in Acts 10 (p. 119). Although he later attempts to soften this rash statement, it borders on blasphemy. The Holy Spirit does not attempt, he does. The divine instruction of Peter and the opening of the door of salvation to the Gentiles in Acts 10 was no mess. It was one of the epochal events in sacred history.

He charges, Any thoughtful assessment of the 20th century Church of Christ will drive us to the conclusion that we as a movement, instead of an instrument to the glory of God, are to a great extent, an occasion of embarrassment and cause of shame to God (p. 120). Does he include himself and his change comrades in this indictment? Does this describe congregations where he has preached? Without doubt he is embarrassed by his association with Churches of Christ! Like all liberals, he finds loveliness in denominational bodies and naught but sores and ugliness in the Lords church! For those who say we divided over convictions, well it may seem that way on the surface,, and we may wish it to be that in reality, but that is seldom, if ever, the case (p. 121). I take it that he feels we had no scriptural basis to refuse to go with the Christian Churches and Disciples of Christ when they introduced their changes! If so he should bid us goodbye and go to them. He would surely be more comfortable there. The more conservative church...must not condemn the church which (is)...more liberal (p. 123). This is what his book is all about. He wants us to allow the liberal change agents do their work; to effect their changes without question or challenge. How convenient for them!

He labors to convince us that their changes are not really bad, but only in the minds of we whom he judges to be weak Christians. He writes, The uncleanness lies inside a person and not in the things themselves which lie outside the person (p. 125). But there surely are things he would object to: adoration of images, a pope, infant baptism, etc. etc. Are these things wrong only inside the person?

He endorses the Bulls Eye approach to evaluating scriptures. We are left to wonder if Bro. Bill Love got the idea for his book by that title from Bro. Jim Woodroof or did Bro. W. get his idea form Bro. Love? After deriding us for not spending more time in the gospels and too much time and emphasis on the epistles, he then spends much time and space in Romans chapters 14 and 15 to make his case for his change agenda. Working on Rom. 15:17-18, he writes, ...the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit. He who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God. He then concludes with these remarkable words, Does not he also then, imply that a person who fails to view the kingdom in this way is not acceptable to God? Is not this a necessary inference? (p. 141). Earlier he faulted us for using logic, making deductions and drawing inferences. Such, says he, is divisive. But when he needs it, he does just that. I suppose it is acceptable to do so if you are promoting the change platform, but not if you are objecting to it. He states, Since the kingdom consists of righteousness, peace and follows that we should then be in pursuit of that, and be forever finished with division and strife... (p. 145). Per him we should never spend time opposing error taught and practiced by others. But notice that he and other change agents do just that against us, continually. If it is good of them, why not for us? He and his brethren remind one of the anti-war demonstrators at work in our cities. To protest our nations war against the cruel tyrant of Bagdad, they throw rocks and bottles at the peace officers tying to maintain the peace of the community.

Speaking of the early days of our movement, he says, In those days, when such massive theological jungles had to be cleared and the boundaries of doctrine identified and staked out, we were able to provide honorable and intelligent men of integrity to do battle for the truth and defend the faith. We own much to those giants who gave their lives in pursuit and propagation of truth (p. 149). If such was a good and noble pursuit then, why is it not now? Most change agents prefer to hurl rocks at those early champions who cleared the road for them to travel. He says, Instead of going to the uttermost parts of the earth to preach Jesus as the Christ to the lost and unchurched (Lk 5:31-32), we remained close to the camps of those who considered themselves saved and occupied ourselves with preaching reactionary theology... (p. 150). Note he feels we should not seek to win those who already believe in Christ and think themselves saved. That would include members of all religious denominations. This speaks volumes about Bro. Woodroofs thinking. Were Priscilla and Aquila mistaken in taking time to each Apollos and win him over? Or was Paul wrong for teaching and rebaptizing those twelve men of Ephesus?

He derides self-appointed defenders of the faith committed to...keeping the church pure (p. 151). But change agents such as Bro. Woodroof are self-appointed saviors of the church with their own variety of unity with Christian Churches. They too are warring against legalism, traditionalism. If it is wrong for us, why is it right for them? Is their case special?

He states, Whenever two groups thus separate...more than likely the division indicates that neither has the mind of Christ at allnot at the time of separation or later...the longer each group goes along without the influences of the other, the less likely either will possess the mind of Christ (p. 166). Does he include our fathers who refused to go with the progressives of last century whom we know as Disciples of Christ/Christian Churches? If so, then all of his years of service have been with an illegitimate body that is not likely to possess the mind of Christ.

To Bro. Woodroof, Churches of Christ are a denomination, born of the division with the Disciples of Christ. We dont like to hear criticism that would imply that we may be a denomination. But the time has come of Churches of Christ to redefine the term denomination... (p. 167). By that redefinition, he means we should accept our status as a denomination and not insist that we are the true church of Christ founded by Jesus. This being the case, when he went as a missionary to New Zealand he was in reality a denominationalist sowing and practicing denominationalism. When he has preached here at home he did so as a denominational preacher to congregations of denominational people.

The message of The Church in Transition reminds one of a fountain that offers from the same opening both sweet water and bitter (Jas. 3:11). That which is good is tainted by that which is false. The value of this book is to know just what this prominent author really believes about the Church of Christ, our faith, our practice and our people. It demonstrates the destination the agents of change have in mind to take us. It makes us aware of how serious our problem is. It also gives us a good insight as to where much of the thinking of lesser men comes from.

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now


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Otter Creek

December 27 2016, 5:54 PM 

Jack Mann was one the few that could keep Ken in his place, indeed.

Ken, please clean up your mess. Mad at Donnie? Get over it.

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Donnie Cruz
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Re: Otter Creek

December 27 2016, 6:33 PM 


John Waddey did his part in exposing the Change Agents for what they have done to destroy, divide and conquer the church of Christ Jesus. Ken and I will continue to do what we've been doing for several years now -- to deter their efforts in subverting and damaging the church.

The Otter Creek congregation needs to clean up its big mess!

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...........................THE BOOK

What Happened at the Madison Church of Christ?

There are thousands of churches being taken over across America.

This book is only about one of those churches. It's about the Madison Church Of Christ. By studying the methods used here along with the resource references you might be able to inoculate your church. At the very least you will recognize the signs early on.

Many of the current members of the Madison Church of Christ still don't know what happened.
Some never will know! This book is for them as well.

Madison Church of Christ was a 60 year old church. At one time it was one of the largest churches in the US, and the largest Church of Christ.

It thrived for many years on the vision of it's elders and those of it's ministers. Those visions undoubtably came from the the inspired word of Jesus Christ.

At sometime in the last 10 years there was a deliberate plan by a majority of the elders to take the Madison Church of Christ into a more worldly realm.

They used secrecy, covert planning, and outside sources to scheme and to change the format and direction of the Madison Church of Christ.

The Elders knew that the membership would never approve such a plan. Using the tools of the "Community Church Movement"(consultants, books, seminars, meetings,planters,seeders) they slowly started initiating change so it was never noticed by the members until it was too late.....

At the heart of the plan was the fact that old members were going to be driven off so new techniques could be used to go out and reach the unchurched through new "Contemporary Holy Entertainment" methods developed by the "Community Church Movement"

Old members had to be kept on board long enough to get their plans ready, or the funds would not be there to pay for the new building. So by the plans very nature, it had to be secret.

The church had no plan in effect to renew or approve elders. There was never any need. The elders had always been "as approved by God". 10 of the last 15 elders would begin to shed some doubt on that.

The Elders did not even need a majority at first, because some of the elders went along unwittingly.

This edition starts shortly after some of the members begin to smell something strange in January 2001. Later editions may go back and fill in some of the timeline.

To even start to understand whats happening here, you must read the background materials in the first of the book.

This is only the first edition, and not the end. New editions will be printed as needed. To keep abreast of current changes, please visit our web site;

Here is the list of players;

5 Godly Elders
10 Not so Godly Elders
120 "Deacons" (allegiance unknown)
2,800 - 4,000 church "members"
2 "teners" (people who have publicly confessed to have broken all ten commandments)
Unknown number of "sinners" (This is what the 10 elders call us.)
Unknown number of "demons" (Flying everywhere, to many to count)

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