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John Waddey
(no login)
67.25.38.32

STRANGE LOGIC OF CHANGE AGENTS

January 27 2004, 7:15 AM 

The champions of the change movement lodge many criticisms against their brethren of the churches of Christ. The most notable is that we are a divided people. They delight in numbering and pointing out the various factions, (be they large or small), that have arisen and then blaming all for the divisiveness of the few. We are blamed for every kook and crank who draws away any disciples and starts his own congregation. We are blamed for refusing to allow assertive folks to bind on us rules of their own making. We are faulted for refusing to abandon the prescribed principles of New Testament Christianity found in the Testament of Christ. To the promoters of change, such is proof that we are not the church we claim to be.

At the same time, change agents are aggressively pursuing a policy that will inevitably cause yet another division among our people. That will occur because they are determined to introduce unscriptural changes into the faith worship and practice of our churches. These items of change are not old truths from the Bible, which have been overlooked or forgotten. They are not new Biblical ideas discovered by brilliant minds. They are old items borrowed from the various school of denominationalism. Notice the following:
  • In the realm of salvation, they have introduced salvation by grace through faith, before and even without baptism. This they borrowed from Luther, Calvin and their heirs. They also promote grace and faith as the all in all of Christian commitment. Their bashing of the necessity of obedience (works of faith) (Jas. 2:24) is a page out of the latest book of Baptist theology.

  • In the realm of Scripture some of them openly question the inerrancy of the Bible. This implies a low view of inspiration of the Scripture writers. This comes straight from the halls of liberal theological seminaries. They question the authority of God's Word, and deny that it is His law for the church. They ridicule the idea that we should feel duty bound to look to the New Testament as a pattern for our faith and practice. This has been the standard approach of Protestantism for hundreds of years.

  • In the realm of worship, they would supplant our simple, Bible-based worship for the emotionalism of the Charismatics. In the area of our music they would open the gate to those who want instruments with their worship, just as the Disciples of Christ and Christian Churches did in the past

  • In the realm of preaching, they would replace gospel proclamation that teaches the doctrine of Christ and tells auditors where they can see it in their own Bibles. They prefer story-telling, entertainment and emotional appeals, with little or no appeal to Scripture. Instead of "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever (Christ) commanded" (Matt. 28:20), they offer lessons that meet the "felt needs" of their hearers. Not accepting the New Covenant of Christ as binding law, they have little inclination to emphasize its doctrinal and legislative content.
Ignoring the heaven-ordained role of male spiritual leadership in the church, they would place women in those roles, with no regard for scriptural prohibition (I Cor. 14:33-34; I Tim. 2:8-12). Liberal Protestant bodies and Pentecostals have done this for generations.

The items cited above are the same package of errors that drove a wedge of division between our brethren a century ago. Now the process is in motion yet again. When the change agents gain the ascendancy in a congregation, they don't hesitate to assert their dominance and tell those who cannot in good conscience accept their innovations to leave and go elsewhere! What is that but another case of division in the family of God. Thus those who sow the discord and divide the brethren, blame them for resisting their assault. It reminds us of the robber who blames his victims for resisting his criminal act. Is it not strange that for us to tell them to be gone is blameworthy, while for them to do the same is necessary for building up the church?

John Waddey
Editor, Christianity Then and Now


    
This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 68.154.171.63 on Jan 27, 2004 9:22 AM


 
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Glenn L. Wallace
(no login)
67.25.32.218

A Conspiracy To Restructure

February 20 2004, 7:46 AM 

PLUMBLINE -- Editor, Wayne Coats
Volume 5 Number 6, January 2001
______________________________________


A Conspiracy To Restructure

Glenn L. Wallace



In this article we briefly outline a movement to undermine the faith of members of the Body of Christ and to capture in particular, the minds of the youth. Those who are the leaders in this move may not always be aware that they are leading us into an open division but some of them are aware of such a move and are set to bring it about. Those who stand on middle ground waiting for a decision to be made or those who measure the temperature of the day by trying to decide how many and who, are the greatest enemies of the cause.

What are the methods being used to disturb and divide us? First, there is an undue concern about our image. How do we look to the religious world? What will our neighbors think of us? In the New Testament we read that Peter and John made an impression upon the city because they "had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13). In our time this is not enough. We are "better educated" and in our ranks we have "highly trained and well informed men and women" so we are told, and this group will not sit by while we preach worn-out and thread-bare catch phrases of the 19th century. There are some who are so bold as to say that we have been trained by "illiterate, Bible-belted, Scripture quoting and legalistic rule keepers" and that we must separate ourselves from this image. Such will not appeal to the intellectual atmosphere of our time, hence we must revamp the message and the image. It is not enough to ask, "Have you been with Jesus?" but we must inquire if one has been to "Harvard" and whom does he know among the intellectuals of the day. Look over the implied demands for our preachers that some of our leaders are making and one cannot help but see that we are worried lest someone get the wrong idea of who and what we are.

The deliberate effort to change our image is seen in the way we copy the efforts of denominational churches in our gospel meetings. We have quit preaching and gone out to "witness" for Christ. We do not hold gospel meetings but they must be crusades with fancy names, gadgets and borrowed catch-alls from our neighbors. Even our methods for getting "responses" come right out of the blue books of professional revival leaders. In some cases the plans look more like a reproduction of Oral Roberts or Billy Graham than they do of a preparation for a series of gospel sermons. Our radio programs must be smooth, soft, gentle mouthings of lovely platitudes lest we offend someone. Our television presentation must be drama with the winds of the sea or the sounds of the city in the background, we are not permitted to preach. While we present amateurish dramatic productions many will flip off the dial and listen to straightforward teaching such as is presented by men like Ted Garner Armstrong, even though it is pure error. Why must we say nothing in trying to improve our image while in reality we are making ourselves look feeble as a gospel preaching people? The fear that we may not look right has caused us to revamp our directions.

Our sense of values and our spiritual directions are being changed by a policy of brain-washing. This is deliberate and well organized. Look at the book store shelves that are lined with books that ridicule the people of God. Mark well the slurs, innuendos and scorn that comes out of speeches and articles we hear and see often. The pseudo-intellectual can always get a big laugh from the youth crowd with some sick, sarcastic humor about the humble efforts of our preachers and elders. Our youth are reading and devouring with glee such books as "Are You Going To Church More And Enjoying It Less?" "A Funny Thing Happened To Me on the Way to Heaven" is almost as popular as the Living Bible and both are sick literature.

The book, "A New Song," is devoured by many. A new song indeed? It is the same old watered down Pentecostal testimonies that most of us have been hearing for forty years. What is new about it? Only the author is new. Perhaps one of the most clever efforts to brain-wash us is seen in these words:

"The cold snows of division in the higher peaks are beginning to melt; the spring thaw is starting; it was almost a century ago that our fathers in a frontier culture, many of them uneducated and illiterate, began to splinter." (Mission Messenger, Nov. 1969)

Notice the subtle efforts to ridicule all of us. The author of this article sees himself as a Moses to lead us out of captivity, and would lump our past into the cold frozen lands of ignorance in a backwoods climate. This would simply say that what your fathers preached is not fit for today's world. This even implies that Paul could not be considered relevant to an educated 20th century resident. After hearing this for awhile there are some who begin to believe it. We have sat on the sideline while these reformers have come into our ranks in retreats, closed forums and protected platforms to browbeat us into submission. We have too long watched without protest while the poison pens of the pseudo-intellectuals have ripped us apart.

Each man can speak for himself, BUT I am tired of hearing from those who castigate the people of God in every line they write. I am SICK of those who have nothing good to say about our ancestors and who argue that we are following the trails of deluded illiterates. I am full up to the ears with those who hand out merciless beatings to our brotherhood. I have had it with the rantings of Integrity, Mission, Mission Messenger, and other free-wheeling sheets of bitterness, scorn and caustic comments. If any of these fellows would come out in the open and really dialogue, we think they could be accommodated.

When in a so-called unity forum, one of our preachers stands up to cheer a Roman Catholic priest and addresses him as "brother" and "father" and when that preacher tells us that he has learned more from this Catholic brother than he has ever learned from his "church of Christ" brethren--we wonder where this man got his spiritual food and from what classrooms.


    
This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 67.32.218.212 on Feb 20, 2004 9:18 AM


 
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John Waddey
(no login)
67.25.38.130

A CLARION CALL TO THE SOLDIERS OF CHRIST

March 12 2004, 6:16 AM 

A CLARION CALL TO THE SOLDIERS OF CHRIST


The church of our day is facing an unprecedented challenge. A wave of apostasy is challenging the integrity and existence of our congregations such as has not been seen since the end of the 19th century. Large numbers of our younger members and significant numbers of congregations appear ready to embrace these false prophets of change. Several of our Christian Universities are already in their camp and some of their professors are among the most vocal spokesmen for the digressives. Our largest gospel paper is now a sounding board for their champions and their innovations. A call is being sent across our great brotherhood for volunteers who are willing to do battle to save the Church of Christ from the forces of apostasy.
  • We must raise up an army of men willing to publicly stand in opposition to these agents of change. We need no summer soldiers or fair-weather patriots. We need courageous men who are set for the defense of the gospel (Phil. 1:16), no matter how long the struggle be. Likely, many of us will finish our course before the church is delivered from those who have set out to make a denomination of her.

  • We must be willing to devote our energies to fighting a common enemy rather than each other. Of course we will disagree on some points, some methods and strategies. Brethren always have. But we must not loose sight of who the real enemy is. The change agents are counting on us being so consumed with internal strife and bickering that we will not be able to mount an effective resistance against them. Such has neutralized strong armies in the past.

  • We must mount an offensive campaign rather than waiting for the promoters of change to attack our positions. Remember the old military maxim, "A strong offense is the best defense." Too long too many elders and preachers have waited until the enemy was within their gates before they responded. Even if they manage to force them out they almost certainly will lose some members to them and suffer damage.

  • We must build a defense perimeter around and protect our own congregations, but we must also accept responsibility for defending the kingdom at large. If we save our local congregation but the rest of the brotherhood is swept away we will have suffered a terrible loss.

  • We must promote the common good. Important as are our personal projects and local works, we must not neglect the welfare of the kingdom of God throughout the world. We must encourage every good work done by faithful brethren where ever they be.

  • We must be willing to help each other in the combat we will be facing. Such spiritual conflicts sometimes leave a man in a lonely, isolated position. We must lend such good men every possible encouragement. Two men fighting together can usually accomplish more than each standing alone. The Duke of Wellington attributed his victory over Napoleon to that fact that he
    had the good fortune to lead a "band of brothers" in combat

  • We must not allow old loyalties and friendships to silence us. The fact that we once attended a school or enjoyed a friendship is not an acceptable reason to stand with muted voice if they now are working to harm the church of our Lord.

  • Each of us must be willing, without shame or hesitation, to recruit as many soldiers as possible to our holy cause. We call them not to our party or clique, we call them to be "good soldiers of Christ Jesus" (II Tim. 2:3). The "change people" are busily recruiting young men to their "new" faith and practice. Each man of sound faith and conviction must use his influence to win his neighbor to the Savior's side in this conflict.

  • We must be willing to discriminate. Do not lend the least aid or comfort to the enemy. He who would place unholy hands on the faith and worship of the Lord's church should find no welcome among us. Don't promote their projects or their personnel. Such can only bring harm to the Cause we love. Do not contribute to their projects do not recommend students to attend their
    schools.

  • We need to know our friends is as well as our enemies. Lend your aid, support and encouragement to every brother who is faithfully serving in his post of duty. Count him your ally and stand shoulder to shoulder with him in battle

  • We must whet our sword and repair our armor lest we meet the enemy unprepared (Eph. 6:13-17).Read the books of the false teachers so you will know first hand what theyare saying. Read the books written to refute them. Attend lectures and seminars addressing these issues. Subscribe to good papers that will keep you posted on what is happening and provide you valuable ammunition for the battle. Fill your quiver with the arrows of truth that will put to flight the agents of change.

  • We must consult with one another about strategy and coordinate our efforts lest we duplicate our efforts, counteract one another or allow another a good soldier or congregation to be overrun by the opposition. Use your phone, the Internet or mail to keep in touch with your fellow-soldiers. Share information; help each other to be informed and encouraged.

  • The future of churches of Christ in America depends on the loyalty of her men of arms. Where do you stand?

__________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

Mail to: johnwaddey@aol.com


    
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John Waddey
(no login)
64.159.108.129

INOCULATING YOUR CONGREGATION AGAINST THE CHANGE DISEASE

March 30 2004, 2:56 AM 

INOCULATING YOUR CONGREGATION AGAINST THE CHANGE DISEASE



Sooner or later every congregation of God's people will be confronted by someone wishing to promote the agenda of the "change movement." Rather than wait until the dangerous moment arrives, we need to act now to inoculate our members so they will recognize the symptoms and reject it upon sight. The following suggestions will help to immunize your congregation beforehand.
  1. Your preacher needs to present an extended series of lessons on the fundamentals of the faith. He needs to touch on every point of faith, worship and practice that is being challenged by the promoters of change. This should be repeated on a yearly basis.

  2. Lessons need to be presented that remind brethren of the danger of false teachers and false doctrine.

  3. Elders could plan a retreat for the men of the church where the dangers of the change movement could be pointed out and the specific errors of it be discussed.

  4. Elders might wish to invite a guest speaker who is informed on this issue to come and spend a week end with the congregation. It would be most important that he be a faithful man of wisdom, experienced in dealing with error, lest he do more harm than good.

  5. Each year a quarter of Bible Classes should be devoted to studying the distinctives of the church revealed in the Scripture.

  6. A series of tracts should be purchased that address the many points under attack by the promoters of change. Each week each family should receive a copy and be asked to read it. It could then be the basis of the Bible class or sermon the following week.

  7. A mature sister whose faith is strong and whose understanding of the Word is substantial should be assigned to teach a course for the Ladies' Bible Class on God's plan for women in the church. This should address the challenges of those who wish to place women in leadership roles. The same materials should be presented in any other classes for women from high school and up.

  8. Books addressing the errors of the change movement and others setting forth the Biblical basis for our faith, worship and practice should be purchased and placed in the church library. Notice of these should be placed in the church bulletin and perhaps mentioned in the announcements. In larger congregations several copies of significant books should be ordered.

  9. The elders should have a sit down discussion with their minister and other staff members, especially youth and campus workers making it clear that they do not accept the agenda of the change agents, nor will they allow it to be introduced into the life of the congregation.

  10. A similar session should be conducted with deacons and all Bible class teachers.

  11. A statement from the elders should be presented to the congregation, preferably in person on Sunday morning stating their position and determination to not allow the change program to be brought into the church. This should be printed in the church bulletin or mailed to each family of the congregation.

  12. It should be made a matter of policy that no one will be considered for work with the congregation who is sympathetic with the change agenda.

  13. The same rule should apply to anyone considered for an invitation as a guest speaker.

  14. Elders must stay on high alert for the foreseeable future. Such movements take years to run their course. The fact that a church was rock solid ten years ago is no guarantee that it will be so ten years hence.

  15. No brother should be added to the eldership who is unsure of his convictions on this crucial matter. A divided leadership will eventually be a defeated leadership.
Elders, remember that they who hesitate or procrastinate may well lose that which is most precious to them.

___________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

E-Mail: johnwaddey@aol.com


    
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John Waddey
(no login)
64.12.116.134

GOOD RIDDANCE

May 8 2004, 4:13 PM 

GOOD RIDDANCE



I recently heard that a Muslim cleric left America for his Middle-Eastern place of origin. He was unhappy with our government's efforts at homeland security following last year's attack by Muslim terrorists. I did not anguish over his departure nor beg him to stay. In fact, I was glad to hear the news. He was not a loyal sympathetic American. His values were not ours. He despised the great principles of freedom and liberty we cherish.
He had neither part nor lot with us
.
America is better and safer now that he is gone.

Just two weeks ago I read that a professor/preacher of the change movement had left the Church of Christ and assumed a ministerial post in a denominational church. Sad as that may seem, the published writings of this brother indicated that he did not share the essential, basic, fundamental faith of those known as churches of Christ. He was a denominationalist at heart and in theology. Among us, training our young people, he would only do harm to the Cause we love.

There are many more like him. Men who have made shipwreck of the faith (I Tim. 1:19); who are yet working among us, not to build up and strengthen the church but to shame and ridicule her past, her former leaders, her ancient forms of worship, her sacred doctrine. The sooner they are recognized and rejected; the sooner they too depart, the better it will be for the Lord's church.

Faced with the departure of some of his brethren, the apostle John wrote, "They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they have continued with us: but they went out that they might be made manifest that they all are not of us" (I John 2:19). Weep not brethren, when such folks make their exit, rather thank God that they are gone. May the Lord hasten the day when church is free of all such men who no longer cherish the old paths of New Testament Christianity!

___________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
http://www.christianity-then-and-now.com
E-Mail: johnwaddey@aol.com

 
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Donnie Cruz
(no login)
65.135.141.207

“The change agents are trying to bring the church of Christ to be a denomination”

May 15 2004, 7:39 AM 

____________________________________________________________________

Re: One more question... (Charles Green, May 14 2004, 2:33 AM)
____________________________________________________________________

Charles,

Thank you for asking.

Your statement above: “It seems as though from what I read, you say that the change agents are trying to bring the church of Christ to be a denomination. How is this so? … I was just wondering how change equals denomination.”

Great, great question! Why? It’s because most of the followers and disciples of the “change” advocates are too busy defending their prominent leaders, instead of questioning their motives and schemes. I wish that the deceived supporters of the Change Movement would really honestly and sincerely ask themselves the same question or questions.

Interestingly, while I was researching writings on the phraseology, “an audience of one,” as commonly used in the “culture-driven” Community Church Growth circles, I came across what would have been the suggested name [title] of the “internet” file I was trying to save. The lengthy filename [which I renamed to something else much shorter] originally stated:
    Grace-Centered Magazine is a Christian publication whose authors include Joe Beam, Dennis Crawford, John Clayton, Barry Davis, Rubel Shelly, Lee Wilson, Mike Root and other writers of restoration movement churches such as Churches of Christ-Christian Churches.
Firstly, the change agents’ deceptive idea, among several, is that the contemporary “MUSICAL” worship [a form of idolatrous] style is directed to “an audience of one.” (By the way, the contemporary musical “concert” performed in the saints’ assembly is only one of MANY issues dividing the church.) You know, I really have plenty to say about this “the only audience is God” bit—but I’m time-constrained. So, let me just say that this is hogwash—the “Worship Leader’s” dominating and overpowering microphone-aided PRAISE TEAM [a.k.a. “church of Christ” choir] has a different “audience of one”: THE CONGREGATION! Plus one more “audience of one”: THE WORSHIP LEADER! Do you get the picture?

Secondly, did you notice the “Christian Churches” denomination, as well as the “Churches of Christ” denomination [i.e., according to those agents … OK?]—both being identified as some kind of a partnership/conglomerate? Did you notice the famous change agents—the trans-Baptist Rubel Shelly, the charismatic Joe Beam, et al, whom we’ve already “marked” on this board?

In answer to your questions regarding “change equals denomination” and the “change agents transforming the church into a denomination," may I ask you to re-read the highlighted topics I discussed in the initial post?

I have summarized from the writings of John Waddey, Kenneth Sublett and others who have identified the prominent change agents in the church of Christ—their unique behavior pattern:
    --- Men who do harm to the body of Christ while being supported to build it up.
    --- Men who claim to be helping the church while fomenting chaos and strife within.
    --- Men who rush forward to offer a fix for the problems they themselves have created.
    --- --- They offer staff services to help churches resolve the conflicts caused by their changes.
    --- Men who seek to build their status and influence by bashing and attempting to discredit the godly …
    --- --- preachers who blazed the trail before them and built the congregations where they now serve.
    --- Men whose teaching and practice lowers respect for the authority of God’s Word.
    --- Men who refuse to recognize and honor the church of Christ as the body of Christ.
    --- Men who think they know more about how to worship God than did Christ . . .
    --- Men who undertake to change the unchangeable kingdom of Christ.
    --- Men who presume that the new is better than the old in the realm of faith.
    --- --- They care nothing for the old paths (Jer. 6:16).
    --- --- They are like the pagan Athenians, always searching for something new or different.
    --- Men who’d rather not speak boldly of Christ as the “founder” of the church of Christ.
    --- Men who prefer to speak of Campbell and Stone as founders of their denomination.
    --- Men whose favorite word is “grace” to mean salvation without obeying its conditions.
    --- Men who love to speak of “freedom” to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions.
    --- Men who love freedom to fellowship and be accepted by denominational bodies.
    --- Men who speak of “patternism” as a sarcastic put down of the brethren true to God’s pattern.
    --- Men who thirst for an emotion-based worship in the electronic churches of the televangelists.

Also, may I ask you to review the sub-topics discussed in the initial post, such as:
  • Characteristics of “CHANGE AGENTS” (as they attempt to present themselves as theologians who have discovered new truths)
  • Change agents operating on faulty assumptions … committed to change the church of Christ
  • Evaluation of the CHANGE PACKAGE implemented in the TRANSITIONING church of Christ
  • Agents advocating change: their objectives and activities
  • Agents’ criticism for efforts of the past: exaggerated and encouraged
  • Community Church: MODEL for “CHURCH OF CHRIST” in TRANSITION
  • Bible translations and denominational sources used: New Testament principles devalued
  • Church leadership, organization, government: hierarchical shepherding structure
  • WORSHIP: the trending “MUSICAL” worship content and casualness
  • The Lord’s Supper and social fellowship—more than just a memorial
  • Doctrines derived from denominations: Biblical truth being perverted
  • Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts: teachings imitated by the agents
Charles, I would urge you to really discover for yourself how the change agents in the brotherhood are operating. Because of their relentless efforts and deceptive schemes, the church is experiencing an identity-uniqueness crisis. In a teen’s world, it is much worse than peer pressure. Instead of the church being “the called out,” the agents want it to be just like everything else. Didn’t someone say about one congregation that could very well be named the “_______ Charismatic-Adventist-Catholic-Methodist-Baptist-Pentecostal-Jehovah’s Witness-Assembly-Community Church of Christ Fellowship, Incorporated”?

Have a great day!

Donnie Cruz

 
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E. Claude Gardner
(no login)
68.19.238.2

Quarantine the "Changers" to Save Our Children

June 22 2004, 3:12 AM 

Source: Bible Infonet
___________________________________


Quarantine the "Changers" to Save Our Children


By E. Claude Gardner


In this century the church has had to cope with several splinter movements. In the teens there was Bollism which blossomed into the struggle with premillennialism in the '30s. Then came Ketchersideism, which was extremely radical, but later swung to the very liberal view. Another heartache was the battle over support of orphan homes and church cooperation. For decades the church was thwarted by Sommerism, and there is still a residue in some quarters.

For the last 30 or 40 years, there has existed a strong undercurrent of liberalism. This is now a force which the church in the mainstream must face. It promotes fundamental changes in teaching and practice. Some of the most visible and articulate among us are in this scholarly and well-financed group.

"Changers" is an umbrella term to cover various and sundry ideas novel to the New Testament. Not everyone in the camp of the radical changers agrees totally, but there is agreement with the general thrust toward a liberal slant.

To identify the proponents and fellow travelers - preachers, teachers, church leaders, or members - what are some of the teachings flowing from their mouth or pew?
  • Open fellowship with other religious bodies, especially the evangelicals;
  • Acceptance of the independent Christian Church;
  • Promoter of unity forums with the Christian Church;
  • Instrumental music is not sinful and is a nonissue;
  • Grace is a constant topic;
  • Exalting Christ but downplaying the church;
  • Gashing the church and finding little good about it and in contrast being complimentary of other religious groups;
  • Exhibiting cynicism;
  • Teaching that the church is a denomination and one part of the denominational framework;
  • Worship is to be changed to be more emotional in the Pentecostal denominational style;
  • Teaching obedience and commandments is legalism;
  • Women should have a leading role in the church;
  • Elders have no authority in a congregation;
  • Advocacy of the Holy Spirit empowering us in sensational ways apart from the Word of God;
  • After ignoring "doctrine" there may be major stress on social Issues;
  • Salvation is by faith and baptism is not essential for the forgiveness of sins;
  • The church is not the kingdom and we should pray for the kingdom to come;
  • Pattern theology is an abomination;
  • Tradition is bashed and change is touted;
  • The church needs to be restructured;
  • The restoration of New Testament Christianity is irrelevant and impossible;
  • Restoration of the church is not finished;
  • Using deductions based on Scripture cannot establish truth;
  • Silence of the Scriptures is not prohibitive;
  • Greatly enamored by radical youth workshops;
  • And as did Paul, I would add "and such like."
When any person or a congregation espouses these beliefs or practices or some of them, it is evidence that the changers are there. When this happens, many heartaches and divisions will come.

The changers should be quarantined at once. This must be done to save our children, for the peace of the brethren, and for unity in the brotherhood. Radical change advocates will divide the brotherhood by the espousal of liberal theology.

We are at the stage where we should start the quarantine.

Advocates of this radical splinter group make the charge of polarization when objections are raised to their "changes."

As a disclaimer: those who hold to New Testament Christianity do not believe matters of opinion should be tests of fellowship. The issue is in changing and rejecting the basics of Bible teaching and substantive matters.

 
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John Waddey
(no login)
68.19.238.70

THE CONSUMING POWER OF CHANGE

July 14 2004, 2:31 AM 

THE CONSUMING POWER OF CHANGE



The champions of change prefer stories over Biblical preaching. I have a story to share with you and them. Many years ago my younger brother bought a hotrod car. The previous owner, whom we will call Lynn, started with a Henry J. (Young folks may never have heard of that one, but it was a real brand, on the market in the 50s). When the owner wanted a hotrod to use for racing he began to modify and change his Henry J. First he removed the fenders. Then he removed the seats and installed bucket seats in the front. Roll bars were added. Special springs and shocks were placed on the back to elevate it and large oversize racing tires were installed. The Henry J motor was replaced with a powerful Cadillac engine, the transmission and drive chain with that of an Oldsmobile. The differential was also exchanged for a racing type. The mufflers were stripped away.

Now my question is, when did Lynn's car cease to be a Henry J and become the creation of Lynn. When I saw this machine it did not look like, drive like, sound like or in any way resemble the Henry J designed by and produced by Kaiser-Frazier Motor Company. It was, at that point, a car that had been totally changed by Lynn and its original design marred and destroyed.

Another Lynn and lots of his friends are busily at work among Churches of Christ attempting to redesign and change our churches into a new model that meets their personal interests and needs. The original model was designed by Christ and set in motion by his apostles. The blueprint and design are clearly recorded in the New Testament. The following changes have already been made in many places:
  1. The name. It seems the change agents are uncomfortable with the name Church of Christ (Rom. 16:16) and prefer most any other designation.

  2. The communion. Rather than a sacred memorial in an hour of worship (I Cor. 11:17-34), they prefer a setting with a common meal (See John Mark Hicks, Come to the Table).

  3. The congregational, acappella singing (Eph. 5:19), they would replace with choirs, soloists and instrumental music.

  4. The proclamation of the gospel by men of God (I Cor. 1:21), they would replace with story telling, drama and interpretative dances.

  5. The ancient way of salvation by grace through faith, repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38) they would replace with "grace only" or "faith only." (See Max Lucado and Rubel Shelly's pronouncements).

  6. The New Testament as an authoritative pattern for the church to follow (Heb. 8:5; II Tim. 1:13) they would replace with "love letter" and personal illumination of the Holy Spirit.

  7. The one unique church purchased by the blood of Christ, built by the Savior, loved by the Master as his bride and to be saved by Him, they would replace with a denomination founded by Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone.

  8. The church as the one and only family of God to which He adds all the saved, they would change to a denomination of the same value as the 1200 others in our world.

  9. The male leadership God ordained for his church (I Cor. 14:34), they would change to a leadership made up of both men and women.

  10. The decent and orderly worship of the New Covenant (I Cor. 14:40), they would exchange for a boisterous service or hand-clapping and emotional display.

  11. The church that is always looking back to the original pattern set forth by Christ and attempting to be like it, they would change for a church that is open to new ideas and ways of doing things.
I am sure there are other modifications that these designing brothers are working on, but these suffice for my point. We asked when did Kaiser-Frazier's Henry J cease to be their product and become Lynn's? Now when does a church that is being so radically changed cease to be Christ's and become Lynn's or Royce's or Rubel's? When the church in Ephesus left her first love, Christ warned them, "Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come...and will move they candlestick out of its place..." (Rev. 2:5).

___________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

E-Mail: johnwaddey@aol.com

 
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John Waddey
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THE SLIPPERY SLOPE

July 31 2004, 2:45 AM 

THE SLIPPERY SLOPE



A popular analogy is that of the novice on the ski slope who stands nervously at the top of the run. Not quite sure of himself or what lies ahead of him, he takes a little step, then another, testing the pack. Suddenly gravity takes control and down he goes to an uncertain fate. While there is a remote chance he might make it safely to the bottom, it is far more likely that disaster awaits him.

So it is in Christianity. Apostasy is a slippery slope with spiritual ruin its final destination. To see this in bold relief, one need only look at the history of the great Protestant churches that surround us. Once bastions of conservatism, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian and Congregational churches now bear only faint resemblance to their past or to the Christianity of the Bible. The Disciples of Christ are an even more pertinent example for us. Their complete and total drift into apostasy and the extremes of liberalism took them little more than 100 years. In 1849 the first of our spiritual forebearers stepped upon the slippery slope of departure. It all seemed so harmless, just an organization to coordinate mission work of the churches. They called it the American Christian Missionary Society. The second step was easier. As they relaxed their grip on the necessity of following the Bible in all things, they began introducing instrumental music into their worship. Then in quick succession came women preachers and elders, open membership, participation in the Federal Council of Churches and the full agenda of theological liberalism. Today it is gay rights, a rejection of Biblical authority and the concept of restoration.

We now see many congregations of Churches of Christ standing at the slippery slope of apostasy. Large numbers of preachers and elders, unaware or uncaring, are testing the icy pack of change. Some are testing new forms of expressing worship. The traditional ways of worship seem drab and boring compared to those of Neo-Pentecostalism. It is exhilarating for them to lift up the hands, or have an unseen choir. Some are testing the ice on the matter of salvation. Having fed on the sweet tasting doctrine of salvation by grace and faith alone, they are gingerly testing these teachings on their listeners. They aren't quite ready to boldly repudiate the need for baptism, but they have downgraded it to a "maybe" status.

Others on the slope are toying with the role of women in the leadership of the church. They are not strongly wedded to the Biblical limitation that forbids women to teach or have authority over men (I Tim. 2:12).

Some are slipping on the uniqueness of Christ's church in a world of denominationalism. Although Scripture knows nothing of denominations, but these men are heard speaking of our brotherhood as a denomination or sect. If that we are, we stand in competition with the church that Christ built and in shame should close our doors and disband. This certainly is not what our fathers believed. Once you start down the slippery slope, just where does it end?

These are but a few of the examples before us. Some are already plunging headlong down the slope to certain destruction. For them there is little hope. Others are yet flirting with the ice at the crest of the slope.

Perhaps by God's mercy they can be snatched back before they are lost beyond recovery (Jude 21-22). Those elders and preachers who are wise will avoid the slippery slope by planting their feet firmly on the plainly revealed truths of the gospel.

___________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

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Donnie Cruz
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THE WAY ERROR GAINS ENTRANCE INTO A CONGREGATION

August 25 2004, 3:15 AM 

THE WAY ERROR GAINS ENTRANCE INTO A CONGREGATION



A false teacher will never walk up to a congregation and announce, "I am a heretic; I have come to capture or destroy your church." Paul says that such men use "smooth and fair speech" to "beguile the hearts of the innocent" (Rom. 16:18). He speaks of their "cunning craftiness" (Eph.4:14) and their "cunningly devised fables" (II Pet. 1:16). When false teachers are unable to take a congregation in one fell swoop, they settle for an incremental approach ... a little here, a little there until one day they are in full control.

A hundred years ago those brethren who wished to introduce instrumental music into our churches were determined to take all with them. Their strategy, used over and over again, was as follows. At first they pretended to accept our acappella practice. They would occasionally drop snide remarks about the poor quality of our singing. They would lavishly compliment the worship of those who used instruments and praise the beauty of their worship. To build a constituency and gain a following, they carefully promoted their agenda privately to gullible souls who could be easily swayed. They eventually suggested using the instruments for young people’s meetings and classes, always reassuring the congregation that such would never affect their worship assemblies. When that goal was reached they would bide their time and continue their quiet promotion in private. When they were confident that they had a majority in their camp, they would raise the question, "Would the congregation prefer to use an instrument in worship?" By that time the elders and other brethren, content to abide in the apostles' doctrine, were totally outnumbered and out maneuvered. They were faced with the option of accepting the change; objecting and being labeled as trouble makers; or to leave in search of a sound congregation where they could worship "as it is written."

By the time our brethren figured out their strategy and were able to alert fellow-Christians, the loss was devastating. Those determined to add to the worship prescribed in Scripture swept upwards of 80% of our churches into their camp. Today when you see a Disciples of Christ or Christian Church, remember the strategy their ancestors used to win their victory. That will help you understand why elders generally said “no” to bringing an organ or piano into their church building, for any purpose. That is why property deeds for meeting houses had restrictive deeds that forever forbade the use of a musical instrument in worship conducted there. That is why preachers who thought the question of instrumental music in worship was "not a salvation or faith issue" were not invited to preach for them, even in a revival meeting. That is why preachers routinely delivered lessons explaining the Biblical basis for our acappella worship.

We are now some 70 years removed from the apostasy described above. A third generation has now reached the level of leadership. Most of them are unfamiliar with our past, and many of them not well-grounded in Scripture. Consequently we see churches dangerously drifting toward a maelstrom of error. Many of our people have never heard a Biblical lesson teaching why we worship as we do. Others openly state that they see nothing very serious about the use of instruments in worship. We frequently hear of preachers who now boldly say, that to them "instrumental music is not a salvation issue."

Some congregations are allowing instruments to be used in youth programs and in "concerts in their meeting places." One by one, the incremental steps are being taken that will eventuate in them having instruments in their worship.

It is only a matter of time. I plead with all brethren to consider the past and take heed lest ye fall (I Cor. 10:12).

___________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

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John Waddey
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A PORTRAIT OF A CHANGE AGENT

September 8 2004, 2:28 AM 

A PORTRAIT OF A CHANGE AGENT



A hundred and 35 years ago our brethren were locked in a desperate struggle with promoters of change who were determined to remake the church so she would be more attractive to the culture and society of their day. The Apostolic Times was one of the gospel papers that bravely opposed that change movement. Such giants in the faith as J. W. McGarvey, Moses Lard and F. G. Allen used their powerful pens to respond to the fallacious arguments of the progressive brethren. On Aug. 31, 1871 Bro. J. B. Briney wrote a brilliant piece entitled, “What We Need.” The following excerpt is remarkably applicable to our day and situation.
    “There are some among us who seem to have imbibed quite an antipathy to first principles. They love to talk about the ‘higher spirituality,’ a ‘deeper piety,’ a ‘broader love,’ etc. Were it not that these men make such lofty pretensions to a ‘higher spirituality,’ you would be led to think that this is the very article they most need...

    “The man that is tired of the first principles of the doctrine of Christ is tired of the only thing that can convert men to God, and lift their souls in holy aspirations toward heaven. But when a man says he is tired of first principles, what does he mean? Does he mean he is tired of faith? No. He has much to say about faith. It is his theme on all occasions. Does he mean that he is tired of repentance? Certainly not. He is for repentance, theoretically, at least. What, then, is the substance of all this opposition to first principles and to the men who are devoted to them? Simply this: ‘I am tired of baptism for the remission of sins.’ This is what you get when you simmer all this talk about a ‘higher spirituality,’ etc. down” (p. 161).
When you hear our champions of change calling on their followers to move beyond the “traditional teaching” of the church, remember Bro. Briney’s analysis. The situations are identical. Isn’t it remarkable that so many people who claim to follow Christ and aspired to go to heaven refuse to accept what the Master himself accorded to baptism: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16).

Tragically before the battle was over, Bro. Briney defected to the camp of the enemy and devoted has last year to tearing down what he has once built up. This is another significant lesson for those who are standing in the ranks to fight the change movement of our day. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (I Cor. 10:12).

___________________________________
* This quote was found in David Hester’s Among the Scholars, p. 95.

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

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John Waddey
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DESTRUCTIVE EPIDEMICS

October 6 2004, 4:30 AM 

DESTRUCTIVE EPIDEMICS



Our generation is keenly aware of the meaning of “epidemic.” The destructive power of epidemics has been demonstrated by the AIDS virus that has brought death to hundreds of thousands. As this epidemic has swept around the world, all have become familiar with the causes, progress and end results of such plagues.

First there is the infection and incubation. Then the Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection appears, followed by the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. There is the fitful struggle of the body to escape the clutches of the disease. Then comes death. Hundreds of thousands of graves proclaim the importance of understanding this plague and the need to avoid situations where it might be contracted.

This sad story is remarkably similar to an epidemic now sweeping through the church of Christ. It has been given the label of “Change Movement.” Certain identifiable factors leave people vulnerable to this virus of change. Most prominent among them are man’s ancient and universal tendency toward pride, arrogance and rebellion against the authority of God and the standards set by Him.

Another is the acceptance of a new world-view as a basis for life’s decisions and a new way of interpreting the Word of God. This world-view is called Postmodernism. While only recently has it come to dominate our society, many of its integral parts have been around a century or more. Among its fatal factors in its teaching are that all truth is relative, that there is no absolute moral or spiritual truths, and that decisions are best made subjectively rather than by some objective standard. Thus per this doctrine man, not God, is the final determiner of truth. This false system now is dominant in secular schools of higher learning and in some of the seminaries where preachers seek higher education. Like some vile disease, this system has spread into some of our schools and congregations; brought back by preachers who were infected in their pursuit of advanced education.

When the deadly virus of change sets in, it breaks down and destroys respect for the standards set forth by the founder of the church. The boundaries he set for his people are trampled down as the people rush toward forbidden pastures.

Symptoms of those infected with the change virus are loss of humility and worldly pride. Victims find it difficult to process and understand simple instructions. They have trouble obeying rules. Victims eventually come to despise Christ’s church. They no longer want to wear his name or be identified with his people. They seek aid, comfort and pleasure with other religious bodies. They depart from the faith (I Tim. 4:1-4). They have turned away from the holy commandments delivered unto them (II Pet. 2:21). With spirits wasted by their destructive disease, they wander off and eventually die spiritually.

Some of the victims of this infection, (primarily preachers and professors), have knowingly embraced it and have only themselves to blame for their condition. However many others, namely students in Christian schools and members of congregations where such carriers preach, are unaware of the danger they are exposed to. They suffer because of the deceitful work of their spiritual teachers (Rom. 16:17-18). It is for them that we pursue this Christianity: Then and Now project. Hopefully we can immunize many before they are exposed to this disease and save them from the deadly infection.

___________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

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COMMUNICATING IN A SEEKER-FRIENDLY CHURCH

October 19 2004, 2:43 AM 

COMMUNICATING IN A SEEKER-FRIENDLY CHURCH



Many modern sinners are turned off by traditional ways of presenting the Christian message. Those who build their congregations on cutting-edge church growth recommendations have learned to tailor their lessons so as to make them acceptable to those “seekers” of the world. Polls, focus groups, demographic studies and marketing studies have identified the vocabulary that is most effective in getting postmodern folks into church. The following annotated glossary is borrowed and highly modified from an article by Bob DeWaay entitled “A User’s Guide to Seeker Sensitive Religious Terminology” (Critical Issues Commentary, Jan/Feb. 2000). While it is obviously a tongue in cheek parody, those familiar with the materials of our change agents will recognize there is a large amount of factual truth in it.
  1. Atonement. Best not mentioned. Too technical and threatening to some. Implies God might be unhappy with them.

  2. Bible. Fundamentalists tend to use the Bible in a threatening way that seekers do not appreciate. They do not wish to be preached to. If you must use the Bible, severely limit the amount of it you cite. Seekers prefer stories from the Bible. Doctrinal and controversial teaching should be avoided.

  3. Blood. The idea of blood being required for forgiveness is offensive to postmodern seekers. It sounds primitive and barbaric. They get their feel of violence from movies and TV. Better just dwell on God’s love.

  4. Christ/Jesus. Feel free to use these terms freely. Dwell on his love, mercy and forgiveness, but avoid talking about his commandments, condemnation and judgment. The latter are not pleasing to today’s seekers.

  5. Church. Since many non-Christian have had bad experiences with church, better to use “God’s family,” “worship center” or other terms.

  6. Commandments. Postmoderns do not like to be commanded. They prefer to be invited to try something.

  7. Cross. Do not dwell on the necessity or the barbarity of Jesus’ death. Rather dwell on the love aspect. It makes seekers uncomfortable to think of such violence.

  8. Damnation. This should not be discussed. It is upsetting to seekers of our age.

  9. Doctrine. Don’t dwell on doctrine. It will drive folks away from church. Tell them stories. Talk about practical matters such as marriage, parenting and self-esteem.

  10. Evangelical. This is recommended over “Lord’s Church,” “Church of Christ,” or “Bible-believing Church.” It includes most church folks and excludes few. Because it identifies us with larger Protestant church it gives us prestige. It is safe and popular.

  11. Evidence. Postmoderns are not interested in evidence. They do not wish to choose between right and wrong, truth and error. They prefer lessons that make them feel good.

  12. Father. Better to use “God.” Many postmodern women are offended when God is presented as male. A neutral term allows all to envision God as they wish.

  13. Fear of God. This should not be used in teaching. Our generation does not like the concept. It seems very negative to them. It implies God might do something harsh or unpleasant to those who do not fear him.

  14. Fundamentalist. A useful pejorative term to blacken conservatives who do not embrace the new approach to Christianity. It lumps them with Muslim Fundamentalist terrorists.

  15. Gospel. May be used so long as the goodness aspect is stressed. Show how it fits with discovering ones potential and brings wealth and success to people.

  16. Hell. This should not be used in teaching. It is frightening to sinners and modern church-goers.

  17. Holiness. This turns off postmodern people. It interferes with their freedom of choice and produces guilt. It implies that those who have this trait are somehow better than those who do not.

  18. Judgment. It is a mistake to dwell on eternal judgment. No postmodern wants to hear about such. Also today’s seekers dislike having to make judgments about moral and spiritual matters. They hate those who make such judgments about other folks’ conduct.

  19. Legalism. This is a good word for bashing those who still insist on going by the Bible in all things. It connotes some defective or evil perversion of Christianity.

  20. Love. This is the term you can never over use or wear out. Just don’t try to command seekers to love anyone or anything. Never preface the word with “don’t.” That postmoderns resent.

  21. Pharisee/Pharisaism. Useful terms to smear traditionalists and those who refuse to conform to the demands of 21st century culture and the change movement.

  22. Reason. Postmoderns don’t like to reason about things. They prefer to “feel” or follow their intuitions. Short stories and anecdotes are much more useful in appealing to them.

  23. Repentance. This turns off most seekers, implying wrong-doing and guilt. It causes embarrassment and should be omitted.

  24. Reverence. This is not well-received by postmoderns. Relevance is better. You could do well by speaking of joyful, fun, entertaining or exciting when describing worship.

  25. Sin. This is a moral negative and that seekers view as judgmental. They view users of such words as “selfrighteous.” Better to speak of mistakes, poor choices or slip-ups.

  26. Sinner. This should be avoided as it interferes with a seeker’s view of his/her own self-worth and value.

  27. Truth. Stress that each of us must decide if a thing is true; that God gives each of us an understanding of truth. Never try to limit truth to one book, such as the Bible. Remind folks that truth is not set in concrete. Stress new truths rather than old ones.

  28. Worship. This is old fashioned and churchy. Better to speak of celebrating life, experiencing God’s presence or some similar warm feelings terms.
While such vocabulary may suit those engaged in building mega-churches based on a new gospel, for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah and speak the pure words of God (Zeph. 3:9) to all who are willing to hear them.

___________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

E-Mail: johnwaddey@aol.com

 
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wondering
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Re: COMMUNICATING IN A SEEKER-FRIENDLY CHURCH

October 19 2004, 12:10 PM 

People who are already members of the church, who worship regularly and participate in the activities of the church; the 'saints' as it were; don't need to be preached a frightening judgmental sermon every week. Most of us are doing the best we can. A judgmental, searing sermon, designed to make the entire congregation doubt if they really are saved, to instill fear in those who are already living as best they can...is abuse in my book-sorry if that offends you.

Those who aren't conscientious wouldn't even be touched by one of these hell fire sermons anyway. Its those of tender conscience who respond to most alter calls anyway.

Why NOT start talking about Love - the love of Jesus? That is what has been lacking in the church of Christ for years.
I grew up afraid of God-afraid of God at 4 or 5 years old? Something is wrong here.

Love CAN be preached - SHOULD be preached..Jesus preached it.Jesus didn't heap guilt trips on His sheep. It was for the corrupt Pharasees.

Preaching about love every now and then doesn't mean we are on the brink of jumping into a community church!

Sorry, but I think the words of Jesus are a little more important than than a constant litany of eveything Paul ever said.

 
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Kenneth Sublett
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Love?

October 19 2004, 6:48 PM 

I told my doctor: "Doctor, I think that drinking too much coffee is making me dizzy." He filled out his bill and said, "Mr. Sublett, why don't you just quit drinking coffee?" That was one of the lessons I learned in 74 years.

Now, if you will just quit FEEDING that guy who NEVER speaks about Jesus or the gospels and ALWAYS preaches from Paul, he will get hungry and just go away. He may be trying to MAKE UP for the many who have decided that the EPISTLES OF THE APOSTLES are divided and divisive and WE just gonna preach Christ and Him crucified. Well, Paul didn't PREACH THAT. If they had ever read Paul they would grasp (with some 6th grade remedial reading) that Paul intended to KNOW only Christ and Him crucified. That would mean to GO out and become a vocational suffering servant.

I can barely remember a black midwife bringing younger brother in a "dispan" at age 4 but I cannot remember HELL. I can remember examining the corpse of a dead uncle at aged five but cannot remember fear. There was more trembling about Inner Sanctum than hell. I may have heard from the Baptist preacher driver of the open, curtained school buss that hell was 7 times as hot as that at the sorghum cooking pan we just passed but I can't remember too much HELL. I learned love from my mother and didn't get shorted because the preacher didn't do it to me.

Now, I know that churches of Christ INVENTED hell and even bad breath but I wish you would tell us what you remember about that sermon at age 4. As an Engineer/Scientist I have discovered that memories don't go away. But, they are like a scramble of recording tape. When we have ANOTHER experience our brain takes snippets here and there and builds a NEW memory. So, what we remember I often found out from mom and siblings that I WASN'T THERE. So, we tend to build memories out of the PREACHER'S memories who enjoy telling fibs about the church what feeds them.

I am finding almost total agreement with the Bible that "church" was a school of the Bible. "Preaching" was reading the Word. I am digesting some really good history which proves that when people PERFORM they begin to LOVE in a "knowing God" way:
    "In fact, behind the criticisms of the epic recital often lie issues about the performance of GENDER and social status.

    In that regard, epic's position is parallel to that of rhetoric. Beginning with Aristotle's Rhetorica (1404a), critics of rhetorical performance have ascribed to lively delivery the same effect as that of ACTING. There is a persistent association between theatrics, bad rhetoric and EFFEMINANCY."

I think that "JUST LOVE" is a code word because Christ THE Holy Spirit promised the APOSTLES that He would (as Spirit) guide them into ALL TRUTH. So, I can figure out a reading guide so that you can get the FREE WATER OF THE WORD for FREE (Isaiah 55)

Ken

 
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Donnie Cruz
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Wondering or Wandering?

October 20 2004, 2:33 AM 

I think you are confused about or prefer to simply ignore certain “disliked” terms and expressions used in the Bible. We are not dealing with “judgmental sermons” or “hellfire sermons” here. Rather, the Holy Scripture speaks often of the judgment day and how all people will be judged in the end. Here are a few passages for your consideration:
    We shall give account … in the day of judgment… (Matt. 12:36)

    And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matt. 25:46)

    He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:48; John 16:8)

    And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Heb. 9:27)

    Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Cor. 5:9-10)

    And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: (I Peter 1:17)

    For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: (II Peter 2:4,9)

    But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (II Peter 3:7)

I’m sorry, too, that you would consider such admonitions as if they did not come from God’s word. If I were to identify misuse or abuse, it is in the area of God’s grace. Just because we are under grace, it doesn’t mean that we have to abuse it. God’s grace allows sinners to be fully forgiven of their past sins by the blood of the Lamb in baptism and to be added to His church. And God’s grace continues to abound in the lives of Christians, but it is not to be abused, either. Christians are expected to live lives of service for the Master (Rom. 12:1) and to remain “faithful unto death” in order to receive the crown of life (Rev. 2:10). Wait … here’s the fear factor you might be referring to:
    “Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” (Heb. 12:28, KJV)

    “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12, KJV)

Reality is that Christian living is not all “celebration.” It is not only about joy and love; it is also about life of service and sacrifice, perseverance and endurance. Do you know what it’s like to be in the race?
    “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. (I Cor. 9:24)

    “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…. (Heb. 12:1,2)

Donnie

 
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Wondering
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Re: Wondering or Wandering?

October 20 2004, 6:07 PM 

I was hoping not to be misunderstood;

I never said I wished we would ONLY hear about the Love of God in our Church of Christ sermons. No, LOVE is NOT all that is to found in the Bible, Old or New Testament either one.But neither is judgment.

I do wish that there would be more preaching on it:LOVE, the love of God the Father and His son, Jesus.

I was afraid when I said the word 'LOVE' that someone would jump on it and assume I am using a 'code word' of the change agents. Apparently 'Love' is one of the code words the change agents use. That and
"Jesus Only"...I am not a change agent.However,now that you mention it, I wonder if Jesus thought the words He said were not enough.

I grew up in the church. In one of the most memorable sermons I heard as a child was the one where the preacher said if we doubt how hot hell is, then we need to go home, turn on the stove and when the eye gets cherry red, then place our hand on it...that is how hot hell is.

Then I remember the sermon where the preacher told the congregation that not even everyone in the church would go to Heaven....probably not even a third of all of us in the auditorium that night.This man is still a highly respected preacher in the church-dom...

No, the love of my mother didn't balance the message I heard at church three times a week, that if I didn't belong to the 'right' church, and live my life 'right', I would go to hell.School of the bible my foot. I wish it had been- then the whole message of the bible might have been a little more balanced.When I told my mother that I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep going to this 'school of the bible', many years later, she told me that 'we all have to do things we don't want to do, sometimes...'I repeat: I was afraid of God at age 4, and 5.

I remember brother 'so and so' who repeatedly went forward
to confess sins. He was basically shunned at church. There was slight eye-rolling where he was concerned. I guess brother 'so and so' took things at face value.He went forward to confess his sins. He seemed very sincere.
I think Jesus would have been very proud of him.


Was I an uncooperative child or person? No, I would love to do it all just right.....but as a human being I know I can't. That IS the message of the bible...we have Jesus to intervene for us....He is and WAS the whole message of the bible.Picking apart every sentence in the bible to make sure we are doing it "right' in the church of Christ ' has just about driven me crazy.

Ok, I believe in baptism for remission of sins, but not baptism alone.The work Jesus did on the cross IS the works- the ONLY works that gives us salvation.

I believe with all my heart.Now I find in the church I attend its mostly a social club, complete with those who shun single mothers, and those with a 'history', even though they have repented....nothing has changed from when I was a child. And no, this is not exclusive to the church of Christ.

What exactly changes people when they are saved or added to the church? If they yield to the Holy Spirit and are humble...a whole whole lot. If they don't, and remain arrogant and power hungry, and judgmental, not much....I have seen interference in families, major manipulation of minor children who have family members who are not members..I have seen alot that is arrogant and self serving done by some of the saints...the end never justifies the means, but try telling them that. You can't frighten or force someone to accept the Love of God or salvation.

That is all I was saying. I wish there were more talk of the Love on the church...and no, that doesn't mean accepting and justifying bad behavior or rampant sin. Can't anyone see the distinction?

I would love to hear about the transforming power of LOVE that God had for us. NOt just 'doing it right', and scaring people who are trying to do it right to begin with.



 
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wandering/wondering... whatever
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Re: Wondering or Wandering?

October 20 2004, 7:55 PM 

How is it I am now in the 'wrong' for simply asking questions about several things. Only he who sticks his head out gets it chopped off. I guess there is good historical precedance for that.

Admonishments to the church are far far different than drumming up fear in the hearts of people who already are trying to obey with all their heart.And NO- Love is NOT a feminine trait.Or a trick of the antichrist. Please. Its a spiritual trait.


 
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Donnie Cruz
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Re: Wondering or Wandering? (October 20 2004, 6:07 PM)

October 21 2004, 3:31 AM 

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you were not misunderstood. Except for more incidents and experiences you described in the preceding post, you repeated the same issues you brought up in your original post—“hell” [again] … vividly illustrated this time, “scaring people” [again], and “love” [again].

I could quote more passages related to the realities of heaven and hell, as well as godly fear expected of those who follow and serve our Lord and Master. Your reaction to these undeniable truths was nothing. So, there’s no sense in discussing these issues further.

OK, let’s deal with the subject of LOVE. But there is a BIG problem in discussing this particular subject because I’m convinced that love is not the issue. The command to love God and to love one’s neighbor is a universal principle in Christian living and personal in the life of the individual Christian. Each follower of Christ is responsible for his own way of loving his God and his neighbor, just as he is responsible for his own soul. While we are to love each other, collectively speaking, it’s not a situation in which God judges or decides in the end either to save the entire body of believers without exception or to condemn the entire body of believers without exception. Both believers and unbelievers will face the judgment.

From the standpoint of evangelization, of course, emphasizing God’s love to save mankind is foremost. God’s abounding grace, the suffering and death of Christ on the cross, the redeeming power in the blood of the Lamb must be preached to the unbeliever.

Do we agree so far? If we do, then, love is not the issue—even if you seem to think that it is.

Now, I’m the one wondering or confused. But for a different reason. I’m not sure about your church affiliation—which makes it somewhat difficult for me to discuss the love factor with you. You mentioned the following: the sermon about hell [conservative?]; the narrow way to heaven [conservative?]; “school of the Bible (my foot)” [conservative?]; “afraid of God at age 4 and 5” [conservative?]; the “confessing” brother [conservative?]. Now, I don’t know about the church where you attend as being “mostly a social club”—that’s your call.

But I noticed some of your other comments to which I shall respond:

“I was afraid … that someone would … assume I am using a ‘code word’ of the change agents. Apparently ‘love’ is one of the code words the change agents use. That and ‘Jesus only.’”
    [You guessed that one quickly and correctly, brother/sister. Those who are loyal to the church and are adamant to the unnecessary changes in doctrine, beliefs and practices of the church … are accused of being “WITHOUT LOVE.” Guess what? “Without love for errors, untruths, and lies on the part of those loyal to the church” is the accurate statement.]
“Picking apart every sentence in the bible to make sure we are doing it ‘right' in the church of Christ has just about driven me crazy.”
    [Yes, one way that the change agents and their followers can easily point out that those who continue to abide by the doctrine of Christ and the apostles are legalists, fundamentalists, traditionalists, and Pharisaical.]
“Ok, I believe in baptism for remission of sins, but not baptism alone. The work Jesus did on the cross IS the works—the ONLY works that gives us salvation.
    [This is almost the new-and-improved doctrine of salvation among the change agents … almost … almost … but not quite. The change agents go so far as to teach that by faith ONLY does the unbeliever have his sins remitted—even prior to repentance and baptism. That the unbeliever by faith becomes a Christian prior to baptism. That means that AFTER one has become a Christian, then, baptism is administered as a test of his obedience. Then, that leads to the conclusion that repentance ALSO comes after one has already become a Christian. That amounts to saying, “Now that you are a Christian, you need to repent and be baptized.” Wow! Wow! Wow! (Please really study Acts 2:37,38.)

    In regard to “the work Jesus did on the cross … the ONLY Works that gives us salvation” … well, I’ll buy into that only from the standpoint of “past” salvation—the salvation that transitions the status from “unbeliever or ‘alien’ sinner” into “Christian.” Proof? Yes, Romans 3:25 (KJV) states: “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” Yes, one is to be baptized in order that his past sins [not future sins] are remitted by the blood of the Lamb and then he is added to or becomes a member of the church. All that is made possible because of God’s grace through FAITH WITHOUT WORKS (Eph. 2:8,9). That is “PAST” salvation.

    After that, the Christian begins his “newness of life” and begins his journey through the narrow path to heaven. Look at the contrast expressed in the following verse (Eph. 2:10)—“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. This is confirmed in James 2—“[14] What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? [17] Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. [19] … the devils also believe, and tremble. [20] But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? [24] Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. [26] For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

“What exactly changes people when they are saved or added to the church? If they yield to the Holy Spirit and are humble...a whole whole lot. If they don't, and remain arrogant and power hungry, and judgmental, not much....I have seen interference in families, major manipulation of minor children who have family members who are not members..I have seen alot that is arrogant and self serving done by some of the saints...the end never justifies the means, but try telling them that. You can't frighten or force someone to accept the Love of God or salvation.”
    I can’t discuss all the other occurrences in the above paragraph because I have no control over them. Due to time constraints, I can’t discuss the subject of the “Holy Spirit” as you described. I need to know more of your understanding of “the Spirit of the Lord” and your implication that “yielding” to the “Holy Spirit” (as you understand this entity in the Godhead) is what really changes the unbeliever to becoming a Christian. I need scriptural references to support this notion.
“That is all I was saying. I wish there were more talk of the Love on the church...and no, that doesn't mean accepting and justifying bad behavior or rampant sin. Can't anyone see the distinction?”
    I think that if your congregation is really having a problem with “love” not being “talked about” more … that you take the initiative to teach or preach about “love” given the permission from your leadership?
I would love to hear about the transforming power of LOVE that God had for us. NOt just 'doing it right', and scaring people who are trying to do it right to begin with.
    I think the owner(s) of this website will be more than willing to allow you to proclaim the message of God’s love. You’ve already done, in fact, don’t you think so? We’ve already discussed “scaring people,” but I still don’t see why you even think this is happening unless you agree with the change agents who accuse those who are loyal to God’s truth as using the “scare” tactic because they still preach the reality of heaven and hell.
Donnie

 
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really wondering
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Re: Wondering or Wandering? (October 20 2004, 6:07 PM)

October 22 2004, 1:01 PM 

I fear the change agents, and your reactions to the change agents, have made it extremely difficult for anyone who has comments, questions, or experiences in the the church-yes, the church of Christ-to ask questions. I don't know anyway to word my questions or comments so that someone doesn't think I am a change agent.Jesus died for our sins. He also had an awful lot to say before and after the cross.

If we took a New Testament and simply struck out all the words in red, I don't think a whole lot would be different in the teachings of the conservative church.

Thanks for your comments and the time you took to answer my questions. I believe they are sincere.




 
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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; http://www.concernedmembers.com/madison

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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