A NEW BIG PICTURE: THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING! THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING!November 11 2003 at 3:37 PM
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A NEW BIG PICTURE: THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING! THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING!
Some congregations of the church of Christ are getting caught up in the excitement experienced by many previously conservative denominational churches which have successfully transitioned to the culture-driven, community-based church growth schemes. Generally, churches of Christ with strong biblical and spiritual leadership and with effective Bible study programs are most resistant to these schemes. However, such resistance is being overridden and overpowered by misdirected, power-driven prominent change agents in operation within the church.
This article is intended to give both church leaders and members a quick overview of the Change Movement, a spiritual disease thats infecting our brotherhood, even as we speak. Incorporating changes in denominational churches is usually more easily accomplished than in churches of Christ. This is due to these main factors: our heritage, the uniqueness of the church, and the power of the Restoration principles embedded in the minds of faithful members. But complacency and unquestioning acceptance of the change schemes will only hasten another division in the church, if not its extinction, in the 21st century.
I will attempt to present both: (A.1)
a simplified method and (A.2)
a more detailed list of procedures aimed at TRANSITIONING AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED CHURCH. I will attempt to briefly but clearly define (B)
the role of PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH. Finally, I will provide (C)
a CHECKLIST TO EVALUATE THE TRANSITION IN PROGRESS.
It is an impossibility to include all the aspects of the various change movements at this time, even the evil attempts of the change advocates who are selfishly motivated to seize power within. So, this thread will be dedicated and restricted only to this specific topic and will be updated or expanded in time.
A.1 SIMPLIFIED PROCESS OF TRANSITIONING AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
The process of transition that we teach is a simple one:
STEP 1Prepare for change
STEP 2Define your changes
STEP 3Plant your vision with your key leaders
STEP 4Share your vision with the whole church
STEP 5Implement your changes
STEP 6Deal with the opposition
STEP 7Make adjustments
STEP 8Evaluate the result
Dan Southerland is the founder and director of Church Transitions Inc. Dan developed
this process for change while serving as the pastor/teacher of the Flamingo Road Church
in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During the thirteen years of his ministry at Flamingo Road, the church
made some major changes:
APPROACH from being program driven to being purpose driven.
TARGET from reaching believers to reaching the unchurched.
WORSHIP from traditional to contemporary.
PASTORS from a senior pastor model to a shared pastor model.
LEADERSHIP from a committee led church to being staff led.
MINISTRY from pastors doing all the ministry to pastors equipping people.
SMALL GROUPS from a traditional Sunday School to a relational cell group model.
SERVICES -- from one weekend worship service to five weekend services.
He has been teaching at the Purpose Driven Church conference held by Saddleback Church
for the past 5 years as well. About half of the events we do each year are co-sponsored
by Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries.
A.2 ANOTHER METHOD: HOW TO TRANSITION AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
SOURCE: http://www.pastors.com/article.asp?ArtID (Chuck McAlister)
The following steps can be applied, I believe, to any church that desires to make this transition.
Our transition involved an eleven year process that continues to this day and will continue
PLAN YOUR TRANSITION: A PRESCRIBED PROCEDURE IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER
Focus on preaching for change to set the stage for determining your church purpose.
Determine your church purpose: must embrace the five NT purposes for a church.
Emphasize the churchs responsibility to reach the unchurched.
Launch a New Members class.
Encourage your members to embrace the church purpose as their personal purpose.
Adopt new church by-laws: organizational concept and structure of the church biblical.
Implement a covenant process for personal, spiritual growth of church members.
Enlist the support of your senior adults.
Transition the church ministry to the people; the maint. of the church to the staff (paid or volunteer).
Transition the education ministry to make it life-empowering.
Lead the church to decide to relocate.
Locate new property for the relocation.
Pay for property.
Plan for a new facility.
Raise funds for the new facility.
Lead the church to change its name in preparation for the relocation.
Launch in-home community groups
MULTIPLE STEPS INVOLVED IN EACH OF THE STAGES LISTED ABOVE: STEPS THAT
NECESSARILY INCLUDED OWNERSHIP OF THE CHANGE BY THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH
Work your planstay committed
in spite of the challenges
the people who leave your church.
Communicate your vision regularlythe validity of each stage of the process.
We utilize our New Members Class to share the process with those coming into our church.
We then ask our newcomers to take ownership of our vision by making four commitments:
(1) Learn their spiritual gifts; determine where they would like to minister through our church;
(3) Join a small group (Fellowship Bible Study class);
(4) Write out their story (testimony) of how they came to Jesus personally,
- which they are encouraged to share with non-believers.
Take your timegive people an opportunity to buy into each step of the plan.
Maintain flexibilitythe key word is adaptability . . . the uniqueness of your church.
Stay putthe transition process takes years . . . cannot be accomplished in a few months.
Refuse to abandon your processthe distractions will be numerous; problems will arise.
Become an expert on the process of changeyou need His supernatural involvement.
Stay connected with and enlist the support of your senior adults.
Continually emphasize your churchs responsibility to reach the unchurched.
Graciously release those members who choose to leaveit will not please everyone.
Celebrate the completion of each advancecelebration builds momentum.
Always honor Jesusnever take the credit when things go well.
Dont be afraid to take risks:
For that reason, you must wait to construct the new facility only after you have sufficiently
transitioned the church, so that it is a new church occupying a new facility.
As you prepare
to transition to your new facility, remember that while the new building is important,
you must guard against it becoming the defining element of your churchs ministry.
Keep your sense of humorenjoy the journey rather than viewing it as a drudgery.
Constantly pray for Gods wisdomin each decision you face in transitioning a church.
Maintain your personal integrity and your walk with God.
SIMULTANEOUSLY TRANSITION YOUR WORSHIP STYLE AS YOU MOVE THROUGH THE PROCESS OF CHANGE.
B. PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH OF CHRISTTHEIR UNIQUE BEHAVIOR PATTERN
WHAT ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
What is a closet change agent? When asked this question, John Waddey responded as follows: A change agent is a false teacher within the brotherhood of Churches of Christ who is not content to follow the faith and practice of Christianity as set forth in the pages of the New Testament. He or she therefore works to convince our brethren that they should adopt changes in their faith, worship and practice that will be more acceptable to the world of the 21st century. The adjective closet means they operate undercover, or covertly to accomplish their evil purposes.
Kenneth Sublett has stated in a recent post, End Time Serpents with Horns: We have NOTED SEVERAL times that the band of CHANGE AGENTS all WRITE (Scribes) and they all endorse and sell one anothers books. Even events such as the recent Look to the Hills are the prophetic TRAFFICKING. This fulfills the first century and the present Satan sending out a FLOOD of waters trying to wash the Word and Church off the earth. [Many] churches are involved in the same thing on a lesser scale: sending out sermonic renderings and new style a cappella praise music to SEDATE. These are Apollos LOCUSTS whichever wing they fly on.
Sublett states further: There is now a FLOOD of new books. It suggests that the Accusers of the Church are in a TRAFFICKING pattern to make money and ACCUSE the brethren who pay their UNLAWFUL wages. It works, as Paul might say, because fools love to be fooled. . . . Purpose-driven CHANGE AGENTS believe that they have the right to lie, cheat, steal, threaten and use the law to steal the church property.
WHO ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
John Waddey states: The most prominent of our self-appointed agents of change is Bro. RUBEL SHELLY of Nashville, TN. MAX LUCADO of the Oak Hills Church (formerly Oak Hills Church of Christ) is one of the prominent CHANGE AGENTS in the church today. His website describes him in UpWords (his teaching ministry) as a prolific writer with more than 28 million books in print. Other influential leaders of the change movement are Joe Beam, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Mike Cope, Terry Rush, and Marvin Phillips. There are others.
Waddey cites examples of who they are in his article Little Men:
--- 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 Gods 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 whod 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 Gods pattern.
--- Men who thirst for an emotion-based worship in the electronic churches of the televangelists.
WHAT ARE SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF CHANGE AGENTS (AS THEY ATTEMPT TO PRESENT
THEMSELVES AS THEOLOGIANS WHO HAVE DISCOVERED NEW TRUTHS)?
Change agents operate on faulty assumptions, John Waddey avers:
--- That they have discovered a more spiritual kind of religion now than before.
--- That only they know, understand and appreciate the grace of God.
--- That only they understand the blessings/benefits of the Holy Spirits indwelling.
--- That our concept is restoration of a specific congregation from 1st century.
--- That they have discovered a new and superior approach to Bible interpretation.
--- --- With that they claim to have found the true nature of the church.
--- --- In reality, it is the old, emotion-based, subjective approach of Protestantism.
--- --- Their Bible is a story book, serving only as a source for quotes for sermons,
--- --- --- but not for regulating/guiding the faith, worship & practice of the church.
--- That we are only interested in the doctrines and practices of the church.
--- That we are not truly dedicated to Christ and trying to be like himthey are.
--- That we are narrow, bigoted, and legalistictheyre not.
--- That we claim that we are a perfect church. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we claim that we have attained complete compliance with every aspect
--- --- of Christs will for us. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we have misunderstood the way men are to be saved.
--- That we should be labeled traditionalists for our unwillingness to change.
--- --- When the truth is this: it is not change that we reject; . . .
--- --- --- Rather, we reject unlawful departure from Gods authorized Word and way.
--- --- When we are willing to change non-essentials (NOT substance or nature), as:
--- --- --- The hour, the length or the order of services
--- --- --- Trying new songs or new hymnals
--- --- --- Considering different methods of observing a communion service
--- --- --- Accepting names for the church as long as they are all biblical
--- --- --- --- without dismissing or discrediting the name of Christ, its head
--- --- When we do not consider apostolic traditions such other traditions as:
--- --- --- A tradition of a one hour worship servicethat can change
--- --- --- A tradition that calls for half hour sermonsthat can change
--- --- --- A tradition that expects a preacher to wear a coat and tiethat can change
--- --- --- A tradition that we wear shoes to churchthat can change
--- --- --- A tradition that our meeting houses are built accordinglythat can change
--- That they can promote their changes without making one realize that TO DO SO:
--- --- The concept of restoring the original New Testament church is abandoned.
--- --- The changes advocated were not a part of the original church.
--- --- Ties are severed with those noble saints who went before us.
--- --- --- The faith and preaching of those predecessors would be incompatible with
--- --- --- --- the advocates of change
Like oil and water they would not mix
--- --- Changes proposed will make the congregation one of 1200 denominations.
--- --- You are alienated/out of fellowship with simple Christianschurches of Christ.
--- --- The faith once delivered to the saints is abandoned.
--- --- Participation in causing division in the body of Christ is a fearful thought.
Change agents are committed to change the church of Christ
The third major segment below is a detailed list of changes that will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and acquiring your congregation. A careful examination of the list of changes will help pinpoint or isolate the SPECIFIC CHANGES that have caused casualtiesexpected or unexpectedin a particular congregation.
C. EVALUATION OF THE CHANGE PACKAGE IMPLEMENTED IN THE TRANSITIONING CHURCH OF CHRIST
Below is a compiled list taken from various sources, especially from various articles written by John Waddey. The list of changes will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and eventually acquiring your congregation. The purpose here is to have a means by which a congregation in transition or transformation stage may be evaluated in terms of the extent of progress made or the lack thereof. Churches vary in the level or depth of implementation of the Community Church scheme for church growth. For example, a congregation may adopt only a small segment from the list. But that segment may pinpoint or isolate the factors that have caused a church to grow or dwindle.
May I suggest that you print the list and mark only the items that, to the best of your knowledge, are applicable to your congregations situation. An honest personal evaluation may assist in determining where your congregation stands on particular conflicts and issues.
AGENTS ADVOCATING CHANGE: THEIR OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES
[_] Agents of change are busy rewriting our church history to: . . .
[_] --- Paint a different picture of the goals and intentions of our forefathers and
[_] --- Wish to cast their efforts as a unity movement and
[_] --- Depict them as seeking fellowship with and not rejecting denominationalism
[_] Prominent change agents are invited by churches and schools as guest speakers:
[_] --- Rubel Shelly, Max Lucado, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Joe Beam, etc.
[_] Interlopers must be resolved not to leave; others against change must leave
[_] Interlopers are not obligated to start their own from scratch
[_] Young people are the future of the church; their needs must be met with urgency
[_] Homebuilders (parents in their 30s & 40s) are the key to a successful program
[_] Transition is a long-range mission accomplished after passing of older generation
[_] Their goal is conquest and dominance of the entire brotherhood
[_] Their scheme is to first transform large congregations
[_] They insure that buildings, facilities and property are not acquired until fully paid
[_] They insure that the subverted will not overthrow their schemes and plans
[_] They are never to admit being false teachers so as not to be rejected
[_] They resort to warning the non-accepting brethren to get over it
[_] They claim to be helping the church to disguise their fomented chaos and strife
[_] They rush forward to offer a fix to disguise problems they have created
[_] They send a team to resolve conflicts caused by their changes
[_] They advocate that leading and guidance emanate from the Holy Spirit
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as narrow, bigoted, legalistic and Pharisaical
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as traditionalists and them as progressives
[_] They accuse the unwilling to submit as claiming to be the perfect church
[_] They claim to have found the true nature of the church
[_] They abandon the concept of restoring the original New Testament church
[_] They preach that the absence of a thou shalt not means a practice is condoned
[_] They sever ties with our predecessors as much as possible; discredit their efforts
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as the ones inconsiderate and without love
[_] They emphasize fellowshipping [among the sects]; brotherhood is exclusive
[_] They share fellowship with denominational preachers, churches and events
[_] They do not refer to the Lords churchthat is being exclusive of others
[_] They do not refer to the church as the kingdom and also to the reign of Christ
[_] They refer to the church only as our faith tradition just as others have theirs
[_] They define freedom as a way to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions
[_] They feel extended brotherhood should encompass the Christian Churches
[_] They implement a market-driven program to provide what people want or seek
[_] They divide an existing congregation so as to implement the community model
[_] They have less contact and fellowship with mainline churches of Christ
CRITICISM FOR EFFORTS OF THE PAST: EXAGGERATED AND ENCOURAGED
[_] A superior way of doing church has been discovered
[_] Those over 50 are stubborn, close-minded and impervious to change
[_] The church of Christ of the Restoration Movement is just another denomination
[_] Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone founded the Church of Christ
[_] The church of Christ is a real, bona fide, but pitiful denomination
[_] The church of Christ is the poorest of the evangelical denominations
[_] Ties with those noble saints who went before us are severed
[_] The faith and preaching of predecessors are incompatible with those of change
[_] Men of Restoration were imperfect men and often taught erroneously
COMMUNITY CHURCH: MODEL FOR CHURCH OF CHRIST IN TRANSITION
[_] Dismiss or discredit the biblical name church of Christ
[_] Despise and ridicule Christs church and make it irrelevant
[_] De-emphasize the glory and honor to Christ, the head and founder
[_] The name church of Christ is offensive to denominational groups
[_] Crave acceptance with neighbors of the evangelical churches
[_] Do not want to bear the stigma of being exclusive from the denominations
[_] Mask from the community any affiliation with other churches of Christ
[_] Choose the model of being a non-denominational community church
[_] Prefer to identify with other groups rather than with your own brethren
[_] One motive is to place little or no emphasis on doctrinal loyalty
[_] Open to exchange, substitute or employ ministers from other denominations
[_] Allow acceptance of denominational churches as in good standing with God
[_] Encourage fellowship with denominational bodies
[_] The trend or direction is away from New Testament Christianity
[_] Transform congregations into charismatic, denominational churches
[_] Accept the new status of the church of Christ as a denomination
MODERNIZE THE CHURCH: THE SECULAR- OR CULTURE-DRIVEN APPROACH
[_] Celebrate Jesus birthday, like it or not; observe the Christmas pagan holiday
[_] Celebrate the special annual resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday
[_] Make Valentines Day a church eventapart from but similar to a social event
BIBLE TRANSLATION & OTHER SOURCES: NEW TESTAMENT PRINCIPLES DEVALUED
[_] Do not be publicly identified as a church with exclusive beliefs
[_] The Saddleback manual, The Purpose-Driven Church is a must-have resource
[_] Bible study materials may be obtained from denominational sources
[_] Be not concerned about the NIV versiona translational dialogue to consensus
[_] Church leaders should choose the NIV translation of the Bible for public reading
[_] Teachers should choose the NIV translation of the Bible (if used) in studies
[_] The New Testament is not the ultimate and absolute authority in faith matters
[_] Question the Bibles inerrancy, its verbal inspiration and its authority
[_] The New Testament should not be viewed as a law to be obeyed
[_] The New Testament should be viewed as a love letter from God to His children
[_] Church leaders should implement a Covenant of MembershipSaddleback model
[_] Use drama as a learning tool with made up (non-factual) stories to entertain
[_] Do less teaching directly from the scriptures as that would be too boring
CHURCH LEADERSHIP, ORGANIZATION, GOVERNMENT: EXPERIMENTATION
[_] Shepherds rather than elders is the preferred way to identify the leaders
[_] New concepts of leadership for the congregation may be experimented
[_] One approach to a new and improved leadership is by hierarchical design
[_] Use a different kind of leadership model than authoritarian elders
[_] Define the role of women in the larger context of the biblical witness
[_] Dispute the passages that relegate women to a silent role
[_] Allow women to assume leadership roles and positions in the life of the church
[_] Allow women to serve as deaconesses, as ministers or preachers
[_] Allow older women to teach classes with baptized young men present
WORSHIP: THE TRENDING MUSICAL WORSHIP CONTENT AND CASUALNESS
[_] It is not necessary to worship according to the New Testament pattern
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because people like it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because young people demand it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because it feels so wonderful
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: where does the Bible forbid it?
[_] It should be an entertaining experience
[_] It should be based on emotion and popular opinion or practice
[_] Model emotion-based worship from the electronic churches of televangelists
[_] Use the excuse of the audience of one when musical worship is criticized
[_] Emphasize casualness in worship as a sign of being accepting
[_] Greatly emphasize self, including ones own feelings and emotions in worship
[_] The Old Testament with its old laws is no less important to us than the New
[_] Provide the traditional and contemporary worship service alternatives
[_] Shorten the sermon; include more religious jokes or irrelevant funny stories
[_] Sermons may now end with an invitation to accept Christ by faith to be saved
[_] Tithing in Old Testament is binding on New Testament Christians
[_] Applaud the new convert after baptism as an outward show of rejoicing
[_] --- It wont be long when theres applause after the Communion
[_] Musical worship must be strongly emphasized
[_] The human-designated WORSHIP LEADER is now a high-level position
[_] The worship leader should initiate the handclapping on stage after a song
[_] The worship leader should encourage rhythmic handclapping while singing
[_] Allow the use of musical instruments in worship
[_] Allow the use of choirs, solos, duets, trios, quartets
[_] The choir must dominate the musical worship with excellent performances
[_] The choir must rehearse all parts of the musical worship in order to perform well
[_] The choirnot the congregationmust learn the new songs first
[_] The choir must deliver the music; the congregation may join in the singing
[_] For the transitioning church of Christ, the choir should be called Praise Team
[_] Music should be sometimes so complex that only the Praise Team can perform
[_] Praise songs and choruses should be upbeat to induce handclapping
[_] Use rhythmic, programmed handclapping to convey message of joy
[_] Use lifting of hand in prayer and singing to signify reaching up in praise
[_] Applaud after an exciting and cheering song has been sung
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book and focus attention to the worship leader
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book by not giving enough time to open it
[_] Avoid hymns unless theres a praise song for the communion
[_] Avoid hymns unless theres a praise song for the invitation
[_] Avoid hymns unless theyre new and hymn books may be opened then
[_] Avoid hymns unless theyre new and the Praise Team can perform them then
THE LORDS SUPPER AND SOCIAL FELLOWSHIPMORE THAN JUST A MEMORIAL
[_] The sacred meal can be mixed with a common or fellowship or pot luck meal
[_] The feast may be observed on another day not ordained by God
[_] Frequency of observance may be monthly, quarterly as the denominations do
[_] It is not only a sacred memorial of the death of Christ
[_] It is also to be observed as a joyful celebration
[_] It is also the occasion or a means of fellowshipping one with another
[_] There should be some story telling and human testimonies to be meaningful
[_] Praise Team members must be skilled during the partaking of the Communion:
[_] --- while singing or humming, clapping, holding the microphone and sheet music
[_] --- and remembering Christs suffering, crucifixion and death
DOCTRINES DERIVED FROM DENOMINATIONS: BIBLICAL TRUTH BEING PERVERTED
[_] Salvation is by grace through faith or by faith alone
[_] Deemphasize and deride the steps necessary for salvation
[_] De-emphasize the importance of baptism
[_] Baptism is no longer for the purpose of remitting sins
[_] Accept the Baptist doctrine of baptism as an after-the-fact ritual
[_] Baptism is the first act of obedience after being saved by faith
[_] Only accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior and be saved
[_] Follow the confession by praying the sinners prayer and be saved
HOLY SPIRIT and SPIRITUAL GIFTS: TEACHINGS IMITATED BY THE AGENTS
[_] Worship in spirit should mean being charismatic in todays language
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ directly influences the individual Christian
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ directly influences the congregation
[_] We must listen to the Holy Spirit for a call or whisper
[_] The indwelling of Gods Spirit makes a Christian charismatic
[_] Being spirit-filled means being charismatic in todays language
[_] Music, although not listed in the Corinthian letter, is considered a spiritual gift
[_] Miracles, similar to those performed during the apostolic era, still exist today
[_] Speaking in tongues, contrary to I Corinthians 13, has not ceased yet
[_] Hold the Pentecostal view of another baptismthat of the Holy Spirit
[_] Perform speaking in tongues in public prayer as a testimony
|This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 22.214.171.124 on Nov 13, 2003 10:31 AM|
WHEN THE ENEMY COMES KNOCKING
|November 13 2003, 1:22 PM |
Across the land, agents of change are actively seeking to impose unscriptural changes on the Lord's church. These changes will destroy the Biblical identity and purity of congregations and transform them into denominations whose faith and practice are the products of men rather than of Christ.
Given the extensive nature of this movement it is inevitable that every preacher and elder will eventually have to face and deal with those agitations for these changes. The following suggestions will help you be successful in protecting your congregation and in routing the enemy from your gates.
- Don't go into battle unprepared. Every preacher and elder owes it to himself and his congregation to inform himself of the issues at hand; who the leaders of the change movement are and a proper biblical response to their assertions. Preparation should begin immediately, "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:10).
- Inoculate your sheep ahead of time so the virus of apostasy cannot invade them. Don't wait until the error has raised its head among you and then try to warn folks against it. By that time the damage will have been done and some will surely be lost...or you may be driven out. Thus did Paul (Acts 20:28-31).
- Don't allow the enemy's agents in to do their subversive work in your congregation. You are under no obligation to open your pulpit or classes to those who would harm the church. Let them know up front that they are unwelcome in your midst and that they will be given no opportunity to spread their views (II John 10-11).
- Never make the mistake of assuming the proposals of the change agents are innocent and harmless. While one suggestion may seem innocuous in itself, it is but the nose of the camel in your tent. One by one, demands will be made until the congregation is overwhelmed and swallowed up in an accumulation of error.
- Don't try to defend our flaws and failures. The agents of change nearly always preface their proposals by pointing out some failure among our brethren. Of course we have failed to measure up to the perfect standard of Christ. So have the change agents (Rom. 3:23). Gladly admit those legitimate charges and go to the heart of the matter; their desire to change the faith and practice of the church to a new non-biblical kind of religion.
- Don't defend a tradition as a divine essential. The enemy often points to some of our practices that are traditional ways of doing things and tries to justify his program of changes. Traditions of men that make void the word of God are wrong (Matt. 15:6-9). Traditions of the apostles are righteous and should be observed (II Thess. 3:6). Some traditions are harmless, such as the time of our assemblies, the length of them, the hymnals we choose, the kind of buildings we build. Never try to defend such things as divine obligations. Their proposed changes are clearly traditions of men.
- Be totally honest with those whom you must challenge. In the heat of combat it is easy to exaggerate the failures of your enemies or to distort their teaching to your advantage; or to deny your own shortcomings or mistakes. Perceptive people will see the slightest hint of dishonesty. Often they will give the change agents a free pass to do their mischief because they were misrepresented by a preacher or elder who opposed them. Don't give them that advantage.
- Never resort to vicious, unchristian personal attacks against the promoters of error. Let the Spirit-given Word of Christ convict them (John 16:8-9). Let the facts of the case paint them as the heretics they are. Resorting to harsh, hateful attacks will cost you credibility with those whom you are trying to save. Speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).
- Don't compromise with the enemy. When change agents realize that they are not yet able to capture a congregation, they will propose a compromise. They push for having an alternative service so that the stubborn traditionalists can worship in the same old tired way, and the enlightened ones can have a super-service that will meet their felt needs without hindrance and limitations. It is only time before the gangrene spreads and divisions does its destructive work.
- Don't trespass upon the autonomy of other congregations. God created his church so that each band of Christians is independent and answers only to him. This has numerous advantages but also the limitation of allowing a church that so wishes, to embrace error and practice it. Autonomy means they have the right to do that and then answer to God for the mistake they have made. Often in our zeal to protect the church, we are tempted to meddle in the affairs of another congregation of which we are not members. Resist this temptation (I Pet. 4:15).
- Don't walk away from the battle. In every war there are some soldiers, who because of cowardice, or weariness, or because the battle is not progressing as they wish, will abandon their position, leaving it to the enemy. We see this in some of our Christian soldiers. The agents of change have no right to invade your congregation. They have no right to the hearts and minds of the flock. They have no right to claim for their use, church buildings others, who did not share their perverse views, built and paid for. Let them do the leaving. Hold your ground. "Be ye steadfast, unmovable ... forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord" (I Cor. 15:58).
|This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 126.96.36.199 on Nov 14, 2003 11:14 AM|
|May 10 2004, 9:33 AM |
Since it seems you all aren't too busy responding to any posts, since this is one of two posts, I do have a question to ask. It seems as though Mr. Waddey thinks that the church of Christ is not a denomination.
"These changes will destroy the Biblical identity and purity of congregations and transform them into denominations whose faith and practice are the products of men rather than of Christ." (Mr. Waddey)
Inless I am mistaken, if the church of Christ is "non-denominational" then what's all the fuss about one church being different from another? It doesn't seem to be non-denominational to me. If you do clam to be non-denominational, please explain it to me. Thanks.
Re: Question (Charles Green, May 10 2004, 9:33 AM)
|May 11 2004, 2:50 AM |
In your post above, you posed a very good question:
if the church of Christ is "non-denominational" then what's all the fuss about one church being different from another? It doesn't seem to be non-denominational to me. If you do claim to be non-denominational, please explain it to me. Thanks.
Let me point out, first of all, that even from among members of the church of Christ, you might expect differing answers to your question. In times past, it would be a consensus among the members to speak with conviction that based on their knowledge of what the Holy Scripture says about the church as described in the New Testament, this body of Christ is not a denomination. This still should be the case
and I still personally say that with honesty and conviction.
Unfortunately, such conviction can no longer be expected from those who have been influenced by change agents and proponents who (themselves) hold and teach the opposite viewwhich is that the Church of Christ is just another denomination. Unfortunately for this body of believers, .those [change agents] who perpetrate intrusive and divisive efforts to transform the church into a denomination
have not left the church of Christ to join the denomination(s) of their choice(s)
. Isnt that an irony?
Those of us who are not change agents and are not culture-driven change sympathizers
we certainly hope that were still in the majority. We still believe that which is based on what the New Testament says about the New Testament churchthis church which bears the name of Christ, its founder and owner, is not a denomination!
To answer your question partly, I would like to state that a clear distinction should be made between being non-denominational and being interdenominational. To me, being a part of ANY religious groups doctrines, beliefs and practices does NOT constitute non-denominationalism, especially since all religious groups are different, regardless of the insignificance or the magnitude of these differences. Being interdenominational is a better and more accurate description of the preceding situation than being non-denominational. Adherence to ANY denomination does not constitute NON-denominationalism.
Also, Charles, I would highly recommend the new thread that highlights John Waddeys article titled, THE UNCHANGING NATURE OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST
(initiated on April 21, 2004). I believe this article strongly supports why you seem to think that Mr. Waddey thinks that the church of Christ is not a denomination. You may have already read it. Would you let us know (from reading the article) whether or not there is ample evidence from the scriptures referenced that Christs church is not a denomination?
One more question...
|May 14 2004, 2:33 AM |
Thank you Mr. Cruz for taking the time to awnser my question and explain things to me. I have just one more question if you don't mind me asking. 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 guess I just might not have read enough, but I was just wondering how change equals denomantion. Thanks again for the responce, and for making things clearer for me.
WHEN THE AGENTS OF CHANGE COME TO YOUR CONGREGATION
|November 15 2003, 4:40 AM |
History is a great teacher. The history of the Restoration Movement teaches us that innovators will always be lurking among us, looking for an opportunity to introduce their new doctrines and practices. It also shows us that innovative movements are like leaven. In their early stages they work silently and invisibly, but all the while they are multiplying until they affect the whole body: local congregations, educational institutions and eventually the entire brotherhood. This was most visibly illustrated in brotherhood events between 1850 and 1925. Reading the history and biography of our people during that momentous period, one can see how innovators proceeded and the disaster that resulted when faithful brethren were asleep, naive, undecided and without strong leadership. By the end of that period, a new denomination was born: the Disciples of Christ/Christian Church. Its beginning membership was composed of brethren led astray from churches that once had embraced the plea to restore New Treatment Christianity. No less than 80 percent of the movement was lost at that time. The likelihood of the same kind of disaster occurring among our churches today is very high, almost predictable.
Today a vigorous and widely scattered element of preachers and college professors among us are promoting changes for our churches. Most notably, they would change they way we view and interpret the Bible; the way we view church (i.e., that it is only a denomination); the way we worship (i.e., that we should be tolerant of those who wish to use instrumental music in worship) and the role of women in the church. What should faithful disciples do when promoters of change appear within their congregation? Long before they come, wise elders and preachers will have been at work, making their members aware of the potential problems. They will fortify them with teaching that affirms the biblical basis for our faith and practice. They will make them aware of the errors being promoted and the methods used to advance them. Sermons, classes, bulletin articles, appropriate tracts and guest speakers will be used to vaccinate the congregation, making them immune to the sweet-speaking sirens of change.
In most congregations, calls for change will most often come from youth ministers and campus ministers. They tend to catch the virus while pursuing their education, or at workshops and seminars which have a long history of featuring speakers who love to "push the envelope" for change. Another avenue is from move-ins. It will generally be young adults who have imbibed this spirit elsewhere, especially while attending some of our Christian Universities or campus programs. They may try to introduce changes into your congregation. Before any moves have been made to introduce changes, watchful elders will sit down with youth workers, campus workers and those who work with young adults and make it crystal clear that such attempts will not be tolerated.
Great care must be exercised in employing preachers and other workers for the congregation. Carefully screen all applicants with the current problems in mind. Look beyond their references. Everyone has a friend or a relative who will assure you this fellow is an angel. In interviewing a potential employee, set forth in no uncertain terms, where you stand and what you expect from him. Ask pointed questions. Leave no room for vague, double entendre answers. False teachers do not readily reveal their faith or agenda. Be doubly cautious with prospects who are recent graduates from our large Christian Universities. Some of these schools are the fountain-heads for the changes surfacing among us. Any student trained there will almost certainly have been exposed to fuzzy thinking about the authority of Scripture and changes to our faith and worship. Many will have been infected with this virus.
Wise elders will be good watchmen (Acts 20:29-30), alert day and night for any efforts to inject false ideas and unscriptural practices into the life of the church. If such an attempt is made, it should be dealt with swiftly, kindly, with a proper Christian attitude of love, but with a firmness that does not yield to compromise and pleadings for tolerance. Those employees who do not heed the correction should be terminated forthwith. These are extra-ordinary times and they demand extra ordinary measure.
If you are in a congregation whose elders and preachers are unaware of the problems before us, or are hesitant to act, ask to visit with them and explain the dangers we are up against. It would be helpful to have good materials in hand to share with them. Be kind, considerate, respectful and humble. Good leaders are sometimes uninformed.
If you see corrupting practices being introduced, first try to discuss the matter with your leaders or those involved in trying to corrupt the church. Go with knowledge of scriptures in hand. Jot down your thoughts so you won't forget or get sidetracked. Again be kind, respectful and humble but be firm. If the leadership will not respond and the changes make it impossible for you to worship and serve God as the Scriptures teach, it is time to leave. Find a congregation that is faithfully worshiping and serving the Lord. There may be others ready to leave with you. If numbers are sufficient, start a new congregation where you can worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. It is never wrong to refuse to worship in an environment of error. Nor is it wrong to plant a faithful church where an unfaithful one exists.
HOW AN AGENT OF CHANGE VIEWS CHURCHES OF CHRIST
|November 25 2003, 2:40 AM |
Dr. Richard Hughes of Pepperdine and formerly of Abilene Christian University has recently given us his interpretation of our history in a volume entitled The Churches of Christ. In this book one gets a clear picture of how an intellectual of the change movement views us. Although Bro. Hughes is a life-long member of the Church of Christ, that in no way engenders any sympathy or respect for those of that church. The following observations are gleaned from his book.
Churches of Christ are a denomination that originated with Barton Stone and Alexander Campbell. We must look to them to know what we believe and how we arrived at our faith (pp. 5-8). He is comfortable identifying us as Stoneites (p. 76) and Campbellites (p. 82) although he knows that both Campbell and Stone and all of his brethren, prior to the current change movement, repudiated such misnomers.
Our fathers misunderstood and perverted their movement, turning it into a narrow, hollow sect that has grown progressively away from the noble ideals of the founders. ...among Churches of Christ, the restoration vision shriveled into a hard and legal shell, a parody of its former self (p. 7). To him our fathers suffered from an all pervading naivete regarding the power of history and culture; and a radically sectarian perspective by virtue of which they commonly claimed hat the church of Christ to which they belonged was the one true church apart from which there could be no salvation (p. 57).
We were wrong in objecting to the introduction of Missionary Societies and instrumental music in the worship of the church. (T)he origins of the instrumental music debate appear to lie in a struggle over social class... (P. 57).
We splintered away from the real Camp-Stone Restoration Movement. The authentic followers of Campbell (i.e. Disciples of Christ/Christian Churches, jhw), therefore eventually shifted their commitments from the restoration of the ancient church to the unity of all Christians, separate and apart from any concern with primitive Christianity (p. 7).
We emerged as a separate denominational body in 1906. In 1906 the first federal religious census lists Churches of Christ as a new denomination whose most visible characteristic was their adamant refusal to use instrumental music in their worship (p. 57). According to Hughes ours was a radically sectarian perspective (Ibid.). By the middle of the nineteenth century, Churches of Christ were emerging as a sect in their own right (Ibid.).
We mistreated Robert Boll the true heir of Barton Stones view of Christianity (p. 10). He and his premillennial followers who were the last vestige of Stones influence. They were persecuted and unfairly treated by us. To Hughes, The real issue, of course, was not premillennialism but rather, the apocalyptic world view and the counter cultural ethic it sustained... (p. 10).
We also mistreated those who sought to forbid the support of Benevolent Homes and Church Cooperation in Evangelism and Missions. He sees them as the true heirs of the fathers of the movement. They remained loyal to the nineteenth century agenda of Church of Christ (p. 12).
W. Carl Ketcherside and Leroy Garret were true apostles of the faith that saved us from self-destruction by sowing the seeds of the modern change movement. (I)t is difficult to overestimate the influence that these two men exerted among Churches of Christ...At the very least they helped create a theological climate that would prove favorable to the progressive tradition that emerged among Churches of Christ in the 1960s (p. 139).
We have been and continue to be hopelessly racist since we did not actively support Martin Luther Kings Freedom Movement (p. 127-130), and only a few giants such as Royce Money have had the courage to go to a Black School and confess his sins and ask forgiveness (p. 138).
To change agents, the most radical and legalistic conservative best represents the traditional Churches of Christ. While the most intelligent, benevolent and moderate liberals best represent the progressives (p. 153).
He conveniently overlooks the scores of conservative men holding earned doctors degrees who have and are serving the traditional churches, while enumerating the heroes of the change movement who hold the terminal degree (pp.140-141).
We are not equipped to survive in the post modern age. The pressing question for Churches of Christ, therefore, was this: how could a modern (i.e., Enlightenment -based religious tradition like Churches of Christ survive in a postmodern world?) (p. 152).
We dont know how to interpret the Bible. Indeed it is fair to ask how such a rigorously scientific approach to the biblical text (such as all brethren used prior to the 1980s jhw) could survive in the post-modern world (p. 154). According to him we have been trying to figure out, What kind of book (is) the Bible...? Was it a constitution? A pattern? A blueprint? Or (is) it a theological treatise, describing the relationship God seeks with human kind and the kind of relationships humans should therefore sustain with one another? Increasingly, leaders in mainstream Churches of Christ (i.e. change leaders jhw) defined the Bible in these later terms (p. 154).
We have been wrong in denying women a leadership role in the public leadership of the church (p. 157). The classic position of Churches of Christ on the role of women in church affairs surely reflected the values of a patriarchal American South It was a mistaken hermeneutic that made us misapply Pauls prohibitions against women in leadership positions. If the Bible was a theological document, not a legal document then there were passages that seemed to reflect the core of the biblical message and for that reason, some felt, might well take precedence over texts like I Cor. 14 and I Tim. 2 (p. 157).
To Dr. Hughes, the liberals who espouse postmodern philosophy are right (p. 153). We are narrow reactionaries to resist them. Churches of Christ, by the late twentieth century, were in the process of rethinking their other major theological supportthe restoration vision. Indeed, many congregations had embraced the process of renewal and even redefinition of their tradition (p. 158).
If the learned doctor is a friend of Churches of Christ, I pray that he will never become our enemy.
BEFORE YOU INVEST IN A NEW THING, CHECK IT OUT
|December 9 2003, 4:01 AM |
Folk-wisdom is a wonderful thing. Without the advantages of higher education, our forefathers learned valuable lessons of life and encoded them in wise sayings. "Don't buy a pig in a poke," i.e. don't make a purchase without first inspecting the item. There is a certain risk in ordering merchandise from a catalog. The actual product is often not the quality that the picture implies.
Those progressive-minded elders, preachers and members, who are taken with the proposals for change being promoted by some of our university scholars, really need to check out the actual product before they buy the package.
What sounds exciting in a religious journal or a book may appear quite different in a real life setting. They owe it to themselves and the church to visit a Disciples of Christ/Christian Church. There was a time (125 yrs. past) when these folks were one with us in faith and practice. They chose the road now being promoted in a flurry of books being produced and circulated by faculty members of Abilene Christian University and endorsed by the president of that institution. To see the end results of the "drive to introduce change" in our brotherhood, "go and see." Then you can make an informed decision whether or not to proceed.
In a Disciples Church you can see the "new hermeneutic" at work. Their seminaries have been instilling in their students this approach to the Bible for a full century. One's approach to the Bible plays out in the faith and practice of the congregation.
You can see the kind of music the agents of change will bring into your worship assemblies. When the question of instrumental music in worship is no longer a "faith or salvation issue," you get not only the pipe-organ, the piano and the chorus, but the rock band as well.
There you can see first hand what the talk about "freeing our women to serve God" is really all about. They have women preachers and elders.
You can see how replacing the search for Bible authority on questions of faith, practice and morals with the "story telling" approach can lead to gay membership and ordination.
You can see for yourself the real meaning of, "we are Christians only, but not the only Christians." There you will find participation in the Billy Graham type of crusades, membership in the ministerial alliance, acceptance of the unimmersed as fellow-Christians and membership in the World Council of Churches.
You can see how "we can do anything the Bible does not condemn" plays out in the practice of a church. First they rejected the idea of "the law of silence" that says we can only do what the Scripture authorizes us to do. They then abandoned "book chapter and verse" Bible preaching. They now have no trouble embracing things clearly forbidden and condemned by Scripture.
You will see the fruit of theological liberalism in the life and teaching of a church. Many of their theologians and preachers blush not to lay their sinful hands on the sacred text of the Bible and question if it is even legitimate.
You can see a full blown denomination. With its national governing body, headquarters, presiding officers. They now proudly acknowledge that they are truly a denomination.
You can see the kind of preachers it genders; reverend pastors whose preaching has been reduced to the level of cold water
You can see a dying church. For half a century the Disciples have been declining in membership. Standards have been lowered to the bottom notch, entertainment has replaced worship. Every new social fad of liberalism has been embraced, still they are dying.
Please, Christian leader, before you buy the "change" package being promoted among us, make the visit; check it out. Is this where you really want to go? Once you invite the change-makers in, the likelihood of restoring the Biblical faith and practice of the past is almost nil.
SHAMELESS CHANGE AGENTS
|December 17 2003, 6:27 AM |
The Hebrews in Zephaniah's days were a "nation that (had) no shame" (Zeph. 2:1). Jeremiah rebuked them saying, "they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush" (Jer. 6:15). Today we have working among us a movement of men who are determined to impose their unscriptural changes upon the Lord's church. They are men with no shame. Like all other apostates before them they are not willing to walk away and start their own congregations, build their own buildings, found their own schools and other good works. They have a different plan.
They are not ashamed:
To operate under the false pretense that they are faithful members of the Church of Christ when all the while they are working to undermine and destroy her, to lead away disciples after them (Acts 20: 30).
To use deceit to snatch away a building from those who built and paid for it. Captured meeting houses are like trophies in war. Possession of them saves years of work and thousands, even millions of dollars. They provide a cloak of respectability to those who are operate out of them. They shrewdly keep their purposes veiled until they have gave sufficient power to claim the property. Such is a form of legal theft.
To speak disrespectfully of great servants of God who blazed the trail and paved the road before them. Such ingratitude is wicked.
To turn their backs on pure Biblical Christianity for a cheap imitation created by men.
To publicly teach doctrines contrary to God's Word. The most glaring examples being that salvation is by grace alone (Heb. 5:9) and that baptism is but a declaration of ones salvation (Acts 22:16), and that women may fill roles of public leadership in the church regardless of Paul's prohibition (I Cor. 14:33-34).
To pervert the Word of God to justify their new beliefs and programs. The whole idea of "a new hermeneutic" is to allow them to justify beliefs and practices that are contrary to the divine Word.
To sow discord and division among God's people. Before this movement reaches its zenith their will be broken churches throughout the land and a broken brotherhood. Such division God hates (Prov. 6:16-19).
To exchange the church Jesus for which died; the one he built and is head of; for an honorable seat among their denominational neighbors. Before they can be accepted in those circles they must renounce the unique and exclusive nature of the church which Christ built. When that is done what they have left is not a church that belongs to Christ
May those brethren who are acting so shamelessly renounce their schemes for imposing changes on the church and humbly ask the Master for forgiveness before they face Him in judgment and their shameful deeds condemn them.
A LETTER TO DR. ROYCE MONEY, PRES., ABILENE CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY
|December 22 2003, 6:27 AM |
Dr. Royce Money, President
Abilene Christian University
Abilene, TX 79699
Dear Bro. Money:
I trust this note finds all well with you. Although we have never met, I have visited the ACU lectures and read many of the publications that have come forth from those who teach there.
Having carefully read the first two volumes of the Heart of the Restoration Series, which you so warmly endorse, and which ACU is publishing, I feel constrained to write you my thoughts and observations. I do hope you will take time to read and reflect on them.
Our congregations cross America are experiencing conflict and turmoil because of a flood of unscriptural changes that are being promoted to the point of division. One of the primary sources of this change teaching is Abilene Christian University. Faculty members are issuing a stream of books promoting change and students are being filled with their new ideas about the faith and worship of the church. They then come home and sow the seeds of change in their home congregations. Young preachers are being educated and sent forth who do not understand or appreciate the concept of restoring the original faith and practice of the church. In the name of promoting unity, more division is being sown. As a brother in Christ, I appeal to you to reflect on the following points:
As a matter of integrity, should you not consider and respect the interests and purpose of your founders? Your school was not started by brethren who believed that one could be saved before his baptism. Not one of them believed that instrumental music was acceptable in Christian worship. Not one of them believed that women could fill public leadership roles in the church. None of them thought the church of Christ was a denomination. They sacrificed to establish and build up your school in order to advance the cause of Christ, to provide an educational setting so that young Christians could be trained in an environment that would sustain and strengthen their faith, not undermine it.
Should not your leadership reflect love, honor and respect for the church which you exist to serve? Your school was not founded nor financed to promote denominational teachings and practices. It was never intended to take upon itself the imposition of changes to the faith and practice of the Lords church.
Is it not inconsistent to keep on your faculty those who have departed fro the faith of Christ as revealed in the New Testament? A man who prefers Baptist doctrine should be teaching in a Baptist school. If his preference is with the Christian Churches, he should go there!
You should feel a deep sense of personal responsibility to the parents who have entrusted their children to you for their education, trusting that you would help make them stronger Christians, and useful members of the church of Christ.
Should you not show greater respect for all of those saints who have given their hard-earned money to keep your school afloat in days past? They bequeathed to you their wealth and their estates, firmly believing the faith they held would be perpetuated to future generations by your teachers.
If you no longer believe in or respect those basis fundamentals of New Testament Christianity, held and preached by past generations of the churches of Christ, then would it not be the honorable thing for you to resign your post and allow others, who still believe, to carry on?
The direction charted for ACU needs to be carefully weighted against the Christian virtues of fidelity, honor, justice, respect and loyalty (Phil 4:8). Abilene Christian University has been entrusted to your care for a few short years. When you have finished your term of office it should be better than when you started, certainly not worse. A Christian school should in every case be a blessing to Christs church and never a hindrance.
I have also read Bro. Don Morris book, Like A Star Brightly Shining and bro. Owen Cosgroves book on the life of Bro. Morris. Surely you will agree that the philosophy and direction of the school today is quite different than it was in the past. Will future historians of the Lords church identify you and ACU as leaders in the moment that led Churches of Christ away from their Biblical roots and into a weakened brand of Protestant denominationalism? At this point it seems that you folks are following the same path that was trod by progressives of the late 19th and early 20th century. They left our forefathers to be the Disciples of Christ/Christian Churches denomination.
I send these thoughts with the prayer that you will seriously consider them and reflect on the path you have chosen for the school; that you will reaffirm your commitment to the principles upon which ACU was founded.
Sincerely in Christ,
John Waddey, minister
Letter to Dr. Steve Flatt (Re: Preserving David Lipscomb's Heritage)
|December 23 2003, 5:53 AM |
April 19, 2002
Dr. Steve Flatt, President
David Lipscomb University
Dear Bro. Flatt:
I am sure that you do not know me, but my wife and I worshiped at the Madison church for a short time while you were preaching there. We were blessed by the fine lessons you presented. We both attended Lipscomb High School in the 50s.
I know that you must be aware of the serious problems that are now sweeping across the face of our brotherhood. These are the same problems that have recently ravaged the Madison congregation. I can recall hearing Bro. Ira North say with pride that in all of his years there Madison had never had a problem they could not resolve, or a division.
Having spent your life as a member of the Lord's church and having preached for most of your adult life, you know that there are folks among us espousing ideas of worship, about salvation, about the role of women and a number of other important points that are contrary to Scripture and certainly contrary to what we and our fathers before us knew to be New Testament Christianity.
God has provided you with the wonderful opportunity to head David Lipscomb University in this day of testing. Bro. Lipscomb was one of the key leaders of the church in a day when our brethren faced problems within their ranks almost identical to those we are facing today. Through the Gospel Advocate and his Nashville Bible School he and a band of faithful men were able to salvage a faithful remnant and rebuild the churches of Christ. As young preachers we were able to see the wonderful fruit of his labors. Now just 40 years later we see a brotherhood that is being torn apart by those who are determined to change the church into something after their own imagination.
The impression of many is that some of those who are leading the people away from the Old Paths of God's Word are part of your staff there at David Lipscomb. The association of a significant number of your faculty with Bro. Rubel Shelly and the Woodmont Hills Church further indicates this. I would not presume to tell you how to run your business as president of the university. But I would plead with you to think of the welfare of the Lord's church, not only in Nashville, but across the nation. In the digression of last century, we lost most of the schools of higher learning associated with our brotherhood. We cannot afford to lose David Lipscomb to those who no longer wish to be simple New Testament Christians. You have been invested with great power and influence. Please use it to build up and promote the unity and welfare of the churches from which you draw your students and support. Do not allow teachers of error to use DLU as a platform to undermine and destroy that which is most sacred to the people of God.
Bro. Lipscomb was a faithful member of the church of Christ, he loved the church and dedicated his life, his wealth and his property to achieve her success. It would be a terrible travesty to see the school he bequeathed to our brethren used to undo all he labored for.
Please accept this letter in the spirit in which it is sent. My prayers go up to God that he will bless and guide you to steer a straight course for the school and that it will do for the churches of Christ in the 21st century what it did in the century before.
I am respectfully your brother in Christ,
CHANGE AGENTS: A BIBLICAL PROFILE
|December 24 2003, 6:48 AM |
From the beginning there have been those among Christ's disciples who were not satisfied to abide in the simple system that the Lord inaugurated for this church. Paul mentioned several he had encountered: namely Hymaneaus and Alexander, Phygelus and Hermogenes (I Tim. 1:20; II Tim.15). Jesus cited the Nicolaitans, those who held the teaching of Balaam and that evil woman Jezebel (Rev. 2:6, 15, 20). Today the church is being troubled by a band of men who have embraced a new and different approach to Christianity. Their faith and practice they borrow from the denominational world. They reject the old standards of the Scripture for new standards that are designed to please 21st century man. They boldly have boldly announced their desire and intent to change the church. The church image they greatly admire is that of independent, Protestant community churches like the Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois or the Saddleback Valley Community Church in California.
The Holy Spirit chose several striking metaphors to describe first century disciples who were not content to abide in the doctrine of Christ (II John 9). Paul called them "enemies of the cross of Christ" (Phil. 3:18). Those who wished to add ordinances of Moses's Law to the message of Christ, he called, "evil workers" (Phil. 3:2). He foresaw disciples who would "fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons" (I Tim. 4:1). They were teachers with seared consciences (I Tim. 4:2). Those who taught a different doctrine than Christ had given, he describes as "puffed up, knowing nothing...men corrupted in mind and bereft of truth" (I Tim. 6:4-5). In his letter to Titus those who disrupted the peace of the church by their teaching and agitations he called "factious" men (Tit. 3:10). Peter called them false prophets and false teachers. They were promoters of "destructive heresies" (II Pet. 2:1). Jude depicts them as hidden rocks in a harbor, lurking beneath the surface, waiting to rip the bottom out of the ship whose steersman thought he had found a safe haven. They are like shepherds, who without fear feed themselves while the flock is torn and scattered. They are like "clouds without water" promising a blessing but delivering nothing (Jude 12). How do you suppose the Spirit views those today who are busy sowing discord throughout the brotherhood and leading disciples away from the simplicity of the gospel?
The Holy Spirit also instructs us how we should deal with those who trouble the family of Christ. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived by them (II Thess. 2:3). We should mark them and turn away from them (Rom. 16:17-18). We should reject them (Tit. 3:10) and refuse their message. We should in no way lend them support or encouragement (II John 9-11). Those who think they can have detente with the agents of change are deceiving themselves. Jesus warned, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees" (Matt. 16:6). We must also beware the leaven of the change agents. Like leaven their doctrine will work silently and unnoticed until they have permeated a sufficient portion of the entire congregation and then they will be in control of the whole. He that hath an ear...let him hear!
|George Hartley III|
Grateful God is the judge
|December 26 2003, 1:15 PM |
Dear Brother Cruz
This is one of the most unbelieveable articles I have ever read. I do not even know why I got on this web site. I usually always stear away from "brotherhood" gossip colums. Jesus never went around slandering his brethren. Romans 15:7 tells us to accept one another as Christ has accepted us. How can we not do that? There is not one of us who needs Him more than the next person. And where have we missed what He said about how the world will know us? It's not by the name on our buildings, or that we agree on every single thing. That is an impossibility! John 13:35, Jesus said they will know us by the love we have for one another, and He did not put restrictions on it. We will never win this lost world for Jesus until we live like Him, I John 2:6. I am so grateful that God our Father is the judge and we are not. I encourage you and your brothers and sisters to stop waging war against your family.That is exactly what satan wants. God gave us His all in Jesus, He gave us this sweet wonderful family that makes us so mad and upset at times. But He never allows us to hurt, not love, not encourage, not accept, or have comfort zones. Jesus never had one. He ate with those we would never eat with. He talked to those we avoid. He loved those we can't stand. He touched those we will not look at. He did everything possible to give Himself to people. We can by no means be different than Him. Have you ever asked yourself what if? What if He chose not to die? Where would I be? It is ALL about Him and nothing else matters.
We are above all others most blessed!
George Hartley III
Youth & Family Minister
Vaughn Hill Church of Christ
Re: Grateful God is the judge (by George Hartley III, December 26 2003, 1:15 PM)
|December 27 2003, 7:50 AM |
Dear brother Hartley:
I am going to briefly respond to your one paragraph in the same order as your statements in it, and later on attempt to give you a summary of the objectives as to why this special thread on the Change Agents was initiated in the first place. Im assuming that the initial post of this thread is what you were referring to as one of the most unbelievable articles you have ever reada negative reaction
but I do understand. Am I correct in my assumption? But I am glad that you came across this website accidentally. I hope that you will continue to read it and discover for yourself that our brotherhood is indeed being constantly confronted with problems and issues, some of which you may not have heard of before. I also hope that you will be challenged to learn more about the message of truth and the REALITY of the confusion and division in the brotherhood that we feel need to be conveyed via this channel of communication.
Heres my response to your paragraph: I would like, at the outset, to make a point that this site is not at all about brotherhood gossip. It appears that you have failed to grasp the intensity and depth of the critical problems plaguing the churches of Christ in this postmodern era. This website is about identifying those individuals or groups that are creating these problems in the first place. And frankly, does that make the website the troublemaker? I think not.
I do not see the relevance of your statement that Jesus never went around slandering his brethren. Who were his brethren? Besides, I was also looking for you mentioning the circumstance in which John wrote of Jesus anger:
when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables. So Jesus knew exactly when and how to get his point across. He was not always lovedin fact, he was much hated. You also failed to identify the emphasis that should have been made that while Jesus dealt with the sinners, he certainly did not take part in sinning, did he?
Im quoting the reference you provided, plus the preceding verses in the context of what the passage is trying to convey. Romans 15 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:  That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. (KJV)
The above passage clearly suggests that being likeminded or with one mind is a necessary ingredient in our capacity to receive one another. It is one thing when a brother teaches according to the scripture that the unconverted must follow Gods instructions in order to receive redemption in the blood of the Lamb. It is another thing when another brother teaches otherwise, i.e., by rejecting or altering Gods instructions. This explains precisely why our message is about UNITYnot division. We should be preaching and teaching the same gospel plan of salvationnot what the Baptist or trans-Baptist is teaching, not what the Charismatic or trans-Charismatic is teaching, not some trans-Combo doctrine. Is this making sense?
I agree with you that theres much truth in the other references you made regarding: how the world will know us
loving one another
winning the lost
living like Jesus
God being the judge. Of course, we find these in other religions as well. So, one big question for you (since nothing else matters to you) is this: would you be willing to join the camp of the Jehovahs Witnesses or the Mormons or the Roman Catholic Church, etc., and be their youth and family minister? If not, why not? One of their strengths is love or concern for each other; their loyalty, sincerity and devotion to their religion and beliefs and practices; their concern for the lost. Is this making sense?
Frankly, it is beyond my comprehension that after the church had already been divided mainly over instrumental music over a century ago, why go through a similar experience again, and then some? There is practically no reason why mere men (and women) in the body of Christ would want to improvise Gods plan for the His church. Its not that the church should object to changes in methodologies, but when changes in methodologies result in changing or improving upon Gods willthats when problems arise. Is this making sense?
Im not sure if you feel that I should explain any further. But, please understand that the objective of this website, especially this thread on the change agents coming to your congregation, is simply to convey the message out there that the change agents are operating secretly and subtly in transforming a church or congregation away from its New Testament pattern of organization, away from its fundamental and scriptural beliefs and practices, into some commonality and affiliation with other religions founded by men and women.
My question for you, brother, is this: are you prepared and willing to accept a reality that one day there may be CHURCHES OF CHRIST NO MORE? If the trend continues, the MOTHER CHURCH, THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, will one day say: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, all the sheep gone astray have all come back to PAPAS FOLD: the Eastern Orthodox, all the Protestant denominations, even what used to be the churches of Christ. Church of Christ! Ah
yeah, churches of Christ, too! But then
too late for faithful members to realize and see where your message to love one another went.
II Timothy 3:16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
II Corinthians 4:2But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
II Timothy 2:15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Ephesians 6:17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
II Thess. 2:13For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
Romans 16:17Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Please give this some thought, will you? We have no better objective here than to warn against half-truths that some of our prominent brethren have embraced, followed, borrowed or imitated from their denominational buddies and associates. Just listen to their loud and clear messagesounding just like yours, brother Hartleythat only love for each other matters. Let me point out once again that it is not because were opposed to lovebut love is not the issue confronting us. Rather, the issue is in the change agents CHANGING Gods will for the church.
Humbly serving the Lord,
|December 27 2003, 1:21 PM |
No, you have it wrong: God IS NOT the judge anymore. The postmoderns fired father and son gods (now worship the S.U.N. god) and HEAR AUDIBLY from the SPIRIT "person."
Why, if WE want the church house of widows and owners, why we just INFILTRATE and DIVERT and turn their old church into a THEATER FOR HOLY ENTERTAINMENT. If we upset the COMFORT ZONES of old widows who paid for the property why we can't comfort: we have to TEACH, TEACH TEACH Knowing that their teachings are LIES, LIES, LIES.
Why, we even TRAFFICK the new leaders MERCHANDISE right there is the church house. Could you have been so isolated that you don't know what is going on? Or, are you, like most objectors, deep into the same "musical" takeover? "Comfort Zones" is a dead give away that they didn't learn you that church is a SYNAGOGUE or school of the Bible and NOT a pagan worship center. In Romans 15 paul defined the SYNAGOGUE where comfort zones are NOT IMPOSED demanding that others "get used to it or get out."
Otherwise, I suppose YOUTH leadership rather than ELDER leadership explains why you would jump in with both judgmental feet before you knew what you were saying.
If you defend STEALING CHURCH HOUSES OF WIDOWS by INFILTRATING and DIVERTING then you couldn't have done it better.
By the way, your LINKS on your home page don't work at all, at all. So, we don't know WHERE YOU'RE COMMING FROM, KNOW WHAT I MEAN?
INCREMENTALISM: ONE OF SATAN'S DEVICES PROFILE
|January 1 2004, 5:18 AM |
Bill and Hillary Clinton accomplished much of their political agenda by a method described as incrementalism. That which was unacceptable could not be passed in one large package was accomplished in several small incremental steps. This method of reaching unpopular goals has been effectively used by the feminists and the homosexual rights movement. Observing the success of this approach in the volatile world of politics, the change agents at work among us have adopted this incremental approach to reach their goal of imposing major changes on the church.
In his book Women in the Church, Carroll Osburn quotes Mary Tolbert who writes, "Feminist hermeneutics stands over against patriarchal hermeneutics (its goal achieved CO) by small unnoticed acts of subversion. Numerous such incremental changes, like erosion, will eventually bring down the fortress" (p. 32). Those conversant with what is occurring in our churches and schools will immediately recognize some of those small acts of subversion that are transpiring today: a woman chaplain at one of our Christian Universities; a woman associate preacher here; a female co-teacher of an adult class there; schools offering women courses in ministry and featuring women preachers on their lectureship; books advocating expanded roles for women in church leadership. At the end of the day one is not surprise to read that a church here and another there has a woman preacher in their pulpit.
Similarly, change agents are attacking the foundations of the church by a series of incremental changes that "like erosion will bring down the fortress." Many of the proposed changes are small and at first seem of little consequence. But added together and in time a congregation one day awakens to find that they are no longer a church of Christ. Few change agents are so confident or stupid as to try to grab control of a church in one bold move. It is a step by step process which they patiently pursue. They might ridicule the efforts of past brethren, or seek to shame their hearers for their old fashioned faith and views. They propose more contemporary services, perhaps a praise team to improve the worship. Guest speakers are brought in to promote the proposed agenda. Young people are gently led to use instruments in their devotionals. Younger ladies who have absorbed feminist views are encouraged to reach for leadership roles in the church. Collegiates and young adults are used as a leverage tool for accepting changes. If we want them to stay or to bring their friends, some changes must be made. Fun is poked at the old faith and practices long held by the church. The great success of certain denominational churches is held up as a worthy example. Young people are taken to programs that offer new and unconventional activities for worship. New elders and deacons are proposed that will be sympathetic to the change agenda. Step by step the process advances until the foundations are totally undermined and finally the resistance crumbles. The few hold-outs are encouraged to get with the program or leave. The results: another church has been subverted and changed into a denominational body.
Tragically many elders are totally oblivious to the incremental changes their preachers, youth ministers or campus ministers are initiating. The majority of their members sit in silence while a small handful who are committed to change step by step work their project. Brethren we are under attack in every quarter. If we continue with the current level of indifference and unconcern, we will surely be overwhelmed. Remember the losses we suffered a century ago. That generation of change agents swept away eighty five percent of our brethren and congregations; most of our mission work, all of our schools. Shall we suffer the same fate all over again? Remember their goal; "one step at a time until the fortress falls."
|This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 188.8.131.52 on Jan 1, 2004 11:06 AM|
OCUs Lectureship Roster: A Letter to Dr. ONeal
|January 2 2004, 5:07 AM |
From: JOHNWADDEY@aol.com [mailto:JOHNWADDEY@aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 2:47 PM
Subject: RE: OCU's lectureship roster
Dear Friend in Christ:
Check out the lectureship schedule of our brethren at Oklahoma Christian University. If you are concerned about the speakers they are featuring you may also want to write Dr. O'Neal a kindly letter expressing your concerns. Our Christian Schools are too valuable to abandon to the promoters of change. Pray and then do something to help. Below is the letter I have written. Yours in Christ, John Waddey
Dear Dr. O'Neal:
I trust this letter finds all well with you and your work with the University. My purpose in writing is to express my deep concern regarding some of the speakers you have announced for your upcoming Lectureship. I am sure you are aware of the problems surging throughout our brotherhood caused by the efforts of a band of people to promote unscriptural changes in the faith, worship and practice of our churches. Already numerous congregations have suffered strife and division and the problem is daily growing in intensity. It will likely equal the great division we suffered a century ago when the Disciples of Christ and Christian Churches divided the body over the use of instruments in worship, missionary organizations, women preachers and denominational practices.
Abilene Christian and Pepperdine Universities have already cast their lots with this change movement. Brethren have been hoping and praying that you and OCU would be loyal to the New Testament principles upon which the school was founded and operated over the years. However some of the people you have scheduled to speak on your lecture are promoters and advocates of the change movement. I am confident you are fully aware of the thinking of these folks as most informed brethren are, but I point them out for your reflection. There is no doubt where Mark Henderson of the Quail Springs Church, Dr. Randy Harris and David Padilla of the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio stand in this current conflict.
I need not remind you that these men preach a different gospel than that so effectively proclaimed by Bros. James O. Baird, Raymond Kelcy, Hugo McCord, Stafford North and other faithful men who have served OCU so well over the years.
God has placed in your hands the leadership of a great school with a wonderful campus and great resources. Please do not allow that priceless heritage to be compromised and destroyed by opening your doors to men who will corrupt and destroy the church of Christ of which we are members.
Oklahoma Christian University has served the church well in days past. May she do so in the years to come.
Be assured I am no untraconservative who is hostile to Christian Schools. All my children attended Christian Colleges, and I have encouraged dozens of young people to do the same. However, I love the church and cannot hold my peace while men try to corrupt her faith and worship.
John Waddey, minister
Editor, Christianity: Then and Now
OCUs Lectureship Roster: A Response to Dr. ONeal
|January 2 2004, 5:13 AM |
From: JOHNWADDEY@aol.com [mailto:JOHNWADDEY@aol.com]
Sent: Monday, December 29, 2003 11:38 AM
Subject: Response to Dr. Mike O'Neal of OCU John Waddey
This is my response to the form letter sent out by Bro. Mike O'Neal president of OCU regarding the change agents featured on their upcoming lectureship program.
Dec. 29, 2003
Mr. Mike E. O'Neal
Oklahoma Christian University
Oklahoma City, OK 73136-1100
Dear Bro. O'Neal:
Thanks for your letter in response to mine concerning the speakers for your upcoming lectureship. I certain agree with you that OCU and all of our Christians schools are indeed a precious resource for the Cause of Christ. However I am greatly concerned that several of our schools have already been influenced by those who are determined to change the faith, worship and practice of the church. The changes they propose are not harmless, much less Scriptural. If they succeed, we will cease to exist as Christ's church and be swallowed up in the confusion of Protestant denominationalism.
I am no extremist or alarmist. The fruit of this movement is plain to see for all who are willing to examine and acknowledge it. The Oak Hills church where Bro. Max Lucado preaches is but one of many glaring examples of what this movement is all about.
If you wish to have the confidence and support of brethren other than the proponents of change, you will need to demonstrate your loyalty to those principles of Christianity that our brethren have long cherished. The choices made for your lectureship made good brethren wonder just where you were heading? That action overshadowed words spoken about honoring OCU's spiritual mission. Simply asking those who are actively involved in fomenting the change agenda to be sensitive in their presentation is similar to asking a person infected with plague to be sensitive to those he is feeding.
I remind you that the movement for change which developed following the Civil War swept away all of the schools that were associated with the Restoration Movement. Those schools we now have all originated after that awful departure and were started by brethren who rejected the apostasy of the Christian Churches/Disciples of Christ. Specifically they rejected instrumental music in worship, human organizations to do the evangelistic work of the church, women in positions of church leadership, fellowship with denominationalism and those who did not respect the authority of the Scriptures. All of these points are foundational matters being promoted by those of the change movement. It will be tragic if we, the grandchildren of those who founded the schools turn back and embrace the errors they courageously rejected.
I pray that God will bless those of you who lead our schools with the faith and courage to be loyal to Christ rather than to the clamors of this generation.
Sincerely in Christ,
Times That Try Our Souls
|January 5 2004, 6:50 AM |
Times That Try Our Souls
by Wayne Jackson
Christian Courier: Penpoints
Division contrary to the doctrine of Christ is wrong (Rom. 16:17); but division, consistent with the Lords teaching, is not. Let faithful men and women work for a church that is united but united upon the basis of biblical truth not sectarian compromise (Jn. 17:17).
There may be many things upon brethren in Christ are at variance, but there is one matter upon which most all agree: We are at a very critical point at this stage of our modern history as the New Testament church. We are on the brink of a major division, if, in fact, such has not occurred already to a significant degree. These are indeed times that try mens souls in the church of Jesus Christ.
The division has not been generated exclusively by any particular segment of the Christian brotherhood. A few, for example, of a more conservative posture probably have contributed to the spirit of division in that they, on occasion, attempt to make virtually every disagreement among brethren a test of fellowship. In some instances, unnecessarily abrasive attitudes have been manifested toward uninformed and weak folks, who are struggling with doctrinal issues. Perhaps some, at times, have demanded division in a premature and unwarranted fashion.
But those of a liberal persuasion bear the major responsibility. And as irenic as they wish to be perceived, liberals are by no means immune from encouraging fragmentation. One writer, who feigns a plea for unity, speaks of certain brothers from whose company I have sought to sever myself (Rubel Shelly, Wineskins, Jan/Feb, 1993, p. 5). That clearly reflects a disposition to draw a line of separation.
While some division may be attributed to personality factors, it is apparent that the current crisis goes far deeper. False ideologies are driving wedges into the body of Christ.
- There is a growing tendency toward genuine modernism within the church of God. Some have adopted an antibiblical view of the nature of the Scriptures. They repudiate the fact that the Bible is a verbally inspired document. Compromises have been made with the theory of evolution. Can you imagine a brother openly contending that evolution and the Bible show amazing agreement on almost all issues (John Clayton, The Source: Eternal Design or Infinite Accident? , South Bend, IN: Privately published, 1990, p. 135), and yet being wildly popular with scores of churches. Such error simply cannot be tolerated.
- A novel philosophy of biblical interpretation, commonly characterized as a new hermeneutic, has found a ready ear with many. This ideology strikes at the very heart of what makes the New Testament church distinctive from denominational bodies. It questions the authority of apostolic example and ridicules the concept of necessary inference. The philosophy of respecting the silence of the scriptures is treated with open hostility. This new mode of thinking opens the floodgates for the acceptance of a sectarian mentality.
- Some are expressing a newly discovered enchantment with denominationalism. They enthusiastically fellowship with churches that have no biblical basis for their existence. Sectarian clergymen are praised as Christians. Men like C.S. Lewis, Chuck Swindoll, and James Dobson are characterized as children of God, brothers in the Lord (see: Max Lucado, Upwords, May, 1993, p. 2). This clearly reveals that brethren who are so disposed do not have a valid concept of even the rudiments of New Testament redemption. They have forgotten their ABCs if indeed they ever knew them.
A college professor contends that when one teaches that baptism is for the remission of sins, and insists this truth is a test of Christian fellowship, he is an advocate of sectarianism (Carroll D. Osburn, The Peaceable Kingdom, Abilene, TX: Restoration Perspectives, 1993, p. 52). The same writer alleges that whether one believes that baptism is for the remission of sins, or because of the remission of sins, is wholly irrelevant (p. 91). Can an educational institution be regarded as sound that harbors such a turn-coat in its bosom?
- Increasingly there is a tendency toward human-centered worship among the Lords people. Some have gone so far as to contend that the corporate worship of the church is wholly unregulated by the New Testament. They are calling for a jazzed-up, entertainment-oriented worship format that is more attractive to the world. One prominent leftist guru has warned that just as one cannot attract flies with vinegar, so we cannot elicit the interest of the world with our old, vinegar-like, traditional form of worship. (Whos interested in attracting flies, anyway?) Hence, brethren are clamoring for religious drama, performance worship by means of solos, choirs, etc. Shockingly, the use of instrumental music in worship is no longer a problem for many church members.
- Just as feminism has become a burning issue in society, so has it likewise in the church. Popular professors in Christian universities, and preachers in our churches, are arguing that women deserve a more vocal role in the administration and teaching program of the local congregation. Some have openly stated that they are not bothered by the prospect of women elders, or ladies occupying the pulpits (or otherwise leading the worship) in our assemblies. Passages limiting womans teaching role (e.g., 1 Cor. 14:34; Tim. 2:12) are relegated to the realm of the cultural.
No spiritual person relishes division. Fragmentation is a despicable thing that hinders the progress of the gospel in a world of unbelief (cf. Jn. 17:20,21). Realistically, though, the New Testament bluntly acknowledges that when truth and error clash, division is bound to result. Christ stated that He came to bring division (Lk. 12:51 such would occur as a result of His teaching). Paul declared that divisions must come in order for the faithful to be made manifest (1 Cor. 11:18, 19).
It is time for faithful Christians to draw a line in the sand and refuse to tolerate this foolishness.
Division contrary to the doctrine of Christ is wrong (Rom. 16:17); but division, consistent with the Lords teaching, is not. Let faithful men and women work for a church that is united but united upon the basis of biblical truth not sectarian compromise (Jn. 17:17).
|This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 184.108.40.206 on Jan 5, 2004 8:07 AM|
"LET ME FIX YOUR PROBLEMS"
|January 19 2004, 6:30 AM |
Scam artists abound in our land. Many are their victims. We read of termite extermination companies whose inspectors release vials of termites under houses and then for a handsome price, offer their services to rid them. We hear of auto repair shops whose repairmen damage customers cars and then offer to repair them for a hefty charge. Today we have false teachers among us who are like those scam artists. They introduce erroneous teaching and disruptive practices into congregations and then volunteer their advice and service to reconcile the contending parties and restore peace.
Frequently the "conflict resolvers" are based in those universities from when the change agents have emerged. The price they extort is compromise; tolerance of the unscriptural views and practices. A frequent scam is the proposal that the church should have two services, one for the old traditionalists and one for those who want change. That makes a good temporary arrangement until they are in position to take control of the leadership and property of the victim church.
They write books like the Crux of the Matter and The Second Reincarnation to rationalize and justify the problems they have created.
The Better Remedy
God did not leave us helpfulness in the face of our enemies.
- First we are to beware of false teachers who operate as wolves in sheep's clothing (Matt. 7:15).
- We are not receive into our houses or the pulpits of our churches those who abide not in the doctrine of Christ (II John 9-10).
- We are to reject the factious people who trouble the body of Christ (Tit. 3:10).
- We are to mark (identify) those who cause divisions and occasions of stumbling contrary to the teachings which we have received and turn away from them (Rom. 16:17-18).
We need to be reminded that there have always been folks, nominally within the church, whose faith and convictions are antagonistic to the principles given us by Christ. Paul pictures them as folks who made shipwreck concerning the faith (I Tim. 1:19). Peter's imagery is that of a dog returning to his vomit or a pig that had been washed, wallowing in the mire (II Pet. 2:20-22). Jude's illustration is that of a "wandering star" trekking endlessly through the blackness of space...hopelessly lost. He also paints them as jagged, dangerous rocks lurking just beneath the surface of an otherwise safe harbor (Jude 12-13). Jesus describes them to thieves that seek to secretly enter another's sheepfold and steal his sheep (John 10:8-13).
Should I learn that a local business man deceives and defrauds his customers, I wisely take heed to that information and refuse to patronize him. I tell others of the risk he poses. If we learn that certain preachers and teachers are troubling our churches, teaching new and different doctrines that are contrary to God's word and harmful to the church, wisdom suggests that we should reject them, refuse them a place in our midst and warn others about them. We don't need their "proposed changes" for the faith and practice of the church and we certainly don't need the remedies they offer when our churches have been troubled by their ideas.
Editor, Christianity Then and Now
|This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 220.127.116.11 on Jan 19, 2004 10:01 AM|