People Change, Times Change, But The Lord's Church Will Never Change! Part 2February 25 2004 at 2:42 PM
|Jerry Pence (no login)|
from IP address 126.96.36.199
People Change, Times Change, But The Lord's Church Will Never Change!
People Change, Times Change, But The Lord's Church Will Never Change!
THE SEQUENCE OF CHANGE
THE EFFECTS OF CHANGE
CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS IN WORSHIP SERVICES
CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS OUTSIDE OF WORSHIP SERVICES
CHANGES IN TEACHING BLESSED BY THE ELDERS
ELDERS DENIAL OF KNOWING ANYTHING ABOUT THE "UNITY IN DIVERSITY" PHILOSOPHY
This article is written for members of the Lord's church so they may see how the "Unity In Diversity" philosophy moved into one congregation in North Carolina and how the "Change Agents" behaved during the process.
THE EFFECTS OF CHANGE
These and other changes are introduced subtlety by the "change agents" and many times in the beginning, you will only feel a small uncomfortable prick as each change occurs. After you get used to the pricks, the changes won't seem so bad. You can rationalize that these are just small things and it really doesn't make any difference, or you can feel guilty for believing the elders are teaching error. If you go to the leadership with your concerns, they will tell you not to be concerned, because they know what is best for your soul. And then, all of a sudden, you look around and the church that you loved, the church that Christ built, no longer exists in your congregation. Your heart will ache like you have never ached before. Then it is too late to recover. As you try to battle these changes you will be called a Pharisee, a legalist, a sectarian, and be labeled as judgmental. Being called names by these "agents of change" is immaterial compared to loosing your soul.
A list of changes instituted by the elders in 1996 are shown below. Not all of these changes are unscriptural. However, when the change process begins, changes are made for the sake of change to soften the bigger blows to come. The changes align with the "Unity In Diversity" philosophy and illustrates the types of changes that "change agents" will try to introduce.
CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS IN WORSHIP SERVICES
Responsive readings were conducted between the minister and the congregation. The minister read a passage of scripture and the congregation responded with the next passage of scripture that followed.
Recovenant services were held for the congregation to recommit their time, talent and money. The elders and deacons recommitted their services to the congregation and the congregation signed commitment forms as to what activities they would be involved in during the coming year. The elders also intended to let the children participate in the worship services. Each child was to bring a drawing to the front during worship and tell the elders what they had drawn to illustrate what they could do for the congregation in the coming year.
Changes in bulletin format were made to resemble denominational bulletins. Bulletins were gathered from denominational churches in the area to see what they thought were pleasing to the masses.
Secular holidays were commonly used as themes for sermon delivery.
The number of sermons decreased by changing the Sunday evening worship to Bible classes, and then replacing Wednesday evening Bible classes with "Helping Hand" projects. Helping Hand Projects included: making sleeping bags for the homeless, visiting the sick and shut-in, grading World Correspondence Courses, chorus practice, and children working on play practices. All of these are worthy projects, however, the children and adults were not getting fed with sound Bible study.
The number of sermons decreased by having more praise services. Praise services included: singing songs, reading passages of scriptures assigned by the minister, and by offering multiple prayers during the service. Often, no invitation would be offered in these services.
CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS OUTSIDE OF WORSHIP SERVICES
The role of the deacons was changed to prevent them meeting together as a group to make decisions about the physical needs of the church. Each deacon reported to a specific elder, who had meetings with his deacons and "ministry leaders." Ministry leaders are women who serve in the same capacity as deacons, but without the title of deacons.
Women were allowed to co-teach and teach adult mixed gender Bible classes.
Small group ministries were formed to allow members to meet in their homes during the week instead of attending mid-week Bible study at the church. This allows each group to have more flexibility in their worship.
The church "Chorus" performed at a local Baptist church on a Sunday evening in a Christmas concert.
The elders met with Christian Churches to determine ways to fellowship together. (1997)
722 Duluth Street
Durham, NC 27705
Seek The Old Paths, Vol. 8, No. 9
TO BE CONTINUED . . .
|This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 188.8.131.52 on Feb 25, 2004 5:16 PM|
|Roger D. Campbell|
SHALL WE CHANGE OUR WORSHIP?
|February 26 2004, 2:56 AM |
SHALL WE CHANGE OUR WORSHIP?
Roger D. Campbell
Jesus told the Samaritan woman, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth"
(John 4:23,24). God wants us to be "true worshippers." True worshippers are those that worship the Lord God "in spirit and in truth."
Today in the church we often hear the cry for "change." One area that is often targeted for change is the worship of the church. Some have openly charged that the worship of many congregations is dry, boring, lifeless, and traditional. The claim is that our worship is in need of a major overhaul if we want to avoid losing our members, or if we want to attract any new people.
The word "change" is a neutral word. Change might be bad, or it might be good, depending on the situation. Webster's Dictionary defines "change" as "to become or make different; to alter. "
Is it Scriptural for the church to make any changes in its worship services? That depends on the type of changes one has in mind. Some changes might be acceptable under the right circumstances. If the present worship in which a congregation engages is already in harmony with the Scriptures, then any acceptable changes to such worship would all involve matters of judgment, wisdom, or expediency. Consider a few examples of this kind of change:
- Changing the times of services on the first day of the week. We are commanded to refrain from forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, so out of necessity there must be assemblies (Heb. 10:25). The first century church assembled on the first day of the week in order to worship (Acts 20:7). Since the specific time of day for the Lord's day assemblies is not designated in the New Testament, then the leaders of a local church have the right to choose which time(s) of assembly is in the best interest of that particular congregation. Thus, it would be acceptable for the same leaders to make a decision to change the times of the church's Sunday services.
- Changing the order. Because the New Testament does not specify the order in which we are to engage in the five different acts of worship (praying, Lord's supper, singing, giving, preaching), it would be acceptable to change the order of these, and no harm would be done. Changing the order of such Scriptural acts would not cause them to cease being "in spirit and in truth."
- Changing the length of services. Nothing is said in the New Testament about how long worship services are to last. Therefore, if the elders/brothers of a local church decided to change the duration of services from what it was in the past, this in and of itself would not do anything to prevent the church from worshipping in spirit and in truth.
- Changing the place of assembly. The church must assemble (Heb. 10:25). Just where it is to do this is nowhere specified in the Bible. Each congregation is at liberty to choose what location is most expedient for its assemblies. This might change from time to time, and such change would in no way hinder the church from worshipping Scripturally.
Having pointed out that there are some areas pertaining to worship in which changes are acceptable
, we want to emphasize that this does not mean that every form of change related to the church's worship is pleasing to God.
Let's now turn our attention to some cases in which we have no authority to change the worship of the church.
Still, the thought prevails in the minds of some that somehow the church must "spice up" its worship. Why? Because our worship is just "too dry and boring" (according to them). Such an idea is extremely offensive to those who still want to "hold fast the form of sound words" given in the New Testament (2 Tim. 1:13).
What is it that is so boring and dry about worshipping God according to His Word? Could it be the Lord's supper?
- The purpose of the worship assembly. The purpose of our gathering to worship is to pay homage to God, to give Him honor, praise and glory. Our attention during our worship is to be on the Lord and His word. Worship is not to be entertainment or a show that is "put on" in order to please men. Thus, hand clapping in worship is totally out of place. It is wrong because we come together to worship Jehovah, not applaud any actions that men might take or words they might speak. If clapping is right for that which we approve, why not boo when we don't like something (or whistle instead of booing, as is done in Europe)? Secondly, hand clapping in worship is not acceptable because it is not authorized in the New Testament. Brethren, it is a sad day for God's people when we stoop so low as to try and drag the pep rally and "show time" atmosphere into our worship assemblies.
- The time to partake of the Lord's Supper. Jesus commanded His followers to break bread (1 Cor. 11:24-26). Acts 20:7 shows us when this is to be done -- on "the first day of the week." There is no authority in the New Testament for the church to have communion on any other day of the week. To partake of it on a different day is to act without divine authority, and thus to be wrong (2 John 9; Col. 3:17).
- The sex of the preacher in a mixed assembly. God does not permit women "to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (1 Tim. 2:12). Thus, only brothers in Christ are permitted to preach in a gathering when both men and women are present. True, in the denominational world, women often preach when men are present, but such is a clear violation of the Bible's teaching. It is wrong, and those in the church who are wanting to ape the actions of the denominations are just as wrong! Those who desire to change the worship of the church and make it more appealing to the world by putting in women preachers are going against the will of God and leading the church into apostasy.
- The sex of those who lead prayers (or lead in worship). Again, many are crying for the church to "get with it" or "wake up" and begin using women in leadership roles in the worship. Friends, God has spoken on this matter, and His word says that men (males) are to serve in leadership roles in the worship of the church, not sisters in Christ (1 Tim. 2:8). We do not apologize for this, because it is God's decision! Any changes being made that put women into the role of leaders during public, mixed assemblies are without Bible authority.
- The type of music that we are to offer to God. God has charged His children to praise Him with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). The use of mechanical instruments of music in worship to God is completely without New Testament authority, and thus is prohibited. So, any cry to bring instruments into the worship of the church or at least do away with ("change," "tone down") our opposition to their use is simply not in harmony with the Bible. We must not buckle in to those who want to "have it their way" in the church's worship.
Is it boring and dull to eat unleavened bread and drink the fruit of the vine, allowing our minds to go back to Calvary and the blood that Jesus poured out for our salvation (Eph. 1:7)? We think not. Remember, God is the One that planned this memorial for our benefit!
Maybe the fault lies with praying to God.
Is it really that dry and boring to pour out our hearts to God with supplication and thanksgiving so that the peace of God will keep our hearts (Phil. 4:6,7)? Not for the spiritually minded!
Maybe the culprit is our spiritual songs. "Is any merry, let him sing psalms"
(James 5:13). When we joyfully sing about the death of Jesus, the love of God, the need to work for the Lord, the day of judgment and scores of other Bible themes, is this really boredom gone to seed? Such songs of praise are far from being boring to those who sing from the heart in order to praise their God. So if we are going to stand up and cry for change in our worship, then surely it won't be a cry for getting away from Scriptural songs that stir our souls.
Could it be that boring and dry factor #1 is the preaching and study of God's word?
My friends, the word of God is living and active (Heb. 4:12), it lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:23,25). If we are bored by its message, then we kindly suggest that what needs a serious overhaul is not the worship of the church, but the heart within us!
Oh yes, in many cases we probably ought to sing with more enthusiasm. We ought to greet one another and our guests with more enthusiasm. We can probably find room for improvement in the way that we as individuals approach our prayers, the supper, and hearing the Bible preached. For sure, we must worship God from the heart.
But making personal improvements such as these does not mean we need to bring changes into our worship that are without Biblical authority. Brethren, let's stick with the Book and keep on worshipping God His way!
4865 Bates Pike SE
Cleveland, TN 37323
Seek The Old Paths, Vol. 11, No. 11
|This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 184.108.40.206 on Feb 26, 2004 8:44 AM|
Re: SHALL WE CHANGE OUR WORSHIP?
|February 26 2004, 10:22 AM |
A very good post.
In the end it boils down to this:
Who is displeased with our worship? God, or "us"?
If it's "us", then we have no right to change a God-mandated worship, and infuse what we think is correct, intended, or "brings in the unbelievers".
|February 26 2004, 10:45 PM |
I AM SO SAD THAT OUR LORDS CHURCH HAS BECOME LIKE THE WORLD,I FEEL IT IS ALL OF OUR FAULT FOR NOT LOOKING TO GOD AND HIS WORD,IT IS OUR OWN WILL-WORSHIP.
WE MUST REMEMBER THAT THE ONLY THING RIGHT ABOUT THE CHURCH IS GOD AND JESUS CHRIST,AND THAT WE THE HUMAN ASPECT IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE CHURCH.
PLEASE READ AND STUDY AND PRAY THAT GOD WILL LEAD US.
I WANT TO GO TO HEAVEN WHEN THIS LIFE IS OVER AND I JUST BELIEVE IF WE SPEND OUR TIME CHANGING WHAT GODS PLAN IS AND MAKING IT OUR PLAN WE WILL LET SATAN WIN THIS BATTLE AND OUR SOULS WILL BE LOST FOREVER.
WHATEVER THE COST PLEASE CONTINUE TO FIGHT ON AND DO RIGHT!
THANK YOU FOR THIS SITE
Bringing in the unbelievers (Jonathan, February 26 2004, 10:22 AM)
|February 27 2004, 3:42 AM |
Excellent observation, brother!
The Change Movements scheme to bring in the unbelievers is a misnomer. For one thing, the number of unbelievers visiting the assembly of the saints is very low or infrequent. Another is that the converting of unbelievers is more of a mission to be accomplished out there in the community or in the mission fieldsnot within the body of believers. What the change agents are essentially doingand admittedly sois subtly transforming the New Testament church into some culture-driven or secular-based pattern. But the culprit is this: bringing in participants into the fellowship from various denominations with varying creeds, doctrines and beliefsindeed, the Community Church Growth Movement scheme in action! Numerical growth for any cause or at any cost is NEVER at the bottom of the change agents list of objectives. In fact, it is the NUMERO UNO objective.
|This message has been edited by Donnie.Cruz from IP address 220.127.116.11 on Apr 5, 2005 1:26 AM|
Change is hard but the church is still the lords church
|April 4 2005, 10:25 PM |
Theese changes are not unbiblical at all actually they are a great help in unifying the area churches and not just the churches of christ. We must become unified with are fellow brothers and sister in the other churches like baptistand methodist. UYou talk like you think they are not godly people but you are judging fro God which he has not given you the right to. I am church of christ wait I was churc of christ Wait mabee denomation does not matter we are all christians.
|September 27 2007, 10:26 PM |
In his book, Liberalism's Threat to the Faith, Rubel Shelly gives six characteristics of liberalism:
"First, liberalism holds that there is no way to authenticate and prove as true any one version of the Christian faith...Second, liberalism rejects the Bible as being the actual Word of God to man...Third, liberalism restates the doctrine of Christ to show his utter humanity...Fourth, liberalism denies that the Bible has any inherent moral authority over men...Fifth, liberalism denies that mankind is lost and under the condemnation of sin...Sixth, liberalism has no concern with the New Testament concept of the church."
Who is 'we'?
|October 2 2007, 4:30 PM |
A Christian writes: '... we are all christians.'
Jimmy replies: While your message appears 'kind' in content it is off the mark with 'truth'.
Jesus died that man might live, but live according to His word.
'Many' faiths is contrary to the teachings on the Bible. In fact only 'one' faith is taught in the Scriptures.
For people to be united in works but divided by different faiths is a man made doctrine. It did not originate from the Holy Spirit and His word.
The word of God teaches:
Ro. 10:17 'So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.'
1 Cor. 4:2 '... faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.'
1 Cor. 13:13 'And now abideth faith...'
2 Cor. 13:5 'Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.'
Eph. 4:3 'Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit... (Eph. 4:13)Till we all come in the unity of the faith...
Notice, the word 'faith' not 'faiths' is used throughout the Scriptures.
Man can unite on a lot of things but on the word of God there can be only one 'faith'.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
Re: Who is 'we'?
|October 3 2007, 9:49 AM |
So in all truth, the phrase "Unity in Diversity," the motto and battle cry of the Change Movement, is nothing but an oxymoron, a creative contradiction.
|October 5 2007, 12:12 AM |
I have known about this site for some time, and prayed that it wasn't true...I cannot believe the hatemongering that goes on through this website. I am a preacher in the Lord's Church. Do you HONESTLY think that a dying world will look at this website and say, "Oh joy! This convinces me to go to church and be saved!"? I don't know if you have forgotten, but Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel, baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" He didn't say, "Sit around and be like the Pharisees who i just spent the past three years condemning." I have been a memeber of the church of Christ for a couple years now, and I came in from another denomination. After much study, I found that the doctrine of the churches of Christ were the most biblically sound and conservative and right on the money. IT is true that we are to keep guard over the body, and I agree with you all wholeheartedly, but i think this site is ridiculous. Because of things like this, I have seen many a person fall away from the Church b/c they were disillusioned by the politics that have swallowed the church. I think this site is one of the biggest fuelers of Hells fire. There are people in the world who are dying and going to hell and you could care less! I once was lost and now I'm saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and i am happier than ever...but seriously ladies and gentlemen...before you make accusations and allegation, you should "take the log out of your eye before you tell me to take the speck out of mine." I understand and respect your zeal and your viewpoints, but i think that this reluctance to change is absolutley absurd. The great thing about the gospel is that it is timeless! IT reaches through all cultures, societies and ways of life! I am one of the most bibically conservative people I know! My personal thought is this: The message(the gospel) never changes, but the way we present it HAS to or we reach no one. I hope you can respect my opinions as I respect yours, and if you take offense at this, well I'm sorry. Maybe you should let the Spirit lead you a little and stope grieving it so much! People don't need my translation of the Bible, my worship style, my opinions...they need Jesus. People are not confused by the Gospel...they are confused by us. Jesus is the ONLY way to God, but we are NOT the only way to Jesus. Maybe we should stop trying to strap ourselves to the gospel because we are just slowing it down. Jesus is going to save the world, but we have to step back and let him.
Does God answer prayer?
|October 5 2007, 11:34 AM |
Scott thanks for taking the time to respond to this thread. I do wish that you could be a little more specific and discuss the problems that you find here one by one. I firmly believe that the way things work out is by taking one step at a time.
Scott, you wrote, 'I have known about this site for some time, and prayed that it wasn't true...
Jimmy replies: Scott that is a most unusual prayer! You write that 'you know it' yet you pray that it 'isn't true.'
How can you pray that a 'truth' doesn't 'exist?'
Do you believe that God answers prayer? How would you expect God to answer such a prayer as the one you said you prayed?
RE: Jimmy's post
|October 20 2007, 8:42 AM |
As is usually the case whenever I venture to this site and read some of the discussions, I find someone, such as yourself, who responds to a post and requests something that they themselves never do, or focuses on something totally unrelated and insignificant to the discussion at hand.
Let me explain my point.
First, you request that Scott be a little more specific and address his objections point by point, or one by one. Your request is valid, however, it is not the approach that you or others who call themselves defenders of the truth take here at this site. Case in point, simply review the Bammel Church of Christ thread in the other churches section to see if anyone ever answered the questions that I asked, which were actually a repeat of questions that someone named "B" asked. What you will find is that NONE of the so-called defenders at this sight addressed my questions point by point, one by one, as you are now requesting Scott to identify his.
Second, you waste much time and energy focusing on something totally insignificant to the point expressed in his post. The point of his post was not that he prayed that this site didn't exist, but rather that he feared that this site is a turn off, because of its approach to defending the faith, to any one who could be thinking about becoming a Christian. Why don't you deal with his point rather than some comment in passing as he begins his post.
For your information, it is not uncommon for people to pray for something to not be the case, even if they have heard it is so. For example, word reaches home that your son has died in a car wreck. Would it be ignorant for you to pray to God that the news you just received was incorrect, that your son was actually alive and well? According to you such would be most unusual and absurd to believe God would answer this kind of prayer.
The real focus of Scott's post should be the concern of this site. Is there any truth to his fear? Is it possible that this site damages the truth it seeks to uphold?
There are a number of good thoughts that could be addressed in his post. Some need to be addressed.
Honest introspection doesn't hurt any of us.
Re: I'm disheartened
|October 6 2007, 4:19 PM |
Its good to know that you have been added to the Lords church and that your teaching ministry is in the Lords church. (I am glad to inform you that I, too, have had a similar experience, through my father who, with/in his family, had gone through very serious studies of the Bible independently [on his own]. After a series of leaps from one denomination to anotherseveral of them, in facthe finally came to know based on his personal study of the Holy Scripture, that the teachings regarding mans salvation and Gods expectations of the Christian to live faithfully in order to receive the crown of life in the end were/are found in the Lords church.) It is certainly our hope that you will continue to serve the Lord in that capacity for a long, long time.
Im not so surprised at your reaction to this websitewhich has been misunderstood by some who have not paid special attention to its main objective. [Thanks for taking time to know about this site for some time. But please let me explain.]
This website known as Concerned Members speaks for itselfthat it is for members of the Lords church who are/should be concerned about all the intrusion, diversion and division caused by zealous perpetrators of the culture-driven Church Growth Movement. These are the change agents operating in the brotherhood.
This website was not designed by its owners for those outside of the church, although their opinions and viewpoints are allowed to be posted. And in usual cases, hatemongering or the appearance of it, as you mentioned, is caused or initiated, in fact, not so much by those outside the church as by those within the church. While we are only to inform about whats happening in changed congregations and the utter havoc experienced by them when unwanted changes were forced upon the members, the change advocates couldnt care less, and they are here to distract and divert and effect negativity against all the warnings that we feel should be heeded by peaceful congregations in the event that they are attacked.
Please do not misunderstand that concerned members of the Lords church go along with you in the fact that the gospel of Christ needs to be delivered to the lost and dying world. That should be a mission to be accomplished by members of the Lords body, and to: Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. The unfortunate part, you see, is that the misguided objective of the Church Growth proponents is to exert their efforts to evangelize WITHIN THE CHURCHinstead of outside. And in so doing: (a) they provide entertainment to attract the un-churched [in reality, it is an invitation to a collection of those who happen to be members already of other churches in the communityand not those who do not know or havent heard of Christ; and (b) they intend to transform the church by changing its doctrine or set of beliefs and teachings only to CONFORM to denominationalism and to COMPROMISE the truth.
So, as you said, the gospel of Christ is timeless. It is our intent to thwart the efforts of the change agents with transforming the Lords church and with changing Gods directives for the church as their agenda.
If you have not been able to see that the change agents are here and there to compromise the truth and to conform to the teachings of the denominational worldfrom which you and I cameI dont know of any other way to explain our cause any further.
RE: Donnie's Post
|October 20 2007, 8:51 AM |
Although we don't necessarily see eye to eye on some of the issues discussed at this site, I wanted to take a moment to express my appreciation for your response to Scott's post. I just submitted a post in response to Jimmy Wren that wasn't complimentary of his response to Scott's comments and I felt that I needed to offer my applause (sorry, couldn't resist) for your efforts.
Thanks for an approach that I didn't feel was ever taken here at this site.