We invite you to focus your attention on the front page article [see threads: “People Change, Times Change, But the Lord’s Church Will Never Change!” Part 1,2,3] by brother Jerry Pence. It is a heart rending commentary on what happens when brethren cease loving the Truth and are content to believe the lies of the Devil. He outlines several points which serve as "warning signs" of the vast and sweeping movement now current among us. If these things are happening where you worship, then beware! So many are swept up into this insidious program of "change." The calls and correspondence we receive from all across the nation verify just how deeply these things are entrenched in congregations. If you worship at such a place, we encourage you to fight it with the Truth (1 Tim. 6:12)! Don't stand still and let Satan have his way. Love the Truth, nothing but the Truth and uphold it with all your being. It is the only means of salvation (John 8:32; 1 Cor. 1:18; Rom. 1:16).
Found below is the beginning of a series of articles on the current "Change Agents" conspiracy and deadly movement among us today.
It certainly is no news to you to know that we are living in an age of change. More changes have taken place in the last 50-75 years than perhaps any time in history. Many of you have been witness of the change from horse and buggy days to space flight. So many of these things have provided welcomed changes in human comforts, technology, medicine and travel.
All changes, however, are not good. There are things that should not change and must not change. Anything that changes from the right to the wrong is an improper change. We cannot change things just for the sake of change! We must "...continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven..." (Col. 1:23).
There is a vast and widespread movement in the brotherhood across our land and the world to change the church and everything we know about the church. Many claim they are tired of the "old ways" we have always known to be true. Promoters of these changes insist that the church must change if it is to remain relevant to society and appealing to the public.
"Change Agents" are the words that have been applied to those who have set as their course to change the church. When their hand is called on their desiring to change the church they often back up and say we have taken them out of context. They say, "No, that's not what I mean." They often try to relate it to changes in method such as in the order of the services -- whether we partake of the Lord's supper before the preaching or afterwards -- whether we take up the collection before the Lord's supper or afterwards -- whether we have Bible classes before worship or after. This is simply a diversionary tactic to get us away from their real agenda.
One of the most frightening things about this movement is that many of these brethren actually think they are doing right. On the other hand, I'm convinced that many are doing what they are doing for popularity, prestige, power and/or money. Isaiah said in the long ago, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter" (5:20)!
The changes being promoted by so many from all over come as a result of men and women doing what they want instead of having a real interest in what God wants. It is as it was in the days of Judges 21:25: "...every man did that which was right in his own eyes."
Let's proceed by examining some things the "change agents" seek to change.
A NEW HERMENEUTIC
Change agents seek to change the way we view and understand the Bible. They have devised a "new hermeneutic." The word hermeneutic is the word that describes the study of the process of how we interpret and understand the Bible. A "new hermeneutic," therefore, implies there is an "old hermeneutic." The old hermeneutic is the way we have always understood the Bible. We have long understood, and rightly so, that the Bible authorizes in one or more of three ways: Direct statement (command), Approved example (account of action), Implication (that which the Bible implies to be true).
A direct statement or command is simply that which the Bible explicitly states. Jesus made a clear and direct statement when he said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved...." (Mark 16:16). Therefore, we learn water baptism is essential for salvation.
An approved example is an account of action performed by Christians and/or congregations which meets with God's approval. The church at Troas met on the first day of the week to partake of the Lord's supper (Acts 20:7). Therefore, we partake of the Lord's supper each Lord's day.
An implication is that which the Bible implies to be true. In Matthew 19:9, Jesus said, "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." No where does the Bible explicitly say that those who have put away their mate for fornication and marry again are not living in adultery, but such is implied in this verse. We therefore learn that those who have put away their spouse because of their fornication and marry again are lawful and acceptable marriages (provided the one they marry is also eligible to be married).
All that we say and do must be authorized in one or more of these three ways. "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Col. 3:17).
The "new hermeneutic" is a deliberate effort to discard the old and set forth a new way of looking at the Bible. In layman's terms, the best definition I could give of this so-called new hermeneutic is this: "The Bible really doesn't mean what it says!" They say we must take a fresh look at Scripture and allow for a broader approach of viewing things. This new philosophy desires to relegate the Bible to everyone's own interpretation. What the Bible means to you may not be what it means to me or someone else. Each one is free to interpret the Bible according to their own culture and human experience. According to this new doctrine, there is no set standard of authority. Every man becomes a law unto himself.
This philosophy is far reaching and encompasses the very fabric of our society. It is not limited simply to the church and religion in general. It has rooted itself in the political, social and educational realms around us. It has become the buzz of the 90s.
Some have styled this movement as "post-modernism." Modernism is an old philosophy which denies anything miraculous. It denies the miracles of Jesus and the apostles. Post-modernism is the liberalistic philosophy that says the only thing for sure one can know is that no one can know anything for sure. Now, does that make any sense to you? I don't know how you can get any more idiotic than that! That's about as stupid as saying a dog walks with his ears instead of his legs. If no one can know anything for sure, then how do they know that? Are they sure about that? How can they be sure no one can know anything for sure?
The only thing one cannot do under this teaching is to say that "some one" or "some thing" is wrong. It is a doctrine which says "anything goes." It's alright to have convictions, they say, but do not demand that others live by your convictions. There is no absolute standard of authority under post-modernism. Don't be exclusive. You can't say there is one right way and all other ways are wrong! You must be open to new ideas and let others express their beliefs. Never, no never, say that anyone is wrong in their religious belief.
It is easily understood that if one's view of the Bible as the absolute blueprint for how we are to live and obey God is changed, then, all other changes they seek to make will naturally follow. Their attack, therefore, must be centered around the Bible. If they cannot get you away from the Bible, they must change the way you view and understand the Bible. This is vital to their very existence! If you keep turning to the Scriptures to answer their changes and innovations, they can't handle it because the Truth always refutes error.
Note these clear and precise passages which command us to remain steadfast in the faith, resting upon God's Word. "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong" (1 Cor. 16:13). "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Gal. 5:1). "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" (Phil. 1:27). "Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved" (Phil. 4:1). "For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord" (1 Thess. 3:8). "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle" (2 Thess. 2:15).
Next month [post], we'll look at another area of attack -- the Biblical limits of fellowship.
_______________________________ Editorial [w/ more emphasis added, dc]
“Seek the Old Paths,” Vol. 8, No. 9
This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 184.108.40.206 on Mar 15, 2004 9:06 AM
Change agents seek to destroy the Biblical limits of fellowship and openly embrace those who are not children of God. Notice the following comments from some who are desperately seeking to change from God's Way.
"I agree with the brother who wrote that disagreements over instruments should not prevent us from enjoying a common Lord's table. I can commune anywhere if it is in honor of our Lord and in a matter fitting with His will. Maybe if all of us who are divided over the instrument communed together more we would see the importance of our unity and work "harder at maintaining it." (Calvin Warpula, A Rejoinder to Letters in Response to 'Can We Have Unity With the Christian Church'?" One Body, Fall, 1993, 10:4, p.19).
"Do I consider 'our brotherhood' (non- instrumental Churches of Christ) a denomination? Yes. ...Well, do you embrace denominationalism? No. Oh no. I embrace Jesus. And brothers and sisters in Jesus scattered throughout most denominations" (Lynn Anderson, "Big, Sick, Denomination: Revisited," Wineskins, Vol. 2, No. 10, p.36).
"There are sincere, knowledgeable, and devout Christians scattered among the various denominations" (Rubel Shelly, I Just Want to be a Christian, 1984, p.132).
"Brothers and sisters, we do not have to live in estrangement and isolation from those who honestly differ with us inside or outside our fellowship. We don't have to agree with them on every point nor do we have to convince them to agree with us on every issue. All we have to do is look to our left, to those who have felt the sting of our rejection, and everywhere we see one who has committed his or her heart and life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ we may rejoice that we have found a brother or sister. And we may extend to that child of God the same inviting hand of grace and acceptance which we ourselves have received from the Lord Jesus." (Mark Henderson, People Need the Unity-Committed Church, 1997 ACU Lectures).
Promise Keepers rallys as well as March for Jesus are two denominational programs which provide a means for the "Change Agents" to spread their doctrine and openly fellowship those in denominationalism. Faithful Christians cannot engage in either of these activities and meet with God's approval.
The Bible does not allow fellowship with those who are not Christians or even those who have left their "first love." Notice these passages:
"Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them" (Eph. 5:6-7). "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). We are not to be partakers with them in their deeds. We are to have NO fellowship with them. "No" fellowship does not mean "some" fellowship or "limited" fellowship. And, it is simply not enough to have no fellowship with them, this verse also demands that we actively oppose them. Our mission is to "reprove" them. The word reprove means to: convict, refute, show someone his fault or error, show something up for what it is, prove guilty, condemn, to bring to light, to expose, to reprehend severly, chide, admonish. We cannot be quiet when error is involved! To refuse to expose error and instead, embrace it and extend an open hand of fellowship to it and those promoting it, is complete apostasy from the "one faith." Those not faithful to the doctrine of Christ are enemies of Christ (cf. Phil. 3:18). Shall we support the enemy of Christ? No, a thousands time no! It matters not whether the evil doer is an erring Christian or one who has never obeyed the gospel, the end result is the same.
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" (Rom. 16:17). This verse commands that we "mark" those who teach contrary to sound doctrine. The word mark means: to look at, observe, contemplate, fix one's eyes upon, direct one's attention to, be concerned about, watch out for, be careful. The reason we focus our attention upon these individuals is that we may "avoid" them so as to have no fellowship with them in their evil deeds. Such persons "...serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Rom. 16:18). By no stretch of the imagination could we support those who teach contrary to sound doctrine and cause division in the Lord's body (whether they were members of the Lord's church or not). No faithful Christian, preacher, eldership or congregation, can remain silent and lend support to those who teach and practice things contrary to the doctrine of Christ. God counts those who do so just as guilty as those who commit such evil deeds themselves (2 John 11).
"But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils" (1 Cor. 10:20-21). The Lord's people cannot hold onto God with one hand and those who are in league with the devil with the other. No matter how "sweet spirited" some seem, no matter how sincere they appear, when they are not in fellowship with God (by obeying his commands), then neither can we fellowship them lest we be out of fellowship with God. When anyone does not "walk in the light" (live and abide in the truth), he does not have fellowship with God (1 John 1:7). How can we fellowship those whom God does not fellowship? We cannot!
"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 1:9-11). Those who do not hold to the doctrine of Christ are not to be "received." The word receive means to "associate one's self as companion, attendant, to receive a person, give him access to one's self." We are commanded to not bid them God speed. We are not to do anything that would give such persons comfort or aid that would assist them in their deed. We cannot lend help to or send them along their way with our blessing. We cannot wish them well or pray for their success. We must not allow them to believe we are in fellowship with them, but on the contray, we must oppose them (Eph. 5:11). If we do anything that aids them in their evil work, we are counted just as guilty as if we had done the evil ourself. This is guilt by association. When we associate with those guilty of false doctrine, we are counted guilty of false doctrine.
"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us" (2 Thess. 3:6). The word "walketh" has to do with one's behavior or conduct. The word "disorderly" means "out of ranks (often so of soldiers), deviating from the prescribed order or rule." This is speaking particularly of withdrawing fellowship from a fellow-member of a local congregation of which we are also members. However, its application (in principle) would also include that we must not extend fellowship to all who "walk disorderly," even though such persons are not members of the local congregation of which we are members. To withdraw fellowship means that we must not associate with one so as to aid, comfort, support, condone or assist him in his teaching and/or practice. When one's conduct is contrary to the inspired, established "tradition" of the apostles, we must not help or aid them in their belief and practice.
"And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed" (2 Thess. 3:14). The words "company with" here means: to mix up together, to keep company with, be intimate with. There is simply no scriptural (Biblically justified) way to have company with such persons so as to aid and support those who do not follow the Lord's Way. One of the purposes of our refusing to "company with" them is that such would cause them to be ashamed of their teaching and conduct and move them to repentance.
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (2 Cor. 6:14-18). The words "unequally yoked together" are from the same word in the Greek. The word means "to have fellowship with one who is not an equal." Those who have never obeyed the gospel or who have strayed from the "old paths" of "the way," are not our equal. They do not stand in the right and proper relationship with God. They are not our faithful brethren in the Lord. Those who have strayed away are as the prodigal that must return home (Luke 15:17-20) or Simon that had to repent and pray (Acts 8:22). Until they do, the faithful cannot fellowship them. .
_______________________________ Editorial [w/ more emphasis added, dc]
“Seek the Old Paths,” Vol. 8, No. 10
This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 220.127.116.11 on Mar 16, 2004 9:34 AM
If you believe these current errors are not affecting you and will not affect you, then you are in a dream world.
Change agents seek to destroy the nature of the CHURCH and its WORSHIP. They despise the simple worship authorized in the Bible. Bible tradition based upon the apostles' inspired Word is looked upon as cold and legalistic. According to them, we presently are in an age of change where feelings and emotion rule. If it seems good and feels right, then it must be right. Simple worship dictated by divine rule (the Bible) is not what draws the crowds. Worship must be jazzed up and made to fit the whims of the baby boomers and baby busters.
First Peter 4:4 speaks well of those with such a concept. "Wherein they think it strange that you run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you." They ridicule and scoff, mock and scorn those who do not follow their wayward descent from the right ways of the Lord. They do not understand our continued appeal to the tested, tried and true -- the Holy Bible.
Have you ever known a time in which promoters of the departure from the old paths have been so brazen in their agenda? They are running wild to excel in the devil's lies. According to them, the lovers of truth are left in the dust and shambles of outdated Bible respect and a "thus saith the Lord." Dear reader, where do you stand? Will you be counted on the side of the Lord or the side of Satan (cf. Exodus 32:26).
Change Agents don't want anything we do in worship. Change, Change, you've got to change. We don't want the cold, drab, lifeless worship of the past. We want participation, we want movement, we want a renewal of the Spirit. They do not really believe the church is the eternal kingdom of God and that it exists in its fullness today. They have contempt for the restoration plea. Notice these quotes from The Second Incarnation, a book co-edited in 1992 by Rubel Shelly and Randall Harris.
"As the church, then, we resist the arrogant claim that we embody the fullness of the kingdom of God. Yet we long for 'a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ' (2 Pet. 1:11). Until then, we continue to pray, 'Father, your kingdom come!' We commit ourselves to pursuing the kingdom lifestyle. We live the life of a pilgrim church moving toward a clearly identified goal" (p. 76). "The tired, uninspiring event called worship in our churches must give way to an exhilarating experience of God that simultaneously exhibits and nurtures life in the worshippers" (p. 13). "We have no interest in building a first-century church or a 16th or 19th or even 20th-century church in the 21st century. To do so would elevate human culture to the status of divine truth" (p. 20). "Is there either the need or theological warrant for ongoing change in the church? Our answer is affirmative to both elements of this question" (p. xv). "We propose an ecclesiology that is oriented more toward the future than the past for ultimate significance in God's eternal purpose. The church will not arrive at its goal within historical events" (p. xvii).
They tell us God is immutable and then say,
"The church, however, is different. It does not possess the immutability of divine personality. Nor does it have the unalterable quality of propositional truth....The church does change. Moreover, it needs to change" (p. 3). "For the corporate body of Christ, there is no historical prototype of the church for duplication. The kingdom of God is yet to come in its ultimate form. In all its instantiations, the church has been (and is) flawed." (p. 6). "Change and newness did not end with his arrival. The wine is still fermenting....The wine is the bubbling, churning gospel. It is the ever-arriving-yet-never-fully-realized-on-Earth kingdom of God" (p. 11).
In a sermon preached at the Missouri Street Church Of Christ, West Memphis, Arkansas, April 20-21, 1990, Rubel Shelly said,
"My children will not stay with the church I grew up in. They will not be a part of an irrelevance." "The church has never existed" we are not the "true church -- an arrogant claim." "The church has never existed except in the Father's mind."
Wineskins, a paper edited by Rubel Shelly and Mike Cope, is dedicated to the "change agent" movement. Notice this enlightening statement of their belief and purpose.
"Our goal is to move that group ("the Church of Christ Denomination") closer to the church of Christ revealed in Scripture."
They actually believe the church of Christ is a denomination among denominations! According to them, we may look in the yellow pages of the phone book and believe there are Christians scattered among the various denominations listed there.
"As surely as there must be individuals who hold membership in groups called 'the Church of Christ' in the Yellow Pages who are not members of the church of Christ whose membership roll is kept in heaven, surely also there must be individuals who are not identified with the Yellow Page group called the 'Church of Christ' but whose names are nevertheless entered in the heaven-kept role (roll?) of the church of God." (I Just Want To Be A Christian, 1984, p.61; 1986, p.69.)
The Bible is clear and decisive concerning the church and its establishment. Jesus said to Peter, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Jesus spoke of the church as his kingdom. To Pilate he said, "...My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence" (John 18:36).
Jesus said the church/kingdom would begin as promised in the days of the Roman Empire (cf. Dan. 2:44). Jesus "...said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power" (Mark 9:1). The Lord told his apostles not to leave Jerusalem until they be endued with power. "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). In Acts 1:8 Jesus said, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon them. "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4).
From what we read above, the Kingdom was to come "with power" (Mark 9:1), that is, the kingdom would come along side of power or at the same time the apostles received power. They would receive power when the Holy Spirit came (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4). Therefore, the kingdom/church came on Pentecost in Acts 2.
When the apostles preached, there were about 3,000 people who obeyed the Gospel. "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41). Concerning those early days of the church we read in Acts 2:47, "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
Those who were being saved were added to the Lord's one body of which there is only one. "There is one body" (Eph. 4:4; 1 Cor. 12:13). It is in the Lord's one body, the church, the kingdom, that he receives glory. "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end" (Eph. 3:21). Jesus is the savior of the body, the church (Eph. 5:23; 1:22-23). I certainly will not ridicule and despise the Lord's church/kingdom, will you?
Faithful worship includes praising God in song (Heb. 2:12) without the accompaniment of mechanical instruments of music (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Preaching the Word, not flattering words of men, is involved in worship (Acts 20:7; 2 Tim. 4:2; 1 Thess. 2:5). Partaking of the Lord's supper each Lord's day is a part of worship (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23-30). A contribution is given by every member of the church on the Lord's day (1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7). Prayer is a part of the worship of the church (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 14:15).
Dear reader, where do you stand? Do you believe the church/kingdom was established in its fullness in 33 A.D.? If so, are you "fighting the good fight of faith" to maintain its purity (1 Tim. 6:12)? Or, are you standing idle while such perverters of truth are ravaging the precious bride of Christ (cf. Matt. 20:6)? Do you desire to continue worshipping the Father according to the divine pattern? And, do you desire your children to do so also? Then stand up and speak out and demand that the digressors and compromisers shall not pass!
If you believe these current errors are not affecting you and will not affect you, then you are in a dream world. If these errors or the tendency toward them are not already in the church where you worship, they are in the one(s) next door. Brethren, it's far past time that lovers of Truth get in the battle. "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins" (Isa. 58:1, the Lord's church/kingdom is the spiritual house of Jacob today).
All the Lord's people must "preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:2). The place is here, the time in now that "...they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
The command of the Scriptures is clear. "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Rom. 16:17-18). "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 9-11). Those who do not oppose the agents of change are counted guilty of their evil deeds.
When an area congregation invites a false teacher or compromiser (sympathizer) in to preach and you attend, you are guilty of his evil deeds. It matters not how long you have known the man, the church or the brethren there. Error is still error! To be faithful to God, we must oppose him and them and show the error of their ways. Blood may be thicker than water but it is not thicker than Truth. The Truth is thicker than kinship or friendship. To practice Bible fellowship and the limits of fellowship won't make you popular with the compromisers but it will with God. Remember what Peter and the other apostles said, "...We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). I had rather receive the disapproval of area brethren "for a season" than to be condemned by God for an eternity. Dear beloved brethren, wake up before it's too late!
_______________________________ Editorial [w/ more emphasis added, dc]
“Seek the Old Paths,” Vol. 8, No. 11
This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 18.104.22.168 on Mar 17, 2004 9:06 AM
Change, any change, all change from the divine pattern is error. Error causes both its teacher and doer to be lost, no matter how sincere they may be. Jesus wants us to know the truth which makes us free from error (John 8:32). We must love the truth or suffer the consequences of believing a lie. Those who believe a lie will be damned (2 Thess. 2:10-12).
The Bible always answers error because it is the all-inspired and all-sufficient Word of God. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim 3:16-17). Notice how verse 16 says that all Scripture is profitable for "doctrine" (teaching, showing what is wrong), for "reproof" (exposing, rebuking and convicting one for doing wrong), for "correction" (showing how to correct the wrong and reform one's ways) and "instruction" (showing how to continue in that which is right and training in the right way). The apostle Paul did not just write his own words. He said to the church at Corinth, "...the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord" (1 Cor. 14:37). We read in 2 Peter 1:3, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue." Everything we need to know how to live in this life and please God can be found in the New Testament. Jesus said, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
The Bible tells us to test those who are supposed to be teachers of the Gospel. The apostle John writes, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). A "Gospel preacher" is not offended when questioned about his belief, teaching and practice. He welcomes it. On the other hand, those who teach error are usually insulted and angered when questioned. This serves as a warning sign of those who are not sound in the faith. When you find one like this, beware!
The Bible tells us what to do with those who teach error. "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 1:9-11). Faithful Christians cannot help or assist those who teach error. We must not do anything that could be interpreted as supporting them in their error. When we do so, God counts us as guilty as if we were teaching that error ourselves. This is "guilt by association" i.e., we are counted guilty because we fellowship them. Too many refuse to see that their fellowship of those in error makes them guilty of error. The old addage that says "birds of a feather flock together" is certainly true.
Paul writes, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Rom. 16:17-18). To "mark" means to observe -- turn attention toward. Brethren everywhere need to be made aware of those who are teaching error so they will not be "taken in" by their false doctrine. This, of necessity, involves "calling names." Those who teach contrary to the doctrine of Christ must be identified. It is impossible to do that without knowing who they are, that demands knowing their name. There are even occasions when we are to "mark" those who faithfully follow the Lord so we may imitate them (Phil. 3:17). However, that cannot be done without knowing who they are. Therefore, they must be identified by name. To not do so is a violation of Romans 16:17 and Philippians 3:17.
The Bible tells us the end result of those who teach error. They "...shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power" (2 Thess 1:9). In Old Testament days, "...there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction" (2 Peter 2:1). All false teachers, along with "...the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev. 20:10). Those who follow them will suffer the same destiny.
No one can change God's way and escape the consequences.
_______________________________ Editorial [w/ more emphasis added, dc]
“Seek the Old Paths,” Vol. 8, No. 12
This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 22.214.171.124 on Mar 18, 2004 8:07 AM
This web site is not part of or approved by any Church!
What Happened at the Madison Church of Christ?
There are thousands of churches being taken over across America.
This book is only about one of those churches. It's about the Madison
Church Of Christ. By studying the methods used here along with the resource
references you might be able to inoculate your church. At the very least
you will recognize the signs early on.
Many of the current members of the Madison Church of Christ still don't
know what happened.
Some never will know! This book is for them as well.
Madison Church of Christ was a 60 year old church. At one time it was
one of the largest churches in the US, and the largest Church of Christ.
It thrived for many years on the vision of it's elders and those of
it's ministers. Those visions undoubtably came from the the inspired word
of Jesus Christ.
At sometime in the last 10 years there was a deliberate plan by a majority
of the elders to take the Madison Church of Christ into a more worldly
They used secrecy, covert planning, and outside sources to scheme and
to change the format and direction of the Madison Church of Christ.
The Elders knew that the membership would never approve such a plan.
Using the tools of the "Community Church Movement"(consultants, books,
seminars, meetings,planters,seeders) they slowly started initiating change
so it was never noticed by the members until it was too late.....
At the heart of the plan was the fact that old members were going to
be driven off so new techniques could be used to go out and reach the unchurched
through new "Contemporary Holy Entertainment" methods developed by the
"Community Church Movement"
Old members had to be kept on board long enough to get their plans ready,
or the funds would not be there to pay for the new building. So by the
plans very nature, it had to be secret.
The church had no plan in effect to renew or approve elders. There was
never any need. The elders had always been "as approved by God". 10 of the last
15 elders would begin to shed some doubt on that.
The Elders did not even need a majority at first, because some of the
elders went along unwittingly.
This edition starts shortly after some of the members begin to smell
something strange in January 2001. Later editions may go back and fill
in some of the timeline.
To even start to understand whats happening here, you must read the
background materials in the first of the book.
This is only the first edition, and not the end. New editions will be
printed as needed. To keep abreast of current changes, please visit our
web site; http://www.concernedmembers.com/madison
Here is the list of players;
5 Godly Elders
10 Not so Godly Elders
120 "Deacons" (allegiance unknown)
2,800 - 4,000 church "members"
2 "teners" (people who have publicly confessed to have broken all ten
Unknown number of "sinners" (This is what the 10 elders call us.)
Unknown number of "demons" (Flying everywhere, to many to count)