|James O. Baird|
Nudging the Church to Self-destruction
|August 16 2004, 2:28 AM |
[Emphases mine, dc]
Nudging the Church to Self-destruction
By James O. Baird
In my judgment, the basis of much tension in the church comes from two waves of thought which have washed over America.
The one, more biblical and Christian, crashes headlong against the ideas of the Enlightenment, emerging principally from Europe's encounter with the Renaissance. These ideas were powerfully anti-Christian exalting the supremacy of human reason and explaining all phenomena by natural law. Their influence has been staggering. They are the source of today's secular culture, helping to put into place questions which are more philosophical than biblical and which challenge our Christian approach to the nature of life and its purpose. These questions which emerge from speculative thought, and which need to be answered, include the following:
Addressing these questions:
- Is there reality? If so, how can we know it?
- Is there a Supreme Being who can act outside of nature?
- Can words accurately convey meaning?
- Is culture foreordained to be supreme or can it be effectively countered?
- Can a verbally inspired Word be accepted as authoritative and complete?
To those critics calling for the abandonment of the New Testament church, please provide your proposals for a better alternative. This I have not heard.
- Our senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell confirm there is reality. When our experiences are confirmed by these senses reality is accepted. This is the basis of modern science. Touching fire does speak truthfully to man.
- The complexity, immensity, and dependability of the universe demand an explanation. Such a universe mandates a God of tremendous power. If God has such power, he is able to reach beyond his established law and miracles become a possibility.
- Much theory of speech teach that words only reflect our experience and cannot convey meaning accurately. In spite of such theory, most of the understandable communication between humans requires words, and on this basis our world functions financially, academically, and personally. While God communicates his power and grandeur through the physical universe, his inspired words are necessary to convey his will to mankind.
- The New Testament consistently draws a line between the world and the church. The church is presented as God's countering agent to the world's culture. It is God's leaven, his element of change. Through the church the antiChristian world can see the alternative of being molded by his Word.
- If we limit God's ability to provide an inspired, authoritative and complete Word, we turn away from the selfclaims of the Bible and the way Jesus, the apostles, and prophets used it.
Conceding unclear answers to these five questions is to concede the present array of criticisms about the church is true. This litany is familiar and includes the following:
- "Prooftexting is unacceptable."
- "The culture is forcing the church of Christ into existing as another denomination."
- "Believing verbal inspiration is presumptuous. "
- "Opposing women as preachers and instruments of music in worship are hopelessly out of step with the times."
- "Command, example, and inference are unacceptable principles for explaining Scripture. The church of Christ is based on a poor hermeneutic."
- "The church severely lacks highlevel scholarship. This lack explains many of its failures."
- "The New Testament does not provide a pattern and example for the church in any time and place."
- "Grace alone, not commandments, should receive our approval. Demanding obedience distorts the gospel."
Presuppositions of Change Agents
|September 12 2004, 2:48 AM |
PRESUPPOSITIONS OF THOSE COMMITTED TO CHANGE
Theologians of the change movement like to emphasize that everyone comes to the Word of God with presuppositions which color their understanding and conclusions. They should know this for it is evident that promoters of the change agenda have a lengthy set of presuppositions. In reading some 30 books promoting their system, I discovered the following presuppositions to be commonly held:
- That truth is relative and flexible, meaning one thing to one person, something else to another.
- That the Bible is not an authoritative standard to which we must conform.
- That the Old Testament stands equal to the New Testament in determining how Christians and the church should function.
- That logic and reason play a very small role in understanding Gods will. Emotions, subjectivism and the will of the majority are more determinative.
- That no one body of people is exclusively Christs church on earth; rather, all are denominational parts of the whole.
- That churches of Christ are an illegitimate faction that split away from the Disciples of Christ without Scriptural justification.
- That the brotherhood of churches of Christ are a failed group whose beliefs and practices are defective and in serious need of change.
- That no denomination, doctrine or practice nor religious teacher should be judged as wrong and criticized except the traditional, conservative churches of Christ and their spokesmen.
- That the views of denominational scholars, especially those of more skeptical ranks, should always be preferred over those of scholars of the church of Christ.
- That they (the change brotherhood) have found a superior way to worship and serve God and a higher level of piety than those of traditional churches of Christ.
- That they (promoters of change), because of the superiority of their views, are fully justified in usurping control of existing congregations and claiming church properties built and paid for by others.
Since it is the case that ones conclusions and actions are definitely colored by the presuppositions he holds, we can now better understand the behavior of the promoters of change.
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now
|September 13 2004, 11:18 AM |
Having also read a few books I was wondering if you could provide some references for these "commonly held" presuppositions. My presupposition-- most of those with whom I am acquainted that are accused of being "change agents" would reject every single presupposition listed in the post entitled "presuppositions of change agents."
Please help your readers out by providing references that demonstrate the "commonality" of the presuppositions listed. Thank you.
Re: Presuppositions (Joe Spivy, September 13 2004, 11:18 AM)
|September 14 2004, 3:28 AM |
Brother John Waddey has reviewed numerous books promoting change. Some 20 of these reviews have been posted here. So, as you have requested, I would like to direct our readers to a thread titled, KEEPING ABREAST: REVIEWS OF BOOKS AND MATERIALS RELATING TO THE CHANGE MOVEMENT.
I hope you realize that the article above is an attempt to highlight what has been gleaned by the author from various sources or materialsand not to discuss each in detail
or it wouldnt be a summation of presuppositions any longer. Heres a list of the resources that pertain to the mission of the prominent change agents operating in the brotherhood. Actually, these are the titles and notes of Johns reviews, but many of these are the actual names of the books on the Change Movement:
- The Second Incarnation by Rubel Shelly and Randy Harris
- The Transforming of a Tradition, edited by Leonard Allen and Lynn Anderson
- Radical Restoration by F. LaGard Smith
- The Crux of the Matter by Jeff Childers, Douglas Foster and Jack Reese
- Gods Holy Fire: A Book Based On Faulty Assumptions
- Renewing Gods People (A Review)
- A Church That Flies
- Voices of Concern
- Come To The Table
- In The Grip Of Gods Grace
- The Churches Of Christ
- Rick Atchleys Speech At The Restoration Forum
- Reclaiming A Heritage
- Trusting Women
- The Church in Transition
- The Cruciform Church
- Christ No More, No Less
- Discovering Our Roots (A Review)
- Pilgrimage Of Joy, An Autobiography Of Carl Ketcherside
- The Purpose Driven Life
- The Royal Law Of Liberty (A Review)
- Down In The River To Pray (A Review)
- Participating In God's Life (A Review)
- Essays On Women In Earliest Christianity
- Women In The Church (A Review)
- The Jesus Proposal (A Review)
- Redeeming The Times (A Review)
- As Long As We Have The Pattern
- Distant Voices (A Review)
- At The River's Edge (A Review)
- Among The Scholars (A Review)
Heres a List of John Waddeys Need to Read Resource Materials:
- Change Agents and Churches of Christ by William Woodson
- Tracts To Fortify Faith
- Books Every Church Leader Should Read
- The Spirit of Liberalism
- What Happened At The Madison Church of Christ
- A Commentary On What The Bible Does Not Say
- Gospel Papers that Will Strengthen Your Faith
- Liberalism Deadly Enemy of The Church
- Directions For The Road Ahead
- Piloting The Straight
- Worship: Life's Greatest Moments (A Book You Should Read)
- Getting To Know The Bible
- Instrumental Music and The New Testament Worship
- The Church In Transition To What?
Hope this helps,
TRAGEDY OF TRAGEDIES
|October 27 2004, 2:36 AM |
TRAGEDY OF TRAGEDIES
Prior to the Communist Revolution the gospel was being preached throughout Russia and many embraced the back to the Bible plea. When they came to power, the Communists proceeded to crush every vestige of Christianity that refused to become collaborators with their evil system. Many years ago Bro. Epi Bilak, himself a Ukrainian Christian, related the words of a brother who was languishing in a Communist prison. The prisoner for Christ wrote, Sad, sad to die in chains; but worse; far worse, to sleep, sleep, sleep.
Those prophetic words are today most applicable for thousands of preachers, elders and members of the church of Christ here in America. If these were the early days of Christianity, when the cruel hand of Judaism and the iron fist of Rome made war on the servants of Jesus, many of us no doubt would be rotting in dungeons and multitudes would have perished. Others would have been driven from their homes, forced to flee or be exterminated. We would be hated and hunted like evil felons because we followed Jesus. You can read about the sufferings of those brethren in Foxes Book of Christian Martyrs
. If these were the early days of the Protestant revolt against Rome, the same would be our fate. It was truly sad that so many innocent saints suffered and died in chains for their faith in the Prince of Peace.
But ours is the land of religious liberty. Freedom of speech and assembly is guaranteed to us and the strong arm of our government will protect us in exercising these rights. We are free to evangelize and proselyte others to the Cause we love. Ours is a day of prosperity, easy travel and instant communication. We have access to radio, television, the Internet and the print media. We have a large and prosperous base of congregations here in America. We have schools, an endless array of gospel literature, hymnals and other assets to use for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ.
Yet with all the above mentioned advantages, the average Christian, preacher and elder sleeps. Satan is working 24/7. While brethren sleep he is corrupting the faith of their flocks. He is sowing seeds of discord. He is priming the explosion that will rip the brotherhood of churches of Christ in to shreds. And still those whose responsibility it is to watch for the flock sleep (Acts 20:31). It is truly amazing and appalling how many leaders have no awareness of what is transpiring within the body of Christ, and no interest in learning about the situation, no intention of helping. Some are actually offended when the problem is brought to their attention. They labor under the false illusion that the church here in America is invincible, that God wont allow anything bad to happen to her. They forget that just a century ago a similar change movement swept away a full 85 percent of our people and congregations, virtually every school and mission outpost. It not only can happen, it will happen again if those whose job is to be watchmen sleep, sleep, sleep (Is. 56:10).
What a terrible tragedy it will be when what was once the largest indigenous religious body on this continent is again torn by division; they who just 50 years ago were the fastest growing church in America are reduced to a scattered remnant. Think of the souls that will be swept away in error, the discouraged brethren who will lose their hope and turn back to sin, the sinners who will not have a preacher or missionary to teach them the saving gospel. If such were to happen because we were persecuted and our leaders cast into prison, it would be sad. But how much worse it will be because we slept, slept, slept! Are you dear reader asleep to the danger we face? Awake, thou that sleepest and arise from the dead and Christ will shine upon thee (Eph. 5:14).
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now
CHANGES: TWO KINDS, TWO CONSEQUENCES
|February 22 2005, 2:50 AM |
CHANGES: TWO KINDS, TWO CONSEQUENCES
Life is full of changes. Our world is changing. Churches also change. Change is not a new phenomenon. Every generation from the beginning has had to deal with changes and make changes. It is important to understand that there are two distinctly different kinds of changes churches can make: changes that are beneficial and helpful to the spiritual health and prosperity of the Cause of Christ and changes that are harmful and destructive.
I. Identifiable Characteristics of Helpful Changes:
II. Characteristics of the Harmful Changes:
- Those who propose them respect the authority of God's word to regulate the faith, worship and practices of the church (Matt. 7:21).
- The changes proposed will always be within the boundaries set by Christ the founder and head of the church (Eph.1:22).
- The changes are not frivolous or made for theatrical purposes.
- The motive for the change made is not to be like the world and those religious bodies who exist and operate without heaven's approval.
- The changes will help the church and her members do a better job of serving Christ and building up his kingdom.
- They will draw disciples closer to Christ and promote godliness (I Cor. 14:26).
- They will not be divisive and destructive in the life of the congregation, but will promote harmony among brethren.
- They will not be made to pacify a restless, worldly element in the church.
It is clear to those who love the church that the choices and changes available to us are only those of the first category. Experience demonstrates that we can flourish and prosper in this wicked world and abide by the principles of the first group, while we flounder and suffer great loss when we follow the latter. Remember the words of the Lord, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life."
- They are promoted without respect or regard for Biblical standards (Matt. 28:20).
- They are often responses to the clamor of young, immature, or worldly members of the church who do not have a good knowledge of the way of truth.
- They are often implemented even though many devout souls are offended by them.
- They are kept even when they foment strife and division among the brethren.
- They are attempted because some successful denominational preacher or church has utilized them.
- They are sought in order to make the church more like her denominational neighbors and thus less likely to be scorned by the world (I Sam. 8:4-5).
- They affect the essential nature and identity of the church of Christ.
- They are often trivial and theatrical in nature.
- Rather than edify, they entertain or pacify restless untaught brethren.
- While they do entertain, they do not actually promote righteousness, godliness and devotion.
- They are implemented for the express purpose of trying to distant the church from those brethren who are determined to abide by the principles sets forth in Scripture.
- They cheapen and devalue the worship of God and the church of the Lord.
- Because they are unscriptural innovations, they cause strife and division in the church.
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now
Re: CHANGES: TWO KINDS, TWO CONSEQUENCES
|February 22 2005, 7:05 PM |
Great points to consider. The church will flourish most through times of persecution. Bring it on!
Doing Church in a Changing Society
|February 27 2005, 4:09 AM |
DOING CHURCH IN A CHANGING SOCIETY
Change agents love to speak of their method of doing church. Recently my neighbor, The Reverend Ms. Linda ____ gave me a copy of the activities bulletin for her United Methodist Church. These folks are in the vanguard of the change movement in the Postmodern Protestant world. Long ago, her brethren grew tired and weary of the old fashioned, narrow biblicism of John Wesley, their founder. They embarked on the new road of Liberal Christianity. Pastor Lindas bulletin is a fair barometer of what we can expect of our preachers and churches who have likewise rejected the old biblicism of their spiritual fathers and are pursuing an agenda of change that will meet the felt-needs of their consumer/members in our Postmodern world.
The pastors church is not renouncing its faith heritage. They still have Sunday morning services in the Sanctuary and Sabbath celebration for those who prefer them. They still wear the Methodist name, their pastor still carries a Bible into the pulpit. Of course, their faith and worship bear little resemblance to the church established by John and Charles Wesley. All of these church activities are presented under the acronym of S.E.E.K., i.e., Spiritual Enrichment ... Education ... Knowledge. They are trying hard to be relevant.
- The Rev.s church has a Fine Arts Series once each month, featuring the Desert Brass, an Organ Recital, and the Bronze Bell choir.
- Her Missions Class will be studying Erma Bombeck, Elizabeth Taylor and Jolly Old England.
- A Creativity Class will be offered in how to write Your Own Story.
- The Leisure Activities Groups will feature Armchair Travelers, Bowling, Bridge, Scrabble and Survivors Fun Night.
- Of course, there will be a Super Bowl Party.
- The Sabbath (Saturday) Service will feature Recording Artist, Mary Hollan.
- The following Sabbaths topic will be The Theology of the Blues.
- There is their upcoming Rummage Sale.
This interesting bulletin provides us some idea of where some of our churches are headed. For if they travel the same road of consumer-driven religions, such as the UMC, they will almost certain arrive at the same destination. Of course, the UMC folks are some 40 years ahead of our change agents, so it will take a while for our brethren to catch up. But you can be certain they will.
Just look at the Disciples of Christ. A hundred and fifty years ago they were one with us. Today there is hardly a nickels worth of difference between them and the UMC. They set out on their journey down the wide road over a century ago. They have long since arrived at the camp of Liberal Protestantism. Our younger brethren will live to see some of our flagship change churches reach that same point. Those who love Christ and his church, who honor his Divine will, watch with tear-filled eyes as they depart on their journey. Futilely, we try to call them back, but they cannot hear because their ears they have stopped (Zech. 7:11). Their hearts are set on being like the churches around them (I Sam. 8:5).
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now
stop doing church and start being the church
|February 27 2005, 5:35 PM |
I'm addressing you instead of John because you continue to post his work and opinions. I don't believe it's wrong, but it might be better for some of the casual readership to see that you are doing just that. Maybe if you placed a note at the beginning or end of John's messages.
"Those who love Christ and his church, who honor his Divine will, watch with tear-filled eyes as they depart on their journey."
That's true for the stagnant brotherhood that's concerned only with "doing it right" as they have come to believe and understand. The "true church" is not concerned with doing it right, but being relevant to a lost and hurting generation. We are blessed at Madison with strong leadership and membership that has transcended the problems of division, and is now moving forward with love for each other, the lost and understand that we must be the harvesters in the fields that God has prepared.
What a shame it has been in my experience to see many pioneers of the 50's, 60's and 70's turn into settlers in the new millenium.
Re: stop doing church and start being the church
|February 28 2005, 4:00 AM |
I have done a number of times what you and others have suggestedbut probably not enough for certain people who think that change agents operating in the brotherhood should just have it their waycreating discord, confusion and conflicts among the brethren. And what I have done these few times was to log in as myself, post the article, and provide the source. I know I havent done it enough because I simply felt undeserving of being credited for posting these excellent articles. As you may have experienced, posting an article in the original format is quite time consumingconsidering font size, bolding, italicizations, indentions, bulleted items, etc.,
you know, that HTML stuff. Now, I can resume doing it that wayindicating my name and e-mail address as the poster.
If you were to ask what business I had in posting Johns excellent articles
well, the Concerned Members site and John Waddey have similar objectives and concerns in regard to the Change Movement and the change agents. John is keenly aware of Madisons situation and of other congregations that have been transformed into Community Churches. I have been in constant correspondence with him since near the start of this site. He has given me permission to post any of his articles, has appreciated my time and efforts in assisting him forewarn uninfected congregations [remember: Forewarned is forearmed] via his writings. Actually, I am not done with his requests by any means.
I only partially agree with your last statements. I believe Gods truth does not change and His directives for the church remain constant. Christ does not change; His gospel message was not designed to be redesigned by humanity in order to make it relevant due to cultural changes. The gospel is already relevant to any culture or generation. And there is a vast difference between (1) teaching others that by Gods grace a sinner can be redeemed in the blood of the Lamb by being baptized into His death and rise to walk in newness of lifea life of service for the MasterAND (2) teaching others otherwise. Theres more to spiritual birth than accepting Christ as ones personal Savior and thats it? What is accepting Christ
supposed to mean or what does it entail? It is also erroneous to teach that grace or faith alone in a Christians life leads to eternal salvation. On the part of a Christian, Gods grace does not contradict a Christians good worksone is a divine source or provision and the other a Christian servants responsibility or obligation. Thats what doing it right means to me. The Holy Scripture says so, and thats neither legalism or Pharisaical.
No, it has not been a shame in my experience to see the results of evangelism in the 50s and 60s. Christs church was one of the fastest-growing religious groups (by census designation) in that generationand such accomplishments werent due to entertainment gimmicks or watered-down teaching, either.
Anyway, Chuck, thanks for the suggestion.
are you now cc member?
|February 28 2005, 4:07 PM |
Do I understand this correctly?
"John is keenly aware of Madisons situation and of other congregations that have been transformed into Community Churches."
So you now attend a community church?
I think you misunderstood me.
"No, it has not been a shame in my experience to see the results of evangelism in the 50s and 60s. Christs church was one of the fastest-growing religious groups (by census designation) in that generationand such accomplishments werent due to entertainment gimmicks or watered-down teaching, either."
The assembly at Madison during that period was using innovative techniques and cutting edge ideas. If you check the writings of ultra right wing brethren of the period, you'll see that they were under condemnation then also. My point is that we must be relevant to the current generation. I'm not for watering down the gospel or creating an entertainment environment. I'm for communicating the simple message of God's love for us by comming here as a sacrifice in our behalf. That is the Gospel message. I agree that living a Godly life is essential to be pleasing to Him. The power to do it comes from His Spirit living in us as our Counsellor and Comforter. Feel free to call that the Mind of Christ...that's totally acceptable to me. None of us really understand all the things of God anyhow. Instead of beating each other up on the right way to do it and say it, let's just be His church as we strive to please Him...care for the poor....reach out to the lost with His love and message. It's not that hard to understand or agree on.
ps...what did you think of preacher phil's gospel message this week?
Re: are you now cc member?
|March 1 2005, 4:16 AM |
Are you asking if I am now a member of the church of Christ or of a Community Church? Never mind. Just kidding I understand your reasoning behind the title of your post. Ill try to explain it below.
My statement regarding Johns keen awareness was a setupand you were trapped. No, I did not misunderstand you. I think you misunderstood me. So, let me explain [the trap ]:
"John is keenly aware of Madisons situation and of other congregations that have been transformed into Community Churches."If the statement above is parsed correctly, we will note two separate items listed in reference to Johns keen awareness:
Moreover, I don't believe a "situation" can become a community church. Also, "other congregations" is the antecedent of "that have been 'transformed' into Community Churches."
- of Madison's situation and
- of other congregations that have been 'transformed' into Community Churches.
In regard to the results of evangelism in the 50's and 60's, I was alluding to the growth among churches of Christ in general. Would you believe that Madison did not even come to mind? Believe me, the issue is not about innovative techniques that do not alter God's plan of salvation or advanced technologies. The issue is not about the use of the bus to transport to the assembly those without means. The issue is not about church buildings or auditoriums or houses for the gathering of the saints nor is the order of worship, etc., etc. The issue is about the "innovated gospel" message. If you and I agree on what the simple gospel message really is (because that in itself is a doctrinal matter), then, there is no argument between us. Otherwise, it is a grave responsibility for Christians to stand up for the truth and to be loyal to Christ and His church. In regard to caring for the poor, reaching out to the lost, loving each other ... these are not the issues.
You asked me about Phil's "gospel" message this week. Let's see ... I'm looking at my notes. The subject of his oration was "It's a Good Thing You Have Problems." He presented two main points: (1) Make purity a priority and (2) God goes first. I don't believe he elaborated on his remark that God's family is a safe place for "sinners" and "saints." It is my understanding of the scriptures that sinners are not members of God's family until after they have been born again and added to His family. (Note: I'm not referring to those who visit during the assembly.) Perhaps you can clarify something for me ... sometimes I have a hearing problem. Did he mention that he smoked (cigarettes) even early in his marriage and quit smoking soon after? Or, was it someone else? I realize he was using that to make a point.
Honestly and I'm sorry to disappoint you, but Phil has yet to impress me. I see a pattern as to which direction Madison is going, especially now that the "interim" Bruce White period (to "cool it") is over. Between Phil Barnes as the senior pulpit minister and Keith Lancaster as "the Worship Leader," the leadership may eventually accomplish its goal of "transforming" the Madison church into _______________ [you may fill that in]. Keep in mind, it is a gradual, subtle process; it is incremental and seemingly unnoticeable.
By the way, it's my turn to ask you this question: Do you think Bruce White should be an evangelist (using his talent) somewhere else?
|March 2 2005, 1:37 PM |
Would having an ice cream supper, inviting the neighborhood non church going, be considered "change movement activity" or "traditional church activity?
I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream...
|March 2 2005, 10:49 PM |
Just wondering if ravening wolves have a sweet tooth?
Re: Ice Cream
|March 4 2005, 4:17 AM |
As long as there is no church Bingo or gambling before or after supper, it doesnt matter.
It also depends on the flavor. I love the original, traditional rich and creamy strawberry flavor. It wouldnt be like the original strawberry flavor [it would be MIXED UP] when combined with other flavors: chocolate, orange, grape, lemon, blackberry, blueberry, peach, grapefruit, kiwi, etc.
Your question reminds of a church activityin fact, an entertaining onethat Madison used to [I think] have: the Super Bowl Party." Wait ... I think I still have a copy of a schedule. Let's look at the 2003 version first:
"Souper" Bowl Sunday Celebration Service, January 26 
3:45 p.m. Praise & Worship in the auditorium;"Souper" Bowl Sunday Celebration Service, February 1 
4:45 p.m. Super Bowl Party begins in the [Church] Mall
5:05 p.m. Kickoff on the big screen in Bixler [Chapel]
- Invite a friend!
- Introduce them into our fellowship!
- Bring your favorite Super Bowl food!
- Bring a can of soup for the Benevolence Ministry
3:30 p.m. Celebration Service in Bixler ChapelUh-oh! A lesson was learned in 2004 from the Janet Jackson commercial during the intermission. Remember? Just wondering and concerned about the friends invited and introduced into the fellowship.
--Chuck Sonn special guest speaker "Success Through Sacrifice"6 p.m. Regular worship service in Bixler Chapel with Dr. C. Bruce White
Praise Team -- Kevin D. [Keith L. was on "sabbatical" leave]
Fellowship in the Mall
Game shown in the [Church] Mall and Media Studio
- Invite a friend!
- Introduce them into our fellowship!
- Bring your favorite Super Bowl food!
- Bring a can of soup for the Benevolence Ministry
Was there a Super Bowl in 2005? The Madison Marcher forgot to advertise it in 2005!
I am not sure of the meaning of your reply. Are you making fun of the question? Is the flavor that important? How did Janet Jackson become involved in a community ice cream supper?
|Dr. Bill Crump|
Being "Right" vs. Being "Relevant"
|March 4 2005, 2:20 PM |
A common observation made about the traditional Church of Christ is that we insist on closely adhering to the Scriptures; that is, we are concerned about being right. Our earnest desire to be faithful to Gods Word offends many. In fact, the present generation on more than one occasion has recommended that the traditional Church of Christ be less concerned about being right and more concerned about being relevant. Such a recommendation implies that being faithful to Gods Word (that is, being right) is of lesser importance than being relevant to the present generation. Such a recommendation also implies that being right and being relevant are mutually exclusive.
The traditional Church of Christ practices expository preaching from the Bible with Bible study; a cappella hymn singing; taking up a collection for the Church; prayer; observance of the Lords Supper; exhortations to good works, the Great Commandment and Great Commission; adherence to the five steps to salvation: hearing the Word, believing the Word, repentance, confession, and water baptism by immersion for remission of sins. All this should be more than relevant for the faithful Christian, for the Scriptures authorize all this; that is, Christ should be all-sufficient. But apparently thats not the case with the present generation; that is, they consider the simple practices of the traditional Church of Christ as no longer relevant.
So what types of CHANGES would make the Church of Christ more relevant today? What can we do to keep the present generation happy and interested?
(1) Should we alter our manner of preaching? Lets drop expository preaching and incorporate jokes, amusing anecdotes, and human-interest stories. Lets emulate some liberal Bible professors in Church of Christ universities, who fixate more on the positive Gospel and teach that the main purpose for Christs Incarnation was not to die to redeem mankind from their sins, but to serve as a liaison in order to establish relationships between God and mankind. Lets not dwell much on the dark side of the Gospel: that man is a sinner and in need of redemption through Christ, or that God is a righteous Judge Who will most certainly damn the unrepentant soul to hell. After all, that might lower an unbelievers self-esteem. Lets fixate only on Gods unconditional love. Is selective preaching being more relevant?
(2) Should we drop a cappella singing or change our hymns? Are our traditional hymns no longer uplifting? Very well, lets write some new ones with beat and tempo that closely mimic secular pop songs heard on the radio. Thats what the Purpose Driven publications advocate. Lets add praise bands, instruments, or other worldly innovations that SIMULATE instruments and choirs to assist in worship. Heaven forbid that we worship on our own! Lets bring the Church closer to the world by making the church more LIKE the world. Lets ignore Romans 12:2, Eph. 5:19, and violate James 4:4. Is incorporating contemporary music being more relevant?
(3) Should we incorporate the look and feel of performing arts centers into our churches today? Lets take phenomenal sums from the church budget and create a theatrical environment with state-of-the art sound and lighting equipment, costumes, and all manner of devices to support all manner of drama, skits, and paid entertainers, who will bring us into the presence of God. Lets ignore the pure religion of James 1:27 and divert these funds away from the widows, orphans, and others in true need. Is corrupting the Church with the selfishness of worldly entertainment being more relevant?
(4) Should we alter our doctrine so that it is less offensive to unbelievers? For example, lets minimize or even ignore baptism as essential for salvation; lets ignore Mark 16:16 or Acts 2:38. After all, because so many other verses mention only faith, baptism isnt really necessary. Majority of verses rules, right? Lets twist Gal. 5:1 into meaning that we have unconditional liberty to do as we please. Lets ignore Gal. 5:2-6, which clarifies liberty in Christ to mean liberty only from the restrictions of the Law of Moses, nothing more. Lets follow such books as The Purpose Driven Life, which, for example, alters John 13:35 by saying that it is our love, not our doctrinal beliefs, which is our greatest witness to the world. Lets run on the premise that, as long as we have some kind of love, it really doesnt matter what we believe or preach, if anything at all. Anything goes! Furthermore, lets conduct surveys so that human preferences and prejudices can dictate our doctrine; everyone will be happy that way. Lets ignore 2 John 9-11 and Gal 1:8-9. Is compromising the doctrine of Christ being more relevant?
(5) Should we turn a blind eye and deaf ear to those who deliberately preach false doctrine or who add to or diminish from Gods Word? Lets be tolerant and accepting of everyone who comes along and preaches or advocates anything other than what is specifically authorized and commanded in the Word. Heaven forbid that we obey Romans 16:17 and mark and avoid them! Lets allow them to grab hold of the undiscerning and lead them astray. Lets violate Deut. 4:2 and Rev. 22:18-19. Is tolerance of false teachers being more relevant?
To suggest that the Church of Christ needs to change in order to become more relevant to a perverse and rebellious generation today is to imply that God is no longer concerned with the simple issues of right and wrong. Either a church obeys the Word completely and faithfully, or it doesnt. Either a church exists to please God and adore Him through righteous living and acceptable worship without the slightest hint of worldly gimmicks, or it exits to please man and entertain him through self-gratification and presumptuous behavior (Gal. 1:10). The Church of Christ can remain relevant only by faithfully preaching and obeying the Word, for all who come to Christ do so not because of modern innovations and changes which please the senses, but only because Christ directly draws them to Him (John 6:44). All Scripture references KJV.
Re: Being "Right" vs. Being "Relevant"
|March 7 2005, 2:02 PM |
So Dr Bill,
I guess the next step would be to say that if you don't agree with your tennents you so elequently laid out, that we are all condemmed to burn in the firey lake of hell, eh?
|March 7 2005, 6:52 PM |
Kent, one wonders how some people were educated! Or is it DNA?
Dr. Crump might say: "The bible teaches that baptism is necessary."
Kent undoubtedly with a Phd from Luny U says: "So, everyone who does not believe you is going to hell, huh?" Please Lord give me a better tranquilizer.
I once rehearsed some of the things the BIBLE associates with SALVATION. One a BA and one a Phd in New Testament studies piped up like they were hard wired:
"Wull-uh! whut 'r U goona do with those who hav'nt DONE all of those thangs?"
Can't you get it Kent? I can: it is part of the old Hegelian Dialectic well articulated by Machiavelli and Hitler. If someone tells you that American fighters can get to Berlin you debate the issue by insisting that their great, great, great grandfather had no earlobes and that proves that he was a JEW. Who wins the argument? Dr. Crump because by now most DISCIPLES have learned how to evaluate the facts and either ARGUE the point or fall into a whiney-piney pre hominoid ugga d ugga d ugga de ug.
If that isn't wrong I may have to change my mind about PREDESTINATION and certainly have a better grasp of the OFTEN STATED fact that people have at some time REJECTED the idea of TRUTH and they are now NOT OF FAITH or NOT OF TRUTH. Thereafter with no intermission Jesus is going to speak parables to keep YOU FROM grasping and learning from your betters. Oh, the factual statement will be understood by a third grader but the BLIND and DEAF will fight God's word. I told you about the MARK of music in many ancient documents such as the BOOK OF ENOCH defining for whom Jude indicated that God will come with ten thousand of his saints or angels to GET YOU: once you willingly accept the CONNECT between carnal feelings created by charismatic singing and preaching you will NEVER GET UP because Jesus is going to send you STRONG DULUDERS and make you PROCURE THEM with your tithes and offerings.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
Authority for Condemnation: The Word of God or the Church of Christ?
|March 8 2005, 12:51 PM |
I truly marvel at those who stubbornly resist anyone who preaches the strict Word of God. We in the traditional Church of Christ encourage others to remain faithful to Gods Word. We in the traditional Church of Christ have stated time and time again that the New Testament is our SOLE authority, the SOLE source for our doctrine, and the SOLE source for our Christian life. We will continue to proclaim this from now until the end of time, yet others will incessantly rail against us and insist that we are just legalists who pass off OUR preferences as divine principles; that those who dont follow OUR mandates are condemned to hell.
Jesus preached the Word of God, which clearly promised eternal damnation for the disobedient, yet the rebellious, unbelieving Jews thought Him possessed of a devil (John 8:47-49 KJV). The traditional Church of Christ faithfully preaches the very same Word of God that Jesus preached, yet the change agents and similar heretics respond in like manner against us today and refuse to hear us. As Jesus said in John 8:47 (KJV), He that is of God heareth Gods words: ye therefore hear (them) not, because ye are not of God.
Therefore, it is the Word of God that condemns those who do not hear and obey, not the Church of Christ. Those who do not hear and obey the Word of God are just not of God. Drawing a parallel with the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31 KJV), even if one from the dead arose and appeared to preach the Word of God, the change agents and similar heretics would still not be convinced (Luke 16:31 KJV).