CHANGES DO MAKE A DIFFERENCEJune 8 2007 at 12:55 PM
|John Waddey (Login Donnie.Cruz)|
from IP address 18.104.22.168
CHANGES DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
In a suburb of Nashville, there once was a flourishing congregation of the Lords people. They had a lovely meeting house and prospered for a season. Because of internal conflicts and poor leadership, the congregation disintegrated and ceased to exist. The building still stands but changes have taken place. The sign identifying it as a church of Christ was taken down. The pews, pulpit and communion table were carted away. The former doors were removed and large garage doors installed. At last report a car repair shop occupied it.
No longer do saints assemble there to worship; the gospel is not proclaimed therein. The Lords memorial meal is not observed, nor do sinners have their sins washed away in its baptistery. No children fill its classrooms for Bible study. Satan won the victory! The changes were overwhelming and permanent. It is no longer the home of a church of Christ; it is an auto shop.
Across the nation scores of churches of Christ are engaged in a similar process of change. Seduced by skilled promoters of change they have embarked on a project that will significantly alter every aspect of their being. Consider what their mentors propose:
More examples could be given, but these suffice to make the point. Congregations that have embraced the above mentioned changes may once have been faithful churches of Christ. But given these major changes in every essential aspect of their nature and being, are we not correct in concluding that somewhere along the way they ceased to be what they once were? Yes, they may still be a church, but they are no longer the church one reads of in Scripture, nor the church they were 25 years ago! They may talk of their spiritual roots in the Restoration Movement, but they have abandoned those roots. Just as that building housing the auto shop in Nashville is no longer the home of a church of Christ, such changed congregations are no longer the church they once were! Actually it would be a blessing, if all of those who are determined to take this course would take a new name and disassociate themselves from us, let those seeking salvation and the church of the Bible be misled.
- Many have already changed their name. They prefer to be known as a Community Church or some other cognomen than church of Christ.
- They have rejected the Bible as the divine pattern for the church (II Tim. 1:13), preferring consensus and the example of various successful denominational bodies.
- They are changing their doctrine. They have repudiated much of what their fathers taught about grace, baptism, worship, church government, the role of women, the nature of the church.
- They are changing their worship. The simple worship of the apostolic church is not pleasing to them. To be bound and limited by Scripture is too restrictive. They view our acappella singing, our simple memorial feast, our Biblical preaching to be old-fashioned, boring and ineffective. They long for excitement and the freshness of change. They wish to be like their religious neighbors who acknowledge no such limitations (I Sam. 8:5).
- They have changed their message of salvation. Salvation by grace (Eph. 2:8,9) has been replaced by salvation by grace alone. Baptism to wash away sins (Acts 22:16) has been replaced by baptism to declare ones previous salvation by grace. The one church which is Gods family of saved souls (Acts 2:47; Col. 1:13) has been replaced with a choice of denominational churches, none of which are really important.
- They have replaced the Biblical teaching and practice of exclusive male leadership for the church (I Tim. 2:8-12; 3:1) with a new model, fashioned after the Feminist cult, that allows women to participate in all aspects of church life i.e., as preachers, teachers, deacons, etc.
- Preaching the gospel has been replaced by story-telling, dramatic skits and other new means of sharing.
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now
REMEMBER THE POOR
|June 18 2007, 4:07 AM |
REMEMBER THE POOR
Those who are striving to remodel the church according to denominational standards labor long and hard to find something about her to criticize. Among the most recent imaginary flaws they cite is that churches of Christ have failed to minister adequately to the poor. They ignore the many children's homes, homes for the aged and homes for unwed mothers our brethren have provided and funded. They close their eyes to the great Disaster Relief program of the Nashville churches and the many efforts to alleviate suffering in foreign nations. They forget the millions of dollars spent on benevolence by individual congregations and private Christians. To acknowledge such would spoil the negative image they wish to create.
In their book, Kingdom Come (Leafwood Pub. 2006), John Mark Hicks (Professor of Theology, David Lipscomb University) and Bobby Valentine (M. A. Harding Graduate School of Religion) make the following statements:
"We also share in a mystical communion with him because he (Jesus, jhw) is somehow present and identified with the oppressed" (p. 100).These ideas might qualify as creative fiction, but serious biblical exegesis they are not! Such non-biblical statements are borrowed from denominational sources.
"Others mistook the primary mission of the church as evangelism. This is certainly a high priority but not the first and highest object of the church" (p. 106).
"We find fellowship with Jesus because he is present in the oppressed. Sharing with the poor is a means of grace in which the presence of Christ is mediated to us, transforming us into the image of the Son" (p. 108).
While we grant that benevolence is a definite obligation of the church (Gal. 2:10), it is imperative that we discern between the types of poor people around us:
No knowledgeable Bible student will deny that caring for the poor is a duty of the church. Paul makes that clear. But it is presumptuous to deny that evangelism is the primary mission of the church. Christ, the head of the church, settled that in his parting charge. "Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them ... teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..." (Matt. 28:19). Paul understood it that way. He said, "Woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel" (I Cor. 9:16). This same error is seen in those who say that our assistance should be extended without attempting to teach to the recipients. J. C. Bailey once said, "In India, I could hand out food and clothing 24 hours a day, seven days in the week and still there would be no end to the line. Doing that, I would not be able to teach them the gospel. They would be fed for a day or two, but still lost." Adjusting his methods, he preached Christ and won tens of thousands to the Savior. He supplied their physical needs as he was able.
- There are the righteous poor. In this group are Christian and innocent children. We have an obligation to them because they are fellow-members with us in the family of God (I Tim. 3:15). We are plainly told to do good to them of the household of the faith (Gal. 6:10).
- There are those who are honorable poor. Even though they are not Christians we are to assist them (Gal. 6:10). Their poverty is no fault of their own. They are willing to work but because of circumstances beyond their control they are reduced to poverty. This might be the result of illness, or injury, poor job opportunities, war or displacement. It would include the working poor.
- There are those who are poor because of their laziness, wastefulness or lack of ambition. God's will towards them is, "If any will not work, neither let him eat" (II Thess. 3:10). Such people prefer to live off the labors of others. To them we have no obligation.
- There are the irresponsible poor. They consume their assets on drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography, etc. They are of the same category as the lazy person. They have no right to expect those who have worked to earn their bread by honest labor to provide their needs. For the church to finance such people is to enable them and encourage them in their irresponsible and sinful life style.
We have no obligation to listen to or support those whose primary purpose is to criticize and belittle the Lord's church.
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now
I'll Play Along
|June 25 2007, 3:12 AM |
O.K. fine, since no one will respond to your posting... but you, I'll throw you a bone.
To be honest, I didn't really read the post, though I'm sure I've read it in another form many times before. What cracks me up, is the title: CHANGES DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
What else is CHANGE supposed to do???????
Think about it.
Prodigal Son Anyone?
|June 26 2007, 8:15 PM |
While I agree that we need to show wisdom in benevolence, we must show compassion above all. Waddey's categorizations are simply wrong. If he was the father in the prodigal son parable, he would have kicked the son out on his keister. Luckily he is not my heavenly father.
Of course we shouldn't provide people with the money to continue their addictions, after working with recovering alcoholics and drug addicts for a number of years, I realize that if it weren't for the grace of God, allowing me to be born in a Christian family to loving parents who knows where I may have ended up. Listening to stories about people whose mother had them at 16 with no source of income, with a father-figure who wasn't their father, but did abuse them physically and/or sexually, and first experimented with drugs at 12...to classify them as irresponsibile or lazy and then dismiss them is 1) ignorant, and 2) extremely unchristian. Perhaps the best thing to do in this situation is to let them hit rock bottom and then show them, like the father in the parable, what true love is about. None of us deserve the love the Father has lavished on us, it is a gift!
Re: Prodigal Son Anyone?
|June 27 2007, 8:53 AM |
Thanks for your comments.
I think it would be safe for me to assume that of all people, brother Waddey would be one Christian who is very familiar with the prodigal son parable. If you are equating the situation of a recovering alcoholic or drug addict with that of the son returning home to be with his father, I dont see any reason why John Waddey would be opposed to welcoming him home.
Lets keep in mind the primary lesson that can be derived from his article. Its about what the change agents are doing to give the negative impression that churches of Christ are not doing enough in the area of benevolence. Not only such negative portrayal of the church in that regard [benevolence], but also the notion that evangelism is not the primary mission of the churchwhich is inaccurate and unscriptural; thats what the article is trying to point out.
As you already know, the local congregation should be involved in three primary areas: evangelism, edification, and benevolence. I think, instead of promoting the change agents agenda, we should question the decisions made by the leadership [the elders] to employ high-salaried Worship Leaders, and all sorts of ministers [involvement, youth, etc] using the saints contribution for these purposes. Congregations usually have very good and talented men who can start or lead the singing, who can minister in various ways
|June 25 2007, 6:22 AM |
From: [email@example.com] On Behalf of John Waddey
Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2007 2:12 PM
Subject: [fortify_your_faith] A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith - 06/23/07
Dear Fellow Christian:
Today, we remind ourselves of the danger of trying to change the church to make her acceptable to 21st century sinners. If you find this lesson helpful, I urge you to forward it to others in your email address book. Feel free to download and duplicate it to share with others where you worship. We must work together to protect and preserve that spiritual treasure that is ours
One of my favorite television shows is Antiques Road Show. Watching it I have marveled at the immense value of some old pieces of furniture, paintings, weapons, etc. I have also learned that the value of a rare antique can be greatly diminished if the owner should seek to modify or modernize it. The value of an ancient gun was reduced when the owner scrubbed away the patina. A rare chest lost much of its values when new knobs and handles replaced the originals. A set of china was lessened because a few pieces were missing. Hundreds of examples of this have been observed. This provides a valuable lesson for Christians living in the 21st century.
Christ's church is 2,000 years old. Her worship, doctrines and organization seem strange and obsolete to proud citizens of the 21st century. We can understand men of the world whose carnal minds cannot appreciate the antiquity of the church. We are not surprised that in their arrogance they think they can improve on her by their schemes of modernizing. We are astonished at members of the church of Christ who follow their shameful example.
The antiquity of the church is her glory, not her weakness. The church was founded in Jerusalem by the resurrected Lord in 33 A.D. (Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:1ff). The head of the church is Jesus who was enthroned 2,000 years ago (Eph. 1:22). The terms of entrance into the membership of the church are 2,000 years old. It was faith, repentance and baptism then, and these essentials yet remain (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38). They have not been rescinded. The worship of the church was instituted two millennia ago by the direction of the apostles, guided by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 3:12-16; 14:37). Man's needs are yet the same and the ordinances given have served the church well for 2,000 years and are still in force.
Just as the value of an antique is diminished when its possessor attempts to improve its substance or appearance, so a congregation of the church of Christ loses its worth and even its identity when men try to improve her faith, worship or practices. The church in Thyatira had some in her midst who felt they could produce a better worship and lifestyle for the congregation. Jesus explained that he would deal harshly with the change agent and those who followed her. However, he would reward those who keep his works unto the end (Rev. 2:20-26).
Some think they can improve nature of the church by remodeling her after the pattern of Evangelical denominations. Some think to improve her worship by adding instrumental music to her praise and using women in to lead in conducting worship (I Cor. 14:33-34; I Tim. 2:11-12). Some would renovate her communion by making it part of a common meal and observing it on weekdays and during marriage ceremonies. Some would improve her terms of membership by placing less emphasis on the divinely given terms of entrance and extending membership to some who have not met the terms announced by the apostles of Christ (Mark 16:16). Some wish to modify the biblical forms of church government.
Those instituting these changes may be sincere, yet their impact on their congregations is no less misguided and destructive than the fellow who refinished his piece of colonial era furniture or took it upon himself to touch up the valuable paint of a master artist.
I implore you to accept the church as Christ made her. Worship as he ordained. Faithfully teach the message he gave us. Then you will truly be his disciples (John 8:31)
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now