THE DESCENT OF THE MODERNISTS
Ed Bragwell and I were fellow students at Freed-Hardeman College back in the mid-1950s. Ed has preached the gospel for all or parts of at least seven decades (as have I), and only in fairly recent months has he retired from full-time ministry. He continues to edit a publication, “The Reflector,” and is kind enough to send me a digitized copy of it each month.
Ed is a good writer, and while he and I disagree on a few matters, I appreciate his commitment to the divine inspiration and authority of the Scriptures, the great fundamentals of “the faith once for all delivered to the saints,” and the undenominational church set forth on the pages of the New Testament.
In the February 2014 issue of his publication, Ed set out a chart that identified step by step the descent of religious modernists/liberals from Christianity into atheism. Amazingly, the liberals in the Lord’s church seemingly do not recognize their own devolution, but like to talk instead of how they, in their exalted opinion of themselves, have “evolved” to higher spiritual echelons and to nobler spiritual concepts. They see themselves as having outgrown an earlier “legalism” and “sectarianism,” and they look with disdain on those of us who, in their opinion, are still “in the dark.” (One of them recently referred to his journey as his “metamorphosis.”)
I have borrowed Ed’s points for this week’s edition of “News & Views,” and would remind our readers that the race-course of life is littered with the souls of those who have followed this downward spiral to ultimate infidelity.
This has happened because of a failure to heed Paul’s admonition to Timothy: “[G]uard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and vain babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge by professing it, some have strayed concerning the faith” (I Timothy 6:20-21).
The steps from a strong Christian faith to atheism are as follows:
- Bible not infallible
- Man not made in God’s image
- No (Bible) miracles
- No virgin birth
- No deity
- No atonement
- No resurrection
Some who are at the bottom of this list (or who are rapidly approaching the bottom), occupy some of America’s pulpits, but in reality they hold (either privately or openly) to some or all of the matters enumerated from the first step to the final step.
Sadly, preachers in churches of Christ are not exempt from this tragic devolution. There is not a New Testament doctrine or practice that some among us have not been (and still are not) willing to re-define, compromise, or even abandon in order to maintain their cherished positions and their standing with their “scholarly” denominational and so-called world religion peers, including Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and all the rest!
Others, who know the truth, are often timid about letting their views be known, lest they invoke the disapproval of their peers, and prefer to walk around on egg shells where certain doctrinal matters are concerned. “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20).
“Beware lest anyone take you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
September 30, 2014