THE SQUEAKY WHEEL GETS THE GREASE
Over the years since I started sending out these weekly essays, I have addressed a wide variety of matters, but some subjects get more attention than others. Brotherhood journals likewise address a wide range of subjects, but some subjects are addressed more frequently than others. In their annual Bible lectureships, Christian universities that have remained true to the purpose of their founders, Bible Institutes, and Schools of Preaching will be careful to address the entire gamut of Bible teaching, but some items will get more attention than others. Local churches in their teaching and preaching programs, in their gospel meetings, and in other special events will address some subjects more often than others. In all of these various venues, why do some subjects receive more attention than others?” Perhaps the following little ditty will explain why.
I hate to be a kicker,
I always long for peace,
But the wheel that does the squeaking,
Is the one that gets the grease.
For the past fifty or more years certain issues have been affecting the churches of Christ more than other issues. These have become “squeaky wheels” that have required (and continue to require) a generous application of Bible “grease” (what the Bible teaches about these matters). Here are some of the current “squeaky wheels” that are badly in need of a thorough application of Bible “grease.”
- Denominationalism. Who could have imagined that we would have to deal with the notion that the Lord’s church is “just another denomination,” that “the church of Christ is a big, sick denomination,” that undenominational Christianity is not possible in the present age, and that churches of Christ should “come to terms with our status as a denomination” (Leroy Garrett [1918-2015], What Must the Church of Christ Do To Be Saved?, p. 74ff)? (Brother Leroy also suggested that we need to convene our own Vatican II. Bless his heart!) Have liberal/progressive preachers and professors thrown away their Bibles? Do they not read and study them anymore? This squeaky wheel needs to keep getting a regular application of New Testament grease!
- Grace and salvation. To hear some talk, only in fairly recent times have gospel preachers discovered grace. Well, I have preached grace all my life. The preachers before me preached grace. I believe we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). But that very text shows that it is not “grace only.” The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men (Titus 2:11-14). Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for everyone (Hebrews 2:9). Yet, not everyone will be saved (Matthew 7:13-14, 21). Why? Because God’s gift of grace must be accepted! Christ is the author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him (Hebrews 2:9). We must keep applying the gospel grease to this squeaky wheel!
- Baptism for the remission of sins. As hard as it is for biblically informed people to imagine, we now have some preachers and elders who are denying this fundamental Bible truth. In their unbelief (I have been told that one such preacher is next to an atheist), they explain away clear, explicit passages. To be faithful to God we must continue to stress Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Romans 6:3-4, Galatians 3:26-27, I Peter 3:21, and a host of other inspired texts showing the place of baptism in the gospel plan of salvation.
- Instrumental music. A few congregations have accepted instrumental music in their worship services. Our young people want to know why we do not use instrumental music in worship and they deserve to be taught the truth of the Scriptures on this subject. But many preachers no longer preach on instrumental music and why it is wrong in the worship of the church. The fact is that some of them no longer believe that it is wrong. It is a squeaking wheel needing a big application of apostolic grease!
- Women preachers. Some congregations are permitting women to fill the pulpit and take other leading, authoritative roles in the worship assembly. At least one congregation in Middle Tennessee has (or has had) a female preaching intern. A few years ago, Abilene Christian University featured a female Episcopal priest as a keynote speaker on its Summit (previously known as the Bible Lectureship). In very recent times, Pepperdine University has had a female Lutheran “pastor” to deliver a keynote lecture on its Bible Lectureship. In these instances not only are such texts as I Corinthians 14:34 and I Timothy 2:11-14 being ignored (or being “reinterpreted” to accommodate our postmodern culture), but fellowship is being extended to denominationalists with their plethora of man-made doctrines and human traditions (cf. Romans 16:17-18). Some brethren simply cannot leave postmodernism and denominationalism alone! They’ve got to touch it, taste it, experiment with it, and become entangled in it! Some folks are suckers for just about anything that comes down the pike. We cannot afford to ignore this squeaky wheel.
- The homosexual agenda and same sex marriage. What affects the larger religious world sooner or later affects the Lord’s church. Many liberal denominations are accepting homosexuality as a legitimate life-style and denominational “clergy” are performing same-sex marriages. It is but a matter of time before some of my liberal brethren will be doing the same thing. Are we ready for it? In 1985, Pepperdine University was granted exemption from Title IX because the rule “violated the school’s Christian faith.” But in recent months the university has asked that the exemption be removed “because it does not reflect Pepperdine’s values today.” What happened to “the school’s Christian faith”? The university has caved in to the Obama administration’s rules regarding the acceptance of homosexuals and transgender people! Has there been a voice for righteousness heard from the Pepperdine Division of Religion Chairman, its Bible Lectureship Director, or its resident Restoration Movement scholar about this matter? Will we use the gospel grease gun on this squeaky wheel?
October 4, 2016