SOME THINGS I HAVE LIVED TO SEE IN THE CHURCH (Part 2)
Following are some of the things I have lived to see in the church of our Lord:
- For many (including preachers) to view the church as just another denomination and to speak of it in denominational terms.
- For people (including preachers) to leave the church for a denomination, believing that in so doing they had not left the spiritual body of Christ, His church, but had only “switched denominations.”
- For some to claim that churches of Christ owe their origin to the Stone-Campbell Movement of the early 19th century and that we are, in fact, “Campbellites.”
- For instrumental music to be accepted in the worship services of some congregations.
- For women to lead in the public worship services of the church and to fill the pulpit in some congregations.
- For baptism to be denied as being for the remission of sins and essential to salvation.
- For some preachers to affirm salvation from sin by faith only, before and without water baptism.
- For “open membership” to be practiced (people received into the church on infant “baptism,” sprinkling, pouring, or no baptism at all).
- For some to believe and teach that hell does not consist of eternal conscious punishment.
- For some of our colleges and universities to become enamored with “scholarship” and “theology” to the point of compromising the truth of the gospel and the validity of the restoration plea. (Note: No thoughtful person is opposed to genuine biblical scholarship and theology, but we now have some preachers and professors among us who become absolutely giddy in their admiration of the scholarship of the denominational world and its theological seminaries, and who “fall all over themselves” in the presence of their scholarly peers in the sectarian world. I am convinced that it is more a matter of ego and pride in the notion that “we have arrived among our denominational peers” than it is a matter of real scholarship and true theology.)
- For some of our colleges and universities to have as speakers on their lectureship programs and scholarly conferences men and women from the denominational world, both Catholic and Protestant.
- For at least one of our universities to offer academic scholarships in Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender studies, with such scholarships being available to students of all sexual orientations.
- For a decline in “book, chapter, and verse” preaching, giving a “thus saith the Lord” for what is preached, and instead a substitution of pep talks, after dinner speeches, and indistinct sermons that have lost the distinctive edge and are almost totally void of scripture.
- For Bible classes to be turned into “conversations” on current events and social concerns in which everyone expresses his/her opinion, “think-so’s,” or how they “feel” about the matter, but with the Bible itself seldom being seriously considered.
- For preachers and professors to deny the divine, plenary, and verbal inspiration of the Scriptures and the fact that the Scriptures are the final authority in religious matters, and which, therefore, lies at the heart of most of the other changes.
- For a former preacher in the church (as well as being a former editor of a brotherhood newspaper) to flatly declare, “The Bible is wrong about many things.”
The above are some of the things I have lived to see take place in some churches of Christ and some of our colleges and universities. I am not proud of the fact that these changes have occurred because I view them as departures from New Testament teaching.
At the same time, I am happy to say that there are many of us who have not changed either our message or our practice to conform to the ever changing postmodern world or to be like the denominations of men, but have stayed with “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). For us, I believe, there is a bright future ahead.
July 23: Rivergate Church of Christ, Madison, TN
July 27-30: Leeville Church of Christ, Lebanon, TN
July 22, 2014