So many things are happening in some churches of Christ today that I am no longer surprised by what I hear or read. Dismayed, but not surprised. There was a time when, while traveling, one could stop at a building with a sign out front saying, "The Church of Christ Meets Here," or some variation of that, and be sure of what you would encounter inside. That, sadly, is not always the case these days. Some congregations now include instrumental music during worship services. It is possible to find the Lord's Supper offered on Saturday night. You might have your ears tickled with leassons that are completely foreign to the Bible teachings.

It used to be that a gospel teaching stewardship was taught, but increasingly a gospel (if you can call it that) of either poverty or prosperity is the order of the day. Homosexuality used to be sin, but now is an "alternative lifestyle." Tolerance is the call today. Many services are characteristically leaning more toward the realm of entertainment than of worshiping the God of creation. We used to be sure of what was right and what was wrong, but lately the lines seem to be blurred. I personally thank God that there are still some who have not fallen under the spell of some of those glib-tongued servants of the devil who are spreading false teachings in our churches. (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

Many years ago, a fellow named A.Z.Tozer wrote, "For centuries, the church stood solidly against every form of worldly entertainment, recognizing it for what it was -- a divice for wasting time, a refuge from the disturbing voice of conscience, a scheme to divert attention away from moral accountability. But of late, she appears to have decided that if she cannot conquer the great god of entertainment, she may as well join forces with him and make what use we can of his power."

Everywhere we look, we see compromise. The religious mood in some churches is social instead of spiritual. Instead of producing saints, today's models are successful businessmen, athletes and movie stars. Some so-called churches model their religious activities along the lines of the latest Hollywood extravaganza. Entertainment, not teaching, is the norm. And few seem to really care!

Even in some of our formerly solid institutions of higher learning, we find an atmosphere where religious differences are discussed with the idea that no one will try to "convert" another or point out the errors of antibiblical positions. We dare not be dogmatic, but try to find "common ground" with those with whom we differ. It would be hard to imagine Moses holding a panel discussion with Israel over the rightness or wrongness of worshiping the golden calf! Or of Jesus seeking a discussion with the Pharisees to iron out their differences and have unity.

The apostle Peter wrote, "Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the Will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory" (1 Pet. 5:1-4, NAS).

Peter says there are two wrong motives for church leaders: money and power. If our leaders fall under the spell of either or both of these, the church falls. It may continue to grow in numbers, but still fail to grow spiritually. Attracting large crowds for the wrong reasons is not pleasing to God. It is like the case of the fig tree growing lots of leaves, but bearing no fruit (Matt. 21:19-21). We must stand strong for God, and no matter what we hear from the pulpit or others, we must follow the example of the Bereans, "They received the word with all readiness of mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11).

By David Moore in Gospel Minutes, Vol. 57, NO. 10, Mar. 7, 2008.

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