Today, the Church of Christ is confronted by a wave of apostasy that threatens her very existence. From Atlantic to Pacific we see congregations rejecting the basic premises of New Testament Christianity and eager to embrace the beliefs and practices of the denomination world. Many brethren are bewildered by what is happening and left wondering, how has this come to pass?

Years of complacency by those who train our ministers has left us with preachers lacking in requisite biblical knowledge, weak in their commitment to the Lord and his church and unprepared to defend the church and her faith against determined rebels. A mood of compromise and pacifism had become the settled mind set of many brethren. Rather than a commitment to defeat every false way and capture the hearts and minds of men for Christ (II Cor. 10:5), they have slipped into a defensive, survival mode.

As the pre-World War II generation passed away, a new generation, born after 1945, assumed leadership. In many cases, the younger leaders lacked serious knowledge of God’s Word. Also they were deficient in their understanding of the Lord’s will for his church. They were especially weak in their understanding and commitment to the restoration of the church to her original state.

Among our preachers, many had a desire for success as viewed by the world; especially by the denominational world. That superceded their desire to please Christ.

In the last half-century, several of our Christian Universities were infiltrated and captured by a band of skeptical liberals who were more eager to please and be honored by their peers in academia than to faithfully serve the Lord’s church. They succumbed to the pressure to have their bible professors educated in the theological schools of the great secular universities. They staffed their classrooms with men who not only rejected our commitment to restore the ancient faith, but were also filled with liberal theological views that undermined and destroyed faith in the authority of God’s Word. This has done major damage to Christ’s church. Ensconce in the Bible Departments of Abilene Christian, Pepperdine, Lipscomb and Rochester College, these men corrupted the faith of the young men who went there for their ministerial training. Other students were also affected by the spiritual corruption that dominated the campus environment. Pockets of this same doctrinal disease exist in some of our other schools but have yet to gain total control.

From these tainted schools came ideas that are incompatible with the teaching of God’s Word.
* They rejected the idea that the New Testament is a pattern for the faith and practice of the church. Thus they challenge the teaching of Paul (II Tim. 1:13).
* They rejected the idea that the New Testament of Christ is the complete and final authority for all things in Christianity (John 12:48).
* They came to believe that the Old Testament was of equal authority for the church as the New Testament of Christ. This allowed them to introduce and accepted such practices as the use of instrumental music in worship, women preachers and leaders in congregations and other things not allowed by the New Testament. (See Col. 2:14-17).
* In their years in theological seminaries they concluded that denominationalism is acceptable to God and rather than be condemned, it should be embraced.
* They rejected the belief that Christ has only one true church and that the congregations of the Church of Christ constitute that church (Eph. 4:4).
* They declared the Church of Christ to be a narrow splinter of the denomination founded by Barton Stone and Alexander Campbell in the early 1800s. To them the Church of Christ is a poor quality denomination for which they have only criticism and contempt.
* They began to push for a reunion with Christian Churches and Disciples of Christ who had separated from us in the early 1900s.

This combination has produced two kinds of preachers, both of whom have inflicted great harm on the Lord’s church.
* The skeptical academics who want to transform the Church of Christ into a liberal denomination under the influence and guidance of the liberal theologians of the universities.
* The other, are pragmatic preachers who want to gather a large following by adopting the approach and practices of denominational super stars such as Joel Osteen, Rick Warren and Robert Schuller. To draw their crowds, these preachers are willing to change any aspect of the church which the worldly sort find unappealing. They may not even understand the theological reasoning of the liberal scholars or respond to their skeptical views. They frankly don’t care about such things. They operate without convictions of loyalty to Christ and his church. They labor for their own fame

Together these schools and their graduates are doing great harm to the body of Christ. Their presence in the church is like that of some foreign virus that invades a human body. Those who are weak are quickly overcome. The stronger are placed under attack. The results are always negative and sometime disastrous.

Given the postmodern mind set that now prevails in our society, many elders and preachers find themselves unable or unwilling to challenge these false disciples. They seem to be mentally and spiritually paralyzed in their face of this growing disaster. They cannot bring themselves to pass judgment on teaching and practices that are clearly contrary to God’s Will for his church. They watch in silence while enemies of the church ravaged sister congregations, and extend their control. They are more skeptical of those who raise the warning than of the saboteurs in their midst. Thus the church of our Lord Jesus now stands battered and bleeding, not from enemies without but from turncoats within. She looks to the soldiers of Christ for relief but many of them have fled to safety or worse, have joined the ranks of the rebels. Ask yourself, what will be the end thereof?

If there be any love for Christ, if there be any faith, if there be any courage, let the children of God rise up in defense of the church purchased with the dying blood of her founder (Acts 20:28). Be not ashamed of the gospel, the church, her faith or her practices (Rom. 1:16). Be glad to suffer ridicule and shame for the glorious bride of Christ.

* To see, in their own words, how our university liberals take credit for the changes being pushed upon our congregations see Dr. Wes Crawford’s book, Shattering the Illusion, ACU press, (Chapt. 5, pp.156-177). Crawford teaches at Abilene Christian University.

By John Waddey

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