It has been said that inconsistency is the only thing in which men are consistent. We are all probably inconsistent at certain times and in certain ways. To help ourselves to a big plate of high calorie food at a restaurant food bar, for example, and then insist upon a diet drink is, I suppose, inconsistent. Some who insist that the Lord's Supper must be served in "one container" (thinking that Jesus was talking about the container when he said "cup" instead of the "contents,") will sometimes use two cups--one for each side of the building. Their practice is certainly inconsistent with their teaching. Consider what seems to be some inconsistent practices and positions among some brethren today.
Entertainment & Recreation
Several years ago, "Bussing Ministries" were popular among the congregations that believe it is proper for the church to support human institutions. Books and articles were written about how to have a successful "Bussing Ministry" which often emphasized the use of fleshly enticements to get children to ride the buses to church services. This was done in spite of the fact that the Bible teaches that the gospel is to be power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). The "Bus Ministry" does not seem to be as popular as it was once. In the past, the busses were also used to take kids to places like Six Flags and senior citizens to an event like a craft show. Now the "church van" is often being used for this purpose.
In recent years, among the institutional churches, the cry has gone out against those congregations (who they call the liberals) which have gotten further and further away from the truth. These people (called by the "liberals" the "new antis") are correctly and boldly teaching that the work of the church is not entertainment. It's work, instead, is to teach God's Word; its function is primarily spiritual in nature (I Tim. 3:15, Eph. 4:12, Acts 11: 28-30). Yet many of these churches which cry out against the "liberals" are not consistent. For example, many still have vans which are being used for recreational purposes (as stated earlier). Many also are still having what they call "fellowship meals" (social meals) in the church building. Doesn't it seem strange that these practices still exist in congregations which are starting to emphasize that the work of the church is not to provide recreation and entertainment? If the vans are being used simply to provide transportation to services, and if the meals are being served for benevolence to needy saints (Acts 6), that is one thing. But, obviously that is not what is being done in most cases. If the church is not supposed to provide entertainment, then it should quit providing transportation for entertainment! If it is wrong to build or provide the facilities for a "gym," isn't it wrong to build or provide facilities for a social meal? What's the difference? Both are out of the scope of what is the work of the church.
Some of the institutional churches which oppose the "liberals," (again, as they are frequently called) for getting away from the mission of the church, provide day care in their own buildings. What does "daycare" have to do with the threefold mission of the church? Can the church operate a business? Even if the church does not charge people for these services, again we ask, what does day care have to do with the work of the church? If the church can provide facilities for day care, would not consistency allow it to provide (or build) facilities for a school, a meeting place for the boy scouts, or a meeting place for a local civic club? Some may see no problems with even these things, but can one emphasize that the church has a threefold mission (edification, evangelism, and benevolence) and rebuke brethren for building a "family life center," while at the same time having the church provide day care? I don't get it.
Apostasies in the church need to be opposed, and standing against error is to be commended. However, as we stand against error, we need to make sure that we are not guilty of violating some of the same principles ourselves in our own practices (Rom. 2:1).
By Mike Johnson
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