ALL CRACKED UP
There was a movie some 30 - 40 years ago that starred Dana Andrews. It was entitled: "CRACK IN THE WORLD" The movie scenario was that an undersea eruption of a volcano triggered an earthquake which began to spread. It was causing a crack in the sea floor, and it continued to broaden, and triggered more earthquakes along a zig-zag route along the ocean floor. The crack enlarged as it wound its path along.
Since the eruption and earthquakes were several thousand feet below the surface, it was hardly noticeable to the world above. But seismologists noticed it on the seismograph equipment. Alerts went out to specialists in attempts to cope with the situation. For the crack was determined to encircle the earth along the ocean floor. And, if it made it's way clear around the world, and meet at it's origin-then cataclysmic phenomenon would be the entire destruction of the entire earth. The problem was solved in the movie.
However, there have been numerous cracks (not physical) to intervene in the lives of mankind. Some are fiction (or fantasy). But some are very real and personal - that have affected millions of lives in all paths of endeavor. Remember the children's poem - "HUMPTY DUMPTY". In a fall off a wall - he was broken (cracked) in many pieces. After the fall he could not be put (mended) back together again.
Two business partners have a falling out. The disputes and differences escalate to the point of no return. No mending here. So - a rift (or crack) between the two grow so tense, that the two decided to go separate ways. This 'crack' in business relationships occurs many time over and very often.
Let us get away from the preceding scenarios, and talk about something more important. Let's talk about the religious world. We find in the catalog of religious bodies, that there are many different churches under the same grouping. For instance - many separate Baptist churches - many separate Methodist churches, and we could go on and on. There have been factions, or disputes (let's call them 'cracks') in those religious bodies. They have never mended their differences. In many of the religious groupings. There is seldom any attempt to do it - maybe not even speaking to each other.
In particular, let's take a look at the 'Church of Christ'. Over the last one hundred and seventy five years the body has deteriorated in the grouping of 'churches of Christ'. By this I mean that dispute, envy, and, interpretation, have caused rifts in the body. Sometimes, the disputes start out with just words - and envy sets in - jealousy causes a 'crack' in their relationship. These 'cracks' in the body have widened , and the rifts become so great, that there is a total separation in the body.
The Disciples of Alexander Campbell, the Christians under Barton Stone were supposed to be the complete 'Restoration' of the first century church. But not so, and far from it.
The original 'crack' (in the Missionary Society of Campbell ) was not mended by the Disciples. Next came the second large 'crack' The Christian Church (from it's founder - Stone) made a great departure in doctrine just before 1900 rolled around.
About the turn of that century ,there was emerging on the horizon, the 'cracks' of the ONE CUP BRETHREN, followed by the NO SUNDAY SCHOOL BRETHREN. These two groups are the way they are simply because of interpretation of the scriptures. They may worship God scripturally - nothing being wrong with their practice, but their interpretation of the Scriptures have caused them to be castigated by so-called 'mainline churches of Christ'. They do not fellowship nor talk to each other - but they are still 'brothers'.
When you get a 'splinter' in your finger or foot - Oh does it hurt! It hurts until you extricate the thing. Splinters (I call them 'cracks') in the Lord's church hurts too.
We proceed in time to the middle of the 20th century. Along came new words from the mouths of preachers, members, and the like. Before the mid 1950s no church was 'dubbed' ANTI. Misinterpretation of scripture caused a 'crack' in the 'mainline churches of Christ' to happen again. The ANTI stemmed from the ideas of Non-Cooperation churches on orphan homes and other types of cooperation. That 'crack' in the church had a devastating effect (and still vibrant to this day) on the brotherhood.
But now comes more of the ripple effects. More cracks are fracturing the church - to a point of no meaningful (if any) mending. Within the past twenty-five years - numerous attempts made on the part of some churches to identify themselves as 'a denomination'. The removing of the word "CHRIST' on marquees and signs (but they still are listed in the telephone books as 'Church of Christ').
When one enters the front door of a 'church of Christ' he doesn't really know what the atmosphere is any more. Will he find instrumental music, a choir, or hear a 'denomination' type of sermon. And he may not know how that church believes on issues in the brotherhood that causes 'cracks'. It is amazing how some brethren are so obsessed with trying to find a fault or a practice (anything under the sun) with some other church- just so they can spread something that may, or may not, be true.
The pages of history are being written every day, week, and year. With so many 'cracks' and fractures that have already taken place - and it seems to be an ongoing cycle - WHAT NEXT!
By Eldon Scott Feb 2001
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