HOW DID WE REACH THIS SAD STATE?
Those Christians who love the Lord’s church stand in amazement as they observe entire congregations casting aside their prior commitment to be New Testament Christians and to restore the faith and worship of the church to her original state. Many marvel and ask, what has happened to bring this disaster upon us? Having spent the last 58 years working among our congregations, I have observed the following factors that have culminated in this major apostasy.
* Some where this side of 1970, many
of our young preachers grew tired of being a “remnant” church. Paul
reminds us that God’s true servants have always been a small remnant among
the multitudes (Rom. 9:27).
* They grew weary of being despised by the world and by their denominational neighbors. They forgot they were forewarned of such treatment by the Scripture (Luke 6:22-23; I Pet. 4:14).
* They were unhappy with being passed by and ignored as insignificant by the news media and by evangelical schools and journals.
* They yearned for the opportunity to man a mega church like Joel Osteen has. Opportunities for that are extremely limited within our brotherhood.
* They wanted to have professional designations that would recognize and acknowledge their greatness and importance. To be identified merely as brother, minister, or by their given name is so inadequate for men of their stature. Among us, they must settle for doctor, senior minister, or executive minister. To be recognized and honored as reverend, they will have to move into more ecumenical waters.
* Most of the leaders of this apostasy are graduates of Abilene Christian University, Pepperdine University, Lipscomb University or Rochester College. There have been some exceptions and a few of their graduates have not followed the liberal path. The Bible professors of these schools introduced these young men to postmodern, liberal theology, a new kind of hermeneutic or way of interpreting the Bible. They learned that denominationalism was acceptable to God and they were convinced the Church of Christ is nothing more than a misguided denominational. They were led to think that a cappella praise , weekly Lord’s Day communion, exclusive male leadership, etc. are only “Church of Christ traditions,” thus opened to change.
* If they were taught anything at all about our Restoration Movement, it was a revised version that made the Disciples of Christ and Christian Churches the principle heirs. The Church of Christ, they were told, is a splinter faction that came into existence in 1906. No chances were missed to ridicule and denigrate the Church of Christ. Upon completion of their education, they were prepared and ready to go forth and change our congregations into the image they had learned of while in school.
* With so many of our brethren woefully deficient in Bible knowledge, with a general lack of understanding and appreciation for our “Back to the Bible Movement,” the change agents found the ground ready to receive their tares. By the turn of the century, the new teaching began to bear fruit and across the nation a new kind of denominational Church of Christ emerged.
* When the first congregations dared to announce their shift away from the sacred pattern found in the New Testament, many brethren were so busy tending their local flock, they failed either to hear or to recognize the seriousness of the situation. Some were so out of touch with reality, they blamed the messengers who sounded the warning. So here we are, 13 years into this new apostasy. It is not just another faction or splinter. Already upwards of 300 congregations have turned their backs on the Lord’s church to embrace denominationalism. Every year more preachers are sent forth from the schools that are equipping them for a ministry of change and destruction.
* Too many of our preachers have refused to be good soldiers of Jesus (II Tim. 2:3).
What will be the end thereof? Only God knows. But this much is clear, only those brothers and sisters who are faithful unto death will receive the crown of life (Rev. 2:10). All of those who do not abide in the teaching of Christ will forfeit their home in God’s house (II John 9-14). Remember, God is counting on elders and those who preach, to fight the good fight of the faith (I Tim. 6:12) and defend His church, her faith and practice from those who would do her harm (Phil. 16),
By John Waddey
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