SMOOTH AND FAIR SPEECH
I recently received a copy of a letter sent to a preacher in Africe. It was written by a lady, former a member of the Church of Christ, defending the changes instituted in the congregation where she worships. Reading her letter, one can conclude that she has fallen under the influence of Change Agents who no longer believe in doing Bible things in Bible ways and calling Bible things by Bible Names. Nor do they believe that we should look to the Bible for how we should worship and serve the Lord. They no longer believe that Churches of Christ are uniquely Christ’s church that we read of in the New Testament. Since her letter was not sent to me, I will withhold her name and that of the congregation of which she is a part. The lady’s words are set in bold italics.
First she proclaims, “It is with great joy that I am able to respond to your questions about our recent name change from__________ Church of Christ to Turning Point Church.”
Her reason for casting away the name Church of Christ and embracing “Turning Point Church” is “the culture of the Church of Christ here in the United States no longer defines our congregation. Although she tells us her congregation has changed numerous aspects of their former faith and worship, still she insists, “We are and will continue to be "CHRIST's" church...”
When asked by what authority has the church made these serious changes?, she replied, “we are under the Elders of the Church and they have the authority.” Evidently she and others of her new faith see their elders as having ultimate authority in the church, not Christ! Of course Christ claimed that all authority had been given unto him in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). Her elders are to shepherd the flock, but Christ is the “great Shepherd of the sheep” (Heb. 13:20), “The chief Shepherd” (I Pet. 5:4). He is head over all things to the church (Eph. 1:22). Elders of congregations have no authority to teach or lead contrary to the revealed will of Christ which is our New Testament. To dare to go contrary to the Master’s teaching is presumptuous sin (II John 9-11)!
As all false teachers have always done, this sister mixes a little scripture with her assertions to make them appear legitimate. She says, “Our salvation is through Christ alone, Eph. 2:9.” "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith and ...that no one can boast." This truth, no one challenges. She proceeds to say, “ we must be confident in our salvation and it is not done by any rules or works that you need to do in order to gain heaven.” In this she is obviously wrong! Must one believe in God and Christ to be saved? Jesus said, “Except ye believe that I am he ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). Must one repent of his sins in order to be saved? Jesus said, “except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish” (Luke 13:3). Remission of sins comes when a sinner repents and is baptized in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38). “Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice, he died for each and everyone one of us.” No one doubts this, but it does not therefore teach unconditional salvation. “I cannot belittle this sacrifice by saying, he died and plus I need to keep this rule to get to heaven" This is a faulty conclusion and reflects either a deficit of knowledge and understanding of Christ’s teaching or a rebellious spirit that refuses to accept and honor His message.
“You do know that Apostasy means to fall away from the truth. We have not fallen away from the truth.” This is called denial of reality. It is seen in those suffering from fatal illnesses, those who are involve in sinful conduct. They think that by deny their situation no one will see the reality of their case.
“There are non - essential
issues that DO NOT affect one's salvation / relationship with God. To deny or
accept these issues does not suggest apostasy. Some of these can be and may
include: Communion observed either weekly, monthly or quarterly, Worship on
Saturday or Sunday, Worship with or without instruments, Millennialism, Predestination
and we can go on and on. That just gets me further away from Christ and his
glorious victory over death. That is why he had to come in the first place to
SAVE us from all the rules and laws that were not saving us. The lines which
flow so glibly from her mind tell us much about the writer:
* To her, the Lordship of Jesus does not apply to what one believes or teaches regarding Christianity.
* She see no difference between truth and error in religion. Only faith in Christ matters!
* She wrongly assumes that Christ has no interest in what is believed or taught in His church.
* With this premise, she places herself among those who reason that “it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you love Jesus. This is the bedrock message of denominationalism.
* If truth and the correct understanding thereof are not important to God, why did the Holy Spirit include them in His Word?
* Philosophically, her words reflect the “postmodern” point of view. Religiously, they reflect the thinking of ecumenism. In time, they will likely evolve into universalism.
“I cannot presume to know or believe that (her new congregation) has it all right and that everything I do is correct...” This is the one truthful statement in the lady’s letter.
With sorrowing heart, I report these things. Lay members rarely initiate such changes. Unfaithful preachers do. Preachers who promote such false notions did not learn them by reading their bibles. Most of them were taught them while attending one of our Christian colleges or universities whose faculty and administrative have lost their way. Brethren: Let no man deceive you with smooth and fair speech! (Eph. 5:6; Rom. 16:18).
By John Waddey
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