This year, 2006, there is another unity effort to restore fellowship with the
apostate Christian Church. But, “Can two walk together, except they be
agreed” (Amos 3:3)? How can those in error be fellowshipped? Many people
apparently haven’t learned from past history when there was a split in
the Lord’s church in the later half of the 1800s. As a result about 1,330,379
went off into the apostate Christian Church denomination and only 159,123 remained
faithful to the Lord’s church. In the past 100 years the apostate Christian
Church has not repented of their sins, and it is apparent they are not going
The only unity that is going to occur is if some congregations of the churches of Christ will accept the Christian Church and their sinful practices. Then these congregations will also become apostate like the Christian Church. Men have become tired of God’s simple order for His church and have tried to improve on it. When a congregation steps onto the road of error, there is no turning back. After the first step, the next steps are easier.
People today may think it makes no difference if they add mechanical instruments of music in worshipping God. In the Old Testament we have the example of Nadab and Abihu who were also presumptuous in their thinking that it made no difference. Nadab and Abihu learned their lesson the hard way and too late when they, “offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord” (Lev. 10:1-2). They took it upon themselves to offer strange fire in worship to God. They died a horrible violent death because they did something in worship that God did not authorize. “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition” (I Cor. 10:11). Just as Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire, men today who have no respect for God’s word are offering strange music “before the Lord, which He commanded them not.” Who has authorized man today to do this?
God’s command is to sing. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:16-17). The expression, “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” signifies everything we do must be by His authority. Only what God says in the scriptures is authorized. Nowhere in the New Testament is man authorized to add a lifeless mechanical instrument of music to the singing in worship to God. For the Lord’s supper, God did not have to say not to add milk and cookies. But adding milk and cookies would be just as sinful as adding a mechanical instrument of music to our singing in worshipping God.
The use of mechanical instruments of music is not authorized. God has never permitted man to devise the plan or means to worship Him. This is very serious because we will lose our souls through presumptuous sins just as Nadab and Abihu lost their lives through their presumptuous sins. It is a presumptuous sin to do that which the Lord has not authorized. Webster defines presumptuous as “to take upon oneself without permission or authority.” The Bible tells us to “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression” (Psalm 19:13). It is sin that separates man from God which will cause him to be eternally lost (Isa. 59:2). Judgment Day will be too late to find out that it is wrong to use unauthorized mechanical instruments of music to worship God, when the Lord says, “depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:23).
God has given complete instructions as to how we are to worship Him — “as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3). God has told us “all things” in His word as to how He is to be worshipped. We dare not try to improve on it. The reason for apostasy is man has always wanted to do things his way and not God’s way.
The Christian Church teaches that if God has not condemned an action, it is acceptable. But where in the Bible is having a Pope and headquarters in Rome condemned, so it must be acceptable? With this attitude toward Scripture, you can then do just about anything you want, and say it is not forbidden in Scripture. This is absurd. People who want to do that which is sinful will go to any length to try to justify it.
How can one who has any respect for God and His word fellowship those in the error of darkness? They can’t. “For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (II Cor. 6:14). We are to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11). If we really cared for the souls of those in the Christian Church, we would reprove their error, and not fellowship them in it.
One who ignores what God says and does things without His authority, walks in darkness. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:6-7). Only by walking in the light of God’s word can we continue to receive the forgiveness of our sins so we can go to Heaven. We are not walking in the light when we have fellowship with error.
The Christian Church is having their annual convention: the “North American Christian Convention” in Louisville, Kentucky, June 27-30, 2006. A number of liberal self-appointed representatives from the churches of Christ who will be featured speakers at their convention include: Prentice Meador, Jerry Taylor, Jeff Walling, Carl Bracheen, Paul Faulkner, Carrol Osburn, Don McLaughlin, Albert Lemmons, Calvin Warpula, Ron Rose, and Mike Cope. This is error encouraging error. Those speaking at their convention must be in agreement with them or they wouldn’t have been invited. The Christian Church knew who to select. They are pawns in the hands of the Christian Church and Satan to change the identity of the New Testament church as they lead many congregations off into the same apostasy as the Christian Church. This is just another ploy of Satan for churches of Christ to abandon the basic principles of the authority of the New Testament which will result in their being transformed and absorbed into the apostate Christian Church. This will result in another split in the churches of Christ, and Satan will win again.
Nothing has changed with the Christian Church since 1906 and nothing will change in the future. If the Christian Church wants unity, why don’t they give up the instrument and their many other sinful doctrines and practices? Because people want to do things their way, “for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth” (II Thess. 2:11-12). We must not fellowship denominations in their religious error. “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (II John 10-11). We sin if we fellowship religious denominations in their error by being a partaker of their evil deeds. If a member of the Lord’s church is cast into Hell because of his fellowship with error, he will only have himself to blame.
We must speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent. God’s word is the authority and standard by which all people will be judged on Judgment Day. Jesus says, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). People may choose to ignore God’s word now as the only source of authority, but on Judgment Day they will not be able to ignore it.
If we value our souls and where we will be spending eternity, we dare not comfort the Christian Church in their apostasy. We dare not compromise God’s word by adding to and taking away from it (Rev. 22:18-19). If we want to go to Heaven, we must submit to God in obedient faith by only doing what He says, for the reason He says, and how He says. People must not wait until Judgment Day, when they lose their souls, only to find out they can’t do what God has not authorized.
Let’s make our “calling and election sure” (II Peter 1:10). Let’s not fellowship error, but reprove it.
By Ron Boatwright
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