A Message to Churches of Christ Scattered Abroad</font>
<font size=3 color=indigo face=times new roman>In the early days of our back-to-the-Bible movement, brethren would often send out a Circular Letter to all the congregations in a district or state. With communication limited and seasoned teachers and leaders few, this method was used to educate brethren on particular points of doctrine, correct mistaken views circulating among them, or to warn of false teachers who were seeking entrance into the churches.
Today, our brotherhood stretches around the world. More than three million Christians are striving to worship and serve God after the pattern revealed in the New Testament. Today, as in the past, questions arise about matters of faith and practice. False religions seek to proselyte our brethren, and unfaithful teachers endanger our churches. So to members of the Churches of Christ scattered in the nations of the world, we send the following exhortations:
- Beware that here in America, a multitude of our brethren have abandoned our plea to go back to the Bible and restore the faith, worship, and practice of apostolic days. This apostasy is extensive and growing. It is identified as the Change Movement and its promoters as change agents.
- Among the most egregious errors promoted by these misguided brethren are the following:
- One can practice denominationalism and still be pleasing to God. The Church of Christ is itself a denomination started by Barton Stone and Alexander Campbell in the early 1800s.
- That there is no God-given pattern for Christian faith and worship (II Tim. 1:13). Thus, disciples can believe and worship with wide variation and still be counted faithful.
- That baptism by immersion, while important, is not absolutely essential to salvation (Acts 22:16).
- That our rejection of instrumental music in worship is nothing more than our human tradition; thus, we should fellowship those who wish to use it (Eph. 5:19).
- That we have erred in teaching that God forbids women to fill roles of public leadership in the administration and worship of the church (I Tim. 2:11-12).
- That we can be more spiritual in our worship if we adopt the practices of Catholic and New Age mysticism.
[*]While most of our brethren slept, the change agents have sown their tares among our people. Already they have captured no less than 100 of our larger, city congregations. As many more are tottering on the brink and may well be lost.
[*]They have gained control of Abilene Christian, Pepperdine, and Lipscomb Universities and Rochester College. Current leaders trade on the good names and reputations of founders, past administrators and teachers. They profess loyalty to Christ, His Word, and His church. Yet they are indoctrinating their students with their new views. The young preachers they graduate have been exposed to their change agenda. A steady stream of administrators, professors, and mission students carry their faulty views to our mission outposts. From workers around the world, we hear of visiting professors and mission teams whose teaching is confusing, corrupting, and divisive.
[*]Be forewarned of troublesome teachers. You do not have to open your doors to them. You do not have to send your young men to them for training. You do not have to welcome and cooperate with their representatives.
[*]Prove them, check them out (I John 4:1). If they are teaching another message than that of Christ, refuse them (Tit. 3:10). Do not welcome them or allow them access to your sheep (II John 10). Take note of them (Rom. 16:17), and warn others of the danger they pose (Phil. 3:18).
[*]Remember the gospel the missionaries of days past first brought to you. That message you accepted as the word of God. You believed in his Son and obeyed his gospel. From your New Testament, you learned to worship as the first Christians did. Many among you lived and died by that message. We are confident that they died in the faith. Let no man lead you astray or rob you of your treasure.
[*]The saints in Galatia had been influenced by false teachers. Paul wrote, I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another gospel; only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:6-7). We are faced with the same situation today. Remember, a perverted gospel will save no one.
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now