John Waddey
John Waddey

March 30th, 2004, 7:56 am #21

A NEW BIG PICTURE: “THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING! THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING!”


Some congregations of the church of Christ are getting caught up in the excitement experienced by many previously conservative denominational churches which have “successfully” transitioned to the culture-driven, community-based church growth schemes. Generally, churches of Christ with strong biblical and spiritual leadership and with effective Bible study programs are most resistant to these schemes. However, such resistance is being overridden and overpowered by misdirected, power-driven prominent change agents in operation within the church.

This article is intended to give both church leaders and members a quick overview of the Change Movement, a spiritual disease that’s infecting our brotherhood, even as we speak. Incorporating changes in denominational churches is usually more easily accomplished than in churches of Christ. This is due to these main factors: our heritage, the uniqueness of the church, and the power of the Restoration principles embedded in the minds of faithful members. But complacency and unquestioning acceptance of the change schemes will only hasten another division in the church, if not its extinction, in the 21st century.

I will attempt to present both: (A.1) a simplified method and (A.2) a more detailed list of procedures aimed at TRANSITIONING AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED CHURCH. I will attempt to briefly but clearly define (B) the role of PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH. Finally, I will provide (C) a CHECKLIST TO EVALUATE THE TRANSITION IN PROGRESS.

It is an impossibility to include all the aspects of the various change movements at this time, even the evil attempts of the change advocates who are selfishly motivated to seize power within. So, this thread will be dedicated and restricted only to this specific topic and will be updated or expanded in time.


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A.1 — SIMPLIFIED PROCESS OF TRANSITIONING AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
——— SOURCE: http://www.churchtransitions.com/about_cti.htm
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The process of transition that we teach is a simple one:
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STEP 1—Prepare for change
STEP 2—Define your changes
STEP 3—Plant your vision with your key leaders
STEP 4—Share your vision with the whole church
STEP 5—Implement your changes
STEP 6—Deal with the opposition
STEP 7—Make adjustments
STEP 8—Evaluate the result

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Dan Southerland is the founder and director of Church Transitions Inc. Dan developed
this process for change while serving as the pastor/teacher of the Flamingo Road Church
in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During the thirteen years of his ministry at Flamingo Road, the church
made some major changes:

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APPROACH ——— from being program driven to being purpose driven.
TARGET ————— from reaching believers to reaching the unchurched.
WORSHIP ———— from traditional to contemporary.
PASTORS ———— from a senior pastor model to a shared pastor model.
LEADERSHIP——— from a committee led church to being staff led.
MINISTRY ———— from pastors doing all the ministry to pastors equipping people.
SMALL GROUPS — from a traditional Sunday School to a relational cell group model.
SERVICES --——— from one weekend worship service to five weekend services.

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He has been teaching at the Purpose Driven Church conference held by Saddleback Church
for the past 5 years as well. About half of the events we do each year are co-sponsored
by Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries.

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A.2 — ANOTHER METHOD: HOW TO TRANSITION AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
——— SOURCE: http://www.pastors.com/article.asp?ArtID (Chuck McAlister)

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The following steps can be applied, I believe, to any church that desires to make this transition.
Our transition involved an eleven year process that continues to this day and will continue….

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PLAN YOUR TRANSITION: A PRESCRIBED PROCEDURE IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER
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— Focus on preaching for change to set the stage for determining your church purpose.
— Determine your church purpose: must embrace the five NT purposes for a church.
— Emphasize the church’s responsibility to reach the unchurched.
— Launch a New Member’s class.
— Encourage your members to embrace the church purpose as their personal purpose.
— Adopt new church by-laws: organizational concept and structure of the church biblical.
— Implement a covenant process for personal, spiritual growth of church members.
— Enlist the support of your senior adults.
— Transition the church ministry to the people; the maint. of the church to the staff (paid or volunteer).
— Transition the education ministry to make it life-empowering.
— Lead the church to decide to relocate.
— Locate new property for the relocation.
— Pay for property.
— Plan for a new facility.
— Raise funds for the new facility.
— Lead the church to change its name in preparation for the relocation.
— Launch in-home community groups

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MULTIPLE STEPS INVOLVED IN EACH OF THE STAGES LISTED ABOVE: STEPS THAT
NECESSARILY INCLUDED OWNERSHIP OF THE CHANGE BY THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH

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— Work your plan—stay committed … in spite of the challenges … the people who leave your church.
— Communicate your vision regularly—the validity of each stage of the process.
— — We utilize our New Member’s Class to share the process with those coming into our church.
— — We then ask our newcomers to take ownership of our vision by making four commitments:
— — (1) Learn their spiritual gifts; determine where they would like to minister through our church;
— — (2) Tithe;
— — (3) Join a small group (Fellowship Bible Study class);
— — (4) Write out their story (testimony) of how they came to Jesus personally,
— — — - which they are encouraged to share with non-believers.
— Take your time—give people an opportunity to buy into each step of the plan.
— Maintain flexibility—the key word is adaptability . . . the uniqueness of your church.
— Stay put—the transition process takes years . . . cannot be accomplished in a few months.
— Refuse to abandon your process—the distractions will be numerous; problems will arise.
— Become an expert on the process of change—you need His supernatural involvement.
— Stay connected with and enlist the support of your senior adults.
— Continually emphasize your church’s responsibility to reach the unchurched.
— Graciously release those members who choose to leave—it will not please everyone.
— Celebrate the completion of each advance—celebration builds momentum.
— Always honor Jesus—never take the credit when things go well.
— Don’t be afraid to take risks:
— — For that reason, you must wait to construct the new facility only after you have sufficiently
— — transitioned the church, so that it is a new church occupying a new facility. … As you prepare
— — to transition to your new facility, remember that while the new building is important,
— — you must guard against it becoming the defining element of your church’s ministry.
— Keep your sense of humor—enjoy the journey rather than viewing it as a drudgery.
— Constantly pray for God’s wisdom—in each decision you face in transitioning a church.
— Maintain your personal integrity and your walk with God.

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SIMULTANEOUSLY TRANSITION YOUR WORSHIP STYLE AS YOU MOVE THROUGH THE PROCESS OF CHANGE.
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B. PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST—THEIR UNIQUE BEHAVIOR PATTERN
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WHAT ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
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What is a “closet change agent”? When asked this question, John Waddey responded as follows: “A change agent is a false teacher within the brotherhood of Churches of Christ who is not content to follow the faith and practice of Christianity as set forth in the pages of the New Testament. He or she therefore works to convince our brethren that they should adopt changes in their faith, worship and practice that will be more acceptable to the world of the 21st century. The adjective ‘closet’ means they operate undercover, or covertly to accomplish their evil purposes.”

Kenneth Sublett has stated in a recent post, “End Time Serpents with Horns”: “We have NOTED SEVERAL times that the band of CHANGE AGENTS all WRITE (Scribes) and they all endorse and sell one another’s books. Even events such as the recent “Look to the Hills” are the prophetic TRAFFICKING. This fulfills the first century and the present Satan sending out a FLOOD of waters trying to wash the Word and Church off the earth. [Many] churches are involved in the same thing on a lesser scale: sending out sermonic renderings and new style a cappella praise music to SEDATE. These are Apollo’s LOCUSTS whichever wing they fly on.”

Sublett states further: “There is now a FLOOD of new books. It suggests that the Accusers of the Church are in a TRAFFICKING pattern to make money and ACCUSE the brethren who pay their UNLAWFUL wages. It works, as Paul might say, ‘because fools love to be fooled.’ . . . Purpose-driven CHANGE AGENTS believe that they have the right to lie, cheat, steal, threaten and use the law to steal the church property.”
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WHO ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
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John Waddey states: “The most prominent of our self-appointed ‘agents of change’ is Bro. RUBEL SHELLY of Nashville, TN.” MAX LUCADO of the Oak Hills Church (formerly Oak Hills Church of Christ) is one of the prominent CHANGE AGENTS in the church today. His website describes him in “UpWords” (his teaching ministry) as a prolific writer “with more than 28 million books in print.” Other influential leaders of the change movement are Joe Beam, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Mike Cope, Terry Rush, and Marvin Phillips. There are others.

Waddey cites examples of who they are in his article “Little Men”:

--- Men who do harm to the body of Christ while being supported to build it up.
--- Men who claim to be helping the church while fomenting chaos and strife within.
--- Men who rush forward to offer a fix for the problems they themselves have created.
--- --- They offer staff services to help churches resolve the conflicts caused by their changes.
--- Men who seek to build their status and influence by bashing and attempting to discredit the godly …
--- --- preachers who blazed the trail before them and built the congregations where they now serve.
--- Men whose teaching and practice lowers respect for the authority of God’s Word.
--- Men who refuse to recognize and honor the church of Christ as the body of Christ.
--- Men who think they know more about how to worship God than did Christ . . .
--- Men who undertake to change the unchangeable kingdom of Christ.
--- Men who presume that the new is better than the old in the realm of faith.
--- --- They care nothing for the old paths (Jer. 6:16).
--- --- They are like the pagan Athenians, always searching for something new or different.
--- Men who’d rather not speak boldly of Christ as the “founder” of the church of Christ.
--- Men who prefer to speak of Campbell and Stone as founders of their denomination.
--- Men whose favorite word is “grace” to mean salvation without obeying its conditions.
--- Men who love to speak of “freedom” to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions.
--- Men who love freedom to fellowship and be accepted by denominational bodies.
--- Men who speak of “patternism” as a sarcastic put down of the brethren true to God’s pattern.
--- Men who thirst for an emotion-based worship in the electronic churches of the televangelists.

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WHAT ARE SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF “CHANGE AGENTS” (AS THEY ATTEMPT TO PRESENT
THEMSELVES AS THEOLOGIANS WHO HAVE DISCOVERED NEW TRUTHS)?

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Change agents operate on faulty assumptions, John Waddey avers:
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--- That they have discovered a more spiritual kind of religion now than before.
--- That only they know, understand and appreciate the grace of God.
--- That only they understand the blessings/benefits of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling.
--- That our concept is “restoration” of a specific congregation from 1st century.
--- That they have discovered a new and superior approach to Bible interpretation.
--- --- With that they claim to have found the true nature of the church.
--- --- In reality, it is the old, emotion-based, subjective approach of Protestantism.
--- --- Their Bible is a story book, serving only as a source for quotes for sermons,
--- --- --- but not for regulating/guiding the faith, worship & practice of the church.
--- That we are only interested in the doctrines and practices of the church.
--- That we are not truly dedicated to Christ and trying to be like him—they are.
--- That we are narrow, bigoted, and legalistic—they’re not.
--- That we claim that we are a perfect church. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we claim that we have attained complete compliance with every aspect
--- --- of Christ’s will for us. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we have misunderstood the way men are to be saved.
--- That we should be labeled “traditionalists” for our unwillingness to change.
--- --- When the truth is this: it is not change that we reject; . . .
--- --- --- Rather, we reject unlawful departure from God’s authorized Word and way.
--- --- When we are willing to change non-essentials (NOT substance or nature), as:
--- --- --- The hour, the length or the order of services …
--- --- --- Trying new songs or new hymnals …
--- --- --- Considering different methods of observing a communion service …
--- --- --- Accepting names for the church as long as they are all biblical …
--- --- --- --- without dismissing or discrediting the name of Christ, its head
--- --- When we do not consider “apostolic” traditions such “other” traditions as:
--- --- --- A tradition of a one hour worship service—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that calls for half hour sermons—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that expects a preacher to wear a coat and tie—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that we wear shoes to church—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that our meeting houses are built accordingly—that can change
--- That they can promote their changes without making one realize that TO DO SO:
--- --- The concept of restoring the original New Testament church is abandoned.
--- --- The changes advocated were not a part of the original church.
--- --- Ties are severed with those noble saints who went before us.
--- --- --- The faith and preaching of those predecessors would be incompatible with
--- --- --- --- the advocates of change … Like oil and water they would not mix …
--- --- Changes proposed will make the congregation one of 1200 denominations.
--- --- You are alienated/out of fellowship with simple Christians—churches of Christ.
--- --- The faith once delivered to the saints is abandoned.
--- --- Participation in causing division in the body of Christ is a fearful thought.

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Change agents are committed to change the church of Christ
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The third major segment below is a detailed list of changes that will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and acquiring your congregation. A careful examination of the list of changes will help pinpoint or isolate the SPECIFIC CHANGES that have caused “casualties”—expected or unexpected—in a particular congregation.
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C. EVALUATION OF THE CHANGE PACKAGE IMPLEMENTED IN THE TRANSITIONING CHURCH OF CHRIST
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Below is a compiled list taken from various sources, especially from various articles written by John Waddey. The list of changes will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and eventually acquiring your congregation. The purpose here is to have a means by which a congregation in transition or “transformation” stage may be evaluated in terms of the extent of progress made or the lack thereof. Churches vary in the level or depth of implementation of the Community Church scheme for church growth. For example, a congregation may adopt only a small segment from the list. But that segment may pinpoint or isolate the factors that have caused a church to grow or dwindle.

May I suggest that you print the list and mark only the items that, to the best of your knowledge, are applicable to your congregation’s situation. An honest personal evaluation may assist in determining where your congregation stands on particular conflicts and issues.
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AGENTS ADVOCATING CHANGE: THEIR OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES
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[_] Agents of change are busy rewriting our church history to: . . .
[_] --- Paint a different picture of the goals and intentions of our forefathers and
[_] --- Wish to cast their efforts as a “unity movement” and
[_] --- Depict them as seeking fellowship with and not rejecting denominationalism
[_] Prominent change agents are invited by churches and schools as guest speakers:
[_] --- Rubel Shelly, Max Lucado, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Joe Beam, etc.
[_] Interlopers must be resolved not to leave; others against change must leave
[_] Interlopers are not obligated to start their own from scratch
[_] Young people are the future of the church; their needs must be met with urgency
[_] Homebuilders (parents in their 30’s & 40’s) are the key to a successful program
[_] Transition is a long-range mission accomplished after passing of older generation
[_] Their goal is conquest and dominance of the entire brotherhood
[_] Their scheme is to first transform large congregations
[_] They insure that buildings, facilities and property are not acquired until fully paid
[_] They insure that the subverted will not overthrow their schemes and plans
[_] They are never to admit being false teachers so as not to be rejected
[_] They resort to warning the non-accepting brethren to “get over it”
[_] They claim to be helping the church to disguise their fomented chaos and strife
[_] They rush forward to offer a fix to disguise problems they have created
[_] They send a team to resolve conflicts caused by their changes
[_] They advocate that leading and guidance emanate from the Holy Spirit
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as narrow, bigoted, legalistic and Pharisaical
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as “traditionalists” and them as “progressives”
[_] They accuse the unwilling to submit as claiming to be the perfect church
[_] They claim to have found the true nature of the church
[_] They abandon the concept of restoring the original New Testament church
[_] They preach that the absence of a “thou shalt not” means a practice is condoned
[_] They sever ties with our predecessors as much as possible; discredit their efforts
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as the ones inconsiderate and without love
[_] They emphasize “fellowshipping” [among the sects]; “brotherhood” is exclusive
[_] They share fellowship with denominational preachers, churches and events
[_] They do not refer to “the Lord’s church”—that is being exclusive of others
[_] They do not refer to the church as the kingdom and also to the reign of Christ
[_] They refer to the church only as “our faith tradition” just as others have theirs
[_] They define “freedom” as a way to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions
[_] They feel extended “brotherhood” should encompass the Christian Churches
[_] They implement a market-driven program to provide what people want or seek
[_] They divide an existing congregation so as to implement the “community” model
[_] They have less contact and fellowship with mainline churches of Christ


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CRITICISM FOR EFFORTS OF THE PAST: EXAGGERATED AND ENCOURAGED
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[_] A superior way of “doing church” has been discovered
[_] Those over 50 are stubborn, close-minded and impervious to change
[_] The church of Christ of the Restoration Movement is just another denomination
[_] Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone founded the “Church of Christ”
[_] The church of Christ is a real, bona fide, but pitiful denomination
[_] The church of Christ is the poorest of the evangelical denominations
[_] Ties with those noble saints who went before us are severed
[_] The faith and preaching of predecessors are incompatible with those of change
[_] Men of Restoration were imperfect men and often taught erroneously


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COMMUNITY CHURCH: MODEL FOR CHURCH OF CHRIST IN TRANSITION
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[_] Dismiss or discredit the biblical name “church of Christ”
[_] Despise and ridicule Christ’s church and make it irrelevant
[_] De-emphasize the glory and honor to Christ, the head and founder
[_] The name “church of Christ” is offensive to denominational groups
[_] Crave acceptance with neighbors of the evangelical churches
[_] Do not want to bear the stigma of being exclusive from the denominations
[_] Mask from the community any affiliation with other churches of Christ
[_] Choose the model of being a “non-denominational” community church
[_] Prefer to identify with other groups rather than with your own brethren
[_] One motive is to place little or no emphasis on doctrinal loyalty
[_] Open to exchange, substitute or employ ministers from other denominations
[_] Allow acceptance of denominational churches as in good standing with God
[_] Encourage fellowship with denominational bodies
[_] The trend or direction is away from New Testament Christianity
[_] Transform congregations into charismatic, denominational churches
[_] Accept the new status of the church of Christ as a denomination


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MODERNIZE THE CHURCH: THE SECULAR- OR CULTURE-DRIVEN APPROACH
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[_] Celebrate Jesus’ birthday, like it or not; observe the Christmas pagan holiday
[_] Celebrate the “special” annual resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday
[_] Make Valentine’s Day a church event—apart from but similar to a social event


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BIBLE TRANSLATION & OTHER SOURCES: NEW TESTAMENT PRINCIPLES DEVALUED
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[_] Do not be publicly identified as a church with exclusive beliefs
[_] The Saddleback manual, “The Purpose-Driven Church” is a must-have resource
[_] Bible study materials may be obtained from denominational sources
[_] Be not concerned about the NIV version—a translational dialogue to consensus
[_] Church leaders should choose the NIV translation of the Bible for public reading
[_] Teachers should choose the NIV translation of the Bible (if used) in studies
[_] The New Testament is not the ultimate and absolute authority in faith matters
[_] Question the Bible’s inerrancy, its verbal inspiration and its authority
[_] The New Testament should not be viewed as a law to be obeyed
[_] The New Testament should be viewed as a love letter from God to His children
[_] Church leaders should implement a Covenant of Membership—Saddleback model
[_] Use drama as a learning tool with made up (non-factual) stories to entertain
[_] Do less teaching directly from the scriptures as that would be too boring


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CHURCH LEADERSHIP, ORGANIZATION, GOVERNMENT: EXPERIMENTATION
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[_] “Shepherds” rather than “elders” is the preferred way to identify the leaders
[_] New concepts of leadership for the congregation may be experimented
[_] One approach to a new and improved leadership is by “hierarchical” design
[_] Use a different kind of leadership model than “authoritarian” elders
[_] Define the role of women in the larger context of the biblical witness
[_] Dispute the passages that relegate women to a silent role
[_] Allow women to assume leadership roles and positions in the life of the church
[_] Allow women to serve as deaconesses, as ministers or preachers
[_] Allow older women to teach classes with baptized young men present


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WORSHIP: THE TRENDING “MUSICAL” WORSHIP CONTENT AND CASUALNESS
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[_] It is not necessary to worship according to the New Testament pattern
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because people like it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because young people demand it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because it feels so wonderful
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: where does the Bible forbid it?
[_] It should be an entertaining experience
[_] It should be based on emotion and popular opinion or practice
[_] Model emotion-based worship from the electronic churches of televangelists
[_] Use the excuse of “the audience of one” when musical worship is criticized
[_] Emphasize casualness in worship as a sign of being accepting
[_] Greatly emphasize “self,” including one’s own feelings and emotions in worship
[_] The Old Testament with its old laws is no less important to us than the New
[_] Provide the “traditional” and “contemporary” worship service alternatives
[_] Shorten the sermon; include more “religious” jokes or irrelevant funny stories
[_] Sermons may now end with an invitation to accept Christ by faith to be saved
[_] Tithing in Old Testament is binding on New Testament Christians
[_] Applaud the new convert after baptism as an outward show of rejoicing
[_] --- It won’t be long when there’s applause after the Communion
[_] Musical worship must be strongly emphasized
[_] The human-designated WORSHIP LEADER is now a high-level position
[_] The worship leader should initiate the handclapping on stage after a song
[_] The worship leader should encourage rhythmic handclapping while singing
[_] Allow the use of musical instruments in worship
[_] Allow the use of choirs, solos, duets, trios, quartets
[_] The choir must dominate the musical worship with excellent performances
[_] The choir must rehearse all parts of the musical worship in order to perform well
[_] The choir—not the congregation—must learn the new songs first
[_] The choir must deliver the music; the congregation may join in the singing
[_] For the transitioning church of Christ, the choir should be called “Praise Team”
[_] Music should be sometimes so complex that only the Praise Team can perform
[_] Praise songs and choruses should be “upbeat” to induce handclapping
[_] Use rhythmic, programmed handclapping to convey message of joy
[_] Use lifting of hand in prayer and singing to signify reaching up in praise
[_] Applaud after an exciting and cheering song has been sung
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book and focus attention to the worship leader
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book by not giving enough time to open it
[_] Avoid hymns unless there’s a “praise” song for the communion
[_] Avoid hymns unless there’s a “praise” song for the invitation
[_] Avoid hymns unless they’re new and hymn books may be opened then
[_] Avoid hymns unless they’re new and the Praise Team can perform them then


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THE LORD’S SUPPER AND SOCIAL FELLOWSHIP—MORE THAN JUST A MEMORIAL
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[_] The sacred meal can be mixed with a common or fellowship or pot luck meal
[_] The feast may be observed on another day not ordained by God
[_] Frequency of observance may be monthly, quarterly as the denominations do
[_] It is not only a sacred memorial of the death of Christ
[_] It is also to be observed as a “joyful celebration”
[_] It is also the occasion or a means of “fellowshipping” one with another
[_] There should be some story telling and human testimonies to be meaningful
[_] Praise Team members must be skilled during the partaking of the Communion:
[_] --- while singing or humming, clapping, holding the microphone and sheet music
[_] --- and remembering Christ’s suffering, crucifixion and death


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DOCTRINES DERIVED FROM DENOMINATIONS: BIBLICAL TRUTH BEING PERVERTED
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[_] Salvation is by grace through faith or by faith alone
[_] Deemphasize and deride the steps necessary for salvation
[_] De-emphasize the importance of baptism
[_] Baptism is no longer for the purpose of remitting sins
[_] Accept the Baptist doctrine of baptism as an after-the-fact ritual
[_] Baptism is the first act of obedience after being saved by faith
[_] Only accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior and be saved
[_] Follow the confession by praying the “sinner’s prayer” and be saved


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HOLY SPIRIT and SPIRITUAL GIFTS: TEACHINGS IMITATED BY THE AGENTS
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[_] Worship “in spirit” should mean being “charismatic” in today’s language
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ “directly” influences the individual Christian
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ “directly” influences “the congregation”
[_] We must listen to the Holy Spirit for a call or whisper
[_] The indwelling of God’s Spirit makes a Christian “charismatic”
[_] Being “spirit-filled” means being “charismatic” in today’s language
[_] Music, although not listed in the Corinthian letter, is considered a spiritual gift
[_] Miracles, similar to those performed during the apostolic era, still exist today
[_] Speaking in tongues, contrary to I Corinthians 13, has not “ceased” yet
[_] Hold the Pentecostal view of another baptism—that of the Holy Spirit
[_] Perform “speaking in tongues” in public prayer as a testimony

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Donnie Cruz
<font size=5> INOCULATING YOUR CONGREGATION AGAINST THE CHANGE DISEASE </font>

Sooner or later every congregation of God's people will be confronted by someone wishing to promote the agenda of the "change movement." Rather than wait until the dangerous moment arrives, we need to act now to inoculate our members so they will recognize the symptoms and reject it upon sight. The following suggestions will help to immunize your congregation beforehand.
<ol>[*]Your preacher needs to present an extended series of lessons on the fundamentals of the faith. He needs to touch on every point of faith, worship and practice that is being challenged by the promoters of change. This should be repeated on a yearly basis.

[*]Lessons need to be presented that remind brethren of the danger of false teachers and false doctrine.

[*]Elders could plan a retreat for the men of the church where the dangers of the change movement could be pointed out and the specific errors of it be discussed.

[*]Elders might wish to invite a guest speaker who is informed on this issue to come and spend a week end with the congregation. It would be most important that he be a faithful man of wisdom, experienced in dealing with error, lest he do more harm than good.

[*]Each year a quarter of Bible Classes should be devoted to studying the distinctives of the church revealed in the Scripture.

[*]A series of tracts should be purchased that address the many points under attack by the promoters of change. Each week each family should receive a copy and be asked to read it. It could then be the basis of the Bible class or sermon the following week.

[*]A mature sister whose faith is strong and whose understanding of the Word is substantial should be assigned to teach a course for the Ladies' Bible Class on God's plan for women in the church. This should address the challenges of those who wish to place women in leadership roles. The same materials should be presented in any other classes for women from high school and up.

[*]Books addressing the errors of the change movement and others setting forth the Biblical basis for our faith, worship and practice should be purchased and placed in the church library. Notice of these should be placed in the church bulletin and perhaps mentioned in the announcements. In larger congregations several copies of significant books should be ordered.

[*]The elders should have a sit down discussion with their minister and other staff members, especially youth and campus workers making it clear that they do not accept the agenda of the change agents, nor will they allow it to be introduced into the life of the congregation.

[*]A similar session should be conducted with deacons and all Bible class teachers.

[*]A statement from the elders should be presented to the congregation, preferably in person on Sunday morning stating their position and determination to not allow the change program to be brought into the church. This should be printed in the church bulletin or mailed to each family of the congregation.

[*]It should be made a matter of policy that no one will be considered for work with the congregation who is sympathetic with the change agenda.

[*]The same rule should apply to anyone considered for an invitation as a guest speaker.

[*]Elders must stay on high alert for the foreseeable future. Such movements take years to run their course. The fact that a church was rock solid ten years ago is no guarantee that it will be so ten years hence.

[*]No brother should be added to the eldership who is unsure of his convictions on this crucial matter. A divided leadership will eventually be a defeated leadership.
[/list]Elders, remember that they who hesitate or procrastinate may well lose that which is most precious to them.

___________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

E-Mail: [url=mailto:johnwaddey@aol.com]johnwaddey@aol.com[/url]
Last edited by ConcernedMembers on March 30th, 2004, 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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John Waddey
John Waddey

May 8th, 2004, 8:13 pm #22

A NEW BIG PICTURE: “THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING! THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING!”


Some congregations of the church of Christ are getting caught up in the excitement experienced by many previously conservative denominational churches which have “successfully” transitioned to the culture-driven, community-based church growth schemes. Generally, churches of Christ with strong biblical and spiritual leadership and with effective Bible study programs are most resistant to these schemes. However, such resistance is being overridden and overpowered by misdirected, power-driven prominent change agents in operation within the church.

This article is intended to give both church leaders and members a quick overview of the Change Movement, a spiritual disease that’s infecting our brotherhood, even as we speak. Incorporating changes in denominational churches is usually more easily accomplished than in churches of Christ. This is due to these main factors: our heritage, the uniqueness of the church, and the power of the Restoration principles embedded in the minds of faithful members. But complacency and unquestioning acceptance of the change schemes will only hasten another division in the church, if not its extinction, in the 21st century.

I will attempt to present both: (A.1) a simplified method and (A.2) a more detailed list of procedures aimed at TRANSITIONING AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED CHURCH. I will attempt to briefly but clearly define (B) the role of PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH. Finally, I will provide (C) a CHECKLIST TO EVALUATE THE TRANSITION IN PROGRESS.

It is an impossibility to include all the aspects of the various change movements at this time, even the evil attempts of the change advocates who are selfishly motivated to seize power within. So, this thread will be dedicated and restricted only to this specific topic and will be updated or expanded in time.


———————————————————————————————————————————
A.1 — SIMPLIFIED PROCESS OF TRANSITIONING AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
——— SOURCE: http://www.churchtransitions.com/about_cti.htm
———————————————————————————————————————————
The process of transition that we teach is a simple one:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
STEP 1—Prepare for change
STEP 2—Define your changes
STEP 3—Plant your vision with your key leaders
STEP 4—Share your vision with the whole church
STEP 5—Implement your changes
STEP 6—Deal with the opposition
STEP 7—Make adjustments
STEP 8—Evaluate the result

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dan Southerland is the founder and director of Church Transitions Inc. Dan developed
this process for change while serving as the pastor/teacher of the Flamingo Road Church
in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During the thirteen years of his ministry at Flamingo Road, the church
made some major changes:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
APPROACH ——— from being program driven to being purpose driven.
TARGET ————— from reaching believers to reaching the unchurched.
WORSHIP ———— from traditional to contemporary.
PASTORS ———— from a senior pastor model to a shared pastor model.
LEADERSHIP——— from a committee led church to being staff led.
MINISTRY ———— from pastors doing all the ministry to pastors equipping people.
SMALL GROUPS — from a traditional Sunday School to a relational cell group model.
SERVICES --——— from one weekend worship service to five weekend services.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
He has been teaching at the Purpose Driven Church conference held by Saddleback Church
for the past 5 years as well. About half of the events we do each year are co-sponsored
by Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries.

———————————————————————————————————————————


———————————————————————————————————————————
A.2 — ANOTHER METHOD: HOW TO TRANSITION AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
——— SOURCE: http://www.pastors.com/article.asp?ArtID (Chuck McAlister)

———————————————————————————————————————————
The following steps can be applied, I believe, to any church that desires to make this transition.
Our transition involved an eleven year process that continues to this day and will continue….

———————————————————————————————————————————
PLAN YOUR TRANSITION: A PRESCRIBED PROCEDURE IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER
———————————————————————————————————————————
— Focus on preaching for change to set the stage for determining your church purpose.
— Determine your church purpose: must embrace the five NT purposes for a church.
— Emphasize the church’s responsibility to reach the unchurched.
— Launch a New Member’s class.
— Encourage your members to embrace the church purpose as their personal purpose.
— Adopt new church by-laws: organizational concept and structure of the church biblical.
— Implement a covenant process for personal, spiritual growth of church members.
— Enlist the support of your senior adults.
— Transition the church ministry to the people; the maint. of the church to the staff (paid or volunteer).
— Transition the education ministry to make it life-empowering.
— Lead the church to decide to relocate.
— Locate new property for the relocation.
— Pay for property.
— Plan for a new facility.
— Raise funds for the new facility.
— Lead the church to change its name in preparation for the relocation.
— Launch in-home community groups

———————————————————————————————————————————
MULTIPLE STEPS INVOLVED IN EACH OF THE STAGES LISTED ABOVE: STEPS THAT
NECESSARILY INCLUDED OWNERSHIP OF THE CHANGE BY THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH

———————————————————————————————————————————
— Work your plan—stay committed … in spite of the challenges … the people who leave your church.
— Communicate your vision regularly—the validity of each stage of the process.
— — We utilize our New Member’s Class to share the process with those coming into our church.
— — We then ask our newcomers to take ownership of our vision by making four commitments:
— — (1) Learn their spiritual gifts; determine where they would like to minister through our church;
— — (2) Tithe;
— — (3) Join a small group (Fellowship Bible Study class);
— — (4) Write out their story (testimony) of how they came to Jesus personally,
— — — - which they are encouraged to share with non-believers.
— Take your time—give people an opportunity to buy into each step of the plan.
— Maintain flexibility—the key word is adaptability . . . the uniqueness of your church.
— Stay put—the transition process takes years . . . cannot be accomplished in a few months.
— Refuse to abandon your process—the distractions will be numerous; problems will arise.
— Become an expert on the process of change—you need His supernatural involvement.
— Stay connected with and enlist the support of your senior adults.
— Continually emphasize your church’s responsibility to reach the unchurched.
— Graciously release those members who choose to leave—it will not please everyone.
— Celebrate the completion of each advance—celebration builds momentum.
— Always honor Jesus—never take the credit when things go well.
— Don’t be afraid to take risks:
— — For that reason, you must wait to construct the new facility only after you have sufficiently
— — transitioned the church, so that it is a new church occupying a new facility. … As you prepare
— — to transition to your new facility, remember that while the new building is important,
— — you must guard against it becoming the defining element of your church’s ministry.
— Keep your sense of humor—enjoy the journey rather than viewing it as a drudgery.
— Constantly pray for God’s wisdom—in each decision you face in transitioning a church.
— Maintain your personal integrity and your walk with God.

———————————————————————————————————————————
SIMULTANEOUSLY TRANSITION YOUR WORSHIP STYLE AS YOU MOVE THROUGH THE PROCESS OF CHANGE.
———————————————————————————————————————————
———————————————————————————————————————————


———————————————————————————————————————————
B. PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST—THEIR UNIQUE BEHAVIOR PATTERN
———————————————————————————————————————————
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What is a “closet change agent”? When asked this question, John Waddey responded as follows: “A change agent is a false teacher within the brotherhood of Churches of Christ who is not content to follow the faith and practice of Christianity as set forth in the pages of the New Testament. He or she therefore works to convince our brethren that they should adopt changes in their faith, worship and practice that will be more acceptable to the world of the 21st century. The adjective ‘closet’ means they operate undercover, or covertly to accomplish their evil purposes.”

Kenneth Sublett has stated in a recent post, “End Time Serpents with Horns”: “We have NOTED SEVERAL times that the band of CHANGE AGENTS all WRITE (Scribes) and they all endorse and sell one another’s books. Even events such as the recent “Look to the Hills” are the prophetic TRAFFICKING. This fulfills the first century and the present Satan sending out a FLOOD of waters trying to wash the Word and Church off the earth. [Many] churches are involved in the same thing on a lesser scale: sending out sermonic renderings and new style a cappella praise music to SEDATE. These are Apollo’s LOCUSTS whichever wing they fly on.”

Sublett states further: “There is now a FLOOD of new books. It suggests that the Accusers of the Church are in a TRAFFICKING pattern to make money and ACCUSE the brethren who pay their UNLAWFUL wages. It works, as Paul might say, ‘because fools love to be fooled.’ . . . Purpose-driven CHANGE AGENTS believe that they have the right to lie, cheat, steal, threaten and use the law to steal the church property.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHO ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
John Waddey states: “The most prominent of our self-appointed ‘agents of change’ is Bro. RUBEL SHELLY of Nashville, TN.” MAX LUCADO of the Oak Hills Church (formerly Oak Hills Church of Christ) is one of the prominent CHANGE AGENTS in the church today. His website describes him in “UpWords” (his teaching ministry) as a prolific writer “with more than 28 million books in print.” Other influential leaders of the change movement are Joe Beam, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Mike Cope, Terry Rush, and Marvin Phillips. There are others.

Waddey cites examples of who they are in his article “Little Men”:

--- Men who do harm to the body of Christ while being supported to build it up.
--- Men who claim to be helping the church while fomenting chaos and strife within.
--- Men who rush forward to offer a fix for the problems they themselves have created.
--- --- They offer staff services to help churches resolve the conflicts caused by their changes.
--- Men who seek to build their status and influence by bashing and attempting to discredit the godly …
--- --- preachers who blazed the trail before them and built the congregations where they now serve.
--- Men whose teaching and practice lowers respect for the authority of God’s Word.
--- Men who refuse to recognize and honor the church of Christ as the body of Christ.
--- Men who think they know more about how to worship God than did Christ . . .
--- Men who undertake to change the unchangeable kingdom of Christ.
--- Men who presume that the new is better than the old in the realm of faith.
--- --- They care nothing for the old paths (Jer. 6:16).
--- --- They are like the pagan Athenians, always searching for something new or different.
--- Men who’d rather not speak boldly of Christ as the “founder” of the church of Christ.
--- Men who prefer to speak of Campbell and Stone as founders of their denomination.
--- Men whose favorite word is “grace” to mean salvation without obeying its conditions.
--- Men who love to speak of “freedom” to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions.
--- Men who love freedom to fellowship and be accepted by denominational bodies.
--- Men who speak of “patternism” as a sarcastic put down of the brethren true to God’s pattern.
--- Men who thirst for an emotion-based worship in the electronic churches of the televangelists.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT ARE SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF “CHANGE AGENTS” (AS THEY ATTEMPT TO PRESENT
THEMSELVES AS THEOLOGIANS WHO HAVE DISCOVERED NEW TRUTHS)?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
———————————————————————————————————————————
Change agents operate on faulty assumptions, John Waddey avers:
———————————————————————————————————————————
--- That they have discovered a more spiritual kind of religion now than before.
--- That only they know, understand and appreciate the grace of God.
--- That only they understand the blessings/benefits of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling.
--- That our concept is “restoration” of a specific congregation from 1st century.
--- That they have discovered a new and superior approach to Bible interpretation.
--- --- With that they claim to have found the true nature of the church.
--- --- In reality, it is the old, emotion-based, subjective approach of Protestantism.
--- --- Their Bible is a story book, serving only as a source for quotes for sermons,
--- --- --- but not for regulating/guiding the faith, worship & practice of the church.
--- That we are only interested in the doctrines and practices of the church.
--- That we are not truly dedicated to Christ and trying to be like him—they are.
--- That we are narrow, bigoted, and legalistic—they’re not.
--- That we claim that we are a perfect church. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we claim that we have attained complete compliance with every aspect
--- --- of Christ’s will for us. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we have misunderstood the way men are to be saved.
--- That we should be labeled “traditionalists” for our unwillingness to change.
--- --- When the truth is this: it is not change that we reject; . . .
--- --- --- Rather, we reject unlawful departure from God’s authorized Word and way.
--- --- When we are willing to change non-essentials (NOT substance or nature), as:
--- --- --- The hour, the length or the order of services …
--- --- --- Trying new songs or new hymnals …
--- --- --- Considering different methods of observing a communion service …
--- --- --- Accepting names for the church as long as they are all biblical …
--- --- --- --- without dismissing or discrediting the name of Christ, its head
--- --- When we do not consider “apostolic” traditions such “other” traditions as:
--- --- --- A tradition of a one hour worship service—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that calls for half hour sermons—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that expects a preacher to wear a coat and tie—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that we wear shoes to church—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that our meeting houses are built accordingly—that can change
--- That they can promote their changes without making one realize that TO DO SO:
--- --- The concept of restoring the original New Testament church is abandoned.
--- --- The changes advocated were not a part of the original church.
--- --- Ties are severed with those noble saints who went before us.
--- --- --- The faith and preaching of those predecessors would be incompatible with
--- --- --- --- the advocates of change … Like oil and water they would not mix …
--- --- Changes proposed will make the congregation one of 1200 denominations.
--- --- You are alienated/out of fellowship with simple Christians—churches of Christ.
--- --- The faith once delivered to the saints is abandoned.
--- --- Participation in causing division in the body of Christ is a fearful thought.

———————————————————————————————————————————
Change agents are committed to change the church of Christ
———————————————————————————————————————————
The third major segment below is a detailed list of changes that will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and acquiring your congregation. A careful examination of the list of changes will help pinpoint or isolate the SPECIFIC CHANGES that have caused “casualties”—expected or unexpected—in a particular congregation.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



———————————————————————————————————————————
C. EVALUATION OF THE CHANGE PACKAGE IMPLEMENTED IN THE TRANSITIONING CHURCH OF CHRIST
———————————————————————————————————————————
———————————————————————————————————————————
Below is a compiled list taken from various sources, especially from various articles written by John Waddey. The list of changes will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and eventually acquiring your congregation. The purpose here is to have a means by which a congregation in transition or “transformation” stage may be evaluated in terms of the extent of progress made or the lack thereof. Churches vary in the level or depth of implementation of the Community Church scheme for church growth. For example, a congregation may adopt only a small segment from the list. But that segment may pinpoint or isolate the factors that have caused a church to grow or dwindle.

May I suggest that you print the list and mark only the items that, to the best of your knowledge, are applicable to your congregation’s situation. An honest personal evaluation may assist in determining where your congregation stands on particular conflicts and issues.
———————————————————————————————————————————

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AGENTS ADVOCATING CHANGE: THEIR OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Agents of change are busy rewriting our church history to: . . .
[_] --- Paint a different picture of the goals and intentions of our forefathers and
[_] --- Wish to cast their efforts as a “unity movement” and
[_] --- Depict them as seeking fellowship with and not rejecting denominationalism
[_] Prominent change agents are invited by churches and schools as guest speakers:
[_] --- Rubel Shelly, Max Lucado, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Joe Beam, etc.
[_] Interlopers must be resolved not to leave; others against change must leave
[_] Interlopers are not obligated to start their own from scratch
[_] Young people are the future of the church; their needs must be met with urgency
[_] Homebuilders (parents in their 30’s & 40’s) are the key to a successful program
[_] Transition is a long-range mission accomplished after passing of older generation
[_] Their goal is conquest and dominance of the entire brotherhood
[_] Their scheme is to first transform large congregations
[_] They insure that buildings, facilities and property are not acquired until fully paid
[_] They insure that the subverted will not overthrow their schemes and plans
[_] They are never to admit being false teachers so as not to be rejected
[_] They resort to warning the non-accepting brethren to “get over it”
[_] They claim to be helping the church to disguise their fomented chaos and strife
[_] They rush forward to offer a fix to disguise problems they have created
[_] They send a team to resolve conflicts caused by their changes
[_] They advocate that leading and guidance emanate from the Holy Spirit
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as narrow, bigoted, legalistic and Pharisaical
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as “traditionalists” and them as “progressives”
[_] They accuse the unwilling to submit as claiming to be the perfect church
[_] They claim to have found the true nature of the church
[_] They abandon the concept of restoring the original New Testament church
[_] They preach that the absence of a “thou shalt not” means a practice is condoned
[_] They sever ties with our predecessors as much as possible; discredit their efforts
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as the ones inconsiderate and without love
[_] They emphasize “fellowshipping” [among the sects]; “brotherhood” is exclusive
[_] They share fellowship with denominational preachers, churches and events
[_] They do not refer to “the Lord’s church”—that is being exclusive of others
[_] They do not refer to the church as the kingdom and also to the reign of Christ
[_] They refer to the church only as “our faith tradition” just as others have theirs
[_] They define “freedom” as a way to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions
[_] They feel extended “brotherhood” should encompass the Christian Churches
[_] They implement a market-driven program to provide what people want or seek
[_] They divide an existing congregation so as to implement the “community” model
[_] They have less contact and fellowship with mainline churches of Christ


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CRITICISM FOR EFFORTS OF THE PAST: EXAGGERATED AND ENCOURAGED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] A superior way of “doing church” has been discovered
[_] Those over 50 are stubborn, close-minded and impervious to change
[_] The church of Christ of the Restoration Movement is just another denomination
[_] Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone founded the “Church of Christ”
[_] The church of Christ is a real, bona fide, but pitiful denomination
[_] The church of Christ is the poorest of the evangelical denominations
[_] Ties with those noble saints who went before us are severed
[_] The faith and preaching of predecessors are incompatible with those of change
[_] Men of Restoration were imperfect men and often taught erroneously


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
COMMUNITY CHURCH: MODEL FOR CHURCH OF CHRIST IN TRANSITION
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Dismiss or discredit the biblical name “church of Christ”
[_] Despise and ridicule Christ’s church and make it irrelevant
[_] De-emphasize the glory and honor to Christ, the head and founder
[_] The name “church of Christ” is offensive to denominational groups
[_] Crave acceptance with neighbors of the evangelical churches
[_] Do not want to bear the stigma of being exclusive from the denominations
[_] Mask from the community any affiliation with other churches of Christ
[_] Choose the model of being a “non-denominational” community church
[_] Prefer to identify with other groups rather than with your own brethren
[_] One motive is to place little or no emphasis on doctrinal loyalty
[_] Open to exchange, substitute or employ ministers from other denominations
[_] Allow acceptance of denominational churches as in good standing with God
[_] Encourage fellowship with denominational bodies
[_] The trend or direction is away from New Testament Christianity
[_] Transform congregations into charismatic, denominational churches
[_] Accept the new status of the church of Christ as a denomination


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MODERNIZE THE CHURCH: THE SECULAR- OR CULTURE-DRIVEN APPROACH
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Celebrate Jesus’ birthday, like it or not; observe the Christmas pagan holiday
[_] Celebrate the “special” annual resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday
[_] Make Valentine’s Day a church event—apart from but similar to a social event


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
BIBLE TRANSLATION & OTHER SOURCES: NEW TESTAMENT PRINCIPLES DEVALUED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Do not be publicly identified as a church with exclusive beliefs
[_] The Saddleback manual, “The Purpose-Driven Church” is a must-have resource
[_] Bible study materials may be obtained from denominational sources
[_] Be not concerned about the NIV version—a translational dialogue to consensus
[_] Church leaders should choose the NIV translation of the Bible for public reading
[_] Teachers should choose the NIV translation of the Bible (if used) in studies
[_] The New Testament is not the ultimate and absolute authority in faith matters
[_] Question the Bible’s inerrancy, its verbal inspiration and its authority
[_] The New Testament should not be viewed as a law to be obeyed
[_] The New Testament should be viewed as a love letter from God to His children
[_] Church leaders should implement a Covenant of Membership—Saddleback model
[_] Use drama as a learning tool with made up (non-factual) stories to entertain
[_] Do less teaching directly from the scriptures as that would be too boring


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CHURCH LEADERSHIP, ORGANIZATION, GOVERNMENT: EXPERIMENTATION
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] “Shepherds” rather than “elders” is the preferred way to identify the leaders
[_] New concepts of leadership for the congregation may be experimented
[_] One approach to a new and improved leadership is by “hierarchical” design
[_] Use a different kind of leadership model than “authoritarian” elders
[_] Define the role of women in the larger context of the biblical witness
[_] Dispute the passages that relegate women to a silent role
[_] Allow women to assume leadership roles and positions in the life of the church
[_] Allow women to serve as deaconesses, as ministers or preachers
[_] Allow older women to teach classes with baptized young men present


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WORSHIP: THE TRENDING “MUSICAL” WORSHIP CONTENT AND CASUALNESS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] It is not necessary to worship according to the New Testament pattern
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because people like it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because young people demand it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because it feels so wonderful
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: where does the Bible forbid it?
[_] It should be an entertaining experience
[_] It should be based on emotion and popular opinion or practice
[_] Model emotion-based worship from the electronic churches of televangelists
[_] Use the excuse of “the audience of one” when musical worship is criticized
[_] Emphasize casualness in worship as a sign of being accepting
[_] Greatly emphasize “self,” including one’s own feelings and emotions in worship
[_] The Old Testament with its old laws is no less important to us than the New
[_] Provide the “traditional” and “contemporary” worship service alternatives
[_] Shorten the sermon; include more “religious” jokes or irrelevant funny stories
[_] Sermons may now end with an invitation to accept Christ by faith to be saved
[_] Tithing in Old Testament is binding on New Testament Christians
[_] Applaud the new convert after baptism as an outward show of rejoicing
[_] --- It won’t be long when there’s applause after the Communion
[_] Musical worship must be strongly emphasized
[_] The human-designated WORSHIP LEADER is now a high-level position
[_] The worship leader should initiate the handclapping on stage after a song
[_] The worship leader should encourage rhythmic handclapping while singing
[_] Allow the use of musical instruments in worship
[_] Allow the use of choirs, solos, duets, trios, quartets
[_] The choir must dominate the musical worship with excellent performances
[_] The choir must rehearse all parts of the musical worship in order to perform well
[_] The choir—not the congregation—must learn the new songs first
[_] The choir must deliver the music; the congregation may join in the singing
[_] For the transitioning church of Christ, the choir should be called “Praise Team”
[_] Music should be sometimes so complex that only the Praise Team can perform
[_] Praise songs and choruses should be “upbeat” to induce handclapping
[_] Use rhythmic, programmed handclapping to convey message of joy
[_] Use lifting of hand in prayer and singing to signify reaching up in praise
[_] Applaud after an exciting and cheering song has been sung
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book and focus attention to the worship leader
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book by not giving enough time to open it
[_] Avoid hymns unless there’s a “praise” song for the communion
[_] Avoid hymns unless there’s a “praise” song for the invitation
[_] Avoid hymns unless they’re new and hymn books may be opened then
[_] Avoid hymns unless they’re new and the Praise Team can perform them then


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
THE LORD’S SUPPER AND SOCIAL FELLOWSHIP—MORE THAN JUST A MEMORIAL
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] The sacred meal can be mixed with a common or fellowship or pot luck meal
[_] The feast may be observed on another day not ordained by God
[_] Frequency of observance may be monthly, quarterly as the denominations do
[_] It is not only a sacred memorial of the death of Christ
[_] It is also to be observed as a “joyful celebration”
[_] It is also the occasion or a means of “fellowshipping” one with another
[_] There should be some story telling and human testimonies to be meaningful
[_] Praise Team members must be skilled during the partaking of the Communion:
[_] --- while singing or humming, clapping, holding the microphone and sheet music
[_] --- and remembering Christ’s suffering, crucifixion and death


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DOCTRINES DERIVED FROM DENOMINATIONS: BIBLICAL TRUTH BEING PERVERTED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Salvation is by grace through faith or by faith alone
[_] Deemphasize and deride the steps necessary for salvation
[_] De-emphasize the importance of baptism
[_] Baptism is no longer for the purpose of remitting sins
[_] Accept the Baptist doctrine of baptism as an after-the-fact ritual
[_] Baptism is the first act of obedience after being saved by faith
[_] Only accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior and be saved
[_] Follow the confession by praying the “sinner’s prayer” and be saved


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
HOLY SPIRIT and SPIRITUAL GIFTS: TEACHINGS IMITATED BY THE AGENTS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Worship “in spirit” should mean being “charismatic” in today’s language
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ “directly” influences the individual Christian
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ “directly” influences “the congregation”
[_] We must listen to the Holy Spirit for a call or whisper
[_] The indwelling of God’s Spirit makes a Christian “charismatic”
[_] Being “spirit-filled” means being “charismatic” in today’s language
[_] Music, although not listed in the Corinthian letter, is considered a spiritual gift
[_] Miracles, similar to those performed during the apostolic era, still exist today
[_] Speaking in tongues, contrary to I Corinthians 13, has not “ceased” yet
[_] Hold the Pentecostal view of another baptism—that of the Holy Spirit
[_] Perform “speaking in tongues” in public prayer as a testimony

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
———————————————————————————————————————————

Donnie Cruz
<font size=4>GOOD RIDDANCE </font>

I recently heard that a Muslim cleric left America for his Middle-Eastern place of origin. He was unhappy with our government's efforts at homeland security following last year's attack by Muslim terrorists. I did not anguish over his departure nor beg him to stay. In fact, I was glad to hear the news. He was not a loyal sympathetic American. His values were not ours. He despised the great principles of freedom and liberty we cherish.
He had neither part nor lot with us
.
America is better and safer now that he is gone.

Just two weeks ago I read that a professor/preacher of the change movement had left the Church of Christ and assumed a ministerial post in a denominational church. Sad as that may seem, the published writings of this brother indicated that he did not share the essential, basic, fundamental faith of those known as churches of Christ. He was a denominationalist at heart and in theology. Among us, training our young people, he would only do harm to the Cause we love.

<font color=blue>There are many more like him. Men who have made shipwreck of the faith (I Tim. 1:19); who are yet working among us, not to build up and strengthen the church but to shame and ridicule her past, her former leaders, her ancient forms of worship, her sacred doctrine. The sooner they are recognized and rejected; the sooner they too depart, the better it will be for the Lord's church. </font>

Faced with the departure of some of his brethren, the apostle John wrote, <font color=red>"They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they have continued with us: but they went out that they might be made manifest that they all are not of us"</font> (I John 2:19). Weep not brethren, when such folks make their exit, rather thank God that they are gone. May the Lord hasten the day when church is free of all such men who no longer cherish the old paths of New Testament Christianity!

___________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
http://www.christianity-then-and-now.com
E-Mail: [url=mailto:johnwaddey@aol.com]johnwaddey@aol.com[/url]
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Charles Green
Charles Green

May 10th, 2004, 1:33 pm #23

Across the land, agents of change are actively seeking to impose unscriptural changes on the Lord's church. These changes will destroy the Biblical identity and purity of congregations and transform them into denominations whose faith and practice are the products of men rather than of Christ.

Given the extensive nature of this movement it is inevitable that every preacher and elder will eventually have to face and deal with those agitations for these changes. The following suggestions will help you be successful in protecting your congregation and in routing the enemy from your gates.
  • Don't go into battle unprepared. Every preacher and elder owes it to himself and his congregation to inform himself of the issues at hand; who the leaders of the change movement are and a proper biblical response to their assertions. Preparation should begin immediately, "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:10).
  • Inoculate your sheep ahead of time so the virus of apostasy cannot invade them. Don't wait until the error has raised its head among you and then try to warn folks against it. By that time the damage will have been done and some will surely be lost...or you may be driven out. Thus did Paul (Acts 20:28-31).
  • Don't allow the enemy's agents in to do their subversive work in your congregation. You are under no obligation to open your pulpit or classes to those who would harm the church. Let them know up front that they are unwelcome in your midst and that they will be given no opportunity to spread their views (II John 10-11).
  • Never make the mistake of assuming the proposals of the change agents are innocent and harmless. While one suggestion may seem innocuous in itself, it is but the nose of the camel in your tent. One by one, demands will be made until the congregation is overwhelmed and swallowed up in an accumulation of error.
  • Don't try to defend our flaws and failures. The agents of change nearly always preface their proposals by pointing out some failure among our brethren. Of course we have failed to measure up to the perfect standard of Christ. So have the change agents (Rom. 3:23). Gladly admit those legitimate charges and go to the heart of the matter; their desire to change the faith and practice of the church to a new non-biblical kind of religion.
  • Don't defend a tradition as a divine essential. The enemy often points to some of our practices that are traditional ways of doing things and tries to justify his program of changes. Traditions of men that make void the word of God are wrong (Matt. 15:6-9). Traditions of the apostles are righteous and should be observed (II Thess. 3:6). Some traditions are harmless, such as the time of our assemblies, the length of them, the hymnals we choose, the kind of buildings we build. Never try to defend such things as divine obligations. Their proposed changes are clearly traditions of men.
  • Be totally honest with those whom you must challenge. In the heat of combat it is easy to exaggerate the failures of your enemies or to distort their teaching to your advantage; or to deny your own shortcomings or mistakes. Perceptive people will see the slightest hint of dishonesty. Often they will give the change agents a free pass to do their mischief because they were misrepresented by a preacher or elder who opposed them. Don't give them that advantage.
  • Never resort to vicious, unchristian personal attacks against the promoters of error. Let the Spirit-given Word of Christ convict them (John 16:8-9). Let the facts of the case paint them as the heretics they are. Resorting to harsh, hateful attacks will cost you credibility with those whom you are trying to save. Speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).
  • Don't compromise with the enemy. When change agents realize that they are not yet able to capture a congregation, they will propose a compromise. They push for having an alternative service so that the stubborn traditionalists can worship in the same old tired way, and the enlightened ones can have a super-service that will meet their felt needs without hindrance and limitations. It is only time before the gangrene spreads and divisions does its destructive work.
  • Don't trespass upon the autonomy of other congregations. God created his church so that each band of Christians is independent and answers only to him. This has numerous advantages but also the limitation of allowing a church that so wishes, to embrace error and practice it. Autonomy means they have the right to do that and then answer to God for the mistake they have made. Often in our zeal to protect the church, we are tempted to meddle in the affairs of another congregation of which we are not members. Resist this temptation (I Pet. 4:15).
  • Don't walk away from the battle. In every war there are some soldiers, who because of cowardice, or weariness, or because the battle is not progressing as they wish, will abandon their position, leaving it to the enemy. We see this in some of our Christian soldiers. The agents of change have no right to invade your congregation. They have no right to the hearts and minds of the flock. They have no right to claim for their use, church buildings others, who did not share their perverse views, built and paid for. Let them do the leaving. Hold your ground. "Be ye steadfast, unmovable ... forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord" (I Cor. 15:58).
John Waddey
Since it seems you all aren't too busy responding to any posts, since this is one of two posts, I do have a question to ask. It seems as though Mr. Waddey thinks that the church of Christ is not a denomination.

"These changes will destroy the Biblical identity and purity of congregations and transform them into denominations whose faith and practice are the products of men rather than of Christ." (Mr. Waddey)

Inless I am mistaken, if the church of Christ is "non-denominational" then what's all the fuss about one church being different from another? It doesn't seem to be non-denominational to me. If you do clam to be non-denominational, please explain it to me. Thanks.

Charles Green
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Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

May 11th, 2004, 6:50 am #24

Charles,

In your post above, you posed a very good question:
  • … if the church of Christ is "non-denominational" then what's all the fuss about one church being different from another? It doesn't seem to be non-denominational to me. If you do claim to be non-denominational, please explain it to me. Thanks.
Let me point out, first of all, that even from among members of the church of Christ, you might expect differing answers to your question. In times past, it would be a consensus among the members to speak with conviction that based on their knowledge of what the Holy Scripture says about the church as described in the “New Testament,” this body of Christ is not a denomination. This still should be the case … and I still personally say that with honesty and conviction.

Unfortunately, such conviction can no longer be expected from those who have been influenced by “change” agents and proponents who (themselves) hold and teach the opposite view—which is that the “Church of Christ” is just another denomination. Unfortunately for this body of believers, .those [change agents] who perpetrate intrusive and divisive efforts to “transform” the church into a denomination … have not left the church of Christ to join the denomination(s) of their choice(s). Isn’t that an irony?

Those of us who are not change agents and are not “culture-driven change” sympathizers … we certainly hope that we’re still in the majority. We still believe that which is based on what the New Testament says about the New Testament church—this church which bears the name of Christ, its founder and owner, is not a denomination!

To answer your question partly, I would like to state that a clear distinction should be made between being non-denominational and being interdenominational. To me, being a part of ANY religious group’s doctrines, beliefs and practices does NOT constitute non-denominationalism, especially since all religious groups are different, regardless of the insignificance or the magnitude of these differences. Being interdenominational is a better and more accurate description of the preceding situation than being non-denominational. Adherence to ANY denomination does not constitute NON-denominationalism.

Also, Charles, I would highly recommend the new thread that highlights John Waddey’s article titled, “THE UNCHANGING NATURE OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST” (initiated on April 21, 2004). I believe this article strongly supports why you seem to think that Mr. Waddey thinks that the church of Christ is not a denomination. You may have already read it. Would you let us know (from reading the article) whether or not there is ample evidence from the scriptures referenced that Christ’s church is not a denomination?

Donnie Cruz
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Charles Green
Charles Green

May 14th, 2004, 6:33 am #25

Thank you Mr. Cruz for taking the time to awnser my question and explain things to me. I have just one more question if you don't mind me asking. It seems as though from what I read, you say that the change agents are trying to bring the church of Christ to be a denomination. How is this so? I guess I just might not have read enough, but I was just wondering how change equals denomantion. Thanks again for the responce, and for making things clearer for me.

Charles Green
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Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

May 15th, 2004, 11:39 am #26

A NEW BIG PICTURE: “THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING! THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING!”


Some congregations of the church of Christ are getting caught up in the excitement experienced by many previously conservative denominational churches which have “successfully” transitioned to the culture-driven, community-based church growth schemes. Generally, churches of Christ with strong biblical and spiritual leadership and with effective Bible study programs are most resistant to these schemes. However, such resistance is being overridden and overpowered by misdirected, power-driven prominent change agents in operation within the church.

This article is intended to give both church leaders and members a quick overview of the Change Movement, a spiritual disease that’s infecting our brotherhood, even as we speak. Incorporating changes in denominational churches is usually more easily accomplished than in churches of Christ. This is due to these main factors: our heritage, the uniqueness of the church, and the power of the Restoration principles embedded in the minds of faithful members. But complacency and unquestioning acceptance of the change schemes will only hasten another division in the church, if not its extinction, in the 21st century.

I will attempt to present both: (A.1) a simplified method and (A.2) a more detailed list of procedures aimed at TRANSITIONING AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED CHURCH. I will attempt to briefly but clearly define (B) the role of PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH. Finally, I will provide (C) a CHECKLIST TO EVALUATE THE TRANSITION IN PROGRESS.

It is an impossibility to include all the aspects of the various change movements at this time, even the evil attempts of the change advocates who are selfishly motivated to seize power within. So, this thread will be dedicated and restricted only to this specific topic and will be updated or expanded in time.


———————————————————————————————————————————
A.1 — SIMPLIFIED PROCESS OF TRANSITIONING AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
——— SOURCE: http://www.churchtransitions.com/about_cti.htm
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The process of transition that we teach is a simple one:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
STEP 1—Prepare for change
STEP 2—Define your changes
STEP 3—Plant your vision with your key leaders
STEP 4—Share your vision with the whole church
STEP 5—Implement your changes
STEP 6—Deal with the opposition
STEP 7—Make adjustments
STEP 8—Evaluate the result

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dan Southerland is the founder and director of Church Transitions Inc. Dan developed
this process for change while serving as the pastor/teacher of the Flamingo Road Church
in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During the thirteen years of his ministry at Flamingo Road, the church
made some major changes:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
APPROACH ——— from being program driven to being purpose driven.
TARGET ————— from reaching believers to reaching the unchurched.
WORSHIP ———— from traditional to contemporary.
PASTORS ———— from a senior pastor model to a shared pastor model.
LEADERSHIP——— from a committee led church to being staff led.
MINISTRY ———— from pastors doing all the ministry to pastors equipping people.
SMALL GROUPS — from a traditional Sunday School to a relational cell group model.
SERVICES --——— from one weekend worship service to five weekend services.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
He has been teaching at the Purpose Driven Church conference held by Saddleback Church
for the past 5 years as well. About half of the events we do each year are co-sponsored
by Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries.

———————————————————————————————————————————


———————————————————————————————————————————
A.2 — ANOTHER METHOD: HOW TO TRANSITION AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
——— SOURCE: http://www.pastors.com/article.asp?ArtID (Chuck McAlister)

———————————————————————————————————————————
The following steps can be applied, I believe, to any church that desires to make this transition.
Our transition involved an eleven year process that continues to this day and will continue….

———————————————————————————————————————————
PLAN YOUR TRANSITION: A PRESCRIBED PROCEDURE IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER
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— Focus on preaching for change to set the stage for determining your church purpose.
— Determine your church purpose: must embrace the five NT purposes for a church.
— Emphasize the church’s responsibility to reach the unchurched.
— Launch a New Member’s class.
— Encourage your members to embrace the church purpose as their personal purpose.
— Adopt new church by-laws: organizational concept and structure of the church biblical.
— Implement a covenant process for personal, spiritual growth of church members.
— Enlist the support of your senior adults.
— Transition the church ministry to the people; the maint. of the church to the staff (paid or volunteer).
— Transition the education ministry to make it life-empowering.
— Lead the church to decide to relocate.
— Locate new property for the relocation.
— Pay for property.
— Plan for a new facility.
— Raise funds for the new facility.
— Lead the church to change its name in preparation for the relocation.
— Launch in-home community groups

———————————————————————————————————————————
MULTIPLE STEPS INVOLVED IN EACH OF THE STAGES LISTED ABOVE: STEPS THAT
NECESSARILY INCLUDED OWNERSHIP OF THE CHANGE BY THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH

———————————————————————————————————————————
— Work your plan—stay committed … in spite of the challenges … the people who leave your church.
— Communicate your vision regularly—the validity of each stage of the process.
— — We utilize our New Member’s Class to share the process with those coming into our church.
— — We then ask our newcomers to take ownership of our vision by making four commitments:
— — (1) Learn their spiritual gifts; determine where they would like to minister through our church;
— — (2) Tithe;
— — (3) Join a small group (Fellowship Bible Study class);
— — (4) Write out their story (testimony) of how they came to Jesus personally,
— — — - which they are encouraged to share with non-believers.
— Take your time—give people an opportunity to buy into each step of the plan.
— Maintain flexibility—the key word is adaptability . . . the uniqueness of your church.
— Stay put—the transition process takes years . . . cannot be accomplished in a few months.
— Refuse to abandon your process—the distractions will be numerous; problems will arise.
— Become an expert on the process of change—you need His supernatural involvement.
— Stay connected with and enlist the support of your senior adults.
— Continually emphasize your church’s responsibility to reach the unchurched.
— Graciously release those members who choose to leave—it will not please everyone.
— Celebrate the completion of each advance—celebration builds momentum.
— Always honor Jesus—never take the credit when things go well.
— Don’t be afraid to take risks:
— — For that reason, you must wait to construct the new facility only after you have sufficiently
— — transitioned the church, so that it is a new church occupying a new facility. … As you prepare
— — to transition to your new facility, remember that while the new building is important,
— — you must guard against it becoming the defining element of your church’s ministry.
— Keep your sense of humor—enjoy the journey rather than viewing it as a drudgery.
— Constantly pray for God’s wisdom—in each decision you face in transitioning a church.
— Maintain your personal integrity and your walk with God.

———————————————————————————————————————————
SIMULTANEOUSLY TRANSITION YOUR WORSHIP STYLE AS YOU MOVE THROUGH THE PROCESS OF CHANGE.
———————————————————————————————————————————
———————————————————————————————————————————


———————————————————————————————————————————
B. PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST—THEIR UNIQUE BEHAVIOR PATTERN
———————————————————————————————————————————
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What is a “closet change agent”? When asked this question, John Waddey responded as follows: “A change agent is a false teacher within the brotherhood of Churches of Christ who is not content to follow the faith and practice of Christianity as set forth in the pages of the New Testament. He or she therefore works to convince our brethren that they should adopt changes in their faith, worship and practice that will be more acceptable to the world of the 21st century. The adjective ‘closet’ means they operate undercover, or covertly to accomplish their evil purposes.”

Kenneth Sublett has stated in a recent post, “End Time Serpents with Horns”: “We have NOTED SEVERAL times that the band of CHANGE AGENTS all WRITE (Scribes) and they all endorse and sell one another’s books. Even events such as the recent “Look to the Hills” are the prophetic TRAFFICKING. This fulfills the first century and the present Satan sending out a FLOOD of waters trying to wash the Word and Church off the earth. [Many] churches are involved in the same thing on a lesser scale: sending out sermonic renderings and new style a cappella praise music to SEDATE. These are Apollo’s LOCUSTS whichever wing they fly on.”

Sublett states further: “There is now a FLOOD of new books. It suggests that the Accusers of the Church are in a TRAFFICKING pattern to make money and ACCUSE the brethren who pay their UNLAWFUL wages. It works, as Paul might say, ‘because fools love to be fooled.’ . . . Purpose-driven CHANGE AGENTS believe that they have the right to lie, cheat, steal, threaten and use the law to steal the church property.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHO ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
John Waddey states: “The most prominent of our self-appointed ‘agents of change’ is Bro. RUBEL SHELLY of Nashville, TN.” MAX LUCADO of the Oak Hills Church (formerly Oak Hills Church of Christ) is one of the prominent CHANGE AGENTS in the church today. His website describes him in “UpWords” (his teaching ministry) as a prolific writer “with more than 28 million books in print.” Other influential leaders of the change movement are Joe Beam, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Mike Cope, Terry Rush, and Marvin Phillips. There are others.

Waddey cites examples of who they are in his article “Little Men”:

--- Men who do harm to the body of Christ while being supported to build it up.
--- Men who claim to be helping the church while fomenting chaos and strife within.
--- Men who rush forward to offer a fix for the problems they themselves have created.
--- --- They offer staff services to help churches resolve the conflicts caused by their changes.
--- Men who seek to build their status and influence by bashing and attempting to discredit the godly …
--- --- preachers who blazed the trail before them and built the congregations where they now serve.
--- Men whose teaching and practice lowers respect for the authority of God’s Word.
--- Men who refuse to recognize and honor the church of Christ as the body of Christ.
--- Men who think they know more about how to worship God than did Christ . . .
--- Men who undertake to change the unchangeable kingdom of Christ.
--- Men who presume that the new is better than the old in the realm of faith.
--- --- They care nothing for the old paths (Jer. 6:16).
--- --- They are like the pagan Athenians, always searching for something new or different.
--- Men who’d rather not speak boldly of Christ as the “founder” of the church of Christ.
--- Men who prefer to speak of Campbell and Stone as founders of their denomination.
--- Men whose favorite word is “grace” to mean salvation without obeying its conditions.
--- Men who love to speak of “freedom” to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions.
--- Men who love freedom to fellowship and be accepted by denominational bodies.
--- Men who speak of “patternism” as a sarcastic put down of the brethren true to God’s pattern.
--- Men who thirst for an emotion-based worship in the electronic churches of the televangelists.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT ARE SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF “CHANGE AGENTS” (AS THEY ATTEMPT TO PRESENT
THEMSELVES AS THEOLOGIANS WHO HAVE DISCOVERED NEW TRUTHS)?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
———————————————————————————————————————————
Change agents operate on faulty assumptions, John Waddey avers:
———————————————————————————————————————————
--- That they have discovered a more spiritual kind of religion now than before.
--- That only they know, understand and appreciate the grace of God.
--- That only they understand the blessings/benefits of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling.
--- That our concept is “restoration” of a specific congregation from 1st century.
--- That they have discovered a new and superior approach to Bible interpretation.
--- --- With that they claim to have found the true nature of the church.
--- --- In reality, it is the old, emotion-based, subjective approach of Protestantism.
--- --- Their Bible is a story book, serving only as a source for quotes for sermons,
--- --- --- but not for regulating/guiding the faith, worship & practice of the church.
--- That we are only interested in the doctrines and practices of the church.
--- That we are not truly dedicated to Christ and trying to be like him—they are.
--- That we are narrow, bigoted, and legalistic—they’re not.
--- That we claim that we are a perfect church. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we claim that we have attained complete compliance with every aspect
--- --- of Christ’s will for us. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we have misunderstood the way men are to be saved.
--- That we should be labeled “traditionalists” for our unwillingness to change.
--- --- When the truth is this: it is not change that we reject; . . .
--- --- --- Rather, we reject unlawful departure from God’s authorized Word and way.
--- --- When we are willing to change non-essentials (NOT substance or nature), as:
--- --- --- The hour, the length or the order of services …
--- --- --- Trying new songs or new hymnals …
--- --- --- Considering different methods of observing a communion service …
--- --- --- Accepting names for the church as long as they are all biblical …
--- --- --- --- without dismissing or discrediting the name of Christ, its head
--- --- When we do not consider “apostolic” traditions such “other” traditions as:
--- --- --- A tradition of a one hour worship service—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that calls for half hour sermons—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that expects a preacher to wear a coat and tie—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that we wear shoes to church—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that our meeting houses are built accordingly—that can change
--- That they can promote their changes without making one realize that TO DO SO:
--- --- The concept of restoring the original New Testament church is abandoned.
--- --- The changes advocated were not a part of the original church.
--- --- Ties are severed with those noble saints who went before us.
--- --- --- The faith and preaching of those predecessors would be incompatible with
--- --- --- --- the advocates of change … Like oil and water they would not mix …
--- --- Changes proposed will make the congregation one of 1200 denominations.
--- --- You are alienated/out of fellowship with simple Christians—churches of Christ.
--- --- The faith once delivered to the saints is abandoned.
--- --- Participation in causing division in the body of Christ is a fearful thought.

———————————————————————————————————————————
Change agents are committed to change the church of Christ
———————————————————————————————————————————
The third major segment below is a detailed list of changes that will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and acquiring your congregation. A careful examination of the list of changes will help pinpoint or isolate the SPECIFIC CHANGES that have caused “casualties”—expected or unexpected—in a particular congregation.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



———————————————————————————————————————————
C. EVALUATION OF THE CHANGE PACKAGE IMPLEMENTED IN THE TRANSITIONING CHURCH OF CHRIST
———————————————————————————————————————————
———————————————————————————————————————————
Below is a compiled list taken from various sources, especially from various articles written by John Waddey. The list of changes will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and eventually acquiring your congregation. The purpose here is to have a means by which a congregation in transition or “transformation” stage may be evaluated in terms of the extent of progress made or the lack thereof. Churches vary in the level or depth of implementation of the Community Church scheme for church growth. For example, a congregation may adopt only a small segment from the list. But that segment may pinpoint or isolate the factors that have caused a church to grow or dwindle.

May I suggest that you print the list and mark only the items that, to the best of your knowledge, are applicable to your congregation’s situation. An honest personal evaluation may assist in determining where your congregation stands on particular conflicts and issues.
———————————————————————————————————————————

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AGENTS ADVOCATING CHANGE: THEIR OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Agents of change are busy rewriting our church history to: . . .
[_] --- Paint a different picture of the goals and intentions of our forefathers and
[_] --- Wish to cast their efforts as a “unity movement” and
[_] --- Depict them as seeking fellowship with and not rejecting denominationalism
[_] Prominent change agents are invited by churches and schools as guest speakers:
[_] --- Rubel Shelly, Max Lucado, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Joe Beam, etc.
[_] Interlopers must be resolved not to leave; others against change must leave
[_] Interlopers are not obligated to start their own from scratch
[_] Young people are the future of the church; their needs must be met with urgency
[_] Homebuilders (parents in their 30’s & 40’s) are the key to a successful program
[_] Transition is a long-range mission accomplished after passing of older generation
[_] Their goal is conquest and dominance of the entire brotherhood
[_] Their scheme is to first transform large congregations
[_] They insure that buildings, facilities and property are not acquired until fully paid
[_] They insure that the subverted will not overthrow their schemes and plans
[_] They are never to admit being false teachers so as not to be rejected
[_] They resort to warning the non-accepting brethren to “get over it”
[_] They claim to be helping the church to disguise their fomented chaos and strife
[_] They rush forward to offer a fix to disguise problems they have created
[_] They send a team to resolve conflicts caused by their changes
[_] They advocate that leading and guidance emanate from the Holy Spirit
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as narrow, bigoted, legalistic and Pharisaical
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as “traditionalists” and them as “progressives”
[_] They accuse the unwilling to submit as claiming to be the perfect church
[_] They claim to have found the true nature of the church
[_] They abandon the concept of restoring the original New Testament church
[_] They preach that the absence of a “thou shalt not” means a practice is condoned
[_] They sever ties with our predecessors as much as possible; discredit their efforts
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as the ones inconsiderate and without love
[_] They emphasize “fellowshipping” [among the sects]; “brotherhood” is exclusive
[_] They share fellowship with denominational preachers, churches and events
[_] They do not refer to “the Lord’s church”—that is being exclusive of others
[_] They do not refer to the church as the kingdom and also to the reign of Christ
[_] They refer to the church only as “our faith tradition” just as others have theirs
[_] They define “freedom” as a way to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions
[_] They feel extended “brotherhood” should encompass the Christian Churches
[_] They implement a market-driven program to provide what people want or seek
[_] They divide an existing congregation so as to implement the “community” model
[_] They have less contact and fellowship with mainline churches of Christ


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CRITICISM FOR EFFORTS OF THE PAST: EXAGGERATED AND ENCOURAGED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] A superior way of “doing church” has been discovered
[_] Those over 50 are stubborn, close-minded and impervious to change
[_] The church of Christ of the Restoration Movement is just another denomination
[_] Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone founded the “Church of Christ”
[_] The church of Christ is a real, bona fide, but pitiful denomination
[_] The church of Christ is the poorest of the evangelical denominations
[_] Ties with those noble saints who went before us are severed
[_] The faith and preaching of predecessors are incompatible with those of change
[_] Men of Restoration were imperfect men and often taught erroneously


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
COMMUNITY CHURCH: MODEL FOR CHURCH OF CHRIST IN TRANSITION
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Dismiss or discredit the biblical name “church of Christ”
[_] Despise and ridicule Christ’s church and make it irrelevant
[_] De-emphasize the glory and honor to Christ, the head and founder
[_] The name “church of Christ” is offensive to denominational groups
[_] Crave acceptance with neighbors of the evangelical churches
[_] Do not want to bear the stigma of being exclusive from the denominations
[_] Mask from the community any affiliation with other churches of Christ
[_] Choose the model of being a “non-denominational” community church
[_] Prefer to identify with other groups rather than with your own brethren
[_] One motive is to place little or no emphasis on doctrinal loyalty
[_] Open to exchange, substitute or employ ministers from other denominations
[_] Allow acceptance of denominational churches as in good standing with God
[_] Encourage fellowship with denominational bodies
[_] The trend or direction is away from New Testament Christianity
[_] Transform congregations into charismatic, denominational churches
[_] Accept the new status of the church of Christ as a denomination


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MODERNIZE THE CHURCH: THE SECULAR- OR CULTURE-DRIVEN APPROACH
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Celebrate Jesus’ birthday, like it or not; observe the Christmas pagan holiday
[_] Celebrate the “special” annual resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday
[_] Make Valentine’s Day a church event—apart from but similar to a social event


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
BIBLE TRANSLATION & OTHER SOURCES: NEW TESTAMENT PRINCIPLES DEVALUED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Do not be publicly identified as a church with exclusive beliefs
[_] The Saddleback manual, “The Purpose-Driven Church” is a must-have resource
[_] Bible study materials may be obtained from denominational sources
[_] Be not concerned about the NIV version—a translational dialogue to consensus
[_] Church leaders should choose the NIV translation of the Bible for public reading
[_] Teachers should choose the NIV translation of the Bible (if used) in studies
[_] The New Testament is not the ultimate and absolute authority in faith matters
[_] Question the Bible’s inerrancy, its verbal inspiration and its authority
[_] The New Testament should not be viewed as a law to be obeyed
[_] The New Testament should be viewed as a love letter from God to His children
[_] Church leaders should implement a Covenant of Membership—Saddleback model
[_] Use drama as a learning tool with made up (non-factual) stories to entertain
[_] Do less teaching directly from the scriptures as that would be too boring


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CHURCH LEADERSHIP, ORGANIZATION, GOVERNMENT: EXPERIMENTATION
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] “Shepherds” rather than “elders” is the preferred way to identify the leaders
[_] New concepts of leadership for the congregation may be experimented
[_] One approach to a new and improved leadership is by “hierarchical” design
[_] Use a different kind of leadership model than “authoritarian” elders
[_] Define the role of women in the larger context of the biblical witness
[_] Dispute the passages that relegate women to a silent role
[_] Allow women to assume leadership roles and positions in the life of the church
[_] Allow women to serve as deaconesses, as ministers or preachers
[_] Allow older women to teach classes with baptized young men present


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WORSHIP: THE TRENDING “MUSICAL” WORSHIP CONTENT AND CASUALNESS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] It is not necessary to worship according to the New Testament pattern
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because people like it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because young people demand it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because it feels so wonderful
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: where does the Bible forbid it?
[_] It should be an entertaining experience
[_] It should be based on emotion and popular opinion or practice
[_] Model emotion-based worship from the electronic churches of televangelists
[_] Use the excuse of “the audience of one” when musical worship is criticized
[_] Emphasize casualness in worship as a sign of being accepting
[_] Greatly emphasize “self,” including one’s own feelings and emotions in worship
[_] The Old Testament with its old laws is no less important to us than the New
[_] Provide the “traditional” and “contemporary” worship service alternatives
[_] Shorten the sermon; include more “religious” jokes or irrelevant funny stories
[_] Sermons may now end with an invitation to accept Christ by faith to be saved
[_] Tithing in Old Testament is binding on New Testament Christians
[_] Applaud the new convert after baptism as an outward show of rejoicing
[_] --- It won’t be long when there’s applause after the Communion
[_] Musical worship must be strongly emphasized
[_] The human-designated WORSHIP LEADER is now a high-level position
[_] The worship leader should initiate the handclapping on stage after a song
[_] The worship leader should encourage rhythmic handclapping while singing
[_] Allow the use of musical instruments in worship
[_] Allow the use of choirs, solos, duets, trios, quartets
[_] The choir must dominate the musical worship with excellent performances
[_] The choir must rehearse all parts of the musical worship in order to perform well
[_] The choir—not the congregation—must learn the new songs first
[_] The choir must deliver the music; the congregation may join in the singing
[_] For the transitioning church of Christ, the choir should be called “Praise Team”
[_] Music should be sometimes so complex that only the Praise Team can perform
[_] Praise songs and choruses should be “upbeat” to induce handclapping
[_] Use rhythmic, programmed handclapping to convey message of joy
[_] Use lifting of hand in prayer and singing to signify reaching up in praise
[_] Applaud after an exciting and cheering song has been sung
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book and focus attention to the worship leader
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book by not giving enough time to open it
[_] Avoid hymns unless there’s a “praise” song for the communion
[_] Avoid hymns unless there’s a “praise” song for the invitation
[_] Avoid hymns unless they’re new and hymn books may be opened then
[_] Avoid hymns unless they’re new and the Praise Team can perform them then


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
THE LORD’S SUPPER AND SOCIAL FELLOWSHIP—MORE THAN JUST A MEMORIAL
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] The sacred meal can be mixed with a common or fellowship or pot luck meal
[_] The feast may be observed on another day not ordained by God
[_] Frequency of observance may be monthly, quarterly as the denominations do
[_] It is not only a sacred memorial of the death of Christ
[_] It is also to be observed as a “joyful celebration”
[_] It is also the occasion or a means of “fellowshipping” one with another
[_] There should be some story telling and human testimonies to be meaningful
[_] Praise Team members must be skilled during the partaking of the Communion:
[_] --- while singing or humming, clapping, holding the microphone and sheet music
[_] --- and remembering Christ’s suffering, crucifixion and death


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DOCTRINES DERIVED FROM DENOMINATIONS: BIBLICAL TRUTH BEING PERVERTED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Salvation is by grace through faith or by faith alone
[_] Deemphasize and deride the steps necessary for salvation
[_] De-emphasize the importance of baptism
[_] Baptism is no longer for the purpose of remitting sins
[_] Accept the Baptist doctrine of baptism as an after-the-fact ritual
[_] Baptism is the first act of obedience after being saved by faith
[_] Only accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior and be saved
[_] Follow the confession by praying the “sinner’s prayer” and be saved


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
HOLY SPIRIT and SPIRITUAL GIFTS: TEACHINGS IMITATED BY THE AGENTS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Worship “in spirit” should mean being “charismatic” in today’s language
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ “directly” influences the individual Christian
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ “directly” influences “the congregation”
[_] We must listen to the Holy Spirit for a call or whisper
[_] The indwelling of God’s Spirit makes a Christian “charismatic”
[_] Being “spirit-filled” means being “charismatic” in today’s language
[_] Music, although not listed in the Corinthian letter, is considered a spiritual gift
[_] Miracles, similar to those performed during the apostolic era, still exist today
[_] Speaking in tongues, contrary to I Corinthians 13, has not “ceased” yet
[_] Hold the Pentecostal view of another baptism—that of the Holy Spirit
[_] Perform “speaking in tongues” in public prayer as a testimony

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
———————————————————————————————————————————

Donnie Cruz
____________________________________________________________________

Re: One more question... (Charles Green, May 14 2004, 2:33 AM)
____________________________________________________________________

Charles,

Thank you for asking.

Your statement above: <font color=blue>“It seems as though from what I read, you say that the change agents are trying to bring the church of Christ to be a denomination. How is this so? … I was just wondering how change equals denomination.”</font>

Great, great question! Why? It’s because most of the followers and disciples of the “change” advocates are too busy defending their prominent leaders, instead of questioning their motives and schemes. I wish that the deceived supporters of the Change Movement would really honestly and sincerely ask themselves the same question or questions.

Interestingly, while I was researching writings on the phraseology, “an audience of one,” as commonly used in the “culture-driven” Community Church Growth circles, I came across what would have been the suggested name [title] of the “internet” file I was trying to save. The lengthy filename [which I renamed to something else much shorter] originally stated:
  • Grace-Centered Magazine is a Christian publication whose authors include Joe Beam, Dennis Crawford, John Clayton, Barry Davis, Rubel Shelly, Lee Wilson, Mike Root and other writers of restoration movement churches such as Churches of Christ-Christian Churches.
Firstly, the change agents’ deceptive idea, among several, is that the contemporary “MUSICAL” worship [a form of idolatrous] style is directed to “an audience of one.” (By the way, the contemporary musical “concert” performed in the saints’ assembly is only one of MANY issues dividing the church.) You know, I really have plenty to say about this “the only audience is God” bit—but I’m time-constrained. So, let me just say that this is hogwash—the “Worship Leader’s” dominating and overpowering microphone-aided PRAISE TEAM [a.k.a. “church of Christ” choir] has a different “audience of one”: THE CONGREGATION! Plus one more “audience of one”: THE WORSHIP LEADER! Do you get the picture?

Secondly, did you notice the “Christian Churches” denomination, as well as the “Churches of Christ” denomination [i.e., according to those agents … OK?]—both being identified as some kind of a partnership/conglomerate? Did you notice the famous change agents—the trans-Baptist Rubel Shelly, the charismatic Joe Beam, et al, whom we’ve already “marked” on this board?

In answer to your questions regarding “change equals denomination” and the “change agents transforming the church into a denomination," may I ask you to re-read the highlighted topics I discussed in the initial post?

I have summarized from the writings of John Waddey, Kenneth Sublett and others who have identified the prominent change agents in the church of Christ—their unique behavior pattern:
  • <font color=blue>--- Men who do harm to the body of Christ while being supported to build it up.
    --- Men who claim to be helping the church while fomenting chaos and strife within.
    --- Men who rush forward to offer a fix for the problems they themselves have created.
    --- --- They offer staff services to help churches resolve the conflicts caused by their changes.
    --- Men who seek to build their status and influence by bashing and attempting to discredit the godly …
    --- --- preachers who blazed the trail before them and built the congregations where they now serve.
    --- Men whose teaching and practice lowers respect for the authority of God’s Word.
    --- Men who refuse to recognize and honor the church of Christ as the body of Christ.
    --- Men who think they know more about how to worship God than did Christ . . .
    --- Men who undertake to change the unchangeable kingdom of Christ.
    --- Men who presume that the new is better than the old in the realm of faith.
    --- --- They care nothing for the old paths (Jer. 6:16).
    --- --- They are like the pagan Athenians, always searching for something new or different.
    --- Men who’d rather not speak boldly of Christ as the “founder” of the church of Christ.
    --- Men who prefer to speak of Campbell and Stone as founders of their denomination.
    --- Men whose favorite word is “grace” to mean salvation without obeying its conditions.
    --- Men who love to speak of “freedom” to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions.
    --- Men who love freedom to fellowship and be accepted by denominational bodies.
    --- Men who speak of “patternism” as a sarcastic put down of the brethren true to God’s pattern.
    --- Men who thirst for an emotion-based worship in the electronic churches of the televangelists.
    </font>
Also, may I ask you to review the sub-topics discussed in the initial post, such as:
  • <font color=blue>
  • Characteristics of “CHANGE AGENTS” (as they attempt to present themselves as theologians who have discovered new truths)
  • Change agents operating on faulty assumptions … committed to change the church of Christ
  • Evaluation of the CHANGE PACKAGE implemented in the TRANSITIONING church of Christ
  • Agents advocating change: their objectives and activities
  • Agents’ criticism for efforts of the past: exaggerated and encouraged
  • Community Church: MODEL for “CHURCH OF CHRIST” in TRANSITION
  • Bible translations and denominational sources used: New Testament principles devalued
  • Church leadership, organization, government: hierarchical shepherding structure
  • WORSHIP: the trending “MUSICAL” worship content and casualness
  • The Lord’s Supper and social fellowship—more than just a memorial
  • Doctrines derived from denominations: Biblical truth being perverted
  • Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts: teachings imitated by the agents</font>
Charles, I would urge you to really discover for yourself how the change agents in the brotherhood are operating. Because of their relentless efforts and deceptive schemes, the church is experiencing an identity-uniqueness crisis. In a teen’s world, it is much worse than peer pressure. Instead of the church being “the called out,” the agents want it to be just like everything else. Didn’t someone say about one congregation that could very well be named the “_______ Charismatic-Adventist-Catholic-Methodist-Baptist-Pentecostal-Jehovah’s Witness-Assembly-Community Church of Christ Fellowship, Incorporated”?

Have a great day!

Donnie Cruz
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E. Claude Gardner
E. Claude Gardner

June 22nd, 2004, 7:12 am #27

A NEW BIG PICTURE: “THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING! THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING!”


Some congregations of the church of Christ are getting caught up in the excitement experienced by many previously conservative denominational churches which have “successfully” transitioned to the culture-driven, community-based church growth schemes. Generally, churches of Christ with strong biblical and spiritual leadership and with effective Bible study programs are most resistant to these schemes. However, such resistance is being overridden and overpowered by misdirected, power-driven prominent change agents in operation within the church.

This article is intended to give both church leaders and members a quick overview of the Change Movement, a spiritual disease that’s infecting our brotherhood, even as we speak. Incorporating changes in denominational churches is usually more easily accomplished than in churches of Christ. This is due to these main factors: our heritage, the uniqueness of the church, and the power of the Restoration principles embedded in the minds of faithful members. But complacency and unquestioning acceptance of the change schemes will only hasten another division in the church, if not its extinction, in the 21st century.

I will attempt to present both: (A.1) a simplified method and (A.2) a more detailed list of procedures aimed at TRANSITIONING AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED CHURCH. I will attempt to briefly but clearly define (B) the role of PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH. Finally, I will provide (C) a CHECKLIST TO EVALUATE THE TRANSITION IN PROGRESS.

It is an impossibility to include all the aspects of the various change movements at this time, even the evil attempts of the change advocates who are selfishly motivated to seize power within. So, this thread will be dedicated and restricted only to this specific topic and will be updated or expanded in time.


———————————————————————————————————————————
A.1 — SIMPLIFIED PROCESS OF TRANSITIONING AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
——— SOURCE: http://www.churchtransitions.com/about_cti.htm
———————————————————————————————————————————
The process of transition that we teach is a simple one:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
STEP 1—Prepare for change
STEP 2—Define your changes
STEP 3—Plant your vision with your key leaders
STEP 4—Share your vision with the whole church
STEP 5—Implement your changes
STEP 6—Deal with the opposition
STEP 7—Make adjustments
STEP 8—Evaluate the result

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dan Southerland is the founder and director of Church Transitions Inc. Dan developed
this process for change while serving as the pastor/teacher of the Flamingo Road Church
in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During the thirteen years of his ministry at Flamingo Road, the church
made some major changes:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
APPROACH ——— from being program driven to being purpose driven.
TARGET ————— from reaching believers to reaching the unchurched.
WORSHIP ———— from traditional to contemporary.
PASTORS ———— from a senior pastor model to a shared pastor model.
LEADERSHIP——— from a committee led church to being staff led.
MINISTRY ———— from pastors doing all the ministry to pastors equipping people.
SMALL GROUPS — from a traditional Sunday School to a relational cell group model.
SERVICES --——— from one weekend worship service to five weekend services.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
He has been teaching at the Purpose Driven Church conference held by Saddleback Church
for the past 5 years as well. About half of the events we do each year are co-sponsored
by Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries.

———————————————————————————————————————————


———————————————————————————————————————————
A.2 — ANOTHER METHOD: HOW TO TRANSITION AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
——— SOURCE: http://www.pastors.com/article.asp?ArtID (Chuck McAlister)

———————————————————————————————————————————
The following steps can be applied, I believe, to any church that desires to make this transition.
Our transition involved an eleven year process that continues to this day and will continue….

———————————————————————————————————————————
PLAN YOUR TRANSITION: A PRESCRIBED PROCEDURE IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER
———————————————————————————————————————————
— Focus on preaching for change to set the stage for determining your church purpose.
— Determine your church purpose: must embrace the five NT purposes for a church.
— Emphasize the church’s responsibility to reach the unchurched.
— Launch a New Member’s class.
— Encourage your members to embrace the church purpose as their personal purpose.
— Adopt new church by-laws: organizational concept and structure of the church biblical.
— Implement a covenant process for personal, spiritual growth of church members.
— Enlist the support of your senior adults.
— Transition the church ministry to the people; the maint. of the church to the staff (paid or volunteer).
— Transition the education ministry to make it life-empowering.
— Lead the church to decide to relocate.
— Locate new property for the relocation.
— Pay for property.
— Plan for a new facility.
— Raise funds for the new facility.
— Lead the church to change its name in preparation for the relocation.
— Launch in-home community groups

———————————————————————————————————————————
MULTIPLE STEPS INVOLVED IN EACH OF THE STAGES LISTED ABOVE: STEPS THAT
NECESSARILY INCLUDED OWNERSHIP OF THE CHANGE BY THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH

———————————————————————————————————————————
— Work your plan—stay committed … in spite of the challenges … the people who leave your church.
— Communicate your vision regularly—the validity of each stage of the process.
— — We utilize our New Member’s Class to share the process with those coming into our church.
— — We then ask our newcomers to take ownership of our vision by making four commitments:
— — (1) Learn their spiritual gifts; determine where they would like to minister through our church;
— — (2) Tithe;
— — (3) Join a small group (Fellowship Bible Study class);
— — (4) Write out their story (testimony) of how they came to Jesus personally,
— — — - which they are encouraged to share with non-believers.
— Take your time—give people an opportunity to buy into each step of the plan.
— Maintain flexibility—the key word is adaptability . . . the uniqueness of your church.
— Stay put—the transition process takes years . . . cannot be accomplished in a few months.
— Refuse to abandon your process—the distractions will be numerous; problems will arise.
— Become an expert on the process of change—you need His supernatural involvement.
— Stay connected with and enlist the support of your senior adults.
— Continually emphasize your church’s responsibility to reach the unchurched.
— Graciously release those members who choose to leave—it will not please everyone.
— Celebrate the completion of each advance—celebration builds momentum.
— Always honor Jesus—never take the credit when things go well.
— Don’t be afraid to take risks:
— — For that reason, you must wait to construct the new facility only after you have sufficiently
— — transitioned the church, so that it is a new church occupying a new facility. … As you prepare
— — to transition to your new facility, remember that while the new building is important,
— — you must guard against it becoming the defining element of your church’s ministry.
— Keep your sense of humor—enjoy the journey rather than viewing it as a drudgery.
— Constantly pray for God’s wisdom—in each decision you face in transitioning a church.
— Maintain your personal integrity and your walk with God.

———————————————————————————————————————————
SIMULTANEOUSLY TRANSITION YOUR WORSHIP STYLE AS YOU MOVE THROUGH THE PROCESS OF CHANGE.
———————————————————————————————————————————
———————————————————————————————————————————


———————————————————————————————————————————
B. PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST—THEIR UNIQUE BEHAVIOR PATTERN
———————————————————————————————————————————
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What is a “closet change agent”? When asked this question, John Waddey responded as follows: “A change agent is a false teacher within the brotherhood of Churches of Christ who is not content to follow the faith and practice of Christianity as set forth in the pages of the New Testament. He or she therefore works to convince our brethren that they should adopt changes in their faith, worship and practice that will be more acceptable to the world of the 21st century. The adjective ‘closet’ means they operate undercover, or covertly to accomplish their evil purposes.”

Kenneth Sublett has stated in a recent post, “End Time Serpents with Horns”: “We have NOTED SEVERAL times that the band of CHANGE AGENTS all WRITE (Scribes) and they all endorse and sell one another’s books. Even events such as the recent “Look to the Hills” are the prophetic TRAFFICKING. This fulfills the first century and the present Satan sending out a FLOOD of waters trying to wash the Word and Church off the earth. [Many] churches are involved in the same thing on a lesser scale: sending out sermonic renderings and new style a cappella praise music to SEDATE. These are Apollo’s LOCUSTS whichever wing they fly on.”

Sublett states further: “There is now a FLOOD of new books. It suggests that the Accusers of the Church are in a TRAFFICKING pattern to make money and ACCUSE the brethren who pay their UNLAWFUL wages. It works, as Paul might say, ‘because fools love to be fooled.’ . . . Purpose-driven CHANGE AGENTS believe that they have the right to lie, cheat, steal, threaten and use the law to steal the church property.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHO ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
John Waddey states: “The most prominent of our self-appointed ‘agents of change’ is Bro. RUBEL SHELLY of Nashville, TN.” MAX LUCADO of the Oak Hills Church (formerly Oak Hills Church of Christ) is one of the prominent CHANGE AGENTS in the church today. His website describes him in “UpWords” (his teaching ministry) as a prolific writer “with more than 28 million books in print.” Other influential leaders of the change movement are Joe Beam, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Mike Cope, Terry Rush, and Marvin Phillips. There are others.

Waddey cites examples of who they are in his article “Little Men”:

--- Men who do harm to the body of Christ while being supported to build it up.
--- Men who claim to be helping the church while fomenting chaos and strife within.
--- Men who rush forward to offer a fix for the problems they themselves have created.
--- --- They offer staff services to help churches resolve the conflicts caused by their changes.
--- Men who seek to build their status and influence by bashing and attempting to discredit the godly …
--- --- preachers who blazed the trail before them and built the congregations where they now serve.
--- Men whose teaching and practice lowers respect for the authority of God’s Word.
--- Men who refuse to recognize and honor the church of Christ as the body of Christ.
--- Men who think they know more about how to worship God than did Christ . . .
--- Men who undertake to change the unchangeable kingdom of Christ.
--- Men who presume that the new is better than the old in the realm of faith.
--- --- They care nothing for the old paths (Jer. 6:16).
--- --- They are like the pagan Athenians, always searching for something new or different.
--- Men who’d rather not speak boldly of Christ as the “founder” of the church of Christ.
--- Men who prefer to speak of Campbell and Stone as founders of their denomination.
--- Men whose favorite word is “grace” to mean salvation without obeying its conditions.
--- Men who love to speak of “freedom” to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions.
--- Men who love freedom to fellowship and be accepted by denominational bodies.
--- Men who speak of “patternism” as a sarcastic put down of the brethren true to God’s pattern.
--- Men who thirst for an emotion-based worship in the electronic churches of the televangelists.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT ARE SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF “CHANGE AGENTS” (AS THEY ATTEMPT TO PRESENT
THEMSELVES AS THEOLOGIANS WHO HAVE DISCOVERED NEW TRUTHS)?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
———————————————————————————————————————————
Change agents operate on faulty assumptions, John Waddey avers:
———————————————————————————————————————————
--- That they have discovered a more spiritual kind of religion now than before.
--- That only they know, understand and appreciate the grace of God.
--- That only they understand the blessings/benefits of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling.
--- That our concept is “restoration” of a specific congregation from 1st century.
--- That they have discovered a new and superior approach to Bible interpretation.
--- --- With that they claim to have found the true nature of the church.
--- --- In reality, it is the old, emotion-based, subjective approach of Protestantism.
--- --- Their Bible is a story book, serving only as a source for quotes for sermons,
--- --- --- but not for regulating/guiding the faith, worship & practice of the church.
--- That we are only interested in the doctrines and practices of the church.
--- That we are not truly dedicated to Christ and trying to be like him—they are.
--- That we are narrow, bigoted, and legalistic—they’re not.
--- That we claim that we are a perfect church. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we claim that we have attained complete compliance with every aspect
--- --- of Christ’s will for us. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we have misunderstood the way men are to be saved.
--- That we should be labeled “traditionalists” for our unwillingness to change.
--- --- When the truth is this: it is not change that we reject; . . .
--- --- --- Rather, we reject unlawful departure from God’s authorized Word and way.
--- --- When we are willing to change non-essentials (NOT substance or nature), as:
--- --- --- The hour, the length or the order of services …
--- --- --- Trying new songs or new hymnals …
--- --- --- Considering different methods of observing a communion service …
--- --- --- Accepting names for the church as long as they are all biblical …
--- --- --- --- without dismissing or discrediting the name of Christ, its head
--- --- When we do not consider “apostolic” traditions such “other” traditions as:
--- --- --- A tradition of a one hour worship service—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that calls for half hour sermons—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that expects a preacher to wear a coat and tie—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that we wear shoes to church—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that our meeting houses are built accordingly—that can change
--- That they can promote their changes without making one realize that TO DO SO:
--- --- The concept of restoring the original New Testament church is abandoned.
--- --- The changes advocated were not a part of the original church.
--- --- Ties are severed with those noble saints who went before us.
--- --- --- The faith and preaching of those predecessors would be incompatible with
--- --- --- --- the advocates of change … Like oil and water they would not mix …
--- --- Changes proposed will make the congregation one of 1200 denominations.
--- --- You are alienated/out of fellowship with simple Christians—churches of Christ.
--- --- The faith once delivered to the saints is abandoned.
--- --- Participation in causing division in the body of Christ is a fearful thought.

———————————————————————————————————————————
Change agents are committed to change the church of Christ
———————————————————————————————————————————
The third major segment below is a detailed list of changes that will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and acquiring your congregation. A careful examination of the list of changes will help pinpoint or isolate the SPECIFIC CHANGES that have caused “casualties”—expected or unexpected—in a particular congregation.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



———————————————————————————————————————————
C. EVALUATION OF THE CHANGE PACKAGE IMPLEMENTED IN THE TRANSITIONING CHURCH OF CHRIST
———————————————————————————————————————————
———————————————————————————————————————————
Below is a compiled list taken from various sources, especially from various articles written by John Waddey. The list of changes will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and eventually acquiring your congregation. The purpose here is to have a means by which a congregation in transition or “transformation” stage may be evaluated in terms of the extent of progress made or the lack thereof. Churches vary in the level or depth of implementation of the Community Church scheme for church growth. For example, a congregation may adopt only a small segment from the list. But that segment may pinpoint or isolate the factors that have caused a church to grow or dwindle.

May I suggest that you print the list and mark only the items that, to the best of your knowledge, are applicable to your congregation’s situation. An honest personal evaluation may assist in determining where your congregation stands on particular conflicts and issues.
———————————————————————————————————————————

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AGENTS ADVOCATING CHANGE: THEIR OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Agents of change are busy rewriting our church history to: . . .
[_] --- Paint a different picture of the goals and intentions of our forefathers and
[_] --- Wish to cast their efforts as a “unity movement” and
[_] --- Depict them as seeking fellowship with and not rejecting denominationalism
[_] Prominent change agents are invited by churches and schools as guest speakers:
[_] --- Rubel Shelly, Max Lucado, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Joe Beam, etc.
[_] Interlopers must be resolved not to leave; others against change must leave
[_] Interlopers are not obligated to start their own from scratch
[_] Young people are the future of the church; their needs must be met with urgency
[_] Homebuilders (parents in their 30’s & 40’s) are the key to a successful program
[_] Transition is a long-range mission accomplished after passing of older generation
[_] Their goal is conquest and dominance of the entire brotherhood
[_] Their scheme is to first transform large congregations
[_] They insure that buildings, facilities and property are not acquired until fully paid
[_] They insure that the subverted will not overthrow their schemes and plans
[_] They are never to admit being false teachers so as not to be rejected
[_] They resort to warning the non-accepting brethren to “get over it”
[_] They claim to be helping the church to disguise their fomented chaos and strife
[_] They rush forward to offer a fix to disguise problems they have created
[_] They send a team to resolve conflicts caused by their changes
[_] They advocate that leading and guidance emanate from the Holy Spirit
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as narrow, bigoted, legalistic and Pharisaical
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as “traditionalists” and them as “progressives”
[_] They accuse the unwilling to submit as claiming to be the perfect church
[_] They claim to have found the true nature of the church
[_] They abandon the concept of restoring the original New Testament church
[_] They preach that the absence of a “thou shalt not” means a practice is condoned
[_] They sever ties with our predecessors as much as possible; discredit their efforts
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as the ones inconsiderate and without love
[_] They emphasize “fellowshipping” [among the sects]; “brotherhood” is exclusive
[_] They share fellowship with denominational preachers, churches and events
[_] They do not refer to “the Lord’s church”—that is being exclusive of others
[_] They do not refer to the church as the kingdom and also to the reign of Christ
[_] They refer to the church only as “our faith tradition” just as others have theirs
[_] They define “freedom” as a way to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions
[_] They feel extended “brotherhood” should encompass the Christian Churches
[_] They implement a market-driven program to provide what people want or seek
[_] They divide an existing congregation so as to implement the “community” model
[_] They have less contact and fellowship with mainline churches of Christ


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CRITICISM FOR EFFORTS OF THE PAST: EXAGGERATED AND ENCOURAGED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] A superior way of “doing church” has been discovered
[_] Those over 50 are stubborn, close-minded and impervious to change
[_] The church of Christ of the Restoration Movement is just another denomination
[_] Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone founded the “Church of Christ”
[_] The church of Christ is a real, bona fide, but pitiful denomination
[_] The church of Christ is the poorest of the evangelical denominations
[_] Ties with those noble saints who went before us are severed
[_] The faith and preaching of predecessors are incompatible with those of change
[_] Men of Restoration were imperfect men and often taught erroneously


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
COMMUNITY CHURCH: MODEL FOR CHURCH OF CHRIST IN TRANSITION
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Dismiss or discredit the biblical name “church of Christ”
[_] Despise and ridicule Christ’s church and make it irrelevant
[_] De-emphasize the glory and honor to Christ, the head and founder
[_] The name “church of Christ” is offensive to denominational groups
[_] Crave acceptance with neighbors of the evangelical churches
[_] Do not want to bear the stigma of being exclusive from the denominations
[_] Mask from the community any affiliation with other churches of Christ
[_] Choose the model of being a “non-denominational” community church
[_] Prefer to identify with other groups rather than with your own brethren
[_] One motive is to place little or no emphasis on doctrinal loyalty
[_] Open to exchange, substitute or employ ministers from other denominations
[_] Allow acceptance of denominational churches as in good standing with God
[_] Encourage fellowship with denominational bodies
[_] The trend or direction is away from New Testament Christianity
[_] Transform congregations into charismatic, denominational churches
[_] Accept the new status of the church of Christ as a denomination


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MODERNIZE THE CHURCH: THE SECULAR- OR CULTURE-DRIVEN APPROACH
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Celebrate Jesus’ birthday, like it or not; observe the Christmas pagan holiday
[_] Celebrate the “special” annual resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday
[_] Make Valentine’s Day a church event—apart from but similar to a social event


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
BIBLE TRANSLATION & OTHER SOURCES: NEW TESTAMENT PRINCIPLES DEVALUED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Do not be publicly identified as a church with exclusive beliefs
[_] The Saddleback manual, “The Purpose-Driven Church” is a must-have resource
[_] Bible study materials may be obtained from denominational sources
[_] Be not concerned about the NIV version—a translational dialogue to consensus
[_] Church leaders should choose the NIV translation of the Bible for public reading
[_] Teachers should choose the NIV translation of the Bible (if used) in studies
[_] The New Testament is not the ultimate and absolute authority in faith matters
[_] Question the Bible’s inerrancy, its verbal inspiration and its authority
[_] The New Testament should not be viewed as a law to be obeyed
[_] The New Testament should be viewed as a love letter from God to His children
[_] Church leaders should implement a Covenant of Membership—Saddleback model
[_] Use drama as a learning tool with made up (non-factual) stories to entertain
[_] Do less teaching directly from the scriptures as that would be too boring


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CHURCH LEADERSHIP, ORGANIZATION, GOVERNMENT: EXPERIMENTATION
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] “Shepherds” rather than “elders” is the preferred way to identify the leaders
[_] New concepts of leadership for the congregation may be experimented
[_] One approach to a new and improved leadership is by “hierarchical” design
[_] Use a different kind of leadership model than “authoritarian” elders
[_] Define the role of women in the larger context of the biblical witness
[_] Dispute the passages that relegate women to a silent role
[_] Allow women to assume leadership roles and positions in the life of the church
[_] Allow women to serve as deaconesses, as ministers or preachers
[_] Allow older women to teach classes with baptized young men present


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WORSHIP: THE TRENDING “MUSICAL” WORSHIP CONTENT AND CASUALNESS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] It is not necessary to worship according to the New Testament pattern
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because people like it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because young people demand it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because it feels so wonderful
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: where does the Bible forbid it?
[_] It should be an entertaining experience
[_] It should be based on emotion and popular opinion or practice
[_] Model emotion-based worship from the electronic churches of televangelists
[_] Use the excuse of “the audience of one” when musical worship is criticized
[_] Emphasize casualness in worship as a sign of being accepting
[_] Greatly emphasize “self,” including one’s own feelings and emotions in worship
[_] The Old Testament with its old laws is no less important to us than the New
[_] Provide the “traditional” and “contemporary” worship service alternatives
[_] Shorten the sermon; include more “religious” jokes or irrelevant funny stories
[_] Sermons may now end with an invitation to accept Christ by faith to be saved
[_] Tithing in Old Testament is binding on New Testament Christians
[_] Applaud the new convert after baptism as an outward show of rejoicing
[_] --- It won’t be long when there’s applause after the Communion
[_] Musical worship must be strongly emphasized
[_] The human-designated WORSHIP LEADER is now a high-level position
[_] The worship leader should initiate the handclapping on stage after a song
[_] The worship leader should encourage rhythmic handclapping while singing
[_] Allow the use of musical instruments in worship
[_] Allow the use of choirs, solos, duets, trios, quartets
[_] The choir must dominate the musical worship with excellent performances
[_] The choir must rehearse all parts of the musical worship in order to perform well
[_] The choir—not the congregation—must learn the new songs first
[_] The choir must deliver the music; the congregation may join in the singing
[_] For the transitioning church of Christ, the choir should be called “Praise Team”
[_] Music should be sometimes so complex that only the Praise Team can perform
[_] Praise songs and choruses should be “upbeat” to induce handclapping
[_] Use rhythmic, programmed handclapping to convey message of joy
[_] Use lifting of hand in prayer and singing to signify reaching up in praise
[_] Applaud after an exciting and cheering song has been sung
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book and focus attention to the worship leader
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book by not giving enough time to open it
[_] Avoid hymns unless there’s a “praise” song for the communion
[_] Avoid hymns unless there’s a “praise” song for the invitation
[_] Avoid hymns unless they’re new and hymn books may be opened then
[_] Avoid hymns unless they’re new and the Praise Team can perform them then


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
THE LORD’S SUPPER AND SOCIAL FELLOWSHIP—MORE THAN JUST A MEMORIAL
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] The sacred meal can be mixed with a common or fellowship or pot luck meal
[_] The feast may be observed on another day not ordained by God
[_] Frequency of observance may be monthly, quarterly as the denominations do
[_] It is not only a sacred memorial of the death of Christ
[_] It is also to be observed as a “joyful celebration”
[_] It is also the occasion or a means of “fellowshipping” one with another
[_] There should be some story telling and human testimonies to be meaningful
[_] Praise Team members must be skilled during the partaking of the Communion:
[_] --- while singing or humming, clapping, holding the microphone and sheet music
[_] --- and remembering Christ’s suffering, crucifixion and death


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DOCTRINES DERIVED FROM DENOMINATIONS: BIBLICAL TRUTH BEING PERVERTED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Salvation is by grace through faith or by faith alone
[_] Deemphasize and deride the steps necessary for salvation
[_] De-emphasize the importance of baptism
[_] Baptism is no longer for the purpose of remitting sins
[_] Accept the Baptist doctrine of baptism as an after-the-fact ritual
[_] Baptism is the first act of obedience after being saved by faith
[_] Only accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior and be saved
[_] Follow the confession by praying the “sinner’s prayer” and be saved


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
HOLY SPIRIT and SPIRITUAL GIFTS: TEACHINGS IMITATED BY THE AGENTS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Worship “in spirit” should mean being “charismatic” in today’s language
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ “directly” influences the individual Christian
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ “directly” influences “the congregation”
[_] We must listen to the Holy Spirit for a call or whisper
[_] The indwelling of God’s Spirit makes a Christian “charismatic”
[_] Being “spirit-filled” means being “charismatic” in today’s language
[_] Music, although not listed in the Corinthian letter, is considered a spiritual gift
[_] Miracles, similar to those performed during the apostolic era, still exist today
[_] Speaking in tongues, contrary to I Corinthians 13, has not “ceased” yet
[_] Hold the Pentecostal view of another baptism—that of the Holy Spirit
[_] Perform “speaking in tongues” in public prayer as a testimony

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
———————————————————————————————————————————

Donnie Cruz
Source: Bible Infonet
___________________________________


<font size=5>
Quarantine the "Changers" to Save Our Children
</font>

<font size=4>
By E. Claude Gardner
</font>

In this century the church has had to cope with several splinter movements. In the teens there was Bollism which blossomed into the struggle with premillennialism in the '30s. Then came Ketchersideism, which was extremely radical, but later swung to the very liberal view. Another heartache was the battle over support of orphan homes and church cooperation. For decades the church was thwarted by Sommerism, and there is still a residue in some quarters.

For the last 30 or 40 years, there has existed a strong undercurrent of liberalism. This is now a force which the church in the mainstream must face. It promotes fundamental changes in teaching and practice. Some of the most visible and articulate among us are in this scholarly and well-financed group.

"Changers" is an umbrella term to cover various and sundry ideas novel to the New Testament. Not everyone in the camp of the radical changers agrees totally, but there is agreement with the general thrust toward a liberal slant.

To identify the proponents and fellow travelers - preachers, teachers, church leaders, or members - what are some of the teachings flowing from their mouth or pew?
  • Open fellowship with other religious bodies, especially the evangelicals;
  • Acceptance of the independent Christian Church;
  • Promoter of unity forums with the Christian Church;
  • Instrumental music is not sinful and is a nonissue;
  • Grace is a constant topic;
  • Exalting Christ but downplaying the church;
  • Gashing the church and finding little good about it and in contrast being complimentary of other religious groups;
  • Exhibiting cynicism;
  • Teaching that the church is a denomination and one part of the denominational framework;
  • Worship is to be changed to be more emotional in the Pentecostal denominational style;
  • Teaching obedience and commandments is legalism;
  • Women should have a leading role in the church;
  • Elders have no authority in a congregation;
  • Advocacy of the Holy Spirit empowering us in sensational ways apart from the Word of God;
  • After ignoring "doctrine" there may be major stress on social Issues;
  • Salvation is by faith and baptism is not essential for the forgiveness of sins;
  • The church is not the kingdom and we should pray for the kingdom to come;
  • Pattern theology is an abomination;
  • Tradition is bashed and change is touted;
  • The church needs to be restructured;
  • The restoration of New Testament Christianity is irrelevant and impossible;
  • Restoration of the church is not finished;
  • Using deductions based on Scripture cannot establish truth;
  • Silence of the Scriptures is not prohibitive;
  • Greatly enamored by radical youth workshops;
  • And as did Paul, I would add "and such like."
<font color=blue>When any person or a congregation espouses these beliefs or practices or some of them, it is evidence that the <b>changers are there. When this happens, many heartaches and divisions will come.

The changers should be quarantined at once. This must be done to save our children, for the peace of the brethren, and for unity in the brotherhood. Radical change advocates will divide the brotherhood by the espousal of liberal theology.

We are at the stage where we should start the quarantine.

Advocates of this radical splinter group make the charge of polarization when objections are raised to their "changes."

As a disclaimer: those who hold to New Testament Christianity do not believe matters of opinion should be tests of fellowship. The issue is in changing and rejecting the basics of Bible teaching and substantive matters. </b></font>
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John Waddey
John Waddey

July 14th, 2004, 6:31 am #28

A NEW BIG PICTURE: “THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING! THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING!”


Some congregations of the church of Christ are getting caught up in the excitement experienced by many previously conservative denominational churches which have “successfully” transitioned to the culture-driven, community-based church growth schemes. Generally, churches of Christ with strong biblical and spiritual leadership and with effective Bible study programs are most resistant to these schemes. However, such resistance is being overridden and overpowered by misdirected, power-driven prominent change agents in operation within the church.

This article is intended to give both church leaders and members a quick overview of the Change Movement, a spiritual disease that’s infecting our brotherhood, even as we speak. Incorporating changes in denominational churches is usually more easily accomplished than in churches of Christ. This is due to these main factors: our heritage, the uniqueness of the church, and the power of the Restoration principles embedded in the minds of faithful members. But complacency and unquestioning acceptance of the change schemes will only hasten another division in the church, if not its extinction, in the 21st century.

I will attempt to present both: (A.1) a simplified method and (A.2) a more detailed list of procedures aimed at TRANSITIONING AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED CHURCH. I will attempt to briefly but clearly define (B) the role of PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH. Finally, I will provide (C) a CHECKLIST TO EVALUATE THE TRANSITION IN PROGRESS.

It is an impossibility to include all the aspects of the various change movements at this time, even the evil attempts of the change advocates who are selfishly motivated to seize power within. So, this thread will be dedicated and restricted only to this specific topic and will be updated or expanded in time.


———————————————————————————————————————————
A.1 — SIMPLIFIED PROCESS OF TRANSITIONING AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
——— SOURCE: http://www.churchtransitions.com/about_cti.htm
———————————————————————————————————————————
The process of transition that we teach is a simple one:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
STEP 1—Prepare for change
STEP 2—Define your changes
STEP 3—Plant your vision with your key leaders
STEP 4—Share your vision with the whole church
STEP 5—Implement your changes
STEP 6—Deal with the opposition
STEP 7—Make adjustments
STEP 8—Evaluate the result

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dan Southerland is the founder and director of Church Transitions Inc. Dan developed
this process for change while serving as the pastor/teacher of the Flamingo Road Church
in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During the thirteen years of his ministry at Flamingo Road, the church
made some major changes:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
APPROACH ——— from being program driven to being purpose driven.
TARGET ————— from reaching believers to reaching the unchurched.
WORSHIP ———— from traditional to contemporary.
PASTORS ———— from a senior pastor model to a shared pastor model.
LEADERSHIP——— from a committee led church to being staff led.
MINISTRY ———— from pastors doing all the ministry to pastors equipping people.
SMALL GROUPS — from a traditional Sunday School to a relational cell group model.
SERVICES --——— from one weekend worship service to five weekend services.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
He has been teaching at the Purpose Driven Church conference held by Saddleback Church
for the past 5 years as well. About half of the events we do each year are co-sponsored
by Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries.

———————————————————————————————————————————


———————————————————————————————————————————
A.2 — ANOTHER METHOD: HOW TO TRANSITION AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
——— SOURCE: http://www.pastors.com/article.asp?ArtID (Chuck McAlister)

———————————————————————————————————————————
The following steps can be applied, I believe, to any church that desires to make this transition.
Our transition involved an eleven year process that continues to this day and will continue….

———————————————————————————————————————————
PLAN YOUR TRANSITION: A PRESCRIBED PROCEDURE IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER
———————————————————————————————————————————
— Focus on preaching for change to set the stage for determining your church purpose.
— Determine your church purpose: must embrace the five NT purposes for a church.
— Emphasize the church’s responsibility to reach the unchurched.
— Launch a New Member’s class.
— Encourage your members to embrace the church purpose as their personal purpose.
— Adopt new church by-laws: organizational concept and structure of the church biblical.
— Implement a covenant process for personal, spiritual growth of church members.
— Enlist the support of your senior adults.
— Transition the church ministry to the people; the maint. of the church to the staff (paid or volunteer).
— Transition the education ministry to make it life-empowering.
— Lead the church to decide to relocate.
— Locate new property for the relocation.
— Pay for property.
— Plan for a new facility.
— Raise funds for the new facility.
— Lead the church to change its name in preparation for the relocation.
— Launch in-home community groups

———————————————————————————————————————————
MULTIPLE STEPS INVOLVED IN EACH OF THE STAGES LISTED ABOVE: STEPS THAT
NECESSARILY INCLUDED OWNERSHIP OF THE CHANGE BY THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH

———————————————————————————————————————————
— Work your plan—stay committed … in spite of the challenges … the people who leave your church.
— Communicate your vision regularly—the validity of each stage of the process.
— — We utilize our New Member’s Class to share the process with those coming into our church.
— — We then ask our newcomers to take ownership of our vision by making four commitments:
— — (1) Learn their spiritual gifts; determine where they would like to minister through our church;
— — (2) Tithe;
— — (3) Join a small group (Fellowship Bible Study class);
— — (4) Write out their story (testimony) of how they came to Jesus personally,
— — — - which they are encouraged to share with non-believers.
— Take your time—give people an opportunity to buy into each step of the plan.
— Maintain flexibility—the key word is adaptability . . . the uniqueness of your church.
— Stay put—the transition process takes years . . . cannot be accomplished in a few months.
— Refuse to abandon your process—the distractions will be numerous; problems will arise.
— Become an expert on the process of change—you need His supernatural involvement.
— Stay connected with and enlist the support of your senior adults.
— Continually emphasize your church’s responsibility to reach the unchurched.
— Graciously release those members who choose to leave—it will not please everyone.
— Celebrate the completion of each advance—celebration builds momentum.
— Always honor Jesus—never take the credit when things go well.
— Don’t be afraid to take risks:
— — For that reason, you must wait to construct the new facility only after you have sufficiently
— — transitioned the church, so that it is a new church occupying a new facility. … As you prepare
— — to transition to your new facility, remember that while the new building is important,
— — you must guard against it becoming the defining element of your church’s ministry.
— Keep your sense of humor—enjoy the journey rather than viewing it as a drudgery.
— Constantly pray for God’s wisdom—in each decision you face in transitioning a church.
— Maintain your personal integrity and your walk with God.

———————————————————————————————————————————
SIMULTANEOUSLY TRANSITION YOUR WORSHIP STYLE AS YOU MOVE THROUGH THE PROCESS OF CHANGE.
———————————————————————————————————————————
———————————————————————————————————————————


———————————————————————————————————————————
B. PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST—THEIR UNIQUE BEHAVIOR PATTERN
———————————————————————————————————————————
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What is a “closet change agent”? When asked this question, John Waddey responded as follows: “A change agent is a false teacher within the brotherhood of Churches of Christ who is not content to follow the faith and practice of Christianity as set forth in the pages of the New Testament. He or she therefore works to convince our brethren that they should adopt changes in their faith, worship and practice that will be more acceptable to the world of the 21st century. The adjective ‘closet’ means they operate undercover, or covertly to accomplish their evil purposes.”

Kenneth Sublett has stated in a recent post, “End Time Serpents with Horns”: “We have NOTED SEVERAL times that the band of CHANGE AGENTS all WRITE (Scribes) and they all endorse and sell one another’s books. Even events such as the recent “Look to the Hills” are the prophetic TRAFFICKING. This fulfills the first century and the present Satan sending out a FLOOD of waters trying to wash the Word and Church off the earth. [Many] churches are involved in the same thing on a lesser scale: sending out sermonic renderings and new style a cappella praise music to SEDATE. These are Apollo’s LOCUSTS whichever wing they fly on.”

Sublett states further: “There is now a FLOOD of new books. It suggests that the Accusers of the Church are in a TRAFFICKING pattern to make money and ACCUSE the brethren who pay their UNLAWFUL wages. It works, as Paul might say, ‘because fools love to be fooled.’ . . . Purpose-driven CHANGE AGENTS believe that they have the right to lie, cheat, steal, threaten and use the law to steal the church property.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHO ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
John Waddey states: “The most prominent of our self-appointed ‘agents of change’ is Bro. RUBEL SHELLY of Nashville, TN.” MAX LUCADO of the Oak Hills Church (formerly Oak Hills Church of Christ) is one of the prominent CHANGE AGENTS in the church today. His website describes him in “UpWords” (his teaching ministry) as a prolific writer “with more than 28 million books in print.” Other influential leaders of the change movement are Joe Beam, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Mike Cope, Terry Rush, and Marvin Phillips. There are others.

Waddey cites examples of who they are in his article “Little Men”:

--- Men who do harm to the body of Christ while being supported to build it up.
--- Men who claim to be helping the church while fomenting chaos and strife within.
--- Men who rush forward to offer a fix for the problems they themselves have created.
--- --- They offer staff services to help churches resolve the conflicts caused by their changes.
--- Men who seek to build their status and influence by bashing and attempting to discredit the godly …
--- --- preachers who blazed the trail before them and built the congregations where they now serve.
--- Men whose teaching and practice lowers respect for the authority of God’s Word.
--- Men who refuse to recognize and honor the church of Christ as the body of Christ.
--- Men who think they know more about how to worship God than did Christ . . .
--- Men who undertake to change the unchangeable kingdom of Christ.
--- Men who presume that the new is better than the old in the realm of faith.
--- --- They care nothing for the old paths (Jer. 6:16).
--- --- They are like the pagan Athenians, always searching for something new or different.
--- Men who’d rather not speak boldly of Christ as the “founder” of the church of Christ.
--- Men who prefer to speak of Campbell and Stone as founders of their denomination.
--- Men whose favorite word is “grace” to mean salvation without obeying its conditions.
--- Men who love to speak of “freedom” to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions.
--- Men who love freedom to fellowship and be accepted by denominational bodies.
--- Men who speak of “patternism” as a sarcastic put down of the brethren true to God’s pattern.
--- Men who thirst for an emotion-based worship in the electronic churches of the televangelists.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT ARE SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF “CHANGE AGENTS” (AS THEY ATTEMPT TO PRESENT
THEMSELVES AS THEOLOGIANS WHO HAVE DISCOVERED NEW TRUTHS)?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
———————————————————————————————————————————
Change agents operate on faulty assumptions, John Waddey avers:
———————————————————————————————————————————
--- That they have discovered a more spiritual kind of religion now than before.
--- That only they know, understand and appreciate the grace of God.
--- That only they understand the blessings/benefits of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling.
--- That our concept is “restoration” of a specific congregation from 1st century.
--- That they have discovered a new and superior approach to Bible interpretation.
--- --- With that they claim to have found the true nature of the church.
--- --- In reality, it is the old, emotion-based, subjective approach of Protestantism.
--- --- Their Bible is a story book, serving only as a source for quotes for sermons,
--- --- --- but not for regulating/guiding the faith, worship & practice of the church.
--- That we are only interested in the doctrines and practices of the church.
--- That we are not truly dedicated to Christ and trying to be like him—they are.
--- That we are narrow, bigoted, and legalistic—they’re not.
--- That we claim that we are a perfect church. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we claim that we have attained complete compliance with every aspect
--- --- of Christ’s will for us. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we have misunderstood the way men are to be saved.
--- That we should be labeled “traditionalists” for our unwillingness to change.
--- --- When the truth is this: it is not change that we reject; . . .
--- --- --- Rather, we reject unlawful departure from God’s authorized Word and way.
--- --- When we are willing to change non-essentials (NOT substance or nature), as:
--- --- --- The hour, the length or the order of services …
--- --- --- Trying new songs or new hymnals …
--- --- --- Considering different methods of observing a communion service …
--- --- --- Accepting names for the church as long as they are all biblical …
--- --- --- --- without dismissing or discrediting the name of Christ, its head
--- --- When we do not consider “apostolic” traditions such “other” traditions as:
--- --- --- A tradition of a one hour worship service—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that calls for half hour sermons—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that expects a preacher to wear a coat and tie—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that we wear shoes to church—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that our meeting houses are built accordingly—that can change
--- That they can promote their changes without making one realize that TO DO SO:
--- --- The concept of restoring the original New Testament church is abandoned.
--- --- The changes advocated were not a part of the original church.
--- --- Ties are severed with those noble saints who went before us.
--- --- --- The faith and preaching of those predecessors would be incompatible with
--- --- --- --- the advocates of change … Like oil and water they would not mix …
--- --- Changes proposed will make the congregation one of 1200 denominations.
--- --- You are alienated/out of fellowship with simple Christians—churches of Christ.
--- --- The faith once delivered to the saints is abandoned.
--- --- Participation in causing division in the body of Christ is a fearful thought.

———————————————————————————————————————————
Change agents are committed to change the church of Christ
———————————————————————————————————————————
The third major segment below is a detailed list of changes that will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and acquiring your congregation. A careful examination of the list of changes will help pinpoint or isolate the SPECIFIC CHANGES that have caused “casualties”—expected or unexpected—in a particular congregation.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



———————————————————————————————————————————
C. EVALUATION OF THE CHANGE PACKAGE IMPLEMENTED IN THE TRANSITIONING CHURCH OF CHRIST
———————————————————————————————————————————
———————————————————————————————————————————
Below is a compiled list taken from various sources, especially from various articles written by John Waddey. The list of changes will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and eventually acquiring your congregation. The purpose here is to have a means by which a congregation in transition or “transformation” stage may be evaluated in terms of the extent of progress made or the lack thereof. Churches vary in the level or depth of implementation of the Community Church scheme for church growth. For example, a congregation may adopt only a small segment from the list. But that segment may pinpoint or isolate the factors that have caused a church to grow or dwindle.

May I suggest that you print the list and mark only the items that, to the best of your knowledge, are applicable to your congregation’s situation. An honest personal evaluation may assist in determining where your congregation stands on particular conflicts and issues.
———————————————————————————————————————————

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AGENTS ADVOCATING CHANGE: THEIR OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Agents of change are busy rewriting our church history to: . . .
[_] --- Paint a different picture of the goals and intentions of our forefathers and
[_] --- Wish to cast their efforts as a “unity movement” and
[_] --- Depict them as seeking fellowship with and not rejecting denominationalism
[_] Prominent change agents are invited by churches and schools as guest speakers:
[_] --- Rubel Shelly, Max Lucado, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Joe Beam, etc.
[_] Interlopers must be resolved not to leave; others against change must leave
[_] Interlopers are not obligated to start their own from scratch
[_] Young people are the future of the church; their needs must be met with urgency
[_] Homebuilders (parents in their 30’s & 40’s) are the key to a successful program
[_] Transition is a long-range mission accomplished after passing of older generation
[_] Their goal is conquest and dominance of the entire brotherhood
[_] Their scheme is to first transform large congregations
[_] They insure that buildings, facilities and property are not acquired until fully paid
[_] They insure that the subverted will not overthrow their schemes and plans
[_] They are never to admit being false teachers so as not to be rejected
[_] They resort to warning the non-accepting brethren to “get over it”
[_] They claim to be helping the church to disguise their fomented chaos and strife
[_] They rush forward to offer a fix to disguise problems they have created
[_] They send a team to resolve conflicts caused by their changes
[_] They advocate that leading and guidance emanate from the Holy Spirit
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as narrow, bigoted, legalistic and Pharisaical
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as “traditionalists” and them as “progressives”
[_] They accuse the unwilling to submit as claiming to be the perfect church
[_] They claim to have found the true nature of the church
[_] They abandon the concept of restoring the original New Testament church
[_] They preach that the absence of a “thou shalt not” means a practice is condoned
[_] They sever ties with our predecessors as much as possible; discredit their efforts
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as the ones inconsiderate and without love
[_] They emphasize “fellowshipping” [among the sects]; “brotherhood” is exclusive
[_] They share fellowship with denominational preachers, churches and events
[_] They do not refer to “the Lord’s church”—that is being exclusive of others
[_] They do not refer to the church as the kingdom and also to the reign of Christ
[_] They refer to the church only as “our faith tradition” just as others have theirs
[_] They define “freedom” as a way to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions
[_] They feel extended “brotherhood” should encompass the Christian Churches
[_] They implement a market-driven program to provide what people want or seek
[_] They divide an existing congregation so as to implement the “community” model
[_] They have less contact and fellowship with mainline churches of Christ


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CRITICISM FOR EFFORTS OF THE PAST: EXAGGERATED AND ENCOURAGED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] A superior way of “doing church” has been discovered
[_] Those over 50 are stubborn, close-minded and impervious to change
[_] The church of Christ of the Restoration Movement is just another denomination
[_] Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone founded the “Church of Christ”
[_] The church of Christ is a real, bona fide, but pitiful denomination
[_] The church of Christ is the poorest of the evangelical denominations
[_] Ties with those noble saints who went before us are severed
[_] The faith and preaching of predecessors are incompatible with those of change
[_] Men of Restoration were imperfect men and often taught erroneously


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
COMMUNITY CHURCH: MODEL FOR CHURCH OF CHRIST IN TRANSITION
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Dismiss or discredit the biblical name “church of Christ”
[_] Despise and ridicule Christ’s church and make it irrelevant
[_] De-emphasize the glory and honor to Christ, the head and founder
[_] The name “church of Christ” is offensive to denominational groups
[_] Crave acceptance with neighbors of the evangelical churches
[_] Do not want to bear the stigma of being exclusive from the denominations
[_] Mask from the community any affiliation with other churches of Christ
[_] Choose the model of being a “non-denominational” community church
[_] Prefer to identify with other groups rather than with your own brethren
[_] One motive is to place little or no emphasis on doctrinal loyalty
[_] Open to exchange, substitute or employ ministers from other denominations
[_] Allow acceptance of denominational churches as in good standing with God
[_] Encourage fellowship with denominational bodies
[_] The trend or direction is away from New Testament Christianity
[_] Transform congregations into charismatic, denominational churches
[_] Accept the new status of the church of Christ as a denomination


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MODERNIZE THE CHURCH: THE SECULAR- OR CULTURE-DRIVEN APPROACH
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Celebrate Jesus’ birthday, like it or not; observe the Christmas pagan holiday
[_] Celebrate the “special” annual resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday
[_] Make Valentine’s Day a church event—apart from but similar to a social event


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
BIBLE TRANSLATION & OTHER SOURCES: NEW TESTAMENT PRINCIPLES DEVALUED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Do not be publicly identified as a church with exclusive beliefs
[_] The Saddleback manual, “The Purpose-Driven Church” is a must-have resource
[_] Bible study materials may be obtained from denominational sources
[_] Be not concerned about the NIV version—a translational dialogue to consensus
[_] Church leaders should choose the NIV translation of the Bible for public reading
[_] Teachers should choose the NIV translation of the Bible (if used) in studies
[_] The New Testament is not the ultimate and absolute authority in faith matters
[_] Question the Bible’s inerrancy, its verbal inspiration and its authority
[_] The New Testament should not be viewed as a law to be obeyed
[_] The New Testament should be viewed as a love letter from God to His children
[_] Church leaders should implement a Covenant of Membership—Saddleback model
[_] Use drama as a learning tool with made up (non-factual) stories to entertain
[_] Do less teaching directly from the scriptures as that would be too boring


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CHURCH LEADERSHIP, ORGANIZATION, GOVERNMENT: EXPERIMENTATION
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] “Shepherds” rather than “elders” is the preferred way to identify the leaders
[_] New concepts of leadership for the congregation may be experimented
[_] One approach to a new and improved leadership is by “hierarchical” design
[_] Use a different kind of leadership model than “authoritarian” elders
[_] Define the role of women in the larger context of the biblical witness
[_] Dispute the passages that relegate women to a silent role
[_] Allow women to assume leadership roles and positions in the life of the church
[_] Allow women to serve as deaconesses, as ministers or preachers
[_] Allow older women to teach classes with baptized young men present


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WORSHIP: THE TRENDING “MUSICAL” WORSHIP CONTENT AND CASUALNESS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] It is not necessary to worship according to the New Testament pattern
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because people like it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because young people demand it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because it feels so wonderful
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: where does the Bible forbid it?
[_] It should be an entertaining experience
[_] It should be based on emotion and popular opinion or practice
[_] Model emotion-based worship from the electronic churches of televangelists
[_] Use the excuse of “the audience of one” when musical worship is criticized
[_] Emphasize casualness in worship as a sign of being accepting
[_] Greatly emphasize “self,” including one’s own feelings and emotions in worship
[_] The Old Testament with its old laws is no less important to us than the New
[_] Provide the “traditional” and “contemporary” worship service alternatives
[_] Shorten the sermon; include more “religious” jokes or irrelevant funny stories
[_] Sermons may now end with an invitation to accept Christ by faith to be saved
[_] Tithing in Old Testament is binding on New Testament Christians
[_] Applaud the new convert after baptism as an outward show of rejoicing
[_] --- It won’t be long when there’s applause after the Communion
[_] Musical worship must be strongly emphasized
[_] The human-designated WORSHIP LEADER is now a high-level position
[_] The worship leader should initiate the handclapping on stage after a song
[_] The worship leader should encourage rhythmic handclapping while singing
[_] Allow the use of musical instruments in worship
[_] Allow the use of choirs, solos, duets, trios, quartets
[_] The choir must dominate the musical worship with excellent performances
[_] The choir must rehearse all parts of the musical worship in order to perform well
[_] The choir—not the congregation—must learn the new songs first
[_] The choir must deliver the music; the congregation may join in the singing
[_] For the transitioning church of Christ, the choir should be called “Praise Team”
[_] Music should be sometimes so complex that only the Praise Team can perform
[_] Praise songs and choruses should be “upbeat” to induce handclapping
[_] Use rhythmic, programmed handclapping to convey message of joy
[_] Use lifting of hand in prayer and singing to signify reaching up in praise
[_] Applaud after an exciting and cheering song has been sung
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book and focus attention to the worship leader
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book by not giving enough time to open it
[_] Avoid hymns unless there’s a “praise” song for the communion
[_] Avoid hymns unless there’s a “praise” song for the invitation
[_] Avoid hymns unless they’re new and hymn books may be opened then
[_] Avoid hymns unless they’re new and the Praise Team can perform them then


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
THE LORD’S SUPPER AND SOCIAL FELLOWSHIP—MORE THAN JUST A MEMORIAL
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] The sacred meal can be mixed with a common or fellowship or pot luck meal
[_] The feast may be observed on another day not ordained by God
[_] Frequency of observance may be monthly, quarterly as the denominations do
[_] It is not only a sacred memorial of the death of Christ
[_] It is also to be observed as a “joyful celebration”
[_] It is also the occasion or a means of “fellowshipping” one with another
[_] There should be some story telling and human testimonies to be meaningful
[_] Praise Team members must be skilled during the partaking of the Communion:
[_] --- while singing or humming, clapping, holding the microphone and sheet music
[_] --- and remembering Christ’s suffering, crucifixion and death


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DOCTRINES DERIVED FROM DENOMINATIONS: BIBLICAL TRUTH BEING PERVERTED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Salvation is by grace through faith or by faith alone
[_] Deemphasize and deride the steps necessary for salvation
[_] De-emphasize the importance of baptism
[_] Baptism is no longer for the purpose of remitting sins
[_] Accept the Baptist doctrine of baptism as an after-the-fact ritual
[_] Baptism is the first act of obedience after being saved by faith
[_] Only accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior and be saved
[_] Follow the confession by praying the “sinner’s prayer” and be saved


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
HOLY SPIRIT and SPIRITUAL GIFTS: TEACHINGS IMITATED BY THE AGENTS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Worship “in spirit” should mean being “charismatic” in today’s language
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ “directly” influences the individual Christian
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ “directly” influences “the congregation”
[_] We must listen to the Holy Spirit for a call or whisper
[_] The indwelling of God’s Spirit makes a Christian “charismatic”
[_] Being “spirit-filled” means being “charismatic” in today’s language
[_] Music, although not listed in the Corinthian letter, is considered a spiritual gift
[_] Miracles, similar to those performed during the apostolic era, still exist today
[_] Speaking in tongues, contrary to I Corinthians 13, has not “ceased” yet
[_] Hold the Pentecostal view of another baptism—that of the Holy Spirit
[_] Perform “speaking in tongues” in public prayer as a testimony

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
———————————————————————————————————————————

Donnie Cruz
<font size=5>
THE CONSUMING POWER OF CHANGE
</font>


The champions of change prefer stories over Biblical preaching. I have a story to share with you and them. <font color=indigo>Many years ago my younger brother bought a hotrod car. The previous owner, whom we will call Lynn, started with a Henry J. (Young folks may never have heard of that one, but it was a real brand, on the market in the 50s). When the owner wanted a hotrod to use for racing he began to modify and change his Henry J. First he removed the fenders. Then he removed the seats and installed bucket seats in the front. Roll bars were added. Special springs and shocks were placed on the back to elevate it and large oversize racing tires were installed. The Henry J motor was replaced with a powerful Cadillac engine, the transmission and drive chain with that of an Oldsmobile. The differential was also exchanged for a racing type. The mufflers were stripped away.</font>

Now my question is, when did Lynn's car cease to be a Henry J and become the creation of Lynn. When I saw this machine it did not look like, drive like, sound like or in any way resemble the Henry J designed by and produced by Kaiser-Frazier Motor Company. It was, at that point, a car that had been totally changed by Lynn and its original design marred and destroyed.

Another Lynn and lots of his friends are busily at work among Churches of Christ attempting to redesign and change our churches into a new model that meets their personal interests and needs. The original model was designed by Christ and set in motion by his apostles. The blueprint and design are clearly recorded in the New Testament. The following changes have already been made in many places:
<ol><font color=blue>[*]The name. It seems the change agents are uncomfortable with the name Church of Christ (Rom. 16:16) and prefer most any other designation.

[*]The communion. Rather than a sacred memorial in an hour of worship (I Cor. 11:17-34), they prefer a setting with a common meal (See John Mark Hicks, Come to the Table).

[*]The congregational, acappella singing (Eph. 5:19), they would replace with choirs, soloists and instrumental music.

[*]The proclamation of the gospel by men of God (I Cor. 1:21), they would replace with story telling, drama and interpretative dances.

[*]The ancient way of salvation by grace through faith, repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38) they would replace with "grace only" or "faith only." (See Max Lucado and Rubel Shelly's pronouncements).

[*]The New Testament as an authoritative pattern for the church to follow (Heb. 8:5; II Tim. 1:13) they would replace with "love letter" and personal illumination of the Holy Spirit.

[*]The one unique church purchased by the blood of Christ, built by the Savior, loved by the Master as his bride and to be saved by Him, they would replace with a denomination founded by Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone.

[*]The church as the one and only family of God to which He adds all the saved, they would change to a denomination of the same value as the 1200 others in our world.

[*]The male leadership God ordained for his church (I Cor. 14:34), they would change to a leadership made up of both men and women.

[*]The decent and orderly worship of the New Covenant (I Cor. 14:40), they would exchange for a boisterous service or hand-clapping and emotional display.

[*]The church that is always looking back to the original pattern set forth by Christ and attempting to be like it, they would change for a church that is open to new ideas and ways of doing things.[/i]</font>
[/list]I am sure there are other modifications that these designing brothers are working on, but these suffice for my point. We asked when did Kaiser-Frazier's Henry J cease to be their product and become Lynn's? Now when does a church that is being so radically changed cease to be Christ's and become Lynn's or Royce's or Rubel's? When the church in Ephesus left her first love, Christ warned them, "Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come...and will move they candlestick out of its place..." (Rev. 2:5).

___________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

E-Mail: [url=mailto:johnwaddey@aol.com]johnwaddey@aol.com[/url]
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John Waddey
John Waddey

July 31st, 2004, 6:45 am #29

A NEW BIG PICTURE: “THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING! THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING!”


Some congregations of the church of Christ are getting caught up in the excitement experienced by many previously conservative denominational churches which have “successfully” transitioned to the culture-driven, community-based church growth schemes. Generally, churches of Christ with strong biblical and spiritual leadership and with effective Bible study programs are most resistant to these schemes. However, such resistance is being overridden and overpowered by misdirected, power-driven prominent change agents in operation within the church.

This article is intended to give both church leaders and members a quick overview of the Change Movement, a spiritual disease that’s infecting our brotherhood, even as we speak. Incorporating changes in denominational churches is usually more easily accomplished than in churches of Christ. This is due to these main factors: our heritage, the uniqueness of the church, and the power of the Restoration principles embedded in the minds of faithful members. But complacency and unquestioning acceptance of the change schemes will only hasten another division in the church, if not its extinction, in the 21st century.

I will attempt to present both: (A.1) a simplified method and (A.2) a more detailed list of procedures aimed at TRANSITIONING AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED CHURCH. I will attempt to briefly but clearly define (B) the role of PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH. Finally, I will provide (C) a CHECKLIST TO EVALUATE THE TRANSITION IN PROGRESS.

It is an impossibility to include all the aspects of the various change movements at this time, even the evil attempts of the change advocates who are selfishly motivated to seize power within. So, this thread will be dedicated and restricted only to this specific topic and will be updated or expanded in time.


———————————————————————————————————————————
A.1 — SIMPLIFIED PROCESS OF TRANSITIONING AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
——— SOURCE: http://www.churchtransitions.com/about_cti.htm
———————————————————————————————————————————
The process of transition that we teach is a simple one:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
STEP 1—Prepare for change
STEP 2—Define your changes
STEP 3—Plant your vision with your key leaders
STEP 4—Share your vision with the whole church
STEP 5—Implement your changes
STEP 6—Deal with the opposition
STEP 7—Make adjustments
STEP 8—Evaluate the result

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dan Southerland is the founder and director of Church Transitions Inc. Dan developed
this process for change while serving as the pastor/teacher of the Flamingo Road Church
in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During the thirteen years of his ministry at Flamingo Road, the church
made some major changes:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
APPROACH ——— from being program driven to being purpose driven.
TARGET ————— from reaching believers to reaching the unchurched.
WORSHIP ———— from traditional to contemporary.
PASTORS ———— from a senior pastor model to a shared pastor model.
LEADERSHIP——— from a committee led church to being staff led.
MINISTRY ———— from pastors doing all the ministry to pastors equipping people.
SMALL GROUPS — from a traditional Sunday School to a relational cell group model.
SERVICES --——— from one weekend worship service to five weekend services.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
He has been teaching at the Purpose Driven Church conference held by Saddleback Church
for the past 5 years as well. About half of the events we do each year are co-sponsored
by Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries.

———————————————————————————————————————————


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A.2 — ANOTHER METHOD: HOW TO TRANSITION AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
——— SOURCE: http://www.pastors.com/article.asp?ArtID (Chuck McAlister)

———————————————————————————————————————————
The following steps can be applied, I believe, to any church that desires to make this transition.
Our transition involved an eleven year process that continues to this day and will continue….

———————————————————————————————————————————
PLAN YOUR TRANSITION: A PRESCRIBED PROCEDURE IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER
———————————————————————————————————————————
— Focus on preaching for change to set the stage for determining your church purpose.
— Determine your church purpose: must embrace the five NT purposes for a church.
— Emphasize the church’s responsibility to reach the unchurched.
— Launch a New Member’s class.
— Encourage your members to embrace the church purpose as their personal purpose.
— Adopt new church by-laws: organizational concept and structure of the church biblical.
— Implement a covenant process for personal, spiritual growth of church members.
— Enlist the support of your senior adults.
— Transition the church ministry to the people; the maint. of the church to the staff (paid or volunteer).
— Transition the education ministry to make it life-empowering.
— Lead the church to decide to relocate.
— Locate new property for the relocation.
— Pay for property.
— Plan for a new facility.
— Raise funds for the new facility.
— Lead the church to change its name in preparation for the relocation.
— Launch in-home community groups

———————————————————————————————————————————
MULTIPLE STEPS INVOLVED IN EACH OF THE STAGES LISTED ABOVE: STEPS THAT
NECESSARILY INCLUDED OWNERSHIP OF THE CHANGE BY THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH

———————————————————————————————————————————
— Work your plan—stay committed … in spite of the challenges … the people who leave your church.
— Communicate your vision regularly—the validity of each stage of the process.
— — We utilize our New Member’s Class to share the process with those coming into our church.
— — We then ask our newcomers to take ownership of our vision by making four commitments:
— — (1) Learn their spiritual gifts; determine where they would like to minister through our church;
— — (2) Tithe;
— — (3) Join a small group (Fellowship Bible Study class);
— — (4) Write out their story (testimony) of how they came to Jesus personally,
— — — - which they are encouraged to share with non-believers.
— Take your time—give people an opportunity to buy into each step of the plan.
— Maintain flexibility—the key word is adaptability . . . the uniqueness of your church.
— Stay put—the transition process takes years . . . cannot be accomplished in a few months.
— Refuse to abandon your process—the distractions will be numerous; problems will arise.
— Become an expert on the process of change—you need His supernatural involvement.
— Stay connected with and enlist the support of your senior adults.
— Continually emphasize your church’s responsibility to reach the unchurched.
— Graciously release those members who choose to leave—it will not please everyone.
— Celebrate the completion of each advance—celebration builds momentum.
— Always honor Jesus—never take the credit when things go well.
— Don’t be afraid to take risks:
— — For that reason, you must wait to construct the new facility only after you have sufficiently
— — transitioned the church, so that it is a new church occupying a new facility. … As you prepare
— — to transition to your new facility, remember that while the new building is important,
— — you must guard against it becoming the defining element of your church’s ministry.
— Keep your sense of humor—enjoy the journey rather than viewing it as a drudgery.
— Constantly pray for God’s wisdom—in each decision you face in transitioning a church.
— Maintain your personal integrity and your walk with God.

———————————————————————————————————————————
SIMULTANEOUSLY TRANSITION YOUR WORSHIP STYLE AS YOU MOVE THROUGH THE PROCESS OF CHANGE.
———————————————————————————————————————————
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———————————————————————————————————————————
B. PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST—THEIR UNIQUE BEHAVIOR PATTERN
———————————————————————————————————————————
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What is a “closet change agent”? When asked this question, John Waddey responded as follows: “A change agent is a false teacher within the brotherhood of Churches of Christ who is not content to follow the faith and practice of Christianity as set forth in the pages of the New Testament. He or she therefore works to convince our brethren that they should adopt changes in their faith, worship and practice that will be more acceptable to the world of the 21st century. The adjective ‘closet’ means they operate undercover, or covertly to accomplish their evil purposes.”

Kenneth Sublett has stated in a recent post, “End Time Serpents with Horns”: “We have NOTED SEVERAL times that the band of CHANGE AGENTS all WRITE (Scribes) and they all endorse and sell one another’s books. Even events such as the recent “Look to the Hills” are the prophetic TRAFFICKING. This fulfills the first century and the present Satan sending out a FLOOD of waters trying to wash the Word and Church off the earth. [Many] churches are involved in the same thing on a lesser scale: sending out sermonic renderings and new style a cappella praise music to SEDATE. These are Apollo’s LOCUSTS whichever wing they fly on.”

Sublett states further: “There is now a FLOOD of new books. It suggests that the Accusers of the Church are in a TRAFFICKING pattern to make money and ACCUSE the brethren who pay their UNLAWFUL wages. It works, as Paul might say, ‘because fools love to be fooled.’ . . . Purpose-driven CHANGE AGENTS believe that they have the right to lie, cheat, steal, threaten and use the law to steal the church property.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHO ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
John Waddey states: “The most prominent of our self-appointed ‘agents of change’ is Bro. RUBEL SHELLY of Nashville, TN.” MAX LUCADO of the Oak Hills Church (formerly Oak Hills Church of Christ) is one of the prominent CHANGE AGENTS in the church today. His website describes him in “UpWords” (his teaching ministry) as a prolific writer “with more than 28 million books in print.” Other influential leaders of the change movement are Joe Beam, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Mike Cope, Terry Rush, and Marvin Phillips. There are others.

Waddey cites examples of who they are in his article “Little Men”:

--- Men who do harm to the body of Christ while being supported to build it up.
--- Men who claim to be helping the church while fomenting chaos and strife within.
--- Men who rush forward to offer a fix for the problems they themselves have created.
--- --- They offer staff services to help churches resolve the conflicts caused by their changes.
--- Men who seek to build their status and influence by bashing and attempting to discredit the godly …
--- --- preachers who blazed the trail before them and built the congregations where they now serve.
--- Men whose teaching and practice lowers respect for the authority of God’s Word.
--- Men who refuse to recognize and honor the church of Christ as the body of Christ.
--- Men who think they know more about how to worship God than did Christ . . .
--- Men who undertake to change the unchangeable kingdom of Christ.
--- Men who presume that the new is better than the old in the realm of faith.
--- --- They care nothing for the old paths (Jer. 6:16).
--- --- They are like the pagan Athenians, always searching for something new or different.
--- Men who’d rather not speak boldly of Christ as the “founder” of the church of Christ.
--- Men who prefer to speak of Campbell and Stone as founders of their denomination.
--- Men whose favorite word is “grace” to mean salvation without obeying its conditions.
--- Men who love to speak of “freedom” to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions.
--- Men who love freedom to fellowship and be accepted by denominational bodies.
--- Men who speak of “patternism” as a sarcastic put down of the brethren true to God’s pattern.
--- Men who thirst for an emotion-based worship in the electronic churches of the televangelists.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT ARE SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF “CHANGE AGENTS” (AS THEY ATTEMPT TO PRESENT
THEMSELVES AS THEOLOGIANS WHO HAVE DISCOVERED NEW TRUTHS)?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
———————————————————————————————————————————
Change agents operate on faulty assumptions, John Waddey avers:
———————————————————————————————————————————
--- That they have discovered a more spiritual kind of religion now than before.
--- That only they know, understand and appreciate the grace of God.
--- That only they understand the blessings/benefits of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling.
--- That our concept is “restoration” of a specific congregation from 1st century.
--- That they have discovered a new and superior approach to Bible interpretation.
--- --- With that they claim to have found the true nature of the church.
--- --- In reality, it is the old, emotion-based, subjective approach of Protestantism.
--- --- Their Bible is a story book, serving only as a source for quotes for sermons,
--- --- --- but not for regulating/guiding the faith, worship & practice of the church.
--- That we are only interested in the doctrines and practices of the church.
--- That we are not truly dedicated to Christ and trying to be like him—they are.
--- That we are narrow, bigoted, and legalistic—they’re not.
--- That we claim that we are a perfect church. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we claim that we have attained complete compliance with every aspect
--- --- of Christ’s will for us. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we have misunderstood the way men are to be saved.
--- That we should be labeled “traditionalists” for our unwillingness to change.
--- --- When the truth is this: it is not change that we reject; . . .
--- --- --- Rather, we reject unlawful departure from God’s authorized Word and way.
--- --- When we are willing to change non-essentials (NOT substance or nature), as:
--- --- --- The hour, the length or the order of services …
--- --- --- Trying new songs or new hymnals …
--- --- --- Considering different methods of observing a communion service …
--- --- --- Accepting names for the church as long as they are all biblical …
--- --- --- --- without dismissing or discrediting the name of Christ, its head
--- --- When we do not consider “apostolic” traditions such “other” traditions as:
--- --- --- A tradition of a one hour worship service—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that calls for half hour sermons—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that expects a preacher to wear a coat and tie—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that we wear shoes to church—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that our meeting houses are built accordingly—that can change
--- That they can promote their changes without making one realize that TO DO SO:
--- --- The concept of restoring the original New Testament church is abandoned.
--- --- The changes advocated were not a part of the original church.
--- --- Ties are severed with those noble saints who went before us.
--- --- --- The faith and preaching of those predecessors would be incompatible with
--- --- --- --- the advocates of change … Like oil and water they would not mix …
--- --- Changes proposed will make the congregation one of 1200 denominations.
--- --- You are alienated/out of fellowship with simple Christians—churches of Christ.
--- --- The faith once delivered to the saints is abandoned.
--- --- Participation in causing division in the body of Christ is a fearful thought.

———————————————————————————————————————————
Change agents are committed to change the church of Christ
———————————————————————————————————————————
The third major segment below is a detailed list of changes that will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and acquiring your congregation. A careful examination of the list of changes will help pinpoint or isolate the SPECIFIC CHANGES that have caused “casualties”—expected or unexpected—in a particular congregation.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



———————————————————————————————————————————
C. EVALUATION OF THE CHANGE PACKAGE IMPLEMENTED IN THE TRANSITIONING CHURCH OF CHRIST
———————————————————————————————————————————
———————————————————————————————————————————
Below is a compiled list taken from various sources, especially from various articles written by John Waddey. The list of changes will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and eventually acquiring your congregation. The purpose here is to have a means by which a congregation in transition or “transformation” stage may be evaluated in terms of the extent of progress made or the lack thereof. Churches vary in the level or depth of implementation of the Community Church scheme for church growth. For example, a congregation may adopt only a small segment from the list. But that segment may pinpoint or isolate the factors that have caused a church to grow or dwindle.

May I suggest that you print the list and mark only the items that, to the best of your knowledge, are applicable to your congregation’s situation. An honest personal evaluation may assist in determining where your congregation stands on particular conflicts and issues.
———————————————————————————————————————————

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AGENTS ADVOCATING CHANGE: THEIR OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Agents of change are busy rewriting our church history to: . . .
[_] --- Paint a different picture of the goals and intentions of our forefathers and
[_] --- Wish to cast their efforts as a “unity movement” and
[_] --- Depict them as seeking fellowship with and not rejecting denominationalism
[_] Prominent change agents are invited by churches and schools as guest speakers:
[_] --- Rubel Shelly, Max Lucado, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Joe Beam, etc.
[_] Interlopers must be resolved not to leave; others against change must leave
[_] Interlopers are not obligated to start their own from scratch
[_] Young people are the future of the church; their needs must be met with urgency
[_] Homebuilders (parents in their 30’s & 40’s) are the key to a successful program
[_] Transition is a long-range mission accomplished after passing of older generation
[_] Their goal is conquest and dominance of the entire brotherhood
[_] Their scheme is to first transform large congregations
[_] They insure that buildings, facilities and property are not acquired until fully paid
[_] They insure that the subverted will not overthrow their schemes and plans
[_] They are never to admit being false teachers so as not to be rejected
[_] They resort to warning the non-accepting brethren to “get over it”
[_] They claim to be helping the church to disguise their fomented chaos and strife
[_] They rush forward to offer a fix to disguise problems they have created
[_] They send a team to resolve conflicts caused by their changes
[_] They advocate that leading and guidance emanate from the Holy Spirit
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as narrow, bigoted, legalistic and Pharisaical
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as “traditionalists” and them as “progressives”
[_] They accuse the unwilling to submit as claiming to be the perfect church
[_] They claim to have found the true nature of the church
[_] They abandon the concept of restoring the original New Testament church
[_] They preach that the absence of a “thou shalt not” means a practice is condoned
[_] They sever ties with our predecessors as much as possible; discredit their efforts
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as the ones inconsiderate and without love
[_] They emphasize “fellowshipping” [among the sects]; “brotherhood” is exclusive
[_] They share fellowship with denominational preachers, churches and events
[_] They do not refer to “the Lord’s church”—that is being exclusive of others
[_] They do not refer to the church as the kingdom and also to the reign of Christ
[_] They refer to the church only as “our faith tradition” just as others have theirs
[_] They define “freedom” as a way to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions
[_] They feel extended “brotherhood” should encompass the Christian Churches
[_] They implement a market-driven program to provide what people want or seek
[_] They divide an existing congregation so as to implement the “community” model
[_] They have less contact and fellowship with mainline churches of Christ


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CRITICISM FOR EFFORTS OF THE PAST: EXAGGERATED AND ENCOURAGED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] A superior way of “doing church” has been discovered
[_] Those over 50 are stubborn, close-minded and impervious to change
[_] The church of Christ of the Restoration Movement is just another denomination
[_] Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone founded the “Church of Christ”
[_] The church of Christ is a real, bona fide, but pitiful denomination
[_] The church of Christ is the poorest of the evangelical denominations
[_] Ties with those noble saints who went before us are severed
[_] The faith and preaching of predecessors are incompatible with those of change
[_] Men of Restoration were imperfect men and often taught erroneously


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
COMMUNITY CHURCH: MODEL FOR CHURCH OF CHRIST IN TRANSITION
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Dismiss or discredit the biblical name “church of Christ”
[_] Despise and ridicule Christ’s church and make it irrelevant
[_] De-emphasize the glory and honor to Christ, the head and founder
[_] The name “church of Christ” is offensive to denominational groups
[_] Crave acceptance with neighbors of the evangelical churches
[_] Do not want to bear the stigma of being exclusive from the denominations
[_] Mask from the community any affiliation with other churches of Christ
[_] Choose the model of being a “non-denominational” community church
[_] Prefer to identify with other groups rather than with your own brethren
[_] One motive is to place little or no emphasis on doctrinal loyalty
[_] Open to exchange, substitute or employ ministers from other denominations
[_] Allow acceptance of denominational churches as in good standing with God
[_] Encourage fellowship with denominational bodies
[_] The trend or direction is away from New Testament Christianity
[_] Transform congregations into charismatic, denominational churches
[_] Accept the new status of the church of Christ as a denomination


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MODERNIZE THE CHURCH: THE SECULAR- OR CULTURE-DRIVEN APPROACH
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Celebrate Jesus’ birthday, like it or not; observe the Christmas pagan holiday
[_] Celebrate the “special” annual resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday
[_] Make Valentine’s Day a church event—apart from but similar to a social event


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
BIBLE TRANSLATION & OTHER SOURCES: NEW TESTAMENT PRINCIPLES DEVALUED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Do not be publicly identified as a church with exclusive beliefs
[_] The Saddleback manual, “The Purpose-Driven Church” is a must-have resource
[_] Bible study materials may be obtained from denominational sources
[_] Be not concerned about the NIV version—a translational dialogue to consensus
[_] Church leaders should choose the NIV translation of the Bible for public reading
[_] Teachers should choose the NIV translation of the Bible (if used) in studies
[_] The New Testament is not the ultimate and absolute authority in faith matters
[_] Question the Bible’s inerrancy, its verbal inspiration and its authority
[_] The New Testament should not be viewed as a law to be obeyed
[_] The New Testament should be viewed as a love letter from God to His children
[_] Church leaders should implement a Covenant of Membership—Saddleback model
[_] Use drama as a learning tool with made up (non-factual) stories to entertain
[_] Do less teaching directly from the scriptures as that would be too boring


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CHURCH LEADERSHIP, ORGANIZATION, GOVERNMENT: EXPERIMENTATION
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] “Shepherds” rather than “elders” is the preferred way to identify the leaders
[_] New concepts of leadership for the congregation may be experimented
[_] One approach to a new and improved leadership is by “hierarchical” design
[_] Use a different kind of leadership model than “authoritarian” elders
[_] Define the role of women in the larger context of the biblical witness
[_] Dispute the passages that relegate women to a silent role
[_] Allow women to assume leadership roles and positions in the life of the church
[_] Allow women to serve as deaconesses, as ministers or preachers
[_] Allow older women to teach classes with baptized young men present


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WORSHIP: THE TRENDING “MUSICAL” WORSHIP CONTENT AND CASUALNESS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] It is not necessary to worship according to the New Testament pattern
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because people like it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because young people demand it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because it feels so wonderful
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: where does the Bible forbid it?
[_] It should be an entertaining experience
[_] It should be based on emotion and popular opinion or practice
[_] Model emotion-based worship from the electronic churches of televangelists
[_] Use the excuse of “the audience of one” when musical worship is criticized
[_] Emphasize casualness in worship as a sign of being accepting
[_] Greatly emphasize “self,” including one’s own feelings and emotions in worship
[_] The Old Testament with its old laws is no less important to us than the New
[_] Provide the “traditional” and “contemporary” worship service alternatives
[_] Shorten the sermon; include more “religious” jokes or irrelevant funny stories
[_] Sermons may now end with an invitation to accept Christ by faith to be saved
[_] Tithing in Old Testament is binding on New Testament Christians
[_] Applaud the new convert after baptism as an outward show of rejoicing
[_] --- It won’t be long when there’s applause after the Communion
[_] Musical worship must be strongly emphasized
[_] The human-designated WORSHIP LEADER is now a high-level position
[_] The worship leader should initiate the handclapping on stage after a song
[_] The worship leader should encourage rhythmic handclapping while singing
[_] Allow the use of musical instruments in worship
[_] Allow the use of choirs, solos, duets, trios, quartets
[_] The choir must dominate the musical worship with excellent performances
[_] The choir must rehearse all parts of the musical worship in order to perform well
[_] The choir—not the congregation—must learn the new songs first
[_] The choir must deliver the music; the congregation may join in the singing
[_] For the transitioning church of Christ, the choir should be called “Praise Team”
[_] Music should be sometimes so complex that only the Praise Team can perform
[_] Praise songs and choruses should be “upbeat” to induce handclapping
[_] Use rhythmic, programmed handclapping to convey message of joy
[_] Use lifting of hand in prayer and singing to signify reaching up in praise
[_] Applaud after an exciting and cheering song has been sung
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book and focus attention to the worship leader
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book by not giving enough time to open it
[_] Avoid hymns unless there’s a “praise” song for the communion
[_] Avoid hymns unless there’s a “praise” song for the invitation
[_] Avoid hymns unless they’re new and hymn books may be opened then
[_] Avoid hymns unless they’re new and the Praise Team can perform them then


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
THE LORD’S SUPPER AND SOCIAL FELLOWSHIP—MORE THAN JUST A MEMORIAL
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] The sacred meal can be mixed with a common or fellowship or pot luck meal
[_] The feast may be observed on another day not ordained by God
[_] Frequency of observance may be monthly, quarterly as the denominations do
[_] It is not only a sacred memorial of the death of Christ
[_] It is also to be observed as a “joyful celebration”
[_] It is also the occasion or a means of “fellowshipping” one with another
[_] There should be some story telling and human testimonies to be meaningful
[_] Praise Team members must be skilled during the partaking of the Communion:
[_] --- while singing or humming, clapping, holding the microphone and sheet music
[_] --- and remembering Christ’s suffering, crucifixion and death


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DOCTRINES DERIVED FROM DENOMINATIONS: BIBLICAL TRUTH BEING PERVERTED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Salvation is by grace through faith or by faith alone
[_] Deemphasize and deride the steps necessary for salvation
[_] De-emphasize the importance of baptism
[_] Baptism is no longer for the purpose of remitting sins
[_] Accept the Baptist doctrine of baptism as an after-the-fact ritual
[_] Baptism is the first act of obedience after being saved by faith
[_] Only accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior and be saved
[_] Follow the confession by praying the “sinner’s prayer” and be saved


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
HOLY SPIRIT and SPIRITUAL GIFTS: TEACHINGS IMITATED BY THE AGENTS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[_] Worship “in spirit” should mean being “charismatic” in today’s language
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ “directly” influences the individual Christian
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ “directly” influences “the congregation”
[_] We must listen to the Holy Spirit for a call or whisper
[_] The indwelling of God’s Spirit makes a Christian “charismatic”
[_] Being “spirit-filled” means being “charismatic” in today’s language
[_] Music, although not listed in the Corinthian letter, is considered a spiritual gift
[_] Miracles, similar to those performed during the apostolic era, still exist today
[_] Speaking in tongues, contrary to I Corinthians 13, has not “ceased” yet
[_] Hold the Pentecostal view of another baptism—that of the Holy Spirit
[_] Perform “speaking in tongues” in public prayer as a testimony

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Donnie Cruz
<font size=5>THE SLIPPERY SLOPE </font>

A popular analogy is that of the novice on the ski slope who stands nervously at the top of the run. Not quite sure of himself or what lies ahead of him, he takes a little step, then another, testing the pack. Suddenly gravity takes control and down he goes to an uncertain fate. While there is a remote chance he might make it safely to the bottom, it is far more likely that disaster awaits him.

So it is in Christianity. Apostasy is a slippery slope with spiritual ruin its final destination. To see this in bold relief, one need only look at the history of the great Protestant churches that surround us. Once bastions of conservatism, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian and Congregational churches now bear only faint resemblance to their past or to the Christianity of the Bible. The Disciples of Christ are an even more pertinent example for us. Their complete and total drift into apostasy and the extremes of liberalism took them little more than 100 years. In 1849 the first of our spiritual forebearers stepped upon the slippery slope of departure. It all seemed so harmless, just an organization to coordinate mission work of the churches. They called it the American Christian Missionary Society. The second step was easier. As they relaxed their grip on the necessity of following the Bible in all things, they began introducing instrumental music into their worship. Then in quick succession came women preachers and elders, open membership, participation in the Federal Council of Churches and the full agenda of theological liberalism. Today it is gay rights, a rejection of Biblical authority and the concept of restoration.

We now see many congregations of Churches of Christ standing at the slippery slope of apostasy. Large numbers of preachers and elders, unaware or uncaring, are testing the icy pack of change. Some are testing new forms of expressing worship. The traditional ways of worship seem drab and boring compared to those of Neo-Pentecostalism. It is exhilarating for them to lift up the hands, or have an unseen choir. Some are testing the ice on the matter of salvation. Having fed on the sweet tasting doctrine of salvation by grace and faith alone, they are gingerly testing these teachings on their listeners. They aren't quite ready to boldly repudiate the need for baptism, but they have downgraded it to a "maybe" status.

Others on the slope are toying with the role of women in the leadership of the church. They are not strongly wedded to the Biblical limitation that forbids women to teach or have authority over men (I Tim. 2:12).

Some are slipping on the uniqueness of Christ's church in a world of denominationalism. Although Scripture knows nothing of denominations, but these men are heard speaking of our brotherhood as a denomination or sect. If that we are, we stand in competition with the church that Christ built and in shame should close our doors and disband. This certainly is not what our fathers believed. Once you start down the slippery slope, just where does it end?

These are but a few of the examples before us. Some are already plunging headlong down the slope to certain destruction. For them there is little hope. Others are yet flirting with the ice at the crest of the slope.

Perhaps by God's mercy they can be snatched back before they are lost beyond recovery (Jude 21-22). Those elders and preachers who are wise will avoid the slippery slope by planting their feet firmly on the plainly revealed truths of the gospel.

___________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

E-Mail: [url=mailto:johnwaddey@aol.com]johnwaddey@aol.com[/url]
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Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

August 25th, 2004, 7:15 am #30

A NEW BIG PICTURE: “THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING! THE CHANGE AGENTS ARE COMING!”


Some congregations of the church of Christ are getting caught up in the excitement experienced by many previously conservative denominational churches which have “successfully” transitioned to the culture-driven, community-based church growth schemes. Generally, churches of Christ with strong biblical and spiritual leadership and with effective Bible study programs are most resistant to these schemes. However, such resistance is being overridden and overpowered by misdirected, power-driven prominent change agents in operation within the church.

This article is intended to give both church leaders and members a quick overview of the Change Movement, a spiritual disease that’s infecting our brotherhood, even as we speak. Incorporating changes in denominational churches is usually more easily accomplished than in churches of Christ. This is due to these main factors: our heritage, the uniqueness of the church, and the power of the Restoration principles embedded in the minds of faithful members. But complacency and unquestioning acceptance of the change schemes will only hasten another division in the church, if not its extinction, in the 21st century.

I will attempt to present both: (A.1) a simplified method and (A.2) a more detailed list of procedures aimed at TRANSITIONING AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED CHURCH. I will attempt to briefly but clearly define (B) the role of PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH. Finally, I will provide (C) a CHECKLIST TO EVALUATE THE TRANSITION IN PROGRESS.

It is an impossibility to include all the aspects of the various change movements at this time, even the evil attempts of the change advocates who are selfishly motivated to seize power within. So, this thread will be dedicated and restricted only to this specific topic and will be updated or expanded in time.


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A.1 — SIMPLIFIED PROCESS OF TRANSITIONING AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
——— SOURCE: http://www.churchtransitions.com/about_cti.htm
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The process of transition that we teach is a simple one:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
STEP 1—Prepare for change
STEP 2—Define your changes
STEP 3—Plant your vision with your key leaders
STEP 4—Share your vision with the whole church
STEP 5—Implement your changes
STEP 6—Deal with the opposition
STEP 7—Make adjustments
STEP 8—Evaluate the result

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dan Southerland is the founder and director of Church Transitions Inc. Dan developed
this process for change while serving as the pastor/teacher of the Flamingo Road Church
in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During the thirteen years of his ministry at Flamingo Road, the church
made some major changes:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
APPROACH ——— from being program driven to being purpose driven.
TARGET ————— from reaching believers to reaching the unchurched.
WORSHIP ———— from traditional to contemporary.
PASTORS ———— from a senior pastor model to a shared pastor model.
LEADERSHIP——— from a committee led church to being staff led.
MINISTRY ———— from pastors doing all the ministry to pastors equipping people.
SMALL GROUPS — from a traditional Sunday School to a relational cell group model.
SERVICES --——— from one weekend worship service to five weekend services.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
He has been teaching at the Purpose Driven Church conference held by Saddleback Church
for the past 5 years as well. About half of the events we do each year are co-sponsored
by Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries.

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A.2 — ANOTHER METHOD: HOW TO TRANSITION AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH
——— SOURCE: http://www.pastors.com/article.asp?ArtID (Chuck McAlister)

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The following steps can be applied, I believe, to any church that desires to make this transition.
Our transition involved an eleven year process that continues to this day and will continue….

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PLAN YOUR TRANSITION: A PRESCRIBED PROCEDURE IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER
———————————————————————————————————————————
— Focus on preaching for change to set the stage for determining your church purpose.
— Determine your church purpose: must embrace the five NT purposes for a church.
— Emphasize the church’s responsibility to reach the unchurched.
— Launch a New Member’s class.
— Encourage your members to embrace the church purpose as their personal purpose.
— Adopt new church by-laws: organizational concept and structure of the church biblical.
— Implement a covenant process for personal, spiritual growth of church members.
— Enlist the support of your senior adults.
— Transition the church ministry to the people; the maint. of the church to the staff (paid or volunteer).
— Transition the education ministry to make it life-empowering.
— Lead the church to decide to relocate.
— Locate new property for the relocation.
— Pay for property.
— Plan for a new facility.
— Raise funds for the new facility.
— Lead the church to change its name in preparation for the relocation.
— Launch in-home community groups

———————————————————————————————————————————
MULTIPLE STEPS INVOLVED IN EACH OF THE STAGES LISTED ABOVE: STEPS THAT
NECESSARILY INCLUDED OWNERSHIP OF THE CHANGE BY THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH

———————————————————————————————————————————
— Work your plan—stay committed … in spite of the challenges … the people who leave your church.
— Communicate your vision regularly—the validity of each stage of the process.
— — We utilize our New Member’s Class to share the process with those coming into our church.
— — We then ask our newcomers to take ownership of our vision by making four commitments:
— — (1) Learn their spiritual gifts; determine where they would like to minister through our church;
— — (2) Tithe;
— — (3) Join a small group (Fellowship Bible Study class);
— — (4) Write out their story (testimony) of how they came to Jesus personally,
— — — - which they are encouraged to share with non-believers.
— Take your time—give people an opportunity to buy into each step of the plan.
— Maintain flexibility—the key word is adaptability . . . the uniqueness of your church.
— Stay put—the transition process takes years . . . cannot be accomplished in a few months.
— Refuse to abandon your process—the distractions will be numerous; problems will arise.
— Become an expert on the process of change—you need His supernatural involvement.
— Stay connected with and enlist the support of your senior adults.
— Continually emphasize your church’s responsibility to reach the unchurched.
— Graciously release those members who choose to leave—it will not please everyone.
— Celebrate the completion of each advance—celebration builds momentum.
— Always honor Jesus—never take the credit when things go well.
— Don’t be afraid to take risks:
— — For that reason, you must wait to construct the new facility only after you have sufficiently
— — transitioned the church, so that it is a new church occupying a new facility. … As you prepare
— — to transition to your new facility, remember that while the new building is important,
— — you must guard against it becoming the defining element of your church’s ministry.
— Keep your sense of humor—enjoy the journey rather than viewing it as a drudgery.
— Constantly pray for God’s wisdom—in each decision you face in transitioning a church.
— Maintain your personal integrity and your walk with God.

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SIMULTANEOUSLY TRANSITION YOUR WORSHIP STYLE AS YOU MOVE THROUGH THE PROCESS OF CHANGE.
———————————————————————————————————————————
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———————————————————————————————————————————
B. PROMINENT CHANGE AGENTS IN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST—THEIR UNIQUE BEHAVIOR PATTERN
———————————————————————————————————————————
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What is a “closet change agent”? When asked this question, John Waddey responded as follows: “A change agent is a false teacher within the brotherhood of Churches of Christ who is not content to follow the faith and practice of Christianity as set forth in the pages of the New Testament. He or she therefore works to convince our brethren that they should adopt changes in their faith, worship and practice that will be more acceptable to the world of the 21st century. The adjective ‘closet’ means they operate undercover, or covertly to accomplish their evil purposes.”

Kenneth Sublett has stated in a recent post, “End Time Serpents with Horns”: “We have NOTED SEVERAL times that the band of CHANGE AGENTS all WRITE (Scribes) and they all endorse and sell one another’s books. Even events such as the recent “Look to the Hills” are the prophetic TRAFFICKING. This fulfills the first century and the present Satan sending out a FLOOD of waters trying to wash the Word and Church off the earth. [Many] churches are involved in the same thing on a lesser scale: sending out sermonic renderings and new style a cappella praise music to SEDATE. These are Apollo’s LOCUSTS whichever wing they fly on.”

Sublett states further: “There is now a FLOOD of new books. It suggests that the Accusers of the Church are in a TRAFFICKING pattern to make money and ACCUSE the brethren who pay their UNLAWFUL wages. It works, as Paul might say, ‘because fools love to be fooled.’ . . . Purpose-driven CHANGE AGENTS believe that they have the right to lie, cheat, steal, threaten and use the law to steal the church property.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHO ARE CHANGE AGENTS?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
John Waddey states: “The most prominent of our self-appointed ‘agents of change’ is Bro. RUBEL SHELLY of Nashville, TN.” MAX LUCADO of the Oak Hills Church (formerly Oak Hills Church of Christ) is one of the prominent CHANGE AGENTS in the church today. His website describes him in “UpWords” (his teaching ministry) as a prolific writer “with more than 28 million books in print.” Other influential leaders of the change movement are Joe Beam, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Mike Cope, Terry Rush, and Marvin Phillips. There are others.

Waddey cites examples of who they are in his article “Little Men”:

--- Men who do harm to the body of Christ while being supported to build it up.
--- Men who claim to be helping the church while fomenting chaos and strife within.
--- Men who rush forward to offer a fix for the problems they themselves have created.
--- --- They offer staff services to help churches resolve the conflicts caused by their changes.
--- Men who seek to build their status and influence by bashing and attempting to discredit the godly …
--- --- preachers who blazed the trail before them and built the congregations where they now serve.
--- Men whose teaching and practice lowers respect for the authority of God’s Word.
--- Men who refuse to recognize and honor the church of Christ as the body of Christ.
--- Men who think they know more about how to worship God than did Christ . . .
--- Men who undertake to change the unchangeable kingdom of Christ.
--- Men who presume that the new is better than the old in the realm of faith.
--- --- They care nothing for the old paths (Jer. 6:16).
--- --- They are like the pagan Athenians, always searching for something new or different.
--- Men who’d rather not speak boldly of Christ as the “founder” of the church of Christ.
--- Men who prefer to speak of Campbell and Stone as founders of their denomination.
--- Men whose favorite word is “grace” to mean salvation without obeying its conditions.
--- Men who love to speak of “freedom” to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions.
--- Men who love freedom to fellowship and be accepted by denominational bodies.
--- Men who speak of “patternism” as a sarcastic put down of the brethren true to God’s pattern.
--- Men who thirst for an emotion-based worship in the electronic churches of the televangelists.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT ARE SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF “CHANGE AGENTS” (AS THEY ATTEMPT TO PRESENT
THEMSELVES AS THEOLOGIANS WHO HAVE DISCOVERED NEW TRUTHS)?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
———————————————————————————————————————————
Change agents operate on faulty assumptions, John Waddey avers:
———————————————————————————————————————————
--- That they have discovered a more spiritual kind of religion now than before.
--- That only they know, understand and appreciate the grace of God.
--- That only they understand the blessings/benefits of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling.
--- That our concept is “restoration” of a specific congregation from 1st century.
--- That they have discovered a new and superior approach to Bible interpretation.
--- --- With that they claim to have found the true nature of the church.
--- --- In reality, it is the old, emotion-based, subjective approach of Protestantism.
--- --- Their Bible is a story book, serving only as a source for quotes for sermons,
--- --- --- but not for regulating/guiding the faith, worship & practice of the church.
--- That we are only interested in the doctrines and practices of the church.
--- That we are not truly dedicated to Christ and trying to be like him—they are.
--- That we are narrow, bigoted, and legalistic—they’re not.
--- That we claim that we are a perfect church. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we claim that we have attained complete compliance with every aspect
--- --- of Christ’s will for us. (Do you claim that?)
--- That we have misunderstood the way men are to be saved.
--- That we should be labeled “traditionalists” for our unwillingness to change.
--- --- When the truth is this: it is not change that we reject; . . .
--- --- --- Rather, we reject unlawful departure from God’s authorized Word and way.
--- --- When we are willing to change non-essentials (NOT substance or nature), as:
--- --- --- The hour, the length or the order of services …
--- --- --- Trying new songs or new hymnals …
--- --- --- Considering different methods of observing a communion service …
--- --- --- Accepting names for the church as long as they are all biblical …
--- --- --- --- without dismissing or discrediting the name of Christ, its head
--- --- When we do not consider “apostolic” traditions such “other” traditions as:
--- --- --- A tradition of a one hour worship service—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that calls for half hour sermons—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that expects a preacher to wear a coat and tie—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that we wear shoes to church—that can change
--- --- --- A tradition that our meeting houses are built accordingly—that can change
--- That they can promote their changes without making one realize that TO DO SO:
--- --- The concept of restoring the original New Testament church is abandoned.
--- --- The changes advocated were not a part of the original church.
--- --- Ties are severed with those noble saints who went before us.
--- --- --- The faith and preaching of those predecessors would be incompatible with
--- --- --- --- the advocates of change … Like oil and water they would not mix …
--- --- Changes proposed will make the congregation one of 1200 denominations.
--- --- You are alienated/out of fellowship with simple Christians—churches of Christ.
--- --- The faith once delivered to the saints is abandoned.
--- --- Participation in causing division in the body of Christ is a fearful thought.

———————————————————————————————————————————
Change agents are committed to change the church of Christ
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The third major segment below is a detailed list of changes that will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and acquiring your congregation. A careful examination of the list of changes will help pinpoint or isolate the SPECIFIC CHANGES that have caused “casualties”—expected or unexpected—in a particular congregation.
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C. EVALUATION OF THE CHANGE PACKAGE IMPLEMENTED IN THE TRANSITIONING CHURCH OF CHRIST
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Below is a compiled list taken from various sources, especially from various articles written by John Waddey. The list of changes will reveal more of the characteristics and activities of change agents infiltrating, subverting the truth, fostering schism and eventually acquiring your congregation. The purpose here is to have a means by which a congregation in transition or “transformation” stage may be evaluated in terms of the extent of progress made or the lack thereof. Churches vary in the level or depth of implementation of the Community Church scheme for church growth. For example, a congregation may adopt only a small segment from the list. But that segment may pinpoint or isolate the factors that have caused a church to grow or dwindle.

May I suggest that you print the list and mark only the items that, to the best of your knowledge, are applicable to your congregation’s situation. An honest personal evaluation may assist in determining where your congregation stands on particular conflicts and issues.
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AGENTS ADVOCATING CHANGE: THEIR OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES
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[_] Agents of change are busy rewriting our church history to: . . .
[_] --- Paint a different picture of the goals and intentions of our forefathers and
[_] --- Wish to cast their efforts as a “unity movement” and
[_] --- Depict them as seeking fellowship with and not rejecting denominationalism
[_] Prominent change agents are invited by churches and schools as guest speakers:
[_] --- Rubel Shelly, Max Lucado, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Joe Beam, etc.
[_] Interlopers must be resolved not to leave; others against change must leave
[_] Interlopers are not obligated to start their own from scratch
[_] Young people are the future of the church; their needs must be met with urgency
[_] Homebuilders (parents in their 30’s & 40’s) are the key to a successful program
[_] Transition is a long-range mission accomplished after passing of older generation
[_] Their goal is conquest and dominance of the entire brotherhood
[_] Their scheme is to first transform large congregations
[_] They insure that buildings, facilities and property are not acquired until fully paid
[_] They insure that the subverted will not overthrow their schemes and plans
[_] They are never to admit being false teachers so as not to be rejected
[_] They resort to warning the non-accepting brethren to “get over it”
[_] They claim to be helping the church to disguise their fomented chaos and strife
[_] They rush forward to offer a fix to disguise problems they have created
[_] They send a team to resolve conflicts caused by their changes
[_] They advocate that leading and guidance emanate from the Holy Spirit
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as narrow, bigoted, legalistic and Pharisaical
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as “traditionalists” and them as “progressives”
[_] They accuse the unwilling to submit as claiming to be the perfect church
[_] They claim to have found the true nature of the church
[_] They abandon the concept of restoring the original New Testament church
[_] They preach that the absence of a “thou shalt not” means a practice is condoned
[_] They sever ties with our predecessors as much as possible; discredit their efforts
[_] They label the unwilling to submit as the ones inconsiderate and without love
[_] They emphasize “fellowshipping” [among the sects]; “brotherhood” is exclusive
[_] They share fellowship with denominational preachers, churches and events
[_] They do not refer to “the Lord’s church”—that is being exclusive of others
[_] They do not refer to the church as the kingdom and also to the reign of Christ
[_] They refer to the church only as “our faith tradition” just as others have theirs
[_] They define “freedom” as a way to ignore Bible teachings on worship restrictions
[_] They feel extended “brotherhood” should encompass the Christian Churches
[_] They implement a market-driven program to provide what people want or seek
[_] They divide an existing congregation so as to implement the “community” model
[_] They have less contact and fellowship with mainline churches of Christ


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CRITICISM FOR EFFORTS OF THE PAST: EXAGGERATED AND ENCOURAGED
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[_] A superior way of “doing church” has been discovered
[_] Those over 50 are stubborn, close-minded and impervious to change
[_] The church of Christ of the Restoration Movement is just another denomination
[_] Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone founded the “Church of Christ”
[_] The church of Christ is a real, bona fide, but pitiful denomination
[_] The church of Christ is the poorest of the evangelical denominations
[_] Ties with those noble saints who went before us are severed
[_] The faith and preaching of predecessors are incompatible with those of change
[_] Men of Restoration were imperfect men and often taught erroneously


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COMMUNITY CHURCH: MODEL FOR CHURCH OF CHRIST IN TRANSITION
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[_] Dismiss or discredit the biblical name “church of Christ”
[_] Despise and ridicule Christ’s church and make it irrelevant
[_] De-emphasize the glory and honor to Christ, the head and founder
[_] The name “church of Christ” is offensive to denominational groups
[_] Crave acceptance with neighbors of the evangelical churches
[_] Do not want to bear the stigma of being exclusive from the denominations
[_] Mask from the community any affiliation with other churches of Christ
[_] Choose the model of being a “non-denominational” community church
[_] Prefer to identify with other groups rather than with your own brethren
[_] One motive is to place little or no emphasis on doctrinal loyalty
[_] Open to exchange, substitute or employ ministers from other denominations
[_] Allow acceptance of denominational churches as in good standing with God
[_] Encourage fellowship with denominational bodies
[_] The trend or direction is away from New Testament Christianity
[_] Transform congregations into charismatic, denominational churches
[_] Accept the new status of the church of Christ as a denomination


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MODERNIZE THE CHURCH: THE SECULAR- OR CULTURE-DRIVEN APPROACH
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[_] Celebrate Jesus’ birthday, like it or not; observe the Christmas pagan holiday
[_] Celebrate the “special” annual resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday
[_] Make Valentine’s Day a church event—apart from but similar to a social event


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BIBLE TRANSLATION & OTHER SOURCES: NEW TESTAMENT PRINCIPLES DEVALUED
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[_] Do not be publicly identified as a church with exclusive beliefs
[_] The Saddleback manual, “The Purpose-Driven Church” is a must-have resource
[_] Bible study materials may be obtained from denominational sources
[_] Be not concerned about the NIV version—a translational dialogue to consensus
[_] Church leaders should choose the NIV translation of the Bible for public reading
[_] Teachers should choose the NIV translation of the Bible (if used) in studies
[_] The New Testament is not the ultimate and absolute authority in faith matters
[_] Question the Bible’s inerrancy, its verbal inspiration and its authority
[_] The New Testament should not be viewed as a law to be obeyed
[_] The New Testament should be viewed as a love letter from God to His children
[_] Church leaders should implement a Covenant of Membership—Saddleback model
[_] Use drama as a learning tool with made up (non-factual) stories to entertain
[_] Do less teaching directly from the scriptures as that would be too boring


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CHURCH LEADERSHIP, ORGANIZATION, GOVERNMENT: EXPERIMENTATION
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[_] “Shepherds” rather than “elders” is the preferred way to identify the leaders
[_] New concepts of leadership for the congregation may be experimented
[_] One approach to a new and improved leadership is by “hierarchical” design
[_] Use a different kind of leadership model than “authoritarian” elders
[_] Define the role of women in the larger context of the biblical witness
[_] Dispute the passages that relegate women to a silent role
[_] Allow women to assume leadership roles and positions in the life of the church
[_] Allow women to serve as deaconesses, as ministers or preachers
[_] Allow older women to teach classes with baptized young men present


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WORSHIP: THE TRENDING “MUSICAL” WORSHIP CONTENT AND CASUALNESS
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[_] It is not necessary to worship according to the New Testament pattern
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because people like it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because young people demand it
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: because it feels so wonderful
[_] Change in worship content is excusable: where does the Bible forbid it?
[_] It should be an entertaining experience
[_] It should be based on emotion and popular opinion or practice
[_] Model emotion-based worship from the electronic churches of televangelists
[_] Use the excuse of “the audience of one” when musical worship is criticized
[_] Emphasize casualness in worship as a sign of being accepting
[_] Greatly emphasize “self,” including one’s own feelings and emotions in worship
[_] The Old Testament with its old laws is no less important to us than the New
[_] Provide the “traditional” and “contemporary” worship service alternatives
[_] Shorten the sermon; include more “religious” jokes or irrelevant funny stories
[_] Sermons may now end with an invitation to accept Christ by faith to be saved
[_] Tithing in Old Testament is binding on New Testament Christians
[_] Applaud the new convert after baptism as an outward show of rejoicing
[_] --- It won’t be long when there’s applause after the Communion
[_] Musical worship must be strongly emphasized
[_] The human-designated WORSHIP LEADER is now a high-level position
[_] The worship leader should initiate the handclapping on stage after a song
[_] The worship leader should encourage rhythmic handclapping while singing
[_] Allow the use of musical instruments in worship
[_] Allow the use of choirs, solos, duets, trios, quartets
[_] The choir must dominate the musical worship with excellent performances
[_] The choir must rehearse all parts of the musical worship in order to perform well
[_] The choir—not the congregation—must learn the new songs first
[_] The choir must deliver the music; the congregation may join in the singing
[_] For the transitioning church of Christ, the choir should be called “Praise Team”
[_] Music should be sometimes so complex that only the Praise Team can perform
[_] Praise songs and choruses should be “upbeat” to induce handclapping
[_] Use rhythmic, programmed handclapping to convey message of joy
[_] Use lifting of hand in prayer and singing to signify reaching up in praise
[_] Applaud after an exciting and cheering song has been sung
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book and focus attention to the worship leader
[_] Discourage the use of a hymn book by not giving enough time to open it
[_] Avoid hymns unless there’s a “praise” song for the communion
[_] Avoid hymns unless there’s a “praise” song for the invitation
[_] Avoid hymns unless they’re new and hymn books may be opened then
[_] Avoid hymns unless they’re new and the Praise Team can perform them then


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THE LORD’S SUPPER AND SOCIAL FELLOWSHIP—MORE THAN JUST A MEMORIAL
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[_] The sacred meal can be mixed with a common or fellowship or pot luck meal
[_] The feast may be observed on another day not ordained by God
[_] Frequency of observance may be monthly, quarterly as the denominations do
[_] It is not only a sacred memorial of the death of Christ
[_] It is also to be observed as a “joyful celebration”
[_] It is also the occasion or a means of “fellowshipping” one with another
[_] There should be some story telling and human testimonies to be meaningful
[_] Praise Team members must be skilled during the partaking of the Communion:
[_] --- while singing or humming, clapping, holding the microphone and sheet music
[_] --- and remembering Christ’s suffering, crucifixion and death


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DOCTRINES DERIVED FROM DENOMINATIONS: BIBLICAL TRUTH BEING PERVERTED
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[_] Salvation is by grace through faith or by faith alone
[_] Deemphasize and deride the steps necessary for salvation
[_] De-emphasize the importance of baptism
[_] Baptism is no longer for the purpose of remitting sins
[_] Accept the Baptist doctrine of baptism as an after-the-fact ritual
[_] Baptism is the first act of obedience after being saved by faith
[_] Only accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior and be saved
[_] Follow the confession by praying the “sinner’s prayer” and be saved


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HOLY SPIRIT and SPIRITUAL GIFTS: TEACHINGS IMITATED BY THE AGENTS
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[_] Worship “in spirit” should mean being “charismatic” in today’s language
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ “directly” influences the individual Christian
[_] The holy Spirit of God or of Christ “directly” influences “the congregation”
[_] We must listen to the Holy Spirit for a call or whisper
[_] The indwelling of God’s Spirit makes a Christian “charismatic”
[_] Being “spirit-filled” means being “charismatic” in today’s language
[_] Music, although not listed in the Corinthian letter, is considered a spiritual gift
[_] Miracles, similar to those performed during the apostolic era, still exist today
[_] Speaking in tongues, contrary to I Corinthians 13, has not “ceased” yet
[_] Hold the Pentecostal view of another baptism—that of the Holy Spirit
[_] Perform “speaking in tongues” in public prayer as a testimony

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Donnie Cruz
<font size=4>THE WAY ERROR GAINS ENTRANCE INTO A CONGREGATION </font>

<font color=blue>A false teacher will never walk up to a congregation and announce, "I am a heretic; I have come to capture or destroy your church." Paul says that such men use "smooth and fair speech" to "beguile the hearts of the innocent" (Rom. 16:18). He speaks of their "cunning craftiness" (Eph.4:14) and their "cunningly devised fables" (II Pet. 1:16). When false teachers are unable to take a congregation in one fell swoop, they settle for an incremental approach ... a little here, a little there until one day they are in full control. </font>

A hundred years ago those brethren who wished to introduce instrumental music into our churches were determined to take all with them. Their strategy, used over and over again, was as follows. At first they pretended to accept our acappella practice. They would occasionally drop snide remarks about the poor quality of our singing. They would lavishly compliment the worship of those who used instruments and praise the beauty of their worship. To build a constituency and gain a following, they carefully promoted their agenda privately to gullible souls who could be easily swayed. They eventually suggested using the instruments for young people’s meetings and classes, always reassuring the congregation that such would never affect their worship assemblies. When that goal was reached they would bide their time and continue their quiet promotion in private. When they were confident that they had a majority in their camp, they would raise the question, "Would the congregation prefer to use an instrument in worship?" By that time the elders and other brethren, content to abide in the apostles' doctrine, were totally outnumbered and out maneuvered. They were faced with the option of accepting the change; objecting and being labeled as trouble makers; or to leave in search of a sound congregation where they could worship "as it is written."

By the time our brethren figured out their strategy and were able to alert fellow-Christians, the loss was devastating. Those determined to add to the worship prescribed in Scripture swept upwards of 80% of our churches into their camp. Today when you see a Disciples of Christ or Christian Church, remember the strategy their ancestors used to win their victory. That will help you understand why elders generally said “no” to bringing an organ or piano into their church building, for any purpose. That is why property deeds for meeting houses had restrictive deeds that forever forbade the use of a musical instrument in worship conducted there. That is why preachers who thought the question of instrumental music in worship was "not a salvation or faith issue" were not invited to preach for them, even in a revival meeting. That is why preachers routinely delivered lessons explaining the Biblical basis for our acappella worship.

We are now some 70 years removed from the apostasy described above. A third generation has now reached the level of leadership. Most of them are unfamiliar with our past, and many of them not well-grounded in Scripture. Consequently we see churches dangerously drifting toward a maelstrom of error. Many of our people have never heard a Biblical lesson teaching why we worship as we do. Others openly state that they see nothing very serious about the use of instruments in worship. We frequently hear of preachers who now boldly say, that to them "instrumental music is not a salvation issue."

Some congregations are allowing instruments to be used in youth programs and in "concerts in their meeting places." One by one, the incremental steps are being taken that will eventuate in them having instruments in their worship.

It is only a matter of time. I plead with all brethren to consider the past and take heed lest ye fall (I Cor. 10:12).

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John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

E-Mail: [url=mailto:johnwaddey@aol.com]johnwaddey@aol.com[/url]
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