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

Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

October 22nd, 2004, 6:34 am #41

I thought all churches are to be "Seeker Friendly"
PM,

I tend to agree with your general statement regarding churches which ought to be “seeker friendly,” but with reservation. The New Testament speaks of those “seek[ing] … first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33); of seeking and finding (Matt. 7:7-8); of seeking “that [one sheep] which is gone astray” (Matt. 18:12); of the Son of man coming to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10); of seeking after God (Rom. 3:11); of seeking those things which are above (Col. 3:1); etc.

“Seeker Friendly” is one of those New Age buzz expressions. There is some element or object missing in the expression. Seeking what? Seeking whom? Now, I would not question it if the church were “friendly to those who are truth seekers.” But because it is a buzz word in the culture- or purpose-driven church growth scheme in the “Community Church” circles, I can easily make the association that if fun and entertainment will do the trick to get the ______ “seekers” to come and enjoy “spiritual fellowship” with the believers, why not?

But wait … the Change/Community Church Movement has other buzz words that the reader will need to be familiar with: Transformation, Change Agent, Team, Consensus, Common Ground, Purpose-Driven, Performance, Holy Entertainment, Worship Leader. Plus one more—SEEKER!!!!! (Please refer to the other thread: “Authority: He Didn’t Say Not To” in which several terms have been defined.)

I have already alluded to “seeking after God” or the Father seeking such as those who worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). Please note how “SEEKER” is defined in “New Age Terms in the Church,” compiled by Sarah Leslie:

<font color=indigo>BUZZ WORD: Seeker</font>
  • <font color=indigo>Traditional Meaning: </font> Someone searching for the truth.

    <font color=indigo>Misleading Meaning: </font> Someone who seeks a path to truth, engaged in a course of self-discovery and self-actualization.

    <font color=indigo>Real Meaning: </font> Someone who is on a quest to becoming an initiate into the occult through spiritual experiences.
Do you see how we used to associate “seeking” with “the truth”?

Donnie
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really wondering
really wondering

October 22nd, 2004, 5:01 pm #42

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you were not misunderstood. Except for more incidents and experiences you described in the preceding post, you repeated the same issues you brought up in your original post—“hell” [again] … vividly illustrated this time, “scaring people” [again], and “love” [again].

I could quote more passages related to the realities of heaven and hell, as well as godly fear expected of those who follow and serve our Lord and Master. Your reaction to these undeniable truths was nothing. So, there’s no sense in discussing these issues further.

OK, let’s deal with the subject of LOVE. But there is a BIG problem in discussing this particular subject because I’m convinced that love is not the issue. The command to love God and to love one’s neighbor is a universal principle in Christian living and personal in the life of the individual Christian. Each follower of Christ is responsible for his own way of loving his God and his neighbor, just as he is responsible for his own soul. While we are to love each other, collectively speaking, it’s not a situation in which God judges or decides in the end either to save the entire body of believers without exception or to condemn the entire body of believers without exception. Both believers and unbelievers will face the judgment.

From the standpoint of evangelization, of course, emphasizing God’s love to save mankind is foremost. God’s abounding grace, the suffering and death of Christ on the cross, the redeeming power in the blood of the Lamb must be preached to the unbeliever.

Do we agree so far? If we do, then, love is not the issue—even if you seem to think that it is.

Now, I’m the one wondering or confused. But for a different reason. I’m not sure about your church affiliation—which makes it somewhat difficult for me to discuss the love factor with you. You mentioned the following: the sermon about hell [conservative?]; the narrow way to heaven [conservative?]; “school of the Bible (my foot)” [conservative?]; “afraid of God at age 4 and 5” [conservative?]; the “confessing” brother [conservative?]. Now, I don’t know about the church where you attend as being “mostly a social club”—that’s your call.

But I noticed some of your other comments to which I shall respond:

“I was afraid … that someone would … assume I am using a ‘code word’ of the change agents. Apparently ‘love’ is one of the code words the change agents use. That and ‘Jesus only.’”
  • <font color=blue>[You guessed that one quickly and correctly, brother/sister. Those who are loyal to the church and are adamant to the unnecessary changes in doctrine, beliefs and practices of the church … are accused of being “WITHOUT LOVE.” Guess what? “Without love for errors, untruths, and lies on the part of those loyal to the church” is the accurate statement.]</font>
“Picking apart every sentence in the bible to make sure we are doing it ‘right' in the church of Christ has just about driven me crazy.”
  • <font color=blue> [Yes, one way that the change agents and their followers can easily point out that those who continue to abide by the doctrine of Christ and the apostles are legalists, fundamentalists, traditionalists, and Pharisaical.] </font>
“Ok, I believe in baptism for remission of sins, but not baptism alone. The work Jesus did on the cross IS the works—the ONLY works that gives us salvation.
  • <font color=blue> [This is almost the new-and-improved doctrine of salvation among the change agents … almost … almost … but not quite. The change agents go so far as to teach that by faith ONLY does the unbeliever have his sins remitted—even prior to repentance and baptism. That the unbeliever by faith becomes a Christian prior to baptism. That means that AFTER one has become a Christian, then, baptism is administered as a test of his obedience. Then, that leads to the conclusion that repentance ALSO comes after one has already become a Christian. That amounts to saying, “Now that you are a Christian, you need to repent and be baptized.” Wow! Wow! Wow! (Please really study Acts 2:37,38.)

    In regard to “the work Jesus did on the cross … the ONLY Works that gives us salvation” … well, I’ll buy into that only from the standpoint of “past” salvation—the salvation that transitions the status from “unbeliever or ‘alien’ sinner” into “Christian.” Proof? Yes, Romans 3:25 (KJV) states: “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” Yes, one is to be baptized in order that his past sins [not future sins] are remitted by the blood of the Lamb and then he is added to or becomes a member of the church. All that is made possible because of God’s grace through FAITH WITHOUT WORKS (Eph. 2:8,9). That is “PAST” salvation.

    After that, the Christian begins his “newness of life” and begins his journey through the narrow path to heaven. Look at the contrast expressed in the following verse (Eph. 2:10)—“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. This is confirmed in James 2—“[14] What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? [17] Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. [19] … the devils also believe, and tremble. [20] But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? [24] Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. [26] For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." </font>
“What exactly changes people when they are saved or added to the church? If they yield to the Holy Spirit and are humble...a whole whole lot. If they don't, and remain arrogant and power hungry, and judgmental, not much....I have seen interference in families, major manipulation of minor children who have family members who are not members..I have seen alot that is arrogant and self serving done by some of the saints...the end never justifies the means, but try telling them that. You can't frighten or force someone to accept the Love of God or salvation.”
  • <font color=blue>I can’t discuss all the other occurrences in the above paragraph because I have no control over them. Due to time constraints, I can’t discuss the subject of the “Holy Spirit” as you described. I need to know more of your understanding of “the Spirit of the Lord” and your implication that “yielding” to the “Holy Spirit” (as you understand this entity in the Godhead) is what really changes the unbeliever to becoming a Christian. I need scriptural references to support this notion. </font>
“That is all I was saying. I wish there were more talk of the Love on the church...and no, that doesn't mean accepting and justifying bad behavior or rampant sin. Can't anyone see the distinction?”
  • <font color=blue>I think that if your congregation is really having a problem with “love” not being “talked about” more … that you take the initiative to teach or preach about “love” given the permission from your leadership? </font>
I would love to hear about the transforming power of LOVE that God had for us. NOt just 'doing it right', and scaring people who are trying to do it right to begin with.
  • <font color=blue>I think the owner(s) of this website will be more than willing to allow you to proclaim the message of God’s love. You’ve already done, in fact, don’t you think so? We’ve already discussed “scaring people,” but I still don’t see why you even think this is happening unless you agree with the change agents who accuse those who are loyal to God’s truth as using the “scare” tactic because they still preach the reality of heaven and hell. </font>
Donnie
I fear the change agents, and your reactions to the change agents, have made it extremely difficult for anyone who has comments, questions, or experiences in the the church-yes, the church of Christ-to ask questions. I don't know anyway to word my questions or comments so that someone doesn't think I am a change agent.Jesus died for our sins. He also had an awful lot to say before and after the cross.

If we took a New Testament and simply struck out all the words in red, I don't think a whole lot would be different in the teachings of the conservative church.

Thanks for your comments and the time you took to answer my questions. I believe they are sincere.



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Kenneth Sublett
Kenneth Sublett

October 22nd, 2004, 10:05 pm #43

Really, if I may call you by your first name, would you tell us how many churches of Christ you have researched. Then, tell us how may of ALL of the others you have surveyed. Have you put this statistical study into print? I would like a copy.

I think that is like Baptists on church of Christ payrolls doing the DITTO HEAD that churches of Christ are hopelessly divided without knowing that the Baptists are down to 146 different "organizations" from a peak of over 300. Baptism is one of those <font color=red>RED LETTER ISSUES</font> and our new style STORE BOTTEN Phds just tell Jesus that He is a liar. At aged 74 I have heard a lot of sermons and I believe that I have heard more sermons "on the mount" and other information about Jesus the Christ than I have about the epistles. I still think that you are just infiltrating although the "eternally repenting person" rings a bell. In my analysis I think some PSEUDO love and hugs is better than no hugs or respect at all. He still has more humanity and personality than the "condescending" shepherds. Sure, they make fun of the lesser-beings and even "grey hairs."

Early in our marriage we rapidly agreed and mottoized it: "Watch out for pacifists, they will kill you." Or watch out for the quiet, mousey type they will steal your cheeze. So Love- Speak is not a substitute. All of my FLEECE has been snipped off by slick handed Lukes.

I told you the solution to your problem: if you will just QUIT FEEDING them they will go find an honest job. Assuredly what you seem to have locked into as your view of CHURCH probably doesn't have any REALITY connection to the school of the Bible Jesus died to give us.

Ken
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Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

October 23rd, 2004, 7:55 am #44

I fear the change agents, and your reactions to the change agents, have made it extremely difficult for anyone who has comments, questions, or experiences in the the church-yes, the church of Christ-to ask questions. I don't know anyway to word my questions or comments so that someone doesn't think I am a change agent.Jesus died for our sins. He also had an awful lot to say before and after the cross.

If we took a New Testament and simply struck out all the words in red, I don't think a whole lot would be different in the teachings of the conservative church.

Thanks for your comments and the time you took to answer my questions. I believe they are sincere.


To Really,

This is how I understand your first statement—you fear that BOTH the change agents AND our reactions to the change agents have made it “extremely difficult for anyone … to ask questions.” Am I correct?

Or, are you saying: (1) that you fear the change agents; and (2) that it is our reactions to the change agents that have made it extremely difficult for anyone … to ask questions?

Either way, I think I get the picture. But I must say that we need not fear the change agents. They are as human as the rest of us, and they are agents of unnecessary, troublesome, divisive, intrusive, confusing, deceptive, culture-driven changes in church DOCTRINE, beliefs and practices. Our deepest concern is for those congregations which have already succumbed to the “peer pressure” of the misdirected Community Church “ideology.” We also fear that more congregations will be victimized and infected with this dreadful spiritual disease, if the efforts of the change agents are not thwarted.

On the basis of what we’ve experienced in numerous discussions with the other side in the last few years, we realize that our “reactions to the change agents”—no matter how truthfully elucidated—may not always be favorable to the change agents themselves and to their ardent followers. But rest assured that we have done our extensive research and homework. The “conservative churches or congregations” [for lack of a better term] are the victims in these conflicts. The change agents are subtly destroying these churches and their values, standards and principles by which they have existed through the years and decades. Here’s why—their goal is to transform these targeted congregations into a different type of church—the type that employs the “Community Church” model … “one size fits all” or the mentality of one body that embraces all denominations and their varying doctrines and beliefs. We want to instill in the minds of our readers or raise their level of awareness that the change agents would rather infiltrate and subvert than start their own church from scratch.

I believe that anyone can confidently and clearly identify himself/herself on this forum: (1) either as a change agent/supporter, (2) or as one who continues “steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship” [Acts 2:42], (3) or as one who is simply confused about what’s going on.

In my preceding posts, I did not identify you as a change agent. Instead, I tried my best to explain to readers (in general) how we can differentiate what the New Testament teaches from what change agents teach based on how you [or someone else] framed the questions. Frankly, I’m glad that you brought up those questions and comments—one more opportunity for us to point out and thoroughly explain the goals and objectives of the change agents, as well as expose some of the teachings and beliefs that they have “borrowed” [acquired, learned] from their denominational neighbors.

Do you realize that the change agents are also sincere in their efforts? So, sincerity does not mean scriptural. In other words, we must use the Holy Scripture as the basis for determining if one is teaching the truth, half-truth or error.

Donnie
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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

October 23rd, 2004, 7:33 pm #45

Donnie states that, "The change agents are subtly destroying these [conservative] churches and their values, standards and principles by which they have existed through the years and decades. Here’s why—their goal is to transform these targeted congregations into a different type of church—the type that employs the “Community Church” model … “one size fits all” or the mentality of one body that embraces all denominations and their varying doctrines and beliefs. We want to instill in the minds of our readers or raise their level of awareness that the change agents would rather infiltrate and subvert than start their own church from scratch."

This sums up the goal and purpose of the change agents. Their motivation to "infiltrate and subvert" really strikes a chord. I've always wondered why they behave in this manner, rather than build their own churches. I believe the reason lies in that it is so much easier and far less expensive to take over established, conservative churches and alienate the traditionalists so that they finally leave, rather than build new churches. New churches would be free of conflict, and there would be no traditionalists to "get in the way"; yet the expense involved is surely one principal reason (perhaps the only reason) why change agents may not choose to build new churches. Change agents operating in this manner are unfortunately no different from parasites, sucking the spiritual life out of conservative churches to promote a worldly, unbiblical agenda.

On the other hand, if change agents are building new churches every day, there is no logic in subverting and infiltrating conservative churches. After all, the change agents keep telling us that the conservative Church will eventually pass away. So, if expense is not an issue, the only reason for infiltration and subversion would be a malicious desire to remove any trace of that which is traditional and biblical.
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finished wondering
finished wondering

October 24th, 2004, 12:38 am #46

Really, if I may call you by your first name, would you tell us how many churches of Christ you have researched. Then, tell us how may of ALL of the others you have surveyed. Have you put this statistical study into print? I would like a copy.

I think that is like Baptists on church of Christ payrolls doing the DITTO HEAD that churches of Christ are hopelessly divided without knowing that the Baptists are down to 146 different "organizations" from a peak of over 300. Baptism is one of those <font color=red>RED LETTER ISSUES</font> and our new style STORE BOTTEN Phds just tell Jesus that He is a liar. At aged 74 I have heard a lot of sermons and I believe that I have heard more sermons "on the mount" and other information about Jesus the Christ than I have about the epistles. I still think that you are just infiltrating although the "eternally repenting person" rings a bell. In my analysis I think some PSEUDO love and hugs is better than no hugs or respect at all. He still has more humanity and personality than the "condescending" shepherds. Sure, they make fun of the lesser-beings and even "grey hairs."

Early in our marriage we rapidly agreed and mottoized it: "Watch out for pacifists, they will kill you." Or watch out for the quiet, mousey type they will steal your cheeze. So Love- Speak is not a substitute. All of my FLEECE has been snipped off by slick handed Lukes.

I told you the solution to your problem: if you will just QUIT FEEDING them they will go find an honest job. Assuredly what you seem to have locked into as your view of CHURCH probably doesn't have any REALITY connection to the school of the Bible Jesus died to give us.

Ken
Ken;
You are right; my view of the church, having been raised in it, is probably an inaccurate view of a real school of the Bible as taught IN the Bible.Perhaps that goes for most of us in the church, as well.

No, I have not researched every congregation in existence: has anyone?

Wonder where I was supposed to have gone to church to have gotten an accurate view of a real school of the bible?

There were plenty of 'change agents' in the church long before the current wave.So we have people defending the early change agents against the current ones, as if the early 'change agents' were all scripturally correct in how they conduct services and in all their doctrine, as well in their church disciplinary actions.

I kind of resent being told at the congregation I attend, that we are guilty of sinning if we don't attend church three times a week (and even a fourth service "IF the elders so desire to add another service during the week'.)(under the sin of forsaking the assembly)...

I have quit feeding them; now its a matter of pulling out the children I entrusted to them.



PS:
No, Donnie, I am not afraid of change agents.Just of power hungry despotic elders who equate their status with that of the mouth-pieces of God...no matter what generation they came out of.
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Kenneth Sublett
Kenneth Sublett

October 24th, 2004, 7:48 pm #47

You will notice that I don't have a good bedside manner. I believe school of the Bible is tough discipling to make tough people. Especially, our children are not being prepared to go face the world.

Josephus is said to have been called in by the Rabbi when he was 14 years old on questions about the Old Testament. Believe that? Well, that is what Josephus said. It makes the point that Jesus was not able to test the teachers at 12 just because He was Jesus but because his elders had not treated him like a bastard and entertained him. Women, too, as I have noted, were not experts in the law but they were, if we can believe historians, better equipped for their society than our children are for ours. Weaving might seem demeaning until you think about tending sheep and goats, midwiving lambs, shearing wool, cleaning it, spinning it, dying it, weaving it, "fulling" it to make it into a fine fabric, and then you have to sell it or trade it.

In addition to being the synagogue of Christ, the church can be a society to outwork especially toward one another. There was a time when elders might not be educated but the were ethical and you could trust them with money some of which you understood was to run the society. However, when you can no longer trust them then school needs to get the word out:

First, there was no preacher in these secular-spiritual assemblies any more than you would hire an expert to preach HUNTING to a hunting club. A practice we once considered harmless AT BEST has degenerated into a product of the seed we planted. We OWE those who are willing to go as evangelists.

Secondly, meetings in the synagogue were weekly because people worked and the Sabbath was a day of REST. Neither in Judaism or Christianity is the DAY a day of what we call "worship." Rest means: Cool it. That was the day when local groups met to hear the word read and to pray. They also, based on humanity, looked after the destitute although Jesus changed some of that. The elders have no authority to impose anything or teach anything other than "that which is written." I don't know of any evidence that they TOOK NAMES nor was the Rabbi offended if someone did not show up as long as they were AT REST.

Jesus assigned our ALMS to the poor who ask: no massive charity or social gospel although I honor things like Disaster Relief. Paul denied that there was A LAW OF GIVING in his second letter to Corinth. Early churches understood that to mean that THOSE WHO HAD PROSPERED gave to those WHO WERE DESTITUTE. It had nothing to do with proportional giving. Even those who still claimed to be prophets were allowed to tell people all the NEW which he knew and they didn't for two or at most three days and then an authority like Phoebe got them a job or a bit of travel money on their way OUT.

Paul said absolutely nothing about SINGING as an outward ACT OF WORSHIP. What he said was to TEACH or preach, SPEAK, ADMONISH and GLORIFY God with "one mind" and "one mouth" speaking THAT WHICH IS WRITTEN. The pagan background and ALL of secular history notes that when you quit SAYING or SPEAKING and adopt a musical tone even to preaching you are ILLUSTRATING and TEACHING an effeminate or poorly-hidden homosexual practice. I believe CHURCH produces much of the crisis of depression and anxiety and undoubtedly contributes to the lack of maturity which among boys doesn't happen at aged 12 but more like 35.

That leaves exactly what Jesus died to give us as REST from religious rituals which are PEDDLED as some superior access to God. That "access" defines the Pharisees. Scribe describes the preachers who "parceled out the law" and Hypocrites were the SECT of singers and actors.

Then, the direct command of Paul was to SPEAK the Word one to another or to Timothy, to Publically Read the word, define the contained doctrine and admonish others to obey that word. "Sermonizing" and song-leading or the Precentor are defined as two of the first "heresies largely pervading the church." The Restoraton Movement was founded to do exacly those things demanding that elders and deacons had no authority to add any burden which would create anxiety among the members.

I don't know where to find it but the Bible demands that we "diligently seek Him." Paul told the Corinthians that "your assemblies do more harm than good" and I don't think we have any duty to attend or support them.

The "don't forsake the assembly" is a HATCHET so don't let them hit you with it. These people were close to abandoning meeting altogether and not missing an extra assembly the elders have no authority to call.

http://www.piney.com/Hebrews.10.html

And Mark Those who Forsake the Assembly

http://www.piney.com/ChMarkthem.html

YOU decide WHOM you will follow as a teacher. So there is a contract. If they don't teach that which has been taught and if they try to put a saddle on the LAMBS then the contract has been broken and Jesus died to turn you loose and let you go.

Had enought?

Ken
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formerly wondering
formerly wondering

October 25th, 2004, 1:31 pm #48

Thanks, Ken. I have been getting your drift for awhile now.In essence, hardly anyone or any group associated with what we call Church of Christ or any organized religion,conservative, or liberal, or any denomination is following scripture.What is in scritpure is far too pure and straightforward for what has been going on in 'church' all these years.
It is nice to hear someone say what is actually IN the Bible and not turn it around to say something that just fits with what all established denominations are doing.

I have gone through- not personally, but observed- the taking of names, and reading of names, and of withdrawing from those who have 'forsaken the assembly'.( Of course these people were given every "chance' to repent: their names were even printed on sheets and put in a public place in the building so that all who attended -and visited- had access to these people's names, addresses and phone numbers-ostensibly so they could be contacted and would return to church.I found myself wondering how many of these unfortunate people started screening their calls.

Sometimes I guess I just didn't know the difference between publicly shaming people and really being concerned for their souls. Silly me.After some agonizing talk about restoring these 'lost ones' and care and concern for their souls,one of the elders did finally say that this practice was , after all, a punishment, for not repenting.At least they admit it and we can stop pretending now. Sorry, I just don't think anyone should be playing god, except God.

When you get to the point that you are more worried about offending the elders or 'not doing it right' at church, in church, about church, than offending God, then its time to leave.My conscience is clear about God.Now its the shaming tactics by other people used on my children that I will be worried about. Many of these people are/were friends.

I have really tried to go back to the church of my younger years for the last several years, and I have developing ulcers, headaches on Sunday and a bad attitude rapidly developing.I read the bible every day. I love the Lord, and things seem so simple till I get to church.

I use the back of the card they give us every Sunday for listing all the 'thing's' we have done in the past week, such as visiting the sick, calling people who aren't coming, taking food to people, working in benevolence...etc.. to take notes in my class, which I really like.We are supposed to turn these cards in and if we don't ...'shame on us',we were told. We talk alot about depression and tough times as Christians in that class. I found my self wondering if the precentage of those with depression and stress might be reduced if they turned their lives over to God and not the leaders of that church. Who knows?

Also recently hearing more frequent sermons on how in giving we receive God's blessings. I am not disputing that, but it comes on the heels of increasing the church budget, which is so strained with many many mission and other commitments, that one can almost hear the timbers in the building creak.

I am very sorry if I have offended the sincere; or hurt the work of what the church was meant to be.I just see my own family , and other good and sincere people struggling with so many issues, incuding financial strains, and it makes me disturbed to hear more sermons on giving more, more, more ,more. Give till it hurts. And you'll be blessed. We are hurting already and not just financially.
Yep. I have had enough.
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John Waddey
John Waddey

November 17th, 2004, 7:19 am #49

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
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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

———————————————————————————————————————————
— 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
———————————————————————————————————————————
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.
———————————————————————————————————————————

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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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> GETTING ACQUAINTED WITH A LIBERAL </font>

<font face=Times New Roman size=3>We live in a world of competing ideologies. In social matters, politics, morality and religion we see those who are conservative and those who are liberal in their convictions and policies. Only those who know and understand the beliefs that underlie the two approaches are able to make an informed and wise decision as to which ideology they will accept. Uninformed of the doctrines, methods and goals, one is vulnerable to deception and manipulation. Paul urges us to “know them that labor among” us (I Thess. 5:12). In upwards of half a century of preaching, I have observed the following characteristic of those preachers and leaders who have embraced a liberal approach to Christianity.
<ol>[*]The liberal preacher will always present himself as a scholar who knows more than those poor, ignorant conservatives who prefer to hold to those traditional Biblical ways of doing things.

[*]The liberal brother wants to be known as a man of compassion. He says or implies that conservatives are harsh, unloving and uncaring for others.

[*]He wants to gain control of a congregation and its meeting place that others have built and paid for. It is not often that he will announce his new views, go to a new community and start a church from scratch. That is much too hard; so he works his way into an established church and gradually subverts the faith of its members.

[*]A liberal is evangelistic. Not necessarily for the lost, but to make converts for his cause. Like the Pharisees they compass land and sea to make proselytes...but their converts end up further from, rather than closer to God (Matt. 23:15).

[*]A liberal is like a chameleon. Around strong conservatives he can talk and sound like one of them, around fellow-liberals or those who are unaware, he speaks a different language.

[*]A liberal is usually a patient worker. He can wait for months or even years as he quietly undermines the faith of the disciples and manipulates into leadership roles those who sympathize with his theology.

[*]A liberal will not boldly announce his intended agenda to those he hopes to change. While doing his destructive work, he will continue to use traditional vocabulary and expressions and identify himself with the great heroes of the past until he has gained the confidence of the targeted audience.

[*]Once he has set his hook in a congregation, a liberal will not give up or walk away if a protest is raised. He feels he is on a mission for God and will see a congregation wrecked rather than admit his wrong or abandon his effort.
[/list]The best way for a congregation to deal with liberalism is to never allow a man of such persuasion into their pulpit; not for a meeting, a seminar, a class, or for employment. If such a false teacher is already in your midst, the best method of saving your congregation is to immediately dismiss him and send him on his way....without recommendation. Otherwise, left undisturbed, a church will experience grief untold. </font>

___________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

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

December 1st, 2004, 8:13 am #50

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
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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=4>SECULARIZATION OF THE CHURCH</font>

<font face=Times New Roman size=3 color=indigo>Perhaps the greatest threat to the church of the twenty-first century is secularization. Many will blink as asked, what is that?

Webster defines secular as, “a. Of or relating to the worldly or temporal concerns; b. not overtly or specifically religious.” Secularism is defined as “indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations.” Vergillius Ferm defines secularization as, “The taking over of church property by the state for secular purposes...” (Dictionary of Religion). Under secularism, Baker’s Dictionary of Theology says, “Today secularism is the integration of life around the spirit of a specific age, rather than around God. It is living as if the material order were supreme and as if God did not exist... Secularism places the emphasis on temporal social enjoyment rather than on eternal spiritual values.”

Secularization is not being forced upon the church by the state or by any mortal enemy from without. Rather it is a matter of the church gradually absorbing the spirit of the age and forgetting its mission and purpose under Christ.

Given the sinful nature of a world in rebellion to heaven and a church designed to “be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27), God expects his church to be different. We are said to be “a holy nation” (I Pet. 2:9). The word holy is from hagios, the basic meaning of which is different (Wm. Barclay). Concerning the sinful world we are commanded to “come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord” (II Cor. 6:17). While we must live in a wicked world, we must not be “of the world” (John 17:16). The world will “think it strange that (we) run not with them...” (I Pet. 4:4).

Twenty yeas ago, Michael Weed in the Christian Chronicle stated that “many church leaders are actually cooperating with and even accelerating the process of secularization within the church.” He points out five prominent areas where this process is visible.
<ol>[*]It is seen in the attempt to be up-to-date and effective; infatuation with modern communication; and the use of advertising techniques in their attempt to promote or “sell” Christianity to the world. This often results in “cutting the product to fit the market.” They reduce the Christian message to “flashy advertising slogans and catchy clichés...which substitutes for basic Christian beliefs.”

[*]It is evident in the pursuit of an empty, hollow unity with other bodies of people. In the words of Malcom Muggeridge, “It is the ecumenicity of those who, believing less and less, disagree about very little.”

[*]It is seen in “the production and sale of Christian literature whose basic quality is not that it is biblical, but that it is innocuous. Bible teaching and traditional Christian views are so diluted that these materials can be marketed to the broadest possible clientele.

[*]It is demonstrated in the determined efforts of congregations “to prove (themselves) useful and relevant and to ‘meet needs’...” Many of those laboring under this obsession are meeting needs in terms of society’s own values and standards rather than God’s. Thus this has become a substitute for meeting the spiritual needs of lost men and struggling saints. Health spas and lawyers meet needs but not those the church should be supplying. Some of the needs set forth are trivial and others are no business of the church at all.

[*]The education program of some congregations reflects a confusion about the church’s mission. When class discussion centers on things of “the world,” when the greater emphasis is on recreation and social activities rather than searching the Scriptures, the progress is at work. Bro. Weed well says, “The education ministry of the church should not be a vestibule through which Christians are comfortably ushered into the secular world views...of modern society.”
[/list]In this writer’s judgment, the trend toward secularism is further seen in the following cases:
<ol>[*]Declining interest in and emphasis on the public proclamation of the Word.

[*]A disproportionate emphasis on social activities and recreation in the life of the church.

[*]The trend of congregations towards providing schools for general education, with only token spiritual training.

[*]The willingness of our churches and Christian schools to allow the worldly attitudes and practices of members to go unchallenged, thus lending tacit approval thereof.

[*]Loss of interest in evangelism to win souls and the substitution of programs of social service.

[*]A movement away from serious study of the Scriptures and doctrinal emphasis, while greatly emphasizing, psychology, counseling, family therapy and self-improvement. While all of the latter things are useful and have a place in our teaching, it is over emphasis of them to the neglect of the gospel that is dangerous. We can have happy, well-adjusted individual and families who will be destroyed for lack of divine knowledge (Hos. 4:6).

[*]Virtual silence in the face of the never ending attacks by the promoters of humanism, evolution, and hedonism through our public schools and media. While our people are being corrupted and led away into these errors, their church leaders stand mute watching them go!

[*]Many Christians accept and live by the world’s code of dress, conduct and moral behavior while elders and preachers say nothing to call them back to God’s standards. Some even seek to defend the way of the world as harmless.
[/list]Satan could not destroy the early church by the sword of persecution (Rev. 12:2-11). He was able to swallow up the church by absorbing it into the pagan culture or Rome. This was done in the name of liberty and freedom from persecution, via Constantine’s edicts. It occurred in a climate of unprecedented growth in numbers, prestige, recognition, and power for the church. So euphorious were the triumphs of the fourth century that the Christians never realized that the cause they loved and for which their fathers had died was being reshaped into an apostate, counterfeit church, now known as the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

Awareness of the problem is not enough. There must be a workable knowledge of the Scripture and unswerving faith and loyalty thereto if we are to survive this modern onslaught against the faith once delivered (Jude 3). May God grant us wisdom to correctly read the signs of the times and to apply the divine remedy to every problem. Let us never forget our charge, “Be not conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2). One of the major objections to the program of the change movement is that it secularizes the Lord’s church. </font>

___________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

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