A Refresher Course for a Challenged Change Agent

A Refresher Course for a Challenged Change Agent

John Waddey
John Waddey

July 30th, 2007, 5:14 am #1

<font face=courier>-----Original Message-----
From: [[url=mailto:fortify_your_faith@yahoogroups.com]fortify_your_faith@yahoogroups.com[/url]] On Behalf of John Waddey
Sent: Saturday, July 28, 2007 2:36 PM
To: fortify_your_faith@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [fortify_your_faith] A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith - 07/28/07</font>

<font color=black face=arial> Bro. John Waddey noted in his article below the implication from an “anonymous” respondent who suggested that we waste our time on issues that weren’t addressed by Jesus and the apostles—“They were concerned about those that were distorting the fabric of the gospel, but rarely addressed mechanical issues of worship.”

— Donnie Cruz</font>

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  • <font size=5>
    A REFRESHER COURSE FOR A CHALLENGED CHANGE AGENT
    </font>

    <font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman> Dear Brother Anonymous:

    Thank you for writing and sharing your progressive views with me. After reading your diatribe, I wonder if you might be on some strong medication? Your comments make it evident that you neither understand the message of the New Testament nor the danger of the doctrine you have embraced. Neither do you understand the history of our back to the Bible movement and you certainly do not understand what I am saying or doing in these weekly lessons.

    You say that neither Jesus nor the apostles addressed any of the issues on which we now waste our time. "They were concerned about those that were distorting the fabric of the gospel, but rarely addressed mechanical issues of worship." As a brief refresher course, I remind you that :
      • Jesus said that acceptable worship "must" be in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
      • Luke wrote that the first congregation continued steadfastly in the "apostles' teaching." (Acts 2:42).
      • Paul wrote of singing and making melody in your heart (Eph. 5:19)
      • He devoted much attention to the proper way to remember Christ's death in communion (I Cor. 11:23-34). He pointed out that there are some things that make our worship unacceptable to God (I Cor. 11:17-22).
      • He made it clear that women are not to teach nor have authority over men when they assemble (I Tim. 2:11-12).
      • He wrote about proper decorum in worship in I Corinthians 11-14. This included women recognizing the male leadership, avoiding confusion in worship and forbidding women from expressing themselves in the assemblies.
      • He pointed out that the things he wrote were the commands of the Lord (I Cor. 14:37) and that we are not to go beyond the things that are written (I Cor. 4:6, ASV).
    All of these things are applicable to the innovations being introduced by men such as yourself.

    I oppose the denominational teachings and practices of the change agents because Jude told me to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered (Jude 3) and because Paul urged me to fight the good fight of the faith (I Tim. 6:12). I question their innovations because they do not measure up the pattern of sound words given by the apostles (II Tim. 1:13).

    Promoters of change insist they are freeing Christians to worship as feels good to them. This spirit reminds me of those teachers of whom Peter wrote: There were "promising them liberty, while they themselves are bond-servants of corruption" (II Pet. 2:19).

    As to traditions, may I remind you that there are three kinds of traditions. There are those handed down from the apostles (II Thess. 2:15). There are those that are traditions of men that make void the word of God (Matt. 15:6-9). There are harmless traditions that we adopt for the orderly implementation of spiritual duties. In this are such things as times for assembly, length of time allotted for each service, etc. The problem with our change agents is that they do not perceive these distinctions in the various kinds of traditions. They challenge or ignore some of the traditions handed down from the apostles...claiming they are traditions of men. They are determined to cast out our commonly accepted, harmless traditions while imposing their own traditions in their place. The first case is sin, the second is arrogance.

    No one but change agents attribute to Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone a position of spiritual eminence in the church. They like to say that we are the "Stone- Campbell Movement" and that those two men are the founders of the church of Christ denomination or sect. Neither of those godly men made such a claim. Campbell is on record refuting it. No faithful member of the church of Christ has ever made such a foolish statement. They were great men of God. They escaped the errors of denominationalism that change agents are eager to embrace. They and other faithful servants of the past deserve our respect for the work they did that paved the way for us. It is shameful for small-minded, ungrateful men to cast aspersions on them.

    In first century Judaism there were the ultraconservative , legalistic Pharisees and the liberal Sadducees. Jesus aligned himself with neither. He was opposed by both. Both he rebuked. In contemporary Christianity there are legalists and liberals. Both are wrong. Faithful Christians will avoid either ditch, as they march onward on the straitened and narrow road of truth (Matt. 7:14; Prov. 4:27). I pray that you will walk that straitened road of truth. Remember that only the few who do so will reach the desired destination of eternal life!

    As was the practice of our brother Paul, I sign my name to letters I write (II Thess. 3:17).

    With best wishes in Christ, I am your brother,

    — John Waddey</font>
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John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

E-Mail: [url=mailto:johnwaddey@aol.com]johnwaddey@aol.com[/url]
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Joined: January 2nd, 2005, 6:45 am

August 27th, 2007, 6:14 am #2

<font face=courier>-----Original Message-----
From: [[url=mailto:fortify_your_faith@yahoogroups.com]fortify_your_faith@yahoogroups.com[/url]] On Behalf of John Waddey
Sent: Saturday, August 25, 2007 3:36 PM
To: fortify_your_faith@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [fortify_your_faith] A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith - 08/25/07</font>

<font color=black face=arial>Dear Lovers of Truth:

Today we share with you two parables. The one encourages us to stand up for Jesus in this day of departure from God's way. The other warns us of the danger of distracting internal conflicts between those who duty is to help protect the church from harm. I hope you will forward these to other Christians whose email address you have.

— JHW </font>

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  • <font size=5>
    PARABLE OF SPARKY THE DOG
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    <font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman> I once had a neighbor who had a pet dog named Sparky. Sparky was a Yorkshire terrier who loved to bark. When anyone or anything came down our street Sparky charged to his fence yapping, growling like a ferocious beast. In fact he barked so much he was a nuisance to all the neighbors. But if stray dog rushed to the fence and returned the challenge, Sparky would run and hide. For a few moments at least he was stone silent. If a person opened the gate and entered the yard Sparky fled to the back of the house. The fact is Sparky was a cowardly little canine who only barked when he was safe inside his fenced yard. His courage melted when his challenge was met.

    Sparky was a like a lot of preachers. They too bark loudly in their own pulpits, their bulletins, or to fellow-Christians who share their views. But put them out in the world, where real live adversaries can respond, or where false-teachers can answer them and they lose their voices. They prefer the safety of their pulpit and their circle of friends. Isaiah blasted some of his fellow prophets saying, "they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark..." (Is. 56:10). As change agents press their campaign to capture Christians, congregations and schools throughout the land, we have a dearth of preachers willing to stand up and confront them. Some will bark loudly privately, at their home church or at lectureships of like-minded conservatives, but beyond that they are silent.

    We desperately need good men who will take the message of defending and preserving the fundamentals of the faith beyond their meeting house walls. Courageous men are needed to respond to the attacks of the promoters of change.
      • Use the mail to send your response to the leaders of other congregations, especially those who might not share your point of view.
      • Use the email to send your responses to fellow-Christians around the world.
      • Use your phone to converse with those who might be weakening. Encourage them. Give them reasons for the faith we hold. Show them the fallacies of the change agenda.
      • Write well-researched pieces for our gospel papers that set forth the ancient truths of New Testament Christianity as well as responding to the errors of the change agents.
      • Write quality books that analyze and expose the follies of the change agenda and declare the old-time gospel.
      • Write thoughtful letters to fellow-preachers, elders and brethren who are dabbling with the change program, pointing out the dangers of so doing.
      • Write letters or make phone calls to the presidents of our Christian Schools who are leaning toward the change movement.
      • Write letters to editors of gospel papers, encouraging them to be steadfast. Kindly reprove them in a brotherly way if they are giving aid and comfort to promoters of change.
      • Speak up at your local preacher's meeting and in a kind but firm way, let your brethren know what your convictions are and that you will never abandon the old paths.
      • When you go to a college lectureship or any other gathering of Christian friends, don't hide your light. Look for opportunities to encourage others to stand fast in the faith. Let them know you are not about to yield. Try to involve them to get involved in the struggle to save the church from apostasy.
      • When you encounter a brother or sister who has been influenced by agents of change, be sure to grasp the opportunity to speak with them and try to win them back to the solid foundation of biblical truth.
      • When you find yourself in the presence of a champion of change, don't be like Sparky. Speak up. Don't bite your tongue. You need not be a champion debater, you need not be a scholar. But you can speak up and confess you faith in the Master's authority, his holy Word and his blessed church. Like Paul, be set for the defense of the gospel (Phil 1:16). Remember the hymn we often sing, "I'm Not Ashamed to Own My Lord, nor to defend his cause." Let this be your daily commitment.
    </font>
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  • <font size=5>
    PARABLE OF THE QUARRELSOME SHEPHERDS
    </font>

    <font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>Once there were three shepherds who pastured their flocks in a desolate area. They went their separate ways by day but each evening they sheltered their flocks in a common fold. Although all worked for a common master they did not get along very well. One was naturally cranky, another a jealous sort and the third was very sensitive and his feelings easily hurt. Each night when the sheep were in the fold the men would gather about a common fire, eat their food and talk. Unfortunately their conversations often turned fractious and bitter. One night their quarreling grew intense. As they shouted and threatened one another, wolves were sneaking ever closer to the darkened fold. The men came to blows, it was an awful sight. While they battled each other, the wolves saw their opportunity. They dashed into the fold tearing at the sheep and scattering them. They made off with several of the lambs.

    The next morning the owner came to check on his sheep. He was shocked and angry at what he found. His sheep were scattered. Many were wounded, others were dead. The shepherds were battered and bruised but not from protecting their sheep. They had exhausted themselves fighting each other. The owner was furious. They were driven from his presence as unfit to serve him.

    And the teacher explained that the sheep are God's people, the shepherds his preachers. The wolves are those who would lead the people into a new kind of faith and worship. He that hath an ear should give heed to the parable.</font>
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John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

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