From: [[url=mailto:email@example.com]firstname.lastname@example.org[/url]] On Behalf of John Waddey
Sent: Saturday, July 28, 2007 2:36 PM
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 werent addressed by Jesus and the apostlesThey were concerned about those that were distorting the fabric of the gospel, but rarely addressed mechanical issues of worship.
- <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).
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, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now