In essence, these are church members who show very little respect for Gods Word and go so far as to say that it doesnt matter whether baptism occurs before or after one is already a Christian; that the Lords Supper may be observed any day now, that the louder joyful noise unto the Lord and being Hot-Christian-Rocky would be better for Gods hearing; that worship in spirit means being charismatic and rhythmically-clappy-feeling and applauding. The list can go on and on.</font>
- <table width="93%" border="0"><tr><td valign="top" width="100%">
<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="98%"><tr><td width="98%" bgcolor="#ffffff">
<font class="option" style="font-size: 15pt"> Blaming the Church </font></td></tr>
<tr><td colspan="2" bgcolor="#ffffff">
<table border="0" width="98%" align="center"><tr><td>
<font class="option" style="font-size: 10pt">By John Waddey
Christianity: Then and Now
Those among us who make their living as professional critics of the Lords church make much of the unfortunate divisions that have occurred among our brethren over the last 200 years. To hear them tell it, we have more such problems than any other body of people. Their conclusions are that our plea for unity in Christ is unworkable, that our restoration movement is a failure, that they are thus justified in reaching out and embracing the denominations of their choice.
These self-justifying critics overlook the many cases of apostasy that arose even while the Lord and his chosen apostles were on earth.
- After Jesus memorable sermon on the bread of life, Many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him (John 6:66). He even questioned the apostles if they too would depart!
- Judas proved to be unfaithful and betrayed the Lord to his enemies (Matt. 26:14-16).
- Ananias and Sapphira allowed their greed and desire for recognition to lead them into mortal sin and condemnation (Acts 5:1-6).
- Jewish converts created divisions by their discrimination against their Gentile brothers and sisters and trying to bind certain aspects of the Law of Moses on them (Acts 15:1-2).
- Factious brethren in Corinth had caused divisions among them (I Cor. 11:19).
- Paul warned that some would depart from the faith, forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats (I Tim. 4:1-3).
- Some false teachers denied that Christ had come in the flesh (I John 4:1-3).
- Some false brethren taught destructive heresies and made merchandise of their deceived brothers and sisters in Christ (II Pet. 2:1-3).
- There was Diotrephes who came to dominate the church in his community and sought to alienate them from the Apostle John (III John 9-10).
- There were deluded disciples in Pergamum who had embraced the doctrine of Balaam and the Nicolaitans (Rev. 2:14-16).
- Christians in Thyatira were faulted for tolerating the false prophetess Jezebel who was corrupting them by her teaching and practices. (Rev. 2:20-23).
- Did these episodes of apostasy and division make a mockery of the call for unity preached by Jesus and his apostles? (John 17:20-23; Eph. 4:3).
- Did they make the church a laughingstock to their religious neighbors?
- Did they prove that their efforts to unite all men in Christ were a failure?
- Was the division the fault of those who avoided the schisms and remained faithful to Christ and his Will?
- Did it make the church of Christ of the first century sectarian and a denomination because some were divisive?
- Did it call for a radical restoration or an admission of their denominational status?
- If a mans answer to all the above is No, why then would he conclude the opposite about the brotherhood of churches of Christ today?