Change Agents: Those Infamous “Divisions in the Church”

Joined: January 2nd, 2005, 6:45 am

October 31st, 2006, 9:07 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, October 28, 2006 4:34 PM
To: fortify_your_faith@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [fortify_your_faith] A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith - 10/28/06</font>

THOSE INFAMOUS 28 DIVISIONS IN THE CHURCH

<font face=arial>Dear Brethren:

Today's lesson answers an accusation often hurled by change agents against the Lord's church. They claim we are so divided we cannot possibly be pleasing to God. My lesson responds to their charge and shows that it is exaggerated for effect. If you find this lesson helpful, please download it and share it with others. Forward it to others on your email list.

John Waddey</font>

___________________________________


<font size=4>
THOSE INFAMOUS 28 DIVISIONS IN THE CHURCH
</font>

<font size=3 face=times new roman>A few years ago, a singing group traveled the country, making a good living singing Twenty-six Miles Across the Sea. Today, change agents travel far and wide singing about 28 divisions among Churches of Christ. For them that mantra proves we are an unworthy group and that they with their ecumenical plan for unity are our saviors. A member of their team recently sent me the infamous list. It really shows how desperate change agents are to paint a false picture of their brethren in order to justify themselves in causing yet another division in the body. [emphasis, d.c.]

As we look at their list, note with me the distortions of their accusation:

<ol>[*]The Firm Foundation faction (1884). There was disagreement and discussion about whether those immersed without understanding the full purpose of baptism should be rebaptized. There was never an open break in fellowship. Though still discussed, the issue does not constitute a separate brotherhood.

[*]Churches of Christ separation from Digressives (Sand Creek. IL, 1889). This was a declaration of one congregation declaring they would no longer fellowship digressives who were introducing instrumental music and missionary societies into churches. Had not that congregation and hundreds of others taken a stand against the apostasy of that day there would be no Churches of Christ today. All would be in the camp of the Christian Churches. This would be pleasing to our change agents. The fact is those wishing to have musical instruments and societies went out from us (I John 2:19). We continue to occupy the same ground as did the early leaders of the Restoration movement and the first Christians.

[*]Black Churches of Christ. Outside of a few Black separatists, no such schism exists. Christians and congregations, be they Black or White, are brethren and fellowship each other.

[*]Those opposed to baptisteries (ca. 1900). While a few folks a century ago questioned the use of baptisteries, I challenge the promoters of the list to find us even one congregation holding such a view today.

[*]Those who insisted on an order of worship (1888). True, a tiny handful of brethren argued that Acts 2:42 provided an order of worship. They have long since died out. No such schism exists today.

[*]Sommerism. Daniel Sommer was a strong minded, legalistic preacher who had a following that spread into several states. He flourished from 1890-1940. W. Carl Ketcherside led this group after Bro. Sommer's passing but he eventually swung to the opposite extreme of liberalism leaving chaos and confusion among his followers. The survivors, who describe themselves as mutual edification churches, still carry on but are small and few in number. Many of them enjoy fellowship with mainstream congregations.

[*]Anti-Sunday School, anti literature and anti-women teachers were not three separate schisms but one. Such churches still exist but in many places now have fellowship with the larger brotherhood.

[*]One cup churches. Some of the anti-Bible class churches also insisted on using only one cup in communion. They divided among themselves over such issues as "fermented or unfermented wine"; "whether the loaf should be broken by the one presiding or by the partaker." Of this group he lists, some who advocated "no plate for communion bread”; some who debated whether "to have or not to have a handle on the communion cup" and some that insisted that "communion must be taken around the table." That a legalistic splinter group should continue to divide among themselves is not the responsibility of the mainstream churches, nor should we bear the blame for their foolishness.

[*]Premillennialism. In the 1920s a few preachers, led by Robert H. Boll, began to promote the false doctrine of premillennialism and found a following in a handful of churches. The brotherhood rejected their message and they were gradually excluded from fellowship. A few such churches exist today. Most have faded away.

[*]In the 1950's a group arose that opposed cooperation of churches in evangelism, benevolent homes operated by the church and eating in meetinghouses. These are the only significant schism that has continued to flourish. Today there is some fellowship between members of the two groups and that will likely increase in coming years. Within this group was a schism led by Charles Holt and a more liberal minded minority.

[*]In the late 1950s and 60s, W. Carl Ketcherside and Leroy Garrett, formerly of the Sommerite camp, swung to the opposite extreme of liberalism. They called for unity in diversity and embraced the Christian Churches and other denominational bodies in their fellowship. They worked unceasingly to influence and seduce young preachers of the mainstream churches. The message of the change movement bears the stamp of these two false teachers.

[*]Differing views on divorce and remarriage have been warmly discussed by preachers and writers from 1960 to the present. While differences were pronounced and convictions were deeply held, no separate body of people emerged over this issue.

[*]Tongue-speaking and supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit were claimed by a tiny handful in the 1960s. Probably not more than a dozen preachers dabbled in this Pentecostal practice. All either left the church or ceased to be used by our churches. No schism occurred.

[*]Ira Rice's Contending for the Faith group. Bro. Rice led an on-going war against anything and anyone he perceived as liberal. His harsh and indiscriminate approach alienated him from most main-stream churches. Even many who opposed liberalism as much as he, refused to use or approve of his tactics. These brethren do not constitute a separate body of people.

[*]The International Churches of Christ. This group otherwise known as the Cross-roads or Boston Movement were a group of young zealots who embraced a cultish program of control over their members. They flourished for some 20 years but now appear to be disintegrating.

[/list]To this list I will add The Change Movement. This is the merging and flowering of several past groups under a new banner. In its ranks one finds Ketcherside's Unity in Diversity disciples; those who yearn for a Pentecostal experience; those who have lost their faith in the inspiration and authority of the Word of God, those who desire an ecumenical fellowship with denominational bodies, especially with the Disciples of Christ and Christian Churches; those who have embraced the agenda of feminism and those who have been caught up in the philosophy of Postmodernism. The issues of this movement are virtual identical to those that led to the separation of Churches of Christ and Christian Churches a century ago.

The authors of the infamous list of schisms badly want to paint the Lord's Church as a flawed and failed movement that must be changed by their more enlighten group. The exaggerations of such a list are telling. While there have been issues and trends, actual brotherhood schisms amount to some eight rather than 28. While eight is too many and those responsible will have to answer to God for their actions, it is unfair and unreasonable to blame the church for the failure of some of her disgruntled members. To do so is like blaming godly parents who have raised six faithful children, for the failure of one child who has chosen to abandon the faith.

Let us all give diligence to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace (Eph. 4:3). We must not allow the enemies of the church to discourage or dishearten us by the false charges and accusations they make. May every faithful Christian reject the proposals of the promoters of change. </font>

___________________________________

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

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

March 4th, 2007, 4:02 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, March 03, 2007 3:39 PM
To: fortify_your_faith@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [fortify_your_faith] A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith - 03/03/07</font>

A DIAGNOSIS WORTH CONSIDERING

<font face=arial>Dear Friends in Christ:

Today's lesson notes that the pressure for changes and innovations is not unique to our churches of Christ. It is a problem that is troubling a wide array of evangelical churches. Conservative writer, Os Guiness, has correctly diagnosed the problem in evangelical circles. We will do well to heed his insights. Before we can effectively deal with the malady we must understand what is happening and how it is operating. Please share this and other lessons of this series with those Christians with whom you have contact.

— John Waddey</font>

___________________________________


<font size=4>
A DIAGNOSIS WORTH CONSIDERING
</font>


<font size=3 face=times new roman>We are not the only religious body being troubled by those promoting major changes to the faith, worship and practice of the of our churches. The problem is also being faced in virtually every denomination that has any desire to honor Scripture and be guided thereby. Among the Evangelical writers who have a good insight into the causes driving this obsession for change is Os Guinness, protégé of the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer.

In his book, Prophetic Untimeliness: A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance, Guinness identifies four steps that will end disastrously in unfaithfulness and irrelevance:
  • "Something modern is assumed (step one). As a consequence, something traditional is abandoned (step two), and everything else is adapted (step three). The outcome is that what remains is not only adapted but absorbed by the modern assumptions. It is assimilated without any decisive remainder. The result is worldliness, or Christian capitulation to some aspect of the culture of its day" (pp. 61-62).
To appreciate the wisdom of Guinness' diagnosis one need only observe what is happening in those congregations of the church of Christ that have embarked on their journey of change.
  • They assume that Post-modernism is a world view that the church must accept and accommodate. They assume that contemporary folks will not listen to nor accept the simple preaching of the old time gospel. They assume that entertainment is the best way to win the hearts of people to Christ. They assume that God will accept their assumptions.
  • These assumptions lead them to abandon the public proclamation of the gospel for story telling entertainment and drama. They abandon serious Bible teaching for pop psychology, worldly wisdom and human interest stories. They abandon a cappella praise for singing accompanied by musical instruments. They abandon congregation praise for the entertainment of choirs, solos and singing groups. They abandon the seriousness of the sacred memorial of Christ's death for a joyful celebration with a fellowship meal. They abandon the male leadership model ordained by God for that of the Feminist movement.
  • In time, virtually every aspect of their congregations' faith and worship is adapted to the standard of the flourishing mega churches of the Neo-Evangelical world.
  • They forsake their quest to restore the ancient faith of the church, they lose their identity as churches of Christ, they disassociate themselves by deleting church of Christ from their names. They find their fellowship with Christian Churches and other Protestant bodies.
Eventually they will have neither part nor lot with the brotherhood of churches of Christ. For how can two walk together except they have agreed? (Amos 3:3). They have departed from the faith (I Tim. 4:1), they have made shipwreck of the faith (I Tim. 1:19).

Let those who are wise note well that the wise doctor's diagnosis fits our change agents to a T!</font>

___________________________________

<font face=arial>Each month we publish Christianity: Then & Now which is dedicated to meeting the challenge of the promoters of change. You may subscribe for $6.00 per year. The papers for each of the last 5 year have been bound and are available for $6.50 each. Mail your checks to Church of Christ and send to John Waddey, 12630 W. Foxfire Dr. Sun City West, AZ 85375. Order all five volumes for $24.</font>
___________________________________

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

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

March 11th, 2007, 12:26 am #3

<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, October 28, 2006 4:34 PM
To: fortify_your_faith@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [fortify_your_faith] A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith - 10/28/06</font>

THOSE INFAMOUS 28 DIVISIONS IN THE CHURCH

<font face=arial>Dear Brethren:

Today's lesson answers an accusation often hurled by change agents against the Lord's church. They claim we are so divided we cannot possibly be pleasing to God. My lesson responds to their charge and shows that it is exaggerated for effect. If you find this lesson helpful, please download it and share it with others. Forward it to others on your email list.

John Waddey</font>

___________________________________


<font size=4>
THOSE INFAMOUS 28 DIVISIONS IN THE CHURCH
</font>

<font size=3 face=times new roman>A few years ago, a singing group traveled the country, making a good living singing Twenty-six Miles Across the Sea. Today, change agents travel far and wide singing about 28 divisions among Churches of Christ. For them that mantra proves we are an unworthy group and that they with their ecumenical plan for unity are our saviors. A member of their team recently sent me the infamous list. It really shows how desperate change agents are to paint a false picture of their brethren in order to justify themselves in causing yet another division in the body. [emphasis, d.c.]

As we look at their list, note with me the distortions of their accusation:

<ol>[*]The Firm Foundation faction (1884). There was disagreement and discussion about whether those immersed without understanding the full purpose of baptism should be rebaptized. There was never an open break in fellowship. Though still discussed, the issue does not constitute a separate brotherhood.

[*]Churches of Christ separation from Digressives (Sand Creek. IL, 1889). This was a declaration of one congregation declaring they would no longer fellowship digressives who were introducing instrumental music and missionary societies into churches. Had not that congregation and hundreds of others taken a stand against the apostasy of that day there would be no Churches of Christ today. All would be in the camp of the Christian Churches. This would be pleasing to our change agents. The fact is those wishing to have musical instruments and societies went out from us (I John 2:19). We continue to occupy the same ground as did the early leaders of the Restoration movement and the first Christians.

[*]Black Churches of Christ. Outside of a few Black separatists, no such schism exists. Christians and congregations, be they Black or White, are brethren and fellowship each other.

[*]Those opposed to baptisteries (ca. 1900). While a few folks a century ago questioned the use of baptisteries, I challenge the promoters of the list to find us even one congregation holding such a view today.

[*]Those who insisted on an order of worship (1888). True, a tiny handful of brethren argued that Acts 2:42 provided an order of worship. They have long since died out. No such schism exists today.

[*]Sommerism. Daniel Sommer was a strong minded, legalistic preacher who had a following that spread into several states. He flourished from 1890-1940. W. Carl Ketcherside led this group after Bro. Sommer's passing but he eventually swung to the opposite extreme of liberalism leaving chaos and confusion among his followers. The survivors, who describe themselves as mutual edification churches, still carry on but are small and few in number. Many of them enjoy fellowship with mainstream congregations.

[*]Anti-Sunday School, anti literature and anti-women teachers were not three separate schisms but one. Such churches still exist but in many places now have fellowship with the larger brotherhood.

[*]One cup churches. Some of the anti-Bible class churches also insisted on using only one cup in communion. They divided among themselves over such issues as "fermented or unfermented wine"; "whether the loaf should be broken by the one presiding or by the partaker." Of this group he lists, some who advocated "no plate for communion bread”; some who debated whether "to have or not to have a handle on the communion cup" and some that insisted that "communion must be taken around the table." That a legalistic splinter group should continue to divide among themselves is not the responsibility of the mainstream churches, nor should we bear the blame for their foolishness.

[*]Premillennialism. In the 1920s a few preachers, led by Robert H. Boll, began to promote the false doctrine of premillennialism and found a following in a handful of churches. The brotherhood rejected their message and they were gradually excluded from fellowship. A few such churches exist today. Most have faded away.

[*]In the 1950's a group arose that opposed cooperation of churches in evangelism, benevolent homes operated by the church and eating in meetinghouses. These are the only significant schism that has continued to flourish. Today there is some fellowship between members of the two groups and that will likely increase in coming years. Within this group was a schism led by Charles Holt and a more liberal minded minority.

[*]In the late 1950s and 60s, W. Carl Ketcherside and Leroy Garrett, formerly of the Sommerite camp, swung to the opposite extreme of liberalism. They called for unity in diversity and embraced the Christian Churches and other denominational bodies in their fellowship. They worked unceasingly to influence and seduce young preachers of the mainstream churches. The message of the change movement bears the stamp of these two false teachers.

[*]Differing views on divorce and remarriage have been warmly discussed by preachers and writers from 1960 to the present. While differences were pronounced and convictions were deeply held, no separate body of people emerged over this issue.

[*]Tongue-speaking and supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit were claimed by a tiny handful in the 1960s. Probably not more than a dozen preachers dabbled in this Pentecostal practice. All either left the church or ceased to be used by our churches. No schism occurred.

[*]Ira Rice's Contending for the Faith group. Bro. Rice led an on-going war against anything and anyone he perceived as liberal. His harsh and indiscriminate approach alienated him from most main-stream churches. Even many who opposed liberalism as much as he, refused to use or approve of his tactics. These brethren do not constitute a separate body of people.

[*]The International Churches of Christ. This group otherwise known as the Cross-roads or Boston Movement were a group of young zealots who embraced a cultish program of control over their members. They flourished for some 20 years but now appear to be disintegrating.

[/list]To this list I will add The Change Movement. This is the merging and flowering of several past groups under a new banner. In its ranks one finds Ketcherside's Unity in Diversity disciples; those who yearn for a Pentecostal experience; those who have lost their faith in the inspiration and authority of the Word of God, those who desire an ecumenical fellowship with denominational bodies, especially with the Disciples of Christ and Christian Churches; those who have embraced the agenda of feminism and those who have been caught up in the philosophy of Postmodernism. The issues of this movement are virtual identical to those that led to the separation of Churches of Christ and Christian Churches a century ago.

The authors of the infamous list of schisms badly want to paint the Lord's Church as a flawed and failed movement that must be changed by their more enlighten group. The exaggerations of such a list are telling. While there have been issues and trends, actual brotherhood schisms amount to some eight rather than 28. While eight is too many and those responsible will have to answer to God for their actions, it is unfair and unreasonable to blame the church for the failure of some of her disgruntled members. To do so is like blaming godly parents who have raised six faithful children, for the failure of one child who has chosen to abandon the faith.

Let us all give diligence to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace (Eph. 4:3). We must not allow the enemies of the church to discourage or dishearten us by the false charges and accusations they make. May every faithful Christian reject the proposals of the promoters of change. </font>

___________________________________

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

E-Mail: [url=mailto:johnwaddey@aol.com]johnwaddey@aol.com[/url]
<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, March 10, 2007 3:18 PM
To: fortify_your_faith@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [fortify_your_faith] A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith - 03/10/07</font>

TWO KINDS OF LIBERALS

<font face=arial> Dear Fellow Christians:

Today's lesson addresses the problem of liberalism that is the perennial enemy of the Lord's church. It focuses on the theological liberalism that sometimes infects some members of the faculties of Christian Schools. In their role as teachers of young people they are able to plants seeds of doubt that damage or destroy their faith.

Please share this lesson with others in your email address book. Feel free to make copies of it for distribution.

— John Waddey</font>

___________________________________


<font size=4>
TWO KINDS OF LIBERALS
</font>


<font size=3 face=times new roman>Early I learned there are two kinds of atheists. There are philosophical atheists who do not believe in God. They challenge those who do believe and labor to prove their point of view. Then there are practical atheists who live and conduct their business as if there is no God. Members of the latter group are often found in various kinds of churches, even churches of Christ. They might even claim to believe in God but their actions betray their lack of faith.

I have also learned there are two kinds of religious liberals. There are the theological liberals who have filled their minds with information questioning the essential foundations of Christianity. Their faith is severely damaged. Some of them question the inspiration and reliability of the Bible and others the divinity of Jesus, his miracles, his death and his resurrection. Some question all of the above. There are the practical liberals. They give lip-service to all the above but they demonstrate a lack of respect for the authority of the Bible in their teaching and work with the church. Rather than criticizing the Bible, their criticisms are directed toward the church. They blush not to change the worship, the faith and the very nature of the church. They compromise the teachings of Christ to please themselves or their constituents.

For a long time I was under the impression that our primary problem was "practical liberalism." I thought it was the desire for bigness, worldly success and to be like their denominational neighbors that motivated our liberals. I often said, "While we have our problems with a drift toward denominationalism and worldliness, we have virtually no theological liberals in our midst." I now know that my analysis was mistaken. Such theological liberals are actively working in some of our Christian universities. Mark W. Hamilton, Associate Professor of Old Testament at Abilene Christian University, has revealed this for us. In a lengthy paper published in the Stone-Campbell Journal entitled "Transition and Continuity: Biblical Scholarship in Today's Churches of Christ"(Fall 2006, pp. 187-203) he cites a number of professors at Abilene Christian University and Pepperdine University, including himself, who hold and advocate the conclusions of "higher criticism" toward the text of the Old Testament. This approach to the Bible is the accepted method of all theological liberals and repudiated by all who are truly conservative in faith. It questions the authorship, integrity and dating of the Old Testament documents. In so doing it either implicitly or explicitly denies the full inspiration of the Biblical text. It has a withering effect on the faith of those who embrace it and those denominations that have done so are all in varying states of decay.

As a general rule, theological liberals are found teaching in colleges or universities. We might aptly describe them as academic liberals. They are never content to hold their skepticism privately. They are compelled to implant it in the hearts of young Christians who come into their classrooms. Their published articles and books are used to promote their views. They want to shape the thinking of the church in their own image.

Academic liberals reflect little compassion or concern for the daily life and welfare of the church. Many of them make no claim to being preachers of the gospel. They are satisfied to spend their days in their classroom or at their desk. They tend to look at the church with the cold indifference of the coroner who does autopsies on dead bodies of homeless vagrants. They can cut, slice and dissect with no emotion. In their pursuit for recognition as scholars, it makes little difference if their work leaves the church disfigured or destroyed. If their students lose confidence in the church of Christ and depart for denominationalism, it is of no concern to them. Should students lose their faith and sink into unbelief, such is the unavoidable consequence of the liberal's pursuit. If their students go forth with damaged and distorted faith and do great harm to the church, they are unconcerned. Their desire to tinker and temper with the sacred object and their quest for recognition as bold thinkers matters more. While the academic liberal has no interest in the health and progress of the church he is quite willing to accept a salary from a school that Christians founded and whose funds continue to sustain.</FONT>

___________________________________


<font face=arial>A gift has made it possible for us to give a complimentary copy of our book, Sacred Principles On Which We Stand to any young man currently preparing to preach the gospel, or one who is within his first two years of preaching. The recipient is only asked to provide $2.50 for postage and handling. If you know such a brother, please tell him about this offer.</font>
___________________________________

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

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