From: [[url=mailto:email@example.com]firstname.lastname@example.org[/url]] On Behalf of John Waddey
Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2007 3:50 PM
Subject: [fortify_your_faith] A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith - 03/31/07</font>
EMERGENCE OF THE 'CHURCH OF CHRIST' DENOMINATION
<font face=arial>Dear Brethren:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Today's lesson is borrowed from a booklet written many years ago. The author, David E. Harrell was analyzing a different problem, but his analysis fits today's problem as if it were written yesterday. We can profit from his observations.
EMERGENCE OF THE 'CHURCH OF CHRIST' DENOMINATION</font>
<font size=3 face=times new roman>Many years ago Dr. David Edwin Harrell, Jr. published a small booklet entitled, "Emergence of the 'Church of Christ Denomination.'" Harrell is a recognized historian. His perspective is from that of the "non-cooperative" churches. His analysis of our brotherhood, although done 30 years ago, is most enlightening in our day of emerging "change churches."
- "...what is true and what is easily demonstrated by historical scholarship, is that the rich and the sophisticated tend to want a different kind of religion from the poor and humble" (p. 8). Discussing the apostasy of the Christian Churches and Disciples of Christ a century ago, Harrell writes, "The simple fact of the matter was that the people within the church no longer wanted the same kind of Christianity. This was the basic issue - what doctrinal problems arose to divide over were inconsequential" (p. 14). "Instrumental music and organized societies were in essence the accidental basis of the doctrinal division in the movement. They certainly were not the cause of the schism. The cause was that the church had grown to include incompatible kinds of people" (p. 14).
"Most of the debates centered for several decades, around the attempts of each side to scripturally document its position. Each side was also profoundly interested in rallying the testimony of the early leaders of the movement to the support of its position." "The best a liberal literalist could do was obfuscate, muddle, or evacuate" (p. 15). "The listeners generally believe what they want to believe and in the nineteenth century controversy most members of the Disciples wanted to be denominationalists" (p. 15). "It was not until the twentieth century that a sizeable number of liberal leaders recognized the fact that they had abandoned their allegiance to scriptural literalism and restoration " (p. 16).
"It was easy for a man who wanted a more progressive and denominational religion, and yet at the same time wanted to believe that he still held to his old time convictions to satisfy himself with fuzzy rationalizations" (p. 16). "A man in the midst of the change often fails to recognize it. If he is perceptive enough to recognize it, he must have the additional ingredient of courage and moral honesty to admit it" (p. 16).
"It takes at least one generation to make the change and at least one more generation to understand and admit the change" (p. 16). "A successful liberal leader must move with calculated caution" (p. 16). "Many church members in the fifty years from 1860 to 1910 traveled the slow road to denominationalism who would have been repelled by a rapid transition" (p. 16-17). "Many a liberal Disciples leader during these crucial years underplayed the magnitude of the transition in his own personal conviction for the benefit of the less perceptive general body of members" (p. 17).
"...most of the people who are deeply and intensely concerned about their religion are conservatives. On the other hand, the liberal point of view attracts the contented and the complacent. If the conservative plea attracts those whose zeal might lead them to extremes, the liberal plea finds its most devoted supporters among those who want the easiest and least bothersome religion they can find" (p. 20).
"The old values of the early leaders of the movement are no longer an acceptable expression of Christianity to this sophisticated element" (p. 20). " The cultured element in the movement has simply begun thesearch for a more sophisticated type of religion" (p. 23). "The church is dividing because there are two basic kinds of people within the movement who are demanding two very different kinds of religion" (p. 23). "Many, I suppose most, of the people involved in the present schism are unaware of this basic conflict" (p. 23). "In the first place, many of the liberal leaders of the church do not understand that they have made a basic transition. Thousands of preachers who are well on their way to the acceptance of a denominational point of view do not realize that they are no longer committed to the old conservative approach" (p.24).
"There are many preachers in the church of Christ today who are consciously liberal enough, that twenty years ago they wold have left the church. But the young liberal does not leave the church now as he used to do. He does not because he understands the fundamental tendency of the church" (p. 25). "In the battle for the local churches denominational leaders must be careful not to move so rapidly that they offend the moderate members. Many 'Church of Christ' preachers find it necessary to be as deceptive about their true convictions as does a liberal Methodist pastor in a rural church" (p. 26).
"There has been a kind of intellectual snobbery throughout the present controversy in the church. By the very nature of the sociological character of the schism, most of the 'doctors,' most of the education centers, and most of the sophisticated people have been concentrated in the liberal camp. An underlying assumption among the liberals through the whole controversy has been that these 'intellectuals' must have a better grasp of the issues than their less impressive antagonists." (p. 26).
"The truth is that these pseudo-intellectuals are virtually alone in their contention that they have made no basic shift in religious emphasis. I do not believe that there is a reputable scholar in the country who would not consider their protestations the ridiculous aberrations of blinded religionists. Everyone knows the situation in the church of Christ today except the liberal 'intellectuals.'" " The smug liberal 'Church-of-Christer' intellectual does not have the support of modern scholarship; he is exposed by it" (p. 27).
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now
<font face=arial>A free copy of our latest book, Sacred Principles on Which We Stand, will be sent to any brother now in training for gospel service. This includes preachers, missionaries and personal workers. We will also provide the book to those men still within their first two years of ministerial work. Those who request the book need only send $2.50 which will cover postage and handling. The book contains 52 chapters on the fundamentals of New Testament Christianity. It is suitable for sermon material or for use in Bible Classes. You can help by telling young men about this offer. The book normally sells for $10. If you wish to purchase 6 or more of these books to share with others we will make them available to you for $6.00 each, plus postage. Make checks to Church of Christ Foundation and send to John Waddey, 12630 W. Foxfire Dr. Sun City West, AZ 85375</font>