From: firstname.lastname@example.org [[url=mailto:email@example.com]firstname.lastname@example.org[/url]] On Behalf Of john.waddey
Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2006 12:34 AM
Subject: [fortify_your_faith] A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith - 08/26/06</font>
JUST WHAT ARE THE CHANGE AGENTS DOING THAT IS SO WRONG?
Dear Christian Reader:
Christ and the apostles taught that false teachers would arise, troubling the church and drawing away disciples after them. The change movement, now troubling churches of Christ around the world, is of this very nature. These weekly lessons are sent forth to help inoculate our brethren against the smooth and fair speech of the change agents. You can help by sharing these lessons with fellow-Christians in your email address book. Together we can accomplish much good.
- <font size=4>JUST WHAT ARE THE CHANGE AGENTS DOING THAT IS SO WRONG?</font>
<font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>Dear Bro. Waddey: I love God and want to be like Jesus. I love Jesus' church and want to do the will of God in all things. I believe in the inerrancy of the holy Scripture and think that spiritual and moral truth is knowable and is intended for my life. What I don't understand is why there is so much turmoil. Is it mostly about ways to worship? I cannot find a biblical reason for arguing over which songs to sing or for specific teaching methods. I cannot ague over the number of cups to use in communion or whether the cups are passed to me or if I walk to the cup. I have searched and read and prayed about this. I have been talking to friends who feel the same way. Can you tell me exactly what the problems are? Does everyone else know what problems you are talking about but me? Katie
Dear Katie: God bless you for your love for his Son, his Church and his Word. We are in agreement on the things you mentioned. Yes, there are some who are protesting over the trivial, insignificant things you mentioned, but I do not.
It matters not which songs we sing so long as they are psalms, hymns and spiritual songs offered to God through Christ....sung in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). It does matter however if instead of singing praise to God, we listen to a musical presentation, whether vocal or instrumental when we assemble for worship. When we are to sing we are to speak one to another with the words we sing (Eph. 5:19). It does matter, if in addition to our singing, we add instrumental music, which is something other than singing. Singing in worship Christ has clearly authorized. The use of instruments he has not. We are to do that which he has commanded us to do (Matt. 28:20).
It matters not the method chosen to distribute the communion to the worshipers. It does matter however if we should change the day He authorized for the communion to be observed. His New Testament clearly shows that it was on the first day of the week that disciples assembled to break the holy bread (Acts 20:7). It does matter if we should try to mix the communion service with a common meal (I Cor. 11:20-22).
The thing that is troubling our churches is the spirit or attitude that says we can do anything we want to do in our worship. They hold this mistaken view because they do not respect the New Testament as the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2) or accept that it is a pattern for us to follow (II Tim. 1:13).
We are troubled by men who no longer believe the teaching of Scripture that makes baptism an essential element of the sinner's salvation. They correctly emphasize salvation by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9) but then they place baptism in the area of something one does as a demonstration of his salvation. They hint that a man can be saved even if he never gets around to baptism, because of God's grace and the man's faith. Such teaching is diametrically contrary to the plain teaching of God's Word. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mk. 16:16); "Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins" (Acts 22:16).
We are troubled by men who no longer believe the truth of God's Word about the nature of the Lord's church. They often speak of the church of Christ in a derogatory manner; they shame her before the world. They seek acceptance among folks who are members of churches founded by men. They seek to reduce the church of Christ to the status of a denominational church of human origin. Christ built but one church (Matt.16:18; Eph. 4:4-5). The idea of dividing into groups that call themselves after men is clearly condemned (I Cor. 1:10-13; 3:1-6).
While building large congregations for themselves they are undermining and harming the body of Christ. For that we fault them.
I regret very much we have to deal with such unpleasant matters as we serve Christ as make our way to eternity. If however you read your New Testament carefully you will see that such problems existed even in the days of the apostles of Christ. We must be faithful to Christ, even if others turn away. We must not allow the confusion Satan caused to discourage us.</font>
* You may wish to subscribed to Christianity: Then & Now, a monthly journal edited by John Waddey. To subscribe send $6 to the Church of Christ c/o John Waddey12630 W. Foxfire Dr. Sun City West, AZ 85375
* For a bound volume containing 104 of these Lessons to Fortify Your Faith, send $7.50 to the address above.
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now