Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

March 11th, 2006, 10:02 pm #11

I don't think that everything posted in Mr. Waddi's essay will come to be, and saying it will is very pesimistic. I do see some of it as wrong, but not going to actually come to pass. I also don't think there can be any allegation made because someone didn't deny a prediction. You can't deny something that hasn't happened yet, you can only ignore it.
<font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>What do you mean, “I do see some of it as wrong…”? Is it that some of the predictions which have not yet happened are wrong—and which ones are they? If not, is it that [only] some of “The Acts of the Change Apostles” are wrong—and which ones are they?

Remember that the bleak situation regarding the future of the church may be reversed only when the attempts to pervert the truth—and transform the church into something it shouldn’t be—are stifled and resisted against. Note brother Waddey’s last paragraph:
  • <font color=red>“As in all futuristic projects factors may arise that will nullify the prediction. For example if our brethren should wake up and realize just how wrong and destructive the change movement is; if they should show the promoters of change the door; if they should repent and turn back to God with humble and obedient hearts; we might well see Christ's church, as we have known her, surviving and flourishing in that distant day. May God grant that this be the case.</font>
It is also essential that we identify as soon as we can the change agents operating in the brotherhood, as well as their ardent supporters. We CAN KNOW THEM by the words they utter here and elsewhere. These are the “members” of this church who continue to badmouth the church that Christ purchased with His own blood. There are the “members” or ex-members who claim that the church is dying or that the church—when attempts are made to define it as one more denomination in order that it loses its uniqueness and identity—will become extinct.

Just who are these change agents and their disciples?

Donnie</font>
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Sethy
Sethy

March 12th, 2006, 12:20 am #12

<font size=4>LOYALTY TO CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH</font>


When Jesus said to the saints in Smyrna, "Be thou faithful unto death" he was calling for their loyalty, even in the face of great hardship and suffering. For their loyalty they would receive "the crown of life" (Rev. 2:10). Loyalty: some profess it, some practice it. Only the latter can always be counted on. A. P. Gouthey wrote, "If virtues be graded, loyalty I think, would stand near the top of the list. At any rate, no leader can demonstrate his full capabilities without it." John Ruskin said, "The noblest word in the catalogue of social virtues is 'Loyalty.'"

Loyalty is expected in many areas of life: marriage, family, friends, nation, and employment. God also expects loyalty of his children, the subjects of his kingdom. We must be loyal to God, his Son, his Church and his Word. Loyalty to the church includes the universal church of Christ (I Pet. 2:17) scattered throughout the world and the congregation of which we are members.

Many of those who now lead our congregations came into the church in the days of her prosperity. They fought no battles, knew no hardship, endured no hateful scorn. They made few sacrifices for their faith. They inherited congregations long established and facilities built and paid for by others. So also is the case with the administrators and teachers in our Christian Schools. Loyalty or the lack thereof is not easily detected in times of peace when all is well. It is in times of conflict that men's loyalty or lack thereof become evident. Now a time of testing has come upon us. Living in a society that has been coopted by alien philosophies and an anti-Christian value system, many members of the church have been influenced by the wisdom of the world. They are embolden to question every aspect of the faith, worship and practice of the church of which Christ is head (Eph. 1:22). Christian leaders who have attained worldly standing cast reproach on the church. They ridicule her doctrines and ancient forms of worship. Abandoning the sacred canons of Scripture, they look to the world of commerce to find new and exciting ways to enlarge their congregations. They loudly protest that they are faithful members of the church of Christ, but their actions demonstrate their disloyalty. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of little-known preachers and elders stand like opportunistic politicians, waiting to see which way the wind is blowing before they declare themselves. They can follow the promoters of change if the tide goes their way, or they can hold to the old ways if that is to their advantage. Such wind-watchers are not loyal servants of Christ! They are serving their own interests. "Loyalty is one thing a leader cannot do without. It is as priceless as it is rare. It creates a quiet confidence in the heart of many leaders and is the assurance of success in any enterprise" (A. P. Gouthey).

Those who have already turned their backs on the church, as they seek standing among the evangelical denominations, protest that they are not disloyal to Christ; that they are only tired of the church. Although it may sound redundant, they must be reminded that you cannot be loyal to a king and disloyal to his kingdom! The church of Christ is the kingdom of Christ (Matt. 16:18). It is his body (Eph. 1:22). Acts of disloyalty toward the church of Christ manifest disloyalty to the Master himself.

"Loyalty to God is alone fundamental. Feelings, words, deeds, must be beads strung on the string of duty...say you ever and only, 'Lo I come to do Thy will, O my God.' Out of that dutiful root grows the beautiful life, the life radically and radiantly true to God, the only life that can be lived in both worlds" (Maltbie Babcock). In this mortal struggle for the heart and soul of the church we need the conviction expressed in the following worlds of Will Shakespeare, "Master go on, and I will follow thee, To the last gasp, with truth and loyalty." Only then will we prevail and the church we love be spared from desolation. May it be said of us as Alexander Pope said of a departed comrade, "friend to truth! Of soul sincere, In action faithful, and in honor clear; Who broke no promise, served no private end, Who gained no title, and who lost no friend." In a word, he was loyal!

John Waddey
I realize that what I'm about to ask is a little off topic, but I was reading through the points of Mr. Waddy listed above and I read the one that said "baptism required for salvation." I have always believed this to be true just like the rest of you and I'm not questioning it, but what about the guy next to Jesus while they were on their crosses whom Jesus told "today you will be with me in Paradise." I can only assume that means heaven, but was this man baptized? The Bible doesn't actually say, but I'm not inclined to think so. What about him? Could others ever make it to heaven in the same manner? It's just a thought.
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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

March 12th, 2006, 3:21 am #13

The subject is not only off topic, but it's also been covered elsewhere on this site. Nevertheless, here's brief recap:

Since Jesus was Christ, He could extend salvation and pardon to whomever He pleased at whatever time. The Gospels do not say whether the thief on the cross was baptized, but a good guess would be that he was not, since he was executed for theft.

It must be noted that Christ's exception applied only to the thief at that particular moment, not to us today. For those who are itching to ditch baptism on that basis, however, Christ's exception does not grant the rest of us license to forego baptism for remission of sins. Here's why: After Christ was resurrected and just before He ascended, He laid down the cardinal command about baptism and salvation once and for all in Mark 16:16: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (KJV). That command has applied to everyone from that moment on in time. Anyone wishing to be saved without baptism today would require a personal waiver from Christ, just as He did with the thief. That said, baptism is essential for salvation, because Christ has commanded it. So what happens to those who intend to be baptized but who die just before they are immersed? That's pure speculation and is best left to the wisdom of God.

Now, lest the subject go off on a further tangent, those wishing to rehash baptism should seek other appropriate threads.
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Ken Sublett
Ken Sublett

March 12th, 2006, 5:34 am #14

I realize that what I'm about to ask is a little off topic, but I was reading through the points of Mr. Waddy listed above and I read the one that said "baptism required for salvation." I have always believed this to be true just like the rest of you and I'm not questioning it, but what about the guy next to Jesus while they were on their crosses whom Jesus told "today you will be with me in Paradise." I can only assume that means heaven, but was this man baptized? The Bible doesn't actually say, but I'm not inclined to think so. What about him? Could others ever make it to heaven in the same manner? It's just a thought.
Two things, Sethy, Paradise is NOT heaven. It literally means a garden or a place for resting souls. Remember that Jesus went there to "preach to the souls in prison" which I think means not only the pre-flood people but all who lived in RIGHTEOUSNESS and practiced JUSTICE before the cross.

It might mean that the thief heard the gospel there? However, like the "sons of thunder" he didn't ask to be saved but wanted to be noticed in the NEW EARTHLY kingdom which not even the apostles had yet grasped.

However, you will notice that, as often with Jesus, the ANSWER did not match the question. ALL of the dead were in Paradise which was thought to consists of two groups with a FIXED GULF between. The wicked were reserved for judgment.

Next, Jesus had not shed His blood and taken it into the heavenly tabernacle so there was no SAVING in the true sense until later. Too late for the thief.

Then, Jesus didn't preach baptism as a PUNCHED TICKED TO HEAVEN but the well-known method of MAKING DISCIPLES: you do that when people believe by BAPTIZING THEM and giving them A holy spirit so the WORD will stick in their purified minds or spirits. Then, they engage in Life learning which WORSHIP CENTERS intend, with a high hand, to quench absolutely.

Finally, you will notice that the Thief DIED ON THE CROSS FOR HIS OWN SINS. Now, you don't want to rest your hope on that do you? Baptism as a fulfilled type is an INSTEAD OF which means Grace. INSTEAD of dying on the cross you can DIE to yourself. Instead of being dressed out in a literal tomb you can INSTEAD OF be burried alongside Jesus and be RESURRECTED in Spirit.

INSTEAD OF does not mean DO NOTHING. Bill Gates sends you a check for a billion dollars. INSTEAD OF earning the money you ENDORSE the check and enjoy the FREE GIFT. It is INgratitude to repudiate the METHOD commanded by Jesus Christ.
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PPB
PPB

March 12th, 2006, 6:17 pm #15

Sethy,

Dr. Crump's gave you great info.

I've listd several points to think about and search for more info. The Christian Courier has some good info and so do some other c of C sites.

1. Jesus had yet to die at that point. He had not fulfilled God's promise. This is a transitional time between the Jewish Law and the Church which would be established several days later.

2. Remember, Jesus had the power to PERSONALLY forgive sins without baptism. As such, Jesus had power to bless the thief who could not be baptized at the moment of belief and repentence. This does not pertain to us today.

3. How do we know the thief was never baptized prior and fell away? Thousands were baptized across the country, many fell back to their prior lifestyles. We'll never know if he was one or not.


Just some points to research and think about. I don't want to get into a teaching mode here as I'm not sure of your beliefs. But I don't think God will mind that I give you a few hints or ideas to look up and study on your own AND with an elder/deacon at your church.
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Sethy
Sethy

March 13th, 2006, 7:48 pm #16

Two things, Sethy, Paradise is NOT heaven. It literally means a garden or a place for resting souls. Remember that Jesus went there to "preach to the souls in prison" which I think means not only the pre-flood people but all who lived in RIGHTEOUSNESS and practiced JUSTICE before the cross.

It might mean that the thief heard the gospel there? However, like the "sons of thunder" he didn't ask to be saved but wanted to be noticed in the NEW EARTHLY kingdom which not even the apostles had yet grasped.

However, you will notice that, as often with Jesus, the ANSWER did not match the question. ALL of the dead were in Paradise which was thought to consists of two groups with a FIXED GULF between. The wicked were reserved for judgment.

Next, Jesus had not shed His blood and taken it into the heavenly tabernacle so there was no SAVING in the true sense until later. Too late for the thief.

Then, Jesus didn't preach baptism as a PUNCHED TICKED TO HEAVEN but the well-known method of MAKING DISCIPLES: you do that when people believe by BAPTIZING THEM and giving them A holy spirit so the WORD will stick in their purified minds or spirits. Then, they engage in Life learning which WORSHIP CENTERS intend, with a high hand, to quench absolutely.

Finally, you will notice that the Thief DIED ON THE CROSS FOR HIS OWN SINS. Now, you don't want to rest your hope on that do you? Baptism as a fulfilled type is an INSTEAD OF which means Grace. INSTEAD of dying on the cross you can DIE to yourself. Instead of being dressed out in a literal tomb you can INSTEAD OF be burried alongside Jesus and be RESURRECTED in Spirit.

INSTEAD OF does not mean DO NOTHING. Bill Gates sends you a check for a billion dollars. INSTEAD OF earning the money you ENDORSE the check and enjoy the FREE GIFT. It is INgratitude to repudiate the METHOD commanded by Jesus Christ.
Kenny, I'm not sure about the comment about preaching to the souls in prison. Could you elaborate on that one?
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Ken Sublett
Ken Sublett

March 14th, 2006, 12:53 am #17

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

1 Peter 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

1 Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

March 18th, 2006, 10:27 pm #18

This thread presents essays by John Waddey about the Change Movement. They are taken from his on-going series A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith.

<font size=4>LOOKING AHEAD TO THE YEAR 2050</font>

Futurists study the past and present and tell us what the future might possibly be. They analyze trends and predict future changes, for good or bad. Wise businessmen consider such projections when investing for the future of their companies. I am no prophet, but I invite you to take an imaginary trip to a large American city in the year 2050. Our purpose will be to visit a Church of Christ and worship with them. Given current trends and projections at work among our brethren here are some things you might possibly find.

You may find a woman teaching the adult Bible class, preaching or even serving as an elder. Already professors are telling us that we have misunderstood the verses that seem to forbid such. They tell us we have too long denied our Christian ladies the privilege to use their talents to the glory of God. A few trend-setter congregations already have their women teachers and preachers.

The minister or ministeress may well be adorned in a lovely clerical robe. Our objections to such practices will likely have been determined by change agents to be based only on our rural, frontier heritage and our narrow, unscholarly approach to interpreting the Bible. The preacher may well be identified as pastor of the church and have "Rev." affixed to his or her name. They would argue that such matters are too trivial to dispute over and our refusal to use them was just our tradition.

There might even be a guest speaker from the Catholic, Baptist or Pentecostal church. They will no longer think of the church as an exclusive body. To them all denominations are equally pleasing to God.

You may well find the service to be unfamiliar in tone and content. There could be a dramatic presentation, and possibly even an "interpretive spiritual dance." The service would likely be demonstrative with bodily gyrations, shouting and applause. The music likely will be contemporary and may well include instrumental accompaniment from a piano or organ and possibly a rock band. Rather than join in congregational singing, you will be expected to sit quietly and listen as the soloist or praise group present their performance. The choir will then sing their selection and finally the congregation will be invited to join in a hymn or two. Such features are already being discussed and rationalized and some are already implementing some or all of them.

The lesson of the hour may well consist of a brief story or parable related by a clergyman or woman. Little emphasis will be placed on the Bible, as "proof-texting" will have long ago been rejected. Nothing will be presented as absolutely right or wrong. Postmodern thinking will not allow such utterances. Doctrine will have no place in the lesson. Promoters of change concluded that doctrine doesn't matter and that it is doctrine that makes people disagree and divide. The story will come to a close with a call for those who want a relationship with Jesus to come and be saved by grace through faith. They will be led to pray the sinner's prayer and receive the blessing. Baptism will no longer be considered as essential to salvation since they have concluded that obedience plays no part in salvation. It may however possibly be retained for church membership.

Communion might be observed following dismissal. It will be offered in the fellowship hall, during the pot luck meal. It will be a joyful and festive celebration of the good life they have in Christ. This is already being advocated by some. There may also be a Saturday evening service with Communion for those who do not wish to assemble on the Lord's Day. The leading lights of our change movement have rejected the idea of a Biblical pattern that must be followed. They have concluded that Communion can be observed on other occasions than the first day of the week. The prevailing thinking in that element of the church is that we must give the people what they want if we expect to get them into our churches. Since other religious bodies are doing this with success, we would be foolish not to follow their suit.

Bible classes will offer alternatives for every taste. There well may be a class devoted to reviewing contemporary books, or perhaps classic literature with relevant themes. Others may offer health tips for Christians, or the challenges of aging. There could be an armchair travelers class which views travel logs. A class could study classic movies and television shows. There could be arts and crafts. A course in social activism might cover such topics as ecology, AIDS ministry, the challenges of leisure time, money management and other timely subjects. It will truly be a "felt needs" program. For those who are elderly and traditional in their thinking they will still have a few classes that study the Bible.

If you are currently 50 or older, and a faithful Christian, very likely you would be totally revulsed at such an incredible situation. Your blood pressure would rise and your stomach would churn. You probably would get up and walk out. I would! Such a group would be a church of Christ in name only, even if they were directly descended from a faithful church of today. If you searched hard enough you likely could find a congregation that would still worship and serve in the way you are familiar with. It probably would be small in size and likely on the outskirts of town or in a rural setting.

You may be wagging your head and saying "You are crazy! Such is so farfetched as to be insane." But my dear friend, the things I am seeing as future possibilities are already being done here and there by those who are clamoring for change. The section on the Bible classes is straight from the bulletins of local denominational churches. Our change agents are following these churches in all other areas and it is only reasonable to think they will embrace such programs as well. Remember, "Some shall fall away from the faith" (I Tim. 4:1).

As in all futuristic projects factors may arise that will nullify the prediction. For example if our brethren should wake up and realize just how wrong and destructive the change movement is; if they should show the promoters of change the door; if they should repent and turn back to God with humble and obedient hearts; we might well see Christ's church, as we have known her, surviving and flourishing in that distant day. May God grant that this be the case.

John Waddey
<font size=4>COMMUNITY CHURCHES AND CHURCHES OF CHRIST</font>
We all understand that God did not assign a specific name to his church. Rather, several different names are used to designate his people: church of God, church of the Lord, churches of Christ and the church. When there was but one body of people in the world that honored Christ as their founder, head and Lord there was no need for any further identification. We, however, live in a society were there are upwards of 1,500 different kinds of churches. This situation creates a state of confusion as to which body of people one is referring to when he speaks of or asks about "the church." This situation necessitates that we have some way of identifying ourselves so we can communicate, find each other and point others to a body of brethren in a given place.

In the early days of the Restoration Movement three different streams of people came together to unite on the Bible and restore the faith and practice of the original church. Those led by Alexander Campbell most often referred to themselves as Disciples of Christ. Those led by Barton Stone most often used the name Church of Christ. Those coming from the James O'Kelly, Elias Smith and Abner Jones movement preferred the name Christian Church. There was not a strict adherence to any particular one of these names and all the brethren recognized each other as fellow-Christians serving God in one body. When schism occurred at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, those preferring to have instrumental music, missionary societies, women in positions of church leadership, etc., generally identified themselves as Christian Churches/Disciples of Christ. Our brethren distinguished themselves by the biblical name Churches of Christ, found in Rom. 16:16. Over a period of 25 years this distinction of names became virtually complete. Our brethren continued to hold and use the name Church of Christ, not because it was the exclusive Bible cognomen for the church but because it was biblical and was helpful in identifying our people, wherever they might be.

Over the last 40 years, as liberalism slowly eroded the Biblical foundations of many of our younger preachers and they in turn failed to properly instruct and indoctrinate our people, a new generation of leaders arose who seemed to be ashamed of their association with the brotherhood of people known as Churches of Christ. They craved acceptance with their neighbors of the Evangelical churches. They did not want to bear the stigma of being exclusive and different from the worldly churches around them. Since they no longer believed the exclusive message of salvation and the one church of Scripture, they did not want to be publicly identified with those who still held to such exclusive beliefs. Hence they began to cast around for a name that would do two things:
  • It would mask from the people of their community that they were affiliated with other Churches of Christ.
  • It would make them appear like other "Community Churches" that were experiencing phenomenal growth. We know that many of those who have taken this route have chosen as their models "Non-denominational Community Churches" such as the Saddleback Community Church of Orange County California and Willow Creek Church in Barrington, Illinois, and Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral. Of course those churches are thoroughly denominational in their faith and practice since they prefer the doctrines and commandments of men rather than the authority of the New Testament of Christ as their standard. Numerous Baptist, Methodist, Reformed and other denominational congregations have also taken this same moniker of "Community Church." It seems that some of our brethren prefer to be identified with such groups rather than with their brethren of the Churches of Christ.
  • Another probable motive is that under the name of Community Church, the typical congregation places little or no emphasis on doctrinal loyalty. Thus a typical Community Church might employ a Methodist minister this year and a Disciples of Christ man the next, and a female Presbyterian the following. Indicators are that some of our brethren who have chosen this route have a similar laxness about doctrinal standards. Church for them is all about fellowship, fun, doing good and feeling good. Such things as abiding in the doctrine of Christ (II John 9-11) are given little emphasis.
Those of our people who have chosen to identify themselves as Community churches seem to have a commonality about them. They all have embraced the agenda of the change movement which seeks to transform our people into the likeness of our denominational neighbors. Such things as salvation by grace through faith before immersion, a de-emphasis on the importance of baptism, a willingness to tolerate the use of instrumental music in worship, a willingness to allow women to assume leadership roles in the life of the church, acceptance of denominational churches as in good standing with God and other related issues seem to be part and parcel of those wishing to be known as "Community Churches." Several of our Universities and Colleges have given encouragement to the Community Church movement: among them Abilene Christian University, Pepperdine University and Harding Graduate School of Religion.

It would be as scriptural to identify one’s congregation as the Community Church of Christ as the State Street Church of Christ. But for most of these folks, they want the "Community Church" without the "of Christ" designation. As Jesus said we can only judge them by their fruits (Matt. 7:16-21). The direction of this movement is away from New Testament Christianity and from obedience to the message of Christ. It is away from the brotherhood of Churches of Christ of which they once were a part. In my judgment it would be a mistake for a congregation to take such a name as it creates confusion as to who they are. It also identifies them with those who are abandoning the Bible as their standard of faith and practice. It reflects on their part a sense of shame to be identified with the gospel and the body of Christ. Paul was not ashamed of the message he preached (Rom. 1:16). With Jesus, he gladly endured the shame of the cross (Heb. 12:2; Gal. 5:11) and so should we. If the world despises us for what we believe and stand for, so be it. They hated Jesus for his faith and convictions (John 15:17-20).

John Waddey

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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

March 25th, 2006, 9:56 pm #19

This thread presents essays by John Waddey about the Change Movement. They are taken from his on-going series A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith.

<font size=4>LOOKING AHEAD TO THE YEAR 2050</font>

Futurists study the past and present and tell us what the future might possibly be. They analyze trends and predict future changes, for good or bad. Wise businessmen consider such projections when investing for the future of their companies. I am no prophet, but I invite you to take an imaginary trip to a large American city in the year 2050. Our purpose will be to visit a Church of Christ and worship with them. Given current trends and projections at work among our brethren here are some things you might possibly find.

You may find a woman teaching the adult Bible class, preaching or even serving as an elder. Already professors are telling us that we have misunderstood the verses that seem to forbid such. They tell us we have too long denied our Christian ladies the privilege to use their talents to the glory of God. A few trend-setter congregations already have their women teachers and preachers.

The minister or ministeress may well be adorned in a lovely clerical robe. Our objections to such practices will likely have been determined by change agents to be based only on our rural, frontier heritage and our narrow, unscholarly approach to interpreting the Bible. The preacher may well be identified as pastor of the church and have "Rev." affixed to his or her name. They would argue that such matters are too trivial to dispute over and our refusal to use them was just our tradition.

There might even be a guest speaker from the Catholic, Baptist or Pentecostal church. They will no longer think of the church as an exclusive body. To them all denominations are equally pleasing to God.

You may well find the service to be unfamiliar in tone and content. There could be a dramatic presentation, and possibly even an "interpretive spiritual dance." The service would likely be demonstrative with bodily gyrations, shouting and applause. The music likely will be contemporary and may well include instrumental accompaniment from a piano or organ and possibly a rock band. Rather than join in congregational singing, you will be expected to sit quietly and listen as the soloist or praise group present their performance. The choir will then sing their selection and finally the congregation will be invited to join in a hymn or two. Such features are already being discussed and rationalized and some are already implementing some or all of them.

The lesson of the hour may well consist of a brief story or parable related by a clergyman or woman. Little emphasis will be placed on the Bible, as "proof-texting" will have long ago been rejected. Nothing will be presented as absolutely right or wrong. Postmodern thinking will not allow such utterances. Doctrine will have no place in the lesson. Promoters of change concluded that doctrine doesn't matter and that it is doctrine that makes people disagree and divide. The story will come to a close with a call for those who want a relationship with Jesus to come and be saved by grace through faith. They will be led to pray the sinner's prayer and receive the blessing. Baptism will no longer be considered as essential to salvation since they have concluded that obedience plays no part in salvation. It may however possibly be retained for church membership.

Communion might be observed following dismissal. It will be offered in the fellowship hall, during the pot luck meal. It will be a joyful and festive celebration of the good life they have in Christ. This is already being advocated by some. There may also be a Saturday evening service with Communion for those who do not wish to assemble on the Lord's Day. The leading lights of our change movement have rejected the idea of a Biblical pattern that must be followed. They have concluded that Communion can be observed on other occasions than the first day of the week. The prevailing thinking in that element of the church is that we must give the people what they want if we expect to get them into our churches. Since other religious bodies are doing this with success, we would be foolish not to follow their suit.

Bible classes will offer alternatives for every taste. There well may be a class devoted to reviewing contemporary books, or perhaps classic literature with relevant themes. Others may offer health tips for Christians, or the challenges of aging. There could be an armchair travelers class which views travel logs. A class could study classic movies and television shows. There could be arts and crafts. A course in social activism might cover such topics as ecology, AIDS ministry, the challenges of leisure time, money management and other timely subjects. It will truly be a "felt needs" program. For those who are elderly and traditional in their thinking they will still have a few classes that study the Bible.

If you are currently 50 or older, and a faithful Christian, very likely you would be totally revulsed at such an incredible situation. Your blood pressure would rise and your stomach would churn. You probably would get up and walk out. I would! Such a group would be a church of Christ in name only, even if they were directly descended from a faithful church of today. If you searched hard enough you likely could find a congregation that would still worship and serve in the way you are familiar with. It probably would be small in size and likely on the outskirts of town or in a rural setting.

You may be wagging your head and saying "You are crazy! Such is so farfetched as to be insane." But my dear friend, the things I am seeing as future possibilities are already being done here and there by those who are clamoring for change. The section on the Bible classes is straight from the bulletins of local denominational churches. Our change agents are following these churches in all other areas and it is only reasonable to think they will embrace such programs as well. Remember, "Some shall fall away from the faith" (I Tim. 4:1).

As in all futuristic projects factors may arise that will nullify the prediction. For example if our brethren should wake up and realize just how wrong and destructive the change movement is; if they should show the promoters of change the door; if they should repent and turn back to God with humble and obedient hearts; we might well see Christ's church, as we have known her, surviving and flourishing in that distant day. May God grant that this be the case.

John Waddey
<font size=4>UNITY IN CHRIST</font>
All about us we see chaos, confusion and division, the result of sin. In response to this evil, God planned to unite all men in his church, abolishing all division and separation. Only in Christ will true unity be realized. In Ephesians 4:1-6 Paul gives us the necessary ingredients for unity.

To have unity you need a certain kind of people. They must "walk worthily of the calling wherewith (they) were called" (Eph. 4:1). They strive to live up to the standard set by Jesus, walking in the light as he is in the light (I John 1:7). When we enter an organization we accept the obligation to live by the required standards of that group. To do otherwise is to embarrass or hinder the body.

Paul says we must walk with lowliness or humility if we would promote unity (Eph. 4:2). Lowliness is the opposite of pride and ambition. The ancient Greeks viewed humility as a servile, cowardly thing, but Christ made it a virtue. Humility is the result of three ingredients. We are made humble when we realize our own unworthiness. We need to daily examine and prove ourselves (II Cor. 13:5). When we compare our lives with that of Christ and the law of God we are forced to see how we sin and fall short of God's glory (Rom. 3:23). When we contemplate our total dependence upon God, we see his great power and our "creatureliness" (Acts 17:25, 28). Without lowliness there will be no unity.

Meekness or gentleness is a prerequisite of unity. Aristotle described meekness as "the mean between being too angry and not angry enough." A meek soul is angry at the right time but never at the wrong time. He, like Jesus, will be angry at the wrongs others suffer, but not at those imposed upon him. He will have every instinct, passion and word under control. He will not allow anger to cause him to sin (Eph. 4:26). Meekness is strength under control. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

Longsuffering or patience is necessary for unity. Longsuffering is the spirit which does not give in. The Romans of Paul's day knew this concept. Their persistence would never accept peace under defeat. They might loose a battle but not a war. We must have that same determination to maintain unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Patience will bear with insult and injury without bitterness or complaint. It will tolerate foolish and unpleasant folks without frustration. Without patience a group will never have unity. Satan will see to that.

Love is an essential ingredient of unity. Roman society knew of erotic love and family love but a new level of love was needed. Christ taught men to love their neighbor as themselves (Matt. 22:39); to treat them as they wished to be treated (Matt. 7:12); to do good to all men (Gal. 6:10); to feed a hungry enemy (Rom. 12:20). With this attitude of goodwill flowing from each heart, unity will be ours. When we speak the truth in love the church will be built up in love (Eph. 4:15-16).

We are admonished to maintain unity (Eph. 4:3). We must do so with "diligence." Diligence is effort, so concentrated, as to bring forth perspiration such as is seen on the brow of a surgeon in the midst of a long and tedious operation. Maintaining unity is never easy. It requires the hard work of every member of the body. Maintaining unity suggests that we do not create or originate it. The church as founded by Christ was "essentially, intentionally and constitutionally one" (Thomas Campbell). He has but one church (Eph.1:22; 4:4). When one disciple wins another they are united in their faith and loyalty. Our task is to maintain and conserve that sacred oneness.

It will help us to do our job if we are often reminded of God's will in this matter. Paul wrote, "Now I beseech you brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you..."(I Cor. 1:10). God hates and counts as abominable him that soweth discord among brethren (Prov. 6:17-19). Jesus prayed that we all be one as are he and the Father are one (John 17:20-21). To successfully maintain peace, selfishness must be obliterated. Selfishness and peace are mortal enemies. Observation and experience suggest that ninety per cent of our conflicts, whether congregational or brotherhood wide, are personality centered. When the proud, dominant personality is removed, the conflict vanishes.

The nature of the unity God expects of us is "unity of the Spirit" (Eph. 4:3). It originates with the Holy Spirit. It results from the fact that by one Spirit we all are baptized into one body and all drink of one Spirit (I Cor. 12:12-13). Such being the case, we should remain in fellowship with one another. This unity is bound together in peace. Thus Jesus blesses the peace-makers as the true children of God (Matt. 5:9). This implies that the agitator and church splitter has a different father from hellish realms. This unity flows from the heart of the individual Christian and modifies every attitude, action and relationship in a way that makes for peace.

The basis for unity is presented in Eph. 4:4-5: "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father..." It is interesting to note that this unity is based on the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus and the Holy Father. Since each believer was baptized into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19), we should all strive to stay on cordial terms with each other.

There being only one body, which is the church (Eph. 1:22; 4:4), it is only reasonable that we all be on brotherly terms. One hope of heaven awaits all. Since we all serve the Lord Jesus, believe the one faith or doctrine of Christ (Jude 3) and have received the one baptism, it is to be expected that we serve the Lord in harmony. That one God and Father rules over, in and through all of us, demands that all his children live together in loving peace. Since God has but one family, there cannot be a half dozen different kinds of churches of Christ, each alienated against the other and all still properly related to the other! [emphasis Dr. BC]

Christian leaders must guide the Church toward this unity. "He gave...
apostles...prophets...evangelists...and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints...till we call attain unto the unity of the faith..." (Eph. 4:11-13). Nothing is more important than the quest for unity. Sadly such ranks low in priority with too many preachers and elders in our day. A wounded, divided church is the unfortunate result.

Unity is not uniformity. While we must be united in the fundamentals of the faith, there are hundreds of lesser matters where great diversity is allowed. For example, when we commune, God has designated that we use bread and fruit of the vine to commemorate his death (I Cor. 11:23-27), but how we will dispense the emblems and their place in the worship hour is ours to decide. So with Thomas Campbell we practice unity in matters of faith, liberty in matters of opinions and in all things charity. True unity grows from a Christ-like attitude, while uniformity is imposed from without.

William Barclay wisely notes, "the church will only realize her unity, when she realizes that she does not exist to propagate the point of view of any one [man, JHW] or body of men, but to give a home and a dwelling-place where the Spirit of Christ can dwell and where all men who love Christ can meet in the Spirit." Such also is the thought of Paul in Ephesians 2:19-22. When each living stone is fitly framed together, we grow into a holy temple, a habitation of God in the Spirit. Let us all give diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace.

John Waddey

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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

April 1st, 2006, 7:39 pm #20

This thread presents essays by John Waddey about the Change Movement. They are taken from his on-going series A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith.

<font size=4>LOOKING AHEAD TO THE YEAR 2050</font>

Futurists study the past and present and tell us what the future might possibly be. They analyze trends and predict future changes, for good or bad. Wise businessmen consider such projections when investing for the future of their companies. I am no prophet, but I invite you to take an imaginary trip to a large American city in the year 2050. Our purpose will be to visit a Church of Christ and worship with them. Given current trends and projections at work among our brethren here are some things you might possibly find.

You may find a woman teaching the adult Bible class, preaching or even serving as an elder. Already professors are telling us that we have misunderstood the verses that seem to forbid such. They tell us we have too long denied our Christian ladies the privilege to use their talents to the glory of God. A few trend-setter congregations already have their women teachers and preachers.

The minister or ministeress may well be adorned in a lovely clerical robe. Our objections to such practices will likely have been determined by change agents to be based only on our rural, frontier heritage and our narrow, unscholarly approach to interpreting the Bible. The preacher may well be identified as pastor of the church and have "Rev." affixed to his or her name. They would argue that such matters are too trivial to dispute over and our refusal to use them was just our tradition.

There might even be a guest speaker from the Catholic, Baptist or Pentecostal church. They will no longer think of the church as an exclusive body. To them all denominations are equally pleasing to God.

You may well find the service to be unfamiliar in tone and content. There could be a dramatic presentation, and possibly even an "interpretive spiritual dance." The service would likely be demonstrative with bodily gyrations, shouting and applause. The music likely will be contemporary and may well include instrumental accompaniment from a piano or organ and possibly a rock band. Rather than join in congregational singing, you will be expected to sit quietly and listen as the soloist or praise group present their performance. The choir will then sing their selection and finally the congregation will be invited to join in a hymn or two. Such features are already being discussed and rationalized and some are already implementing some or all of them.

The lesson of the hour may well consist of a brief story or parable related by a clergyman or woman. Little emphasis will be placed on the Bible, as "proof-texting" will have long ago been rejected. Nothing will be presented as absolutely right or wrong. Postmodern thinking will not allow such utterances. Doctrine will have no place in the lesson. Promoters of change concluded that doctrine doesn't matter and that it is doctrine that makes people disagree and divide. The story will come to a close with a call for those who want a relationship with Jesus to come and be saved by grace through faith. They will be led to pray the sinner's prayer and receive the blessing. Baptism will no longer be considered as essential to salvation since they have concluded that obedience plays no part in salvation. It may however possibly be retained for church membership.

Communion might be observed following dismissal. It will be offered in the fellowship hall, during the pot luck meal. It will be a joyful and festive celebration of the good life they have in Christ. This is already being advocated by some. There may also be a Saturday evening service with Communion for those who do not wish to assemble on the Lord's Day. The leading lights of our change movement have rejected the idea of a Biblical pattern that must be followed. They have concluded that Communion can be observed on other occasions than the first day of the week. The prevailing thinking in that element of the church is that we must give the people what they want if we expect to get them into our churches. Since other religious bodies are doing this with success, we would be foolish not to follow their suit.

Bible classes will offer alternatives for every taste. There well may be a class devoted to reviewing contemporary books, or perhaps classic literature with relevant themes. Others may offer health tips for Christians, or the challenges of aging. There could be an armchair travelers class which views travel logs. A class could study classic movies and television shows. There could be arts and crafts. A course in social activism might cover such topics as ecology, AIDS ministry, the challenges of leisure time, money management and other timely subjects. It will truly be a "felt needs" program. For those who are elderly and traditional in their thinking they will still have a few classes that study the Bible.

If you are currently 50 or older, and a faithful Christian, very likely you would be totally revulsed at such an incredible situation. Your blood pressure would rise and your stomach would churn. You probably would get up and walk out. I would! Such a group would be a church of Christ in name only, even if they were directly descended from a faithful church of today. If you searched hard enough you likely could find a congregation that would still worship and serve in the way you are familiar with. It probably would be small in size and likely on the outskirts of town or in a rural setting.

You may be wagging your head and saying "You are crazy! Such is so farfetched as to be insane." But my dear friend, the things I am seeing as future possibilities are already being done here and there by those who are clamoring for change. The section on the Bible classes is straight from the bulletins of local denominational churches. Our change agents are following these churches in all other areas and it is only reasonable to think they will embrace such programs as well. Remember, "Some shall fall away from the faith" (I Tim. 4:1).

As in all futuristic projects factors may arise that will nullify the prediction. For example if our brethren should wake up and realize just how wrong and destructive the change movement is; if they should show the promoters of change the door; if they should repent and turn back to God with humble and obedient hearts; we might well see Christ's church, as we have known her, surviving and flourishing in that distant day. May God grant that this be the case.

John Waddey
<font size=4>WORDS OF A WISE MAN WELL WORTH HEEDING</font>
For those unfamiliar with our history, for the first 50 years of our back-to-the-Bible movement, none of our congregations used musical instruments in their worship. The practice of using instrumental music in worship first arose among our brethren in 1859 when L. L. Pinkerton and the church in Midway, Kentucky, brought in a melodeon to assist with their singing. This issue troubled our brotherhood for the next 50 years. The greater number of our churches chose to embrace the instrument even if it meant disrupting the fellowship of the body of Christ. One of the men who manfully resisted the innovation a century ago was Bro. Joe S. Warlick. Brethren would do well to consider the words he spoke on the issue:

"The day on which a church sets up an organ in its house is the day on which it reaches the first station on the road to apostasy. From this it will soon proceed to other innovations; and the work of innovation once fairly commenced, no stop can be put to it till ruin ensues. Then the spirit which precedes and fosters these innovations is a most dangerous spirit; dangerous because [it is] cruel, intractable, and unreasonable. It is cruel, because it is ready to immolate everything that in the least stands in the way of its wicked work; intractable, because it will not yield even one tittle of its innovations; and unreasonable, because it will heed neither the voice of God nor that of man. Indeed, when a church has once introduced an organ we believe it to be true, as a general rule, (of those members who take the lead in the work) that they will suffer its Bible to be torn into shreds before they will part with their pet." (From "The Stark-Warlick Debate," The Gospel Advocate, p. 17).

Now events have gone full circle. We have worldly men in worldly congregations trying to make the use of instrumental music in worship simply a matter of opinion, our a cappella singing just a matter of our tradition. They excuse those who bring it into their worship and devotionals. They label as misguided those past and present who steadfastly refused to go with the multitude who demanded pianos and organs. They are ready to embrace the children of those who tore the cause of Christ asunder over this innovation and apologize for our fathers' strong and biblical stand. Such apologists shame the cause of Christ and show themselves to be unworthy of the positions they fill as preachers for churches of Christ. If they prevail the church loses. If their carnal minds must have an instrument or perish, they need to go on to the Disciples of Christ and join those who share that same kind of faith.

John Waddey
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