People Change, Times Change, But The Lord's Church Will Never Change! Part 2

People Change, Times Change, But The Lord's Church Will Never Change! Part 2

Jerry Pence
Jerry Pence

February 25th, 2004, 7:42 pm #1

<font face=Courier size=4>
=====================================================================
People Change, Times Change, But The Lord's Church Will Never Change!
---------------------------------------------------------------------
<font size=2>
• THE SEQUENCE OF CHANGE
• <font color=blue>THE EFFECTS OF CHANGE</font>
• <font color=blue>CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS IN WORSHIP SERVICES</font>
• <font color=blue>CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS OUTSIDE OF WORSHIP SERVICES </font>
• CHANGES IN TEACHING BLESSED BY THE ELDERS
• ELDERS DENIAL OF KNOWING ANYTHING ABOUT THE "UNITY IN DIVERSITY" PHILOSOPHY
</font>
=====================================================================
</font>


<font size=5>People Change, Times Change, But The Lord's Church Will Never Change! </font>
<font size=4>Jerry Pence</font>


<font size=3>This article is written for members of the Lord's church so they may see how the "Unity In Diversity" philosophy moved into one congregation in North Carolina and how the "Change Agents" behaved during the process. </font>


<font color=blue size=3> THE EFFECTS OF CHANGE </font>
These and other changes are introduced subtlety by the "change agents" and many times in the beginning, you will only feel a small uncomfortable prick as each change occurs. After you get used to the pricks, the changes won't seem so bad. You can rationalize that these are just small things and it really doesn't make any difference, or you can feel guilty for believing the elders are teaching error. If you go to the leadership with your concerns, they will tell you not to be concerned, because they know what is best for your soul. And then, all of a sudden, you look around and the church that you loved, the church that Christ built, no longer exists in your congregation. Your heart will ache like you have never ached before. Then it is too late to recover. As you try to battle these changes you will be called a Pharisee, a legalist, a sectarian, and be labeled as judgmental. Being called names by these "agents of change" is immaterial compared to loosing your soul.

A list of changes instituted by the elders in 1996 are shown below. <font color=red>Not all of these changes are unscriptural. However, when the change process begins, changes are made for the sake of change to soften the bigger blows to come. The changes align with the "Unity In Diversity" philosophy and illustrates the types of changes that "change agents" will try to introduce. </font>

<font color=blue size=3>CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS IN WORSHIP SERVICES </font>
<font color=blue>Responsive readings</font> were conducted between the minister and the congregation. The minister read a passage of scripture and the congregation responded with the next passage of scripture that followed.

<font color=blue>Recovenant services</font> were held for the congregation to recommit their time, talent and money. The elders and deacons recommitted their services to the congregation and the congregation signed commitment forms as to what activities they would be involved in during the coming year. The elders also intended to let the children participate in the worship services. Each child was to bring a drawing to the front during worship and tell the elders what they had drawn to illustrate what they could do for the congregation in the coming year.

<font color=blue>Changes in bulletin format</font> were made to resemble denominational bulletins. Bulletins were gathered from denominational churches in the area to see what they thought were pleasing to the masses.

<font color=blue>Secular holidays</font> were commonly used as themes for sermon delivery.

<font color=blue>The number of sermons decreased</font> by changing the Sunday evening worship to Bible classes, and then replacing Wednesday evening Bible classes with "Helping Hand" projects. Helping Hand Projects included: making sleeping bags for the homeless, visiting the sick and shut-in, grading World Correspondence Courses, chorus practice, and children working on play practices. All of these are worthy projects, however, the children and adults were not getting fed with sound Bible study.

<font color=blue>The number of sermons decreased</font> by having more praise services. Praise services included: singing songs, reading passages of scriptures assigned by the minister, and by offering multiple prayers during the service. Often, no invitation would be offered in these services.

<font color=blue size=3>CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS OUTSIDE OF WORSHIP SERVICES </font>
<font color=blue>The role of the deacons was changed</font> to prevent them meeting together as a group to make decisions about the physical needs of the church. Each deacon reported to a specific elder, who had meetings with his deacons and "ministry leaders." Ministry leaders are women who serve in the same capacity as deacons, but without the title of deacons.

<font color=blue>Women were allowed to co-teach and teach</font> adult mixed gender Bible classes.

<font color=blue>Small group ministries were formed</font> to allow members to meet in their homes during the week instead of attending mid-week Bible study at the church. This allows each group to have more flexibility in their worship.

<font color=blue>The church "Chorus" performed at a local Baptist church</font> on a Sunday evening in a Christmas concert.

<font color=blue>The elders met with Christian Churches to determine ways to fellowship together. </font> (1997)

__________________________________
Jerry Pence
722 Duluth Street
Durham, NC 27705

“Seek The Old Paths,” Vol. 8, No. 9

_________________________________

<font color=blue>TO BE CONTINUED . . . </font>
Last edited by ConcernedMembers on February 25th, 2004, 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Roger D. Campbell
Roger D. Campbell

February 26th, 2004, 7:56 am #2

<font size=5>SHALL WE CHANGE OUR WORSHIP? </font>
<font size=3>Roger D. Campbell</font>



Jesus told the Samaritan woman, <font color=red>"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth"</font> (John 4:23,24). God wants us to be "true worshippers." True worshippers are those that worship the Lord God "in spirit and in truth."

<font color=blue>Today in the church we often hear the cry for "change." One area that is often targeted for change is the worship of the church. Some have openly charged that the worship of many congregations is dry, boring, lifeless, and traditional. The claim is that our worship is in need of a major overhaul if we want to avoid losing our members, or if we want to attract any new people. </font>

<font color=blue>The word "change" is a neutral word. Change might be bad, or it might be good, depending on the situation. Webster's Dictionary defines "change" as "to become or make different; to alter. "</font>

Is it Scriptural for the church to make any changes in its worship services? That depends on the type of changes one has in mind. Some changes might be acceptable under the right circumstances. If the present worship in which a congregation engages is already in harmony with the Scriptures, then any acceptable changes to such worship would all involve matters of judgment, wisdom, or expediency. Consider a few examples of this kind of change:
<ol>[*]<font color=blue>Changing the times of services on the first day of the week. </font> We are commanded to refrain from forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, so out of necessity there must be assemblies (Heb. 10:25). The first century church assembled on the first day of the week in order to worship (Acts 20:7). Since the specific time of day for the Lord's day assemblies is not designated in the New Testament, then the leaders of a local church have the right to choose which time(s) of assembly is in the best interest of that particular congregation. Thus, it would be acceptable for the same leaders to make a decision to change the times of the church's Sunday services.

[*]<font color=blue>Changing the order. </font> Because the New Testament does not specify the order in which we are to engage in the five different acts of worship (praying, Lord's supper, singing, giving, preaching), it would be acceptable to change the order of these, and no harm would be done. Changing the order of such Scriptural acts would not cause them to cease being "in spirit and in truth."

[*]<font color=blue>Changing the length of services. </font> Nothing is said in the New Testament about how long worship services are to last. Therefore, if the elders/brothers of a local church decided to change the duration of services from what it was in the past, this in and of itself would not do anything to prevent the church from worshipping in spirit and in truth.

[*]<font color=blue>Changing the place of assembly. </font> The church must assemble (Heb. 10:25). Just where it is to do this is nowhere specified in the Bible. Each congregation is at liberty to choose what location is most expedient for its assemblies. This might change from time to time, and such change would in no way hinder the church from worshipping Scripturally.
[/list]Having pointed out that there are some areas pertaining to worship in which changes are acceptable, we want to emphasize that this does not mean that every form of change related to the church's worship is pleasing to God.

Let's now turn our attention to some cases in which we have no authority to change the worship of the church.
<ol>[*]<font color=red>The purpose of the worship assembly. </font> The purpose of our gathering to worship is to pay homage to God, to give Him honor, praise and glory. Our attention during our worship is to be on the Lord and His word. Worship is not to be entertainment or a show that is "put on" in order to please men. Thus, hand clapping in worship is totally out of place. It is wrong because we come together to worship Jehovah, not applaud any actions that men might take or words they might speak. If clapping is right for that which we approve, why not boo when we don't like something (or whistle instead of booing, as is done in Europe)? Secondly, hand clapping in worship is not acceptable because it is not authorized in the New Testament. Brethren, it is a sad day for God's people when we stoop so low as to try and drag the pep rally and "show time" atmosphere into our worship assemblies.

[*]<font color=red>The time to partake of the Lord's Supper. </font> Jesus commanded His followers to break bread (1 Cor. 11:24-26). Acts 20:7 shows us when this is to be done -- on "the first day of the week." There is no authority in the New Testament for the church to have communion on any other day of the week. To partake of it on a different day is to act without divine authority, and thus to be wrong (2 John 9; Col. 3:17).

[*]<font color=red>The sex of the preacher in a mixed assembly. </font> God does not permit women "to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (1 Tim. 2:12). Thus, only brothers in Christ are permitted to preach in a gathering when both men and women are present. True, in the denominational world, women often preach when men are present, but such is a clear violation of the Bible's teaching. It is wrong, and those in the church who are wanting to ape the actions of the denominations are just as wrong! Those who desire to change the worship of the church and make it more appealing to the world by putting in women preachers are going against the will of God and leading the church into apostasy.

[*]<font color=red>The sex of those who lead prayers (or lead in worship). </font> Again, many are crying for the church to "get with it" or "wake up" and begin using women in leadership roles in the worship. Friends, God has spoken on this matter, and His word says that men (males) are to serve in leadership roles in the worship of the church, not sisters in Christ (1 Tim. 2:8). We do not apologize for this, because it is God's decision! Any changes being made that put women into the role of leaders during public, mixed assemblies are without Bible authority.

[*]<font color=red>The type of music that we are to offer to God. </font> God has charged His children to praise Him with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). The use of mechanical instruments of music in worship to God is completely without New Testament authority, and thus is prohibited. So, any cry to bring instruments into the worship of the church or at least do away with ("change," "tone down") our opposition to their use is simply not in harmony with the Bible. We must not buckle in to those who want to "have it their way" in the church's worship.
[/list]Still, the thought prevails in the minds of some that somehow the church must "spice up" its worship. Why? Because our worship is just "too dry and boring" (according to them). Such an idea is extremely offensive to those who still want to "hold fast the form of sound words" given in the New Testament (2 Tim. 1:13).

<font color=blue>What is it that is so boring and dry about worshipping God according to His Word? Could it be the Lord's supper? </font> Is it boring and dull to eat unleavened bread and drink the fruit of the vine, allowing our minds to go back to Calvary and the blood that Jesus poured out for our salvation (Eph. 1:7)? We think not. Remember, God is the One that planned this memorial for our benefit!

<font color=blue>Maybe the fault lies with praying to God. </font> Is it really that dry and boring to pour out our hearts to God with supplication and thanksgiving so that the peace of God will keep our hearts (Phil. 4:6,7)? Not for the spiritually minded!

<font color=blue>Maybe the culprit is our spiritual songs. </font>"Is any merry, let him sing psalms" (James 5:13). When we joyfully sing about the death of Jesus, the love of God, the need to work for the Lord, the day of judgment and scores of other Bible themes, is this really boredom gone to seed? Such songs of praise are far from being boring to those who sing from the heart in order to praise their God. So if we are going to stand up and cry for change in our worship, then surely it won't be a cry for getting away from Scriptural songs that stir our souls.

<font color=blue>Could it be that boring and dry factor #1 is the preaching and study of God's word? </font> My friends, the word of God is living and active (Heb. 4:12), it lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:23,25). If we are bored by its message, then we kindly suggest that what needs a serious overhaul is not the worship of the church, but the heart within us!

Oh yes, in many cases we probably ought to sing with more enthusiasm. We ought to greet one another and our guests with more enthusiasm. We can probably find room for improvement in the way that we as individuals approach our prayers, the supper, and hearing the Bible preached. For sure, we must worship God from the heart.

<font color=red>But making personal improvements such as these does not mean we need to bring changes into our worship that are without Biblical authority. Brethren, let's stick with the Book and keep on worshipping God His way! </font>

___________________________________
4865 Bates Pike SE
Cleveland, TN 37323

“Seek The Old Paths,” Vol. 11, No. 11
Last edited by ConcernedMembers on February 26th, 2004, 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jonathan
Jonathan

February 26th, 2004, 3:22 pm #3

A very good post.

In the end it boils down to this:

Who is displeased with our worship? God, or "us"?


If it's "us", then we have no right to change a God-mandated worship, and infuse what we think is correct, intended, or "brings in the unbelievers".
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BRADLEY
BRADLEY

February 27th, 2004, 3:45 am #4

I AM SO SAD THAT OUR LORDS CHURCH HAS BECOME LIKE THE WORLD,I FEEL IT IS ALL OF OUR FAULT FOR NOT LOOKING TO GOD AND HIS WORD,IT IS OUR OWN WILL-WORSHIP.
WE MUST REMEMBER THAT THE ONLY THING RIGHT ABOUT THE CHURCH IS GOD AND JESUS CHRIST,AND THAT WE THE HUMAN ASPECT IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE CHURCH.
PLEASE READ AND STUDY AND PRAY THAT GOD WILL LEAD US.
I WANT TO GO TO HEAVEN WHEN THIS LIFE IS OVER AND I JUST BELIEVE IF WE SPEND OUR TIME CHANGING WHAT GODS PLAN IS AND MAKING IT OUR PLAN WE WILL LET SATAN WIN THIS BATTLE AND OUR SOULS WILL BE LOST FOREVER.
WHATEVER THE COST PLEASE CONTINUE TO FIGHT ON AND DO RIGHT!




THANK YOU FOR THIS SITE


IN HIM
BRADLEY
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Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

February 27th, 2004, 8:42 am #5

A very good post.

In the end it boils down to this:

Who is displeased with our worship? God, or "us"?


If it's "us", then we have no right to change a God-mandated worship, and infuse what we think is correct, intended, or "brings in the unbelievers".
Jonathan,

Excellent observation, brother!

The Change Movement’s scheme to “bring in the unbelievers” is a misnomer. For one thing, the number of “unbelievers” visiting the assembly “of the saints” is very low or infrequent. Another is that the converting of unbelievers is more of a mission to be accomplished out there in the community or in the “mission fields”—not within the body of believers. What the change agents are essentially doing—and admittedly so—is subtly <font color=blue>transforming the New Testament church</font> into some culture-driven or secular-based pattern. <font color=red>But the culprit is this: bringing in “participants” into the “fellowship” from various denominations with varying creeds, doctrines and beliefs—indeed, the Community Church Growth Movement scheme in action! </font> Numerical growth for any cause or at any cost is NEVER at the bottom of the change agents’ list of objectives. In fact, it is the NUMERO UNO objective.

Donnie Cruz
Last edited by Donnie.Cruz on April 5th, 2005, 5:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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A Christian
A Christian

April 5th, 2005, 2:25 am #6

<font face=Courier size=4>
=====================================================================
People Change, Times Change, But The Lord's Church Will Never Change!
---------------------------------------------------------------------
<font size=2>
• THE SEQUENCE OF CHANGE
• <font color=blue>THE EFFECTS OF CHANGE</font>
• <font color=blue>CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS IN WORSHIP SERVICES</font>
• <font color=blue>CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS OUTSIDE OF WORSHIP SERVICES </font>
• CHANGES IN TEACHING BLESSED BY THE ELDERS
• ELDERS DENIAL OF KNOWING ANYTHING ABOUT THE "UNITY IN DIVERSITY" PHILOSOPHY
</font>
=====================================================================
</font>


<font size=5>People Change, Times Change, But The Lord's Church Will Never Change! </font>
<font size=4>Jerry Pence</font>


<font size=3>This article is written for members of the Lord's church so they may see how the "Unity In Diversity" philosophy moved into one congregation in North Carolina and how the "Change Agents" behaved during the process. </font>


<font color=blue size=3> THE EFFECTS OF CHANGE </font>
These and other changes are introduced subtlety by the "change agents" and many times in the beginning, you will only feel a small uncomfortable prick as each change occurs. After you get used to the pricks, the changes won't seem so bad. You can rationalize that these are just small things and it really doesn't make any difference, or you can feel guilty for believing the elders are teaching error. If you go to the leadership with your concerns, they will tell you not to be concerned, because they know what is best for your soul. And then, all of a sudden, you look around and the church that you loved, the church that Christ built, no longer exists in your congregation. Your heart will ache like you have never ached before. Then it is too late to recover. As you try to battle these changes you will be called a Pharisee, a legalist, a sectarian, and be labeled as judgmental. Being called names by these "agents of change" is immaterial compared to loosing your soul.

A list of changes instituted by the elders in 1996 are shown below. <font color=red>Not all of these changes are unscriptural. However, when the change process begins, changes are made for the sake of change to soften the bigger blows to come. The changes align with the "Unity In Diversity" philosophy and illustrates the types of changes that "change agents" will try to introduce. </font>

<font color=blue size=3>CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS IN WORSHIP SERVICES </font>
<font color=blue>Responsive readings</font> were conducted between the minister and the congregation. The minister read a passage of scripture and the congregation responded with the next passage of scripture that followed.

<font color=blue>Recovenant services</font> were held for the congregation to recommit their time, talent and money. The elders and deacons recommitted their services to the congregation and the congregation signed commitment forms as to what activities they would be involved in during the coming year. The elders also intended to let the children participate in the worship services. Each child was to bring a drawing to the front during worship and tell the elders what they had drawn to illustrate what they could do for the congregation in the coming year.

<font color=blue>Changes in bulletin format</font> were made to resemble denominational bulletins. Bulletins were gathered from denominational churches in the area to see what they thought were pleasing to the masses.

<font color=blue>Secular holidays</font> were commonly used as themes for sermon delivery.

<font color=blue>The number of sermons decreased</font> by changing the Sunday evening worship to Bible classes, and then replacing Wednesday evening Bible classes with "Helping Hand" projects. Helping Hand Projects included: making sleeping bags for the homeless, visiting the sick and shut-in, grading World Correspondence Courses, chorus practice, and children working on play practices. All of these are worthy projects, however, the children and adults were not getting fed with sound Bible study.

<font color=blue>The number of sermons decreased</font> by having more praise services. Praise services included: singing songs, reading passages of scriptures assigned by the minister, and by offering multiple prayers during the service. Often, no invitation would be offered in these services.

<font color=blue size=3>CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS OUTSIDE OF WORSHIP SERVICES </font>
<font color=blue>The role of the deacons was changed</font> to prevent them meeting together as a group to make decisions about the physical needs of the church. Each deacon reported to a specific elder, who had meetings with his deacons and "ministry leaders." Ministry leaders are women who serve in the same capacity as deacons, but without the title of deacons.

<font color=blue>Women were allowed to co-teach and teach</font> adult mixed gender Bible classes.

<font color=blue>Small group ministries were formed</font> to allow members to meet in their homes during the week instead of attending mid-week Bible study at the church. This allows each group to have more flexibility in their worship.

<font color=blue>The church "Chorus" performed at a local Baptist church</font> on a Sunday evening in a Christmas concert.

<font color=blue>The elders met with Christian Churches to determine ways to fellowship together. </font> (1997)

__________________________________
Jerry Pence
722 Duluth Street
Durham, NC 27705

“Seek The Old Paths,” Vol. 8, No. 9

_________________________________

<font color=blue>TO BE CONTINUED . . . </font>
Theese changes are not unbiblical at all actually they are a great help in unifying the area churches and not just the churches of christ. We must become unified with are fellow brothers and sister in the other churches like baptistand methodist. UYou talk like you think they are not godly people but you are judging fro God which he has not given you the right to. I am church of christ wait I was churc of christ Wait mabee denomation does not matter we are all christians.
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Jimmy Wren
Jimmy Wren

September 28th, 2007, 2:26 am #7

In his book, Liberalism's Threat to the Faith, Rubel Shelly gives six characteristics of liberalism:


"First, liberalism holds that there is no way to authenticate and prove as true any one version of the Christian faith...Second, liberalism rejects the Bible as being the actual Word of God to man...Third, liberalism restates the doctrine of Christ to show his utter humanity...Fourth, liberalism denies that the Bible has any inherent moral authority over men...Fifth, liberalism denies that mankind is lost and under the condemnation of sin...Sixth, liberalism has no concern with the New Testament concept of the church."

In Christ,
Jimmy
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Jimmy Wren
Jimmy Wren

October 2nd, 2007, 8:30 pm #8

Theese changes are not unbiblical at all actually they are a great help in unifying the area churches and not just the churches of christ. We must become unified with are fellow brothers and sister in the other churches like baptistand methodist. UYou talk like you think they are not godly people but you are judging fro God which he has not given you the right to. I am church of christ wait I was churc of christ Wait mabee denomation does not matter we are all christians.
A Christian writes: '... we are all christians.'

Jimmy replies: While your message appears 'kind' in content it is off the mark with 'truth'.

Jesus died that man might live, but live according to His word.

'Many' faiths is contrary to the teachings on the Bible. In fact only 'one' faith is taught in the Scriptures.

For people to be united in works but divided by different faiths is a man made doctrine. It did not originate from the Holy Spirit and His word.

The word of God teaches:

Ro. 10:17 'So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.'

1 Cor. 4:2 '... faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.'

1 Cor. 13:13 'And now abideth faith...'

2 Cor. 13:5 'Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.'

Eph. 4:3 'Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit... (Eph. 4:13)Till we all come in the unity of the faith...

Notice, the word 'faith' not 'faiths' is used throughout the Scriptures.

Man can unite on a lot of things but on the word of God there can be only one 'faith'.

In Christ,
Jimmy


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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

October 3rd, 2007, 1:49 pm #9

So in all truth, the phrase "Unity in Diversity," the motto and battle cry of the Change Movement, is nothing but an oxymoron, a creative contradiction.
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Scott
Scott

October 5th, 2007, 4:12 am #10

<font face=Courier size=4>
=====================================================================
People Change, Times Change, But The Lord's Church Will Never Change!
---------------------------------------------------------------------
<font size=2>
• THE SEQUENCE OF CHANGE
• <font color=blue>THE EFFECTS OF CHANGE</font>
• <font color=blue>CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS IN WORSHIP SERVICES</font>
• <font color=blue>CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS OUTSIDE OF WORSHIP SERVICES </font>
• CHANGES IN TEACHING BLESSED BY THE ELDERS
• ELDERS DENIAL OF KNOWING ANYTHING ABOUT THE "UNITY IN DIVERSITY" PHILOSOPHY
</font>
=====================================================================
</font>


<font size=5>People Change, Times Change, But The Lord's Church Will Never Change! </font>
<font size=4>Jerry Pence</font>


<font size=3>This article is written for members of the Lord's church so they may see how the "Unity In Diversity" philosophy moved into one congregation in North Carolina and how the "Change Agents" behaved during the process. </font>


<font color=blue size=3> THE EFFECTS OF CHANGE </font>
These and other changes are introduced subtlety by the "change agents" and many times in the beginning, you will only feel a small uncomfortable prick as each change occurs. After you get used to the pricks, the changes won't seem so bad. You can rationalize that these are just small things and it really doesn't make any difference, or you can feel guilty for believing the elders are teaching error. If you go to the leadership with your concerns, they will tell you not to be concerned, because they know what is best for your soul. And then, all of a sudden, you look around and the church that you loved, the church that Christ built, no longer exists in your congregation. Your heart will ache like you have never ached before. Then it is too late to recover. As you try to battle these changes you will be called a Pharisee, a legalist, a sectarian, and be labeled as judgmental. Being called names by these "agents of change" is immaterial compared to loosing your soul.

A list of changes instituted by the elders in 1996 are shown below. <font color=red>Not all of these changes are unscriptural. However, when the change process begins, changes are made for the sake of change to soften the bigger blows to come. The changes align with the "Unity In Diversity" philosophy and illustrates the types of changes that "change agents" will try to introduce. </font>

<font color=blue size=3>CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS IN WORSHIP SERVICES </font>
<font color=blue>Responsive readings</font> were conducted between the minister and the congregation. The minister read a passage of scripture and the congregation responded with the next passage of scripture that followed.

<font color=blue>Recovenant services</font> were held for the congregation to recommit their time, talent and money. The elders and deacons recommitted their services to the congregation and the congregation signed commitment forms as to what activities they would be involved in during the coming year. The elders also intended to let the children participate in the worship services. Each child was to bring a drawing to the front during worship and tell the elders what they had drawn to illustrate what they could do for the congregation in the coming year.

<font color=blue>Changes in bulletin format</font> were made to resemble denominational bulletins. Bulletins were gathered from denominational churches in the area to see what they thought were pleasing to the masses.

<font color=blue>Secular holidays</font> were commonly used as themes for sermon delivery.

<font color=blue>The number of sermons decreased</font> by changing the Sunday evening worship to Bible classes, and then replacing Wednesday evening Bible classes with "Helping Hand" projects. Helping Hand Projects included: making sleeping bags for the homeless, visiting the sick and shut-in, grading World Correspondence Courses, chorus practice, and children working on play practices. All of these are worthy projects, however, the children and adults were not getting fed with sound Bible study.

<font color=blue>The number of sermons decreased</font> by having more praise services. Praise services included: singing songs, reading passages of scriptures assigned by the minister, and by offering multiple prayers during the service. Often, no invitation would be offered in these services.

<font color=blue size=3>CHANGES BLESSED BY THE ELDERS OUTSIDE OF WORSHIP SERVICES </font>
<font color=blue>The role of the deacons was changed</font> to prevent them meeting together as a group to make decisions about the physical needs of the church. Each deacon reported to a specific elder, who had meetings with his deacons and "ministry leaders." Ministry leaders are women who serve in the same capacity as deacons, but without the title of deacons.

<font color=blue>Women were allowed to co-teach and teach</font> adult mixed gender Bible classes.

<font color=blue>Small group ministries were formed</font> to allow members to meet in their homes during the week instead of attending mid-week Bible study at the church. This allows each group to have more flexibility in their worship.

<font color=blue>The church "Chorus" performed at a local Baptist church</font> on a Sunday evening in a Christmas concert.

<font color=blue>The elders met with Christian Churches to determine ways to fellowship together. </font> (1997)

__________________________________
Jerry Pence
722 Duluth Street
Durham, NC 27705

“Seek The Old Paths,” Vol. 8, No. 9

_________________________________

<font color=blue>TO BE CONTINUED . . . </font>
I have known about this site for some time, and prayed that it wasn't true...I cannot believe the hatemongering that goes on through this website. I am a preacher in the Lord's Church. Do you HONESTLY think that a dying world will look at this website and say, "Oh joy! This convinces me to go to church and be saved!"? I don't know if you have forgotten, but Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel, baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" He didn't say, "Sit around and be like the Pharisees who i just spent the past three years condemning." I have been a memeber of the church of Christ for a couple years now, and I came in from another denomination. After much study, I found that the doctrine of the churches of Christ were the most biblically sound and conservative and right on the money. IT is true that we are to keep guard over the body, and I agree with you all wholeheartedly, but i think this site is ridiculous. Because of things like this, I have seen many a person fall away from the Church b/c they were disillusioned by the politics that have swallowed the church. I think this site is one of the biggest fuelers of Hells fire. There are people in the world who are dying and going to hell and you could care less! I once was lost and now I'm saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and i am happier than ever...but seriously ladies and gentlemen...before you make accusations and allegation, you should "take the log out of your eye before you tell me to take the speck out of mine." I understand and respect your zeal and your viewpoints, but i think that this reluctance to change is absolutley absurd. The great thing about the gospel is that it is timeless! IT reaches through all cultures, societies and ways of life! I am one of the most bibically conservative people I know! My personal thought is this: The message(the gospel) never changes, but the way we present it HAS to or we reach no one. I hope you can respect my opinions as I respect yours, and if you take offense at this, well I'm sorry. Maybe you should let the Spirit lead you a little and stope grieving it so much! People don't need my translation of the Bible, my worship style, my opinions...they need Jesus. People are not confused by the Gospel...they are confused by us. Jesus is the ONLY way to God, but we are NOT the only way to Jesus. Maybe we should stop trying to strap ourselves to the gospel because we are just slowing it down. Jesus is going to save the world, but we have to step back and let him.
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