In this century the church has had to cope with several splinter movements. In the teens there was Bollism which blossomed into the struggle with premillennialism in the '30s. Then came Ketchersideism, which was extremely radical, but later swung to the very liberal view. Another heartache was the battle over support of orphan homes and church cooperation. For decades the church was thwarted by Sommerism, and there is still a residue in some quarters.
For the last 30 or 40 years, there has existed a strong undercurrent of liberalism. This is now a force which the church in the mainstream must face. It promotes fundamental changes in teaching and practice. Some of the most visible and articulate among us are in this scholarly and well-financed group.
"Changers" is an umbrella term to cover various and sundry ideas novel to the New Testament. Not everyone in the camp of the radical changers agrees totally, but there is agreement with the general thrust toward a liberal slant.
To identify the proponents and fellow travelers - preachers, teachers, church leaders, or members - what are some of the teachings flowing from their mouth or pew?
<ol>[*]Open fellowship with other religious bodies, especially the evangelicals;
</li>[*]Acceptance of the independent Christian Church;
</li>[*]Promoter of unity forums with the Christian Church;
</li>[*]Instrumental music is not sinful and is a nonissue;
</li>[*]Grace is a constant topic;
</li>[*]Exalting Christ but downplaying the church;
</li>[*]Gashing the church and finding little good about it and in contrast being complimentary of other religious groups;
</li>[*]Teaching that the church is a denomination and one part of the denominational framework;
</li>[*]Worship is to be changed to be more emotional in the Pentecostal denominational style;
</li>[*]Teaching obedience and commandments is legalism;
</li>[*]Women should have a leading role in the church;
</li>[*]Elders have no authority in a congregation;
</li>[*]Advocacy of the Holy Spirit empowering us in sensational ways apart from the Word of God;
</li>[*]After ignoring "doctrine" there may be major stress on social Issues;
</li>[*]Salvation is by faith and baptism is not essential for the forgiveness of sins;
</li>[*]The church is not the kingdom and we should pray for the kingdom to come;
</li>[*]Pattern theology is an abomination;
</li>[*]Tradition is bashed and change is touted;
</li>[*]The church needs to be restructured;
</li>[*]The restoration of New Testament Christianity is irrelevant and impossible;
</li>[*]Restoration of the church is not finished;
</li>[*]Using deductions based on Scripture cannot establish truth;
</li>[*]Silence of the Scriptures is not prohibitive;
</li>[*]Greatly enamored by radical youth workshops;
</li>[*]And as did Paul, I would add "and such like."
</li>[/list]When any person or a congregation espouses these beliefs or practices or some of them, it is evidence that the changers are there. When this happens, many heartaches and divisions will come.
The changers should be quarantined at once. This must be done to save our children, for the peace of the brethren, and for unity in the brotherhood. Radical change advocates will divide the brotherhood by the espousal of liberal theology.
We are at the stage where we should start the quarantine.
Advocates of this radical splinter group make the charge of polarization when objections are raised to their "changes."
As a disclaimer: those who hold to New Testament Christianity do not believe matters of opinion should be tests of fellowship. The issue is in changing and rejecting the basics of Bible teaching and substantive matters.
Published February 1996
NOTE: This is now a list of numbered items for reference purposes.