The church is in the midst of a battle that will determine her future. Will she continue to be the church founded by Christ or will she become a "Christian Church" or an Evangelical denomination? Although she has many enemies in the world, the enemy in this conflict is within her own ranks. They claim to members of the Church of Christ but are working ceaselessly to deconstruct her faith, her worship, her very existence. If you find today's lesson helpful, please forward it to others.
[color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]To honor their heroes, men build "Halls of Fame." To expose rogues and rascals some have created "Walls of Shame."
Among those who deserve to have their names on a wall of shame are those who have inflicted wounds on the church, the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22). Over the years a numerous band of villains have earned a place on the Wall of Shame. Historically there have been persecutors and oppressors, heretics and corrupters of the faith. There have been factious men and schismatics. Some have been ambitious for power and recognition. Others have used the church for their own enrichment. Still others have used her as a cloak to hid their sins.
Today, we nominate those contemporary leaders of the church who have opted to introduce instrumental music into their worship of God. You might be thinking, but surely there are far worse sins than the use of an instrument of music in worship. In one sense this is true. Atheism, or denial of Christ as the divine Son, is a greater sin. To blaspheme God or to curse his name is surely worse. But comparing one sin with the other and concluding that my sin is not as bad as yours is nothing to be proud of. All sin is a transgression of God's law (I John 3:4). All sin is offensive to God. All sin that is not repented of and renounced will be punished!
For preachers and elders of a congregation of the Church of Christ to embrace the use of instrumental music is especially shameful. It is a betrayal of a trust committed to their hands (I Tim. 6:20). The Lord's church was seriously wounded and decimated by liberal-minded leaders in the waning years of the 19th and opening years of the twentieth centuries. Among their innovations was the use of instrumental music in worship. We lost some 85 percent of our congregations and members in that conflict. A valiant handful of faithful men and women stood their ground and refused to compromise. They girded up their loins and went to work to rebuild the Cause of Christ. Within 50 years, their sacrifices and struggles paid off. They recovered all that had been lost and surpassed in size and strength both the Disciples of Christ and the Christian Churches. From their apostate brethren and sectarian neighbors, they endured scorn and ridicule for their commitment to the ancient, biblical form of worship.
As that past generation finished their earthly course, they committed the Lord's church to the care and keeping of this present generation of preachers and elders. They had taught, baptized and nurtured them. But some of them have betrayed that trust and embraced the idol. If it were left to them, the Church of Christ would soon cease to exist on earth.
By adopting the use of instruments in worship they are casting aside a heritage. They do so to please the world, to gain the praise of men, hoping to attract people of the world who have little interest in conforming their worship to God's Word (Gal. 1:10). Their acceptance of instruments of music in worship implies that their fathers were wrong in their faith, worship and stand!
Most of them still cling to the sacred name "church of Christ" but they have renounced and abandoned aspects of the biblical faith, worship and practice ordained by the founder and head of the Church. They are like the unfaithful prophets in Jeremiah's day who "were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush" (Jer. 6:15). They should "bear their shame and their abomination which they have committed" (Ezek. 44:13). Their names should be known to all (Rom. 16:16). Most prominent of those who have begun to use instrumental music in their worship are:
- The Richland Hills Church of Christ, North Richland Hills, TX, Rick Atchley, minister
- The Quail Springs Church of Christ, Oklahoma City, OK., Mark Henderson, minister.
- Norway Ave. Church of Christ, Huntington, WV, Jeff Garrett, minister.
- The Faithcross Church of Christ, (formerly Tomball Church of Christ) Tomball, TX.
- Oak Hills Church (of Christ), San Antonio, TX, Max Lucado, minister.
- The Farmers Branch Church of Christ, Dallas, TX, Chris Seidman, minister
- The Northwest Church of Christ, Seattle, WA, Milton Jones, minister.
- The Central Church of Christ Cocoa, FL. Don Adkins, minister
- Metro Church of Christ, Orlando, FL, Don Holland, minister
- Bridgeway Church (of Christ) Flowermound, TX, Art, McNeese, minister
- The First Colony Church of Christ, Sugarland, TX, Ronnie Norman, minister
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now