This is one very important question that confronts each congregation of the church of Christ. The decision to change or not to change Gods will for the church must not be made by its own leadership without Gods direction and authorization. This thread has been initiated for the purpose of addressing this question, and a series of articles by John Waddey will continue to be posted.
Heres introducing John Waddey, a native of Nashville, Tennessee and a lifelong member of the church of Christ, who has served churches of Christ in Mississippi, Colorado, Tennessee and Arizona. He has vast experiences in training young ministers and in Christian journalism. He serves as minister of the West Bell Road Church of Christ in Surprise, AZ
He sees the internet as a wonderful tool, which God has provided for the spread of the gospel and is eager to share his knowledge with truth-seekers around the world. For more information about the author and editor of the self-descriptive site, please link to:
Christianity: Then and Now
Please learn about what the author has to say regarding the winds blowing across the face of the brotherhood, and let us join the efforts against a spiritual war being waged against congregations before they are taken over and swept into apostasy.
<font size=5>TO CHANGE OR NOT TO CHANGE? </font>
<font size=4>by John Waddey</font>
- <font color=blue>Churches of Christ are standing at a critical crossroads. We face the same situation our forefathers faced in the half-century following the Civil War. Shall we continue in the old paths of New Testament Christianity that our predecessors in the faith traveled, or shall we change our direction? The road to the right is the road of ultra conservatism that inevitably leads to radicalism, faction and division. The road to the left is the road of liberalism. It leads away from the simplicity of the gospel to a denominational version of Christianity that stands without Christ's approval. It is the approach being promoted by those who are advocating change for our churches.
A hundred years ago the majority of those who were part of the movement to restore original Christianity chose the same road the agents of change are now promoting. Today they are identified as the Disciples of Christ/Christian Churches. The issues that distinguished that movement last century and the movement for change of today are virtually identical. When the digression occurred in the past, the surviving remnant, led by great men such as David Lipscomb, James A. Harding, Austin McGary and J. D. Tant had to rebuild, almost from scratch. But God blessed their efforts and today well over two million souls are identified with the Churches of Christ around the world.
Today winds are blowing gale-force across the face of our beloved brotherhood. They are urging us to abandon the old ways for new ways learned from our denominational neighbors. These winds, originating primarily from our large universities, are sure to drive the ship of Zion on the rocks of destruction, should they prevail.
The purpose of this site [http://www.christianity-then-and-now.com/] is to address the changes being advocated; to examine them in light of Scripture. Each month we will post our journal, Christianity: Then and Now. We will review the books of the change agents as well as useful books that answer them. We will answer the questions our readers submit that relate to the problems before us. Additional materials will be posted on a regular basis. Should you find any of them useful, we encourage you to download them and distribute them, as you will.
Please join us in prayer that God will bless this effort and use this teaching site to the honor and glory of his Son and for the good of his church. Pray that we will do only good and no harm at all. If we can help one preaching brother to clarify his thinking and avoid taking the road to the left; if we can assist one eldership in protecting their flock; if we can help to reclaim one soul who has been beguiled by false teachers; if we can light a candle to guide one or a hundred in the way of Truth, our efforts will be well repaid.
Sincerely in Christ,
<font size=5> A TEAM EFFORT TO PROTECT THE CHURCH FROM HARM </font>
<font size=4>by John Waddey </font>
- <font color=blue>A spiritual war is being waged against the brotherhood of churches of Christ. Across the nation battles are being fought as agents of change work to gain control of congregations, schools, and mission outposts. They are well placed, well-funded and well prepared for their conquest. They are fully aware of what they are doing and where they are going. They are highly motivated and confident of victory. Unfortunately the majority of those who are their intended victims are unaware of the danger facing them. Some realize there is a problem but seem not to perceive the extent of it and the imminent danger it poses. If we are to effectively block this takeover of congregations, which will result in their being swept into apostasy, those who love the Lord and his church must take action. We must act now and act decisively. We must recruit an army of volunteers and we must educate and inform our fellow-Christians.
AN OPERATION IN WHICH YOU CAN HELP
Christians who have access to the Internet to join hands with us in an educational project
addressing some aspect of the change movement among our brethren. Some of the articles will remind us of the Biblical reasons why we believe and worship as we do. They will address those items being challenged by the promoters of change. Other articles will address the errors or fallacies of the false teachers. Some will review their books and speeches.
When you receive the article, read it and then forward it to ten or more members of the church on your mailing list with a note encouraging them to read it and forward it to Christians on their list. Such an effort has the potential to reach thousands of brethren
they will receive a brief lesson that will remind them of who we are, what we believe and why. They will be reminded of the dangers of the change movement
(Hopefully they can be elders, preachers, teachers, but any brother or sister in Christ). You are encouraged to send it to the congregations in your area who receive e-mail. Send it forth with a fervent prayer that God will bless your efforts and save his church from being swept away.
Thank you for caring enough to get involved in the most important thing in the world.
Yours for the church we love,</font>
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now
Trusting Women (The Way of Women in Churches of Christ) is a recent publication issued by New Leaf Books of Orange, Calif. New Leaf is a perennial spring of materials promoting the agenda of the change movement. Billie Silvey is the editor of this book of essays by women affiliated with the Lords church. Harold Shank of the Highland Church of Christ in Memphis expresses the view of change agents concerning the message of this book. These writers say things about Churches of Christ that nobody else is saying, things that nobody else can say. He feels it contains things that should have been said long ago.
This reviewer and others of a conservative bent, would describe it as a coming out statement of women who have rejected Gods Word and the limitations it sets on their filling roles of congregational leadership and public teaching in His church. Preferring the teaching of feminism to that of the Holy Spirit, they express their frustration with preachers, elders and congregations that would not allow them to use their talents in the leadership and public worship of the church.
This book is noteworthy in that is a declaration of the first women preachers to surface among our churches in over a hundred years. True, women preachers emerged among the digressive churches that separated from us at the end of the 19th century, but they had no place among our brethren until recently.
* There is Katie Hays, one time ministeress of the Cahaba Valley Church of Christ in Birmingham, AL, now preaching for the West Islip Church of Christ in Long Island, NY.
* There is DEsta Love, chaplain of Pepperdine University and member of the Malibu Church of Christ whose elders made a statement to the church that made it possible for women to read from the Scriptures, to serve communion to the congregation, and to participate in periods of prayer in our worship (p. 128). She feels that her own religious tradition (i.e., Churches of Christ) had let her down. She reminiscences about thinking she would never have the opportunity to use her gifts of ministry in the church. It seems to me she could easily have walked away from a church so tightly bound and limited by Scripture and gone to the Disciples of Christ, the Methodists, Presbyterians or Pentecostals and instantly gone on payroll (p. 129). She tell us how folks like her get around such embarrassing passages as I Cor. 14:43-34 and I Tim. 2:8-14. We are finding tools for the analysis of scripture which allow us to view the role of women in the larger context of the biblical witness, rather than allow two heavily disputed passages to relegate women to a silent role (p. 130). She believes that God called (her) to Pepperdine University and has opened doors of opportunity for service that could not have been possible elsewhere (p. 131). In this she is probably right, except of course she could have gone to Abilene Christian University and done as well.
* There is Amy Henegar, hospital chaplain, who preaches Sunday sermons at the hospital chapel.
* There is Karen Logan who found her inspiration from a statement of faith by Christians for Biblical Equality published in the denominational journal, Christianity Today.
* Joyce Hardin argues that women can do anything except be elders, preachers or Bible teachers of Christian men (p. 57). For this concession we do give her credit. But she informs us that she does not...understand why those restrictions are placed on women (p. 57).
* Pat Boultinghouse tells us how she found her freedom from the old religious restrictions while working for Howard Publishing Co. of West Monroe, La. With the help and encouragement of Alton and John Howard, she and her husband launched Image magazine, precursor of Wineskins. She tells of working with influential leaders of the change movement such as Joe Beam, Rubel Shelly, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Walling, Mike Cope, Terry Rush and Marvin Phillips (p. 135). She asks, Do we lift up our Lord and draw others to him when we rigidly hold to human traditions and a fifties culture (p.141). I remind her and others of like-mind that the limitations on women in the leadership and worship of the church originated with the apostles in the first century, not the 1950s.
* Sherrylee Woodward acknowledges that, During those tender devotions of the late sixties youth rallies, my crowd first began to wonder about applying the pattern for church worship, order and leadership when the church was not in church. (p. 191). It is fair to assume that much of the change agenda had it origin in the period of the sixties and in the environment of youth meetings. Young people who were poorly taught and led then are now the forty-something adults who are emerging as leaders of our churches. Nurtured on entertainment and emotionalism they know not what we believe nor why we worship as we do. Nor do they care much for what the Scriptures says.
* Lucille Todd and her friend, felt the Holy Spirit moving (them) (p. 209).
* Karen Logan tells us she was blessed to be at a progressive church where she enjoyed the worship of hand-raising and singing (p. 228). She wonders, Where is the verse that says a woman cannot lead a prayer? (p. 22). We could ask, Where is the verse that says we cannot sprinkle babies for baptism? Of course this is the wrong question. The question is where is the verse that says women can lead in public worship? She believes that God was preparing (her) to teach gender equality using this ministry of drama (p. 232).
In reading this volume, one is impressed that virtually all of these liberated women who aspire to public leadership in the Lords church got their education and or inspiration from universities operated by members of the Churches of Christ. The most notable influence coming from Abilene Christian University and Pepperdine University. This is important information for those who care for the church and want to see this apostasy contained. Whenever there is an outbreak of food poisoning, public health workers look for the source. When blatant heresy breaks out in the church we too must look for the source. This book provides the answer. All who read Trusting Women will agree with Harold Shank who, in his commendation of this book, rightly said, This is not an academic volume or a book on Bible study. It is rather a declaration of women who no longer accept the Bible as their spiritual standard.
JHW (e-mail: email@example.com