WHAT IF "CHANGE AGENTS" HAD BEEN OUR LEADERS</font>
<font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>As I wade through the plethora of books being issued by those who are seeking to impose changes on Churches of Christ, I am led to ponder, "What if the change oriented' preachers, university professors and editors had lived in earlier generations and been the ones providing leadership for the church when crises appeared?"
If they had been among us in the years following the Civil War they most surely would have sided with those promoting instrumental music in worship, human organizations to do the mission work of the church (i.e., missionary societies), women in leadership roles and fellowship with denominational churches. All of these items and more are in the on the agenda our "change agents." Had they been our leaders back then there would be few if any Churches of Christ today. We would all be in the Disciples of Christ or some other denominational communion. Thank God for Tolbert Fanning, David Lipscomb, Austin McGary, J. D. Tant and that noble band of faithful men who stood against those "change agents" of yesteryear and saved the church from apostasy.
If they had been our representative leaders in the generation between the two World Wars (1920-1940), it is very possible that we would all be caught up in the speculations of premillennialism just like most of our Protestant neighbors. Our change agents think our fathers made a mistake to oppose those who sought to introduce that popular error among us. We can be thankful that we had H. Leo Boles, R. L. Whiteside, Foy Wallace, Jr., John T. Hinds and other good men who would not abide those who promoted that change in the thinking of our people.
Had they represented us in the 1960s, when Charismatics began to surface among us, we very well could be a Pentecostal body today. In fact, if our contemporary promoters of change succeed they will most certainly lead us in that direction. They cannot find it in their code to oppose error that appears in the garb of "spirituality," excitement and miraculous workings of the Holy Spirit. Thank God for Guy N. Woods, James Bales and others who quickly extinguished the Pentecostal flame.
If they had been our leaders in the 1970s and 80s, we might all be a part of the Discipling Movement of the International Churches of Christ (i.e., Crossroads/Boston) denomination. A few good men stepped forward, wielded the sword of the Spirit effectively and exposed the promoters of that movement for the heretics they were. Our change advocates have no stomach for such negative, confrontational teaching and action. A favorite saying of the promoters of change is, they prefer "function over form." Since the Boston folks won lots of converts, how could anyone object to their methodology?
If today, we as a body of people allow the advocates of change to be our teachers and leaders we are like the man with a "death wish." They will change us from the Church of Christ purchased and founded by the Lord Jesus into a denomination founded by Barton Stone and Alexander Campbell. They will change our worship from that ordained by Christ in his Word to that designed and demanded by men who do not revere God's Word. They will change our faith from that derived from the New Covenant of Christ to that borrowed from Luther and Calvin and modern Pentecostal leaders. Rather than salvation by grace through obedient faith (Eph. 2:8-9), they will have us teaching salvation by grace and faith alone. If our children and preacher students are sent to their universities, they will likely emerge as denominational disciples rather than as strong faithful Christians. Rather than come home to strengthen and build up our congregations, they will come as missionaries of a new faith and practice inspired to impose changes on a church they no longer believe in.
Reader, as you listen to the sweet, inviting sirens of change, ponder these "What If" questions. They will help you to say "No!" to them.</font>
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now