There is widespread unrest due to doctrinal change in the churches of Christ. This is seen in news reports in the papers as well as by general observation in our own area. Some members of the church are asking for a clear statement, therefore, from their elders and preachers as to whether the congregation where they attend will continue preaching and practicing "the strait and narrow way" according to the patterns given in the New Testament ... or whether they will follow the crowds in "the broad way that leads to destruction," division, and denominationalism (Matthew 7:1-14).
It has been observed in the current issue (February, 2006) of the Christian Chronicle, the newspaper that reports news and activities among members of the churches of Christ (a cappella), that there are many among us who no longer hold to these principles and who would lead members in joining hands in fellowship with the Christian Churches who have introduced innovations that have caused division among us "contrary to the doctrine which we learned" (Romans 16:17) in the Lord's church. The most notable division in the history of what we know as the Restoration Movement was recognized and reported in the government census of 1906, exactly 100 years ago. Being oblivious to the warnings of history, some among us are ignoring or minimizing the causes of these divisions, rather than observing the admonition in the Bible to "mark those who cause divisions contrary to the doctrine, and turn away from them" (Romans16:17).
In congregations in our own community, we have seen brethren divided by the introduction of mechanical instruments of music into the public worship and into the praise services of our youth. Some have changed the name of the church so as to no longer be identified with the Lord's great brotherhood. Some are funding the formation of new congregations to be known by an unbiblical "community" type generic term, where the musical praise is being planned to include mechanical instruments. Elders report that some of their members are leaving their congregations to join with this new community church just down the street from where they meet. Even though some congregations do not now use these mechanical devices in their worship assemblies, it is obvious they would now be doing so were it not for merely pragmatic reasons. They speak of their "likes" or their "personal preference" for a cappella singing because they were raised "in that tradition." Since scripture and nature teach that "each produces after its own kind," any church that participates in the planting of an instrumental church is itself the same kind in heart and doctrine.
Women in some of our congregations are no longer exhorted to remain "silent in the churches" but rather are given positions of leadership over men, and, in some cases, publicly pray in the assemblies and speak and exhort from the scriptures in public gatherings in the presence of men. Scriptures say this is to their "shame."
Our youth attend rallies where speakers encourage change in the worship of the church. Some of our finest preachers of the past are now helping to establish "community" churches where biblical patterns are not observed and honored. Even where these innovations are not practiced, changes are advocated, and those who would express caution are sometimes ridiculed and given no voice to express their concerns. Those who have left these "to the left" congregations need assurances that they have not "left the frying pan only to find themselves in the fire" of drifting doctrines and directions.
Adding to these alarms, it is being observed that the directors of Abilene Christian University and of the Tulsa Workshop have abandoned their former distinctive roles in leadership and are now sharing their program with leaders from the Christian Churches, further distancing themselves and alienating faithful brethren in thousands of churches of Christ. The time has come for strong and clear statements of clarification on where our church leaders are in the direction they will be leading us. We cannot survive on cute sermonettes and clever stories in our pulpits. We are asking for assurances of sound doctrine in our pulpits and classrooms (1 Timothy 4:1-6; Galatians 1:6-8; 2 Timothy 3:14-17).
All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. Today's failure to stand against sin and unbiblical changes opens the floodgates to compromise and apostasy. A warning from the Old Testament: remember Eli and his sons. Remember that Jotham did what was right himself, but he failed to say "no" to his family members and their ways of sin. Consequently, his son Ahaz embraced them fully to his downfall and the crumbling of his nation (2 Chronicles 28; 2 Kings 16; Isaiah 7:4-9). P.O. Box 821220, Fort Worth, TX 76182.
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