All the Changes#3. “Some thoughts on those Changing the Church.”

All the Changes#3. “Some thoughts on those Changing the Church.”

Sadly, many congregations in the Churches of Christ have mirrored the Western trend towards liberalism over the last five decades. Some celebrate this as a coming of age or emancipation from dead traditionalism.

I have the opposite view: I weep as I see genuine souls being duped by the disingenuous. I have always wondered why those who want liberal change do not just leave to be with their newfound denominational equals. Instead, these men and women remain and cause good churches to go bad. Too many church buildings that were specifically built by and for ‘churches of Christ,’ have been transformed into Community Churches that deliberately promote themselves as anything but ‘The Church of Christ.’ Where I come from they call this stealing.

Worse still, these congregations are taken over by leaderships, many knowing better, that have been convinced that if anyone leaves due to changes, this is just a part of the pain of progress.

It just shows how shallow our preachers are that they can ignore Paul’s warning: “If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him” (1Cor.3:17). This should frighten us to our core! Seemingly, our newly enlightened preachers are exempt from hell’s fire.

What is it about unhappy Christians that they convince themselves that changing their congregation to be like ‘some church they read about in a book’ is going to cure their unhappiness? It doesn’t! It just makes trouble and creates a denomination. I know that some of you reading this (if you haven’t dismissed this as the rantings of just another conservative Church of Christ preacher), will protest the Pharisaic behaviour of some Church of Christ preachers as justification for changing churches into another image. I have met some of these Pharisaic preachers. I don’t like what they do either. I do not promote their ways, and will not be bullied by them. But I’m not going to wreck the church over them either.

There will always be those who destroy congregations by promoting non-Biblical teachings and practices, be they denominationalists or modern-day Pharisees. In both cases, when divisions occur, repentance is nowhere to be seen. In fact, their hearts are hardened. Avoid them! My heart is not hardened. I love my brethren and want all of them to do well in the Lord. I am slow to ‘write off’ congregations because there are good people in bad congregations and bad people in good congregations.

I am not naïve, I can see which way a congregation is going, and I will do all I can to encourage the good, and warn against the evil. The Holy Spirit is working in the hearts and minds of all. As one man I will strive to seek his word and work in my life. I believe that there is One Church and I believe that I am part of its mission. Our knowledge of the work of the Holy Spirit on earth is minuscule. So, we praise God for the brethren that we see and know, and we will praise God also for the brethren that we may never see or know this side of heaven. May God bless us with wisdom to be builders of Jesus’ church, and wisdom to know those who seek to change it.

John Staiger

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