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A Pivotal Moment in Church History

13 Aug

The church stands ever ready to stand on the rock, proclaim the gospel and remind the world that His word endures forever. Christ promised that His kingdom would not fade away and as members of the Lord’s church we must hold true to his teaching.

But as our society, the world, falls into more and more depravity, does that make our task harder? Do we have more work to do? Are we in danger?

Wes McAdams at Radically Christian explores why the church of Christ is at a pivotal moment in history.

A Snippet from the Original Post by Wes McAdams

I believe churches of Christ have reached a pivotal moment in history. We have some questions to answer, some choices to make, and we will inevitably need some strong men and women of God to help us through these perilous and exciting times.

Church Meets Here

People are Fed up with Denominations

I think it is so exciting to watch my generation move away from religious division, creeds, and denominationalism. We have preached “non-denominationalism” for decades. Now the general public is starting to consider themselves “non-denominational.” Although a person may attend a Baptist church, he very well may not consider himself a Baptist. Our long-held plea to be “Christians only” seems to be resonating through the land.

The problem is that our communities see “The Church of Christ” as a denomination. They identify the community churches as being non-denominational and us as being denominational! Something is dreadfully wrong with that! It is time for us to reintroduce ourselves to our communities and let them know we are non-denominational, un-denominational, and anti-denoninational. We have to let them know we are not “Church of Christ-ers” or “Campbellites,” we are Christians and Christians only!

But, in order to do that we have to come to grips with it ourselves. We have got to stop seeing ourselves as a denomination. We have got to stop seeing the description, “church of Christ” as a name or title. Anyone who has been baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of his/her sins (Acts 2:38) is a Christian and God has added him/her to the church of Christ (Acts 2:47). Meeting in a building labeled, “Church of Christ” does not make one a Christian or a member of Christ’s church. Only God can make someone a member of the church of Christ; and it is high time that we remember that!

I have recommended for a number of years that our meeting places should simply say, “Christians meet here.” Maybe then we could remember that we are not “CofC,” we are Christians! But whatever we do in the coming years, we are going to have to remind ourselves and our community that we are truly non-denominational.

People are Starving

Read More…

Wes McAdams

   My name is Wes McAdams and I am simply a Christian. I do not belong to a man-made religious or denominational body; I was added by God to the blood purchased church. If that was good enough for Paul, Peter, and Philip, it is certainly good enough for me! I do not have a creed; I simply follow the Bible–the inspired Word of God. I make absolutely no claims to perfection, righteousness, or even goodness. All that I am and have is due to the grace of God! Because of God’s rich grace, I am husband to a beautiful wife, Hollee, and the father to two wonderful boys, Malachi and Noah. I am the preaching minister for the Baker Heights church of Christ in Abilene, Texas.
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30 Comments

Posted by on August 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

30 responses to “A Pivotal Moment in Church History

  1. Shelia

    August 13, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I was checking my email and saw this article from Romans 16:16. As I read it, I thought this sounds a lot like what Wes has been teaching us. At this point I did know who the author was.
    When I got close to the end I saw a picture of you. Thanks Wes for all you do to teach the truth.
    Love you and your family. We are so blessed to have you all.

     
  2. Lydia Sherman

    August 13, 2013 at 11:12 am

    It is really heartening to read this. There was an awful tend in the Lord’s church in the past few decades to run it down. People sat around in adult Bible classes and complained about how bad we were because we didnt fellowship with denominations. They were unbelievers who had infiltrated our congregations and colleges determined to put the church in decline by demoralizing us and our children, much like the Marxists do to weaken a nation. Conversations and complaints abounded about how conceited we were because members of the church did not participate in worldly things or adopt error in worship. It is all a tactic to weaken our belief and commitment to the true doctrine of Christ. Sadly, many preachers were the change agents in this movement and consequently the church has lost many people to the emergent church movement. I am so glad to see a tone of positive assurance about the validity of The Lord’s church that we read about in His last will and testament and that is described in the Old Testament too.

     
  3. Lydia Sherman

    August 13, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Yes, please, members of the church, put more bible lessons on you tube. I will help by adding the links to my blog.

     
    • lynn c maust

      August 22, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      good to see you here , Lydia…
      Lynn Maust

       
  4. Anietie Etim

    August 13, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Church of Christ is ma everlasting portion

     
  5. Sam

    August 13, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Great thoughts!! One issue…no matter how we scripturally identify ourselves the world will ‘denominate’ us. We will be called the ‘Christians meet here’ denominational church. Just as wrong as denominating the phrase the ‘church of Christ.’

     
  6. Helene

    August 13, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    I appreciate the positive nature of this article more than I can say. And I agree on every point. I’d love to see us be as heartily non-denominational, bible literate and out there on the net teaching like crazy! Thanks.

     
  7. Beth Jinkerson

    August 13, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    We post a large catalog of sermons and Bible classes in video and audio format, free for everyone.

     
  8. Kay

    August 14, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Preach on Brother. This is exactly what I have been trying tell everyone for years. I am a woman and don’t stand in a pulpit before a congregation, but I do a lot of “preaching” When people say the “Church of Christ” is shrinking I ask them how they know. The Lord is the one who knows how big His Church is.

     
  9. Dan King, Sr.

    August 14, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Well thought out and well written. We do need to ask ourselves some soul-searching questions about these matters and get serious about them. The internet, and especially YouTube, are truly powerful and exciting media. You are right. We are not exploiting either of them to fullest advantage. Young fellows like yourself will have to take on this task. Those of us who are older are going to be looking to your generation to come up with good ideas and beneficial methods for doing so. God bless you in your efforts for the Lord and his Kingdom.

     
    • mark

      September 12, 2013 at 8:19 am

      And every time the young come up with ideas, they are told the ideas will not work or are not scriptural enough. Also, you need to be willing to listen to ideas and most older people, and especially elders, are not keen on change or listening.

       
  10. Lydia Sherman

    August 14, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Saying the church of Christ is in decline is just one of the phrases calculated to demoralize the members and create doubts on potential converts, much like the put downs heard by Nehemiah’s workers while rebuilding the walls. Wors like ” you are weak, what you are doing is useless, your message is too simple, the church has too many faults” are all designed to diminish hope and confidence. I am glad to see young men rising up and proclaiming the truth and having no more of this sort of talk, for it is not right to talk about our great king and His kingdom as if it had no consequence. It is good that so many homeschoolers are obeying and becoming part of the kingdom and understanding what it is. When I was homeschooling in the 1980s the church was not supportive of homeschool, and yet I see today these young people are the staunch believers who feel no social shame in being members of that kingdom.

     
  11. John Short

    August 14, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    I am 59 years of age and a COC member since I was 13 and still attend regularly. I feel as though the COC has become what they started out trying not to be. Which is a denomination. Whether we want to admit it or not. Until we are willing to have a discussion of certain topics we are only going to turn off any prospective members who may not share the issues we have lived with since Campbells day.

     
  12. Joshua

    August 14, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    We must remember that the very definition of a denomination indicates that those of us who claim nondenominational are simple a denomination of nondenominations. I applaude the trend to worry less about whose a denomination and more about who is following and implementing the teachings of Jesus.

     
  13. Lydia Sherman

    August 14, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Not everyone in the church knows about the efforts of Cambell. We have been missionaries in other countries and more often than not met congregations of the Lords church that existed just from following the biblical pattern. I saw a blog once where a preacher said he was not part of the restoration movement because he did not believe anything was ever lost in the first place and nothing needed to be restored. He said the New Testament pattern of the church was never hidden and that even without knowing about the restoration movement, the church would be known in every generation.

     
    • Linda

      August 15, 2013 at 1:02 am

      We get so “bogged down” in legalistic issues and rules and regulations that we tend to forget about the love of Jesus Christ. That love and what it can do is what we need to teach and preach. Someone said about not socializing with other denominations? That is absurd! “Go out into ALL the world and teach and preach” can definitely mean in one’s own community. AND, if the ministers would preach only the gospel instead of running down other churches in the pulpit it would be much more effective and accepted! Preach/teach the love of Jesus and if Christians don’t look happy, and don’t even act happy, why would anyone want to become one? The key word is “LOVE” and we’ve got to love even those who seem un-loveable! EVERY LESSON THAT A MINISTER PREPARES SHOULD BE ONE THAT CAN RELATE TO OUR EVERYDAY LIVES;
      ONE WE CAN TAKE AND USE, BUILD OUR LIVES AROUND. GIVE ME SOMETHING THAT I CAN ‘LIVE OUT’ SO OTHERS CAN SEE THAT I AM A CHILD OF GOD AND JESUS IS MY SAVIOR, AND GIVE HIM THE GLORY! And by the way, don’t expect other churches to come to meetings and services if we won’t go to visit theirs. We must not be so eager to “attack” to show people how wrong they are. One good thing to always remember is, ” People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care!” May the Lord bless and keep us all, and make his face shine down upon us, and give us peace!” FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE, AND THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE!

       
      • mark

        September 12, 2013 at 8:22 am

        I agree about the sermon relating to everyday lives. But until preachers quit proof texting and get off of Paul and preach a short sermon from the gospels, nothing will change.

         
  14. Joe Stewart

    August 14, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    I was brought up in the Church of Christ and returned 8 years ago after backsliding for several years. I agree with some of your thoughts. I do believe that it’s important to retain the name “Church of Christ, though, so there’s no doubt as to the teachings that are supposed to be taking place.

    Still, we’re not Baptists, we’re not Lutherans, we’re not Presbyterians, Methodists or otherwise. We’re not the church of Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luthor, John Calvin, John Wesley or any other mortal man. We are the Church of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and there are clear differences between the beliefs and methods of worshiping our Savior between us and other denominations.

    Yes, it would be nice if we could all just be “one big happy family”. However, there are grey areas that some churches believe to be okay even though the Bible clearly states otherwise.

    One of my biggest concerns with the Church of Christ is that most members that I’ve spoken to about hitting the streets and sharing the Word seem horrified at the mere thought of it. Jesus commands us to do so in the “Great Commission”, but I rarely hear it being taught or encouraged.

    I see Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other denominations out going door to door and speaking to anyone who’ll listen, yet we can’t seem to get our act together. Also, they’re teaching FALSE doctrine and we’re doing very little to combat it by not sharing the truth!

    Also, there are many people who are false converts, including some who may attend the Church of Christ. They may believe that they’re Christians, but may not have been baptized for the remission of their sins. They may not have completely understood the Word as it was presented to them and could unknowingly be living outside of the scriptures.

    I’m all for loving and encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ, but it must be done 100% “by the book” without exception. There is no compromising when it comes to the Word of God.

    My two bits

    God bless you, Brother.

    Joe

     
    • lynn c maust

      August 22, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      I like your comments….esp. about ‘hitting the streets”…I know a man who does that now that he’s retired…and gives out beautiful bibles as well.

       
      • Joe Stewart

        August 31, 2013 at 5:04 pm

        Thanks Lynn. It’s what we’re all supposed to be doing. Matthew 28:19-20 states the following:

        ” Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

        It seems pretty clear to me. 🙂

         
  15. Jeremy Jennings

    August 15, 2013 at 12:09 am

    I don’t want to sound judgmental or critical, but I feel we are focused on the wrong issue here. Jesus was concerned about people not organizations. We tend to generalize a very personal relationship we have with the Father. The Church was never intended to substitute for this personal relationship. Unfortunately, that is exactly what people have done. They identify themselves as a member of a specific congregation; rather than a child of the Most High God. They depend on the person behind the pulpit to fulfill their spiritual maturity. That is the extent of most people’s Christian walk. When a person realizes the awesome love God has bestowed on us, they will want to have a relationship with Him. I don’t think people know who God really is. You can only know God by spending personal time with Him. Not by hearing someone else talk about Him. When we can each respond to our individual relationship with God, then we can become the True Church. One built on love and the foundation of the Gospel. We become secure in who we are in Christ and are equipped to help each other by sharing the gifts we are given. Ministers and Teachers are equipped to aid us and guide us; however, the Holy Spirit is where true revelation comes from. Therefore, we open our hearts to hear the message from a minister; but we allow the Holy Spirit to give us personal revelation that changes our heart.

     
    • lynn c maust

      August 22, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      wonderful, clear informative comment!

       
  16. Bobby Valentine

    August 15, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I have read your thoughtful blog and then read it again. I appreciate on many levels what you have said. I believe there is a need for the resurgence of non-denominational/non-sectarian ideal today. But I find some very deep irony in your piece. Who is the “we” and the “us” that you refer to? You lament, rightfully, that some think as “Church of Christers” but clearly in the context of this blog the words “we” and “us” refer to a historical and specific group of people. You belong to that historic and specific group of people and have freely placed yourself within it by using “we” and “us.” The ideal of non-denominationalism is a difficult one but worth pursuing I believe but it goes way beyond using a little “c” for church of Christ or citing Acts 2.47 (which does not even use the word “church” and saying God adds folks to the “church of Christ”). That historic group (the “we” and “us”) has a history that is more than the book of Acts. Sadly sectarianism has been embraced while still being sectarian. Not saying you have done that but it is a rampant problem. A wonderful and thought provoking resource in my own journey has been Monroe Hawley’s “Is Christ Divided? A Study of Sectarianism.” One of the best books I’ve ever read. I recommend it. Shalom

     
  17. Lydia Sherman

    August 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I was always grateful to be a member of the blood bought body of Christ, the Lord’s church. It was shocking to me when people began to criticise it from within the saved, wanting to be more like the denominations with all the error and trappings of those organizations, feeling left out because they were different from the world and religions around them. I was taught that we would feel different and we would be criticized by the world, because we were following the simple pattern left in the last will and testament of Christ. We were given a great gift when we were taught the gospel, but some people were not content with its simplicity. If someone tries to tell you that something is wrong with the church, they need to look at themselves first and correct their own attitudes. They also need to understand the Biblical nature and God given pattern of the church, not judging it from their own finite reasoning. I am careful what I say about Christ, and I am sure others are too, but what about being careful not to insult His bride? If you met a very powerful man, full of authority, would you insult His wife? Of course our Lord is certainly full of grace in the midst of this kind of talk. I watched the thread and in a day a certain negative doubt was being expressed about the uniqueness of the Loed’s church, a saved body of people. It is no different than the kind of talk that was designed to keep people from even wanting to attend worship. If anyone wants to discuss this more privately, I would welcome your email.

     
  18. Joe Stewart

    August 31, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    If people look upon the Church of Christ as a “denomination”, as Christians, it’s our responsibility to educate them and show them why we believe what we do. What’s within the Holy Bible, nothing more, nothing less.

    We should never, ever be afraid to share the Word exactly as it’s written for fear of “inconveniencing” anyone. The Bible was inspired by God to be written the way it is for a reason.

    The truth is a double edged sword. It’s going to bring great joy to some and great despair to others. Moral accountability can be terrifying. It can also be a much needed wake-up call for many. Of course, it will also bring persecution. That’s simply a necessary part of following our Savior. Get used to it.

    To change anything written in the Bible, even something seemingly small and insignificant in our minds, could result in becoming accursed by the Lord our God.

    Revelation 22:18-19 clearly states the following:

    “18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.”

    I don’t know about any of you, but to me, that’s both terrifying and very clear.

    I think that we should just focus on sharing the Word “as-is” and those that are willing to accept it as such will come to Christ without reservation. All we can do is pray for those that don’t.

     
    • mark

      September 12, 2013 at 8:28 am

      They act like a denomination when they do not accept congregational autonomy and then want to tell the rest how to believe, worship, sing, and then place full page ads in newspapers lambasting them if they did not comply. This screams denomination.

      The community churches are nimble, don’t have entrenched politics, and have better PR and no track record. Perhaps the cofC needs to try to mimic them.

       
      • Joe Stewart

        September 17, 2013 at 12:08 pm

        Then again, perhaps not. If they’re not 100% complying with what is written within the Holy Bible then I highly recommend that people avoid community churches.

         
  19. mark

    September 4, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    To begin, few, save a few progressives, in the cofC believe that “Anyone who has been baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of his/her sins (Acts 2:38) is a Christian”. Anyone is a broad word and might include baptists and a host of others. Some churches don’t really want to recognize any baptism performed outside of their building. Secondly, when the sermons are still about “why we don’t …..” and you are still explaining it, it will be hard to convert people and draw them in. When Easter, Palm Sunday, and Christmas are ignored, that makes it hard to not want to go a “real service” on the holidays. When a mere 2 verses of the bible is read in the service, it is quite sad and leads to people wondering if there is a fear of reading half a chapter or, heaven forbid, a whole chapter. Perhaps the fear is that that it would be listened to in its intended context.

    Someone mentioned the Holy Ghost (Spirit) in a response. The only time I have heard him mentioned is when a baptism is going to occur and the baptizer invokes the Trinity, about as rare as John ch 1 being read from the pulpit.

     
    • Joe Stewart

      September 17, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      What we may “want to do” and what the Bible says is right are many times two different things. Just because a person has been baptized for the forgiveness of sins as stated in Acts 2:38 does NOT mean that they are saved! They must refrain from returning to their old ways, do exactly what the Bible says to do, without adding or taking anything away from the Word as it’s written, and they must remain faithful unto death.

      Hebrews 10:26-27 reads “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries”.

      If we choose to attend a church because it suits “us”, not for fear of disobeying the Lord, then we’re in grave danger, baptized or not!

      Regarding Easter, Christmas, etc I urge everyone to read the origins of these holidays. These are Pagan holidays, not Christian! Ezekiel 8:15 calls sunrise service (as performed on Easter Sunday) an “abomination!

      Regarding Christmas, it’s only been celebrated in the United States since 1870 and was a big point of contention in the U.S. Civil War.

      Read more about it at: http://www.thehistoryofchristmas.com/ch/in_america.htm

      A few years ago, when our Pulpit Minister was fairly new to the position, he faced the decision of preaching the “Word” as it’s written or focusing more on “peace, joy and love”, which had become more popular with members and helped maintain a higher retention rate. He wisely decided to preach the Gospel just as it was written, with the consequences of Hell included in his sermons.

      Not long after he did this one of the long time church members approached him privately and told him that he’d taken the church back “50 years”. Somehow this individual and others were under the impression that we’d “outgrown” the original Word of God. Unfortunately, we gradually lost a few members after that, but the wise Minister stood his ground and still does to this day.

      I’m in no way, shape or form trying to pass judgment on anyone that attends a church other than the Church of Christ. The Bible tells us that those that disobey his Word are “condemned already”. That goes for ALL of us. I simply want to reenforce the fact that the Holy Bible was written in its entirety for us to study regularly from front to back, not to just pick out pieces of scripture that happen to appease us. Some churches have clearly done this and are teaching doctrine that is NOT 100% Biblical! I urge everyone to study the teachings of other denominations vs the Church of Christ. You’ll be shocked. I was.

      I also highly recommend that everyone study the origin of a holiday before celebrating it. You may unknowingly be offending the Lord our God.

      God bless you all.

       
  20. Joe Stewart

    September 17, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    What we may “want to do” and what the Bible says is right are many times two different things. Just because a person has been baptized for the forgiveness of sins as stated in Acts 2:38 does NOT mean that they are saved! They must refrain from returning to their old ways, do exactly what the Bible says to do, without adding or taking anything away from the Word as it’s written, and they must remain faithful unto death.

    Hebrews 10:26-27 reads “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries”.

    If we choose to attend a church because it suits “us”, not for fear of disobeying the Lord, then we’re in grave danger, baptized or not!

    Regarding Easter, Christmas, etc I urge everyone to read the origins of these holidays. These are Pagan holidays, not Christian! Ezekiel 8:15 calls sunrise service (as performed on Easter Sunday) an “abomination!

    Regarding Christmas, it’s only been celebrated in the United States since 1870 and was a big point of contention in the U.S. Civil War.

    Read more about it at: http://www.thehistoryofchristmas.com/ch/in_america.htm

    A few years ago, when our Pulpit Minister was fairly new to the position, he faced the decision of preaching the “Word” as it’s written or focusing more on “peace, joy and love”, which had become more popular with members and helped maintain a higher retention rate. He wisely decided to preach the Gospel just as it was written, with the consequences of Hell included in his sermons.

    Not long after he did this one of the long time church members approached him privately and told him that he’d taken the church back “50 years”. Somehow this individual and others were under the impression that we’d “outgrown” the original Word of God. Unfortunately, we gradually lost a few members after that, but the wise Minister stood his ground and still does to this day.

    I’m in no way, shape or form trying to pass judgment on anyone that attends a church other than the Church of Christ. The Bible tells us that those that disobey his Word are “condemned already”. That goes for ALL of us. I simply want to reenforce the fact that the Holy Bible was written in its entirety for us to study regularly from front to back, not to just pick out pieces of scripture that happen to appease us. Some churches have clearly done this and are teaching doctrine that is NOT 100% Biblical! I urge everyone to study the teachings of other denominations vs the Church of Christ. You’ll be shocked. I was.

    I also highly recommend that everyone study the origin of a holiday before celebrating it. You may unknowingly be offending the Lord our God.

    God bless you all.

     

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