"DOES THE CHURCH OF CHRIST NEED TO BE RESTORED?"
"Does the church of Christ need to be restored?" Not
according to at least two groups. One group tells us that the
church was never lost; another tells us that there is nothing to
restore. Respectfully, we disagree, and here is why:
Mixing biblical metaphors causes some to deny the need for
restoration. "After all," they tell us, "the church is the
people. You cannot restore the people." With this group, we need
only to remind them that God's spiritual sphere is not only
referred to as the church but the same body is alluded to, among
other figures, as the kingdom. Having viewed the church from the
aspect of a kingdom, this group will be better able to see the
potential of restoration.
The apostles pled for restoration of the old kingdom,
"When they therefore were come together, they asked of him,
Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel"
(Acts 1:6)? We can all agree that they knew of the
of restoring kingdoms. Thus, when one views the church as the
kingdom, rationale for the plea to return to that which once
existed in pristine form is evident.
Another principle that shows that the church or kingdom can
be restored is found in 2 Kings 23. God's system of religion
deteriorated under the rule of evil kings and lying diviners.
being enlightened by that which was written, godly princes,
prophets and people returned to the Lord by keeping "the passover
unto the LORD...as it is written in the book of this covenant" (2
Kings 23:21). Lest someone missed it. They kept the Passover "as
is written"; indeed, as it is written "in the book of the
covenant." What these passages tell is that a system of religion
(the church or the kingdom) can be restored. Obviously, the Lord
was pleased with their return to His way of righteousness.
What we need now is to understand whether or not the church
needs to be restored. It depends on the time frame. Has the
of Christ (the kingdom) ever needed restoring? Yes. Wayne Jackson
is exactly right when he says "Every biblical passage that warns
a 'falling away' from the faith...contains the implied need for a
restoration" (Spiritual Sword, Vol. 23, No. 1). Both Acts 1:6 and
2 Kings 23 verify brother Jackson's basic declaration.
After the apostles established the church on firm footing,
false teachers lead many astray, even as Paul had forewarned
20; 1 Tim. 4; 2 Tim. 4; 2 Thess. 2). History shows that the
so corrupted the church that pure Christianity could rarely be
detected, possibly existing only in remote and isolated spots.
Thus, having gone astray, the kingdom needed to be brought back
its original condition.
Changing the time frame to today, we ask, "Does the church
need to be restored today?" Herein we answer, "No." However, if
providence allows another falling away, God's system of
righteousness will need to be brought back into its primitive
Admittedly, what we have said up to this time does not
address the second group's opposition to restoration. Remember
deny that there is anything to restore. Listen to one of their
proponents. He says, "The church which the Lord built is a
universal, unstructured entity which defies limiting patterns."
writer is saying that no pattern exists. Dear reader, if there is
no "limiting pattern," there can be no falling away.
Did the church in the first century have an original
condition; that is, a specific pattern that they followed and
Indeed it did. The apostles established the church all over the
land, with every congregation following the same set of rules.
as much as said this very thing to the Corinthians,
"Timothy...shall put you in remembrance of my ways which are in
Christ, even as I teach everywhere in every church" (1 Cor.
Accompanying this teaching was the warning to remain faithful to
what they had been taught: "Learn not to go beyond the
which are written..." (1 Cor. 4:6, ASV). Now read what Paul
said to Timothy. "Hold to the pattern of sound words"
(2 Tim. 1:13) and, "the things that thou hast heard of me
among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who
shall be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2)
Every church was taught the same thing. Paul did not teach
one set of doctrines to the Corinthians and then another set to
other churches. An equally firm warning was given to the
They were not to receive anything other than that which was
preached to them or/and received by them (Gal. 1:8) -- no new
Therefore, the penitent believer in Corinth did what the
penitent believer in Galatia did to become a Christian. He/she
born again (John 3:3-5). Brethren may have dressed a little
differently, talked a little differently, met at a different time
to publicly praise God, but they worshipped on the same day and
the same way (Acts 20:7; John 4:24; Acts 2:42; Heb. 2:12; 1 Cor.
11-16). Furthermore, whether in Corinth or in Ephesus, God's
lived according to the standard laid down in the first century
(Titus 2:11-12; Rom. 12:1-2). Clones one of another? No, not at
all. Followers of the law of Christ (Gal. 6)? Yes!
Out of the four meanings The American Heritage Electronic
Dictionary supplies for the word restore, to "bring back to an
original condition" fits exactly what we have been discussing.
Builders restore deteriorated houses. Members of antique car
clubs take great pride in "fixing up" junkers that have been
neglected. The closer they can equip them with the original
equipment the more delighted the restorer. Two ingredients are
present in any restoration. First, the "original condition" must
have existed; second, this primitive state must be sought and
attained. So it is with the kingdom. Certain, specific
requirements which have been set forth in the pages of the New
Testament must be fulfilled before we can have the original.
When we compare what is being taught and practiced to these
specific requirements, we will be able to determine whether we
restored, reformed or built anew. Reforming falls short. Building
to a new blueprint is forbidden. On the other hand, insisting on
the original condition is not only safe, but follows scriptural
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Table of Contents
WOODMONT HILLS AND RUBEL SHELLY BECOME
ENTHUSIASTIC PARTICIPANTS WITH BILLY GRAHAM CRUSADE
LoveLines is the bulletin for the Woodmont Hills
congregation where Rubel Shelly works as minister. The
September 29, 1999 issue (Volume 25, Number 29) has an article
about the fact that Billy Graham will be holding a crusade in
Nashville in the first week of June, 2000. Here are some excerpts
from that article.
"By now it is likely that you have heard the news that
Billy Graham is planning an evangelistic crusade for
Nashville in the spring of next year. This crusade has the
potential to be a significant event in the spiritual life
many people in our city." "...Woodmont Hills supports the
decision of Dr. Graham and his ministry to be in
"...It is important for the members of our church family to
understand why we will be enthusiastic participants."
Graham presents Jesus Christ as mankind's only hope for
eternal life. 'My one purpose in life,' he insists, 'is to
help people find a personal relationship with God, which I
believe comes trough knowing Christ.' If it is right to
arms with other believers to oppose pornography and drugs,
surely it cannot be wrong to join with them to preach
crucified." "...The Graham crusade will challenge the
in Nashville to reap a harvest of souls to God's glory."
"...The invitation to be given each evening will be for
persons to make a decision to accept Jesus Christ as their
Savior and Lord. Respondents will then make a
self-designating choice to be counseled about the meaning
their decision by people from several different groups. We
will be working closely with the campaign effort to advise
those who mark 'Church of Christ.' We will also try to
contact such persons with a congregation that can
to them appropriately and help them in their spiritual
pilgrimage." "With the blessings of our shepherds, Rubel
Shelly is serving as a General Committee Member on behalf
this outreach effort. Several of our shepherds wrote
of invitation to Dr. Graham to encourage him to come to our
city. Training sessions for crusade workers will be hosted
on our property. And we ask all of you to pray for the
success of this effort to exalt Jesus Christ in our great
Far from opposing Billy Graham as a false teacher, this
article was written to explain why the Woodmont Hills
plans to be "enthusiastic participants." Let's notice three
from this quote.
The usage of the term other "believers" is unfortunate and
unscriptural. Acts 5:14 and 1 Timothy 4:12 use the term believer
refer to those who are Christians. Other passages refer to those
who believed (Acts 2:44; 4:32). Just the fact that someone
who Jesus is does not make him a believer. In Matthew 8:29,
confessed Jesus as God's Son. That didn't make them believers (in
the biblical sense of the word).
It is impossible to join with Billy Graham to preach Christ
crucified because Billy Graham does not preach Christ crucified
at least not in the biblical sense of these words. In Acts 8:35,
Phillip began to preach to the Treasurer of Ethiopia. Luke
that he preached unto him Jesus. The very next verse presents the
Treasurer as asking if something stood in the way of him being
baptized. Phillip preached that Jesus' baptism was integral to
message. But according to the Lovelines article, Billy Graham
invite people to make a decision to accept Jesus Christ as their
Savior and Lord. Unfortunately, we all know Billy Graham will not
tell people they must be baptized in order to be saved by Jesus.
their website, there is a page on how to become a Christian. It
mentions believing, and receiving a free gift from God, but it
never mentions baptism. Billy Graham may claim to preach Christ,
but he doesn't do so as Phillip the evangelist did.
This LoveLines article reasons that if it is right to link
arms with other believers in opposing things like pornography and
drugs, surely it cannot be wrong to join with them to preach
crucified. The answer to this is simple. It is not right for the
Lord's church to link arms with people who are not true believers
in opposing sin or in supporting that which is right. Christians
can be part of the "right to life" movement. Christians can join
community programs designed to keep kids off drugs. But
cannot join with religious groups or denominations because
with them makes us partakers of their evil. Since no denomination
has God's authorization, all denominations are sinful (Col.
False teachers like Billy Graham are to be taken note of and
avoided (Rom. 16:17-18). The article uses the term participants,
and this is exactly what the word fellowship means. It means
sharing or jointly participating. 2 John 9-11 teaches we cannot
endorse the false teacher, for in supporting or endorsing him we
become partaker of his evil deeds. We cannot support him just in
his good, without that endorsement making us partakers of his
As appealing as he is in his speaking ability, his upright
manner of life, etc., Billy Graham is preaching a perverted
and he stands as one who is accursed by God (Gal. 1:6-9). Should
as God's children think that we can stand with such a one and
support him and still hope to escape the curse ourselves?
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Ted J. Clarke of Mammoth Spring, Arkansas wrote...
"Brethren, are you crying? Does your heart ache at this kind of
news? We've come a long way from the time one preacher reportedly
cried out to Billy Graham in one of his crusades, "Why do you not
teach baptism as essential for salvation?" To which Graham
reportedly said, "Well, it seems we have a Campbellite among us.
Just go on back to your own little group," or words to that
How long, O, Lord?"
Table of Contents
DLU POLICY OR BIBLICAL TRUTH?
The verbal obfuscation of liberals and their fellow
travelers is keenly focused in the following from the November
issue of the Christian Chronicle. Lindy Adams' article
reports on the firing of Doug Varnado at David Lipscomb
because the church where he preaches now uses instrumental music.
DLU President Steve Flatt plainly indicates that a decision to
or exclude mechanical instruments of music in worship rests upon
the "policy" of DLU and a "108-year tradition," not necessarily
Biblical authority, and his fellow traveler, Chronicle Editor
Bailey McBride, commends his "stand."
The story contains the following quote from the Nashville
Tennessean: "If Community church is going to be an instrumental
congregation, that's not in accord with our policy," Lipscomb
President Steve Flatt told the Tennessean. "Our identity for the
last 108 years has included a cappella."
Flatt told the Chronicle, "Our policy is not meant to
reflect who is or is not in the Kingdom. It reflects a small part
of an operating procedure which best allows Lipscomb to serve."
Flatt offers nothing from a Biblical perspective regarding
music in the church, only a carefully crafted statement that
instrumental music isn't "in accord with our policy," and is "a
small part of our operating procedure that allows Lipscomb to
serve." That's a far cry from the biblical position of N. B.
Hardeman who debated that issue with Ira M. Boswell in the very
shadow of David Lipscomb College at the Ryman Auditorium in 1923.
Flatt makes instrumental music a "policy" issue. Hardeman taught
the Truth on it.
The article further said, "Our policy on a cappella music
reflects our primary constituents," Flatt told the Chronicle.
The implication is that instrumental music would be
at Lipscomb if their "primary constituents" wanted instrumental
music. This is theological subjectivism, not objective devotion
Flatt then sidestepped the issue with the following
statement: "Virtually all churches of Christ are a cappella, and
don't need to apologize for that. There are good reasons for our
stance, including unity and harmony on campus."
How about a lack of Biblical authority for mechanical
instruments? Would Flatt classify that as one of the "very good
reasons for our stance?" What does he mean by "unity and harmony
campus?" If mechanical instruments would promote the kind of
"unity" (union) called for by the Christian Church, would that be
a good reason to permit its use?
In the same issue, Chronicle Editor Bailey McBride has high
praise for Flatt for "taking a stand." "The issue of
music has publicly surfaced in Nashville, Tenn. Steve Flatt and
administration of Lipscomb University stood firmly for a cappella
music in worship in deciding to terminate the services of Doug
Varnado, a visible and popular teacher of 17 years. (See story,
p.14.) Such a course of action is never easy, especially when the
spotlight of public scrutiny is certain to follow. Flatt's
statements to the press are cautious and cite the 108-year
tradition of a cappella music in public worship at Lipscomb and
among churches of Christ. We admire Flatt and his administration
for taking a stand, one that is significant for Lipscomb and
probably churches of Christ everywhere."
McBride apparently believes that citing a "108-year
tradition...at Lipscomb" is taking a significant stand for
and "churches of Christ everywhere." I don't know about you
brethren, but I will teach the truth on worship (John 4:24) and
principle God has illustrated throughout the Bible that added
elements like mechanical instruments to worship is sin. It has
nothing to do with "tradition" or the preference of the
worshippers. It has everything to do with respect for God's
Circumventing the truth, Flatt did a devil's two-step all
around the subject with his partner, Bailey McBride and said
nothing worth of commendation for "taking a stand."
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Table of Contents
"HOW LONG HALT YE BETWEEN TWO OPINIONS?"
Ahab, King of Israel, saw Elijah the prophet coming to him
and said to the prophet, "Art thou he that troubleth
Elijah replied, "I have not troubled Israel, but thou,
and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandment
the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim" (1 Kings 18:18).
Ahab's house, coupled with his wicked wife Jezebel, had corrupted
the nation of Israel with idolatry and in particular the worship
Baal. Elijah challenges King Ahab to gather the children of
together at mount Carmel. He further challenge's Ahab to assemble
the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal, which was hand picked by
the king, to meet in a contest with the prophet of God. Elijah
to question the children of Israel, "How long halt ye
two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him, but if Baal, then
follow him. And the people answered him not a word" (1
18:21). Elijah could see that the idolatry poisoned the children
Israel. The false prophets perpetuated this act, and ultimately
Ahab. Elijah challenges God's people to decide, or take a stand
God, or Baal. They were unwilling to decide, how tragic. Elijah
the four hundred fifty false prophets engaged in a contest where
the prophet Elijah, through the God of heaven, was victorious.
showed the false prophets of Baal who was the true God (1 Kings
The likeness of the people of Israel and God's people today
have many comparisons, not the least of which is the vacillating
wavering when it comes to making candid choices for truth, right,
1. The church must not waver when Christian schools
seek to manipulate the local church by being included in the
church budget. We should be equally concerned about our sons and
daughters when we place them in their care. Like ancient Israel
that refused to stand against the false prophets spreading its
poison, so today, many schools in our brotherhood are subjecting
our young people to error as we place our children under their
care. I will not make a full-blanket condemnation on all of our
Christian schools. However, Jesus said "Ye shall know them
their fruits" (Matt. 7:16).
While attending Christian schools in the late sixties, it
was my opinion that I received an excellent education and never
suspected error being taught. Accordingly, they have called upon
to raise money for Christian colleges and schools of preaching
an extended period. We gladly did so and urged others as well.
During the process of time, I began to learn that some of these
Christian colleges and schools of preaching were not worthy of my
financial support. This preacher would hear sad stories from
parents who lamented the sad circumstance of their son or
that lost their faith at such and such Christian college. God,
author of all righteousness, will forever hold the error that
seduced their souls into account (Acts 17:31). When one speaks
about these matters, they usually look upon them as negative.
if we want to save the souls of our children and grandchildren,
must exercise great urgency in view of the error they will face.
Elders should equally be aware of the cunning and subtle
approach allowing the college to be a part of the church budget.
Just where is the Scripture that authorizes the church to place
college in their budget? One approach has been to sell the church
on the predisposition that such support will go to the Bible
department. Even if such were scripturally permissible, which I
fail to find, to what part of the Bible department would it go?
Several students have visited me from different Christian
colleges and informed me that students have literally protested
error being generated on their college campus. It is my humble
opinion that we should monitor any Christian school today. Our
young men have some excellent schools of preaching available if
church wishes to prepare him to preach the Gospel. Conversely,
should avoid some schools of preaching due to error being taught.
It is no secret that the schools of preaching are producing far
more preachers than the Christian colleges. We must guard our
and daughters against thinking that attending a brotherhood
means that we should blindly accept all that is taught. We should
not accept everything a preacher says just because he stands in
pulpit. The ancient Bereans were wise because they verified or
searched the Scriptures to see if the spoken word was accurate
(Acts 17:11). Just because brethren operate a school does not
we can trust the accuracy of what they teach as reliable.
2. How long will we be indecisive when it comes to the
recreation and entertainment mania plaguing the church? All
too often we are seeing the church reach further into the field
recreation and cross lines that we have no business crossing.
churches in our fellowship have built recreational structures
the name of, "Family Life Centers." The first time I saw a
Life Center," was at a Baptist Church in 1981. Shortly
churches of Christ began to build similar edifices. Millions of
dollars are spent from the church treasury that provides
courts, volleyball, a place for "Christian aerobics," which is
beyond my understanding, a tract for walking, etc. Some brethren
feel the church must compete with sectarians by providing
entertainment (recreation) for its membership. The New Testament
offers no authority for such foolhardy things. I do not believe
a "Church of Christ softball team" any more than a "Church of
Christ bass fishing team." Fishing, hunting, or playing softball
not wrong for members of the church (in and of themselves). But,
dear reader, it is not the responsibility of the church to
The work of the church is confined to three areas: 1)
the Gospel (Matt. 28:18-20), 2) Edifying the church (Eph. 4:16;
Acts 20:32), and 3) Caring for the widows, orphans, needy, etc.
(James 1:27; Gal. 6:10). Only in these three comprehensive areas
the church authorized to work and use its financial resources.
3. How much longer will we remain mute about the role
of women in the church? During the last two decades or so we
have seen serious inroads of women playing a more prominent role
churches of Christ. Many have asserted that her role has been
seriously limited while others suggest there should be an open
to what she may do, including her participation in the public
The Nashville Jubilee had many goals initially, among them
was the use of women in the public assembly. They invited sister
Jane McWhorter to the initial Jubilee to speak, she assumed, to a
group of women. When men began to wander in, this informed sister
refused to teach the class due to men being present. I have long
admired the courage and conviction of sister McWhorter, but for
those who had abandoned the truth and to place her in that
position was unconscionable.
We have seen this kind of thing and other digressive
practices "wax worse and worse" just as Paul declared
Tim. 3:13). Paul further said, "But I suffer (permit)
not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man,
to be in silence." The phrase "over the man," modifies "to
teach" and "to usurp." She cannot teach over the man, nor can she
usurp authority over the man. She may in a class situation ask a
question, provided she is not usurping or taking the authority
from the male teacher. Scripture mandates women to teach children
and other women, but deity places a prohibition upon the woman
it comes to women teaching men. God forbids women preachers,
elders, deacons, etc. May we hasten to point out that Philip
"had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy" (Acts
The daughters of Philip were teachers of the word of God.
Nevertheless, the Bible forbids women to usurp the authority over
We are hearing more about women ushers, women waiting on
Lord's Table, women making announcements, song leaders, and one
easily understand where all this mumbo jumbo is heading. The
agents of the digressive element would take us even further into
the mire and morass of apostasy. Jeremiah's refrain is clear,
"Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where
the good way, and walk therein" (Jer. 6:16).
Elijah urged the children of Israel to take a stand when he
said, "How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be
God, then follow him, and if Baal, follow him..." (1 Kings
18:21). The response of Israel was no response at all. The
similarity between Israel and the church of today is uncanny in
their indifference. We urge those who are engaged in unauthorized
activities to repent and return to the "old paths." Conversely,
faithful must always be "speaking the truth in love"
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Table of Contents
WALK TO EMMAUS, TUESDAY NIGHT COMMUNION, AND OTHER MATTERS
It is with great sadness that this article MUST be written.
Tuesday night, October 5, 1999, the once sound Highland
of Christ in Abilene, Texas publicly proclaimed its
ties. In the Saturday, October 2, 1999 religious section of the
Abilene Reporter News, this once rock solid congregation,
that the "Walk to Emmaus" video would be shown, and that "the
remainder of the meeting will include singing, preaching, and
Communion." Yes, you read it correctly.
WHAT WAS SEEN AND HEARD
Due to a prior obligation, I was not able to attend this
meeting to see for myself. However, brother Michael Light of the
Bangs church of Christ did attend. His report, backed up by audio
tapes, was absolutely sickening. This article will but touch the
hem of the garment. But faithful brethren who still believe we
expose error, need to know what took place on that sad evening at
425 Highland Ave. in Abilene.
WHAT MUST HAVE BEEN SAID
There was a full blown band on stage. There was an all
quartet entertaining the audience. Added to this, there was hand
clapping, and hands raised in the air with arms, and bodies
back and forth. Some may say this was not the formal worship
assembly, and that we should not make a big deal about it. But
remember, they were treating it as such when they offered and
partook [erroneously] of the communion. And don't forget where
of this started years ago. Just prior to the split of the
of Christ with the Christian church, "members?" of the Lord's
church insisted that they just wanted to use the piano or
outside of the services. You know the rest of the story! Indeed,
little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump."
The sad story of October 5, 1999 at Highland does not end
with the above. The speaker at this event was Eddie Sharp of the
University Church of Christ here in town. First, he read from a
book supplied for this "Walk to Emmaus," and then the audience
would then respond from the book. This sounds exactly like
and denominational liturgical nonsense. What was the gist of the
rest of his speech to these Emmaus walkers? Church and religious
heritage and tradition does not matter. In essence, you can be a
member of a denomination, and that is acceptable in God's eyes.
Just let Jesus lead you to a church that is right for you. Does
that even remotely sound like what we read in the New Testament
about one body, one Lord, one faith, and one baptism (Eph.
NO! That is ecumenism, and denominationalism pure and simple. How
many churches did Jesus build, and die for? ONE (Matt. 16:18;
Let's not forget that they partook of the communion! Listen
to this. The communion was administered by Eddie Sharp and
man. Mr. Sharp would break the bread, and give it to the
participant who would go to the next man, and there dip it into a
large cup of the fruit of the vine, and then partake of the
bread. That is Catholicism through and through! Friends, my Bible
still says that the early church met and partook of the Lord's
Supper on the first day of the week (Acts 20:1-7) not Tuesday,
that Jesus first blessed and broke the bread and give it to His
disciples, and then gave thanks for the cup and then gave it to
disciples [distinctly separate acts, not a dipping combination]
What did the leadership of the church tell the membership
for them to accept such goings on? Or by now, in their
indoctrination of the membership to accept anything they are
told, do they need to tell them anything at all? Aren't these
wolves in sheep's clothing leading them to the slaughter? You
decide for yourself. How long can "knowledgeable" people stay on
and support/condone such with their monies and attendance, and
still be truly faithful?
Rest assured, we have not heard the last of this digression
(I wish this had not taken place, but it did). To those in this
congregation I make an urgent plea. If you have friends still
involved with congregations such as these, GO TO THEM NOW and
plead, urge, yes, even beg them, for their soul's sake, to get
now without delay. If you need help, call me and I will go with
you. These are soul's on the very verge of eternal destruction.
we really love them enough to tell them the truth?
In some ways I am glad that I did not see this with my own
eyes, nor hear it with my own ears. I fear that I would have been
sickened to my stomach, and not slept at all that night. Yet, for
all those who are in denial or think we can just ignore such as
this, I wish we all could have been there to see it, and hear it.
For all such departures from the Lord's body that are
causing innumerable souls to be lost, I can but expose the error,
and warn the brotherhood, and then echo the words of the
and Jeremiah. "Rivers of water run down mine eyes, because
they keep not thy law" (Psalm 119:136). "Oh that my
were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep
day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people"
Yes, we should weep for lost souls.
Royce Williamson, The Communicator
Vol. 6, No. 41, Oct. 10, 1999
N 5th & Grape St Church of Christ
Abilene, TX 79601
Return to Table of Contents
ADDENDUM TO THE COMMUNICATOR
CORRECTION: It was not my intention to write
again concerning the Tuesday night, October 5, 1999
Walk To Emmaus Program held at Highland Church of
Christ. However, on Thursday evening, October 14, 1999,
Mike Cope, minister for Highland Church of
Christ,, called me at home and wanted us to know
that my article mislead people to believe that this was
a function of Highland Church of Christ, which it was
not. The discussion was amicable, but forthright. I
informed him that I would correct this misconception,
but that along with many others who read the
announcement in the newspaper, I thought that it was
being sponsored by the Highland church. For this
misunderstanding and misrepresentation, I apologize to
the leaders and members of Highland. As for the rest of
the article, as I told Mike Cope, it stands without
correction or apology.
EDITORIAL: Nobody that I know of likes
these types of confrontations, least of all me.
However, I will not shirk my responsibilities as a
Gospel preacher by not preaching the whole counsel of
God, which includes exposing the unfruitful works of
darkness (Eph. 5:11). I may be wrong about my next
statement, but someone is going to have to prove me
wrong before I change my beliefs. Even though this
event was not sponsored or put on by the Highland
Church, by their silence, and refusal to deny the use
of their facility for such a function, they DID
sanction it. Silence IS acceptance. I don't believe
that it can be argued that the leaders did not know
about the event, because it was announced in the
Abilene Reporter-News, religious section.
It was argued that such groups as the Boy Scouts,
and Big Brothers/Big Sisters also use the building, and
that those are not functions of the Highland church.
That is true, but they are known as social
organizations (even though they may have prayers or
even devotionals as a part of their meetings), and the
Emmaus event, and "the remainder of the meeting" were
clearly religious in design. We must not compare apples
with oranges. If it is argued that the elder's policy
for the use of the facilities (facilities over which
they are shepherds and stewards) does not regulate the
activities that can take place therein, what will their
response be if a Satanic group, or a branch of the KKK,
or some other "hate group" wants to use it for their
meeting? If the elders deny its usage then, then there
clearly ARE rules and guidelines that must be met. If
that is the case, then that tells us that the usage
(which included the publicized communion offered on
Tuesday night) did not violate their policy for usage.
Folks, we cannot use what I call the "Three Monkey's
Policy" of see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil
(which is similar to Bill Clinton's "Don't ask, don't
tell" policy on homosexuals in the military) when it
comes to the things over which God has made us
stewards. I don't see God accepting a "We just didn't
know" answer on judgment day. Friends, RESPONSIBILITY
still lies at the door of the leadership at Highland.
Have they gone to Eddie Sharp and lovingly corrected;
rebuked him for his part in all of this? If not, why
not? Do they indeed not see the egregious sin in what
took place at that facility which belongs to God? And
what about some of their own members that may have gone
and participated? If they have gone to brother Sharp
and corrected him, I will publicly commend them, and
say, "Job well done' in our bulletin. This would be the
right thing to do, and I will gladly do it. It will not
do to try to make me look like the "bad guy" in all of
this. I did nothing more than expose a sinful situation
and warn the brotherhood of the problem (Ezek. 33:1-11;
Eph. 5:11; etc.). Remember Acts 20:26-31. If it is said
that I didn't go to them personally first, remember the
context of Matthew 18:15. That was between two
brothers, and this was done openly/publicly. Nothing in
the article that I wrote was mean spirited, but rather
I encouraged the brethren here to go to anyone they
knew and help get them out of such a mess. I would/will
do it again if needed. WITHOUT APOLOGY! I hope this
ends this. I am afraid that it will not.
October 17, 1999
N. 5th and Grape St.
Church of Christ,
Abilene, TX 79601.
We thank God for brother Williamson's courage and
willingness to expose these careless and unscriptural
practices at Highland in Abilene. Their explanation for
allowing such as this makes no sense at all. Can we
expect the Pope of Rome to appear in their building any
time soon? O.B. Porterfield The church at Highland
has not stood for the Truth for many, many years. Their
long history has been in support of error. With Mike
Cope as their minister, we can expect nothing else. He,
along with many others, has been in the forefront of
leading the way of apostasy in this decade. The
question is, who will follow their pernicious ways and
continue in their downward plunge away from the Lord.
Wake up brethren. Repent and come out from among them
while there is opportunity.
Table of Contents
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