SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE OF ASHDOD
The city of Ashdod was one of the five leading cities of the
Philistines assigned to Judah in the conquest of the promised land.
Israel failed to depose them because of their fierceness and their
chariots of iron. They were a constant source of discomfort and
trouble to Israel and were among those opposing the rebuilding of
Jerusalem and the temple as Judah began their return from the
Nehemiah was very disturbed with those Jews who had
intermarried with the people of Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. Their
children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could
not speak in the Jews' language. They had done
great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange
wives (Neh. 13:23-31).
In view of this passage, we often refer to someone
SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE OF ASHDOD. By this we mean they are speaking
in a way and are using terms that are polluted with worldly
concepts that are foreign to the thinking and teaching of God. We
mean they are speaking in reference to godly and biblical things
using human phraseology blended with the philosophies of men rather
than using biblical terms that reflect the true intent of God's
With this in mind, this article will attempt to define
words and phrases commonly used by those among us whom we identify
as liberal in their approach to biblical precepts and religious
activity. We will address what we also refer to as REDEFINITION
TERMS that are used by liberals in churches of Christ today. The
purpose of this definitive list of words and terms is to show what
they really mean when they use them. THE TERMS ARE THEIRS -- THE
DEFINITIONS ARE MINE (JS). We refer to them as redefinition terms,
because they use them to redefine and imply a different meaning to,
or describe in deceiving ways, things, practices, methods,
philosophies, doctrines, teachings and concepts that have long been
used by members of the church of Christ based on our convictions of
I have gleaned these terms from their own writings
(books, magazines, various publications, and correspondence), from
conversations with them, and from listening to their speeches and
sermons. They are literal quotes! Let's therefore consider these
favorite words and phrases they use. In alphabetical order, they
1) A change hermeneutics. This is applying a
different meaning to the teaching of God's word than what God
intended in order to promote and/or justify error. Hermeneutics
simply means the method one uses to interpret or attempt to
understand and explain something. Applied spiritually, it involves
how one approaches the Bible and what method one uses in trying to
understand and apply its precepts. Correct hermeneutics promotes
acceptable practice with God. Faulty hermeneutics promotes
unacceptable practice with God. They charge our hermeneutics has
been faulty and needs the changes they propose. I charge that their
hermeneutic is faulty and has no respect whatever for honestly and
truthfully understanding and applying God's word in our lives!
2) A narrow, criticizing, mean spirited attitude.
They apply this to one who opposes the liberal agenda or its
unscriptural practices. However, they do not apply this to
themselves when they castigate, demean, undermine, and oppose those
who hold to truth and oppose the error they espouse.
3) Accurate knowledge. This is a better
understanding of what denominational or modern up-to-date human
philosophical views are which advocate the accommodation of present
day cultural trends.
4) An accepting atmosphere. This is one that
will compromise the truth to bring in members. It is a philosophy
that will accept those in error as they are.
5) An inclusive atmosphere. One that will
include almost anything regardless of whether or not it is
scriptural. It is especially applied to compromising with
denominational error and dogmas.
6) Better experienced than explained. One's
religion, better felt than told, is an old denominational
dogma used to side-step biblical truth. It puts emphasis on how one
feels, being more important than what one can justify by God's
word. It minimizes adherence to biblical truth and emphasizes
action guided by personal satisfaction.
7) Break out, or break away churches. Those
congregations willing to rebel against God's teaching
and break away from sound biblical doctrinal practices
even to the extent of breaking fellowship with sound congregations.
These are apostate churches!
8) Building a supportive atmosphere. Building
an atmosphere that will support one's life-style or religious
beliefs, whether they are biblical (scriptural) or not.
9) Celebrative. That which is geared more to
emotion than the Bible standard. It leans heavily on the concept,
religion is better felt than told (see also #6). It
proclaims that attitude and feeling are more important than method.
It is especially applied to methods of worship that reject what
they call traditional worship, which they deem dull and
stoic. It promotes a worship atmosphere that is more vocal,
theatrical and boisterous that reaches out more to man than God. It
is more of a carnival atmosphere in worship.
10) Change or radical change. This is a radical
or major restructuring of the doctrine, teaching, practices,
concepts, organization, worship, and/or methods of evangelism of
the Lord's church. It is especially against our attitude toward
Scripture as the absolute guide for all we say and do religiously.
This change is promoted without serious regard to God's Word and is
geared to a zealous regard for present cultural trends that appease
and appeal to people rather than to God!
11) Church faces. A demeaning way to imply that
faithful Christians dedicated to practicing and defending
scriptural worship are hypocrites. It suggests they put on their
church faces when assembling to worship and are more
concerned with doing things scripturally than they are with loving
12) Clear Biblical principles. Biblical
principles so plain they cannot be questioned, as opposed to
principles where God has not specified. The philosophy they employ
in using this phrase demands a specifically stated Thou shalt
not, even though what God has specified logically rules it
out! They apply this thinking especially to the use of mechanical
instruments of music! Since God has not specifically ruled them out
with a Thou shalt not use mechanical instruments, they
promote their use and condemn those who understand the Biblical
principles that rule them out. They really acknowledge no such
thing, for they violate the scriptures where it pleases them no
matter how CLEAR the Biblical teaching may be!
13) Comfort zones. Implied areas of opinion and
custom with which we are familiar and comfortable which in reality
are practices geared to following God's divine pattern revealed in
His infallible Word. This phrase is used to deride those who would
follow the old paths and adhere to a thus saith the Lord
in trying to do all we do and say in the name of the Lord. Liberals
promote the acceptance of things that violate Biblical precept.
14) Decisions made at the top. A derogatory way
of challenging godly elders whom they claim make their decisions
without sensitivity to or the consent of the membership. They had
rather demand and promote more of a democratic type of set up in
the church where elders can't sneeze unless they survey, poll, or
in some way try to ascertain the thinking of the people before they
15) Decision makers. Similar to the one above.
It is a demeaning way to refer to godly elders who will do their
duty in taking a stand for truth as they oversee the church.
16) Excellence in worship assembly. Worship that
is geared to appease and please man, not God!
17) Exciting growth climate. A climate or
atmosphere that appeals to human appetites and panders to human
lust in order to attract numbers at any cost rather than seeking to
do things God's way. It is based on pragmatic cultural practices.
18) Faith sharing. A restating of the
denominational practice of witnessing or testifying involving
emphasis on personal experience rather than preaching the Gospel.
It especially opens the door for an inordinate role for women in
19) Felt-needs (also stated as personal felt-needs).
This is what one perceives to be more vital and important to
one's personal needs or self rather than those addressed in God's
word such as scriptural worship and godly living. It sets standards
based on one's own thinking, concepts, and personal likes and
dislikes rather than on the precepts of God's word. It is
philosophy geared to pleasing self rather than God.
20) Group continuum. These are philosophies
promoted in a small group setting that work together to propagate
and continue its views and practices and ultimately promote them in
the entire church.
21) Growth sounds. This is affinity with methods
and teachings of other religions that promote growth. It is a
philosophy that willingly accepts any and every gimmick man might
contrive if it promotes growth, regardless of whether or not it
adheres to biblical precept. It might be better called GROWTH
22) Important correlates to church growth. Those
things that correlate to growth stimulated by pragmatic (basic,
fundamental) cultural practices and the inventions of men.
23) Important variables. Those things they
gladly embrace because they appear to them as vital in order to
please self or man even though they might vary with, or stand in
contrast to sound biblical practices.
24) Institutionalism. This is a demeaning way
to refer to those things which hold strictly to sound biblical
practice and doctrine and seek to hold to the old paths.
25) Inward friendliness. This is a demeaning way
to refer to those who refuse to compromise biblical principles and
sound doctrine in favor of erroneous concepts and practices that
may attract new members. It also indicts the belief that there is
only one church and castigates those who refuse to fellowship those
of any other religion.
26) Inward orientation. This is similar to the
above. It is a demeaning way to deride thinking that is Bible
oriented and rejects any other religious teaching.
27) Lone Ranger. It is a demeaning reference
directed especially at church leaders (elder, deacon, minister,
teacher, personal worker, etc.) who will use only biblical methods
to reach the lost, and refuse to go along with the concepts of
multiple staff ministries geared to placating cultural whims.
28) Mainline denominations. All denominations
(attempting to include conservative churches of Christ as such)
that attempt to hold to conservative biblical views and principles
in any way and who resist the erroneous practices of the liberals
who wish to restructure the church into further apostasy.
29) Major conceptual shift. A major change in
one's concept, philosophy and thinking on how we view things,
especially changing from a Bible oriented thinking to a human
30) Major issues. Those things that conform to
present day culture and not biblical soundness. These are major and
more important to the liberal than conformity to the Will and Word
31) Mechanics. A demeaning way to attempt to
relegate scriptural practice to mere human concept in method. It is
used to blunt the force of Biblical teaching that questions
unscriptural practice in worship.
32) Ministry improvement. Modifying our
evangelistic methods to please men. This usually involves getting
rid of a faithful Gospel preacher, replacing him with one that will
go along with their attempts to radically change and restructure
the church into apostasy.
33) Ministry options. These are program options
that we may follow as we please in order to attract men and placate
their whims. This is done without regard to doctrinal soundness or
34) Open leadership. Leadership that is open to
catering to the whims of man rather than dedicated to holding the
line on sound doctrine. It carries with it the idea of the members
of a congregation overseeing the church instead of God's biblical
plan for elders to do it. It is geared to undermining the authority
of godly elders!
35) Other traditions. This is placing the
worship practices of churches of Christ (whether sound or not) on
a par with the practices of all other religions. It attempts to
relegate Scriptural worship to be no more important than the
traditions and inventions of any denomination or religion!
36) Outside sources. This is thinking that opens
the door to accepting the concepts and practices of other religions
or human sources, especially those of denominationalism. It is an
attempt to remove God's word as our only spiritual guide and to
reject the teachings and views of those in our brotherhood who are
sound. It relies heavily on so-called denominational
37) Outward orientation. This is thinking that
goes beyond or even out of biblical guidelines and attempts to
appease human whims and wants.
38) Overflow friendliness. Manifesting
friendliness to non-members that will compromise Biblical
principles and sound doctrine to attract them. It is a friendliness
that will fellowship those in error. It is unfriendly to God and
39) Pharisee. A word used in an attempt to
demean anyone who would stand up for what is Scripturally right or
one who would contend for the faith or be set for a
defense of the Gospel.
40) Participatory leadership. Leadership that
bows to public opinion.
41) Quality ministries. Programs geared to
personal felt needs and human whims, not to saving the
lost with God's Word, the Gospel.
42) Quality preaching. Preaching deemed
acceptable because it tickles ears with witty and/or eloquent
speech rather than preaching that adheres to the guidelines of 2
43) Receptive population. Those who will be
receptive to our message only when we are willing to change and
compromise it so that it caters to and pleases them!
44) Rediscovering. Going back to error.
45) Rehearsed authoritarian presentations. This
refers to using sound evangelism programs that present the Gospel
plan of salvation. It is an attack on teaching that is in line with
Truth rather than modern methods that would compromise it.
46) Religion better caught than taught. Religion
based on emotional response to witty or tear-jerking messages
rather than plain, bold, Gospel preaching. This promotes the
denominational error of religion better felt than told!
47) Required significant changes. Thinking that
demands restructuring, altering, changing the church, changing
methods of evangelism, worship practices, etc., so as to please
men. It has little concern for doctrinal purity.
48) Restructure. Thinking that demands an
overhaul on every Biblical precept we hold dear and that will
change the church into being just another denomination!
49) Sensitivity to well informed members. Being
more concerned with those well versed in the newest denominational
gimmicks geared to present cultural whims than with doing God's
will. Informed members is the key here! By
informed they mean versed in error and the
inventions of men, not grounded in Biblical knowledge!
50) Small groups. A philosophy that promotes
dividing the congregation up under various ministry concepts and
into small group settings so it can better be controlled by change
agents. Small groups make it more difficult for godly leaders to
oversee and makes it easier to remove them from under their
control. It is the age old philosophy of divide and
51) Speaking one's own religious experience. The
denominational view of witnessing or testifying rather than
preaching the Gospel to convert souls.
52) Spiritual renewal. Thinking that attempts
to employ methods that stir emotional response and generate good
inner feelings without regard to sound doctrinal practice. It
promotes a make you feel good religion, based on human
appetites or personal wish lists. (See #60 for wish
53) Subcultures. Religious thinking and practice
that differs with other religious thinking and practice, but should
respect the validity of all as part of the acceptable whole to God!
Denominationalism to the core! In other words, we are all headed to
the same place, just traveling different roads to get there. It
advocates the philosophy that every one is right and there is no
one true way!
54) Team effort. Going along with the change
agent agenda rather than opposing it.
55) Traditional. By liberal definition, this
term derides that which clings to sound Scriptural precept,
practice and doctrine, relegating it to tradition rather than
Biblical Cannon. Its purpose is to attempt to get us to adhere to
human philosophies rather than the Word of God.
56) Traditional church culture. Thinking that
indicts teachings and methods that are patterned after sound Bible
teaching of being human opinion rather than biblical precept. It
attempts to demean those who hold to God's Word as the only
absolute infallible guide for all we say and do religiously. It is
geared to intimidating us into accommodating human philosophy.
57) Variety. Thinking that attempts to pollute
worship with pragmatic, cultural, unscriptural practices.
58) Vital aspects of church life. Programs and
so-called ministries that are directed to felt-needs, not
to the edification of God's people through Biblically sound good
59) Warm and accepting atmosphere. An attitude
that is willing to compromise rather than confront issues that
concern Biblical principles or godly living.
60) Wish list. Thinking that would restructure
our religious practices to meet the whims and desires of those we
hope to attract.
These are but a few of the many deceiving and demeaning
words, terms and phrases used by liberals among us today. They give
us an idea of how to identify them, their thinking, their speech,
etc., for what they are -- WORLDLY, SENSUAL, DECEIVING WOLVES IN
SHEEP'S CLOTHING. They use these to mask or cover up the true
meaning of what they really are attempting to advocate from those
who might not agree with their philosophies and/or would oppose
them. If you agree with what they are saying, they hope you
understand them. If you do not agree with them, they hope you don't
understand them, at least until it's too late for you to take a
stand and/or oppose them and try to do something about what they
are trying to do to the Lord's church!
These words and phrases are deliberately designed to
confuse those who might oppose them! They have no respect whatever
for calling Bible things by Bible names, and doing Bible things in
Bible ways. Their speech betrays them! It is filled with human
terms and phrases that are foreign to God's word, are deliberately
designed to confuse and deceive, and viciously geared to demeaning
and showing despite for God, God's Word, and God's faithful who
would hold dearly to His Word and stand in defense of it!
Beware! When liberals use these terms, they do not mean
what you think. They hope to deceive you. Beware of them, and when
you hear their uncertain sounds, take note and search the
Scriptures whether or not the things they say adhere to God's Word.
Do not be duped by their fair words and appealing speeches.
Hopefully, this list will help you know what liberals
mean when they employ THE LANGUAGE OF ASHDOD so that you can
protect yourself from being deceived by their error or being
intimidated into compromising the truth because of them!
95 Gills Rd.
McMinnville, TN 37110
Table of Contents
SPEAK AS THE ORACLES OF GOD
Garland M. Robinson
If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of
God (1 Peter 4:11). The word oracle here
appears three other times in the New Testament. In Acts 7:38
the lively (living) oracles refers to
the Mosaic Law. The oracles of God in Romans
3:2 speaks of all the written utterances of God through Old
Testament writers. The first principles of the oracles of
God is used to indicate the entire substance of Bible
doctrine in Hebrews 5:12. The thought in First Peter 4:11 is that
if any man (neuter: anyone, whomsoever) speaks, let him speak as
the oracles (utterances, word) of God.
The most powerful influence in all the world is the
word of God. It is God's power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). It
is through the Word that men hear the Gospel (Rom. 10:14).
Through the word men are convicted of their sins (Titus
1:9). Men are begotten and born of God by the
Word (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23). The Word of God is able to
save and sanctify us (James 1:21; John 17:17). It is
able to strengthen and cleanse us (Psalm
119:9,28). Through the Word we receive instruction (Deut.
4:36) and through the Word we understand God's will (Psalm
119:104). Therefore, when we speak, we are commanded to speak the
word of God. Even in the common daily conversation of any and all
Christians (men and women), we are to be governed by what God has
said and as he has commanded and, with the Psalmist we should say,
O how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the
day (Psalm 119:97).
God's people are to speak the commands of God. We read
in Titus 2:1, But speak thou the things which become
sound doctrine. The Old Testament prophet Micaiah said,
As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that
will I speak (1 Kings 22:14). Paul instructed Timothy to
preach the word; be instant in season out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine
(2 Tim. 4:2). God told Isaiah, I have put my words
in thy mouth (Isa. 51:16). But those of Isaiah's day
said, Prophecy not unto us right things, speak unto us
smooth things, prophesy deceits (Isa. 30:10). The
terrible thing of it was that the people loved to have it
so (Jer. 5:31). We have no authority but the Word of God
and when we speak, it must be from the Scriptures which are
inspired of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
The first century preachers accepted this command and
spoke boldly in the name of Jesus. To speak boldly means to speak
openly, plainly and without fear. Paul sets
the tone when he asks the brethren in Ephesus to pray for him
that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth
boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel. For which I am an
ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to
speak (Eph. 6:19-20). The brethren in Philippi grew
confident by Paul's chains and were much more bold to
speak the word without fear (Phil. 1:14). After being
commanded not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus, Peter,
John and the other apostles were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and spake the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:29,31). Please note
several other passages which speak of these early disciples'
boldness (Acts 9:27; 13:46; 14:3; 19:8; 1 Thess. 2:2).
Note what happened when the word of God was preached with
boldness. Their sound went into all the earth, and their
words unto the ends of the world (Rom. 10:18).
And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both
of men and women (Acts 5:14). The Gospel was preached to
every creature under heaven (Col. 1:6,23). And the word
of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in
Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient
to the faith (Acts 6:7). When we get busy today teaching
and preaching the Gospel around the world without favor or
compromise, it will obtain the results for which God intended.
Speaking as the oracles of God is also respecting the
silence of the Scriptures. God intended for us to respect his
silence. Think of Nadab and Abihu who were destroyed by fire for
their disrespect of the silence of God's word (Lev. 10:1-2). God
had instructed the priests to use fire from the altar in their
sacrifices (Lev. 6:1,12). God did not say another fire could not be
used. However, Nadab and Abihu used a strange fire which
he commanded them not and were punished for it with
their lives. By God telling them what to use, he eliminated
everything else. When God says a thing, it is final, everything
else is eliminated!
God's people say, We will do only what the Bible
authorizes (commands, allows). Other religious people say,
We will do everything the Bible does not specifically
condemn. We respect silence in every other walk of life,
why not when it comes to the Bible? When you go to a restaurant to
eat, you tell the waiter what you want. You do not go through a
long list of everything you do not want. By specifying what you
want, you eliminate everything you do not want. There's no
misunderstanding. The Bible is no different, God has given us
exactly what he wants, no more and no less. Speaking as the oracles
of God is simply a lesson on basic Bible authority.
God said to Jeremiah, Whatsoever I command thee
thou shalt speak (Jer. 1:7). He has so commanded every
child of God in this last age when he said, If any man
speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.
The language of Ashdod (Neh. 13:24) is foreign
to speaking as the oracles of God. Let us use Bible words
and terms and not speak as the world. Let us speak as the oracles
Table of Contents
WHEN WE MISS WEDNESDAY NIGHTS
Victor M. Eskew
It is common to look at the attendance figures of most
congregations and find the Wednesday night attendance figures to be
greatly below those for the service on Sunday morning. Sometimes
the total attending on Wednesday is one-half the Sunday morning
Those who cause this difference by deliberately forsaking
the Wednesday evening Bible classes are sounding forth a message to
God and others. Let us look at some of the things we proclaim when
we forsake Wednesday night Bible study.
1) One is saying that he does not need spiritual
food. The Bible contains the necessary ingredients for one's
spiritual growth (1 Peter 2:2). Every Wednesday night, some of
these spiritual delicacies are set forth for those who are
hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Those who remain at
home during this spiritual feast act as though they do not need
this nutrition for their souls. At the present, these individuals
may not be aware of it, but they are dying spiritually. One who
doesn't eat in the physical realm will soon cease to be. This is
also true in the realm of things spiritual.
2) Those who forsake the Wednesday night services
are saying with clarity there are some things more important than
gathering with God's people for study and meditation upon God's
Word. Some of these more important things are
television programs, the newspaper, housework, and the garden. Dear
friends, a continuation in such a course will cause many people,
even your brothers and sisters in Christ, to wonder whether you
have been raised with Christ. If ye then be risen with
Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on
the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on
things on the earth (Col. 3:1-2).
3) Those who remain at home on Wednesday nights are
also stating that Bible study is boring and dull. It is
amazing that one could call something more precious than gold
(Psalm 19:10), dull and boring. It is beyond comprehension that the
Book containing God's mind (1 Cor. 2:9-13) could be thought of as
dry and uninteresting. It is astounding that the map which will
direct us to the heavenly abode with the Almighty and his Son
(Matt. 7:21) can be said to be stale and humdrum. Yet, that is what
those who forsake Wednesday night are saying.
4) Those who forsake Wednesday night are saying with
certainty that obeying God's commands is not important.
Hebrews 10:25 commands that one not forsake the assemblies of the
saints. Those who forsake the mid-week assembly undoubtedly think
this command is not important. Could they be mistaken?
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they might
have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates
into the city (Rev. 22:14).
We urge all those who forsake the Wednesday night
gathering of the saints to change their ways. Make sure to attend
in order to receive the spiritual food which is offered. There is
nothing more important. Upon attending regularly, you will find
that it is refreshing and enjoyable. And, you will obey the Savior
in the process. See you on Wednesday night!
9664 Highway 49 N
Brookland, AR 72417
Table of Contents
WATERS SPLASHING OVER THE DAM
James E. Farley
Imagine the following scenario. Up river from a certain
community, is a huge dam. It was built to control flooding. Now,
after weeks and weeks of rain, the lake is filling up, even though
workers are trying their best to relieve the pressure. The water is
beginning to splash over the top of the dam. It is an awesome sight
Now, let's imagine the majority of the town's people
gathered near the bottom of the dam and looking up at the
spectacular sight. They can hear the creaking and moaning as the
pressure of the water seeks to burst loose! They are amazed and
even fascinated by it all. Day after day they gather there to
experience the breathtaking and awe-inspiring sights and sounds.
Look! Look at the awesome power, and the beautiful water
splashing over the top! Some even stand at the very base of
the dam and allow the waters to splash down on them. Cracks begin
to form and small streams of water begin to flow down as the great
structure begins to give in to the hydraulic power. This seems to
fascinate and captivate the town's people even more. You
know, one of their leaders says, if this thing bursts
loose just right, we can use giant rubber rafts and charge people
to ride down the whitewater! We can bring in a lot of people this
way, and generate a lot of revenue for the town with this!
Still, there are a few who are standing up on the hills
above the river shouting down to these foolish ones. Hey
folks! The dam will soon burst and you will be drowned! People are
going to be killed! Come up here with us where you will be
safe! The workers at the dam join in with shouts of warning.
They issue bulletins in the newspapers and on the radio concerning
the great threat. City and county authorities try, to no avail, to
get these foolish ones to stop what they are doing. But, they
simply ignore all warnings and just continue in their folly;
laughing, playing and ignorantly enjoying their imminent peril.
They have shown, by their actions, that they have no respect for
authority. They cry out, Why are you being so mean-spirited
and hardcore? Why are you causing all this trouble? You are hurting
people's feelings and making enemies! We hate it when you always
condemn us and judge us. You see, they only want to have their
own way. We hear them declare, Oh, those old fuddy duddies,
and knuckleheads. They don't understand progress and how to enjoy
themselves. If they haven't felt the refreshing waters splashing
over the top of the dam, they don't know what they're missing. If
they want to stay up on the hills, and be 'safe', well, let them.
But they should not try to bind that upon us. We must follow our
hearts! What we are doing feels so good, it can't be wrong! You
folks need more tolerance of differences.
What would you think of such people? How would you view
them? We would say they are silly and foolish in their thinking and
in their actions, right? But do you know this very kind of scenario
is being played out among the churches of Christ even today?
As I have traveled around the country preaching in
meetings and lectureships over the past few years, I have seen it
for myself. I have talked with those at the base of the dam! If
sound brethren think we have seen the strength and power of these
killing waters thus far, think again! There are troubles and
innovations that are just barely splashing over the dam right now.
A flood of error is about to burst loose upon the church. False
teachers are getting bolder and bolder in their proclamation of
damnable doctrines and lifestyles. It is going to get a lot worse
before it gets better. There is an orchestrated effort by
self-styled change agents that will (if not checked
solidly and boldly) swamp congregations of the Lord's church all
across this nation -- indeed, throughout the world!
I have spoken to elderships who are saying, for instance,
that the use of mechanical instruments of music in worship is
not really a salvation issue. I have heard preachers in
the churches of Christ claim that there are faithful Christians
among the denominations. There are those who are advocating more
freedom for women to be active in the church. By this they mean
that women should be allowed to offer public prayers in the
presence of male members, that they should be able to teach mixed
classes, serve at the table passing the Lord's supper, and even
serve as deaconesses and elderesses (whatever those are). More and
more are openly proclaiming that God may possibly save people
without baptism. Some are boldly proclaiming that water
baptism is simply unnecessary for salvation. We have some among us
who are advocating the old Calvinistic doctrines of salvation
totally by grace. We have seen very small streams of such
foolishness in years past, but these small streams are growing
larger and larger and will soon be a raging river! I am not a
prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I have been preaching the
gospel for 31 years now and have seen many changes toward these
things during this time. Oh yes, they begin small, very small in
some instances. Some just want to change things a little for the
sake of change. Then, before you know it, these are advocating for
bigger and more substantial changes. They like to build a
following, especially among the younger members, and then, when
they have a majority, they usurp the eldership and overcome the
Many of these refer to us as the traditional church
of Christ and they refer to themselves as
progressive and contemporary. They have
departed from the Truth concerning the Lord's supper and see it now
as a celebration -- a happy time. Their
emphasis, as they take the Lord's supper, is primarily upon the
resurrection of Jesus from the grave instead of the suffering and
death of the Lord on the cross (cf. 1 Cor. 11:26). They even take
the Lord's supper on weekdays, at weddings and at funerals, and
some have even begun to take it in conjunction with fellowship
They are interested in entertaining those who come to
services, so they have quartets, and even dramatic presentations
such as skits and plays. One congregation even had a dance recital
depicting the Life of Christ. We are seeing more and more
skits and less and less Gospel preaching. We
hear them announce that the age of the Gospel meeting is
past! They seem to want to read Mark 16:16 as, Go ye into
all the world, and act the gospel to every creature, or
Go ye into all the world, and sing the gospel to every
creature. All they are doing is mimicking the sectarians who
have stressed entertainment in their churches for years.
Those who hold to the false teachings concerning
marriage, divorce and remarriage are not finished yet, either. Many
seem desirous of just ignoring this issue. Seemingly, they think it
will just go away, and they are filling our churches with
adulterers. It is an old and tired issue, as one of them
told me, It's time to move on. They seem to want to place
this into the realm of opinion, and just go along to get along. If
this is not unity-in-diversity, I don't know what it is!
Some are advocating that it is right and proper for our
young people to attend dances and proms, and that opposition to the
modern dance is simply another tradition. One high school principle
that I know personally (who is a member of the church of Christ)
said, It is a good outlet for the young folks. Along
these same lines, another brother recently told me that he and his
wife are rethinking their opposition to Christians
frequenting the public swimming pools and laying out at
the beach. I have talked to some in the church who say it is ok for
Christians to be involved in social drinking
occasionally. One proudly told me that he and his family often have
alcoholic wine at their table with meals. At a political
victory rally of a member of the church of Christ who ran
for state representative and won, the bar was opened and drinks
were served! I personally saw this, and left about as quickly as I
came! When faithful members of the church openly oppose such as
this, they are labeled as intolerant, even as modern-day
Of yes, brethren, the waters have only begun to leap over
the top of the dam. True, we have heard sprinkles and
splashes of such things in the past, but there is a flood
coming. Faithful workers are laboring fervently to hold it back.
Sincere and faithful ones are busily and faithfully shouting out
warnings. But there are those who persist in their erroneous ways,
and insist on being left alone as they do. It amazes me that when
the faithful warn individual Christians and congregations of God's
people about these dangers, they are labeled as trouble-makers.
This has always been so. Remember when Elijah went to the wicked
Ahab, and Ahab said, Art thou he that troubleth
Israel? Elijah's response to this Old Testament
change agent was, I have not troubled Israel;
but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the
commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim
(1 Kings 18:17-18). The real trouble makers are those who pervert
the Gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:6-10).
The faithful are obligated by God and by love to continue
to warn those in error (Ezek. 3:17-21; Acts 18:6; 20:20,26-32).
Paul wrote that the church must warn them that are unruly
(1 Thess. 5:14). These are in danger of being eternally separated
from God (James 5:19-20). They need to be told, lovingly yet
boldly, that if they are not abiding in the doctrine of Christ,
they do not have God (2 John 9-11). Erring ones can indeed return,
but they must do so while the Lord can be found; while He is near
(Isa. 55:6-7). They must know that they can and must repent and
confess their wrong, so they can pray for forgiveness (1 John
1:7-9; Acts 8:22). However, if they will not repent, they must be
marked and avoided (Rom. 16:17-18). We are commanded to withdraw
ourselves from every brother that walks disorderly (2 Thess. 3:6).
These are to be noted so that we will have no fellowship with them.
This is designed so they will be ashamed of their actions and
teachings, and repent. These are still our brethren, and must be
treated as such (2 Thess. 3:14-15; Eph. 5:11). Even when we have
withdrawn from them, we must still take every opportunity to
admonish them as brothers and sisters.
So, not only must faithful Christians warn those in error
about their ultimate fate if they continue in the broad way, but
faithful Christians must warn other faithful ones about them (Rom.
16:17-18; Matt. 7:15-20; 1 Tim. 1:19-20; 2 Tim. 2:15-18; 4:14). It
is obvious that it is not sinful to call the names of those who are
causing trouble within the church. How can we mark them unless we
call their names? As long as we say, some brother in Tennessee
teaches or a congregation in Texas, without
specifically naming the real trouble makers, we will continue to
have trouble. Let us be brave and bold enough (indeed loving
enough) to warn them of their error, and if they will not repent,
MARK THEM (Rom. 16:17-18). Thousands of souls are at stake here.
These false ones are wiley and they will creep in
unawares and cause terrible trouble within our congregations
if they are not specifically and clearly MARKED!
It is certainly amazing that when faithful and loving
brethren will obey God and mark these erring ones who will not
repent, the faithful are labeled as the troublemakers.
The real troublers are those who would pervert the Gospel of
Christ, teaching things that are contrary to the doctrine of Christ
(Gal. 1:6-10). To the Galatians Paul said, Am I therefore
become your enemy, because I tell you the truth (Gal.
4:16)? Be sure of this one thing; if you speak out against these
false ones, you will make enemies. You will make enemies like the
wicked Ahab who asked the godly Elijah, Art thou he that
troubleth Israel? To which we must respond as did
Elijah, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy
father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the
Lord... (1 Kings 18:17-18).
One strategy that false teachers and false leaders
obviously have is to attempt to lay the blame on others. If they
can make the faithful look bad, they look better. They hate the
faithful, for the faithful have nothing good to say about their
erroneous ways (cf. 1 Kings 22:1-8). You see, our Lord said that
darkness hates the light, for light exposes and reproves. Light and
darkness cannot co-exist and fellowship (John 3:19-21; 2 Cor.
6:14-18; Eph. 5:6-17). In my 31 years of teaching and preaching the
Truth, I have seen this over and over, even among those who are my
brethren. This is the most hurtful, for we expect non-Christians to
spread lies and innuendos about us, but when members of the church
begin to whisper and gossip with false rumors and lies about
faithful proclaimers of the Truth, it is like a knife in one's
Brothers and sisters, these are indeed perilous times for
the body of Christ. Like never before, the faithful need to be
set for the defense of the gospel (Phil. 1:17). Are you?
Are you willing to earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 3)? We can
and must do so without being contentious. We must have love as our
primary motive. Love for God, for Jesus the Christ, for the church
of Christ, for the Word of God and for the souls of men and women
everywhere. Love always sounds out a warning of danger ahead!
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