Really on the March
Donald P. Ames
It never ceases to amaze me, in looking over the brotherhood and all that is being practiced in the name of the church, that so many can be so blind and fall to see that we have begun a full-scaled march into denominationalism. Things axe being engaged in that were formerly condemned and others follow blindly on without question. We need to wake up to the fact we are not right because we are the Church of Christ - We are the church of Christ because we are right. And when we cease to be right, we cease to belong to Christ regardless of what we may call ourselves.
Another classic example of this denominational trend came across my desk this past week in an invitation from the church at 3300 W. Monroe St. in Chicago to the brethren at 410 S. Michigan (Chicago - where I preach). It seems the church there was inviting us to their "annual Anniversary celebration . . . in honor of our minister Brother Robert M. Woods and his wife Ann." Now, to begin with, I want to set the record straight. I have no objections if some of the members wish to throw a party for another member of a congregation, and, maybe we ought to include many faithful elders in the list, as well as song leaders, etc. But, when it becomes a church function, sent out from a church to another church, it becomes a different case.
I do not know just how widely this invitation was sent, but they have assured us "Dinner will be served." Also we have space left to check if "overnight accommodations" will be needed. Evidently, this congregation really wishes to honor their minister, and they want to be sure everyone else does so too - regardless of how far away they may be. If replies are made by June 15th, they assured us "Your name will appear on our program." (And I thought they were interested in honoring their minister!)
Mrs. Dorothy Golstin has been appointed "Publicity Chairman," and Mrs. Eva Ware is the "Program Chairman." This effort by the congregation to show their appreciation is really blossoming into something big. So big they have to have publicity outside the congregation, and a special chairman to handle it. And since this is being handled as a church activity, naturally you would expect that they would at least appoint an elder or deacon to head it up - I mean, after all, they do call themselves the "Church of Christ."' But, no! Instead the only names mentioned, other than the preacher and his wife, are two chairmen - or should we say women. Brethren seem to be getting quite adept at using women to fill chairman positions now-a-days. And a lot of committees unknown to the New Testament have begun springing up, making it easier to find positions for them to fill in an official sense.
By the way, "You are also invited to bring your choral groups to help in our endeavor to make this a happy occasion for two people whom have given their best to this congregation." Sounds just like it came out of the Christian Church, doesn't it? "Choral Groups" do not belong in the church of the Lord, nor have we sought to build up such or at least some of us have not. But then, we have not gotten on the bandwagon. We are not "on the march."
To fill out their form, we are proud to say "our congregation X will not attend "and" our choral group X will not sing at this time" simply because we do not have such nor can we find any authority for such. And some say we have not drifted, nothing is wrong, and what is all the concern about. Brethren, wake up - look about - read a few bulletins, and then join the cry of alarm at where the trend is going.
And speaking of invitations, another was received from the Northwest Church of Christ for a Gospel Meeting May 13th through May 17th. A nice 4 x 8 card is used to announce the meeting, of which one third is occupied with the picture of the speaker - George W. Bailey, and the remainder with this: "Speaker George W. Bailey - Dynamic evangelist; former Herald of Truth speaker; minister of College Church of Christ, since 1954; world traveler, lecturer, and writer. The demand for this outstanding gospel preacher is so great that he is booked through 1983. We have had him booked for six years. Everyone invited to enjoy the wonderful experience of hearing this great man of God." Amazing - I thought the purpose of a gospel meeting was to extol the gospel of Christ! Just doesn't quite sound like Paul in I Cor. 3:5-7. But then, maybe this isn't the same church either,
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIII: 9, pp. 9-10