"The Model Church of Christ, or the Modern Church of Christ, Which?"
C. D. Plum
St. Parkersburg, West Virginia
1. What do we mean by the model Church of Christ?
(1) We mean that one body, the church Jesus established, the pattern (Ps. 127: 1, Matt. 16:18, Eph. 4:4, Col. 3:15).
(2) We mean the God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, New Testament style church, without human frills or fancies added by men, which corrupt its worship, work, and the lives of its members. (2 Jno. 9-11, Rev. 22:18-19, Tit. 2:11-12). This "true -tabernacle" of our Lord (Heb. 8:2) does not object to being fenced in by gospel limitations.
IL What do we mean by the modern Church of Christ?
(1) We mean the human, the man style church, with all her "tacked on affairs" which the New Testament does not authorize.
(2) The modern church no longer follows the "model," the pattern, the copy. She has "departed" from the faith (I Tim. 4:1-3), apostatized, fallen from grace, refuses to respect gospel boundaries, and sings her song regarding this: "Don't Fence Me In. " This modern church drinks "liberally" from the cups of Catholicism and Protestantism, thus quenching her thirst for liberalism. There never was a modern church of Christ (a liberal church of Christ) until after there had been a "departure" from the faith.
III. The model Church of Christ, and the modern Church of Christ, contrasted: What is the practice of the model Church of Christ?
(1) Singing in church worship is the praise practice. "In the midst of the church will I 'sing' praise." (Heb. 2:12). Jesus and the apostles 'sang' when they praised. (Matt. 26:30). Christians are commanded to sing (Eph. 5.19, Col. 3:16).
But in contrast to this, the modern church has "tacked on playing" in church worship. The chart says "MM" (mechanical music).
(2) Preaching the gospel to the world through the church is the practice of the model church in evangelism. The church is said to be the "pillar and ground" (support) of the truth. (I Tim. 3:15). Take, for instance, the "local" model church of Christ at Philippi sending directly to Paul at Thessalonica to support him in preaching the gospel there. (Phil. 4:15-17). Paul received this evangelistic support "direct." And Paul said, "What ye have seen in me, do; and the God of peace shall be with you." (Phil. 4:9) It gets the work done safely. You cannot beat this. In about 31 year's time, this direct handling of the Lord's money in preaching the gospel "preached the gospel to every creature under heaven. (Col. 1:23). Every cent out of every dollar goes for preaching.
In contrast to this the modern church of Christ has tacked "MS" (missionary society) on the church, to preach the gospel through it. On the right side of the chart we show two such societies: "UCMS" (United Christian Missionary Society); and "HoT" (Herald of Truth). These are both "human organizations", and each has a "salaried personnel" to pay for the support of men in a human organization which God did not organize, did not authorize -- and does not recognize. Both of these societies collect from the churches (keep MUCH of what they collect) and preach a little gospel to the world, of what little is left. The Herald of Truth collects from about 3000 churches. Truly, brethren, which suits you best -- the model or modern style? The God or the man style?
(3) Giving as prospered on the first day (I Cor. 16:1-2) is the model church practice for collecting revenue to run the church.
In contrast to this the modern church shows its displeasure to the divine plan by "tacking on (SSS) suppers, sales, and shows to raise money for the church. Some have gone even further and tacked on parking lots to the Lord's treasury, also resorted to "rentals."
(4) Communing, the Lord's Supper, breaking bread (whichever term you wish to use) is the divine practice of the model church on the first day (Acts 20:7).
Displeased with this, the modern church of Christ has in some places tacked on TNC (Thursday Night Communion).
(5) Helping the "needy poor" who scripturally qualify is the practice of the model church of Christ. Widows, for instance, if they be Christians, and are old enough, followed every good work, and no relatives able to support them may be helped by the church. (1 Tim. 5:4, 16; Acts 6:1-4; 1 Tim. 5:8-10). Poor saints may be helped. (Rom. 15:26) Individual Christians may help both saint and sinners (Gal. 6: 10, Jas. 1: 27). But to use the Lord's treasury to help sinners is something we do not read in the word of God. No sinners were helped in 2 Cor. 9:1, 12-14 as liberals teach, for the ones that were helped were "glorifying God and praying." Christians do that in the church. (Eph. 3: 21)
Notwithstanding all this, and contrary to this, the modern church has tacked on a human organization called call "BS" (Benevolent Society), and the modern church supports this human society.
(6) Godly Exercise is practiced and urged by the model church of Christ (I Tim. 4:7-8). The model church does not oppose bodily exercise, but teaches that parents should look after this matter.
But in contrast to this the modern church has tacked on "C S R" (church supported recreation). Some modern (liberal) churches spend thousands and thousands of dollars of the Lord's money, from the church treasury to build gymnasiums (play houses for the liberal brethren's children to play in). This may be considered nice, but it is not Scriptural. I'll stay with the model church.
(7) Self edifying is a practice of the model church of Christ. This church contends for "the effectual working in the measure of every part, unto the edifying of itself in love" (Eph. 4:16). "Faithful men who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2: 2). The model church does not condemn colleges as such, or a college education, but we do oppose making a college education a "must" to be qualified to preach. We do not believe that the church could not exist without the college.
We oppose the efforts made by the modern church to put the college in the church budget. Personal gifts to colleges, the paying of tuition to colleges, yes, gifts from the church treasury to colleges, "no"! "Never"! But the modern church of Christ, with her liberal members, stands in a bold contrast to the model church respecting church support of colleges. But our liberal brethren seem to be determined to tack the "BU (Bible College) to the church treasury.
(8) "T" speaking, that is (tongue speaking in a miraculous way) as is being claimed by some liberals in the modern church today. Ever since "T" (tongues) has been tacked to the church, the model church opposes this fallacy. The contrast here is strong and clear.
(9) Not only does the model church stand in opposition to all these tacked on affairs of the modern church that we have already named, but the interrogation mark M in the chart indicates that all the other questionable things that may yet be tacked on to the modern church will likewise be opposed. The modern church is not yet through adding. The departure from the faith will continue.
What should each individual Christian's attitude be toward this departure from the faith, this leaving the old parts -- APOSTASY?
The Scriptures say:
(1) "Come out from among them ... touch not the unclean thing." (2 Cor. 6:17).
(2) "Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine ... and avoid them." (Rom. 16:17).
(3) "Not to think of men above that which is written." (I Cor. 4:6).
(4) "He that biddeth him Godspeed is partaker of his evil deed." (2 Jno. 9-11)
(5) "There be some that trouble you, and would pervert (change) the gospel of Christ ... let him be accursed." (Gal. 1:6-9).
(6) God said of such like people: "They have rejected me." (I Sam. 8:5-147).
Which do you choose the model or modern church? Do your friends mean more to you than does Christ? Would you prefer to break with Christ than with friends? Have you associated so long with evil practices that they actually look good in worship and work? Remember the words of the poet.
"Vice is a monster of such dreadful mien,
To be hated needs but to be seen:
When seen too oft, familiar with her face;
We first endure, then pity, then embrace!"
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 26, pp. 7-9