Something Is Wrong!
When elders of the Lord's church contribute to the "Baptist Mission" truly something is wrong-we're drifting. The Lubbock Baptist Association's March report showed a contribution of $67.50 for the month of February to one of their missions from an elder of the Parkway Drive Church of Christ.
When a congregation of the Lord's church calls in Baptists to help dedicate their new "more-than-a-thousand-seat-auditorium" something is wrong. The Sunset Church of Christ, Lubbock, Texas did this according to an article in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Sunday, March 15, 1959.
When elders, Bible teachers, and other members of the Lord's church are on "The Citizens Sponsor Committee" to help raise $149,000.00 to construct a new building for the Salvation Army, something is wrong. This has already happened in Lubbock. Two of the elders, a Bible Class teacher, and some rnemhers of the Broadway congregation, and one member of the Sunset Church of Christ are listed by the Salvation Army as being on "The Citizens Sponsor Committee" to help raise funds for the Salvation Army. What is the Salvation Army ? The charter of the Salvation Army issued in New York in 1899 defines it as an organization . . . with the following purposes . . . "The preaching of the Gospel and the dissemination of Christian truth . . ." An elder (and all Christians for that matter) is supposed to be able to, "convince the gainsayer by sound doctrine"-not to join it (Titus 1:9).
When prospective elders and deacons are afraid they will not be selected because they are members of the Masonic Lodge and will give up being an elder or deacon rather than give up the Masonic Lodge something is wrong. This has happened time and time again and is reported to have happened here in Cleburne more than once just recently. That Masonry is a religion all will admit (at least in part) and when one prefers a man made, so-called secret, religion to the church of our Lord, something is wrong. Lightfoot's Manual of the lodge, the official manual of the Grand Lodge of Texas, A. F. A. M., bearing the seal of the "Grand Lodge of Texas" says, pp. 2, 6, "A Lodge is said to be opened in the name of God and the Holy Saints John as declarations of the sacred purpose of our meeting." "We are now about to quit this sacred retreat to mix again with the world." On p. 205, "The Religious Doctrines of masonry are very simple and self-evident . . . He who denies these tenets can be no Mason, for the religious doctrines of the institution significantly embrace them . . ." Masonry bestows unscriptural religious titles, pp. 130, 135, "Brethren salute your Grand Master." "Most Worshipful Grand Master." (I'd just as soon call some consecrated gospel preacher, "Holy Right Reverend") but, then both would be wrong because Jesus condemns each title, Matthew 23:9-10. When one goes contrary to the plain words of Christ and embraces Masonry then indeed something is wrong.
When elders and other members of the church become officers in the Red Cross and the Community Chest (United Fund) and help solicit money that will be used for the major part in promoting Catholic benevolent institutions and other religious organizations such as the Salvation Army, then indeed something is wrong. This has happened in Cleborne and many other places.
When the church becomes such that one can't distinguish between it and a denomination then something is wrong. When people who had faithfully attended the services of the church, though not members, in Nashville and/or Lubbock (and many other places) and then move to another state and then quit attending services at the Lord's church because the church at that place is "too narrow-minded" something is wrong, either at the place they first attended or at the place to which they moved. One couple who left Lubbock and went to Florida started attending the Methodist church because, "This seems to us more like the church we were used to in Texas, and we are happier there than we would be in your church. The Church of Christ in Florida is not like the Church of Christ in Texas." Brethren, truly something is wrong.
When a congregation of the Lord's church (York Boulevard, Los Angeles) invites all to a special service of "Worship in Song," and then lists a lady speaker, i.e., a lady preacher to address the entire organization, something is wrong.
Brethren, what is wrong? Why are these things happening with such frequency and in so many different places? And, what can we do about it?
It is my firm conviction that the root of the problem is an improper attitude toward divine authority, and the attempt to be like those about us. The cry in the church today is for "soft" preaching, we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings and maybe drive them away from the church. Preachers are fired who dare to preach the gospel with firmness and conviction because they "preach too hard," preachers are forbidden to call names, and are told "don't be so dogmatic," just preach love and leave others alone. Make the people 'feel good.'" Yes, a weak pulpit directed by an even weaker eldership and with members saturated with 'love potions' of compromise is the cause of something being wrong.
The remedy for this spiritual decadence in the church is for a love and respect for divine authority, for elders who love the word of God and will stand firm for it and strong behind the preacher who is not afraid to proclaim it. The need is for preachers who believe the word of Grod and preach it without "pulling punches." In the spirit of love, YES, but firm nevertheless and calling names if necessary. No preacher today is "better" than the apostle Paul or the Lord himself and neither of these were "above" calling names when the need arose. The need in the church today is for strong members who love to hear God's truths even though it might point out error on their part. Hearing the truth, they then change their lives to be in harmony with the will of God. Members who are willing to give up anything in the world, willing to sever any wordly tie, that might hinder in any way, their serving their Lord as they should.
Brethren, something is wrong. We are drifting. Let's fight the current. "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord . . ." (2 Cor. 6:17.)
-From the Cleburne (Tex.) Counselor
Truth Magazine IV:1, pp. 17-18