By James Bond
The June edition of Contending For The Faith, edited by brother Ira Y. Rice, Jr., discussed the unity meeting conducted in Joplin, Missouri in 1984. 1 am not a regular reader of this magazine edited by brother Rice, and know little about his convictions in regard to these unity meetings. A concerned brother asked me to read this edition. After reading this magazine I was startled at the fact that these two parties were on the bank of becoming one body. I had not been keeping current on the changes the liberal brethren have made, and was amazed at the great distance they have traveled in the last half century. My first response was, “No way can these two groups unite, because of their differences.” But after taking pencil and paper, and enumerating some of the things that the liberal churches of Christ have in common with the Christian Church, regrettably I found very, very few differences. Briefly, I call attention to practices both parties have in common.
(1) Both have the same attitude toward the Scriptures in that they act upon the silence of God’s word. Anything not expressly forbidden is permissible. Christian church preachers defend instrumental music with the “God did not say not to” argument. Liberal brethren use the same argument to defend their unscriptural practices.
(2) Both believe and teach that there is no set pattern in the Scriptures in regard to worship, work, cooperation and fellowship. Both parties believe it’s a matter of judgment.
(3) Both implement the work God enjoined upon the church through human institutions.
(4) Both activate the church universal through a sponsoring church arrangement.
(5) Both engage the church in the following unscriptural works: entertainment, recreation, business, politics, etc.
(6) Both have money raising gimmicks apart from the first day of the week contribution.
(7) Both take up collections on days other than the first day of the week.
(8) Both have special “singers,” apart from the congregation, who sing while the church listens.
(9) Both have youth ministers, directors, youth rallies, etc.
(10) Both have special services on Christmas, Good Friday, etc.
(11) Both have fellowship halls (kitchen).
(12) Both have the attitude of tolerance toward erroneous practices.
(13) Both fellowship denominations on a limited basis.
(14) Both have a better attitude toward denominations than they do toward conservative churches of Christ.
(15) Both are apostate churches in that they have abandoned the faith once revealed unto the saints (Jude 3).
(16) Both believe that instrumental music in worship is simply a matter of judgment.
What Doctrinal Difference Are There To Hinder Them From Uniting?
None. It was said in the magazine that no doctrinal issue was discussed. The truth is “there is none to discuss.” The liberal preachers said on page 10 of the magazine that the instrument was no problem to them, and if this be true there is nothing to keep them apart.
The Warning Of Jesus, Apostles And Sound Men Of Our Era Went Unheeded
Indeed it’s sad to see the condition that exists in liberal churches but these brethren closed their eyes, ears and hearts to the word of God, the only thing that would keep them in the strait and narrow way. The warning of Jesus went unheeded. “Take heed and beware of the leaven of Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matt. 16:6). Paul warned, “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (1 Cor. 5:6) Some older preachers that now lament the condition that they are now in were the ones who advocated the “no pattern doctrine” in order to get the colleges, orphan homes and Herald of Truth in the budget of the church. Now they are harvesting the fruits from that digressive seed they planted many years ago. The Bible said, “You will reap what you sow” (Gal. 6:7). 1 can recall sitting at the feet of C.D. Plum, Roy Cogdill, Cecil Willis, Connie Adams, and a host of other sound men who warned them where the road they were !raveling would lead, but the warning went unheeded. Christians must be watchful in all things (1 Cor. 16:13).
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 23, p. 715
December 5, 1985