By Earl E. Robertson
There is no way to be aware of all the bizarre happenings among Twentieth Century churches of Christ. Though it is doubtful, at this stage of affairs, if any of the churches seek anonymity in their pursuit of manmade schemes and worldly attractions. There was a time when the “name of the Lord” was important to the people of God (Col. 3:17). Paul preached that all action of the Christian had to be circumscribed by the word of the Lord. I’m glad to know that even yet there are some wearing the holy name of our Redeemer who believe what Paul preached.
Honorary Membership in the Baptist Church
While waiting for a plane at the Nashville, Tennessee airport last spring, I read the April 21st issue of the Tennessean, a daily news paper. On page 38 is an article and two pictures covering the dedication of the Two Rivers Baptist Church. Brother J. B. Stacy, a member of the Madison church of Christ, was foreman on the construction of the new building. During the “dedication” of this new building Brother Stacy was “given an honorary membership in the church with ‘special dispensation from Dr. Ira North of the Madison Church of Christ,’ ” Henry, the Baptist preacher, said. I wonder if this “dispensation” was simply a privilege bestowed on the brother by a higher power, or was it an indulgence? Can you imagine this kind of talk by either the apostles of Jesus or any faithful Christian today?
If a sharp, clear line of doctrinal distinction had been preached by Brother North, the Baptist church would never have offered such membership to a Madison member and neither would Brother North have ever entertained such “dispensation!”
We might notice while on this subject that during “the annual Youth Ministers Seminar Banquet” brethren Carl Cope and Mike Myers were chosen and recognized with awards presented as “Youth Ministers of the Year” for 1975. Again, I wonder what Scripture motivates either the desire or the action?
Don’t Bring the Coffee Cups
An important notice recently received from the Bering Drive church in Houston, Texas reads: “The congregation is asked not to bring their coffee cups into the auditorium during the worship services. Your cooperation in this will be appreciated.”
So, apparently, the process is, “From the kitchen or fellowship hall to the auditorium.” This reminds me of efforts to advise brethren about having a piano in the “Fellowship Hall”: “From the `Fellowship Hall’ to the auditorium!” If Paul were the preacher at Bering, I wonder how he would reconcile the above statement with, “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not?” Turning the spiritual feast into a social feast do complicate things!
It is hard to believe that anything is free these days, but, sure enough, here it is in black and white. The Mayor of Benton, Kentucky called a meeting to launch a program, humanitarian in nature, to give assistance to “transport elderly who cannot drive themselves to the banks, supermarkets, the post office, doctors’ offices and other places in town.” After this meeting “an advisory council was formed with Mr. Kenneth Hoover, a Church of Christ minister, as chairman.” When this brother got that council functioning, the reports read, the dream of the Mayor became a reality! Just that simple! We are told the program was “inaugurated by the Church of Christ” right there in Benton. Further, it reads, “The church there has started providing free bus service monthly to all elderly people in the community, whether or not they are members of the congregation.” This minister said, “We are moving ahead full speed. When our program is fully operative in the way it is designed, there will not be a single need of the citizens of Marshall County, for which some provision has not been made.”
To the churches seeking riders on their “Joy Buses” giving ice cream, cokes, candy, etc., we ask: “How does the Bus program at Benton `grab you?’ “
What shall the end of these things be? The total failure in an appeal to Scripture for the works of churches of Christ there can only be one end: separation from the Lord. It would be interesting to hear the above mentioned preachers, while justifying the above named actions, tell what is wrong with instrumental music in worship.
Truth Magazine, XX:15, p. 4-5
April 8, 1976