By Lewis Willis
Many years ago a tragedy occurred in the Lord’s church. A group of brethren introduced into the practice of the church a number of things for which there is no authority. They insisted that the church would support from its treasury human organizations which were doing the work God as-signed to the church. They quickly decided that they wanted some other things as well. They wanted to build fellowship halls and gymnasiums, with funds from the treasury of the church, which would provide them a place to “eat, drink and be merry.” Those who had regard for the integrity of the church, and for the authority of the Scriptures, strongly opposed this apostasy. However, no words or tears would stop these innovators. They are responsible for the division that occurred over the unscriptural things that they attached to the Lord’s church. From the very outset, many were
Confession, repentance, prayer, are requirements of God in order to restore an erring child of God back to God and fellowship with brethren.
Elders, preachers, saints, must not play God and lead an erring child of God to believe he spiritually pleases God while not doing what God commands to be restored.
“Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).Wondering, “How far will they go?”
Each day that question is being answered, and the answer is more disturbing as we see these apostates plunge into denominationalism. Several years ago there was a family in the Southeast congregation who left to participate in these errors. In time, a boy from that family, John Fisk, became the preacher of the leading liberal congregation in the area, the Cuyahoga Falls Church. He spent many years there, leading that congregation farther and farther from the truth. At the end of 1991, Fisk left to establish “The Church In The Valley.” They already have 100 members, but we still do not know “how far they will go.”
Fisk recently merged his church with a Christian church that owned an historic building in the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation area. There were only 8 people in the Christian Church, and they were about to close the church and sell the building for use by the National Recreation area. Fisk approached them with the idea of a merger, and they agreed. For many years there was a dispute between Churches of Christ and the Christian Church over the use of mechanical instrumental music in worship. It is not a problem in this case because “the merged congregation will have organ and piano music” (Akron Beacon Journal, April 4, 1992). Do you begin to see “how far they will go?”
They are going to have some other things as well. They have a women’s group called “The Valley Girls.” They “will offer a special service for hikers and bike riders in the national park.” They plan “to support Alcoholics Anonymous and Divorce Recovery ministries, along with youth programs and programs for senior citizens.” The restored building “will be on display Easter Sunday, April 19, for an indoor sunrise service at 7:30 a.m., followed by an eggs Benedict breakfast” “How far will they go?” The answer becomes more and more evident: They will go as far as they decide they want to go, no matter what the Bible says.
The Brown Street church in Akron has opposed this kind of apostasy through the years. We still oppose it. The Bible still tells the church to “sing” in itsworship in Ephesians 5:19, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” The church is taught that it is not in the food service business, “And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come” (1 Cor. 11:34). The work of the church is to teach alcoholics to sober up and live by the Law of the Lord or they are going to be lost: “Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:10). The Divorce Ministry of the church is to teach couples what Jesus said in Matthew 19:9: “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Furthermore, I cannot find a single place in my Bible where “an eggs Benedict breakfast” is referred to. Each day we see “how far they will go.” And, each day we must be reminded not to go with them, for where they are going (to the condemnation of Hell), we do not want to go.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 17, p. 21-22
September 2, 1993