Institutionalism Quickens Its Pace In The Shoals

The following excerpts are taken from the Gospel Advocate and the Times Daily.

19 December 1985, Gospel Advocate: LCGI Conducts Leadership Training Program

The leadership training program which was initiated in 1983 under the oversight of the elders of the Darby Drive Church of Christ, Florence, Ala., is now being conducted under the auspices of Leadership and Church Growth, International, Inc. LCGI is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization formed for the exclusive purpose of training church leaders and helping churches of Christ to grow. The initial members of the board are . . . with . . . as president . . . It is supported by contributions from churches and individuals.

21 March, 1987, Times Daily. LCG International Enlarges Operations:

LCG (Leadership and Church Growth) INTERNATIONAL has enlarged its staff and relocated its offices in larger space at 119 Helton Court. LCG has become a comprehensive international ministry reaching into many countries . . . LCG will begin an International School of Leadership and Church Growth . . . Degrees and diplomas will be awarded . . . avenues will be open to students: training centers, congregational classes, and home studies . . . to learn how to do effective work for Christ.

The above news items tell a tragic story that saddens the heart of every true believer. It is always disappointing to learn when brethren depart from the Word of God. However, it is especially disheartening when it occurs in one’s community among brethren well-known and loved for many years. It is evident from the above that apostasy continues unabated in the Shoals with brethren at Darby Drive in the front ranks. Like others from ancient to modern times, they became dissatisfied with God’s order and formed plans of their own. In doing this, “they asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord” (Josh 9:14). One of the principal lessons of the Old Testament is the folly of disobedience. Yet, in this 20th century, we have not learned. Disobedience to God originates in ignorance or willful defiance of authority. Either of these disqualifies any eldership. Hence the need for qualified elders.

LCGI has the earmarks of a Missionary Society. Another name does not alter identity. It is an international incorporated, non-profit, tax-exempt organization under a board of directors, “formed for the exclusive purpose of training Church leaders and helping churches to grow. It is supported by contributions from churches.” It operates nationwide training centers in the U.S. and some foreign countries. A school is planned that “opens avenues to students, training centers, congregational classes and home studies.” LCGI is not a method. It is an incorporated entity – an organization.

Teaching the Word of God is a worthy work and is the mission of the church. Teaching is essential to church growth. Since God has fully and adequately equipped the church, why substitute or change God’s plans? To do so is presumptive and rebellious, and speaks in loud tones that the church is insufficient, and impeaches God’s wisdom. This attitude spawned A.C.M.S. in 1849, which alienated the Lord’s people and brought bitterness and strife. No doubt Dr. H. Christopher stated the underlying principle that devises human organizations, when, in 1867, he said, “The M.S. had its origin in false pride and shame, and a desire to be like the denominations around us.” How much better to be Noah-like. “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so he did” (Gen. 6:22; N.K.J.). – Lindsay A. Allen, reprinted from The East Florence Contender, April 1987.

Guardian of Truth XXXI: 16, p. 500
August 20, 1987