By Don Willis
While sitting in two different air-ports as I returned from a gospel meeting, I purchased a local newspaper. Reading the religioun page of The Indianapolis Star (April 27, 1996, C-8), a shocking realization overcame me at what had entered the open door of digression!
“Light of the World church sets celebration of prayer Tuesday. Heaven on Earth Conference 1996.” The article identifies this as the Eighth Annual Heaven on Earth Conference. “Highlights of the conference, sponsored by Light of the World Christian Church (Disciples of Christ, my emphasis, DW) include some well known recording artists,” and the “. . . Indianapolis area churches participating in the choir performance are: Messiah Missionary Baptist Church, Oasis of Hope Baptist Church, St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, Mount Zion Baptist Church, Mount Paran Baptist Church, and Christ Missionary Baptist Church. Daily worship services will be led by evangelists Bishop Charles Edward Blake, pastor of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles; Bishop Paul S. Morton, senior pastor of Greater St. Stephen Full Baptist Church in New Orleans, and Bishop T.D. Jakes, senior pastor of Temple of Faith Ministries in Charleston, W.Virginia. On May 2, the Rev. T Garrott Benjamin Jr., senior pastor at Light of the World, will be consecrated as a bishop. . . . Although Benjamin’s de-nomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), is not run by appointed or elected bishops, congregations can choose to honor their pastors with the title. Because of the election, Benjamin also becomes bishop of the Christian Evangelical Covenant Fellowship, a national ecumenical group of congregations and ministries Benjamin founded this year.”
There are numerous manifest departures from the word of God with fellowship of denominational error. Some seem to think the only difference between truth and the Christian church is the mechanical instrument. One is confident the Christian Church could join in fellowship with us, as they do with the Church of God in Christ de-nomination, and the Baptist Church denomination.
That is not the real issue! Can we have fellowship with their efforts? Are we to contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3)?Are we to give an answer for the reason of the hope that we have (1 Pet. 3:15)? Are we to speak as the oracles of God (1 Pet. 4:11)? Are we to think of men above that which is written (1 Cor. 4:6)? Are we to preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:2)? If we must stand with the word of God, we must stand against departure there from!
Later that afternoon, I was stuck in the Houston Intercontinental Airport. (I was too cheap to purchase another paper, but there just happened to be an opened paper left on the seat next to mine, and the top sheet was the religioun page.) The Houston Chronicle (April 27, 1996, 3-E), had an article entitled: “She’s 95, still serving as church elder.” Emma Parker, of Abilene, Texas, is a member of the Abilene First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). “. . . Her pastor, Rev. Jim Zug (reports) `the greatest gift that one can give to another is the gift of oneself. Emma does that on a daily basis, and brings honor and dignity to the position of elder. Women elders? And is she the husband of one wife?
Open the door to additional and/or other doctrines than the Bible, and one will reap the whirlwind. Such is an at-tack on the all sufficiency of Jesus Christ and his revealed will! Once the door is opened, a block is placed; and every form of spiritual digression is permitted to enter.
Preachers are to stand opposed to error. Jesus opposed the Pharisees and Sadducees. Paul stood against the religions in Athens, Elymas the sorcerer in Pathos, Demetrius and the silversmiths in Ephesus, and even a brother in Christ (Peter) when he was to be blamed. One cannot afford to have fellowship with error; for when this happens, we cease to have fellowship with God (2 John 9-11).
Elders are charged in Titus 1:9, “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers (my emphasis, DW).”
All Christians must “expound the word of God more perfectly” (Acts 18:26; 8:3-4; 2 Tim. 2:2).
Brethren, we may think that error will not enter, once the door is opened. In just 150 years of error, look at what has happened within the Disciples of Christ. I started preaching in 1950, and just look at the changes that have already taken place in the church. Who could have imagined that some preachers from Christ’s church would apostatize so far as to teach evolution, deny inspiration, support centralization, follow the denominational craze toward serving the social needs of mankind, rather than the spiritual needs as Christ ordained?
Where are we going? Where will we end? Jesus Christ is head over all things to the church! Let each abide under his authority!
Guardian of Truth XL: No. 15, p. 1
August 1, 1996