by Bernie Parsons 10/06/2007
We must return to the church as found in the Holy Bible. Progress is not always a good thing, for it simply means to move forward. Sometimes retrogression is desirable. Bernie Parsons
by Bernie Parsons
October 06, 2007
We hear constant discussion of progress and modernity. We have been brainwashed to think that change is good, as long as it goes forward. In the church, I have reached the conclusion that we need to retrogress, or move backwards. Such change truly would be good!
We in the Churches of Christ have embraced our Protestant/Catholic heritage and don't even question it. I propose that we move backward along the continuum of Christianity until we are back to Jesus and His disciples.
Once there, we need to discard almost all, if not entirely all, of the modern theology and thoughts onto which we have latched. Our modern religion is the evolution of two thousand years of tampering with the teachings of Christ and His followers of the first century AD. The Roman Catholics consider the scriptures as merely a starting point from which The Church (meaning the Roman Catholic Church) is allowed to branch and and build out a different world view.
Protestants, being Catholics who wished to reform a few doctrines, perpetuate many of the Roman Catholic doctrines and practices.
The Church of Christ, being derived through modification of existing Protestant religions of the mid-1800s, such as Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists, carried forward some Roman Catholic doctrines in their entirety, or has clung to the modified Catholic doctrines carried forward by the Protestants, or further modified or added doctrines through the American Restoration Movement, and the resultant Church of Christ.
Here are some similarities between Roman Catholics and the Church of Christ:
Priest takes care of the local church/Preacher takes care of local church
Confess sins to the priest/Confess sins to the preacher
Seven Sacraments/Five Items of Acceptable Worship
Baptism makes a member for life/Baptism makes a member for life
Cathedral or chapel is house of God/Church building is house of God
Collection used primarily for buildings/Collection used primarily for building
None of these practices is scriptural. These are all contrived doctrines, and the derivative doctrines can be traced back to their Roman Catholic roots. Our best course of action is to disregard them, and to examine the scritpures for our doctrines, instead.
There are some additional Church of Christ doctrines that we need to think about. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
Lack of compassion
Hearers, not doers
Denial of Holy Spirit
Why is it that most Churches of Christ are comprised of white people? Oh, we love to point to the occasional black Church of Christ congregation, or the occasional black preacher who visits for a “Gospel Meeting”, and we love to speak in amazed voices about the wonderful black preacher!
In my lifetime, I have met much prejudice against black people in our churches. I have heard jokes, sometimes from preachers, and have seen the condescending attitude toward those Christians who are not white.
Racial prejudice has no place in Christianity.
Ephesians 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ
14 For he is our peace who hath made both one and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity even the law of commandments contained in ordinances for to make in himself of twain one new man so making peace
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross having slain the enmity thereby.”
We are all one in Christ. There is no “us” and “them”. We are one body, one flesh, and we share the one blood of Jesus Christ. We need to shed our racial prejudice.
There is a fighting spirit in the Churches of Christ. We are ready to argue, disagree, and fall out over numerous things. We are ready to disfellowship, withdraw, and disassociate for whatever strikes us as important.
This is not the spirit of Christ.
Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."
1 John 4:8 "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
1 John 4:20 “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
Galatians 5:15 “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”
As long as we bite and devour one another, we stand in danger of consuming one another. In the Church of Christ, we need to be less judgmental, contentious, and combative.
I have also noted a lack of compassion in the Churches of Christ. We tend to be suspicious of the motives of those who ask for help, and are likely to blame the victim of hard times rather than helping him or her.
If someone is poor, we follow the capitalist mantra that “if only they would work hard, they could be successful and wealthy like me”! That is not always true. I have known many hard-working people who live in poverty, or just above the poverty line. I personally worked hard for decades, wearing myself out physically, but never able to earn much income.
Some people have a natural knack for earning money. Others are gifted in such ways that they are able to earn wealth. Some people work hard and have little to show for it. They may even be good money managers, and not wasters, but still earn so little that they accumulate little. On the other hand, sudden adverse circumstances, such as job loss, health problems, or other catastrophic events can wipe out savings, eliminate health insurance, and plunge one into a state of extreme need.
Galatians 6:2 “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
James 2;15 "If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?"
The same people who find fault with those in need will often readily applaud the use of the collection for the needy saints to pay for a church building, building maintenance and improvement, and to pay preachers and import evangelists. Yet, they do not want to help the needy out of the collection for the needy! We need more compassion in the church.
In the Churches of Christ, we love to talk and talk and talk about the scriptures and what they mean. It is often difficult for us to do the right thing, it seems, but we don’t have any trouble talking about what we should do.
Matthew 7:” 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”
James 1 :22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
Ecclesiastes 12:12 “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”
We need to walk the talk; play a good game instead of just talking a good game; and do what the word says instead of merely talking about it.
In the Churches of Christ, we tend to be self-righteous and highly judgmental.
Luke 6:37 "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:"
Luke 18:9 "And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Romans 10:3 "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."
We need to learn to serve others, instead of trying to Lord over them. Our job is to lead others to salvation and then build them up in the Lord. God has not appointed us to judge them, especially regarding their eternal destination.
Another area where we fall short in the Church of Christ regards the Holy Spirit. Following the lead of Alexander Campbell of the American Restoration Movement, we reject the Holy Spirit, saying that it/He was sent only to Christians of the first century AD. We equate the written word which we call the New Testament as being the Holy Spirit. We say that if we will just study this writing, then we have the Holy Spirit. This is wrong.
Romans 8:9 "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
John 3:5 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God"
We love to emphasize that one must be born of water, but then we deny that one must be born of the Spirit, as well.
It is time that we return to the teachings of our Lord and His apostles and disciples, and abandon our ungodliness.
There are many other doctrines and practices that we need to give up, and many more that we need to adopt because that they are found in the scriptures. If our church leaders won’t make the changes, we need to make them ourselves. After all, the scriptures teach that we shall each face the Lord in personal judgment. Let’s live like that we believe it!
I trust that you have benefited from this scriptural study. There are additional articles available on various interesting and important Bible topics. You may access them by using the links at the top of this page.:
Copyright ©2007 by: