Many in churches of Christ are facing a decision. They have never really had to make this choice before. Now they are in a situation where they must decide, and this is why churches of Christ are digressing so rapidly.
Others in churches of Christ made this decision long ago. When they heard the gospel they had to choose between denominationalism and the New Testament church. They had to choose between a church where people “get saved” by praying and a church where people have their sins washed away at baptism (Acts 22:16). They had to decide between a church where people shout and women take a lead in worship services and a church where worship is done decently and in order (I Cor. 14:34-35, 40). They had to choose either to just believe in Jesus and ignore issues like divorce and remarriage or stand up for what Jesus said about this issue (Matt. 19:9). These people chose to follow the Bible. They left a denomination. They saw its false teaching and converted to the truth. Most of them were ostracized by their own family. But they are all the stronger for making this decision. They hate the false teaching of denominationalism with a passion that others in the church envy.
Who are the ones who have never really made this decision? They are those who have been brought up under the teaching of churches of Christ but accepted it out of convenience or family loyalty more than out of conviction. They have been baptized, but they never really decided whether baptism is essential to salvation or not. They have never worshipped with a piano or an organ, but they really don’t know if it is wrong. They have never heard a preacher say that God spoke directly to him, so they have not really thought about whether this could happen or not. And they have not been concerned enough about the truth to study these things and teach their friends and relatives who are in denominations.
But now these people are having to decide. Denominationalism is not just knocking at the door of churches of Christ; it is in many churches of Christ. These members are now seeing denominationalism in their own assemblies for the first time.They are hearing sermons that are denominational: just preach Jesus and don’t worry about doctrine. They are seeing worship that is denominational: clapping and swaying and even using instrumental music. They are seeing women stand before the worship assembly, babies being dedicated in worship, and the Lord’s Supper being used for reasons other than the commemoration of Jesus’ death. They are being taught that people can be saved without baptism, that hell is not forever, and that the Holy Spirit speaks to people directly today and may even work miracles.
These people have not cared enough to settle these issues in their mind. They have heard sermons on them but they didn’t pay enough attention to learn. Now they must choose whether to stand against this movement or to join it. They can no longer ignore it. Sadly, many of them make their decision the same way they always have. They just float along with the majority and accept whatever kind of religion wins out.
Thank God for Christians who grew up hearing the gospel and have stayed with it because it is the truth.
-Kerry Duke