Volume 3 June 1, 2004 Issue 8

Ya Got Trouble

Ya got trouble, my friend, right here,
I say, trouble right here in River City.
With a capital "T" That rhymes with "C"
And that stands for Change,
We've surely got trouble!
Right here in River City,

OK, So that's not exactly the way the song goes. We all know that the "T" rhymed with "P" and that stood for Pool in that wonderful song from The Music Man. But friends, in the Lord's Church today, that "P" would be a "C" and it would stand for "Change Agent." Change Agent? What's that you say? Change Agent is a term that many God fearing Christians (who wish above all else to remain Biblically sound) apply to those individuals who insist that the Lord's Church must change it's practices, beliefs and structure if it is to remain appealing to today's society. Many claim that they are "tired" of the "old ways" and seek to change them. This is one of those "we report, you decide" issues. Here are some facts for you to consider.

The words of Max Lucado, Pulpit Minister, Oak Hills church of Christ, San Antonio, Texas —

"Some people find the name 'church of Christ' to be an insurmountable barrier. Let's seek to remove any barrier that would hinder a person from hearing the Gospel...We can reach more souls by modifying 'Oak Hills Church of Christ' to 'Oak Hills Church.'" — Spoken in a sermon August 24th, 2003 at Oak Hills church of Christ.

The Inspired Word of God —

"But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." — Matthew 10:33 KJV

"Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples." — Matthew 26:35 KJV

"If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us. — II Timothy 2:12 KJV

"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels" — Mark 8:38 KJV.

"They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.."  — Titus 1:16 NKJV

The words of Vic King, Minister of Missions at Oak Hills church of Christ — "Oak Hills also believes that salvation doesn't come through baptism, but that baptism is the initial step of obedience after salvation." — reported in the San Antonio Express-News in an interview with Mr. King dated September 6th, 2003.

The Inspired Word of God —

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." — Mark 16:16 KJV

"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." — Acts 2:38 KJV

"And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." — Acts 22:16 KJV

"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." — Galatians 3:27 KJV

The words of Max Lucado —

"I will present the message and we will target twenty and thirty year olds. Recognizing the power of contemporary music, the new assemblies will be instrumental. A soft keyboard beneath an altar call, the sound of a cello during communion service. I am convinced instrumentation reaches hearts. We feel it is wise to use this tool." — Spoken in a sermon August 24th, 2003 at Oak Hills church of Christ.

There is absolutely no authority given in the New Testament for the use of instrumental music in Christian worship. We are therefore not at liberty to use instruments to fulfill our own desires to create "emotion" during the assembly of the saints. Such liberty would be characterized as "will-worship" (KJV) or "self-made religion" (NASB) spoken of in Colossians 2:23. While instruments were a part of the Old Testament, we must not resurrect Old Testament practices in an attempt to justify worship conduct under the New Covenant (Heb. 8:13). If instrumental music is to be used in Christian worship, there must be New Testament authority for such. And the reality is, there is none – a fact which some advocates of instrumental music now concede.

The inspired Word of God —

"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book." — Revelation 22:18 KJV

"What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it." — Deuteronomy 12:32 KJV

The words of Rubel Shelly and John York — ministers at the Woodmont Hills church of Christ in Nashville, Tennessee. John York is "Professor of Bible and Preaching" at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee where he teaches preaching classes and New Testament textual classes for graduates and undergraduates.

"So long as repentance and faith in Christ as Savior is proclaimed as gospel, can we not grant that intelligent people of goodwill may come to contrary conclusions about nuances of baptismal theology?" — from their book The Jesus Proposal (page 87)

The Inspired Word of God —

"There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to one hope when you were called — one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." — Eph. 4:4-6 NIV

The words of Max Lucado —

"Our Lord called us to be a force for unity among San Antonio Churches. We, for the first time, swapped pulpits with Trinity Baptist Church." — Spoken in a sermon August 24th, 2003 at Oak Hills church of Christ.

The Inspired Word of God —

"As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." — Galatians 1:9-10 NIV

"If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" — 2 John 10-11 KJV

The words of Rubel Shelly and John York —

(The Bible) was never intended as a document to be individually read and interpreted — a sort of correspondence course in salvation...(we must) listen to the voices of scholarship." — The Jesus Proposal, (page 115) by Rubel Shelly and John O. York.

The inspired Word of God —

"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." — Acts 17:11 NIV

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." — II Timothy 2:15 NASB

Words from the pulpit of a church of Christ in Cincinnati, Ohio —

"Modeling ourselves after the first century church is failure. The epistles are not a guide to modern church organization" — Spoken in a sermon February, 2001.

The Inspired Word of God —

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." — II Timothy 3:16-17 KJV

If we cannot rely on the Bible to tell us how God expects His Church to be organized on this earth, the alternative would be to "make it up" according to man's whims and desires? Is that what God intends?

Words from the pulpit of a church of Christ in Cincinnati, Ohio —

"...we all eat — well, let Jesus in there. Talk about God while you pass the green beans. Then have some bread and a little wine and — PRESTO! — you've got communion." Spoken in a sermon September, 2003.

The Inspired Word of God —

"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. — 1 Cor. 11:26-29 KJV

So what do you think? Are the things being said from the pulpits of our churches and in our Christian Colleges in accordance with God's Word? Are those who speak and teach in those places "accurately handling the word of truth" (II Tim. 2:15 NASB). Perhaps even more importantly, do each of us know the Scriptures well enough to recognize the words of Change Agents when we hear them? Anyone who does not accept the Bible as the only authority for beliefs and practices is denying that it has any relevance. If it has no relevance, then we no longer have need for it. If we no longer have need for the Scriptures, then we are discarding the only Words that instruct us how to please God. If we choose to discard the Words that tell us how to please to God, then God is not our Master. Since we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24) we must then be serving Satan.

"Then Jesus said to the twelve, 'Do you also want to go away?' But Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.'" — John 6:67-68 NKJV

(Note — Documentation for accuracy of all quotes is available upon request)

"Diligence" is a privately funded publication of:
Dennis and Sherri Owens — Cincinnati, Ohio