The quotes emboxed below are from an article in the January edition of a printed publication which has wide readership among members of the fellowship (the “brotherhood”) in which I worship – though many of them would no more fellowship me than they would Osama Bin Laden. I republish them without permission or attribution. And I intersperse among the selected quotes my own commentary. I do this because there are folks who are blessedly unaware of the rhetoric that I have protested in a previous post or two. I think I owe them an explanation.
Headlines on some of the papers throughout the brotherhood give the shameful details: “Nations largest church of Christ adding instrumental service and serving the Lord’s Supper on Saturday night.” “Leaders say there was little opposition to the announcement.” Brethren, where’s the fight which we entered when we took that “oath of office” to serve the Lord, and became a member of His army?
In 1994, 1,490 children died from abuse and/or neglect in the United States among 3,503,000 cases investigated by child protection agencies.
At one time not too many years back, the church of Christ was known as a “fighter.” Members were known as “people of the Book” — “walking Bibles.” The church was growing faster then than at any other time in recent history, but, we have changed and the “fight” is not in us now. We wonder what has happened and where is that fight. It does not take too long to find the answers. The Book has been replaced with words which were not so harsh and the desire to please ourselves and be entertained and to be at peace with the world, being thought of as a “group which fits in with the world” has nearly done away with that fighting spirit which Jesus Christ and the apostles wanted the Christian to have.
In the county where I live, 797 child abuse cases were filed last year.
How does that fit with the scriptures and its teaching? Let that “inspired word” from God speak to mine and your hearts. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. … And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:34,36,37). “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2). “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:5,8). “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things)” (Phil. 3:17-19).
In the church where I attend, three foster families have looked after four children of a race different from their own in the past six months, bringing them into their homes and families as their own. Two more families are gearing up to meet that challenge.
Those words from Almighty God have been perverted, twisted, smoothed down, forgotten willingly and otherwise neglected to the loss of our fighting spirit which each Christian should have. We have “loved this world and its pleasures more than God.” We have not humbled ourselves as servants of Christ — but to our own bellies. We have traded God’s word for “smooth sayings” and loved to have it so. We have become “friends” with this world and an enemy to God. We sit idly by and let the “chaste virgin” become a spotted and blemished “social club” which fits in with this sin-sick world. We refuse to fight the good fight of faith. We will pay the price except we repent.
Each of us is called upon to do what we can to heal this world and to preach good news to the poor. That is the doctrine of Jesus. It was His mission in Luke 4, Luke 6, Luke 9, Luke 10 … you get the picture. He shouldered that ministry because God so loved the world. We should too. We should love each other. We should be forgiving toward each other. We should not be spoiling for a fight over what we may see as doctrine, but what Jesus calls the precepts of men.
People are poor and hungry and sick and dying all over the world.
If our legacy to our survivors is only that we fought for pure doctrine concocted by our own inarguable logic and infallible research at the cost of pursuing the doctrine of Christ – to seek and to save that which is lost – men shall not rise up and call our generation blessed.
The real fight will be lost, and we will be lost in it.