I wanted to ask you a question about Romans 16:17 and I Corinthians 1:10 about there being divisions in the church. I have been a member of the church since 1960, at the age of 13, and lead singing most of the years since. My dad preached 23 years in a central Texas church of Christ where we had no divisions in the church. In the 1960's most of the churches in southeastern Texas split over the orphan homes and whether to support them with contributions. I was married in 1969, my wife a member was from central Texas also, and as I, was saddened to hear of the splits.
Since then the churches in west Texas have split over Sunday school, and southeastern Texas churches have split over buses, kitchens, one cup communion, one non-institutional group split in the next town from us because one man was not picked as an elder, resulting in three churches in a town of 10,000, one being a liberal church. The next little town south of us (population 300+) has a liberal group and a non-institutional group where several old-time families we know (friends), left there because the minister preaches that it's okay to divorce and remarry for any reason. (He has family in this situation who attend this church).
Our son's wife is from Mentone, Indiana, where they worship faithfully (using acapella music), but down the road in the Etna-Green church of Christ, they use instrumental music and see nothing wrong in doing so.
My wife and I are concerned about all the modernism in the church today, such as church camps for youth, meals at the church every Sunday after church, and all kinds of committees within the church and even churches of Christ with crosses in the stained glass windows and doors of the buildings, crosses on the roofs, and even on the communion trays. I was taught from a little boy on that these crosses were wrong. There's even a church of Christ in the San Antonio, Texas, area which at one time went by the name of Church of Christ, which is where a well-known "religious" author preaches, that no longer has the name Church of Christ, but now goes by the name Oak Hills Church.
As I've said, my family and I are very concerned about these things! What are your thoughts on this subject?
Paul stated, "For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you" (I Corinthians 11:18-19). As long as people insist on altering God's plan for the church there will always be division. Such is the case in each of the divisions you listed. Someone wanted to change what the Bible clearly stated should not be changed. As a result a rift appeared between those standing steadfast in the New Testament and those hungering after innovations. If everyone went along with the changes, there would not be any divisions, but then there wouldn't be any faithful Christians left either.
Unity is only achieved when all remain faithful to the one source of life. "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:3-5). Satan is at work in the world leading many astray (I John 4:1). It is sad to see, but it doesn't change truth.
I would guess that about a quarter of those now worshiping in La Vista had once been among the liberal brethren. But they reached a point where they couldn't tolerate the changes any more and began seeking a sounder church with whom to worship. So many mention, after visiting, "This is what I miss. I haven't heard preaching that was proved from so much Scripture since I was a child." I often know when a new innovation has been introduced in one of the area groups because there will be an influx shortly thereafter. About half stay with us, at least while they remain in the area.
Questions and Answers regarding Liberalism
Questions and Answers regarding Institutionalism
Questions and Answers regarding the Church
Questions and Answers regarding Unity
Does Warring Factions Mean Christianity is False?