Question:

Asked a question of previous Williams Road Church of Christ why they removed the "church of Christ" and now just refer to themselves as the Williams Road Church. Shortanswer referred me to Cecil Hook and his book Free in Christ. What would the explanation be without me reading and how far off base are they by referring to this for an answer to this and other issues. Thanks for any quick explanation you can give to help me out. I am in near future going to come up with copy of this book and do other personal research.


Answer:

Cecil Hook is the most recent spokesman for a false set of concepts that date back to by grandfather's day. It started with Carl Ketcherside and was picked by Leroy Garrett. Charles Holt promoted it the 1980's and now it is Cecil Hook. By the way, you don't have to buy his book, the texts (and there are several of them) are all on-line.

The ideas are promoted by asking a lot of questions while initially giving very few answers. The questions target dissatisfaction with the way churches are being operated. Any mistake done by leaders in the church are harped on and insinuated to be caused by misapplication of the Scripture (not proven, just implied). Thus, they build on a foundation of complaints.

From that basis, the reader is then told there are no laws in Christ. What are called laws by everyone else are merely suggestions for implimenting basic principles, such as love, peace, justice, etc. Therefore, anything goes so long as you have "love." It doesn't matter if instrumental music is used or not. It doesn't matter what day of the week the Lord's Supper is partaken. Elders are only older people (men and women) in a congregation. There are no preachers supported to teach the gospel, preachers are just whoever is teaching a lesson that week. In fact, this belief teaches that doesn't matter what church you attend.

To the adherents of this flawed thinking, every person is saved until they learn something from the Gospel and then reject it. Thus, if a person was only taught that salvation comes from faith alone, then that is all they are responsible for until someone teaches them differently. If you think about it, the Gospel becomes a teaching that causes people to be lost and not saved.

The idea of establishing authority for our actions through commands, examples, and necessary inference is totally rejected. It is mocked and made fun of; yet, its adherents never realize that by their own illogic they cannot establish that they are right because they reject the ways people communicate.

Since it is a seductive teaching to the disgruntled, it spreads. Yet, over time every group that follows this teaching disappears. The reason is simple. If I'm saved in my current beliefs and current church, then why join a small group? I can get everything that makes me happy elsewhere. Thus, the churches dies rapidly. Unfortunately, there are always people who are unhappy with things as they are. They want to leave their "mark" and many turn to this set of beliefs.

The best description of this group is found in the words of Peter:

"For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved" (II Peter 2:18-19).