by Benjamin M. Shropshire
via bulletin of the Leeward church of Christ in Waipahu, Hawaii,
August 12, 2007
Someone who had moved his membership from one church to another was asked why he had left his former church. He answered, "I didn't leave my church; my church left me." By that he meant his former church had made some fundamental changes in doctrine and practice from what had been believed and taught when he had first become a member. The changes, of course, had been in the direction of a very liberal attitude toward the scriptures. Perhaps the church had begun to deny the virgin birth of Jesus or His resurrection from the dead, or maybe homosexuals were accepted into the membership or were allowed to serve in the ministry. When a church begins to make such changes a member must make a choice either to go along or to change churches.
We've heard of such changes as this, either being discussed or actually made in some of the major denominations, causing dissension and turmoil among their members. That shouldn't surprise us too much, however, since many denominations long ago abandoned their respect for the scriptures as an authority in religion. It probably would be surprising to many of us, though, to learn that some churches of Christ are making the same kind of changes. I recently read statements made by a preacher who is working now with a congregation where I preached a little more than forty years ago. He said that he believed Christians could observe the Lord's supper on any day of the week; that he would no longer oppose the use of instrumental music in worship and that he would not object to a group of Christians putting on an interpretative dance program as a part of their worship. He has no regard for authority established by approved apostolic examples and denies the validity of any authority learned by means of necessary inference. He did not say as much, but one would assume that he is teaching these ideas in the sermons and lessons he delivers to the congregation. I know people who are members of that congregation, and I can only wonder how they are reacting to such teaching.
Any congregation can make such changes. All it takes is a few, maybe only an elder or a preacher, with loose and liberal attitudes to be given an opportunity to teach, along with enough members who are unlearned and react indifferently to what is being taught. When people react indifferently to and do not respond when truth is being taught, they are likely to be just as indifferent and unresponsive when error is being taught. Indifference is the soil in which apostasy thrives!
"Let us give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away … for how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord?" (Hebrews 2:1,3).