The above title is from the Southern Baptist Sunday School Literature, Adult Quarterly, Aug. 3, 1980 lesson. That was a lesson concerning the church of Christ. The quarterly dealt with various denominations and their relationship to the Baptists. After giving a fairly accurate description of the church and her beliefs including the fact that we believe in speaking where the Bible speaks and remaining silent where the Bible is silent and that we deny being a denomination, the writer makes the title statement. He sets forth what the church stood for from the days of the restoration movement. He mentions the debates with the denominations and her insistence that membership in the church of Christ is essential to salvation. The material points out that the latter proposition has received greater or lesser emphasis depending on the individual preacher or congregation.
But the Baptist authors concludes that “Time brings changes.” Note:
“As with other groups, time brings changes. Various experiences and articles in Church of Christ publications seem to represent a definite softening of formerly rigid positions.”
“In the past it has been difficult for Baptists to relate to the Church of Christ. It was not unusual in some areas for relationships to be torn by debates, harsh statements, and sometimes bitter disagreements.”
“With a Younger generation learning more about the essence of Christian life centering in love, it makes less sense than ever to be unable to accept and respect each other in Christian love.”
So even the Baptists have noticed—the church of Christ they see has “softened on many positions and are ready to accept and respect us in Christian love!” Would that some ostrich brethren could see as clearly as the Baptists: Now the denominations are exulting in their acceptance of the “new” or “changed” Church of Christ.
Oh, how I’d love to rise up and cry in righteous indignation that they had misrepresented the church of Christ of our day! But, I can only hang my head in sadness and agree with the Baptist author. A great segment of the church—perhaps a majority of the congregations—have softened. Things are being done and doctrines are being taught that as recently as twenty years ago were unheard of in churches of Christ. Denominational methods for growth have been adopted and gimmicks of all kinds are promoted. Denominational doctrines in new clothes—the Calvinist “umbrella of grace” theory, “personal indwellings and operations of the Holy Spirit,” and a softening of the Biblical teaching on instrumental music in the worship are being taught and proclaimed. And where is the source of much of this softening? In so-called “Christian Colleges” and Universities where preachers are trained and sent out! I have before me an announcement of an Elders Workshop and Christian Education Conference at Abilene Christian University, July 17-19. The men who are to teach in the elders workshop are by and large teachers in the various colleges. I don’t know who will be staffing the Christian Education Conference. But the two will be in session at the same time on the same campus. Now, the climax of the whole thing:
The elders will join other groups attending the conference for the four main dinner and luncheon presentations planned for the conference. Speakers for those meetings will be U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (Mormon), Roger Staubach (Catholic) former quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys; Abner NcCall (Baptist) president of Baylor University (and the man who led the revolt in the recent Southern Baptist Convention against those who declared that the Bible was without errors) and William Banowsky (Christian?).
Now what can the Mormons, Catholics, and Baptists teach elders or those who believe in real Christian education except error? And we in Oklahoma know of the softening of William Banowsky toward the denominations in filling their pulpits on Lord’s Day’s all over the state.
Yea, the Baptist author was correct in stating that “Time Brings Changes.” Over 40 years ago when I was a student in the Christian colleges it was unthinkable that a denominationalist be brought to the campus even for a Commencement speech, much less to participate in a Christian Education Conference and “Elders Workshop.” Now every time we pick up one of the college bulletins some sectarian politician or educator or even preacher is being featured on the campus. Here is the source, along with the so called Bible Chairs in the State Colleges, of the glaring softening that is being touted by the sectarians in churches. of Christ. Yea, verily!