Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

“Unity Events”

inthenewsThe way Wade Hodges sees it, a cappella churches of Christ and instrumental Christian Churches share too much in common not to treat each other like family.

But in Truitt Adair’s view, any attempt at unity that does not include an “honest discussion of the things that divide us” risks creating more division than reconciliation.

Such are the disparate views among church leaders 100 years after a 1906 federal religious census first reported the a cappella and instrumental churches as separate bodies…

…To mark the centennial, the Abilene Christian University Lectureship in Texas and the Tulsa International Soul-Winning Workshop in Oklahoma both plan tag-team keynote addresses featuring university presidents or ministers from both groups…

…”We may worship differently, but we worship the same God, ” Hodges said. “Our congregations may not be cookie-cutter replications of each other, but we are still committed to the same mission.”…

… [Victor] Knowles, who has organized unity forums for more than 20 years, said the two groups share “the same spiritual DNA.”

…”In essentials, we are one. In non-essentials, we need to allow liberty,” Knowles said. “In all things, we need to have more love.”

Bobby Ross Jr.
The Christian Chronicle, February 2006

Analysis:

The Christian Chronicle calls itself “An international newspaper for members of churches of Christ.” The paper is increasingly coming under criticism by members of institutional churches of Christ for its liberal slant in reporting on and promoting liberal trends among their churches.

The article notes that the differences between churches of Christ and Christian churches emanate from a disagreement on “what it means when the Bible is silent on an issue.” Stated differently, whether the silence of scripture is permissive or restrictive.

I have no problem with a discussion of differences between brethren, or those of denomination. However, what is described in these “unity events” is an attempt to minimize differences, and disregard God’s teaching on the limits of Christian fellowship.

A debate on issues such as whether the use of instrumental music is scripturally authorized, or whether the Missionary Society arrangement is a scripturally ordained means of spreading the gospel, is most certainly not welcome in these circles. Put simply, they desire for us to agree to disagree on what they term “non-essentials”, and to accept one another simply on the basis of love, and a common heritage.

The problem is that their definition of what is “essential” does not jibe with what God said (cf. 2 John 9-11), and their definition of love (i.e. – toleration of error), is likewise a distortion of truth (cf. John 14:15; 2 John 5-8).

It may be that these groups share the Restoration Heritage, but those who are advocating such a distorted concept of unity have left that heritage, and no longer are following the principles of unity set forth in scripture.