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

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In The News: Faith and Football

ImageOn the front page of the September 2007 edition of the Christian Chronicle newspaper, under the heading “Faith and Football” was a picture of high school football players, kneeling with their coaches in prayer, with the following caption beneath:

“Assistant head coach Ken Robinson leads Greater Atlanta Christian School’s varsity team in prayer at a camp at Georgia Tech. The Spartans, who have a 120-39 record since 1994, have advanced to the state playoffs 12 straight seasons. The team made it to the state quarterfinals last year, finishing 11-2.”

The Christian Chronicle calls itself: “An International Newspaper for Churches of Christ.” You may ask yourself, what does football have to do with Churches of Christ? Good question! The answer, of course, is nothing at all. But, that has not stopped those who wish to change the mission of the Lord’s church from securing the spiritual welfare of men, to securing their social welfare. This is the mistake of the social gospel concept. It trivializes the purpose of the Lord’s church.

Those who advocate the social gospel have a powerful emotional argument as an appeal. Does not the Lord desire that our children be educated with a “Christian” education? Does He not desire we be entertained with “Christian” entertainment? Isn’t it a wonderful work for us to have our “Christian” schools, hospitals and colleges?

First, we must understand these instances to be an accommodated use of the term Christian. While it is indeed true that every aspect of our lives are to be governed by “Christian” principles, (in effect, the will of the Lord), our Lord simply did not give His church the mandate of social reform or action.

Simply put, schools, colleges, homes, hospitals and football teams are not the work of the church! While individual Christians certainly can and should be involved in the education and protection of their children and the betterment of society; it is not the church’s charge to be so involved.

Hear the sublime words of the apostle: “These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:14-15).

The Holy Spirit established divine limitations to the mandate given the church. Paul wrote so that Timothy and we all would know how to conduct ourselves in the church of the living God. With regard to her work, we must heed that she is “the pillar and ground of the truth”, and limit her to the work given her by God.

Churches of Christ should preach the gospel, and edify the brethren. That is the mission given the Lord’s church in scripture. That is the limited mandate she is to fulfill. Faith and football? I don’t think so!