You Cannot Go To The Other Extreme To Avoid Liberalism
By: Brian A. Yeager
In August I received a phone call from a woman who is caught up in a sect (cf. Acts 15:5) amongst churches of Christ that is extreme in creating laws where God has not spoken. This sect of churches exists in thirty groups according to the lady who called me. This sect started in the 1970’s, by a woman named Merie Weiss, in Stanton, CA. This woman is seen as an inspired teacher of God amongst her followers (http://yourchurchtoo.blogspot.com/). That alone tells faithful Christians that this sect is wrong (I Timothy 2:11-12).
According to the woman I spoke with, this sect of churches of Christ started because liberalism was waxing worse and worse. Certainly, we would all agree that this is the case (II Timothy 3:13). False doctrine always was and always will be a problem amongst God’s people (Jeremiah 5:31, Galatians 5:7-9, and II Peter 2:1-3). However, creating a group of people who are following a woman is not the answer to liberalism. It is just creating another false doctrine. Such a doctrine of men [or women in this case] should not be followed (Galatians 1:8-9).
With the attempt to turn from liberalism, this sect created a whole set of rules to prevent digression amongst themselves. This in itself is wrong (I Timothy 1:3-7). Among those rules is that two members from all of “their congregations” meet once a year to determine new rules. This too always was and always will be wrong (Deuteronomy 4:2, II Timothy 2:14-18, Titus 1:14, II John 9-11, and Revelation 22:18-19).
In these annual meetings, they determine what is going to be taught, believed, and practiced in all thirty of their congregations. This is Catholicism mixed with the secrecy of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. They have three people (two men and a woman) that act as the heads of these meetings and all other church business. This too is wrong. We are to follow the teachings of Christ (Colossians 3:16-17) and the Apostles (Acts 2:42), not anyone else (Colossians 2:18-22).
In these meetings they define terms such as what constitutes withdrawing from the disorderly. Instead of just following the Scriptures (Matthew 18:15-17, Romans 16:17-18, I Corinthians 5:1-13, and II Thessalonians 3:6; 14-15); they specify THEIR terms of withdrawal and disciplinary actions. They also take broad terms such as “unclean” and create new doctrines wherein some use matters of liberty, wherein we are permitted to differ (Romans 14:1-23, I Corinthians 8:1-13, and I Corinthians 10:18-33), and impose new doctrines on others.
If the woman I talked to is telling me the truth, you need permission from all the churches before you can move, enter into marriages, etc. This woman told me that the “doctrine of the church” is the most important thing to all thirty of their churches. That is sad, for the church should have no doctrine of her own. The real church of Christ is in subjection to Christ (Ephesians 5:22-25) and His doctrine (Matthew 28:18-20 and I Timothy 6:3-5). She told me that in times past, they had rules that taught women could not wear clothing with zippers on the front and all other types of man-made doctrines such as that. Brethren, this was/is this group of people inventing methods wherein they were trying not to enter into liberalism. In steering from going too far left, they have gone all over the road (so to speak). Truth is not found in over steering to the right or to the left.
Turn Not From It To The Right Or To The Left
Notice what God told Joshua when Joshua was taking over the work of leading Israel where Moses had left off: “Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:6-8).
Like Joshua, all of us are taking up the work of the Lord from whence others have left off. Ultimately, we are picking up and building on the foundation established by Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets (Ephesians 2:20-22). Of course, we will be concerned when we see people going into error. We will see apostasy of individuals (II Timothy 4:11-17) and whole congregations (Revelation 2-3) in our time. We will certainly oppose those who turn away from the truth (Jude 3-4).
What we cannot do is what Merie Weiss and her followers have done. We cannot try so hard to steer from error on the left that we end up going too far to the right (or vice versa). There is a true simplicity in Christ (II Corinthians 11:3). Rather than being caused to steer based on what we see around us, we have to keep our focus on the Lord and His word.
Just A People Of The Book
We have worked hard here at Sunrise Acres in El Paso to be the book, chapter, and verse people that God wants us to be (Matthew 4:4, Colossians 3:17, I Thessalonians 5:21, and I Peter 4:11). We have gotten to the point of proving all things we say and do from the word of our Lord (Ephesians 5:10). Yet, we cannot escape the fact that people of old and today had similar progression as we have had just to end up turning away from the faith (I Corinthians 10:1-12). Let’s be careful not to become a sect among God’s people, but to just keep on keeping on with being God’s people!
“Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left… Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil” (Deuteronomy 5:32 and Proverbs 4:25-27).
Volume 14 – Issue 3 - October 6th, 2013