A. There is a movement among our brethren that takes steps even further away from the truth than many denominations are willing to go. It is a movement that teaches the acceptance of change and sin.(Note: the quotes referenced below are hyperlinked or you can just scroll to the end of the lesson to view the quotes. The endnotes tells the author information)1. God does not want doctrtinal changes (Deuteronomy 4:2).B. Anytime the body of Christ is under attack, brethren must take their roles in the refutation of error.a. Paul told Timothy to teach others the SAME thing he taught him (II Timothy 2:2).2. God never approves of sin:
I. They Are Changing Accountability –Their “Umbrella of Grace”
A. See quote 1 A:1. Salvation is about us being faithful (Revelation 2:10).B. See quote 1 B:
A. See quote 2 A:1. We are never supposed to meet the trends of man, but to follow the doctrine of Christ (Matthew 15:7-9).B. See quote 2 B:
A. We should watch for those who would bring these doctrines as the Bible warns they will come in among us (Matthew 7:15-20, Acts 20:28-32, I Peter 2:1-3, and Jude v. 4).Conclusion:1. The Bible warns that some will depart from the faith (I Timothy 4:1-2).B. We should mark false teachers and avoid them (Romans 16:17-18).
A. Conservative brethren like to think that this idea of acceptance over doctrine is a liberal problem only. See quote # 3:1. Ed Harrell is a supposed conservative preacher.B. These errors are on our doorstep in Western PA. If we are arrogant in thinking they cannot come here; we will fall (I Corinthians 10:12).
The following are the quotes from the FALSE TEACHERSreferenced in this lesson:
1 A. “What commands are necessary to remain in a saved condition--specifically, weekly worship, elements of worship, righteous living, marriage rules? Salvation is a matter of God's grace, not our perfect obedience, perfect understanding, or perfect parsing of Greek verbs, nouns, and conjunctions. Christ died on the cross for our sins and that was enough and will always be enough to keep us saved, if we continue to trust him.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do the best we can to be obedient with the biblical light we have available to our consciences. But it seems we become modern Pharisees when we start listing the "requirements" for maintaining "faithfulness." Your list and my list and brother "A's" list of requirements are likely different, right? Nobody's list matches anybody else's. Under those circumstances, unity is impossible. Christ is divided because our "lists" do not agree. That is heresy.
The Master taught us what the greatest commands are: "Love God" and "Love your neighbor." If we do these things we will not fall because God's grace covers those who love. Not because loving makes God beholden to save us but because it is evidence that we are saved and that the divine nature lives in us.”  Click Here to go back to the outline point I A.
1 B."...Let's not limit the kingdom of God to the size of our brotherhood... this is what I heard... the only people that could go to heaven were in churches of Christ... I'm going to suggest to you not only is that not Biblical, but it is in fact a violation of the very restoration plea to which we are heirs...when I accept someone who has believed and repented and been born again of water and the Spirit that does not necessarily mean I endorse everything he says or does. And let me say this clearly, I have brothers and sisters in Christ who may be in churches where I couldn't worship... But if grace will cover moral error, why are we so afraid to let it cover doctrinal error?..."  Click Here to go back to the outline point I B.
2 A.“Although many have chosen to fight against current culture, a growing number of churches of Christ believe there is a new, emerging mindset that would rather take postmodernism into account. It is without question that many aspects of postmodernism are contrary to the Christian faith yet, paradoxically this cultural shift has created a greater awareness of the need for God in the postmodern seeker. It is the conviction of a growing number of, Christ-centered, grace-oriented, churches of Christ that God has provided us with a great moment in history to meet the needs of this emerging mindset.” Click Here to go back to the outline point II A.
2 B. “As the churches of Christ move from the trenches of legalism into the marvelous freedoms of grace you'll begin to observe a change in the atmosphere; you'll see new freedoms that encourage the creative thinker, the pursuer of truth, the wholehearted seeker, and the learner and explorer, rather than the memorizer, repeater, and defender of old doctrinal formulations. What a challenge we encounter when we open ourselves to discover how Jesus Christ wants to theologically incarnate himself for the postmodern world, just as he did for the post-Enlightenment world of the old church.”  Click Here to go back to the outline point II B.
It's a reason people leave the church. It's a reason they don't invite their friends. It's killing the passion we should have for God. In response, many well-meaning souls scream, "We are not in the entertaining business!" What's missing is an understanding of our current educational culture.
The new buzzword in education circles is "edutainment." It simply means the act of learning through a medium that both educates and entertains (The American Heritage Dictionary). It is the way we have learned and are learning. We are a generation that grew up learning by watching Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. Our children have learned to read and spell with computer programs. We have been edutained… I'm urging us to reconsider everything - preaching, worship, classes, etc. What will you do with this information? Teach us the way we learn, please.”  Click Here to go back to the outline II C.
2 E.“We in the churches of Christ have typically been a people slow to embrace change. It is viewed with suspicion, and even an element of fear. Charles Arn (President of Church Growth, Inc.) wrote, "Most people resist change not for fear of discovering the future, but for fear of discarding the past." We are a "backward looking people," one author observed --- a people more concerned with preserving past traditions than with progressing toward the future with greater relevancy and efficiency.
In an article by the aforementioned Charles Arn (Church Growth Magazine, Vol. 14, No. 3, Winter, 1999), the author presents Six Secrets For Introducing Successful Change In Your Church. He begins by warning the reader that "people, by nature, tend to resist change." Therefore, one must not assume that anything new "will be naturally accepted on its obvious merits. It will not." In fact, one may more correctly assume it will be resisted, for "people are allergic to change."
To assist in the effecting of responsible change in one's congregation, Charles Arn suggests "six secrets," or guidelines, which, if implemented, will help bring about the necessary changes. Let me just briefly list them, along with a few attendant personal observations of my own.
ONE --- "Introduce the idea as a way to reach an agreed upon goal." It is important for a congregation to know where it is going; to have goals, and to place these continuously before the members in the form of a mission statement. If an idea for some responsible change is presented as a way of achieving, or better achieving, a goal already agreed upon, and one which is a part of the mission statement, it is more likely to be embraced.
TWO --- "Introduce the idea as an addition, not a replacement." Many will consider something new if they know they do not have to abandon that to which they have grown accustomed. If a cherished tradition is perceived by the members to be threatened or at risk, they will rise to its defense (and that generally means attacking and terminating anything new which seeks to replace it). Thus, seek NOT to replace, but to enhance. Offer additional options; greater choices. Never shoot a "sacred cow" --- allow it to graze peacefully in the pasture while the new, improved herd is brought in for inspection.
THREE --- "Introduce the idea as a short-term experiment, not a long-term commitment." This is a very wise move. People are more likely to try something new if they view it as being "on trial" and subject to evaluation and even rejection if deemed inappropriate. "We, as humans, are more tolerant of change if it is seen as a temporary condition. Then often we discover that the change is not as distasteful as we had feared, and, in fact, is often more desirable than the past." Sometimes the hardest thing to get people to do is simply TRY something new or different; they are more likely to try it, however, if they know it is a "short-term trial." The old adage "TRY it, you just might LIKE it" contains much wisdom. Make it easy for people to TRY. Don't force it down their throats; they will only choke on it.
FOUR --- "Encourage enhancements to create ownership." In other words, let the members claim ownership of the idea, and let them participate in implementing it. "Good goals are MY goals; bad goals are YOUR goals." Help them to see these goals as THEIR goals. When the members are allowed to help refine the idea to meet the specified goals of the group, they develop a "personal identity" with the proposed change, and are thus more likely to support the idea and work for its ultimate success.
FIVE --- "Sow seeds of creative discontent." The following is a valid principle of life -- "Voluntary change only occurs when there is sufficient discontent with the status quo." Many resist change because they find comfort in the predictability of the institutional church system. However, "the way things have always been" is not always the pathway to realization of present or future goals. One must recognize that there is "destructive contentment" just as there is "constructive discontent." It is only when members become discontent with the status quo (which may indeed be comfortable, but which perhaps is going nowhere and is not achieving their stated goals) that they will strive for greater relevance and impact within their environment. It is a bold stepping out of the past and into the present and future.
SIX --- "Start with the leaders." If the leaders aren't sold on the prospective change, it will face almost insurmountable obstacles. Those who are the most successful at effecting responsible change are the ones who have succeeded in instilling excitement for the idea in the minds of the leadership. From there one must go on to win the hearts of the core group of the congregation. With the leaders and the key members supportive of the concept, change is more likely to be embraced by the membership, and thus be ultimately realized.“  Click Here to go back to the outline point II E.
3. “Christians sometimes disagree about scriptural instructions, even in matters of considerable moral and doctrinal import...That behavior...is, I believe, the issue addressed in Romans 14.”  Click Here to go back to the outline conclusion.
"A little child
may lie, steal or murder. In a fit of anger he may disobey parents
or God. All such is sin for all transgression is a sin (1 Jn. 3:4).
But God forgives (just as we also forgive) such infants.
 Paul Woodhouse- “What is
Grace-Centeredness in Churches of Christ?” (An Article in Grace Centered
(Note: All of the above mentioned references
are quotes from false teachers. The information listed is for verification
and this author certainly disagrees with what is stated by these men.)
2003 by Brian A. Yeager may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.