Brian Yeager's Outlines
The Liberal’s “Umbrella of Grace”

Introduction:

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.
1. God does not want doctrtinal changes (Deuteronomy 4:2). 
a. Paul told Timothy to teach others the SAME thing he taught him (II Timothy 2:2). 
b. The words of Christ are not changing (Matthew 24:35 and I Peter 1:23-25).
2. God never approves of sin: 
a. Sin is transgression of the Law (I John 3:4).
b. The wages [earnings] of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
B. Anytime the body of Christ is under attack, brethren must take their roles in the refutation of error.
1. We are soldiers in a battle (I Timothy 6:12).
2. We use spiritual weaponry and armor (Ephesians 6:10-18).
3. We must earnestly [Heartfelt, serious and diligent, emotionally intense and solemn] contend for the faith (Jude 3).
C. The liberal “umbrella of Grace” is a safety that protects them from being held accountable in the Day of Judgment:
1. This allows change in the local church without authority.
2. This clouds the minds of brethren witnessing these changes.
3. This movement MUST be stopped!  We will address some of the errors quoted, but will do so briefly.  Please do not assume that if we skip over something it is true, we are just going to skin the cat, not gut it!
4. Notice in the quotes we will look at how many scriptures these liberals use.  Ask yourself; why?
(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)
 

I. They Are Changing Accountability –Their “Umbrella of Grace”

A. See quote 1 A:
1. Salvation is about us being faithful (Revelation 2:10).
2. Salvation is about us getting it perfect (James 2:10). 
3. We cannot each have “our lists” of what it means to be faithful, the Bible is the only list (II Peter 1:3). 
4. We not only can agree and be of the same mind, but we MUST agree and be of the same mind:
a. I Corinthians 1:10 
b. Philippians 3:16 
B. See quote 1 B:
1. The only saved are in the body (Ephesians 5:23).
2. Those who do not obey are lost (Matthew 7:21 and II Thessalonians 1:8-9). 
3. He says that grace will cover moral error, and wonders why we are afraid to let it cover doctrinal error.
a. Does grace cover un-repented of moral error (I Corinthians 6:9-11 and Galatians 5:9-21)?
b. Does grace cover doctrinal error (II John v. 9)?


II. They are Changing Worship and Disregarding Bible Authority to Meet the Demands of Men

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).
2. We are not supposed to change to meet the needs of men, but teach men to change to meet the demands of God (Acts 26:20).
B. See quote 2 B:
1. Does God want us to depart from the Old Paths?
a. Man in Jeremiah’s day sounded just like liberals today, notice what God said (Jeremiah 6:16-19). 
b. Did the inspired Apostle Paul want the brethren in Thessalonica to start their own ways to fit the needs of the time (II Thessalonians 2:15)? 
2. Mr. Peatross obviously hates those that can quote Bible.  Why is that???? – See Matthew 4:1-11.
a. Take the Bible from the people and tell them it is not important to study, then you are able to change everything.
b. Tell people to learn the Bible, and you will have a group of brethren who know when error is taught and how to deal with it.
C. See quote 2 C:
1. This fellow says “church is boring”.  WOW – are we here to worship [give reverence to God] or to be entertained (John 4:23-24). 
a. It is clear that the author of the referenced article here has failed to realize we don’t “go to church”, but we are the church (I Corinthians 12:27).
b. Of course worship will be boring to those whom do not obey our Lord and do not seek to please Him!
2. We ought to be aware of these philosophies of men (Colossians 2:4-8)!
3. This young man is the one who needs to reconsider who’s plan of worship and work we are to follow (Colossians 3:17)!  Mr. Rogers and Big Bird will not judge you, the word of God will (John 12:48)!
D. See quote 2 D:
1. It is sad that colleges are involved in changing churches.  Such is what happens when the church involves herself in Institutionalism. 
2. Notice that this is designed to change worship by pleasing the old and entertaining the young.  Doesn’t small changes seem to follow the pattern of the great deceiver (Genesis 3:4 –added the word “not”)
E. See quote 2 E:
1. Al Maxey says that the church of Christ is slow to embrace change – that is incorrect.  The true church of Christ will always REJECT ANY CHANGE!!! 
a. Revelation 22:18-19 
b. Sound Brethren will always demand the same doctrine taught as in the New Testament!
2. Maxey says that we need to move to the future in greater efficiency.  So, not only are we in error for following the Bible Pattern according to Al, but the wisdom of Christ was so lacking that He could not establish an efficient plan.  Wow – if you don’t like the “house” how can you like the builder (Matthew 16:18)?
3. Then Maxey turns his article over to “Six Secrets For Introducing Successful Change In Your Church”.
a. Truth does not need to be secret, error does to hide it’s true nature. 
b. The implied methods are trickeries which is dishonesty and we know who the father of lies is (John 8:44).  No wonder that his children like Al would use tactics like this.
c. It is correct to say changes in your church, for once the church changes and the doctrine shifts it is no longer the Lord’s, it is another (Galatians 1:6-12).
4. Let’s look at these six steps Maxey mentions in his article we are looking at:
a. Step 1: If our goal is Heaven the plan has already been very openly announced (Romans 10:17, John 8:24, Luke 13:3, Romans 10:10, Acts 2:38, and Revelation 2:10).  I guess they are promoting another eternal location, for there are only two and God gave the plan for Heaven (Matthew 25:46).
b. Step 2: Is addition really a good word to use here (Revelation 22:18-19)?
c. Step 3: Again, they instruct to deceive (II Corinthians 11:14-15). 
d. Step 4: Now, he just insults the intelligence of the followers of this junk and again shows deceit.
e. Step 5: Now he instructs followers of this plan to sow discord among brethren.  The Lord is clear on where he stands here (Proverbs 6:16-19).
f. Step 6: The plan says to start with the leaders.  Now, we found a way to beat it!  Why?  Our leaders need to be able to exhort and convince the gainsayers (Titus 1:9). 


III. We As Faithful Christians Must Be Willing to Watch and Defend Against These Errors

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).
1. The Bible warns that some will depart from the faith (I Timothy 4:1-2).
2. We have to try [test] them (I John 4:1).
3. The time has come when many have not endured sound doctrine (II Timothy 4:1-4).
B. We should mark false teachers and avoid them (Romans 16:17-18). 
1. Maintaining NO fellowship with them at all (Ephesians 5:11 and II John 9-11). 
2. Not even for one hour (Galatians 2:4-5). 
3. We should arm ourselves with the truth and fight these false doctrines (Ephesians 6:17 and Jude v. 3).
4. We should hate these false ways (Psalms 119:104).
Conclusion:
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.
2. Many others like Bob Owen, Earl Kimbrough, etc. have embraced this error of Romans 14 including matters of doctrinal differences.
a. Romans 14 like I Corinthians 8 deals with the idea of accepting weaker brethren who differ on matters of opinion: i.e. Romans 14:2ff. Vegetarian vs. meat eater.
b. The weaker brother or sister in Christ is not to stay the weaker; but to grow out of that state!
c. We are to accept some things so that the weaker brother does not fall, but those things are not doctrinal things!
3. See quote # 4:
a. Infants are not sinners (Ezekiel 18:20 and Matthew 18:3).
• To transgress the law of Christ (I John 3:4), one must be able to know what right is (James 4:17).
• This is a terrible way to attempt to teach the false doctrine of continual cleansing.
b. Every babe in Christ will sin, but if that sin is un-repented of it will lead to damnation (Luke 13:3; 5).
c. Ignorance is not a viable excuse (Acts 17:30).
d. Sins are forgiven when we repent and confess those sins (I John 1:9).
e. Then he claims in this quote that the works of the flesh are sins condemned by our consciences all the while he admits sin is transgression of the law.  The Bible is our guide, not what we feel is right and wrong (Psalms 119:105).
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).
1. Let’s keep up on our studies (II Timothy 2:15 and I Peter 3:15), and the errors our brethren teach.
2. Let’s use that information to be set for the defense of the Gospel (Philippians 1:17).
C. I asked in the Introduction to notice how many scriptures these men used to promote their doctrine:
1. They used NONE, because there is not one ounce of truth in what they are teaching. 
2. Their doctrine is not a 52nd cousin to the truth!

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.” [1]  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?..." [2]  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.”[3] 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.” [4] Click Here to go back to the outline point II B.

2 C.“Church is so boring!!

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.” [5] Click Here to go back to the outline II C.

2 D."Dear Friends, 
These are challenging times for all of us in Churches of Christ. Typically, grandparents and their grandchildren prefer different music, different translations of the Bible, different styles of congregational worship, different styles of praying, different ways to communicate truths from God’s word, etc. All of our congregations are challenged to provide a worship service that satisfies our senior members while providing a worship experience that also connects with our youth. 
If your congregation has made a transition to a contemporary worship style, or if your leaders just want to consider some contemporary ways to lead praise and worship in congregational settings, or if you just want to learn about alternatives, we invite you to become a participant or a sponsor of the Zoe Worship Conference to be held on the campus of Rochester College, August 11-13, 2000. 
. . . . 
...Primary participants in the conference will be Mr. Larry Bridgesmith and Mr. Randy Gill, both alumni of Rochester College, who plan and lead worship at Woodmont Hills Church of Christ in Nashville, TN, and Jeff Walling, a well-known brotherhood speaker 
. . . . 
Yours for the Master, Signed: Elton Albright 
Director of Church Relations." [6] Click Here to go back to the outline point II D.

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.“ [7] 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.” [8] Click Here to go back to the outline conclusion.

4."IS ANYONE FORGIVEN WHILE PRACTICING SIN

     "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.
     Every babe in Christ will also sin even in regard to things that he will later learn are wrong.  He may dance, gamble, or worship unscripturally.  I hope God will forgive him, for if he is not forgiven we ought not to baptize him until he “knows everything.” (???)
     But one who practices the “works of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19-21) which are indeed those sins that are condemned by every man’s conscience, “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”  Why?  Because God has not promised to forgive the responsible person who continues in presumptious sin without repentance (Hebrews 10:26). – Leslie Diestelkamp”  [9]  Click Here to go back to the outline conclusion.

~Endnotes~

[1] Paul Woodhouse- “What is Grace-Centeredness in Churches of Christ?” (An Article in Grace Centered Magazine): http://www.gcmagazine.net/gracecenteredness.html 
[2] Rick Atchley - sermon entitled "Don't Bother Your Brother"; preached at Richland Hills Church of Christ, Ft. Worth, TX; on 10/14/90.
[3] Fred Peatross – “Why All the Change In the Church of Christ?” (An Article in Grace Centered Magazine):
http://www.gcmagazine.net/whyallthechange.html
[4] Fred Peatross – “The New Church” (An Article in Grace Centered Magazine): http://www.gcmagazine.net/newchurch.html
[5] Jeremy Walden – “Bore No More” (An Article in Grace Centered Magazine): http://www.gcmagazine.net/borenomore.html
[6] Rochester Christian College – Letter signed by Elton Albright; sent via U.S. mail to congregations in May 2000.
[7] Al Maxey – “Effecting Responsible Change” (An Article from Al’s E-Magazine Called “Reflections”): http://www.zianet.com/maxey/reflx7.htm; January 9th, 2003.
[8] Ed Harrell – Original quotes: “Bounds of Christian Unity #1-16”; Christianity Magazine, Feb. 1989 - May 1990; my source: http://www.dickinsonchurchofchrist.org/jhorsley-fellowship,BW.ppt.pdf
[9] Leslie Diestelkamp - "Is Anyone Forgiven While Practicing Sin" (Published in "Think on These Things"); January - February - March, 1988 Issue; page 2.

(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.


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