We've all heard that question time and again at the grocery store, the gas station and the restaurant, "How would you like your change?" We have several choices when money exchanges hands. "How would you like your change?" is not a threatening question...UNLESS...we are talking about changing the church of our Lord Jesus Christ! There are two kinds of "change" when we speak of the "faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." One kind of change is good, moral and beneficial. The other is evil, immoral and detrimental.
The Bible often refers to this "good change" as "repentance." Repentance literally means to "change ones mind." Christians repented of slavery, repented of racism and repented of tobacco abuse. In this sense, Christians must always be ready to repent. We must, as we are taught by the Word of God, be eager to repent of any evil that remains in us. This is why John urges us in I John 1.9 - 10: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us." (ESV)
Sadly, there is another kind of "change" that has devastated the church of Christ in recent years. It is called many things; existentialism, post-modernism, emergence, progressiveism and liberalism. For this post we will refer to this kind of change as "existential" change. "Existential Change" is change that is manufactured artificially to destroy the past (and everything associated with it) and to reconstruct a new and "exciting" future in the model of Darwinian Philosophy. "Existential change" has several components:
- "Existential change" is based on multiple meaning of Scripture individually interpreted.
- "Existential change" is artificially constructed with new imaginary "realities,"
- "Existential change" employs a new definition of truth found in contradiction rather than revelation,
- "Existential change" has a new view of truth; that truth is evolutionary and is ever changing. It is neither permanent nor static.
Doubt the extent and seriousness of chaos, confusion and existential change within the churches of Christ? The following quote in the June, 2016 issue of the The Christian Chronicle will dispel all such doubts:
"In general, churches rooted in and practicing 20th century church models are not doing well in our 21st culture,"said Granberg [Stan Granberg of Kairos Church Planting and according to the Chronicle, "associated with churches of Christ."] a former missionary to Kenya who is supported by the Southwest Church of Christ in Jonesboro, AR. Unlike most Churches of Christ, about 60 percent of Kairos church plants use instrumental music in worship. "Most of our younger generations do not accept the theological support we have used for a cappella," Granberg said. Moreover, some Kairos church plants allow women to pray and read Scriptures during public assembly, he acknowledged. Every generation must reevaluate what practices may hinder others from turning to God, said Tod Vogt, executive director of Texas-based Mission Alive, another church-planting ministry associated with Churches of Christ. "Changing the name, adding instruments and allowing women broader roles are not the most significant changes the North American church needs to make to engage the culture," Vogt said. "If so, churches doing these things would be far more effective than they are." (1)
Happily, the Christian Chronicle quotes then extensively from bro. Dale Jenkins who refutes these dangerous assertions in the following section of the article.
By the way, I explore all of this in great detail in my book Emerging Towards Apostasy available from amazon.com and other sources.
(1) "Coming Soon: Worship At The Movie Theater," The Christian Chronicle, article by Bobby Ross Jr. pages 8 and 9, June, 2016.