The church is in a fast cycle of change, most of which is not for the good, because it is driven by culture and by desire to draw outsiders in through a process other than evangelism. The biblical underpinnings are being weakened. We no longer speak as the Bible speaks, nor do we maintain silence where the Bible is silent. Perhaps we have neglected true evangelism and have failed at real discipleship, with the result that our attempts at growth are clumsy and misguided and our efforts toward building community sound more like a social club than the intimate fellowship of God’s family. We may retain a name and go through a few familiar motions, but it will be a hollow echo of what the people of God should be and a mere shell of a vibrant faith that once was certain that God’s plan cannot be improved upon.

What a sad day when no one was found who cared enough for the people of God to keep them from being destroyed.

I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.
Ezekiel 22.30 NLT

The people of Israel were destroyed because no one sought to stop the idolatry and injustice in their midst. Continue reading

kenneth-starrFirst, it was a Nashville newspaper, with its slanted article featuring one digressive church, touting that churches of Christ are shedding their isolationist position. “Isolationism” is always bad. It’s a cousin of intolerance.

Then, Abilene Christian University announced its new president, Phil Schubert, who had promised to continue the university’s direction toward a general evangelical position, when he stated,

“We need to strike an appropriate balance between a quest for academic excellence and an unwavering commitment to the spiritual development of our students; between the need to honor our own Church of Christ heritage while embracing the growing influence from broader Christian circles; and between the need to ensure a firm grasp on our values and traditions while promoting a culture which encourages new ideas and an innovative spirit.”

Then, just days thereafter, Ken Starr, who started among us but left us long ago, promises to become a Southern Baptist on (or was it before?) becoming president of that denomination’s largest center of learning, Baylor University. The Baptists are fractured, and though there are many among them qualified for the position, the power brokers decided on his star power (no pun intended) for potential fundraising ability as much as anything. “… Baylor regents chairman Dary Stone took the attention given Starr in stride, saying he will raise the university’s national profile.”

Faithful brethren sometimes feel embarrassed or ashamed when the world and the media point to people in our midst, like these, who deny the Lord who bought them, or when ministries or schools abandon biblical teaching to merge into the religious world at large, looking to establish themselves as a legitimate entity. Continue reading

Does this not sound like our times? Indeed, history has a way of repeating itself. This quote sits before me in a book published in 1949, but the date of writing is 1863. I put it in quote marks rather than indented text, because of its size.

“But just here in our history some will fall away. We have now entered the period when, by the light of our theory, we are attempting to effect a corresponding reformation in practice. A few impatient and unphilosophic spirits, seeing that the work goes slowly forward, will falter and turn back. By their clamor and their fruits you shall know them. Continue reading