Profiles in Apostasy, Further Thoughts

I’m not planning to watch the videos. I might change my mind, but I know watching would make me angry, and being angry is not good for me. In fact, I’m not sure I’m doing such a good job of controlling my anger even without watching.

You might be interested to know that Dave Miller, who has been damned by the Contending for the Faith (CFTF) crowd along with the progressives, is not at all progressive. He’s the author of “A Plea to Reconsider,” which declared Richland Hills Church of Christ damned for adding an instrumental service.

He is declared damned by CFTF for supporting elder re-affirmation, a practice that many Churches have adopted where elders must be periodically re-affirmed by the congregation or else must step down. You see, the CFTF crowd finds no authority for this practice, and therefore it’s not only unauthorized, it damns.

This, of course, is the same argument used by Miller in his book regarding instrumental music applied to its logical extreme. You see, there’s nothing in the “logic” of the Regulative Principle that limits its application. If it’s unauthorized, it’s unauthorized, regardless of its expedience. Continue reading

CENI: The Laws Behind the Curtain

great_ozWhat’s really going on? Why do our leaders feel so comfortable — so insistent — that their interpretations are right, when it’s obvious that the scriptural support for many of their positions is very, very thin?

Well, it all goes back to a conversation I had with a friend back when I was in law school — over 30 years ago. We both had a fascination with Church of Christ doctrine and CENI. We were trying to figure out the rule — the real rule — that tells us which commands, examples, and inferences are truly binding. We passed theory after theory back and forth, and none fit the conclusions that the Churches had drawn.

Finally, I said, “What about this? A command, example, or inference is binding today if (a) the practice is mentioned in the Bible (not necessarily as binding) and (b) it’s shown by the Patristics (uninspired writings of early Christians) to have been the practice of the early church.” We kicked it around, and of all the theories we’d tried, this one fit Church of Christ doctrine the best. Continue reading

Instrumental Music: A Question About Transitions

Divided churchIn a recent Christian Chronicle article, it was noted that Churches of Christ in the United States had elected to omit 21 congregations that have added an instrumental worship service, but several other congregations with instrumental services had been included by accident.

I figure this means we have at least 25 congregations with an instrumental service, and yet I’ve only heard about Richland Hills and Quail Springs. Richland Hills’ decision became well known, I’m sure, because it’s the largest of our congregations (not to mentioned Dave Miller’s book declaring them damned), and Quail Spring became famous because of the ads run in the Daily Oklahoma declaring them apostate. Continue reading

Quail Springs Church of Christ “Disfellowshipped”: Proud to be a Campbellite

quailsprings.gifI’ve been reading a lot of literature from the right wing of the Churches of Christ lately — just wondering where they are in their thinking nowadays. The notorious ad in the Oklahoman is, of course, one example of right-wing thinking, and I earlier posted a series on Dave Miller’s A Plea to Reconsider. I’ve lately been reading Frank Chesser’s The Spirit of Liberalism and Phil Sanders’ blog as well.

And I’ve come to realize just how very, very far we’ve drifted from the original vision of the Restoration Movement — as well as the scriptures. And this drift is built on certain false understandings regarding human nature, two of which I want to address here.

They are lies — not that these men are liars. Rather, they’ve been deceived by the Father of All Lies regarding how real people act and think.

Fortunately, we have a truer, deeper, better understanding of human nature as revealed in the scriptures, available to us by reading the writings of Thomas Campbell. Campbell was right because, well, he was a better Bible student and student of human nature than many of today’s preachers.

Read both understandings and decide for yourself: which better reflects the human condition and a gracious God?

Continue reading

A Plea to Reconsider: On How Hard Humility Is, the Conclusion of it All

angelharp1.jpg(1 Pet 5:5b-6) All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

I’m convinced that part of the psychology that drives many of us within the Churches of Christ toward legalism is the pleasure of feeling smarter than the church down the road. I don’t mean to imply any insincerity — far from it. Nor do I think this feeling of superiority is conscious. No, it’s deeply buried in our psyches, and this is one reason it’s so very hard to root out. Continue reading