The June 2008 issue of the Gospel Advocate opens with an editorial from editor Neil W. Anderson, declaring that the Advocate counsels against participation in the 17th World Convention of Christian Churches, churches of Christ, and Disciples of Christ in Nashville from July 30 to August 3 this summer. (Here’s the guide. Here’s a schedule of events.)
[T]he Gospel Advocate does not support or endorse the ecumenical meeting featuring both men and women speakers, instrumental worship, and other forms of apostasy.
“Apostate” is an untranslated word, coming from —
(2 Th 2:3-4) Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
“Rebellion” translates apostatia, Anglicized as “apostasy.” Literally, it refers to a falling away, as the KJV translates. And quite clearly, Paul is referring to damned people, particularly someone damned for “proclaiming himself to be God.”
And this is what the Advocate calls people who allow women to speak at a seminar or use instruments to worship God. It’s an outrageous slander and shouldn’t be countenanced.
To show how outrageous the assertion is, I have to point out that David Lipscomb, founder of the Gospel Advocate would be damned by this standard. He would certainly have allowed women speakers at such an event!
Yet, women have the right to teach those who know less than themselves; Priscilla and Aquila taught Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). So, I am sure that a woman may teach the Bible to young and old, male and female, at the meeting house, at home, at a neighbor’s house, on Sunday or Monday or any other day of the week, if they know less than she does, if she will do it in a quiet, modest, womanly way.
M. C. Kurfees, ed., Questions Answered by David Lipscomb and E. G. Sewell (McQuiddy 1921), page 736.
And, without a doubt, Barton W. Stone and Thomas and Alexander Campbell would never have damned anyone over instrumental music or the role of women.
And so, in the spirit of Stone, the Campbells, and Lipscomb, I encourage each of you to attend the World Convention — and invite enough people to go with you that we overwhelm the Advocate‘s legalism and plea for division within the body of Christ. And if you can’t participate in instrumental music or hear women speakers in good conscience, skip those sessions and attend what you can.
We need to the show the world that, yes, we really don’t think we’re the only ones going to heaven.
This has never been true, of course. If the Advocate is to be believed, we aren’t even sure that we’ll make it!