Wednesday, September 15, 2010


An essential in following Jesus is to note he often mixes messages.  For the precise audience he delivers the needed direction.  At one moment he will advise that the hearers go tell no one; yet he will tell others to go be a witness to what they have seen and heard.

Another essential in reading the Bible is to note God has mixed messages.  Some are saved by hope, others by repentance, and others by baptism. 

To our rote and commonly rigid minds, we don't do flexibility well.  We need rules--tight rules--and we need all to hear by our understanding of them. 

Thus, we run into a significant brotherhood dilemma in that we insist each church be biblically autonomous while demanding we all look alike.  It is amazing how many churches one can visit and not recognize you are in a Church of Christ has been the cry over the years.  Really?

Really?  Are we not free to look differently?  Are we not free to "veer" from the "order of worship" which was never recorded in Holy Writ in the first place? 

Flexibility has always been of God's nature.  Yet, it is a struggle in congregational nature.  So, do we just toss everything to the wind?  Of course not.  At the same time we unloose the cords where we have bound expectations which God never imposed. 

Are all Churches of Christ to look alike?  Such admonition didn't come from God.


Steven said...

Like to add to the cookie cutter or autonomous post by adding:
What is in a name? As Shakespeare once wrote, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (Romeo & Juliet, 1600). His meaning was to indicate, what matters is what something is, not what it is called.

There is no name for Christ's church. He told Peter on the rock, I will build my church. Therefore, if I see Christ walking his dog down the street that is Christ's dog or the dog of Christ. We do not know the name of his church.

I believe there is a reason for it. Man can't take possession by labeling a name on the church when it belongs to Him. Sure the Bible states the churches of Christ salute you, but that is not the Rose Park church of Christ, but the entire body in that region. Therefore, why do we separate ourselves from the love of God (others) when we label ourselves with different names? Christ said we will know each other by our fruits.

I rather taste the fruit than go by a label that can be misleading. When you hear in the military you’re eating “junk on a shingle” that isn’t very appetizing and you form an opinion. When we just dig in and eat you find it pretty tasty. Therefore, as a body of Christ we need to dig into each other and do the command of giving compassion to the wounded. Too often many put emphasis on the name or how to worship and not where it should be. Christian.

Paul said it best, “However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked” (Acts 24:13-15). When we look at ourselves as slaves to Christ then our attitude in worship and to each other will be “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Col.3:24)
Great post! thanks.

Anonymous said...

There are disputable matters.

Some won't eat meat (especially if it is tainted,) and others will. But each of us is to respect the other. The one that Paul calls the weak one, the one who won't eat meat, is easily offended; so we have to guard and protect that person. The one Paul calls the strong one is able to to eat meat, but he is called to protect the the weak one from stumbling.

It's a struggle. There will always be the weak one who is afraid, and whose fragile conscience is easily damaged. And there will always be strong ones who run the risk of flaunting their freedom in a way which could easily lead to the destruction of others (or themselves.)

I heard someone put it this way:
As much as possible, the strong ones need to lighten up, and the weak ones need to grow up.

We don't have to stubbornly stay stuck in our weakness. We don't have to irresponsibly flaunt our strength. Most of us could stand a little attitude adjustment.