One more final comment about this whole sad series of events surrounding the Quail Springs church adding instrumental music and the subsequent ad/articles that have followed it in the Daily Oklahoman. I recommended to the Reflections staff on their blog(these are the guys behind the Changing God’s Tune response article) getting permission from Glover Shipp and running his excellent response article that he sent to the Oklahoman. I've posted it on my blog as well.
My concern was not over speaking and contending for the faith in such “response ad’s” but doing so in the best possible way that does not further soil the name of Christ and His church before an unbelieving world's eyes. I think there is a principle to be found in Paul's warning in 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 about going to law with one another before unbelievers. I think differences that arise between members of the church should be handled within the church. We want to always help draw the most people to Christ and the truth and ultimately bring glory and honor to His church.
I am concerned as I think all of us are about the doctrinal purity of the church, even though we may sincerely disagree over how to best respond to situations like Quail Springs. I do wish those who paid for yesterday’s “teaching” ad on the subject would have been more specific about who was exactly behind the ad other than paid by “faithful members and area churches of Christ.” They also in their words “publicly identify Mark Henderson as a false teacher for adding elements to the worship which God id not authorize; thereby placing himself outside of fellowship with God and the church” I do wish they would have run a listing of the congregations who paid for that ad so as to not give the impression that they were acting and speaking on behalf of the majority of churches of Christ in this area especially the bottom part of the ad “Oklahoma churches rise up, Henderson marked.” I have some textual and translation issues with how Romans 16:17 was applied in this case.
I just think all of these events have brought nothing but great shame and reproach among Christ, the church and the truth. But I do hope and pray that God can and will work good out of it and souls can be taught the truth.
You see, the truth of the matter is that, we aren’t “perfect” in all our understanding and practice of scripture and we still have a way to go in the Lord’s church in many areas. Which isn’t to say that we don’t believe that the truth we hold isn’t indeed truth!! (i.e., worship, plan of salvation, organization of the church, etc.) But we certainly don’t want to come across to the world as arrogant, self-righteous “know-it-all’s” who spend all our time arguing and judging each other when the world around is lost and dying in sin without Christ. And don’t take that to mean that the issue of what we do in worship and the subject of instrumental music, nor in dealing with false teachers isn’t important and shouldn’t be addressed in the church. Because it should.
However, to me, it’s becoming increasingly more and more difficult today to maintain balance in all this. Middle ground without avoiding the two extremes in the church today (far left and far right).
I do think we are facing a serious battle today in the body of Christ over truth and whether or not we are going to simply become just "another denomination" and go down the path of ecumenicalism, (i.e., all roads, paths denominations lead to heaven regardless of what they teach and practice and some in the church just say, "Well, we all have an imperfect understanding in our faith, so who are we to judge?" Which really is just simply a surrender of the truth)
I appreciate schools like Freed-Hardeman, Harding, and I think OC, for the most part, to name a few that are striving for this balance. This isn’t easy to achieve in our current church climate.
I’m thankful for the upcoming “Affirming the Faith” seminar at the North MacArthur Church of Christ at the end of the month (see www.affirmingthefaithok.com) I believe this will be a wonderful event that will seek to promote this balance and encourage love and unity among the Lord’s church based on New Testament authority.