Unity, Part II

This unity movement that seems to be gathering some momentum is heartening to me.  I also remembered that there is yet another movement for unity that is occurring between the International Churches of Christ (formerly the Boston / Crossroads movement).  It seems that the Lord is concerned about unity more than ever in our increasingly secular and hostile culture.  It is about time that we began taking this seriously if the Christian faith in general is going to survive in our land.  All evangelical, conservative Christian groups are losing ground in America.  Postmodern America, which has NO concept of right and wrong, simply rejects the message of Christ, or rather rejects the Christians whose actions overwhelm their words.  In other words, the big problem with Christianity in America and with the restoration movement / Church of Christ is our hypocrisy.

For the years that I have spent in the Churches of Christ (CoC), I found that you spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with the “unwritten rulebook”.  That is, you’d better know the things that are ‘Silent’-ly revered in the CoC.  The comments from Loren’s sermon on Oct. 1. never were more true.  The restoration movement’s battle-cry has always been ‘Speak where the Bible speaks, and be silent where the Bible is silent’.  The  REAL motto, though, as mentioned in the sermon is that we ‘Speak where the Bible speaks, and where the Bible is silent, we have a WHOLE LOT MORE TO SAY’!!!  This accurately reflects the views of many people (I would even venture to say most).  The trouble is, if you are unfamiliar with the CoC, you will tread (or stampede) over the most sacred of cows unawares.  What I mean is, the following litany of subjects will inevitably trigger some rather unpleasant looks (or gossip, slander, etc.,  behind your back) or strong vocal disagreement, scorn, rejection, condescension, arrogance, and, most of all, hypocritical reactions: instrumental music, praise teams, Sunday school, one cup or many, support for orphanages and/or missionary societies out of church funds, a kitchen attached to the building, a “located” minister, denominations, and ON and ON.  What I think is really interesting is the relative amount of time that is spent talking about Jesus.  In my experience, if churches are spending there time on “rules made by men” (see Mark 7:1-23; i.e., Pharisaical in nature), then they tend to spend very little time on Jesus and the abundant life in Christ.  We (in the CoC) have had enormous hypocrisy on what we are willing to condemn, while demanding that other segments accept our beliefs as OK.  The question from the sermon is: ‘What chair are you in? Who is sitting to your left and right, their left and right, and on and on? And do we condemn the left while being condemned by the right?’

The contrast with the CoC motto is that, with other parts of the restoration movement, you got the little known SECOND part of the motto (implied or otherwise): ‘Speak where the Bible speaks, be silent where the Bible is silent, and, WHERE THERE IS SILENCE THERE IS FREEDOM’!! How different we might be if this were our motto.  Something else that has been hypocritical about this whole ‘Speak where …’ saying is that, it is NOT found in the Bible.  Now something akin to this principle MIGHT be found in the wisdom books, but the direct saying is definitely NOT there.  So what we are really saying seems to be that we refer to a non-Biblical saying as the defining notion of our religion, rather than the BIBLE.  Are we Christians, or not??!?

My thing is that, for years upon years, I have been fearful of making my position known.  I for most of my life anyway, have been a slave to fear of rejection.  I worry about what people think of me and my views, thoughts, and actions.  This is true of the current subject matter, and in general.  In the past, I have found myself consistently playing the advocate of the other side when around others.  I would find the weak link in their logic and exploit it, while rapidly retreating when people asked me my position directly.  I feel that this is changing, though.  I see this new unity movement as a chance to step out and voicing my own thoughts when I am asked.  No need to trumpet my views; if someone is interested, then they will ask.  Anyway, this seems to be the beginning of an exciting time at South.  No need for any big changes — the Lord is blessing us right now.  As someone in our life group mentioned, the CoC’s big problem has always been that, whatever our convictions, we tend to judge others on issues that are not fellowship dependent, rather than holding our own convictions strongly yet extending fellowship to others in Christ.  This is related to the “picket-fence” idea of salvation issues versus the “bulls-eye” (i.e., “new hermeneutic”) idea.  I will have more to say on this in my next post.

Published in: on October 7, 2006 at 2:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

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