The church of Christ Will Never Cease
Some critics have recently suggested that non-instrumental churches of Christ will die. They suggest, because of recent declines, that we are on the edge. It seems they are all too ready to sing an elegy.
Some were saying similar things in the 1890s and early 1900s, when most of the churches of Christ took up the instrument and missionary society, launching into beliefs and behaviors not found in Scripture. In more recent days, many academic leaders have abandoned a firm hold on Biblical authority, redefining what it means for the Bible to be inspired of God and dismissing the view God's word is inerrant or all-sufficient. For these reasons they no longer hold to restoration plea to go back to the Bible, to call Bible things by Bible names, or not to go beyond the things taught in Scripture. Instead, they have corrupted the worship, corrupted the organization of the church, and drawn into their fellowship the unimmersed. This is not far from what happened more than century ago from 1860-1900. They took the universities and schools then and mocked the weakness of those who held to the New Testament teaching on singing. Today, they are taking many of the universities again. Such schools talk of their heritage, while they forget the convictions of those who paid dearly to build them in the first place.
In the following twentieth century, the most progressive of the disciples wanted to be like the mainline denominations. Today they are but a small fraction of the size they held in 1960 (from 3 million to 450,000). Today's progressives would do well to see where their woke, progressive, postmodernism will lead them in days to come. While they seem complacent and safe in their own congregations today, they fail to consider how many churches in recent years lost hundreds of members when they went progressive.
Just as a few, 2649 churches, grew many times larger in the past century, so God's word will keep the faithful strong and will help them grow again. As a matter of fact, I am seeing many churches wakening not weakening to the need to evangelize. Churches grow when Christians preach the gospel in love.
As long as the seed of the kingdom exists, the church will exist. As long as preachers preach the truth, the church will exist. Since the church is an eternal kingdom, I am not convinced by the statistics. Since I too am in contact with people all over the country, I see many churches thriving and spiritually stronger than they have been in some time.
Churches grew before "church growth experts" came along, because people cared for their neighbors. Once the "church growth experts" began speaking and convincing us their religious sociology could help us grow better than spreading the word of God, we listened and started becoming inward. When the preaching about "felt needs" became more important than salvation and true doctrine, the church ceased to grow.
When churches ceased to speak out against the error of false doctrine, the church became vulnerable; and the members ceased to know how to defend themselves against the savage wolves that tear up churches. So it is with many today who have ceased to study the word of God for themselves and have run to the denominational academics and experts.
I will not stop preaching truth or preaching against error, just because some have sung an elegy, Nor will the thousands of preachers I know cease to speak. As long as a loving, truthful voice speaks God's word and God's will found in the gospel, the church will never cease to exist.