“How Long?”

Jerry C. Brewer

The en masse departures from the faith by “mainstream churches of Christ” continues with no end in sight. To read their bulletins and website posts, one comes away with the idea that Jesus died for trips to Six Flags, Easter egg hunts, dramas, puppet shows, church softball leagues, psychological counseling, camps, colleges, seminars, marriage workshops, women’s days, children’s church, hoedowns, talent shows, tennis matches, trunk or treat, adopt-a-highway programs, camp-outs, children’s musicals, gardening projects, quilting bees, raking leaves, repairing roofs, tax and financial workshops, public relations, meals on wheels, coffee and donuts, and multitudes of like Social Gospel programs. Yes, all of those listed above are “ministries” from websites of so-called “Churches of Christ” who have left the faith.

A similar apostasy took place in the mid to late 1800s. Of those who introduced mechanical instruments of music into the worship of the church in that apostasy, Moses Lard wrote,

“In what light then must we view him who attempts to introduce it into the churches of Christ of the present day? I answer, as an insulter of the authority of Christ, and as a defiant and impious innovator in the simplicity and purity of the ancient worship. … But what shall be done with such churches? Of course, nothing. If they see fit to mortify the feelings of their brethren, to forsake the example of the primitive churches, to condemn the authority of Christ by will worship, to excite dissension, and give rise to general scandal, they must do it.” (“Instrumental Music in Churches and Dancing,” Lard’s Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 3, March, 1864, p. 332, 333).


The instrumental music controversy of which Lard wrote had been an issue in churches of Christ for more than a decade, and he determined that it was time for the faithful to act. Among the remedies he suggested were the following:

“Let every preacher in our ranks resolve at once that he will never, under any circumstances or on any account, enter a meeting house belonging to our brethren in which an organ stands. We beg and entreat our preaching brethren to adopt  this as an unalterable rule of conduct. … Let those brethren who oppose the introduction of an organ first remonstrate in gentle, kind and decided terms. If their remonstrance is unheeded, and the organ is brought in, then let them at once… abandon the church so acting; and let all such members unite elsewhere. Thus these organ-grinding churches will in the lapse of time be broken down, or wholly apostatize, and the sooner they are in fragments, the better for the cause of Christ” (Ibid.).


The time has again come for the faithful to act. How long will brethren in our day continue to abide the egregious departures from Truth by “mainstream churches of Christ?” Today’s symptoms differ from those in 1864, but the cause is identical to Lard’s day–a failure to respect the authority of Christ (Col. 3:17). In 1864 it was mechanical instruments of music. Today, it is layer upon layer of Social Gospel “ministries” and the open fellowship of error that have plagued the church far more than a decade. Lard’s sentiment that, “the sooner they are in fragments, the better for the cause of Christ” was echoed in an email message I received this week. In it, brother Gary Grizzell wrote, “The sooner the major divide between the faithful and the pretenders is known and faced, the better.” We wholeheartedly agree with both men.

There exists an amalgamation in the church of our day comprised of “mainstream churches of Christ”—“pretenders” in brother Grizzell’s words—and those who fellowship them. In fact, fellowship is the major problem among us. Churches and preachers, like those of the Memphis School of Preaching (MSOP) who would never have fellowshipped churches like Bear Valley in Denver, Colo. in previous years, are now cozily bedded down with them in error.

Bear Valley’s lectureship, set for Sept. 13-16, 2018, is an example of the amalgamation of those who were once sound, but have swapped Truth for a mess of pottage. Among the speakers is Dave Miller, who became a lightning rod in the church with his false doctrines of elder reevaluation and reconfirmation (Elder R/R), and that marriage is not a marriage if those who marry don’t “intend” it to be. Barry Grider, preacher for the “mainstream” Forest Hill church of Christ in Memphis, and an MSOP instructor, is speaking there with Miller— who never repented of his false teachings.

 The “mainstream” North Lexington church of Christ in Lexington, Kentucky will conduct the 38th Cane Ridge Restoration Lectureship, Aug. 2-5, 2018. Among those speakers is Kyle Butt of Apologetics Press, whose director is Dave Miller, and B. J. Clarke, director of MSOP. Also speaking is the “mainstream churches of Christ” version of Hugh Hefner, Freed-Hardeman University (FHU) President David Shannon. Yes, the same David Shannon who defends nudity in art classes at FHU. Not only does Clarke seem to have no problem with Miller’s doctrinal error, but he apparently has no problem with Shannon’s immorality. And who but a “mainstream church of Christ” like North Lexington would have a purveyor of pornography on its lectureship? The respect these preachers and churches have for the authority of Christ could be put in a gnat’s eye, and its eyesight would still be 20/20. Paul and John wrote,

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom. 16:17-18).

“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 9-11).

None of the above churches or preachers respect the word of God written by those two inspired men. Those preachers and churches are an almost imperceptible speck of the doctrinally cancerous growth thrusting deeply into the body of Christ. That  deadly  growth continues to swell with “mainstream churches of Christ,” lying silently beneath the surface in our back yards and turning deaf ears and blind eyes to the massive apostasy that roars like a tsunami across the land. In Lard’s words, they are, “the insulter(s) of the authority of Christ, and … defiant and impious innovator(s) in the simplicity and purity of the ancient worship.” Ephraim is joined to his idols.

 End of Article

Sound Doctrine. Published Weekly By The Northeast church of Christ, P. O. Box 267, Elk City, Oklahoma 73648. Volume 13, No. 15. June 24, 2018.
Edited for this webpage, glg.
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