Having established what is right with the church of Christ in my last article, it is imperative to illustrate that local churches of Christ are not all perfect. In fact, many have strayed from the doctrine of Christ and his apostles, and they have been astray so long, they don’t even realize just how far from shore they have drifted.
Most all churches of Christ allow women to be teachers and speakers in the assembly. They allow them to teach children and other women in classrooms each first day of the week. This they do in direct violation of the Lord’s prohibition for women to be speakers in the church (1 Cor 14:33-40). Yes, women can teach their own children (Eph 6:1,2). Yes, older women can teach younger women to love and obey their husbands (Tit 2:3-5). However, this wasn’t allowed when the church came together. All churches of Christ which allow such are in a violation of a direct commandment from Jesus Christ and his apostles.
Some churches of Christ are allowing women to become preachers in the pulpit. For many years, the church has taught that women can be teachers/preachers/evangelists Monday through Saturday but not on Sunday. No where in the scripture will you ever find the commandment for women to leave the home and preach the word of God. Women were commanded to be chaste keepers at home, bear children, obey and submit to their own husband in everything (1 Tim 2:15 ff; Tit 2:4,5; Eph 5:22-24). Thus, it was only a matter of time before the church began to allow women to preach to the entire congregation from the pulpit. Sin doesn’t enter into the church overnight. It happens slowly.
A few churches of Christ are now using instrumental music (Eph 5:19 f; Col 3:16). This too has come on very gradually. The fundamental principle of instrumental music is what kept it out of the worship of all churches of Christ for nearly a century. This principle was: “Speak where the bible speaks and remain silent where the bible is silent”. This principle first began under the law of Moses (Deut 4:2 cf; 5:32; 12:32), and it continued in the new testament (1 Cor 4:6 ff; Col 3:17; 1 Pet 4:11; Rev 22:18,19). When you take away this one basic principle, it will eventually allow some to conclude, “The bible didn’t say not to have instrumental music”. It will eventually allow the church to do any thing they please, and thus turn into a denomination.
There are many liberal Churches of Christ which intermingle with man made institutions to do the Lord’s work. Some are now worshiping with denominations on occasion. Many are eating banquets, luncheons, or breakfasts in the church in a direct prohibition of apostolic doctrine (1 Cor 11:22, 34). Church supported parties, leisure trips, dances, and all kinds of recreation are the norm for many churches of Christ.
Some are having solos and choirs, in lieu of or in addition to, congregational singing. Some are allowing women to lead prayer or lead singing, wait on the Lord’s table, or to make announcements. Many have eliminated elders in lieu of leadership by committee. In doing this, they allow unqualified men and often women to lead the church. Most often, these churches are being controlled by a rich man or woman.
Most all churches of Christ meet midweek without any biblical authority to do so. They justify themselves by claiming it is a good thing, as opposed to a commandment of Christ or his apostles. Is it any wonder why many churches split because of arguments which begin during midweek bible studies? Love it or hate it, midweek bible study is a man made tradition and not a tradition of Christ and his apostles (Matt 15:7-9).
Conclusion: There is a lot to be said of the churches of Christ. Conclusively, locally they are not the new testament church which the apostles established. Yes, they still teach the gospel. Yes, some still attempt to abide by the doctrine of Christ and his apostles. However, most all of them stray on a few things. The liberal minded brethren have abandoned the basic principle of speaking where the bible speaks and condemn such as “legalism” or “Pharisee doctrine”. Is it any wonder why the liberal churches have stray so far from the early church.
I am fully aware that most members of the Lord’s church can no longer prove their faith by the word of God. They have turned to denominational lexicons and commentaries to verify their faith. Brethren, if you use a denominational handbook, you are a denomination. I plead with any local church of Christ to get back to book, chapter and verse. Prove your faith by the Word of God (1 Thess 5:21). Speak where the bible speaks and remain silent where the bible is silent (1 Pet 4:11), and I guarantee you that you will soon return to the doctrine which Christ and his apostles taught and commanded (Acts 2:42 f; 2 Jn 9).