Speaking where the bible speaks, and silent where the bible is silent.

Archive for Apr. 6, 2017

Liberal vs Conservative Churches of Christ

Webster says that “liberal” means: “not bound by orthodox tenets or established forms in political or religious philosophy; not conservative.” The word “conservative” means: “disposed to maintain existing institutions or views; opposed to change.”

I believe these two terms describe the views of churches of Christ today. Many churches of Christ no longer hold to the New Testament as a blueprint that is to be followed in every detail. They do many things for which there is neither command, example or necessary inference. On the other hand, there are many churches of Christ who are opposed to these departures from the New Testament pattern. They believe we must have book, chapter and verse for all we do and practice.

Let us contrast Liberals vs Conservatives

Liberal Churches:

1. Have missionary, benevolent and educational organizations to execute the work of the church.

Conservative Churches:

1. Have no missionary, benevolent and educational organizations to execute the work of the church. They believe the local church is God’s only organization to do his work (Phil. 1:1 f; Acts 14:23).

Liberal Churches:

2. Have “educational directors,” “associate ministers,” “youth directors,” and “superintendents” over their human organizations.

Conservative Churches:

2. Have evangelists, elders, and teachers (Eph. 4:11).

Liberal Churches:

3. Seek to get crowds with “youth meetings,” “rallies,” carnal rewards such as trips to recreational areas and all kinds of promotions (such as the “bus ministry”).

Conservative Churches:

3. Engage in none of these things, but seek to draw men to Christ with the preaching of the gospel (Jn. 6:45 f; Rom. 1:16).

Liberal Churches:

4. Emphasize society and the physical man by appealing to the carnal nature with “church banquets,” “church kitchens,” “church camps,” “fellowship halls,” and all kinds of parties.

Conservative Churches:

4. Do not believe the church is to provide the social needs of man (Rom. 14:17 ff; 1 Cor. 11:22, 34; Jn. 18:36).

Liberal Churches:

5. Elevate their preachers above the rest of the members by using such titles as “doctor.”

Conservative Churches:

5. Reject all such titles as unscriptural (Matt. 23:7-12).

Liberal Churches:

6. Support and operate schools for secular education, beginning with kindergarten and going through schools of higher education.

Conservative Churches:

6. Do not support or operate any schools. They believe that the church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15)

Liberal Churches:

7. Do much of their work through what they call the “sponsoring church” arrangement – many churches pooling their funds under one eldership to do a general work all churches are equally related to.

Conservative Churches:

7. Reject this arrangement as a violation of the New Testament pattern of congregational cooperation. In New Testament times one church only helped another church when the receiving church was in want (or need) – unable to do its own work (Acts 11:27-30). (Cooperation in such work does not require the centralized “sponsoring church”).

Liberal Churches:

8. Base many of their practices on the silence of the Scriptures, and appeal to the traditions of the past. If the bible didn’t say not to, they feel they have the right to do it.

Conservative Churches:

8. Base all their practices on the unadulterated gospel of Christ (Matt. 28:18 f; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). They do not add to or take from God’s Word (1 Pet 4:11). They do not change or go beyond that which was written (Gal 1:6-9 f; 1 Cor 4:6).

Liberal Churches:

9. Expect their preachers to be modern-day “pastors,” running after the members and visiting the hospitals on a regular basis and to be the “head planner” of all their projects and promotions.

Conservative Churches:

9. Do not expect their preachers to leave the work of God to serve tables (Acts 6:20). They have deacons to take care of the “physical needs” of the congregation and elders to do the planning (Acts 20:28). The preacher is left free to study, meditate, pray and carry on the work of preaching the gospel (2 Tim. 2:15 f; 1 Tim. 4:12-16). The preacher is to visit the sick because he is a Christian (Matt. 25:36), not as a “preacher duty.”

Liberal Churches:

10. Have “special singing” in the assembly – different choral groups are invited in to sing.

Conservative Churches:

10. Have nothing but congregational singing (Eph. 5:19 f; Col. 3:16).

Conclusion: All churches of Christ are not the same, though they have the exact same name and gospel. All Christians are commanded to abide in the doctrine of Christ and His apostles, and all who do not have not God (Acts 2:42 f; 2 Jn 9).

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