Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 6, 1966
NUMBER 22, PAGE 1-2a

Zeal Without Knowledge

Roy E. Cogdill

"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." (Rom.10:1-3) This statement by Paul describes so accurately the activity upon the part of ambitious and zealous brethren today among the "liberal" churches who are "on the march" (they know not where) that it could have been written originally of them.

To charge their disregard of the "righteousness of God" to ignorance rather than "iniquity" or lawlessness is charitable. Actually much of it is ignorance, This present generation of preachers among the professed "churches of Christ" do not know what the church is, nor how it should carry on the work of the Lord. They have not had a chance to learn except by their own study for most of them have been educated in "our schools" where their teachers are products of the same schools plus the higher institutions of learning and themselves know nothing actually about the "righteousness of God". Most of these younger men, so educated, have been molded into professional clergymen to promote and propagandize the churches wherever they go into sectarian and institutional projects that will put them both "on the march" and "on the mooch".

Millions of dollars have been raised for human institutions and arrangements that are unknown to New Testament teaching. But this has not daunted or dismayed those who are promoting these gigantic projects for they have been schooled in the philosophy that "we do many things for which we do not have Bible authority"; and "where is the authority for the meeting house and song books"; and "where does the Bible teach that we cannot do these things". These quibbles, worn out a hundred years ago by those who led out in the digression that resulted in the Christian Church movement, are considered answer enough to any objection or demand for Bible authority for what is being done. Instead of being ready to give "answer to anyone that asketh concerning the hope that is within you", they (modern professed Gospel preachers) practice the philosophy of ignoring such demands and objections and branding any who might raise the voice of criticism as "anti" and "fanatics" or by other epithets.

But comes now the admission that these giant projects, that include everything under the sun and are vying with one another for the support of the churches, are not producing the results that they were expected to produce. This admission is heard from more than one source.

Consider first this statement upon the part of our departed brethren - the Christian Churches of this country.

"Indianapolis, Ind. , December 8 - 'Giving by members of the Christian Churches (Disciples of

Christ) in the United States and Canada topped 100 million dollars for the first time in 1964-1965, the communion's 1965 Year Book, published Wednesday reveals.

"Membership remained practically unchanged at 1,927,380 in 8,162 congregations.

Think of spending that amount of money and just spinning their wheels or getting nowhere. Commenting on this, R. M. Bell, President of Johnson Bible College, Knoxville, Tennessee, said:

"It is obvious, even to the blind, that something is wrong. At one time the non-denominational Christian Church, poor and despised, was the fastest growing religious group in America. But now it spends a hundred million dollars a year just to stand still.

"What has happened? What vile hand has put on the brakes and slowed the growth of the church to the point where the Disciples of Christ are not evangelizing even their own children?

"Many are the causes. I will mention only two, which I believe to be chiefly responsible for the failure.

"The first cause was a movement to increase the efficiency of the church. Near the middle of the last century, some very honest brethren got the idea that the church needed some kind of an agency to do its missionary work. To facilitate evangelism they organized a missionary society. This society did not accomplish all that was hoped for, so they organized another and then another. "This was the first restructuring operation that was performed upon the Restoration Movement. It was not called 'restructure', because that word had not yet been coined, It was called 'progress', and its advocates were called 'progressives'. The brethren who opposed this type of restructure were called 'Antis', and were said to be anti-missionary, because they objected to turning the missionary program of the church over to an outside organization. They contended that the church, set up by the apostles, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, was God's missionary society and that none other was needed.

"The time came when the supporters of societies (I was one of them) were forced to admit that we were not getting the job done. The 'anti' missionary group, which refused to be restructured, was running circles around us. The Restoration plea', said some, 'has lost its appeal'. Something had to be done!

"But instead of confessing our sin, showing our repentance by abolishing the societies, and going back to the New Testament plan of evangelism and missions, we decided to perform another restructuring operation........

.."It seems to me that this would be a good time to admit our mistakes, confess our sins, and go back to the Christian's guide book -- The New Testament - for instruction. ..... "That brings me to the second cause of the dying condition of the Disciples of Christ. They have lost sight of the purpose of the church. They have revised and re-interpreted the Great Commission. (Matt. 28:18-20)

"If I understand this commission, it means that the primary task of the church is to evangelize the world through preaching and teaching the Gospel of Christ. If I have not misjudged the Disciples of Christ, their major interest is in political and social reform and in raising the budget. No wonder they can raise a hundred million dollars with no gain in membership. The field that is plowed produces the corn."

The above article from one of the older preachers in the Christian Church today is enlightening. If he can come to see that the worship was corrupted by the introduction of instrumental music in the worship on the same ground, about the same time, and with the same purpose in view, and is willing to confess his sins in all these regards and come back to the New Testament, he might yet be saved.

The astonishing thing is that liberals in the church today cannot see that they are marching in the same direction, making the same old mistakes, guided by the same attitudes, "plowing in the same field" with all of their promotions that has been so thoroughly cultivated by the "digressive brethren" for the past one hundred years and that they are bound to meet with the same results - big stalks - but no ears - no corn! Brethren, why don't you drop your human institutions and promotions and come back to the New Testament confessing your sins. It will restore harmony and save your souls.

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