Vol.VI No.VI Pg.1
August 1969

Sudden Change

Robert F. Turner

I am frequently asked, How does one explain the sudden changes that take place in brethren. A good sound church may, within a few months time, accept liberal preaching and practice completely incompatible with their former position.

A good sound church DOES NOT make such sudden changes, any more than a genuine Christian individual suddenly becomes a vile reprobate. Changes take place beneath the surface, and are extensively developed before the fruit is apparent. They are often so well hidden that even the victims are unaware of their presence — or, detecting changes in conviction, are ashamed to admit them.

Pride is the veil. We refuse to be honest with ourselves, to see our own weakness. But the veil is woven with threads of various hues. We learn by rote the answers to doctrinal questions. Q. What is the church? A. It is the body of Christ — Eph. 1:23. We have answered the question, and given the scripture — but we may have not the slightest understanding concerning the matter, and so be unable to make application to problems that may arise in the future. (Brethren should know the definition of catechism before condemning it. )(Look it up!!)

Another thread in the veil is popular approval. If the majority of Churches of Christ do it, it must be right. This ignores 2 Cor. 10: 12-f. and establishes a party creed by which we measure orthodoxy. Our eyes are further blinded to departure from the doctrine of Christ.

Pride makes us number hungry and money hungry and hungry for a less controversial position in the community. We justify these things as being necessary, to reach souls for Christ— but they dull our senses to our change in loyalty, from Christ to men. We are spiritually sick, but we call our fever growing pains.

And then some upstart crank or anti calls attention to a practice and asks for authority. We cant produce it — we swing rapidly into the camp of liberals who rush to champion our cause (more pride) — AND ANOTHER CHURCH SUDDENLY CHANGES. Hmmm!