Sep 09

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This is the last article in this series as the reader may be growing tired of the subject. However, these articles have given us the opportunity to see what some in the denominational world think of the churches of Christ and what they have to say. In this case it has been a Lutheran “Pastor” expressing his own created views and thoughts for the most part. The writer is Dr. Keith W. Schweitzer (Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church, 505 NE Dodge Street, Greenfield, Iowa 50849) and the quotes have been taken from his thirty-page article, which he called: “Various Doctrinal Positions of The Campbellite Church of Christ And a Lutheran Response to Those Positions.” His entire writing may be found on the internet by searching these words.
In this final article, let us take up the subject of worship as addressed by “Pastor Schweitzer. He writes: “Campbellite Church of Christ Position: “We believe only five acts of worship are authorized in the Bible: 1. Acappella singing, 2. Praying, 3. Taking a collection, 4. Taking communion, 5. Preaching. To do anything else during the worship service is not authorized and is thus sinful and vain worship.” He does not give any place from which he is quoting; however, THIS WRITER totally agrees with his words! This agreement is based upon the fact that New Testament authority can be given for each of these five acts of worship as they are found in “the teaching of Christ” given by the apostles of Christ.
First, before getting into the “acts of worship” which the “Pastor” says cannot be traced to any reliable historical source; a few words are in order about his continued use of the words “the Campbellite Church of Christ.” This is an insulting term to every member of the churches of Christ! No member of the churches of Christ to my knowledge has ever used these words! There never has been a “Campbellite Church of Christ!” Keep in mind, these words come from a man who is a member of the Lutheran Church which is named after a man, Martin Luther, and he freely wears this man’s name!
However, before giving such authority, let us notice the “Lutheran’s Response” which we look at in two parts. The first part: “These “acts of worship” cannot be traced to any reliable historical source within the Campbellite Church of Christ. They are more likely part of the “oral tradition” originating from a preacher’s pulpit and circulating to eventually become “orthodox” teaching. Again, there is no location in the Scriptures that identifies these acts of worship as the only acts ordained by God apart from any others.”
The first part, the acts of worship which he so decries! The apostle Peter wrote: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5). The only “spiritual sacrifices” Christians as a “holy priesthood” “offer up” to God is our worship! Those on that great Pentecost day, who “gladly received his (Peter’s, frw) word” “were baptized;” then Luke wrote that the first things saved souls did, was offer up their “spiritual sacrifices:” “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:41-42). Here we have: 1) prayers; 2) breaking of bread (the Lord’s Supper); 3) fellowship (giving); and 4) the apostles’ teaching. This is a “reliable historical source” of the best kind, the word of God! One act of worship of the five is not listed here, but is found elsewhere; Paul to the church in Colosse: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16). Now we have the fifth act of worship, singing! Thus, we have given New Testament authority for the five acts of worship from the only “reliable historical source,” the inspired “the teaching of Christ!”
The second part, a few words about the “Pastor’s” remarks: “Again, there is no location in the Scriptures that identifies these acts of worship as the only acts ordained by God apart from any others.” Let it here be known, there are no “others” acts of worship ordained by God in “the teaching of Christ!” However, there is a price to be paid by those who would go beyond “the teaching of Christ; John wrote: “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” (2 John 9). With these words we conclude this nine-part series of articles.

Frank R. Williams

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