Jan 27

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Here are a few words I am sure you are glad to read, this will be the last article in this series; “Loving God, without loving righteousness?” The purpose of these articles is to allow you to see that we have some and a growing number who are set out to change the churches of Christ! They play on words, like using “rightness” and not “righteousness!” Please understand, “rightness,” is in “righteousness!”
Therefore, we ask the question: “What is the writer’s purpose in using the word “rightness?” He writes that we are too concerned about our “rightness;” then, he tells us what he means by “rightness.” It is that we, members of the body of Christ, teach too much on points of teaching that make us different from denominations! Of course, if the members of the churches of Christ do not fully know the points of teaching and practice that make us different, we might just become another denomination! This is their aim!
The writer tells us that “the teaching (doctrine) of Christ,” somehow takes us away from Jesus. Get this please, no one can know Jesus without knowing “the teaching of Christ!” It may be that some preachers, do not teach enough on Jesus as revealed in the New Testament, but this would be a failure of some preachers, and not “the churches of Christ!” It is like saying, some members of the body of Christ, have not grown spiritually as they should; but please do not condemn the whole body for the weakness of some! After all, we are a people with failures that we are trying to correct!
One of the points the writer makes is this, when writing about fellowship: “Finally, it looks like an ever-shrinking window of fellowship. The more emphasis we place on rightness, the less room we leave for grace to cover misunderstandings or disagreements on the finest points of the faith.” Allow me to say, the writer has a point here! The finer, we shave off points, in our efforts to get down to a point of teaching, which others do not understand or sometimes which may not even be there at all; we are in danger of dividing the body of Christ. If a point in teaching does not change the nature of the body of Christ, if it does not change us to leave “the teaching of Christ;” it should not be a cause of disfellowship! It is so true today, that the body of Christ may have an attitude like our writer makes a point, as he writes: “As one of my preaching school instructors joked, ‘As far as I can tell, the only people who are getting into heaven are me and my wife – and I’m not so sure about her.” Well, I too have heard this joke, and it is just that, a joke! Next, on the same subject, the writer says: “Making every last issue a ‘salvation issue’ and refusing to fellowship anyone who may believe differently on even the tiniest area of interpretation shows an unhealthy emphasis on or own rightness.” If this is truly done, it should not be so! However, to my knowledge it is not true, but if it is done by some, it only shows their own wrong attitude! Allow me once more to point out, “our rightness” is not the real subject just here. Because the writer is trying to make “our rightness” equal to our efforts to stay within “the teaching of Christ,” for he believes, per his article, that following “the teaching of Christ” somehow is different from having Jesus in our lives! Jesus is in “the teaching of Christ” and if we are following “the teaching of Christ” we have fellowship with Jesus (the Son) and the Father (2 John 9)! The writer fails to understand this point!
Finally, the writers says: “It (our efforts of rightness, frw) keeps us shallow. When we’re constantly covering baptism, the instrument, and the other doctrines that set us apart from the denominational world, growth comes to a halt.” Now, get the following point the writer makes: “As Hebrews 5:11-14 discusses, there comes a time when we need to move beyond the fundamentals and onto the meat of the word.” Here it appears to me that he should have used another text! The writer of the Hebrew letter is addressing weak and immature Christians! In fact, they were near the point of leaving “the teaching of Christ” and going back to Moses (the old law) and it is pointed out that, they were in deed of returning to “the first principles:” “ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” (Heb. 5:12). Brethren, “first principles,” which some assume are baptism and musical instruments are the “first principles” of the text, this is simply not true! Then, “the first principles” as used in this text, relate to these Hebrew Christians and the reasons they gave up the law of Moses and became Christians!
A lot more needs to be written on the article we are reviewing but as promised in the opening of this article, this is the last article. One thing I trust is true, is that I have been honest in my review of the article. If you would like a copy of the article, please let me know and I will do my best to see that you get one.
Finally, I pray and trust that you will always do your best to grow in “your own rightness!” “Rightness” includes having Jesus in your life, which means in your being, but understand, it cannot be done, if you fail to follow “the teaching of Christ!” There are things in the article in which I agree! But I see in the article an attitude of looseness, that God’s grace will forgive and an attitude that one should not be concerned about the distinctive nature of the body of Christ!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/loving-god-without-loving-righteousness-7/