Growing Suspicion

Terror has again struck in London. After deadly bomb attacks on July 7 killed 56 and injured scores of others, new attempts were made on Thursday. In this latest strike, the explosions (on subways and a bus — again) were smaller and no one was killed. But repercussions can be felt as far away as New York City.
Security in London is tightening, understandably. There is great fear that the same attempts will be made in the United States. It was announced Friday morning that passengers on subways in New York City will be subjected to searches. A great inconvenience, certainly, but the move is designed to decrease the chances of another terror attack.
Suspicion is growing. As news is reported of ordinary-looking neighbors turning out to be terrorists, there is more scrutiny of anyone who carries a package or who fits a certain profile. And it’s at this point that freedom-loving people must be most careful. In our haste to stop those who have evil intentions, we must be alert to the danger of punishing those who are, in fact, innocent.
It’s happening in the Lord’s church, too. In recent years, attacks have been mounted on the pure doctrine of Christ. Innovations have flourished and past practices have been abandoned by many. In some buildings where churches of Christ have met, odd things now occur. Principles once defended from pulpits are now scorned and abandoned. The “progressive” approach to Christianity has left many Christians stunned.
What should be our response? Without a doubt we must “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, NKJV). We are aware that “the faith” does not include opinions and customs originated by our ancestors, but we also recognize that many of our practices are based on God’s word and not merely on traditions. It is right that there should be resistance to the attacks of those who wish to change the face of New Testament Christianity. But could this resistance movement go too far?
We must be careful to keep our suspicions within reasonable limits. Rather than developing a customized profile (creed) of what a Christian should believe, we must remain content to let the New Testament speak. Nothing more than the Bible, and nothing less. And until we are shown that Brother X teaches error, we must not speak of him to others in whispers of concern.
The leaders of the church in the first century faced a similar challenge. When Gentiles were granted admission to the kingdom, some Christians of Jewish background felt uneasy. They proposed new rules which required becoming a Jew as well. Only then would these suspicious brethren be satisfied. But the apostles and elders concluded differently. They wrote: “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things” (Acts 15:28). What has the Holy Spirit revealed in the scriptures on the subject of being sound? Those are the necessary things. Christians must refrain from laying upon one another greater burdens than these.
These are times of anxiety in London, New York City, and in the church of our Lord. But we must not allow our fears to overpower common sense and strict adherence to the word of God.
“Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God” (Romans 15:7).

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Tim Hall

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5 thoughts on “Growing Suspicion

  1. This very true. In the church we find unrest and we must remain faithful to the Lord and not be led into error. Check with the Lord before acting, search the word of God for the truth. In Christ Jesus, Jack

  2. Thanks, Tim.
    It really is upsetting to hear people charge “liberalism” every time something is a little different than what we are used to. Let’s be sure to watch out for error, but make sure it is error according to God’s word before labeling someone a heretic.

  3. Tim, I want to use your excellent article in the September issue of The Bible Meditator. Do I have your permission?

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