Next week I’ll teach out of state in a ministry training program on Ecclesiology or, in my simple terms, the church of the New Testament. The intensive course will run from Tuesday to Friday as we survey Biblical teachings about the body of Christ.
Major attention is needed on this subject, more than ever, if that’s possible.
The latest assault on the nature of the church was the World Convention held July 25-29 here in Brazil. The quadrennial event seeks to draw our brotherhood into a partnership with the Disciples of Christ and the Christian Church, overlooking doctrinal differences in order to promote a false unity movement among the divisions of Christendom.
Not a few people are trying to shoot down the New Testament model for the church. Missionaries are at the forefront of this movement. One of them declared to a large Brazilian gathering a few years ago that there is no pattern in the Bible for the church. One former missionary told another gathering of over 1,000 saints that they should do whatever it takes to get people into the church.
The Brazilian church will lose many, if not most, of its congregations to the progressive movement. If Brazil is a harbinger of what is to come, the worldwide church will shrink in size. God is sovereign and guides his kingdom, but he also does not keep churches and disciples from harm through the neglect of those responsible for healthy teaching of his word.
Wisdom would seem to point to pulling the plug on progressives who think the faithful church is a legalistic throwback to the nineteenth century. But brethren still insist on using and supporting ministries, programs, colleges, and people who are pushing the progressive agenda.
Progressives spout no little invective toward faithful Christians who seem oblivious to their hatred. Are we so afraid of controversy that we clap our hands over our ears and slide blinders down over our eyes? Are we such spiritual wimps that we will allow the wolves to devour the flock? Are we so concerned with our own little affairs that the kingdom of God holds no claim over us?
Much of the church in Brazil will be lost because American brethren, in large part, knowingly let it happen. God will not hold such blameless.