I subscribe to a number of my brethren’s religious blogs and I wonder if I am alone in seeing more and more brethren who seem to be apologizing for the church. After being raised in the churches of Christ fellowship I have seen a lot of trends come and go, but it seems that the latest trend is to criticize and apologize for the history and tradition of our fellowship. I am sorry, but I just don’t get it.
While I firmly believe that we should all trace our traditions and practices to the early church, it cannot be denied that much of what we see practiced in the churches of Christ (especially as it pertains to tradition as opposed to doctrine) can be traced to the work of the Restoration Era. I am not a Cambellite (for those of you who know what that is), but I am thankful for the work of those restoration preachers and the great tradition and history they passed down to us. Why? Let me explain!
First, over a period of centuries believers drifted further and further from a Bible-based belief system that led to division in the Christian world. Despite all the overtures to “we are all traveling different paths to the same destination,” that is not the message we receive in God’s word. Division has always been frowned upon by God (1 Corinthians 1:10; Romans 16:17) and that sectarian and divisive nature of Christianity proved to be a hindrance to many seeking a relationship with God. Thomas Mott put it this way, “The price we have paid for a divided Christendom is an unbelieving world.”
Second, the restoration era preachers where seeking religious unity through a single unifying principle – adherence to the inerrant, infallible, inspired word of God. These men genuinely believed they could put aside their religious traditions and come to consensus and truth based on the Bible. If we want to argue results – they were unmistakeable. People flocked to embrace the idea of religious unity based on a reverence and respect of the Holy Scriptures.
Finally, and this may be an area most of us agree on – we are in the business of bring souls into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Disparaging comments about His bride, and dissing the church in order to gain favor with the world doesn’t seem to be a responsible way to approach our mission.
I am proud of my religious heritage. I am proud to be a member of the church of Christ. I am proud to be a Christian and only a Christian. I am not prepared to apologize for the eternal truths I hold near and dear to my heart.