Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Constructing Heresy

Today, Google had a doodle in honor of the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Yesterday, I encountered a quote from Cincinnati Church of Christ Lead Elder Jim Fulcher that is just as well architected and constructed as one of van der Rohe's buildings.
"Well, think about this real quick. Even to be saved, if we know, we have the knowledge to be saved, are we saved? No! You have the knowledge. OK, if you have the knowledge and you believe it, you have faith, are you saved? No, you're not! Well, what if you have knowledge - the real knowledge - truth, and you have faith - you believe it - and you start following Jesus, are you saved? No, you're not, really! And you'll see it in just a minute. Because God wants this whole thing to all work together, all of it. So how about all that stuff: you really know it, you got the knowledge, you really believe it, you really start following, and you repent, are you saved? Wait a minute, I'll tell you what! Now you've got an individual who's got the knowledge, they're going to church all the time, they're reading their bibles, I mean, they're acting like Jesus, and they're repenting - man, they're quitting all that nasty old, sinful stuff, surely, I mean, when you start repenting and you're going to church, don't you feel - saved?! Yeah, you really do. Because so much has changed by what God calls you and I to change. You with me? [Audience agrees.] But you see, it's still not complete because you and I come in contact with the blood of Jesus when we are baptized [more agreement from the audience]. So when you hear it, you believe it, you become a disciple of Jesus, you follow, you repent of your sins, and you're baptized, are you saved? [Audience responds with a resounding 'Yes!'] Yes!! But you can mix it all up. What if you just believe it and you get baptized, forget the repentance? [Audience responds 'No!'] I mean, you can mix it up in any order you want, but unless we do it the way that God pens it out. So whether it's a salvation issue or whether it's a dealing-with-sin issue, it's got to be done God's way, Amen?! [Audience responds with applause.]"

Jim Fulcher - Lead Elder - Cincinnati Church of Christ - "Mastering Your Mind" - March 26, 2012 - [37:35-39:34]
I have seen and written quotes containing the kernel of the McKeanist plan of salvation (hear, believe, repent, become a disciple, and then be baptized), but never have I seen someone articulate it in this well laid-out form. The steps are built one on top of another and in the supposedly correct order. It's like clockwork. Additionally, the collective membership of the Cincinnati Church of Christ doesn't clearly respond audibly until Elder Fulcher starts talking about baptism. They agree with him on his assessment of the so-called revealed plan of salvation that every other so-called Christian has gotten wrong. And those poor, deluded, religious Christians are placed right smack dab in the middle of his argument! It's pure brilliance.

It's no wonder Satan masquerades as an angel of light. If the heresy of a works-based, man-centered, Spirit-less salvation can be so clearly seen, the darkness surrounding those who teach and truly believe this demonic doctrine must truly be great.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Revealing Your Unplayable Hand

In a post on One in Jesus, blog owner Jay Guin (an elder of a progressive Church of Christ) asked the following question in light of a post discussing the future of the mainline Churches of Christ in light of significantly declining membership: "What do we do?" Out of the many responses, one from Alan Rouse (an elder of the ICOC Co-operation Church in Gwinnett, Georgia - a suburb of Atlanta) stood out as alarming:
"Start making disciples of Jesus. Starting from one person, if each person makes one disciple a year, the entire world will be Christian in a matter of 30 or so years.

Oh, and make sure the first disciple you make is yourself.

That's a snarky answer, I know. But I don’t know of a better one. The real point is, this has NOTHING to do with what your worship service looks like."
This model of exponential growth, which goes back to at least the late 1960's, has been a mainstay of the theology of the Discipling Movement in the Churches of Christ. However, this model is fatally flawed in the light of scripture and plain common sense for several reasons:
  1. This model assumes that one remains alive once they are made into a disciple and are making disciples. Clearly someone who is converted early on, say at the age of 90, will likely not make it to see the world evangelized within their lifetime.
  2. This model assumes that one doesn't apostatize and leave Christianity once they are made into a disciple and are making disciples. The scriptures clearly teach that some people who are are following Jesus (at least by outward appearance) one day will stop following Him altogether (John 6:66).
  3. This model eventually (when there are literally billions of people making disciples) contradicts Christ's teachings that few will be saved (Luke 13:22-30).
  4. This model is nowhere to be found for the New Testament church, particularly in Acts. On the Church's first day at the Pentecost after Christ's crucifixion, burial and, resurrection, the visible Church grew from about 120 to 3,000 in one day (Acts 2:41). Later, the Church grew to 5,000 men (Acts 4:4). During the first widespread persecution of Christians, the congregation in Jerusalem shrunk down to twelve (Acts 8:1)! However, the Holy Spirit continued to grow the Church until it had evangelized the known world, namely the Roman Empire, in thirty-to-forty years. None of these examples prove exponential growth. However, all of the growth was done by the power of God the Holy Spirit.
  5. This model clearly collapsed under its own weight if we take the original Boston Church of Christ in 1979 through its growth peak in the late 1980's and early 1990's, flat lining in the mid-1990's and utter collapse at the turn of the millennium. Practically, this model doesn't work, even when driven by men's ambitions and authoritarian control.

Those who have been in leadership in the Crossroads Movement, Boston Movement, and the ICOC both before and after 2003 should certainly know that the exponential growth model is a fairy tale. But Alan, in his own words, admits "I don’t know of a better one."

What's more concerning is his second statement: "[M]ake sure the first disciple you make is yourself." Here, Alan Rouse betrays his hand and exposes himself as a false teacher of the god of McKeanism. How can a lost person, a person who is separated from the love and grace of the one, true creator God, make themselves into a disciple - a Christian - a saved person (using the standard McKeanist formula "Disciple = Christian = Saved")? It's impossible! One can't earn or work for Christ's righteousness by their own imperfect righteousness. Even nine years after the events surrounding the Henry Kriete Letter when reforms were promised, the ICOC is still holding a bad hand and doing everything in its power to bluff its members and potential recruits.