Friday, December 15, 2006

CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

The 21st Century's apostle of unity Rick Atchley (not to be confused with Rick Astley) has led his church--oh, I'm sorry, the elders did it--to add an instrumental service:
The Richland Hills church in Texas — the largest of the nation’s 13,000 a cappella Churches of Christ — has decided to add an instrumental worship assembly with communion on Saturday nights.

Jon Jones, an elder and former pulpit minister at the 6,400-member church, told the congregation Dec. 3 that Richland Hills’ elders “fully and completely” endorsed the decision....

Senior minister Rick Atchley — a national leader in efforts to foster better relations with instrumental Christian Churches — told the congregation the decision should help ease crowding at Richland Hills’ two Sunday morning services. Moreover, he said, it will allow the congregation to “reach more people who need Christ.”

It's a move that will allow the congregation to fit in better with the Christian Church fellowship that Atchley has been desperate to crack. As predicted on this site, any concessions for the 'unity' that Atchley desires will always be to the left. The Christian Church is probably glad to have a 17,000 member church join the cause...as long as they do it on the Christian Church's terms. Atchley and the elders at Richland Hills seem happy to capitulate.

1 comment:

Wild Bill said...

Maybe I'm stupid, but I don't really get the idea of a "newspaper" for "members of the Churches (or Churches) of Christ." Who exactly are they? Is that me? And how can you seriously write to such a paper and complain that others objecting to your churches adoption of extra-biblical activities aren't honoring "church autonomy"? Huh? How exactly could a newspaper for the "churches" or its readers honor church autonomy? Wouldn't that mean that they wouldn't have a newspaper reporting on the actitivities of churches in the first place?

I suppose the "Saturday night communion" falls under the category that we only know communion was taken on Sunday by inference. Okay. Fine. The day isn't the principal objection. Isn't this silly "instrumental" service intended as a "seeker" service? I assume they actually intend people who like instruments to come and join them, because, if it's just a matter of letting instrumental groups know that you think they're okay even if you wouldn't do it, couldn't you just say that? So if they are "seeker services" (whatever the heck that means), you are taking the central act of worship of the Church, an that is a spiritual communion among believers and believers with Christ (he said he would partake of the cup when he (and we) entered the kingdom) and sharing it with those whom you do not know are Christians? I understand we don't "close" communion, but to purposefully create a service intended to include those who may not be Christians and make communion part of that? Where is the wisdom?

And, while I'm tempted to say I don't care what other groups do, I won't and instead will say how nice it is that Atchley values the church singing praises to God--as if it were a quaint old aunt. It never ceases to amaze what little interest Christians have in why God desires praise in song from His church, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. They act as though it's an afterthought to their "fellowship and unity" that they're worshipping God. Who is the worship for, after all?

And, for any who think this is a "small stuff" or "milk", and the important issues for the church are whatever political problems men have dreamt up lately (civil rights, AIDS, abortion, the environment, gay marriage, etc.), they should consider God's reaction to King Saul. All the king did was offer sacrifice in a way God didn't say to (1 Sam 13--note, he didn't say Saul could not do it) and to offer sacrifice in way God didn't ask for (1 Sam 15--he wanted the Amalekites destroyed, not offered as sacrifice). God was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel. 1 Sam. 15:35. That's the same reaction God had to man prior to the flood when every thought of man's heart was evil all the time. Gen. 6:5-6. So God viewed rebellion in worship to be the equivalent of complete evil. Hmm, sober thought isn't it. Maybe it has something to do with "man looks at the appearance, but God looks at the heart." 1 Sam 16. In any event, it ought to cause us to pause before we dismiss things as "small details." Saul was a practical man who didn't let details get in the way of "solving problems", and God took his Spirit from Saul and allowed an evil spirit to torment him. Pretty sobering, even if the "Mall Church" (as my wife calls NRH) can't take time out from "serving the kingdom" to see it.