Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 29, 1954

Dangers Facing The Church Today

Homer A. Daniel. Chattanooga. Tennessee

There are many dangers confronting the Lord's church today, and have been since Pentecost. We should all heed the warning and not let another apostasy overtake us.

Let us consider some of these many dangers:

1. Ignorance of God's Word. There is more secular education today than ever before. The church needs an informed membership. All need to study God's Word including preachers — (2 Tim. 2:15 applies to all Christians). We have been saved to save others. Our responsibility is to teach, baptize the taught, and continue to teach the word of the Lord. (Matt. 28:18-20)

2. Modernism. The doctrine of modernism is a doctrine of falsehood and is based on a disregard for truth. (John 8:44) We should ever be alert because the danger of modernism is more cunning and subtle than atheism. It comes in the garb of faith and yet quibbles at the virgin birth, denies the miracles of Jesus and his atoning blood on the cross. They deny his bodily resurrection, his deity, and Sonship. They deny the inspiration of the Bible. Many modernists admit an inspiration of the Bible but deny a verbal inspiration. They say the men who wrote the Bible were inspired as you and I might be inspired by some beautiful scene or the hearing of some beautiful music. The Bible does not talk of this kind of an inspiration but read 2 Peter 1:21; Acts 2:4; Matthew 10:20, and 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

They fill denominational pulpits in many places, and sit in prominent seats in colleges and universities. The only cure for modernism is a complete and genuine return to the Bible.

3. Compromising. One of our greatest dangers lies in the temptation to compromise and become a sister denomination with the sects around us. It was this desire in the long ago that led Israel to demand a king. (1 Sam. 8) They wanted to be like the nations round about. There was a time when the sectarians would meet us in open religious discussion and much good was accomplished in these debates. They soon saw this was causing them to lose ground, as many of their members were learning the truth and obeying it. They next began to fight us to our backs and now they tell their members not to listen to our speeches. The years rolled by — they have seen us grow in numbers and now they are using their most powerful methods — to compromise. They want us to exchange pulpits with them and, of course, be too nice to preach on what they call controversial issues. They want us to join with them in the Ministerial Alliance where compromise is the order of the day. They want us to join with them in Union Revivals. They want us to recognize them in our audience and call on them to lead our prayers, regardless of whether they have been baptized into Christ as the New Testament teaches. (Rom. 6:3-4; Mark 16:16; Gal. 3:27; Acts 2:38) When we compromise the truth like this we are "bidding them God-speed and are partakers of their evil deed." (2 John, verses 9-11) Paul says we are not to have anything to do with false doctrine — the commandments and doctrines of men. (Col. 2:20-23) Now, if you don't believe there is danger in this sort of thing, look around a little and you may find some of our preachers who have fallen for this trap.

4. Pastor System. Churches of Christ have ministers; preachers or evangelists to work under the oversight of the elders of each congregation. (2 Tim. 4:5; Rom. 10:1317; Eph. 3:7) Nowhere in the New Testament do we read of any preacher being "the pastor" of anything. The term "pastor" is always found in the plural (pastors) in the New Testament, and refers to the class of men called "elders," "bishops," or "overseers." A preacher may be a "pastor" if he has the qualifications of an elder, but being a preacher does not make him a pastor much less the pastor. The word reverend is found only once in the whole Bible (Psalm 111:9) and there it refers to the name of God. The preacher is not to run the church, but each congregation is to have elders and deacons to supervise the work of the church and we as preachers are to work under the oversight of the elders like any other member of the church.

5. Worldliness in the Church. One of the most dangerous things facing the Lord's church today is worldliness among the membership. Jails are crowded and penitentiaries are overflowing. People are dishonest and won't pay their debts unless they are tied up by mortgages and have to do so. The golden rule is ignored and the sermon on the Mount is hardly known. People ought to read often Matthew, chapters 5-7. There is more drinking and drunkenness than in the history of our nation. The only use some have for the holy name of God is to curse and swear by it. Gambling, shooting dice, playing cards and dancing are very popular sins. The filthy movies are showing the young people how to commit crime of all kinds and have become the cesspool of the world. Many preachers attend the modern movies and cannot condemn them because of their participation in them. Boys are taught to gamble, rob, kill and to do everything that is ungodly and sinful.

Dancing is based upon the lust of the flesh. It appeals to that part of human nature that needs no emphasis but constant restraint. Please read the lists of the lust of the flesh as found in Galatians 5:19-25.

Mixed bathing is no better. Good sense and common decency condemns the idea of men and women swimming together in the scanty attire that the modern bathing suit affords. A Christian or modest sinner will not be found in such places.

There is not an evil force in existence that has done more to corrupt good morals than the picture show. Much and lasting good could be done through motion pictures but not under the present set-up. We as Christians cannot afford to lend our influence or spend our hard earned money to encourage the sins of Hollywood — the cesspool of the world. Please read Philippians 4:8; 1 John 2:15-17; Colossians 3:17; Matthew 5:16; Matthew 7:16-20 and 1 Thessalonians 3:22.