Vol.II No.VIII Pg.2
September 1965

I Am Not Surprised!!!

Robert F. Turner

I once preached for a church whose charter members had family and social ties with the Christian Church of the city. Some had left that group to begin a "loyal" church; and were acutely aware of their "goings on." I distinctly remember one elder mentioning their support of a "church camp"-- how awful!! -- and another, the treasurer, said that the day "this" church sends support to some institution to do its work, he was walking out.

Today (13 years later) I see their Treasurer's Report shows support of several inter-congregational projects, support of a benevolent institution, and $50. for "Camp Expenses." Their bulletin announces there will be no mid-week services for two weeks due to "Northern Arizona Bible Camps."

I am saddened, but not surprised!! Some of those elders were wedded to Abilene (ACC) in past "lectures" and "work shops" and evidenced a fancy for pride-flattering "put the church on the map" projects. Perhaps some felt a deep seated resentment at being "that little bunch" of "non-progressives" and longed for the day when they could "take their place" in the world. Anyhow, they didn't seem to mind sound preaching that warned of digressive trends among churches of Christ until they realized that the majority of churches were on the bandwagon, and they were being called "anti" etc. That was a bitter pill. The "final straw" came when liberal churches from a "big city" prepared to establish a liberal church near them -- unless they would "co-operate." The "deal was made, tacitly if not otherwise, and the drift toward liberalism began to cut a path. "Area-wide" youth meetings, inter-church TV, and the rest followed swiftly. Yes, some left to meet with a conservative few, but most either couldn't see what was happening, or hardened their hearts.

Preachers they once loved became anathema. As Paul said, "Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? For I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" (Read Gal. 4:9-20)

And the end is not yet. The petty personal differences that accompany doctrinal differences will drive some to extremes. Others, lulled to sleep, or blinded by BIG preachers who warn them against the "anti-s", will take whatever "marching" churches dish up. Once "brotherhood practice" takes the place of Bible authority one need not be surprised at anything.