Emerson Ave Church of Christ

Matthew 28:19, 20 (Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…..)

The Man Not The Plan

June 24, 2012

The Man Not The Plan

A movement that has been afoot within denominational circles for several generations, has made inroads among some congregations of Christ. The philosophy underlying the movement basically says, “Let’s put more emphasis on Jesus the man, and a lot less emphasis on the doctrine.” The adherents of this teaching also say, “Jesus unites, doctrine divides. Let’s talk more about how we can be united and less about our differences.” Others express their belief in this way, “When we study the Bible, we need to focus on what it tells us about God, and how that applies to us. Making the same doctrinal statements week after week is not productive.” All of the foregoing statements are basically saying the same thing in different ways. It is the old denominational cliche that says, “It is not supremely important to get the doctrine right. It is important to understand who Jesus is and what he has done for us. There is unity in Christ. We unite on him, but we divide on doctrine.”

More people than we know believe that we should place less emphasis on doctrine and more on the person of Christ. Apparently some within this congregation believe this, and the issue must he addressed. In the late 1980’s into the 1990’s a movement took root in the state of Florida, and was known as the Crossroads Movement. Preachers, elders, and entire congregations were swept into the sea of digression by those who were the chief proponents of the Crossroads’ philosophy.

The proponents were like spiritual termites working from within unsuspecting congregations.

They worked through weak pulpits and unqualified elderships and were able to gain a stronghold that can be found breathing underground in some places to this very day. Those who led congregations astray appeared to be sweet as honey, tender as turnip greens, and as smart as a whip. But they were wolves in sheep’s clothing. (Mat. 7:15; Rom. 16:17-18) Furthermore, every single one of them had one key factor in common; they taught that it is the man not the plan that is important. They taught people to put less emphasis on doctrine, and more emphasis on Jesus Christ. They taught people to look for areas of agreement, and to ignore the differences! Why was it so important for them to lay such stress on the man and to diminish stress on the plan? The answer is logical and simple: when their real intent would be uncovered and their false teachings were brought to light, their way out would be, “Remember brothers and sisters, even if we are wrong in doctrine, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the man, not the plan, remember?” So they got away with destroying congregations because they sucker punched the members!

Jesus himself made a statement that addresses whether or not a person may take the man without the plan. Jesus emphatically taught, “The one who rejects me, and does not receive my sayings, has a judge: the word that I spoke, the same will judge him on the last day. (Jno. 12:48) Jesus teaches that we must receive the man and the plan!
Ron Daly

(The Sunday morning Bible classes have begun studying the life of Christ, and the following scriptures have been submitted to me for the congregation’s use as suggested Bible readings: Matthew Chapters 6 & 7; Luke Chapter 7)

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The Journey To Denominationalism

December 11, 2011

The Journey To Denominationalism

Dear friends, this is a subject that we should consider very seriously because its implications reach into eternity.

“There was a time when the people of God knew the Bible, and they maintained an undying loyalty to divine authority and to the blood bought body of the Lord Jesus Christ”.

In days past, preachers, elders and bible class teachers made a concentrated effort to inform Christians about the errors of denominationalism, but today it is different in many places. What have we accomplished if we teach against moral sins (adultery, homosexuality, stealing, drunkenness and abortion), yet fail to teach against doctrinal errors (once saved always saved, salvation by faith only, direct operation of the Holy Spirit, present day miraculous divine healing, sprinkling and pouring instead of immersion)? The purity of the local congregation involves both morals and doctrine. (Rev. 2:12-16)

In the early 1990’s I heard about a heinous doctrine that had roots in Florida. In those days older preachers who had experience and knowledge began saying that if this new movement is not challenged, we will see numerous congregations and their elders and deacons become so soft that they will take a journey to denominationalism. The movement was known as The Crossroads Movement. It expanded and developed its own system of teaching and organization, and later became known as The Boston Movement. It was a cult that led several congregations on a journey to denominationalism.

What are some of the telltale signs that a person or a congregation is taking the journey to denominationalism?

1) When a person looks for something in addition to the
complete word of God to lead him to the salvation in Christ.

Many people in the Crossroads Movement talked about the Holy Spirit guiding them, touching their eyes and preparing their hearts to obey God. They were expecting the Holy Spirit to do something to them that the word of God could not do for them. They were denying the all-sufficiency of God’s word as the message of salvation. They never produced any scripture to sustain their belief. The word of God is the instrument the Holy Spirit uses to convict people of sin, convert them from sin, and to teach them how to avoid sin. (Acts 20:32; Jas. 1:21) Let us beware of holding denominational beliefs about the Holy Spirit.

2) When a person will not tell those in denominationaism that they are wrong, but seeks terms of appeasement. He looks for what we have in common with denominations instead of drawing a sharp line of distinction. Jesus did not seek to appease the Jewish leaders of his day. He addressed their errors in an open manner, and told them when they were wrong. (Matthew 15:3,13,14; 22:29) We should do the same. (l Cor. 11: 1; Phil. 4:9) Why would a person not tell those in religious error that they are wrong, unless he believes God approves of their error? Failure to take a stand for Jesus’ will is another milestone on the journey to denominationalism. (More to follow)    Ron Daly

Morning Scripture Reading:………Galatians 4:1-7                 Evening Scripture Reading:……..Colossians 2:16-23

Morning Sermon …… Who Was Jesus?                          Evening Sermon …… Separating Truth From Fiction

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Issue Oriented Preaching

January 30,2011

Issue Oriented Preaching

Some are objecting to what they call “issue oriented preaching.” Others call it “doctrinal preaching.” They do not feel comfortable with class teaching or public preaching that defines issues, applies principles, and specifies the enemies of the cross of Christ. The only kind of teaching and preaching they commend is the type that
makes them smile and feel good about themselves even when they are worldly enemies of the living God. (James 4:4)

The first time I encountered major objections to what has been dubbed “issue oriented preaching” on a widespread basis, was while doing research for a series of lessons on what was then called the Boston or Crossroads Movement in the 1990’s. One thing I learned then, that stands true to this very day is, people who are in error can seem so sweet until their error is addressed, then they become as bitter as a pound of salt in a gallon of vinegar!

Local congregations need to hear material that is Bible based and with specific application. There is some value to teaching and preaching “general” lessons that address moral and social issues, but let us never forget that we have the apostles as the model of the kind of preaching that God requires. Read Peter’s address in Acts 2, or Paul’s speech in Acts 17. I have said many times that both Peter and Paul would be unwelcome in a great majority of congregations today.

There are people in the body of Christ who cringe at the thought that religious debating is in harmony with God’s will. It is a very effective tool in crushing error and promoting truth. The apostles engaged in debates and truth always prevailed while error was always defeated. (Acts 15) The same people who object to religious debating relish the concept of social, economic, and political debates. This is an enigma to me that makes no sense! It defies understanding and is self-contradictory. Let those who say local congregations do not grow from “issue oriented-doctrinal preaching” tell us what works.

Ron Daly

Morning Scripture Reading    1 Timothy 6:11-16                     Evening Scripture Reading      1 Peter 3:13-17

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