Why can’t THESE guys have a TV show here?

Since Johnny’s show was a rerun on Sunday, I decided to spend a bit of time looking at some Churches of Christ (Rom 16:16) who would take my fellowship.  In other words, they believe just about everything that Johnny Robertson, Norm Fields, and James Oldfield profess to believe, but unlike these three gentlemen, most don’t seem to teach that theirs is the only way – or that they’ve cornered the market on Biblical interpretation.

So, if you are in these three men’s church, see that you have others who worship exactly like you do but don’t condemn their neighbors who are also following the Lord in a different tradition.

 http://www.ripleycoc.com/index.htm Ripley Church of Christ, Ohio

http://www.centralcofc.org/ Central Church of Christ, Kansas

http://www.greenvillecoc.com/  Greenville Church of Christ (blog: http://gcoc.blogspot.com/)

http://www.wschurch.com/wp/?page_id=2  Winston-Salem Church of Christ  (note: I really like the way these folks present themselves.  Their statement of belief is very non-confrontational, and yet they seem to believe everything our TV friends believe.  Johnny, Norm and James could take a lesson from these folks.)

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10 thoughts on “Why can’t THESE guys have a TV show here?

  1. Maybe if Jason would come back on air, you could have this. I was a member here in Martinsville, but wish not to reveal my real name at this point, because I still have friends there.

  2. I appreciate this person’s response, because it shows me that of the 100+ hits we’re getting each day, there are folks who have been involved/who are involved with Johnny’s, Norm’s and James’s churches.

    I’d love to hear from more of you! These conversations have been awfully one-sided, and this community has really been under-represented in the folks who’ve been commenting.

    If you want to make comments without leaving your name and address, that’s fine. Just make certain that the things that you are writing are not gossip, but discussion. We’re not looking to create a place to bash these men, but to talk about the things that they teach.

    And we’d love to have Jason’s input, if he felt so led.

  3. Those who use funds by churches of Christ to support (colleges, orphans’ homes, etc.) are labeled non-institutional.

    Does a preaching school funded by many churches of Christ fall under the banner “not authorized” … therefore forbidden by silence, and could this be labeled non-institutional??

    Are these two groups in the church of Christ brothers/sisters in Christ or does one “disfellowship” the other??

  4. That article Jeff linked to says that the non-institutionals consider the institutionals to be apostate.

    And that’s a good point about the “preaching school” being not authorized. Are our TV hosts “non-I” or “I”?

  5. Actually, those who don’t agree with using contributed funds to support outside institutions are non-institutional (NI). By definition, I would suppose all NI churches would disagree with a church giving to an outside institution.

    The two groups of groups haven’t had much to do with each other on any large scale since the Gospel Advocate’s blackballing of NI churches and Christians in 1951. I believe there have been two significant meetings of different members of both persuasions since then, both ending with no action or resolution.

  6. I am now understanding why it took these guys here on TV several months to raise money for a preaching school and why they had to travel to Texas to find support. Interesting! One thing I have learned is there is a great deal of sects within the churches of Christ. Strange, the guys on TV dont mention this. Thanks Jeff, for you insight.

  7. Churches of Christ are independent, autonomous congregations. Diversity of belief is a natural outgrowth of a lack of inter-congregational organization. (Note: I’m not saying I think that’s a good thing, just that it happens.) Though, in all honesty, there’s probably fewer differences in general than you’d expect with that.

    I tend to refer to five main branches:

    1) The “one cup”/”no Bible class” churches. These are noted by taking the Lord’s Supper with a single (communal) cup and/or an objection to Bible classes (Sunday school). They broke away on their own back in the 1920s and are probably the smallest of the subgroups. This is less than 5% of the members of churches of Christ.

    2) Premillenial churches. Most churches of Christ are amillenial, believing the prophecies generally interpreted as millenial to be referring to a past historical event (the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, the Roman Empire, etc.). A small group broke/was driven away in the 1930s. I think in recent years they’ve stopped identifying themselves separately and folded themselves into the institutional subgroup; they comprised less than 1% of churches of Christ.

    3) NI churches. Driven away in the post-WWII push by colleges (in particular) to secure funding for their efforts. Comprise around 10% of the membership churches of Christ.

    4 & 5) Conservative and liberal institutional churches. Almost as soon as the NI churches were turned away, the institutional movement started fighting with itself. From this there are emerging two separate subgroups.

    The more liberal ones embrace ecumenicalism, instrumental music, a “new hermenutic,” and other beliefs contrary to the traditional positions of churches of Christ. Among these may be (on the leftmost edges) rejection of the necessity of baptism, accepting female ministers, and the rejection of homosexuality being a sin.

    The more conservative churches reject all of these while usually holding to the newer practices introduced during the institutional split in the 1950s and 1960s. I believe the churches this blog addresses would fall into this category.

    These are very broad generalizations, of course, but you get the idea. And that’s probably more than you ever wanted to know about the internal politics of churches of Christ. 🙂

  8. No, it’s very helpful for those of us outside the Church of Christ to understand the history. It’s funny, because the TV guys would never talk about all of this history of division – that the “churches of Christ” have a history very similar to the denominations they rail against.

  9. I’ve never heard of these gentlemen, so I can’t speak to what they do or don’t teach.

    I would note, however, that the first century church was racked with division (I Cor. 1:18-19, for example, notes this and says this is inevitable). If we choose to pattern ourselves after the first-century church, why would we expect a different result? Satan’s no less active today than then, and we don’t have living divinely ordained apostles to help “keep the peace.”

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