I’ve been thinking about this question a lot recently, because it takes a bit of my time which could be used elsewhere, and it has since I started it a few months ago. If you just happened upon the blog, and wondered why someone would take the time to blog about the teachings of three men who nobody knows anyway, I suppose that would be a valid question.
To be concise, it is because I have seen the damage that these men do to people, and it makes me pretty angry. Now, I don’t mean that they set out to damage people – I think they think they are really “serving the Lord” (Rom 12:11). However, Jesus talks pretty seriously about being able to recognize people who are teaching Truth by their fruit (Matt 7:16). Let’s look at some of the fruit from Johnny Robertson, James Oldfield and Norm Field’s work in particular, and the work of the fundamentalist Churches of Christ in general.
The Mysterious Case of Jason Hairston
I mentioned Jason’s blog in my last posting, and I need to talk just a bit more about this, because it’s such a glaring example of rotten fruit. Now, you need to understand that my thoughts on this are not clear, because none of these men have come clean in public about the situation. My understanding from sources close to the subject is that Jason is really have trouble with his spiritual identity after his time spent with these fundamentalist Church of Christ men.
Unfortunately, this is not an exclusive result for exposure to men like this – just go over and take a look at the website for ex-church of Christ folks – click this link – you’ll see plenty of people who have been damaged in similar ways to Jason – some to the point of renouncing belief in God altogether.
If, by starting a blog like this that questions their teachings and examines their doctrine outside of their control helps even one person to NOT leave God as a result of confusion sown while under their influence, it will be worth the time spent.
Holding Them Accountable When Nobody Else Will
Now, given, this would be a task more easily achieved if the men would actually participate in our discussions, but I do my best to do this without them. I haven’t figured out the way to be the most organized about this, because over the past few months of study, I’ve realized that there are some pretty big errors in their teaching – mostly dealing with the bonds they put on others and themselves. And even their arguments for “speak where the Bible speaks, silent where the Bible is silent” (is that a creed?) are inconsistent when you put them under the microscope. Look at my discussions with Nova about Joshua and the city of Jericho to see an example of what I mean.
Looking for the Galatians 5:22 Fruit
Now, you really need to get into a deep study of what the Law meant to the readers of the NT, but I think it’s important to say that you hear these men talk quite a bit about the restrictions placed on Christians with the NT, but you very rarely hear them (at least on their TV programs) talk about the following “Galatians 5:22 Fruit”:
A) It’s not a “Galatians Fruit”, but being FREE in Christ (occurs 59 times in Scripture) – John 8:32; 36; Rom 6:18; Gal 4:31; 5:1; etc.
B) The Joy of the Lord (occurs 165 times) – 1 Pet 4:13; 1 John 1:4; Gal 5:22; etc.
C) Hope (occurs 130 times) – 1 Pet 3:15; Heb 3:6; 2 Thess 2:16; etc.
D) Peace (occurs 429 times) – Mark 4:39; Luke 2:14; 2 Cor 13:11; etc.
You could go on.
Now, I can almost hear their rebuttal – and let me answer before it’s stated: men, I know that freedom without law is chaos, and that Scripture does have very serious things to say about the way we should conduct ourselves. That being said, however, I would think that a church that was truly living in the Truth (especially to the point of broadcasting that everyone else is living in error) would have a better grasp of the balance between the two.
If you go onto the websites of these men and watch some of their video clips, you’ll see that there is NOT a balance. The impression I get from watching these men is that they get their biggest joy from putting other people in their place. This is part of the reason that Johnny Robertson lost the debate with Armando Deloa. If he’d have demonstrated more of the character of God and less of the wrath, his arguments would be much more compelling. But, after interacting with Shawn Paden over at http://www.topix.com, I’m beginning to wonder if it is possible for these men to be able to show grace and mercy – or even to admit that they are wrong about something – not even doctrinally, but personally. That’s a big Matt 7:16 warning.
Well, that’s enough for now. I hope that it helps folks understand. Again, I don’t have a beef with all Churches of Christ – just these sorts who claim that if you aren’t in the church where they assemble, or if you aren’t in a church that teaches exactly what they teach, then you aren’t in the Lord’s Church.
Sola Dei Gloria!