A new friend over at the fundamentalist CofC forum, forum.preachersfiles.com, clued me to the website of a lifelong Church of Christ man, Edward Fudge. Now, besides having a last name that makes me hungry, Edward Fudge has some really pretty interesting things to say about the way that the Church of Christ relates (or should relate) with people from other different Christian backgrounds. For example, on this page, Mr. Fudge says:
The modern-day “Churches of Christ” (in which I am a preacher, teacher and former elder) have absolutely no right to claim that they alone include God’s people (Luke 9:49-50). There are many fine Christians in Churches of Christ, to be sure — but so also are there in Baptist churches and in all other parts of the larger Christian family (2 Tim. 2:19). Baptists do not have it all figured out, but neither does anyone else, including the Churches of Christ (1 Cor. 8:2-3; Phil. 3:13-15).
Regarding the observation of the Lord’s Supper, Mr. Fudge on that same page says:
I encourage weekly communion, but the Bible does not require it. Jesus said, “As often as” you eat and drink the bread and wine. He didn’t say how often that had to be (1 Cor. 11:25-26). The early church “broke bread” daily (Acts 2:46) — we don’t know if that refers to the Lord’s Supper or to common meals. The same expression appears in Acts 20:7, where Luke reports that Paul once met with some disciples in Troas on the first day of the week to “break bread.” The truth is that we in the Churches of Christ have been far more definite about some of these things than the Bible is. Unfortunately, we sometimes confused our own opinions and inferences with the precepts of God’s Word.
Finally, he ends the page with this wonderful comment:
I love the Churches of Christ, many of which are pointing to Christ, basing salvation on trusting in Jesus, baptizing people but not making that overshadow Jesus’ sacrifice, loving each other, worshiping God, and becoming what the name “Churches of Christ” ought to signify. I also love God’s people in Baptist churches, Methodist, Presbyterian, Adventist, charismatic, Episcopalian churches and elsewhere. The issue is not the sign over the door. The issue is whether Christ is in the heart, and whether the life is devoted to Christ, trusting him as Savior and following him as Lord (Rom. 2:28-29; Phil. 3:3).
Now, my guess is that our fundamentalist friends consider Mr. Fudge to be in error, or they may even use words like “apostate” or “false teacher”. I, on the hand, find his perspective and Biblical viewpoint to be refreshing, and look forward to exploring his site more thoroughly. Nathan
Mr. Fudge says this on a different page (link below):
“God doesn’t deal with people by church affiliation but on an individual basis as he sees the heart. And Scripture assures us more times than one that no person who puts saving trust in Jesus Christ will be left hanging out to dry (my paraphrase). Thank God, our salvation finally does not depend on our own ability to do, think or experience anything perfectly, but on the certain ability of a loving, sovereign God to grasp us and to hold on! If we keep our hand in the one that bears the nail-scars, we may be very sure that he will never ever leave us or forsake us. And that, in the end, depends on the faithful heart of God our Savior, not the name on the sign above the church-house door.”
He, along with Al Maxey, are fresh breath’s of air, indeed.
…you are right, they would be labeled “change agents” in many ultra conservative Churches of Christ.
dude, I told you about this link about two weeks back. I think maybe I was addressing LEE or LAH. Yes, Johnny and crew consider Fudge, Maxey, Rubel, Ketcherside, Leroy G, Daniel Somer, Max L, Cecil Hook, and a host f others as “change agents” and false brethern.
Edward is the man! I am glad you got a chance to check out his site. You should try to sign up for his grace e-mail list. Edward was raised in a hard-line “anti” Church of Christ congregation. It is very admirable that he was able to come out of such an upbringing and become the mature Christian teacher that he is today.
Besides his website, he has written a fantastic book about Christianity’s traditional view of Hell called “The Fire that Consumes.” I would recommend it to anyone. And yes, I am sure he is considered an apostate change agent by some of his less understanding brethren.