I personally do not know any believer in the churches of Christ (1) who does not accept the Bible as God's word; (2) who does not accept the Bible as God's inspired revelation; and (3) who does not accept the Bible as authority in seeking to do God's will. I certainly trust the Bible, God's word, as existing because God through His Spirit revealed His will for all people in the death, resurrection, and Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Do believers in churches of Christ answer some basic questions differently? Yes. Is their basis for their different answers found in a rejection of the Bible as the reliable guide to God's will? No. Even regarding divisive questions, those disagreeing accept the Bible as an inspired revelation of God's will. Such disagreements are primarily based on determining and understanding God's meaning in His message.

Our assumptions create common problems as we struggle to understand God's meaning and God's priorities. Our assumptions complicate our surrender to God's will. Our assumptions make it difficult to distinguish between an old tradition and a biblical principle. Our assumptions make it difficult to base convictions on faith in God instead of emotional attachments. Our assumptions justify judging other believers. Our assumptions encourage confrontation with disagreeing believers rather than understanding, encouragement, and compassion.

Because of assumptions, reactionary consciences assume a divine mandate to control and intimidate. Of course, no believer looks upon his or her assumptions as assumptions. "My" assumptions are always truth. Amazingly, believers frequently allow devotion to the "one on the cross" to produce reactions against disagreeing believers devoted to the same "one on the cross" which oppose the attitudes and behavior of the man who was "the one on the cross." Does this remind you of the twelve's arguments about who was the best disciple? Do you remember Jesus rejected both their question and conclusions?

Our assumptions (1) concluded unity was produced through division; (2) made the church a place instead of a people; (3) measured faithfulness by worship practices at that place for a couple of hours a week rather than the believer's behavior 24 hours a day; and (4) concluded God was more concerned about human devotion to details than He was about believers' expressing faith in Jesus through devotion to God's morality.

What is our challenge before God in Christ? To learn to be God's people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week instead of programmed members of a religious institution. Read Exodus 19:4-6; Deuteronomy 4:20 and 14:2; 1 Peter 2:9,10; and Titus 2:14 and ask yourself this question: "What has God always wanted?"

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 6 January 2002

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