Big Questions: About this series
In the United States, Churches of Christ are declining. Every…
For centuries, followers of Christ relied heavily on people in authority to tell them what God said, what they should believe and what they should do, said Carl Royster, data collector for the “Churches of Christ in the United States” directory.
“The Restoration Movement sprang forth from a time when people were free to study the Scriptures for themselves and free to question what they and their ancestors had been told by others for so long,” Royster said. “People by the thousands came to hear and believe in the truths found in the Bible.”
Two centuries later, far too many believers allow themselves to be consumed by a quest to be “right,” Royster said, noting that the Great Commission does not say, “Go and prove yourselves worthy by making sure you get every single minute detail exactly right.” Neither does it say, “Go make sure you have an enjoyable experience. You are free to do whatever it is that makes you happy and feel better about yourself.”
“Now, do I think that the Churches of Christ as a whole strive diligently to follow the New Testament pattern as all people should? Absolutely,” Royster said. “Have we gotten too caught up at times in the fine details that we have missed the big picture? I think so.
“Perhaps we need to put more energy and effort into the things that really do matter, such as showing the love of Christ to each other and to the world around us, and teaching a lost world about Christ and him crucified. I think being a Christian and a part of Christ’s body, his church, does not mean I have to get everything exactly right all the time or that all congregations have to do everything exactly the same, but neither does it mean we are free to just do whatever we want to please ourselves. After all, it’s not about us; it’s about God.
“So, denomination or nondenominational; one cup or multiple cups during communion; a cappella or instrumental; a paid evangelist or not; a praise team or a single song leader — is that really what Christ is all about?
“Maybe we all have lost our focus just a little.”
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