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What Came Out of Jubilee '97?

By J. E. Choate

religion, articles, christianity

Now the story of the Nashville Jubilee Inc., has turned full circle. There are no more hidden agendas. It has taken almost a decade to come to grips with the fact that the liberal "change agents" deem the time is right to seize the traditional churches of Christ, and to pick up the rich booty. The morality of this is obvious.

Pious "change agents" failed with their subterfuges to capture the Hendersonville, South Harpeth, and Concord Road churches. Coming first on the scene as messengers garbed in sweetness and light, they suddenly metamorphosed into "barracudas of change."

Truth will out. Light will force its way into the darkest recesses. The "innards" of eight Jubilees past were fully exposed under the glaring theater lights of the shining pleasure dome of glass and steel in downtown Nashville. The genie is out of the bottle. This cat can not be put back in the bag.

"Both" Sides of Nashville Jubilee, Inc.

A defense for Jubilee set up by the Madison elders, and also the West End church, is that we want to hear both sides. There are indeed two sides to Jubilee, and we will hear from both. The agendas of the liberal change agents are now in sharp focus. The traditional churches of Christ have an honorable history. We do not need to apologize for our faith and love for the church. Let Rubel Shelly and Victor Knowles confess their own sins, not for the life of David Lipscomb.

We need only to look at Jubilee '97 to gather our facts. ("We" is used in this article as a rhetorical device to refer to the traditional churches of Christ.] We belong to that great crowd of witnesses who reverence the memory of David Lipscomb and his kind who stopped the digressives dead in their tracks one hundred years ago.)

We shall look at Jubilee from three vantage positions-what actually happened during Jubilee '97; how the conservatives see Jubilee; and how the liberal change agents are using Jubilee to capture unsuspecting churches.

Jubilee '97 was carefully staged and orchestrated against the backdrop of the sports palace just across the street from the old Ryman auditorium where N.B. Hardeman preached the gospel in 1922. The arena was set up to seat 15,000. The arena office reported the actual count to be 10,500. The Pentecostals and Baptists never showed up. Careful plans had been laid for the opening night of Jubilee. An early mailing of Jubilee propaganda from the sponsoring Donelson church painted Jubilee '97 as the meeting which would relegate the previous Hardeman and Collins meetings to relics of another time.

Rubel Shelly presented Max Lucado as the greatest preacher on planet earth who is best qualified to preach the pure gospel of Christ. To compare this pseudo­gospel preacher to N.B. Hardeman and Willard Collins would be like comparing a head of cabbage to a bust of George Washington.

During the April 22 luncheon in the Sheraton Music City hotel. Dr. Shelly called upon "apostle" Don Finto to bless the food. Max Lucado told us assembled that Don Finto is his hero. The master plan for Jubilee '97 was opened up somewhat for viewing.

Susan Gamble Reports Jubilee '97

We have read Susan Gamble's glowing appraisal of the successes of Jubilee '97 off the ACU server. Susan Gamble is a "true blue" apologist for Jubilee change agents as they push to destroy the traditional churches of Christ. We do not question her sincerity, just her interpretive judgment.

Susan wrote, "Eleven people from our congregation in Brantford, Ontario, attended the Jubilee program in Nashville last week and I thought I'd post a bit of a report to you all." We thank you, Susan, for doing so. Much of what you write is correct, and much is fiction. You wrote that you saw two other people from Canada. Just two?

You wrote that the "speakers were absolutely stupendous [?]." You name Joe Beam, Rubel Shelly, and Jeff Walling. You also name the other Canadian present, Bobby Harrington, from Calgary. Susan, do you know that the Otter Creek elders fired this Jubilee speaker? Like Ken Dye formerly of Hendersonville, Doug Varnado of South Harpeth, and Scotty Harris of Concord Road, they took vengeance in trying to split the churches that had put bread on their table. Bobby did the same and went over to Brentwood to start up a little Willow Creek community church.

And Susan, you couldn't get this one right because you got it wrong. Like Marshall Keeble told me when I was writing Roll Jordan Roll, "If you don't respect facts ... they will stand up and knock you down every time." You wrote, "Several Tennessee congregations called for a boycott of Jubilee based on the presumption that Max doesn't affirm baptism as a part of the salvation walk." Why of course he does believe in baptism just as do the Baptists. We think you hedged on this one with an obfuscation of calculated words.

Instead, the elders of three great churches of Christ in Nashville independently addressed Jubilee. The Hillsboro elders made it clear, as did the preacher, Marlin Connely, that they do not endorse Jubilee. This was printed in their church bulletin. Have you thought about comparing the Hillsboro church where Batsell Barrett Baxter preached with Finto's "Third Wave" Belmont Church, or Shelly's Willow Creek style Woodmont Hills Family of God?

The Goodlettsville elders published their objections in their church bulletin. The full text of the Lucado radio speech in Lubbock was also printed. There is no reason to garble the meaning of Lucado's published words on baptism. He speaks clearly for himself.

The Crieve Hall elders also made their statement independently of all other churches. The preacher delivered a sermon outlining the false doctrines being preached by the Jubilee change agents. The elders were present for both services to express their unanimous disapproval of Jubilee as an enemy of the churches of Christ.

Turning the Corner on the Jubilee Change Agents

Susan, take notice of this one which should cause Rubel Shelly, Max Lucado, and Joe Beam to gnash their teeth in frustration. Sixty­eight brethren met July 3, 1997, in the Concord Road Church of Christ building to express their unanimous rejection of Nashville Jubilee, Inc., in general, and Rubel Shelly in particular. Three of the most highly profiled preachers in churches of Christ today stood as one in stating their unqualified rejection of Jubilee.

These brethren were William Woodson, Jim Bill McInteer, and a letter from Willard Collins. Of the brethren who spoke, each denounced Jubilee as with one voice. There was no voice in support of Jubilee from any person who was present. There was common agreement that some action should be taken to refute and counter the influence of Jubilee.

Susan, you do not promote the agendas of the change agents which are public and on the table when you fail to address the facts as facts in context. These brethren at Concord Road knew they were crossing the Rubicon. This was not just another meeting, but a historic event.

Susan, you and your ten friends got into town in time to read the Banner and Tennessean who reported the clear and unbiased facts. The Banner opened this barrel of worms July 1 with the headline-"Jubilee Stirs Debate Among Congregations: Conservatives say the speakers aren't telling the truth."

The Tennessean printed their story with a picture of a man in a "praise the Lord" posture. You see the top of my white head to the left of the tall young man standing in front of me. This was an isolated scene. The news photographer appeared as if on cue. The headline read - Jubilee Opens under Cloud of Uncertainty: Event's Future in Doubt.

However, a rumor surfaced that may very well grove to be true. Some unidentified "guardian faerie" has put down a million dollars to insure Jubilee's future. Would he please step forward that we might meet him?

Susan paid special attention to the numerous booths on the Jubilee convention floor. Did she notice that the Gospel Advocate, the 21st Christian Century, and Freed Hardeman University had no displays. Does she want to know why? We know. But did she notice the last issue Image magazine of the Howard Publishing Company display?

Image is soon to be reincarnated in a new rejuvenated Wineskins filled with new mixed and sparkling wines. We can hardly wait for rejuvenated Wineskins to replace the old Wineskins which Doug Foster and Andre Resner shot down in 1992. We are told we make martyrs out of such men by criticizing them. This is not our intention.

Other Considerations

Nine local churches supported Jubilee '97-down from previous years. The numbers indicate the DLU employees who attend these churches, 157 in all. The Otter Creek congregation (22), Madison (4), Antioch (15), West End (7), Donelson (7), Greenridge, Woodmont Hills (33), Brentwood Hills (40), Harpeth Hills (23), and the Hendersonville Community Church of Christ (15). We think that there are serious problems for David Lipscomb University reflected in these numbers.

I counted in Mac Lynn's book 229 churches of Christ with Nashville mailing addresses, and the mailing address of nine big towns within a fifty­mile radius of Nashville. Compare the number of nine Jubilee churches with that great number of churches who have nothing to do with Jubilee.

Our postmodern liberal brethren are beginning to run scared. I have no doubt that the great majority of the churches of Christ out there love the simple gospel. There is no middle ground in the churches of Christ for those who speak half the language of the Jews and half the language of Ashdod.

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Published October 1997