Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are asking serious questions.
Some are confused and others have been misled. Some want a faith
of their own rather than that of their parents.
"Why are the community churches growing with large crowds
at services? Why are churches of Christ on the decline when it
was one of the fastest growing religious bodies in the United
States in the fifties?"
The church is on the decline in some areas but other places are
experiencing growth. The growth in the fifties was not caused
by hype and emotional methods of today, but rather by zealous
evangelism based on sound Bible teaching. Today some in the church
are no longer committed to preaching the word but proclaim a watered
down gospel. Such lukewarmness has resulted in less evangelism
Having large crowds does not mean God's approval necessarily.
Billy Graham had multiplied thousands to attend his campaigns
but he did not teach the full truth. It is true that some religious
people are more zealous for error than we have been at times in
teaching the truth.
The Muslim (Islam) religion is the fastest growing faith in the
world including the United States. If we are
to follow the big crowd we should convert to Islam. Other world
religions are large but that does not prove we should convert
Why are some flocking to the "big crowd" denominations?
Freedom to believe anything one may choose; acceptance of casual
dress in this age of informality; desire to have contemporary
music and "gospel songs"; following a dynamic preacher;
belief that the Holy Spirit is giving special empowerment; desire
to become unshackled from traditionalism; stress on "relationships"
and a deemphasis on "doctrine"; to be liberated
and to have a liberal and tolerant view of others beliefs and
lifestyles; homosexuals; sincerity is enough; any name, faith,
baptism or worship is condoned.
It would be great to see the whole world saved, but Jesus said
only a "few" will submit to him, (Matt. 7:1314;
21). We are reminded that Noah was not in the majority.
The Holy Spirit
"Does the Holy Spirit empower a Christian in a special way?
Is one energized by the Spirit? Does one "feel" the
Spirit coming over one to give special guidance?"
The Holy Spirit dwells in a Christian in the same way as does
the Father and the Son. Providentially the three work in the lives
of Christians but not in a miraculous fashion. Any "feeling"
or emotion one experiences cannot be attributed to a touch by
the Holy Spirit.
The Bible given through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is
our guide and pattern on right living and proper worship. It is
erroneous to think the Spirit will lead us to practice or believe
anything which contradicts the Bible. If the Spirit must reveal
in some miraculous way what we must do, then the Bible is, therefore,
inadequate and insufficient as our guide.
Also, if the Spirit gives special empowerment to one Christian,
then he should do this for all Christians. If not, he is a respecter
It is noteworthy that numerous religious leaders, preachers and
disciples claim the Holy Spirit and his influence on what they
say and do. However, one observes how contradictory their teachings
are-all claiming the revelation of the Holy Spirit. This is unreasonable.
The Holy Spirit is not the Word or the Bible and
the Word is not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not direct
a person to practice or believe anything that is opposite of that
he caused to be written in the Bible.
The direct operation or impact of the Holy Spirit on the human
heart is an old doctrine. It is one of the major points of Calvinism
and it has been espoused by most denominations. Today there are
untaught members of the church who have accepted it. They sing
songs supporting this false view.
"Tradition is holding back the church. We need to change
to hold the baby boomers."
As long as the basics of the Bible are not changed, then matters
of opinion can be changed according to what is best for most people.
Kneeling for prayer, meeting in rented facilities, singing without
song books and such like do not change the basics of the Bible.
However, it would be wrong to require or forbid such procedures
for they are in the realm of opinion.
Most congregations could improve their regular worship. However,
a Christian attends to worship God and the focus is not on himself.
Worship must be more than what I "feel" and what I "get
out of it."
"Instrumental music in worship is not preferred but if used,
it is not sinful. What is wrong with this position?"
This view places its use in the realm of opinion. If this is true,
then the conclusion would be valid. However, the weight of evidence
is in favor of its being a matter of faith and must not be used.
It is significant that Christ, the apostles, the New Testament
church never taught it or used it. Furthermore, for hundreds of
years religious leader of various faiths opposed its use. Churches
of Christ do as the Bible says, "sing" (Eph. 5:19) and
should not be criticized for it.
To say this issue is insignificant in comparison to the Cross
is to ignore God's plan for acceptable worship John 4:24). The
Cross is crucial but so is worship and every other teaching of
If instrumental music is not sinful, neither would be adding jelly
on the bread in the Lord's Supper, nor sprinkling babies and burning
incense. The Bible tells what is to be practiced. God says sing
and this positive command excludes other kinds of music just as
the command to immerse excludes sprinkling.