May 1, 1986 Issue
by Jerry Cutter
It has been assumed that one reason those of the churches of Christ that have grown the largest have done so is because of their Bible classes and individual cups in communion. Because they are the largest in number, it would seem this is the case. However, this is not true. The reason the cups and class brethren, as they are called, are larger is because of looseness in other areas, such as, worldliness, and lack of respect for the Bible's teaching on a woman having long hair, the manner of dress necessary to be modest, the unscriptural attitude toward war and the right of Christians to kill under some circumstances, and a refusal on the part of their leaders to push regular church attendance, thus allowing for extra communion services, and the continuing to fellowship those who regularly miss worship for vacations, company and other excuses. Thus, the worship is not what makes the difference in the size, but rather this general looseness in every other area.
When some of the cups and classes brethren tightened up in the above areas they discovered just what have said, and that is that the cups and classes are not what have made the difference in the size of the church. The so-called conservative cups and classes brethren in this area are probably no larger in number than those of us who hold to the New Testament pattern. Why? Simply because those so-called conservatives are stricter in many areas dealing with the personal lives of the members than the so-called liberals.
Well, would our liberalizing in the areas mentioned, such as, hair, apparel, war, missing services and worldliness cause us to grow faster? No. When we let up in these Scriptural areas the people simply drift off into other sins, and violate the Scriptures in other areas, or simply stay so weak spiritually that they never help the church at all. Those already in these sins, not involving the worship, have no reason to accept the truth in worship when they will not accept it in other areas of their lives.
What we are seeing today in the church is a part of a continuing cycle. That is, some brethren, many times the majority, will drift off into sin. There is always a group of honest persons caught up in these drifts that one day awaken and say they can go no further. These are the ones that we know of who on a regular basis are coming back to the truth. A goodly portion of those who worship as we do came from error.
One of the reasons we must advertise regularly, and much more than we do for the most part, is to let the honest know where to find the truth. Some are determined enough that nothing could stop them from finding it, but for others it helps to have the light shining to help guide the way.
Matthew 7:13-14 used to be a much quoted verse. It is seldom heard anymore. However, in the passage Jesus said: "Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
Notice that Jesus said STRAIT is the gate that leads to life. The word is not STRAIGHT. It is a way that can be found, and followed, but it will be difficult. It is easier to follow a super highway than a narrow back road, but in the case of heaven, the difficult back way is the only one that leads to the heavenly city of God, to true peace and comfort and happiness.
Many in the church have taken the broad easy way, and love to associate with the brethren that allow any and everything in the name of what is right. It is much better to take the strait and narrow way that leads to life, though it will not be easy or popular.
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