The Edifier

West Allen Church of Christ

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In The Grip of "INIQUITY"

C. Boyd Jennings

An article recently appeared in the Dallas Morning News (11-21-98) entitled, "The Grip Of Grace," with a sub-heading, "Lucado puts new face On Churches of Christ." Indeed, Max Lucado, who has written a book of the same title, has put a "new face" on churches of Christ a face that is totally out of harmony with New Testament teaching.

We are fully aware that Max is receiving "rave reviews" for his books. We are not suggesting that he is a poor author or that he has nothing good to say. We are simply affirming that he is inaccurate in his presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul once wrote, "I am set for the defense of the gospel" (Ph 1:16), and we believe that if we are to be true to Christ we must have enough conviction to defend the gospel whenever it is perverted or distorted in some way.

Paul warned of a time when men and women would prefer fables to the teaching of God's word (2 Tim 4:3-4). Many authors, radio and TV personalities have capitalized on this truth. The Bible and religion, for many, has become a means of profit and recognition. What's worse is that it seems so many people see nothing wrong with using the things of God for that purpose.

According to a thesaurus, a "fable" is synonymous with a "story, legend, allegory, myth, parable and tale." If you will thumb through one of the books of the author mentioned above you will notice that it more closely resembles a fable than it does an explanation of truth.

Someone may ask, "Well, didn't Jesus tell stories to illustrate Truth?" Yes He did, but keep in mind His stories are the Truth because He is the Truth (Jn 14:6). Furthermore, Jesus did not profit financially from His parables. In fact, when the Jews tried to profit from religious service, Jesus took out after them with a whip (cf. Jn 2;).

Numerous, well-documented cases exist that illustrate the stark contrast between the teaching of Max Lucado and most churches of Christ. For example, he tells people that all they need do to be saved is to say, "Father, receive me as your child." Repentance and baptism are not stated by him as prerequisites to obeying the gospel and to salvation as they are by Jesus, Peter and Paul (cf. Mk 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 2 Thess 1:8-9).

Furthermore, he suggests it is not important whether baptism is administered by sprinkling, pouring or immersion. While the Bible is clear that the proper mode of baptism is a complete burial in water (cf. Matt 3:16; Acts 8:38-39; Rom 6:3-4). The fact that instrumental music in worship to God has no apostolic precedent is of no consequence to him (cf. Jn 4:23-24; Eph 5:19; Col 3:16), nor the support and development of differing religious denominations (cf. Jn 17:21; 1 Cor 1:10).

Mr. Lucado believes that churches of Christ are the fruit of a restoration movement that began early last century. While it is true that such a movement occurred, the aim of which was to plead with people to give up their human-formulated creeds, the church of Christ predates the "restoration movement" by 1800 years. It began on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, in the city of Jerusalem, as prophesied (Isa 2; Dan 2). The book of Acts and chapter 2 records its illustrious beginning.

Paul warned the Ephesian elders and Titus "savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock teaching things which they aught not, for the sake of dishonest gain" (Acts 20:29; Titus 1:11). Based on these warnings and the evidence above, a faithful child of God will not align himself with such a man as Mr. Lucado. To support or encourage his labor in any way is to be a partaker in his evil misrepresentation of the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9-11).

In the words of the Holy Spirit, "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light" (Ep 5:11, 13).

The words of Jesus Christ and His apostles shine like a floodlight of truth exposing the error of Max Lucado and those like him (C.f. Jn 8:12, 31-32, 42-47). He speaks of the "Grip Of Grace" in his book, but his doctrinal stance shows him to be in the "Grip Of Iniquity."