Bring Them In – To What?
J. David Lawrence
In the church of our Lord today we find a concentrated effort to enlarge the kingdom numerically. This is indeed good, and we commend the efforts of those who faithfully proclaim the gospel to save souls. Yet there is an element which appears to us most unsavory. This is the aiming at sheer numbers with neglect to the spiritual, and thereby the arrangement which God has provided. We hear of vast promotional schemes, of millions of dollars spent to make the church (?) known in the world. Churches of Christ are entering the secular education business the, entertainment business, the welfare business in order to bring souls into the church. This sort of action has results. We are told of the churches growing by leaps and bounds. Meeting houses are built and furnished at the cost of millions of dollars. Results, yes; but at what cost!
It would appear that brethren never profit by the lessons of history. We are reminded of the fact that in the early days of the church, when Christians were suffering under heavy persecution, the faith was exactingly kept. Christianity was pure. Worship was conducted in spirit and truth, and lives of the saints were lived in moral excellence. The doctrine was strictly that which was revealed in the New Testament by inspired men.
Then, in the fourth century the Roman emperor, Constantine, was "converted to Christianity." The religion suddenly became popular in the world. Thousands flocked to it, but bringing with them their deeply ingrained pagan customs and beliefs. Just as suddenly, Christianity began to decline. Morals receded. The worship was corrupted. The doctrine evolved to the teachings of men. The way was paved for the establishment of the Catholic Church a few hundred years hence.
Today in the process of the various church enterprises and promotional schemes, principles governing the operation of the church have been neglected and abandoned. The abandonment of one principle leads to the abandonment of another. Spiritual decay spreads fast. When we bring our vast numbers in, to what do we bring them in? A decadent church, an institution no longer recognized by God? Why teach a man the truth if it leads him to membership in an organization operating according to the dictates of men? Bring them in, yes indeed! But bring them in to the church founded upon Jesus Christ as He is revealed by His apostles; the church based soundly upon the teaching of the Word of God Almighty!