Somewhere, once upon a time, a conservative, sound group of brethren decided that they had outgrown the need to meet in homes as the Bible-time brethren did. It is difficult to have weddings and funerals in homes. And after all, if we are expected to assemble - this necessarily implies a "place" to assemble. Can anyone fault this? Is a building not implied? So they bought a lot and put up a building. Now, what's a church building without a spire? A church building must necessarily have the amenities to meet human needs - rest rooms - water fountains. Can anyone argue with this? Classrooms? Of course -the command to teach. Preacher offices, absolutely. Computers, telephones, printers, microwaves, (it's alright for preachers to eat in their offices) and coffee pots are all necessary means to an end. A utility budget, a custodial budget, a maintenance budget, and an insurance budget were all established. Finally, enough money had been committed that the interest alone from it would support a full-time evangelist for a lifetime. But, don't be alarmed. It was necessarily implied. Does this sound familiar, brethren?
These things, strangely enough, are not the focal point of this article. What is the point then, brother? Get to the point!
The point is this: We do all of these things in the name of implied (in the name of Jesus) authority. And, if any Congregation goes beyond this line -kitchens, and etc., they are lost. Please don't even try to deny that this has been a part of the conservative, sound church of Christ creed since the big split back in the 50's and 60's. I speak the truth on this.
Brother, I hope that I am making myself clear on this point. It is not the liberties we have taken that I am calling in question. It is the judgmental attitude that I am attacking with every ounce of energy I can muster. Jesus said, "Judge not lest ye be judged". That is, condemned by your own words, if I understand it correctly. Brethren, we should cringe in fear if we can remember walking out in righteous indignation and refusing to eat the Lord's Supper with brethren because we saw a refrigerator in their basement. Even more - so, we should cringe if we can remember announcing that our "liberal" brethren are lost. In whose eye is the mote? In whose eye is the beam? Will the liberties we have taken rise up to condemn us in the judgement?
I can only hope that God will extend His mercy to cover us for the liberties we have taken in the name of "implied authority." But, in the judging of our brethren for taking the same liberties, I can find no reassurance.
How far has "implied authority" taken us? In whose eye is the mote? In whose eye is the beam? Brethren, let us be careful who we condemn to hell. "Judge not lest ye be judged."