Nearly one hundred Church of Christ elders, preachers, teachers, professors, and college administrators are gathering in Dallas this Friday — by special invitation from ACU’s Royce Money only — to discuss and brainstorm, to contemplate and plan, to pray over the future of the Churches of Christ. Obviously, I’m not one of the invited. I wouldn’t make the cut for the top ten thousand. But I do know a few of the people who will be there Friday. And I’m prayerful and hopeful — even excited — for some clear-cut vision and suggestions and direction for our little stream of Christianity.
In advance of that ten-hour session Friday and the subsequent reports and papers and speeches that are sure to follow, I was hoping to get into a similar discussion in this space. The invitation here at KK&C is open to all. No RSVPs or hotel reservations required.
Today, I move from “Changing the Churches of Christ” to “Saving the Churches of Christ,” a slightly more provocative heading inspired by the title of Leroy Garrett’s latest book, “What Must the Church of Christ Do to Be Saved?” Like Garrett, I’m not suggesting in any way that the eternal salvation of those within our Churches of Christ tradition is in jeopardy. Not at all. The concern is with “saving” our Church of Christ heritage — our stream, our tribe, whatever — so that we remain a viable voice for God’s Gospel in our increasingly post-modern, post-denominational, post-Christian world. I think that’s why our most influential brothers and sisters are meeting in Dallas on Friday. They know we need to do something. Something. We need to do something if we are to remain in any way relevant to the larger church and Christianity and Kingdom conversations.
We really do need to change some of the ways we think, some of the things we believe, some of the traditions we practice. We need a deeper understanding of some things. We need a relaxed spirit on some differences we may have. We need a stronger unity on a few essentials. We need to teach some things with more vigor and we need to stop teaching some other things at once.
So, for the next several days in this space, I’d like for us to break down Garrett’s book chapter by chapter. Yeah, I know, we’re not all going to agree with every single sentence or thought. (Good gravy, what book are you reading with which you do concur on every point? Then put that book down immediately!) Let’s engage Garrett with a spirit of unity and brotherly love, with sincere hearts and unblemished motives, with the intent of placing God’s Gospel mission for us ahead of our own comforts. Let’s acknowledge our biases and predispositions, let’s get some of these things out there in the open, and freely discuss in faith and trust how to save this Church of Christ thing we all so dearly love.
We’ll start with Garrett’s first chapter tomorrow.
Meanwhile, be in continual prayer for the group of our brothers and sisters who are meeting in Dallas Friday. May our gracious Father bless them with his holy wisdom and his divine vision. May he guide them. May he protect them. May he open all our hearts and our minds to be receptive to his leading. And may his will be done in the Churches of Christ just as it is in heaven.