I learned this morning that once again a loving brother in Christ has lumped yours truly in with other Apostates. The New Mexico preacher/elder Al Maxey emails his publication “Reflections” to hundreds of people each week. His studies and articles are well researched and written. Bro’ Al is one of those damned “change agents” who is speaking truth to our beloved church of Christ people and a few of them are not happy.
One of those people who are less than pleased with Al Maxey is a preacher from Alabama, one Caroll Ray Sutton, who has been the preacher at a small church of Christ for about 50 years. He publishes a paper titled “The Instructor”. In the Feb 2013 issue Mr Sutton has this to say:
“When apostates (and other false teachers) like Edward Fudge, Al Maxey, Max Lucado, Leroy Garrett, Rubel Shelly, Randy Harris, Royce Ogle, Jay Guin, Lynn Anderson, etc. contend that there is no pattern in the New Testament for us to follow in order to please God and thus be saved eternally, I am made to wonder how any honest, truth-seeking person would pay any attention to what they have to say” [p. 2].
What an honor to be named with that group of men. Each is far more able than I as teachers, preachers and writers. This is the second time in the past few months that I have been honored to have been mentioned along with some of these good men. What is it that makes men like Mr Sutton so angry and so quick to damn us to hell?
Each of those men named as “apostates” are guilty of the same infraction. Each of those men preach, teach, and write about the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ for the needs of ungodly sinners. They teach that his worth and work is quite enough to reconcile sinners to God. Not one of them teaches that people are saved because of how good they can be but rather because of the goodness of Jesus our Lord. And, each of them, from time to time, point out the false teaching of some in the churches of Christ who teach “another gospel” of good works for salvation. Not one of us teaches against good works but that all good works have their source in our union with Christ by the Holy Spirit and that God plans and produces our good deeds. (Ephesians 2:10, Philippians 2:13) In the end the good news we preach leaves no room for human boasting. Our boasting is about the Lamb of God alone.
I remember the football player and former Congressman J C Watts saying once, “Dogs don’t chase parked cars“. How true! If the gospel we preach does not make religionists angry maybe we should make an adjustment. The good news (gospel) about Jesus is good news for those who receive it and believe it, and bad news for those who reject it and don’t believe it.
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30,31)