Two or three times a week on Reidsville's WGSR Star 39 television station, a group of local ministers calling themselves the "Church of Christ" do a series of live broadcasts. The shows have various names, but they're all pretty much the same: a show starts, the minister runs some old video of a Baptist or Pentecostal or preacher of some other other denomination that they don't agree with (sometimes it's video of a debate of that night's "Church of Christ" guy hashing it out with another pastor). While the video is running that night's preacher silently stands on the set giving the camera a stern gaze, then he stops the video and begin blasting whoever it is that's on the "hate list" for the evening.
So these "Church of Christ" guys believe that everyone is a hellbound sinner who is not a member of their brand of church. To them, there is no salvation outside of their "Church of Christ".
I guess that's their right to believe that (and to spend thousands of dollars a month to air their views) if they wish. Just like it's my right to believe what I do about salvation, and how it comes by the grace of God after we realize our need for forgiveness. In my Christian philosophy, that's all that we need to do to secure our destiny for eternity. Because anything else is of human effort and always doomed to fail.
If we have faith in Christ, that alone is enough. It's more than enough.
What really bothers me though is when these "Church of Christ" people display so much vitriol and outright hatred toward anyone who they perceive as "following false doctrines". If I were not a believer in Christ, and I were to come across their programming, there's no way that I could be convinced that Christ is real. It would probably just affirm for me that Christ is only something else that's meant to control us. I know better though: that a life in Christ is a free one, liberated from legalism.
But to hear it from these "Church of Christ" guys, a Christian life is about nothing other than legalism. Some of the things I've heard them say in their shows would make the Pharisees of Jesus's time seem even libertarian in comparison.
These local "Church of Christ" people don't even believe that a person can go to Heaven unless they were baptized. I suppose that according to them I'll go to Heaven anyway, because I was baptized (by immersion, in case anyone's wondering) not long after I came to Christ while in college. But it was never something that I did because I thought I had to do it to secure a place in Heaven. It had no supernatural power at all: I just did it because I wanted to publicly identify with my Lord and Savior. That's all it can do. But as it is, the adamant stance about baptism by these "Church of Christ" guys comes perilously close to outright Gnosticism.
Anyway, I've been watching them for awhile, and particularly a dude named Johnny Robertson who seems to be the ringleader. Or at least the most seeker of controversy (he was mentioned on this blog almost two years ago when the Westboro Baptist Church "God Hates Fags" gang came to town). He does a live program every Sunday night called What Does The Bible Say? (click here for show's website). He's also currently running a very ridiculous commercial for his show on WGSR, that you'll see at the beginning of this video.
I don't know if these guys are at all what could be called the "Church of Christ" as most people understand that denomination (knowing full well that Robertson and his brethren will bristle at being called a "denomination"). I've worshipped lots of times in a Church of Christ congregation, and I've never seen the bitterness and rancor that the local "Church of Christ" as represented by its ministers on WGSR every week display toward what seems like everyone imaginable. There were some members of one Church of Christ, in another part of North Carolina, that helped me through a very difficult time some years ago and I'll always be thankful for God putting them there at that moment.
I guess that it's what people like the Reidsville/Martinsville "Church of Christ" are doing every week in lashing out at those they don't like, that's one of the reasons why I'm so honked-off about this, because I do believe that Johnny Robertson and his crew are giving the sincere Church of Christ members a very bad name.
Well, for the past few weeks I had been feeling compelled to call up Robertson during his show, and ask him a question. One simple question, that I would have really enjoyed having an answer for. And it so happened that Easter night is what moved me to pick up the phone and take action.
I wanted to ask him: "How is what you guys are doing giving glory to Christ?"
So how did he respond? Here's the video ...
As you can see, Robertson could not answer such a simple question. He instead tries to gauge that I'm not a real Christian because I'm not a tough-enough opponent of "false doctrines" and then he tells me to "go listen to Benny Hinn".
I've thought for awhile now that where Robertson and his bunch go wrong is that they refuse to see following Jesus Christ as anything but an act of corporate worship. As much as they fixate on the Baptists, the Pentecostals, attacking pastors of various denominations etc., I don't know if worshiping Christ as an act of the individual fits into their theology at all. He attacked me without knowing anything about me, assuming that I was "denominational". I've never professed to being any denomination. Oh sure, I've worshiped in various churches during my life, but not once have I called myself a "Baptist" or "Methodist".
Can't I just be a follower of Christ? Can't anybody? Not according to these "Church of Christ" people in Reidsville and Martinsville.
It's the classic case of becoming so obsessed with the enemy, that a person becomes the enemy. Robertson and his "Church of Christ" gang have so defined themselves by how they are not a "denomination", that they have not only become a denomination but they have become everything that is possibly wrong with a denomination. More than one person has even told me that they aren't anything but a bona-fide cult. I'm hard-pressed to disagree, unfortunately...
So Mr. Robertson, if you ever read this, I was wondering if you could please tell me: How is what you guys are doing serving and giving devotion to Christ, and showing His love toward others?
That's what this hinges on the most: where is the love in what you are doing?
Because if this is just a thing about works, without the real love toward others, then what you are doing is already a dead thing that God cannot possibly bless.
(For more perspective on the "Church of Christ" as represented on WGSR, check this blog out.)