This is an area where I’m very cognizant of my own shortcomings and feel ashamed. Over the years I have spent considerable more time studying and writing to resolve brotherhood problems than preaching the gospel. At times I have rationalized my course on the basis of what Jesus said in John 17:21 that conversion of the world was contingent upon being one. I’ve wondered how things might have been different had I devoted that energy and time to preaching the gospel. Nevertheless I can’t change the past and I’m thankful for a gracious God who I now will treat me mercifully even if I took the wrong approach or course.
This lack of emphasis in the Churches of Christ is tied to the very problems to which I above alluded. For the most part our energy, money, and time are spent “oiling” the machinery of our party. “Gospel Meetings” aren’t really gospel meetings. They are meeting to control and encourage the brotherhood in maintaining and sustaining the unwritten creed of the party. We aren’t reaching the lost as you can tell from Field Reports in the Old Path Advocate. The reports more often tell of “preachers” in attendance with the accompanying reference to conversions, “no visible results.” Usually those baptized are family of some of the members of the local congregation and those are becoming fewer and fewer in terms or our children.
I’m not opposed to meetings to edify and encourage and teach brethren, but let’s call them that and let them not be to control thought and propagandize and “threaten” brethren relative to the party platforms. Let brethren listen and learn, question and study and think as free persons in Christ, and not out of fear of reprisal.
In my opinion, the bottom line as to why the one cup Church of Christ has not put more emphasis on seeking and saving the lost is because of the party spirit. The emphasis has been upon promoting and maintaining the party with considerable of that emphasis being the castigating of those in other parties in the Churches of Christ with the intention of proselyting them.