Tuesday, January 01, 2008



"Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them" (Rom. 16:17).

In the following article, I name the name of a false teacher. His name is Jeff Walling. I do not mention his name lightly. He was invited to speak in chapel at Oklahoma Christian University where two of my children attend. I'm aware of the doctrinal errors of this man and his address to my son and daughter is personal. I do not hate him, but I believe he is dangerous to the truth. So for the sake of answering his public address to my children and for the benefit of any parents who were not aware of the meeting, I publicly voice my concern over this false teacher being permitted to address the chapel. Chapel is to be a place of reverent worship to God where sound doctrine is heard.

I have observed that there are two kinds of people in the world: there are Givers and Takers.* This is true in the Church. Some build with "gold, silver, and precious stones" while others build with "wood, hay, and straw". Givers produce and create things that last. Whether we are talking about the Lord's church, a Christian College, or a secular institution like the Boy Scouts. Givers sacrifice their hard work and money to leave things better than they found them. Their bank account of moral and spiritual assets provides a solid foundation for the next generation to build on. They are like good parents who have a vision for their children and by hard work they leave a lasting legacy. But Takers tear down. Takers arrive on the scene by stealth and steal from the labor of others. They have a different vision. They fancy themselves as agents of change. Even in their questionings, their motive is to break down tried and true institutions (1 Tim. 6:4). They make changes in the church by loosing where the Scriptures have bound, and with emotional appeals they distort the truth. They are more style than substance. The bulk of their followers are naive and inexperienced or they are lovers of pleasure. By the use of charismatic stories, the youths in chapel are deceived and led astray by them. These Takers are change agents who infiltrate and harm the church.

What is a "change agent". The term used in business is a person whose job it is to bring about management or systems changes and bring efficiency or profitability to an organization. A change agent is going to shake things up. There are people who work in religious circles who fashion themselves to be change agents. On it's surface it would seem that any church could stand to have someone come in to motivate and inspire the congregation to grow. A non-growing church could make changes, without changing the Word of God, and God could bring the increase. But the unpleasant reality is that often times the growth accomplished by change agents comes through relaxing God's rules for membership into His Church. This is done to broaden the appeal to non-members, many of whom have no intention of turning from living in sin. Just one example is Mark Henderson's introduction of instruments at Quail Springs in order to appeal to non-members (in Henderson's own words an Oklahoman article). Jeff Walling is another example of a change agent. The voice of the change agent is a voice of ease and compromise.

Faithful Christians fight the good fight of faith. They build the church upon the foundation of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Paul said, "each man must be careful how he builds on it" (1 Cor. 3:10). Thus they diligently teach and preach the principles laid out in the Scriptures (1 Tim. 4:13,16). They carefully and lovingly speak the truth so that hearts are convicted to repent and turn to God (Eph. 4:15). Because they revere the Word of God, they do not add or take away from it (1 Cor. 4:6). Because God said it, that's good enough for them. And if God didn't say it or permit it, the faithful Christian is not presumptuous to approve the silly argument that something is OK because God didn't say you couldn't.."Because God didn't explicitly say you couldn't" doesn't make it acceptable. A study of Scripture may show that God, in fact, has implicitly "said you couldn't." But these change agents have a very different spirit that has alienated them from faithful churches. They do not apply normal rules of hermeneutics when deciding who is a Christian and what is acceptable worship. Jeff Walling does not only frequent the Christian Colleges that purport to provide a Biblical spiritual environment, but his posted schedules (see his web-site) indicate that he very often is speaking to denominational colleges and denominational churches: people he calls "Brethren". So why does the Oklahoma Christian University open the chapel lectern to someone who has gone astray?

"For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting." (Rom. 16:18)

Jeff Walling is a favorite guest of Oklahoma Christian University, a school that is associated with the non-instrumental churches of Christ. Mr. Walling, however, sees no problem with worshiping with instruments. He fellowships with denominations (read the Christian Chronicle article where Jeff Walling trades Bibles with the Christian Church preacher and encourages fellowship because no one is perfect). For this reason, Jeff Walling and others like him pose a danger to our sons and daughters. His chapel visit (according to my children) was well-received by the other students, many of whom are not Christians or do not have a church of Christ background. According to one student who was present, Walling related how as a young man he had a very narrow view of which was the right church. He implied that the church of Christ, the church of his early years, is narrow-minded. But Walling has since grown and matured to understand that it isn't about how much you know: faith is what matters (this was his message). His implication to the sons and daughters in chapel was that the churches who are opposed to fellowshiping with the unbaptized, and worshiping with instruments, have not grown and matured as he has.

Jeff Walling has built a following for himself, but he has not built the church. If he were a spokesman for God, he would be calling for the young people to commit their lives to Christ by repenting and turning from sin, and being Baptized for the remission of sins. If he was God's spokesman, he would not be encouraging young people to worship vainly which his tacit approval of instruments does. Instead of this, Walling left the impression in chapel that the members and non-members of the church were acceptable to God just as they are. He offered "faith alone", feel good religion that should disqualify him from addressing our children in the Christian University chapel setting.

Parents need to know who is indoctrinating their children. Jeff Walling's followers are more and more found among the Christian Colleges. They don't seem to understand or care that he is not interested building the church or restoring the New Testament pattern for worship. Walling and others are out to influence our children to turn from the truth in favor of their own blueprint for worship. Mr. Walling should not be welcome to speak to our children on spiritual things. He sure isn't welcome in our home congregations. But in the Christian College setting, or at the summer youth rallies, his kind are welcomed with fanfare and praise. Parents need to know if they are paying the bill for their children to be misled. Parents need to know about the false teaching, clapping, and dancing (yes, that too is happening in chapel and is tolerated) that is going on in the chapel worship. The daily chapel at the Christian Colleges ought to be the last place where false teachers are invited to speak. Sadly, that is not the case.

What can parents and church leaders do?
First and foremost, equip the kids before they leave home. They need to be good judges of character. They should know the difference between a performer who is trained in theatrics and a true spokesman of God. Jeff Walling is not sought after because of his sound Biblical exposition, but because of the stage show performance he gives. Regardless of the theological slant of the school, it's important that our children be grounded in the truth before they leave for college. The responsibility is not all on the colleges. Our kids should learn that the church is not a denomination. They need to know that there is one true church which Jesus purchased with His blood (Acts 20:28). They need to care that their denominational friends are not washed in the blood of Christ until they are baptized. They need to know that Baptism is the first introduction into God's saving grace. They need to care that their unbaptized friends are lost. They should be equipped to teach them to obey the Gospel and be saved (Mk. 16:15,16). They need to know that instruments in worship are not true worship. They need to appreciate that worship is about God, not them. They need to understand that silence does not mean authorization. If God didn't say you couldn't, it means He also didn't say you could. And complain. Parents should complain to the schools. If parents would call and warn the school not to invite Jeff Walling to chapel, things would change.

Everything about the Christian college is not bad.
I think My kids are getting a good education at the Christian College they attend. And there are a lot of good kids there. There are a lot of positives I could say. My children have reported to me that, for the most part, the Bible department and the teachers are sound. And I don't mean to indict everyone in the administration. I have no doubt that some would confirm that there is a problem. But the undercurrent of liberalism is the threat our children face at the University. This liberalism is apparent in the organized devos and in the regular stream of liberal speakers in chapel. This is my concern as a parent of children in Christian College. But the University that regularly invites a false teacher to speak about spiritual things in chapel does not share my concern.
*After making this observation, some weeks later I heard of a book by written by Peter schweizer, titled "Makers and Takers: Why conservatives work harder, feel happier, have closer families, take fewer drugs, give more generously, value honesty more, are less materialistic and even hug their children more." That's a long title, an it is intriguing.

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