At some point in the last 150 years, we placed ourselves under a curse. It happened slowly and innocently, not suddenly and dramatically. When? The moment we concluded that conformity to prevailing religious emphases verifies true conversion.

It is the concept of spiritual cloning. "Conversion to Christ manifests itself in identical ways in every person. Genuinely converted people think alike, reason alike, reach identical conclusions, have identical emphases, conform to identical standards, and defend identical convictions with identical reasoning."

James and John (the sons of thunder) were very unlike cocky, confident Peter, but God used all of them. Matthew the tax collector and Simon the Zealot came from groups whose thinking and actions were totally opposite, but God used both of them. Nicodemus and the Samaritan divorcee came from different spiritual universes, but God used both of them. Barnabas, the son of exhortation, radically differed from Paul, the converted persecutor, but God used both of them. The discouraged John Mark and the uncircumcised Titus were quite different from all the above, but God used them too. Jews and idol worshippers who were converted to Christ shared nothing in common, but God used them both.

The "people diversity" of the early church is staggering. Only one thing allowed God to use these diverse Christians for His purposes: their living faith in Christ.

Some have asked me, "What do you think the congregation will decide about the building? About the screening committee? About additional elders?" My honest answer: I haven't the slightest idea. These are your choices, not mine.

"What do you see in all this?" I see incredible opportunity. "For facilities? worship? leadership? growth potential?" Certainly, I see those opportunities, and each has more potential than we grasp. But none of them are the incredible opportunity that I see. Whatever you decide, what an opportunity! For what? For us to grow in Christ's spirit, for us to destroy old walls, for us to live in the present instead of the past, for us as a congregation to pursue Christ's total objectives instead of our own preferences.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 5 April 1998

 Link to next article

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell