No They Don't - Yes They Do
A few congregations once associated with the Churches of Christ have abandoned their former association. Churches like The Hills in Ft. Worth and Oak Hills in San Antonio have added instrumental music to their worship, have shifted to the pastor system, have started using women in spiritual leadership positions, have become the lead campus of a multi-congregational mini-denomination, have jettisoned all interest in being undenominational, and have abandoned the truth about grace. In so doing, these and a few other congregations are embodying the complete Liberal/Progressive agenda.
"No They Don't!" shout their defenders, but the facts whisper otherwise.
In 2007, Texas Monthly magazine (TM) published a story about Oak Hills ("Oak Hills Church," Texas Monthly, October 7, 2007). TM assigned one of their staff writers to attend the services of the Oak Hill Church, interview members and leaders, and write a description of what goes on there. This bulletin article quotes directly from that TM article. Note: the TM article describes activities at Oak Hills in 2007, ten years ago.
Yes They Do
- "San Antonio's Oak Hills Church, by lineage a Church of Christ, has moved sufficiently far from its roots to have dropped the name." Please do not try to tell me that the deletion of the name of Christ is a good thing.
- Oak Hills had "two other...auxiliary locations" in 2007. Now, according to their website, they have six additional locations. Even denominational writers describe this trend of megachurches creating "campuses" as creating other denominations.
- Oak Hills has "a choir and a band! With guitars and drums!" The TM article observes that "substantial numbers of (Oak Hill) members left" as a result of the shift to instrumental music in worship. The Hills in Ft. Worth advertises itself as the largest congregation associated with the Churches of Christ that incorporates instrumental music in their worship (Dallas Morning News, Christian Chronicle) - and they, too, lost about 200 members when they made the shift. Please do not try to tell me that adding instrumental music to worship is all about peace and unity.
- "At Oak Hills, women hold some official ministry positions, lead worship, and address the congregation." Even as they added instrumental music to their worship some years back, The Hills in Ft. Worth said that they would never change in regard to women in church leadership. Check their web page now.
- Since 2003, Oak Hills "prefers to be known as a Community Church."
- Max Lucado has heartily embraced his popular description as "America's Pastor." Rick Atchley at The Hills has been complimented for training young preachers in how to be "Pastors."
- The message at Oak Hill is described in the TM article as being an "assertion of radical grace." Radical grace, also called hyper-grace, "takes the verses about God’s mercy and forgiveness out of context in order to teach that we mustn’t worry about sinning." Hotly rejected by Southern Baptists and other mainline Protestant groups - even they see through it - radical grace is being taught by these groups formerly associated with the Churches of Christ. As one denominational writer remarked, "Grace is sufficient, so we have no need of radical grace."
No They Don't
Still, defenders of The Hills and Oak Hills say, "No They Don't!" We are assured that The Hills is not that bad. We are told that we just do not understand Oak Hills. But facts are facts - but we are even told that we are haters because we point out the facts.
Conclusion: Let's Treat It Like A Business
Imagine two business partners coming to the end of their ways. What if one says that he no longer wants to do business under the old name? What if he also says that he is no longer willing to do business as business was once done? What if he abandons the old business model for a radical new model? What if establishes a completely different business compete with different franchise locations?
Who left whom?