John Waddey Strikes Again

Posted: April 6, 2007 in Doctrine, faith, Living Stones Church, Personal Reflections, vision, worship

In case you don’t know who John Waddey is, I introduced him in an earlier post entitled “I’m in Big Trouble.”  He was the guy out of Arizona that sends out a monthly publication to Acappella Churches of Christ warning them of any change that might be happening (which has got be difficult because there are changes all over the place).  It is a real encouraging monthly piece! (Yes…note the sarcasm).  In January, we actually made his publication as he announced that we had changed our name to Living Stones Church, added instruments to worship, and allow women to participate in worship (all true…so at least he isn’t slandering). 

Years ago, several of our senior members at the Donmoyer Avenue Church of Christ (that is who we used to be…and these individuals are not here now) started to pass around to each other a website called  You can take a look if you want, but it is basically a gossip column that encourages people to contribute to a discussion board of he said/she said stuff and rumors about what “change agent” did to some church or within a church’s leadership meeting.  For a feel, just check out any of the discussion.  I believe is from the pit of hell, and someday God’s judgment will fall on it (and when do I ever talk like this?…seriously…I think Lucifer moderates the discussion).  I remember at the time coming to the realization that in spite of my theology that the cross of Jesus can break down all of our theological differences, etc. and maintain unity (which I’m still attracted to that idea), the truth of the matter is…sometimes our views of God are so different, the purposes of the church are so different, the nature of Scripture is so different, and the spirit of our conductso different that we cannot be in the same house.  If attracts your heart…that behavior and mentality and spirit is what you are drawn to…then you need to go to another church!  (Interesting to me how in spite of clear teaching from Scripture, most leaders are consumed with keeping everyone in the “same house” even if by doing so they kill one another…and the house).  And most who were passing it around did. 

I mention it because that is John Waddey’s stuff.  Some of his stuff can be found on the above website.  So, back to my story.  I got in the mail the other day his next edition of Christianity-then-and-Now.  And…the Living Stones Church wasn’t mentioned.  BUT, he did include in the little publication a tract entitled, “Liberalism in the Church is no Scarecrow.” liberalism-in-the-church.jpg  Isn’t that awesome!?  (I don’t know if we were the only ones to get it or not).  It was all discolored and clearly looked like it came out of the 1970s at the latest.  And as you flipped through it, it was a warning about liberalism in the church(as the title suggests).  But not liberalism in terms of the nature and authority of the Bible, the deity of Jesus, positions on the Trinity, the resurrection of Jesus or his coming in the flesh…no…it was the liberalism of instruments in worship!! 

I know there are sincere people who believe that instruments in worship is wrong and “liberal.”  But here is the deal.  My experience, at least at the Donmoyer Church of Christ has taught me two things:

1.  Younger generations don’t buy the arguments they were given.  Listen, this is very important.  It isn’t that they don’t know the arguments.  They do.  They are just no longer convincing.  The necessary interpretive lens to truly buy that God hates instruments in worshiphas been broken.  That is why younger people are leaving John Waddey type churches in droves.

2.  Even a lot of “older members” who say they agreewith John Waddey…really don’t.  We lost many members in 2003, many of them would have “hit the roof,” “or the fan”, or hit something…maybe even me! if we even discussed having instruments in worship (which in 2003 we weren’t).  But when they left the Donmoyer Church of Christ, most of them went to churches that used instruments!  In the end, it left everyone with the feeling that just “saying” you were opposed to something, didn’t mean you actually were.  The memory of that inconsistency (and there are other words I could use that I won’t out of kindness…it’s just my nature) made it quite easy for us in 2005 to go instrumental with hardly a stir.

I wonder what the church of Jesus would look like if it spent as much time, energy and focus, on connecting the message of Jesus to those who don’t know him rather than printing up these goofy tracts and spending who knows how much on postage to deliver a John Waddey message to churches across the nation?  As for me…send away…but I want nothing to do with the spirit of such publications. 

Here is the bottom line to me in how we read and apply the Bible.  If you are reading the Bible and it is making you meaner…I don’t care if you think you have the right interpretation…you are reading it wrong!  Always check your end interpretation and application with the Spirit of Christ.

  1. ck says:

    Well in general I am in full agreement with this post. The big problem I see with your post is this comment:

    If you are reading the Bible and it is making you meaner…I don’t care if you think you have the right interpretation…you are reading it wrong! Always check your end interpretation and application with the Spirit of Christ.

    Mean is a relative term. What I do may be mean to you, but in reality not be mean at all. Telling people they need Jesus may be mean to many, but as you know we are commanded to do so. So using a measurement like, ‘mean’ you really get into a measurement that is all about perspective.

    I too have seen the dynamic of people leaving churches because of abc to go to a church that also does abc. Very odd to see happen.

  2. Look at for a definition of “mean.” Hardly fits with the “I’m just telling people about Jesus, how can anyone possibly be offended?” idea. Having said that, you can tell people about Jesus and in doing so, be mean. Happens all the time. And while I agree that meanness can be relative, if perception is reality, regardless of our perspective, if we are coming across mean, we’ll need to go back and ask is it inherent in the gospel, or am I just being a jerk?

  3. ck says:

    Remember I said ‘in general I am in full agreement’… don’t be mean 🙂

    We all know their are idiots out there, from the guy who pickets funerals to the website you posted. But the Word is like a double edged sword, it will divide and that division generally leads to one person thinking the other is mean.

    There are just some folks that will never agree with me regarding baptism, some of those folks may think I’m mean about it. So while at times your conclusion is valid, it is not something I live my life by. I’m sure some thought Paul was mean in the New Testament when he opposed Peter to his face.

  4. scmiller says:

    24 years ago, we moved to a new state and community. One of our first priorities was finding a new church family. At that time, we were not aware of the various divisitons with in the Church of Christ/ Christian Church movement and we ended up that first Sunday at a non instrumental Church of Christ. That pitch pipe before the first song was a whole new experience for us! Now the people that day were very friendly and warm to us, but we decided to continue our search because I love to sing and frankly my voice needs all the instrumental support it can get.
    But that experience left me with some curiousity about the issue. I didn’t pursue it for years, but the opportunity came when I learned that one of the leaders I was serving with came from that background. His father is a preacher in the non instrumental movement. So I asked him if he could help me to understand the basis for that practice. He smiled and said it wasn’t so much what the Bible said, but more so what it didn’t say. The book of Acts does not reference any use of the instruments nor is it addressed by the epistles or discussed by Jesus. He went on to say that he had basically been disowned by his family for worshiping in a church that used instruments.

    I also have met several of that group that left Don Moyer because they settled at the church where we were members at the time. I got to know some of them farily well. Nice people and hard workers committed to serving in the church. Unfortunately, I never had the courage to ask why they were now invested at a chiurch that used instruments when it seemed that your decision to add instruments was a major factor in their departure.

    One of the saddest commentarys about the Church of Christ/Christian Church movement is that the founders of the movement had a deep desire to bring unity to Christians, but that movement today has as many divisions as other protestant churches. I think that when our focus drifts from accomplishment of the mission defined by Christ to defending our “perfect understanding of all things doctrinal” we get tangled up in our righteousness instead of reflecting His.

    Keep moving forward Sam. I love your desire to reach people.

  5. Jim says:

    For almost 22 years, Mr. Waddey was my father-in-law. I could tell you volumes about the man…..

  6. Jim says:

    While I don’t agree with the CoC’s doctrine any longer….I grew up in it…I will tell you this: Mr. Waddey is as passionate a man about his beliefs as any I’ve encountered.

  7. Jim…holy schmoly…I bet you do have volumes you could tell. I love your overall assessment and one I would concur with…John Waddey is passionate about his beliefs. Who could deny him that? I wonder if his passion may have clouded his discernment.

  8. Jim says:

    Feel free to e-mail me:

  9. I just discovered your blog after searching for John Waddey. He recently did a hatchet job on my book. Glad I found you and I will be back around.

    Bobby Valentine

  10. Walter Robinson says:

    John Waddey did work at a school of preaching and missions near Knoxville Tennessee. Their graduates normally were high school level, and their direct competition was college graduate ministers. This may help explain the “competition” we see that J.W. has with academia. However, if you read Daniel Sommer’s work from late-1800s and early-1900s, he felt that college degrees took out some of the conviction. So in all this controversy about higher degrees and liberalism, we have these kinds of thoughts. From reading J.W.’s work he has the mind to do academic work, but he has not read in much depth from those works. I think with more reading he might have taken different positions. But many times what we believe goes deeper than just familiarity with other ways of thought–what we believe is rooted deeply into philosophical foundations that we have always had.

  11. Dave says:

    The remedy for ungodliness has never been to return ungodliness. Do your job and let God do the judging.

  12. Bruce Horst says:

    “If you are reading the Bible and it is making you meaner…I don’t care if you think you have the right interpretation…you are reading it wrong! Always check your end interpretation and application with the Spirit of Christ.”

    Very timely words. Thank you very much! Sometimes we Christians fail to see the obvious.

  13. James says:

    You might check John Waddy’s credentials and then your own. Glib comments about a person, who you happen to disagree with, might not be the strongest argument that you possess.
    Do you beleive that it is wrong, not to have instruments in worship? Possibly God now loves instrumental music in worship so that young people can feel confortable. What would you suggest he do next?

  14. James – not sure “credentials” qualifies one for truth (or the Spirit of Christ). Are you making glib comments about me? Seems ironic (but it is a blog…so I give you permission). And no I don’t think it is wrong not to have instruments in worship (man that is a lot of negatives). But I don’t think God only now loves instrumental worship…I think he always has (check your OT)…and he seems to whether “young people feel comfortable” with it or not. For my suggestions as to what He (I’m assuming you mean God) should do next…I’ll leave that up to John Waddey, the ‘highly credentialed’ one to figure out in his counsel with God.

  15. James says:

    Thank you Sam for those kind words. I thought I might be the next John Waddey on your list. Or do you have someone else in mind?

    Not so versed in blog-ology so I appreciate your permission to speak. How do you feel about baptism?

    I will go re-read James:3 before I do any more bloging.
    Anyway, I do appreciate your sense of humor and your dedication to the Lord.

  16. RC says:

    I find it highly interesting that not one of you has quoted a scripture through all of this “talk” about scriptural issues. The book of I Corinthians warns Christians of many faults that are readily found in the Church today. #1 faith in the wisdom of man rather than God (1:18-31), #2 faith in the messenger rather than the message (ch 3), and #3 the danger of spiritual immaturity (the whole book!). When our argument for instrumental music in worship is “the younger generation likes it or doesn’t believe the same thing their fathers did” or “I don’t sing good enough to not have an instrument accompaniment” then I am afraid the same sins that were present at Corinth will be found in our congregations as well. What about the argument “they did it in the Old Testament”. I believe Romans 7:4-6 tells us that we are not under the old law, which condemns us, but rather the new law. Matthew 5:17 tells us that Christ fulfilled the old law. What example do we have then? I have read the entire New Testament, and I see examples and commandments to meet on the first day of the week, to memorialize Christ’s death on the first day of the week, to pray, to lay-by-in-store, and to sing and make melody in our hearts. Of all 27 books, 260 chapters, and 7958 verses I do not read of instruments of music being used in the church. I’m sorry gentlemen, but I will not stake my soul, or the souls of others on something more pleasant or more popular.

    Two things from someone with intimate knowledge:

    Walter Robinson: anyone who knows John Waddey knows that he has read more books & writings and studied more scripture than most any other man you could name. His personal library has contained tens of thousands of works. Men who like to smear others reputations should stick to facts rather than assumptions, because we all know what assuming does. Proverbs 10:16-21, Matthew 5:37, Romans 1:28-30.

    Jim: Before you go telling volumes about your former father-in-law, perhaps you should consider your own sins and short-comings, which I also have personal knowledge of. Matthew 7 speaks directly to that.

  17. Denis Tarko says:

    I believe that brother John Waddey has hit the bull’s eye, what has caused division in the Church of Christ, is the change agent movement. Putting instruments into worship when we do not have the : Thus saith the Lord. Or an example, in the New Testament, is adding to God’s Word. Revelation 22, 18-20 etc. Where is our love to God, to just do it His way, regardless if it suits us or our young people. I would rather go to a small church or have it in my own home, than make one little compromise with the Word of God. Brothers and sisters need to have the love of God and the desire to please Him and not their fancies or themselves, and what they prefer. I believe this change agent mouvement comes from the fact that this generation does not know it’s doctrine like the preceding generation did! Concerning women preaching or in services, I believe that they cannot do that and please God, not because they (the women) are not intelligent or whatever, but because their is no authority, by that I mean, no : Thus saith the Lord, or an example of this pratice in the New Testament. People today have itching ears. My solution is : scratch your ears, and desire to please God and not yourselves. P.S. I am not in total agreement with brother John Waddey, example : his interpretation of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. I prefer the interpretation by Foy E. Wallade, Jr. The Mission and the Medium of the Holy Spirit.

  18. marie willis says:

    If you think you can “love” everyone into to heaven with “stories” and forget about scripture, specifically the gospel–you are sadly mistaken. Don’t be fooled..Jude 17-19, “But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are worldly persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.”
    You are in my prayers.

  19. Marie – I want you to think for just a moment about what you just said. “If you think you can love everyone into heaven…you are sadly mistaken.” Really? Would Jesus think that? Would Jesus say that?!! How in the world do you think you are going to heaven outside of the reality that Jesus’ love is getting you there!!!!!? In regards to “forgetting Scripture” who is forgetting Scripture? I’m pretty sure you know nothing about me. There might be some other passages of Scripture you want to digest for yourself before slapping Jude 17-19 on anyone who might think differently than you.

  20. MACK says:


  21. Jeff Richardson says:

    May we remember the words of Jesus, “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” May I say that my love, regardless of how strong it may be, for my fellow man, will never get anyone to heaven. But my love for Christ will be shown when I obey His will. Love and faith are action words, they must be shown. The greatest love anyone can show another person, is to teach them the ways of Christ. Many will be offended, I say let them be offended. Remember the words of Jesus in Matt 10, “think not that I came to bring peace, but a sword.” He went on to say that households would be seperated, fathers against daughters etc. God’s word will offend many, but we must teach the truth in love.

  22. Dave says:

    Doesn’t matter too much what you say, or how many Scriptures you quote….they will abuse it and call you a change agent. RC, Of all 27 books, 260 chapters, and 7958 verses I do not read of a PA system ever being used to project the voice for song leading. Does that mean a PA system is wrong? No. The instrument does not keep one from singing, therefore it cannot be wrong because singing still happens. and NO….an instrument that accompanies the voice is not an addition, it is ONLY an aid. I have head one story after another that men conjure up to support instrumental music being wrong. A capella is wonderful (I prefer the unaided voice), but when instruments and those that use them to accompany the voice are slandered, then all a cappella worship becomes is an idol and a man made tradition.

  23. BK says:

    It is expedient to us a PA system, so everyone can hear during a worship. It is also expedient to have AC/heat in a church building. God said in the NT(the law that Christians live under today) to sing and make melody in our hearts to the Lord. (Eph. 5:19) . This is the the will of the Lord and how God specifies us to sing. We are not instructed to us an instrument. An instrument that accompanies the singing is adding to how we are told to sing. We do not have the right to add to God’s word (Rev.22:18-19). All examples of Churches in the NT did not have instruments of music. An instrument that accompanys the singing is an addition to God’s will. Acapella worship is not an idol or man made tradition, it is how God instrusted us to sing.

  24. BK says:

    Bottom line is: Men do not want to be under the authority of God and the Bible.

  25. BK – so who gets to decide what is expedient or not? Why are you the final say and authority of expediency? Why isn’t instruments an act of expediency? I don’t think the problem is that men don’t want to be under the authority of God and the Bible (in this issue) – but rather men don’t want to be under the misapplication and ridiculous interpretations of men concerning the authority of God and the Bible.

  26. BK says:

    You are a good example of misapplication and ridiculous interpretations of God’s authority in the Bible. When man’s religion has no Bible authority, then one person’s opinion is as good as another. When Bible authority does not exist, then sin will take control and anything goes. God’s word has authority and we need to respect Bible authority. I will pray for you.

  27. James whitaker says:

    I will always remember Bro . Waddey his frank discussion and love for the Bible. He is deeply missed and look forward to the glad reunion day.

  28. BK says:

    Yes, he is deeply missed and I look forward to that reunion day too! Amen!

  29. Jmes says:

    I have met brother Waddy and I found him to be a loving and caring person. He did tell it like it was. I would like to know how the members of the Dunmoyer Church of Christ felt when their building was taken over?

  30. James says:

    It seems to be the new way to get a church building is, for a progressive leaning group is to take over a church that has a building that is paid for or in good financial condition. Change the name on the building, add instrumental music, add gender inclusive movement, force out the old leadership and move on……Seen it happen first hand….

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