Category Archives: Church of Christ Myths
SOURCE: Answer: Which church—that is, which denomination of Christianity—is the “true church”? Which church is the one that God loves and cherishes and died for? Which church is His bride? The answer is that no visible church or denomination is the true church, because the bride of Christ is not an institution, but is instead a spiritual entity made up of those who have by grace through faith been brought into a close, intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9). Those people, no matter which building, denomination, or country they happen to be in, constitute the true church.
In the Bible, we see that the local (or visible) church is nothing more than a gathering of professing believers. In Paul’s letters, the word church is used in two different ways. There are many examples of the word church being used to simply refer to a group of professing believers who meet together on a regular basis (1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Corinthians 8:1; 11:28). We see Paul’s concern, in his letters, for the individual churches in various cities along his missionary journey. But he also refers to a church that is invisible—a spiritual entity that has close fellowship with Christ, as close as a bride to her husband (Ephesians 5:25, 32), and of which He is the spiritual head (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 3:21). This church is made up of an unnamed, unspecified group of individuals (Philippians 3:6;1Timothy 3:5) that have Christ in common.
The word church is a translation of the Greek word ekklesia, meaning “a called–out assembly.” The word describes a group of people who have been called out of the world and set apart for the Lord, and it is always used, in its singular form, to describe a universal group of people who know Christ. The word ekklesia, when pluralized, is used to describe groups of believers who meet together. Interestingly enough, the word church is never used in the Bible to describe a building or organization.
It is easy to get ensnared by the idea that a particular denomination within Christianity is “the true church,” but this view is a misunderstanding of Scripture. When choosing a church to attend, it is important to remember that a gathering of believers should be a place where those who belong to the true church (the spiritual entity) feel at home. That is to say, a good local church will uphold the Word of God, honoring it and preaching faithfully, proclaim the gospel steadfastly, and feed and tend the sheep. A church that teaches heresy or engages in sin will eventually be very low on (or entirely bereft of) those people that belong to the true church—the sheep who hear the voice of the Shepherd and follow Him (John 10:27).
Members of the true church always enjoy agreement in and fellowship around Jesus Christ, as He is plainly revealed in His Word. This is what is referred to as Christian unity. Another common mistake is to believe that Christian unity is just a matter of agreeing with one another. Simple agreement for the sake of agreement does not speak the truth in love or spur one another on to unity in Christ; rather, it encourages believers to refrain from speaking difficult truths. It sacrifices true understanding of God in favor of a false unity based on disingenuous love that is nothing more than selfish tolerance of sin in oneself and others.
The true church is the bride of Christ (Revelation 21:2, 9; 22:17) and the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12; 1 Corinthians 12:27). It cannot be contained, walled in, or defined by anything other than its love for Christ and its dedication to Him. The true church is, as C. S. Lewis put it, “spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners.”
SOURCE: One brother put it rightly when he wrote: “They (the Campbellites) have been quarreling over a name for their baby ever since it was born.”
They have called themselves “Reformers,” “Restorationalists,” Disciples of Christ,” “Christians,” “Christian Church,” “Church of Christ,” and even a few other titles. Barton W. Stone contended for the name “Christian,” while Alexander Campbell thought “Disciples” was better.
Apparently there was quite a bit of “heat” between Campbell and Stone on this point.
The matter of having the correct name is still an important issue in the Churches of Christ and many do not believe that one can be saved unless he wears the right name. Some will even go so far as to say that “The” must not even be attached to “Church of Christ” while others will not even allow any additional items to be added which would identify its locality.
For example, ”Main Street Church of Christ” would be considered wrong.
Of course, not all Campbellites believe alike on these foregoing restrictions, but all of them are concerned about the name they wear. And often they will cite some verses in the Bible which they believe teach the wearing of a “correct” name.
Here, we will take a look at of some of those passages that are often used.
Matthew 16:18: “… and on this rock I will build My church.”
Campbellites reason from this verse that since Christ said “My church,” it must have been named after Jesus Christ.
However, you will notice that there is no name given in the verse and there is no command to wear a name in the verse. When we read “My church” it simply tells us whose church it is.
One may say “I will build by fence,” but does these mean he will place a name on the fence which reads, “The Fence of Mr. Jones”?
Someone may build and own a fence, but it does not mean that the person will provide a name for his fence.
Acts 4:12: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Question: Does this verse command us to hang out a name over the church building?
If so, what is that name?
SOURCE: THE BAPTISMS OF THE BIBLE
The Baptism of John– Repentance
The Baptism of Jesus– Anointing, begins ministry of prophet and priesthood
The Baptism of Fire– Purifying or judgment
The Baptism of Moses– Deliverance of the nation Israel
The Baptism of the Cross (or Cup)- The suffering of death for our sins
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit– Being saved and put in the body of Christ also for service.
The Believers Baptism– Identification with Christ by water baptism.
Baptism is to identify with a person, a group of people or the message.
The Baptism of John – Matt. 3:6-11.(repentance)
The water was symbolic of the Kingdom of God which John was preaching. When a person was baptized by John, he was identification with the coming Messiah and his kingdom. The new believer was “identified” with Johns message of repentance, they then became part of the believing remnant, it was the person who was the messiah they were looking forward to.
To be baptized by John was a spiritual identification a visible sign of their repentance ,Johns proclamation was the coming “Kingdom of God” and to prepare oneself by repenting to prepare their heart.
Acts 13: 24: “Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel.”
All the apostles except one were baptized by John and following his ministry. (the exception is Paul who saw the risen Christ) Acts 1: 21 “Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
The Baptism of Jesus
Jesus was baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist, and began his ministry after he was consecrated Luke 3: 21
Acts 10:38 tells us that He was anointed with the Holy Spirit. As a human, He was in submission to God to fulfill all righteousness and was anointed for His ministry like all priests.. He received a special anointing of the Holy Spirit for His public mission. ( Acts 10:38 ). Jesus was divinely consecrated for the work of redemption, being an eternal priest from the order of Melchizedek. In Matt. 3:15, Jesus tells us that His baptism was ‘to fulfill all righteousness.” The basic action of baptism is identification, so Jesus identified with righteousness in obedience to the Mosaic Law. The Levitical Law required that all priests were to be consecrated when they began their ministry at about 30 years of age). He being a man needed, to be anointed like the prophets of old. He Identified with the believing remnant and also with sinners even though he was not one also with mankind (sinners even though he was not one) (1 Cor. 5:21; Matt.3:11 ).
Remember he was introduced as the lamb to take away the sins of the world. This was a unique baptism because it had nothing to do salvation but a submission to the will of God. He Identified himself with the preaching of the Kingdom and repentance by John the Baptizer. ( Matt. 3:1-2 ) Jesus identified with righteousness in obedience to the Mosaic Law, to fulfill all righteousness.
The Baptism of Fire
There are two views on what the baptism of fire means: There is a judgment coming at the 2nd Coming of Christ when all nonbelievers are taken from the earth. Jesus taught several parables in reference to the end of time when believers and unbelievers will be separated Mt.25 the sheep from the goats. They will join the unbelievers from all time in hell who are waiting for the Last Judgment (The Great White Throne Judgment in Rev. 20). This occurs at the end of the Millennium when they are resurrected and put back in their bodies and put in the lake of fire. The Bible teaches that this baptism is for unbelievers in judgment.
SOURCE: It is interesting to note that the Churches of Christ often “write-off” the doctrine of justification by faith alone simply because they are convinced it is a “Calvinist” doctrine.
Church of Christ evangelist Gene Taylor of Centerville Road Church of Christ of Tallahassee Florida wrote the following in his introduction to the doctrine of Calvinism:
“Whenever someone contends that a) faith is a gift from God b) affirms that he has been saved by faith only c) embraces false teachings about the direct operation of the Holy Spirit in the conviction and conversion of sinners d) and believes it is impossible for a child of God to sin and be eternally lost, he has fallen victim to the Calvinist system of doctrine.”
This is amazing because when one compares these points with the actual teachings of Calvinism and the “free-will” (i.e. Arminianism) view, one would think the only difference between the two from what Mr. Taylor writes is the “P” of TULIP and the perseverance of the saints.
In other words, the Churches of Christ may be surprised to learn that BOTH Calvinists and “free-will” types believe in the doctrine of the fall AND the doctrine of justification by faith alone.
However, what is actually debated between Calvinists and “free-will” types is not the dynamics of the fall nor the doctrine of salvation by faith alone, but rather how resistible God’s grace is to man- i.e. the doctrine of election.
Here, the point of contention is that if God calls you- must you respond positively to His gospel, or in the finial analysis does man reserve the ability within himself to reject the God and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and thus be lost and eternally condemned?
At this point the Arminian will say yes to “free-will” while the Calvinist answers no.
However, it is the “Pelagian” or Church of Christ view that is being argued against here.
Pelagianism rejects the doctrine of the fall and rejects the teaching that man has a “sin nature” or predisposition to sin and to do evil. In contrast it believes that man has the ability within himself to respond positively to all the necessary moral and religious commands and laws of God in order to be saved.
Thus, making the same assumption about human ability, the Church of Christ therefore rejects the doctrine of salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ, believing anyone can be saved through “Patternism” or in other words, their own New Testament law-keeping.
Again, both Calvinists and Arminians or “free-will” types reject this view.
Both believe that because man is fallen, has a sinful nature, and therefore lacks the moral and religious ability to save himself “by New Testament Law-Keeping”, the only hope for sinful man is to place faith in Jesus Christ, trusting in Him alone to do what we could not possibly do in our own sinful selves.