This article is given with the writer’s fervent hope it will help open doors of opportunity to study about Jesus together. Isaiah said: “Come, now let us reason together, saith the Lord…” (Isa. 1:18).
Therefore, let us reason about the true source of authority. It does not matter what any group believes if they are not following God’s directions, as revealed in His Word. Whatever these churches (or any churches) believe had better be what the Lord Jesus commands! Peter said: “if any man speaketh, speaking as it were the oracles of God…” (I Pet. 4:11).
There must never be church rules or creeds! One must never be required to satisfy the member of a local church. While some religious groups vote members in, the Bible teaches: “And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved” (Acts 2:47). If the Lord does the adding, no man must ever dare to do the subtracting (3 John 9, 10)!
Therefore, whatever churches of Christ believe must be handed down to them by Jesus in His word (John 16:13, 14). We must never render our opinions as if we are God! We must present the Bible as the message of God (Deut. 4:2; 2 Pet. 1:21).
Again, the statement: “does the church of Christ believe,” indicates the wrong people are being asked! Jesus will judge us all by His word (Jn. 12:48). Jesus, not an elder, preacher, or member, “…is the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6).
Who is going to heaven? Must one keep a church’s rules to be saved? Must one join a particular denomination to enjoy salvation? Is one denomination better than another? Perhaps some of the difficulty with these questions is a misunderstanding of terms. The word church comes from the Greek word ekklesia which means “those called out.” Remember Acts 2:47: “…And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.”
In other words, those that responded to the gospel message (Acts 2:38, 41) were “called out” of the world and into Christ. They became a part of the church because the church is that body of saved believers. When one is baptized into Christ, he becomes part of His bride (Eph. 5:22-33, body (Eph. 1:22, 23; 4:4), or church (Matt. 16:18). Paul said: “For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body…” (I Cor. 12:13).
Our Lord never wanted the religious division so prevalent in the world today. He prayed that we might be one (Jn. 17:17, 20-21). It grieves our Lord to see rules of men divide us. Why can’t we simply forget the rules of men, open our Bibles, and obey the Lord? When we do, He will add us to His church, not a denomination (Acts 2:47).
There are various scriptural names for this church. “churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16), “church of God” (I Cor. 1:1), “pillar and ground of the truth” (I Tim. 3:15), “my church” (Matt. 16:18), “one body” (Eph. 4:4), “the bride” (Rev. 22:7), and on and on we could go. These are all descriptive names for the same church built by Jesus (Matt. 16:18; I Cor. 3:11).
Also, this body of believers will obey the Lord without compromising His will (Gal. 1:6-9). People who obey Jesus (Heb. 5:8, 9) and become His by being called out of the world into the “called out ones” are saved (Gal. 3:26-27).
Long ago, Solomon warned: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12). It may sound good, feel good, look good, but is it what Jesus said? The apostle John gave this acid test: “And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I Jn. 2:3, 4).
How do you know Jesus? Has some man guided you with creeds, tradition, or extra-biblical “revelations?” Come to know Him the way King Jesus through the apostle John commanded. Let’s open our Bibles, and hear right from Jesus ourselves (Jn. 16:13, 14). Let’s “reason together.”
It does not matter what churches of Christ believe nor any of their members. All that matters is the will of our blessed Lord. Jesus and His word are always right. In the very words of God Himself at the Mount of Transfiguration: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5).