Sometimes, unfortunate misunderstandings prevent great good from being done. One of these is the misconception that members of particular congregations believe others must keep their rules to go to heaven.
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 the churches believe. Whatever these 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 Peter.4:11).
The church must be subject to Christ and His authority. Paul said: “And he is the head of the body, the church…that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18).
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 (III Jn. 9, 10)! Therefore, whatever churches believe must be handed down to them by King Jesus in His word (Jn. 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: “do certain churches 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).
“It Is The Only One Going To Heaven?”
Is one group 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).
In fact, which ‘group were the Christians in the book of Acts added to? No denomination came into being until hundreds of years later!
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).
What Do You Believe?
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.”