Churches of Christ
“Church of Christ? Oh yeah; you’re one of those folks who think that they’re the only ones going to heaven.” How many times have we heard that? But the incredible and almost unbelievable irony is, that although those who make such charges will initially, violently and aggressively deny such, they will all eventually wind up at least paying lip service to belief in the same things as we do – if we can just get them to sit down long enough to really examine and honestly confess their own beliefs in light of biblical truth! Really! Because what we in the churches of Christ (Ro. 16:16) actually believe, is only exactly what the bible specifically teaches – and therefore, what no self-respecting and even semi-sincerely God-seeking denominationalist would ever dare deny – at least with their lips.
For example: we in the churches of Christ believe that Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life,” and that “No one comes to the Father except through [Him]” (Jn. 14:6). We believe that the bible is the divinely-inspired, inerrant, eternally inscribed in the heavens and therefore all-authoritative word of almighty God, which alone is sufficient to make the man of God all he needs to be to stand complete before God Himself (1 Ptr. 1:16-21; Psa. 19:7-11, 119:89; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Now, even most of our most consistent detractors in the denominational world (who are at the same time at least somewhat sincere in their pursuit of the Savior) will readily agree that they themselves, do indeed, in reality, believe those very same, exact things. And as a result, we can both certainly agree then, that based on our acceptance of those divine truths, we all believe that the only people who will be going to heaven, are the ones who will get there by following God’s instructions, can’t we? We can! Therefore, they find that both we, and they, can and do, actually agree on whom is going to heaven: those who get there through Jesus Christ, by faithfully following God’s word… correct? Correct!
This same group of some of our most devoted denominational detractors will, for the most part, also additionally claim that they absolutely believe, preach, teach and accept, the same biblical book, chapter, and verse truth which we also believe, preach, teach and practice, as contained in such divinely-inspired texts as 2 Ptr. 1:3, which emphatically states that: “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue…” (2 Peter 1:3). In other words, both they and we again profess to believe in common and have faith in the fact, that God has truly, absolutely, and completely given us everything we need to know that pertains to the life and godliness which He wants for us to have, live, possess, perform, and enjoy, right there in His holy word.
BUT THIS IS WHERE THE ‘RUB’ COMES IN! This is where any semblance of similarity ends, and where an entire army of absolutely illogical absurdities and common-sense contradictions come into play! Consider very closely once again… Most of our denominational friends and neighbors claim to believe: that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God; that the Bible is indeed the infallible word of God; and that in His holy word, God has given us every conceivable thing we need to know and practice in life in order to please and stand complete before Him. Now that is also exactly what we as the churches of Christ believe as well. But as stated above, that is where all such similarities suddenly and summarily seem to come to a screeching halt! Because it is at this very point that most of them who have just loudly claimed to believe: that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God; that the Bible is indeed the infallible word of God; and that in His holy word, God has given us every conceivable thing we need to know and practice in life in order to please Him, will then:
- Continue to defend attending a church which they can’t find anywhere in what they just claimed to believe are those all-sufficient and all-authoritative Scriptures;
- Aggressively defend entrusting their eternal soul’s salvation to a process NEVER even once found in God’s holy word (which they just claimed contained everything needed to stand complete before and with this holy God): a man-designed and defined “Sinners Prayer” which they must go outside of, above, and beyond every single example of conversion reported in the New Testament Scriptures in order to find;
- And practice worship which, not only in many cases is never found, seen, evidenced or authorized in God’s New Testament Scriptural pattern, but is an outright and direct contradiction and flagrant violation of many of those very same Scriptures!
How is it even possible, to proclaim with one’s mouth one moment, that they truly believe with all their heart that one must follow what God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit said in the word of God in order to get to heaven; and that that divinely inspired word contains everything God wanted us to know in order to stand perfect and complete before Him; and then turn right around the very next moment, and diligently defend entrusting their eternal salvation and destination, to: attending and supporting a church never once found in Scripture; insisting and depending on a plan of salvation never once seen in Scripture; and then accepting and performing a worship doctrine never ever even once found in Christ’s New Testament church’s’ Scriptural pattern; all three of which one has to go completely outside, above and beyond those very same, admittedly “all-sufficient” Scriptures to find?!?!
We in churches of Christ, simply can’t. We live what we claim regarding the Scriptures. We believe them. We believe what God said in them. We believe He told us everything that He wanted us to know and do, pertaining to life and godliness in them. And so, we simply trust, obey, and follow them – and hence Him. Everything from His church (Matt. 16:18-19; Ro. 16:16), to getting and staying forgiven and saved (Acts 2:37-42, 8:35-38, 22:16; Ro. 6:1-23, 10:8-17; Gal. 3:26-27; Eph. 4:11-5:21; Col. 2:4-12, 3:1-17; 1 Peter 3:21; Rev. 2:10); to what God commanded He wanted from us insofar as our worship practices when we come together (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 14:33-38, 16:1-2; Eph. 5:19-21; Col. 3:16-17; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; II Tim. 3:14-4:4; Jms. 2:1-26) – these we do, due to His “book, chapter and verse” instructions. Otherwise, we would fall under the fearful and frightful condemnation Christ pronounced on the worship practices of those people in Mk. 7:6-7: “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
You see, our denominational friends and neighbors’ problems with us aren’t really about what we believe regarding who is going to heaven at all. When pressed, most of them will probably readily admit that the only way there is following God’s word too. Their real problem, is reconciling what they claim to believe with their lips, with what they actually do with their lives!