An Open Letter To All Of Our Denominational Friends, Neighbors, & Family Members, As Well As To Our Fallen Away & Out Of Service Spiritual Brethren:
What exactly is the issue here? Why is it you seem to have such a problem with us? Don’t kid yourself. We hear the comments. Like when someone or their children are invited to services or bible study with us and they say, “Oh no, I’m not going to that church,” or “Not with that bunch!” We see your responses when we are at the same supermarket, sporting event, or on the same roadway, and you do everything you can to evade, avoid, or completely ignore us. And we wonder… why do you do that? We are not a bad, unfriendly, or non-benevolent people. In many cases you have probably experienced our love, compassion, and acceptance, as well as having personally benefitted from our financial assistance. So what’s the deal?
It is not our fault that Almighty God said in His eternally-settled in heaven word (Psalm 119:89), that there is only one body/church (Eph. 1:22-23, 4:4-6); the one body/church which He had planned and purposed since before the beginning of time (Eph. 3:8-12); the one church which He sent His one and only begotten and beloved Son to establish (Matt. 16:18) – and that, during the reign of the Roman Empire just as He had previously promised (Dan. 2:31-45).
It is not our fault, nor are we to blame, that the Lord Jesus gave Peter the “keys of the kingdom” (Matt. 16:19) and allowed him, under the divine influence, guidance, and direction of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:12-15; Acts 2:1-4) to preach the first gospel sermon (Acts 2:14-36), thus unlocking or opening up His church on the Day of Pentecost some 40 plus days after His resurrection (a claim which no modern-day denomination which was established hundreds of years later and is therefore never seen in scripture, can honestly or with any integrity whatsoever, ever make)! Neither is it our fault, that on that day, Peter bound both repentance and baptism – specifically FOR the forgiveness of one’s sins – as the absolute and heaven-honored requirements for entry into Christ’s church (Matt. 16:19; Acts 2:37-47)! After all, Jesus Himself had previously said the same to Nicodemus (Jn. 3:3-5).
We didn’t “write the book” that clearly states that “calling on the name of the Lord” to be saved is something done as one is biblically baptized in water for the very purpose of washing away their sins (Acts 22:16), or that baptism is the very act of faith (Col. 2:12) by which God said one is saved (1 Ptr. 3:21)!
We are not responsible for the fact that God said He would only ever recognize as valid, but one faith (Eph. 4:4); and then went on to define that as the one faith, “once for all delivered to the saints” prior to the end of the first century (Jude 3); the one, undivided – or undenominated – faith (Jn. 17:20-23; 1 Cor. 1:10, 4:17, 7:17, 16:1-2; Gal. 1:6-10; Phil. 1:27-2;2; Rev. 22;18-19) which comes only by hearing God’s word (Ro. 10:17) and then implementing and insisting on only what God instructed in Scripture (Lk. 6:46; Jn. 12:48).
We are not to blame that within God’s and Christ’s first-century established congregations of Their one, pre-denominational body or church – known individually as “churches of God” (1 Thess. 2:13-16), or “churches of Christ” (Ro. 16:16-18) – that They commanded that the women were to “keep silent” in the assemblies (1 Cor. 14:33-37), and not “to teach or to have authority” – that is, to lead – over men; or, that this was exactly what They had established from the very beginning, and would therefore honor to the very end (1 Tim. 2:8-15)!
Neither are we responsible in any way, shape, or form, for God’s, Christ’s, and the Holy Spirit’s all-authoritative (Matt. 28:18-20) instructions regarding the fact that:
* “Faith alone” is not enough to save anyone (Jms. 2:19-24).
* That Christians can indeed fall from grace (Gal. 5:4).
* Every member of the Lord’s church is to join in the joyful singing of His praise from their hearts, and that They never authorized the use of man-made instruments in Christ’s one, New Testament church’s worship (Acts 16:25; Ro. 15:9; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 2:12; Jms. 5:13).
* Those willfully choosing to deny the truth of God and live in the lusts of the flesh such as ongoing adultery, sexual immorality, homosexuality, covetousness, or constant partying or drunkenness will not go to heaven (Matt. 19:3-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-11; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Ptr. 4:3-5).
* Following God must come first and foremost – even over the most beloved of pursuits and family relationships (Matt. 10:32-38; Mk. 8:34-38; Lk. 9:23-26, 57-62, 14:25-35).
* Forsaking the assembly of the saints means forfeiting Jesus as one’s Advocate on Judgment Day, leaving them with nothing but the very real expectation and experience of a very fiery future that lasts forever (Heb. 10:19-31).
Yes, in the spirit of those great heroes of the faith listed in Hebrews 11, while we are not in any way responsible for writing or originating even a single one of these things (2 Ptr. 1:20-21), we fully and fervently believe every single one of them, as well as every other word written in the scriptures (Matt. 4:4; 2 Tim. 3:12-4:5), which are the very words of God (Jn. 6:60-68, 17:17; 1 Ptr. 4:11). And so, with all due respect, please don’t insult both your own as well as our intelligence by pulling out that old devil’s deception and declaring, “Well, that’s just your interpretation.” The Scripture references have been amply provided for each of the above points. Look them up. They are so simple a child could understand them (Matt. 18:1-4). And so, as you can see, it’s not a matter of interpretation. It’s far more a matter of honestly and simply seeking to see and give God what He commands, out of a sincere and legitimate love for Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:15).
And so, if you want to continue to live, act, believe, and worship contrary to what God said in the Scriptures, that is your business. Just understand: Your problem is therefore not actually with us, but with God Himself. In fact, every time you blame/snub/persecute/revile/bad-mouth/turn your back on us, for our just simply trusting, believing, preaching and insisting on what God said, you actually validate us further before Him (Lk. 6:22-26; Jn. 15:18-21). But, we’d much rather have you in heaven. How about a bible study (Acts 17:11)?