The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans 16:16)
This article has been written with love (Eph. 4:15), and we thank God that his mercy and manifold blessings are allowing you to read and study it.
Among others, the following questions will be answered:
1. Why are there so many different churches
2. Is the Bible the only book from God?
3. Why do some preachers call themselves "pastor, Father, or Reverend"?
4. Does God allow a woman to become a "pulpit preacher"?
5. What must one do to accept Christ, or what must one do to be saved?
It's our prayer that you will clear your mind of all religious prejudice and study each scriptural reference from your Bible with an honest and good heart (2 Tim. 2:15; Luke 8:15). It's also our hope that you will understand the grace and truth given you from God the Father by the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Now please take a deep breath, fasten your seat belt and hang-in-there... for this article is going to tell it like it is!
I. GOD SPEAKS THROUGH HIS WORD!
We believe that most of you truly love and are striving to obey the Lord from your heart (Rom. 6:17). But Jesus says, "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). So if you truly love God you will believe and obey what His Word or Son says (Heb. 1:1-2; Luke 6:46; Matt. 7:24-25).
The Holy Spirit revealed the Word to the apostles (John 14:16-17; John 16:13,14). They wrote it down in the Bible so that we might read and understand the mystery of Christ (1 Tim. 3:16; Eph. 3:3-6). The Bible is therefore the written Word of God (1 Thess. 2:13; John 1:1-2, 14); the written Truth of God (John 17:17; John 14:6); the written Power of God (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:24)!
In the Bible we find all things pertaining unto life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). We also find the peace of God (Phil. 4:7), the knowledge of God (Col. 1:9-10), and the salvation of God (Acts 28:28). The Bible contains the only "doctrine" which will equip mankind for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and will one day be used as the basis for judgment (John 12:48).
Loved ones, the Bible presents the Gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ... the facts that Jesus died on the cross for our sins; was buried and rose again the third day (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The Gospel is The Word that Christ commanded to be preached to the whole world (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; 1 Cor. 9:16), not the book of Mormon or the Catechism. God wants mankind to obey the Gospel, and further, it is something that we must obey or we will be eternally lost (2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jam. 1:22-25; 1 Pet. 4:17). Since the Gospel of Christ is God's power to save the believer (Rom. 1:16), should we seek another way or power? The answer is definitely NO! (Gal. 1:6-9).
II. GOD'S PEOPLE ARE CALLED CHRISTIANS!
The Bible calls God's people Christians, priests, children, disciples, saints, or brethren (Acts 11:26; Rev. 1:6; Gal. 3:26; Col. 1:1-2). Christians are taught to do all in the name (by the authority) of Jesus rather than by the authority of the Pope, Joseph Smith, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Mary Baker Eddy, or any other man or woman (Col 3:17). Therefore, God's people are not called Adventists, Amish, Anglicans, Apostolic, Baptist, Buddhist, Catholics, Congregationalist, Deist, Episcopalians, Holiness, Jehovah Witnesses, Jews, Lutherans, Masons, Mennonites, Methodist, Moonies, Moravians, Mormons, Moslems, Muslims, Nazarenes, Orthodox, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Protestants, Quakers, Reformed, Unitarians, Universalists, etc.
The above human man-made names keep the religious world divided. "Christian" is the new name given by God (Isa. 62:2; Acts 4:10-12; Acts 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16). Believers must be willing to discard all human religious names and wear the name "Christian" only... for the name you wear tells who you belong to (1 Cor. 3:3-9)!
III. GOD HAS ONE FAITH!
The Bible speaks of seven "ones" (Eph. 4:4-6). These seven
"ones" represent God's Divine Plan of Unity...One Body; One Spirit;
One Hope; One Lord; One Faith; One Baptism; and One God. Now most
will agree that the ONE GOD is the Father; the ONE LORD is Jesus the
the ONE SPIRIT is the Holy Spirit; and the ONE HOPE is our hope of
through Jesus. Believers should also agree concerning the other three
"ones"...the ONE FAITH,
the ONE BODY, and the ONE BAPTISM!
The Bible says there is One Faith (Jude 3; Eph. 4:5)! Above we have named more than twenty different faiths. We know they are all different because you can't become one by obeying the teachings of another. We also know how to obtain any of the above faiths...simply attend their worship service, hear what they preach, and obey what they teach!
For example, you become a Baptist by attending a Baptist church and hearing and obeying the Baptist word (whatever they teach). You become a Catholic by attending a Catholic church and hearing and obeying the Catholic word (whatever they teach), etc. You cannot become a Baptist by attending the Catholic church! WHY NOT? Because the Catholics do not teach the same thing that the Baptists teach. Neither do the Mormons teach the same thing that the Adventists teach, etc. The Bible, however, does not teach believers to be different (2 Cor. 13:11; 1 Cor. 1:10). God wants all who believe that Jesus is the Son of God to be one (John 20:30-31; 17:20-21). Therefore, God wills to "gather together in one all things in Christ" (Eph. 1:10).
Well, someone will ask, "How does one obtain God's One Faith?" The Bible says, "Faith comes by hearing...the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). Since the Bible is the only written Word of God, we must study our Bible, hear what it preaches, and obey what it teaches (2 Tim. 2:15; John 6:45; Matt. 7:21). If you have not heard (studied and obeyed) God's Word, you do not have God's ONE FAITH, and you are not pleasing to HIM (Heb. 11:6).
IV. SATAN HAS MANY FAITHS!
The question can now be asked, "Since most denominations claim to teach the Bible, why do we have so many faiths?" Well, the Holy Spirit said in 1 Timothy 4:1-6 that some would depart or leave The Faith, i.e., the faith that comes by hearing and obeying the Word (Heb. 5:8-9). After departing from the Word of God, they would begin listening to and obeying (giving heed to) doctrines or teaching of devils. These hypocritical doctrines would be teaching lies because the conscience of those who advocate them are "seared with a hot iron" (1 Tim. 4:2).
Unfortunately many believers and some of their leaders (Reverends, Fathers, etc.) are blind to the fact they are following creeds of men (Acts 17:23; Matt. 15:14). Being raised from birth in a particular denomination they take it for granted that their "church" was built by the Lord...when in fact they are following a man-made organization which one day will be rooted up (Matt. 15:13).
The following books from some of the more noted denominational faiths contain their "doctrines" or teachings: the Christian Scientist believers follow the "Manual of the Mother Church" and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. The Baptist believers (most of them unknowingly) follow "Pendelton's Manual" and the "Standard Manual for Baptist Churches" by Edward T. Hiscox. The Presbyterian believers follow the "Westminster Confession of Faith" and the "Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in the United States" (containing the confession of faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechism).
The Mormon believers follow the "Book of Mormon," the
"Articles of Faith," the "Doctrine and Covenants," the
"Pearl of Great Price," etc. The Catholic believers follow the
"Catholic Doctrinal Guide" and a "Catechism of Christian
Doctrine" (revised edition of Baltimore Catechism). The Methodist
Episcopal believers follow the "Doctrine of Discipline of the Methodist
Episcopal Church." The Jehovah Witness believers follow "Studies in
the Scriptures" Volumes 1-6 by
Charles T. Russell, the "Truth That Leads To Eternal Life," "Millions Now Living Shall Never Die," "Let God Be True," etc.
FRIENDS, the above books were written by men and they teach the
"doctrines of devils"
(1 Tim. 4:1). "WE MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN," for "there is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof is the way of death" (Acts 5:29; Prov. 14:12).
V. SATAN HAS MANY DOCTRINES
Now in all honesty and sincerity, let's compare a few specific examples of the "doctrines" of Satan with what the Bible says:
Doctrines of Satan God Says
The name by which we are called doesn't matter. Acts 4:12; 1 Pet. 4:16
Mechanical instrumental music should be used
Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16-17; Heb. 13:15
worship to God.
Believers are saved by faith only (without water Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-2; Eph. 2:8;
baptism). Rom. 10:9-10; Luke 13:3;
Mark 16:16; 1 John 1:7; Jam. 1:21;
Matt. 7:21; 1 Pet. 3:21
The "pastor" is normally the preacher or
Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Pet. 5:1-2;
The preacher should be called Reverend,
Matt. 23:7-10; Ps. 111:9 KJV
Master, or Father.
A man (or woman) can be president or head of Eph. 1:22; Eph. 5:23
You can't get to God unless you believe and John 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5
obey this man, i.e., the Pope, Joseph Smith, etc.
The "alternate life style" (homosexuality)
Rom. 1:18-32; Matt. 19:4-5;
pleasing to God. 1 Cor. 7:2; 1 Cor. 6:9-11 NASV
You must abstain from eating meats or
1 Tim. 4:3-6; 1 Cor. 8:8;
foods. Rom. 14:2-4
God allows women to usurp authority over the 1 Cor. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:11-14;
man and become pulpit preachers. Tit. 2:15
Baptism can be by sprinkling or pouring water. Eph. 4:5; Col. 2:12; Rom. 6:4
Original sin is inherited from
Ez. 18:20; Ez. 28:15; Rom. 5:12;
Matt. 19:14; Jam. 1:13-15
The Kingdom of God or church has not
Mark 9:1; Matt. 16:18-19;
Acts 1:18; 2:1-4, 41, 47; Col. 1:13;
You should join the church of your choice
Acts 2:47; Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 12:13;
the church that pleases you. Rom. 15:3
Holy Spirit baptism is for today. Eph. 4:5; Matt. 28:18-20;
Miraculous healing and speaking in tongues
1 Cor. 13:8-10; Jam. 1:25; Ps. 19:7
Man does not have a soul. Matt. 10:28; 1 Kings 17:21-24;
Luke 21:19; 1 Thess. 5:23; Jam. 1:21
Once you are saved you cannot fall from
Matt. 13:41; Gal. 5:4 ASV;
1 Cor. 10:12; 2 Pet. 1:5-11;
Heb. 3:12; John 15:2; Rom. 11:20;
The nun, priest or "Father" cannot marry. 1 Tim. 4:3; 1 Cor. 9:5; Heb. 13:4
The Law and Sabbath are still binding. 2 Cor. 3:4-14; Col. 2:13-17
A deacon or elder can be a young
Tit. 1:5-9; 1 Tim. 3:1-13
boy or teenager.
The Bible is not complete or parts have been lost. Matt. 24:35; Acts 20:27; 2 Pet. 1:3;
Isa. 40:8; Rev. 22:18-19
Water should be used for the Communion. Luke 22:17-18; Mark 14:23-25
Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not
Matt. 1:23; John 20:28; Acts 5:3-4;
John 1:1-2, 14
There is no (Gehenna)
Matt. 5:22, 29; Matt. 25:41, 46;
This earth will never be destroyed. Matt. 24:35; 2 Pet. 3:10
The apostle John said, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God" (2 John 9). Please carefully and prayerfully study the above scriptures in your Bible, and remember..."The Bible is Right"!
VI. TEACHERS OF SATAN'S DOCTRINES!
Again, let us look at the teachings of some of the more noted FALSE TEACHERS. For centuries the Catholic faith taught that you couldn't eat meat on Fridays. Their priests and nuns still are normally not allowed to marry. They call their preacher Reverend and Father. The Pope is the president or head of their church. They believe children are born with "original sin" (Adam's sin). They sprinkle or pour water on infants for baptism (christening); however, the Bible says baptism is a total immersion in water for those who understand what they have been taught (Matt. 28:19; Rom. 6:4; John 6:44-45).
The Jehovah Witness faith teaches that men do not have a soul. They deny the Deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They say there is no Hell and this earth will never be destroyed.
The Mormon faith teaches that water instead of the fruit of the vine should be used during the Lord's Supper. They ordain young unmarried boys as elders and deacons. They believe the Bible is incomplete; therefore, they say the Book of Mormon is a second witness equal to and better than the Bible.
The 7th Day Adventist faith teaches that the Sabbath and the Law are binding on Christians.
The Baptist faith teaches that you cannot fall from grace once you are saved.
The Pentecostal faith believes that they receive Holy Spirit baptism. They also pretend to heal miraculously and speak in tongues (2 Thess. 2:9 RSV).
Practically all of the denominational churches are called by human names, use mechanical instruments during worship, and call their preacher "pastor" or Reverend. Many of these man-made faiths are now ordaining women as preachers, and are teaching that men are saved as soon as they believe (before water baptism).
My friends, the above "doctrines of the devil" are not all inclusive; however these should suffice to cause you to investigate and turn away from the false teachings of your faith (1 John 4:1; Jam. 2:10; 1 Thess. 5:21). Please do not harden your heart, for soon every one of us shall give account of himself to God (Rom. 14:12).
VII. GOD HAS ONE BODY!
The Bible says there is One Body (1 Cor. 12:12, 20, 27; Eph. 4:4)! Whose or what body is it? The Holy Spirit speaking though the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:22-23 said that Christ is the head of the Church, "which is His Body." The church is the body of Christ! There is only One Body, therefore, there is only One Church...the church of Christ (the body of Christ). Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church" (Matt. 16:18). Jesus didn't say, "my churches." Friends, only the church of Christ belongs to Christ (Acts 20:28; Rom. 16:16).
History proves that all denominational churches were built and named by man. However, most denominations claim they teach and follow the Bible! Well my loved ones, that just can't be true. The fact is, denominational doctrines teach you how to follow that particular faith...whether it be Methodist, Lutheran, Nazarene or whatever...they all teach you how to follow their particular faith. If you are a member of a man-made church you are following the doctrines and commandments of men, and you are worshipping God in vain (Matt. 15:8-9). The Psalmist said, "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain" (Ps. 127:1).
Loved ones, Jesus built only one church...His church...His body (Col. 1:24). Jesus is Head of only one church (Eph. 1:22). Jesus has first place in only one church (Col. 1:18). Jesus purchased with His Blood only one church (Acts 20:28). Jesus adds the saved to only one church (Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 12:13; Mark 16:16 ). Jesus will return one day for only one church...His church...the churches of Christ (Acts 1:11; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Eph. 5:23; Rom. 16:16).
VIII. GOD HAS ONE BAPTISM!
The question should now be asked, "What must I do to be added to the body of Christ, or WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?" (Acts 16:30). Friends, the Bible says there is "One Baptism" (Eph. 4:5). Jesus commanded His disciples to go and teach all the world the Gospel or good news of His death, burial, and resurrection for our sins (Mark 16:15-16; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). Jesus said to teach them, baptize them, and keep on teaching them...everything that He's commanded (Matt. 28:19-20).
The One Baptism must then be something man administers! Man cannot baptize you with the Holy Spirit or with fire, both of which were given as a promise, not as a command (Matt. 3:11; Luke 24:49). Man can only baptize with water! Therefore, the One Baptism spoken of in Ephesians 4:5 is water baptism. In keeping with the Lord's command, Philip baptized the Eunuch with water (Acts 8:35-39), and Peter commanded the household of Cornelius to be baptized with water (Acts 10:47- 48). You too must be immersed in water to be born again...saved from your past sins (John 3:5; 1 Pet. 3:21).
My friends, the blood of Jesus frees us from sin (Rev. 1:5), and Jesus shed His blood in His death (John 19:33-34). But how do we get into the death of Jesus so that the merits of His shed blood might be ours? The Bible says we are baptized into the death of Jesus (Rom. 6:3-4). We are buried with Christ by baptism into death. Therefore, the One Baptism is a burial or total immersion in water (Col. 2:12). You have not been baptized if you were only sprinkled with water while an infant, or had a little water poured on your head. A person must be totally immersed (buried) under the water in baptism.
IX. BAPTISM PUTS US INTO CHRIST!
The One Baptism puts you into Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3). Notice the powerful thought contained in Romans 3:24, "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." In Christ we are: redeemed (Rom. 3:24); saints (Phil. 4:21); new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17); fellow workers (Rom. 16:3-9); one body...not 300 different denominational bodies (Rom. 12:5). In Christ we have SALVATION (2 Tim. 2:10), all Spiritual Blessing (Eph. 1:3) and the Love of God (Rom. 8:38-39).
The Bible says we get into Christ by God's doing (1 Cor. 1:30 NASV; John 6:44-45, 65) or by God's grace (Eph. 2:4-8). And my friends, God's grace teaches us (Tit. 2:11-12). We are taught to: believe in Jesus (John 3:16; John 8:24); love and obey Jesus (John 14:15); repent of our sins (Acts 2:38; Luke 13:3); confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Matt. 10:32-33; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 John 2:23); be immersed (buried, baptized) into Christ (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12)...where salvation is found (2 Tim. 2:10).
But, what else does the Bible say about the one Baptism? Baptism is God's plan for man's new birth (John 3:3-5). Baptism washes away our sins by the blood of Jesus (Acts 22:16; Matt. 26:28). Baptism saves us NOW (1 Pet. 3:20-21; Mark 16:16 ). Baptism puts us into the One body, the church (1 Cor. 12:13; Acts 2:47).
Loved ones, we receive the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit when we are immersed in water, after having repented of our sins, and confessed our belief that Jesus is the Son of God (Acts 2:38; Rom. 8:11; Acts 17:30; Matt. 10:32-33). We arise from that watery grave IN CHRIST...a new creature...a Christian...a child of God (Rom. 6:5-7; Gal. 3:26-27).
For believers to be one we must teach, believe, and obey only the Bible; and we must get into Christ by being baptized into him. In the days of the great flood, God used only one Ark to save the people...all who were saved were inside that one Ark (1 Pet. 3:20; Gen. 6). When the Israelites crossed the Jordan and fought against the walled city of Jericho, God used only one House to save Rahab's family...all who were saved were inside that one House (Joshua 2:12-14; 6:25). Today, if you desire to have eternal life; to be saved from the wrath of God to come; to escape the burning fires of hell; then you must get inside God's spiritual Ark...the House of the Lord (Heb. 3:2-6)...the church of Christ (Rom. 16:16).
The churches of Christ are a fellowship of Christians who believe the Bible to be God's communication to man (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and therefore have responded to its teaching (Luke 24:46-47; Acts 2:38). We acknowledge Jesus as the only head (ruler, monarch, president, sovereign) of the church (Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22-23; Matt. 23:7-10). We are organized according to the Biblical example (Phil. 1:1), and we worship God according to Biblical instructions (John 4:22-24).
Because we are Christians we: study the Word diligently (2 Tim. 2:15); grow spiritually (Phil. 1:9); pray always (1 Thess. 5:17; Luke 18:1); assemble with the saints (other Christians) whenever possible (Heb. 10:25); sing and make melody in our hearts (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16); partake of the Lord's Supper every Sunday (Acts 20:7, Matt. 26:26-29); cheerfully give as we purpose in our heart (2 Cor. 9:6-8); become living sacrifices to God (Rom. 12:1-2); continue in good works (Gal. 6:9-10; 2 Tim. 3:17); and are faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10).
Our plea is that all mankind might become fellow heirs of the same body (Eph. 3:6), according to the eternal purpose of God which he purposed in Christ (Eph. 3:11). We pray that you will choose the truth of God's word as you work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). Please visit a congregation of the church of Christ at your next opportunity, and remember, you can be "JUST A CHRISTIAN!"
with love in Christ,
The churches of Christ.