WARNINGS ABOUT THE CHURCHES OF
The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans 16:16)
WARNING NUMBER ONE:
Our dearly beloved reading audience, in this article we will
concentrate our efforts on opening your spiritual eyes (minds) to “the
light of the
glorious Gospel of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:3-4). As we proceed “to
unto you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), we will make plain
Plan of Salvation and expose many of the false doctrines being
in particular denominations.
Loved ones, as we give you the TRUTH of what God says, we will give you
the Bible book chapter and verse for everything we teach. Our prayer
is that you will open your Bible and study the Word of God with
us. Please don’t believe OR disbelieve anything we say just
because we say it, but SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES to be sure what we say is
true (Acts 17:11).
Has anyone ever WARNED you about the churches of Christ? Maybe
you've heard this WARNING: “Those are the ‘Christians’ who think only
‘church of Christ folk’ are going to Heaven!” Occasionally in a
home Bible study, some honest and sincere soul will admit his need for
teaching, but because he has been WARNED about us, he's a little wary
to listen to what we say.
This is no new thing, for certain unbelieving Jews "WARNED" those in
Thessalonica against Paul and his co-workers (Acts 17:6), and some who
met Paul when
he went to Rome confessed that they had been "WARNED" about "this
and it being "every where spoken against" (Acts 28:22).
The purpose of this lesson is to mention some of the "WARNINGS" made
about the churches of Christ, and to deal with them from the Word of
God. Remember: Satan and his laborers deal in craftiness,
dishonesty, and deception (2 Cor. 4:2) but truth has nothing to fear!
THE CHURCH OF CHRIST DOESN'T BELIEVE THE OLD TESTAMENT
It is amazing that some would make this accusation, since there's
really no foundation for accepting the New Testament unless the Old can
be believed. May we clearly and strongly declare that we believe
ALL the Bible, both
Old Testament and New. Indeed, Paul tells us that "ALL scripture
inspired by God and profitable..." (2 Tim. 3:16). Since Genesis
is inspired just as is Revelation 22:21, and all in between, then the
of God must believe it all!
What men confuse are these terms: BELIEVING the Old Testament and BEING
SUBJECT TO the Old Testament. Colossians 2:14 and Ephesians 2:15
tell us that the Old Testament Law of Moses ended with the death of
Christ on the
cross. Galatians 3:23-25 bears this out, with Paul more plainly
in Galatians 5:4 that if one tried to be justified by the law he was
FROM GRACE and Christ is become OF NO EFFECT!
Romans 15:4 and 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 tell us the proper use of the Old
Testament: it is a volume for study, that we might learn by examples
from olden times, and be encouraged by the long history of God's
rewarding obedience just as we are warned by the records of His
punishing sin. But friends, we are NOT UNDER that law, and cannot
be, for we are now subject to Christ, and we must hear Him! (Matt. 17:5
Please consider this illustration: we today know we are subject (in
this land) to our current laws, yet there has also been English law and
Colonial law, but we're not under either one of those now. Many
points would remain the same, but we are under the system of American
jurisprudence though students desiring a background of law knowledge
will study all types.
Just so, Christians are under the New Testament of Jesus Christ, not
under Moses and his law (cf. John 1:17), but that does not mean that
the Old Testament isn't inspired, is not to be believed, or serves no
useful purpose to one who follows Christ.
WARNING NUMBER TWO:
THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IS AGAINST MUSIC
Many of our readers have heard this. It is perhaps the single most
discussed fact when the worship of God's people is being given
consideration. There are those who really believe that the churches of
Christ do not believe
in music! Yet, it is true that we have music at every service, and we
of no faithful Christian who would think that he had faithfully
God if the Lord's day ended and he had not used music!
Let us state the fact correctly: The churches of Christ are opposed to
mechanical instruments of music IN WORSHIP! The Lord has
WORSHIP! He has NOT legislated concerning music and the playing
it purely for entertainment and pleasure, and in circumstances where
is not the intent. But he has regulated HOW He is to be worshiped,
that man’s worship must be IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH (John 4:24). That
"truth" demands, by John 17:17, that worship must be in keeping with
Word of God. Indeed, it can't be OF FAITH unless it is by the Word of
Covering the Lord's ministry, here is the range of New Testament
teaching on music; and notice the words from these verses that we
emphasize: Matt. 26:30 and Mark 14:26 (SUNG); Acts 16:25 (SANG); Rom.
15:9 (SING); 1 Cor.
14:15 (SING); Eph. 5:19 (SINGING); Col. 3:16 (SINGING); Heb. 13:15
OF LIPS); and James 5:13 (SING). Surely no one can miss the action the
has repeatedly specified, and it is highly significant that the Lord
this over and over in the New Testament, whereas the mechanical
and PLAYING took place under the Old Testament!
The principle of divine worship is that everything that we do be set
forth in the New Testament, by precept, approved example, or necessary
inference. Mechanical instruments in worship is set forth by
neither. Therefore, those who practice such are guilty of going
beyond the teaching of Christ, and the Holy Spirit says: “Whosoever
goeth onward and abideth not in the
teaching of Christ hath not God, but he that abideth in the teaching,
both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9).
We have in the Bible both generic and specific commands. In Ephesians
5:19 we are told specifically how to carry out the musical part of the
service to God. To be more plain if possible, you remember that
God told Noah specifically how to build the ark (Gen. 6). He
specified the wood. Now, if God had told Noah just to build it
out of wood, Noah could have
used hickory, oak, pine, or any other kind of wood, for wood is
But God didn't tell Noah to just build the ark out of “wood.” He
gave Noah a specific command. He specified the wood. He told Noah
to build it out of gopher wood (Gen. 6:14). God did not authorize
Noah to use any other wood; therefore, as you well see, all other wood
excluded. The same is true regarding the singing of praise to God
in worship. If God had told us to make music, we could resort to
kind of music, for music is generic. But He specified the
READ carefully Ephesians 5:19 and you will notice the specific music
desires in worship.
The Scripture says, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and
spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart.” No
where does the
New Testament authorize plucking, playing or making melody on a piano
any other mechanical instrument. No where does the New Testament
authorize the blues, jazz, rock, or rhythmical songs. Therefore,
these things are excluded from the worship of God.
The church of the Lord is expected to abide by His Word. The
early church was commended for following the doctrine of the apostles
(Acts 2:42) - which is also the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9). That
doctrine provides for music in the church, but specifies that the music
is to be VOCAL: each saint singing praises to God, offering unto Him
the praise from his lips. Music that one enjoys and engages in under
pleasure and entertainment circumstances is one thing; music in the
body of Christ is to be vocal music!
WARNING NUMBER THREE:
THE CHURCH OF CHRIST WAS BEGUN BY ALEXANDER CAMPBELL
This has been frequently stated, and sometimes by an honest soul who
really doesn't want to be affiliated with a man-made, human institution
- and we agree! We also would not want to enter into any union with a
human religious system, built by man, and on man, and to further man's
own opinions. But
let's look at the above objection, in scriptural light.
The statement itself is an impossibility: Alexander Campbell COULD NOT
originate Christ's church! Neither could any other man! Jesus promised
build His church (Matt. 16:18), and we find later that it HAD come into
being (Acts 2:47) and Paul tells us HOW: it was purchased by His shed
(Acts 20:28). Acts Chapter 2 throughout the end of the Bible is a
of that church, and NEITHER did a man named Campbell or any other bring
it into being.
Someone might well object at this point: "Forget the church of the New
Testament! I'm talking about Campbell founding the religious group
today as ‘the Church of Christ.’ That's the one Campbell started!" You
that point would remain to be seen. The seed is the Word of God (Luke
At any time, in any land, and among any people, if a man plants only
seed, and no doctrine of men, the fruits will be just what God
and not after man.
Indeed, that's just what every faithful missionary does. If his name is
Smith, and he plants only God's seed, the fruits aren't Smithites. When
Paul preached the Word only, he didn't create Paulites nor begin the
"church of Paul." Rather, he spoke against that very idea in 1
Corinthians 1:10-12. The
Word only produces Christians, and they in assembled form are
congregations of the churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16).
That Alexander Campbell existed, and labored in the Lord's kingdom is
not to be denied. The test will be: what does the churches of Christ
teach that is anti-Bible and proves to be purely the invention of
Campbell? In examining the doctrine we hold and teach, the plan of
salvation made known to men,
the pattern of worship, the organization - and all else - is it by
Word, or after the opinions of men? That examination is all we
of men who want and love truth. And they will see that we teach not
Interestingly, those who claim that Campbell began the Church of Christ
deal with an impossibility, even from the standpoint of time. The
State of Massachusetts, in its Bay Colony Tercentenary Commission's
erected this historical marker in Revere, Massachusetts: "Church of
- 1710. Meeting house of the Church of Christ in Rumney Marsh. Erected
1710, Thomas Cheever, the first settled minister, died December 27,
Aged ninety-one years." This is very important, considering that
Campbell first reached these shores in 1809. Campbell was born in
1768, and there had been a congregation of the church of Christ in
for at least 76 years before his birth!
WARNING NUMBER FOUR:
THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IS JUST ANOTHER DENOMINATION
The church of Christ is an undenominational institution. When we
say undenominational, we do not mean all-denominational. Some man-made
churches (such as some Community Churches) claim to be
undenominational, but in reality they are all-denominational. They are
all-denominational in that they look with favor upon all
denominations. The churches of Christ are undenominational in
that we are not a denomination and we stand opposed to
It is evident that denominationalism is antipodal to the Bible.
For instance, examine the following:
1. Denominationalism (D) is made up of many bodies or
churches. Undenominational Christianity (UDC) consist of only one
body or church
(Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 12:20).
2. D is founded by man. UDC is founded by Christ (Matt.
3. D has human heads. UDC has Christ alone as its head
4. D has human creeds. UDC uses the Bible as its only creed
(2 Tim. 3:16-17).
5. D wears human names. UDC glorifies God in the name Christian
(Acts 11:26; 1 Pet. 4:16).
6. D follows men. UDC understands that following men is
condemned (1 Cor. 1:10-13).
7. D has a multiplicity of churches unknown to the Bible.
UDC is mentioned in the Bible (Rom. 16:16; Acts 20:28).
8. D membership is not essential to salvation. UDC
understands that membership in Christ’s body is essential to salvation
9. D preaches many different gospels. UDC understands that
if a man preaches any other Gospel, he is condemned
10. D rewrite their creeds every few years. UDC uses only the
Bible which remains the same (Matt. 24:35).
11. D has many faiths. UDC has one faith (Eph. 4:5).
12. D has many baptisms. UDC has one baptism (Eph. 4:5).
13. D invites one to “join” their church. UDC understands that
only the Lord can “add” one to His church (Acts 2:47).
14. D claims to abide in branches of the church. UDC abides only in
Jesus, the true vine (John 15:1-6).
15. D walks by different rules. UDC walks by the same rule
16. D thanks God in their prayers for so many churches. UDC
believes in Jesus’ prayer for oneness (John 17:20-21).
17. D claims that doctrine is inconsequential. UDC
understands we are to take heed unto doctrine to save self and others
(1 Tim. 4:16).
The above is only a brief contrast. It could be increased many
fold. But this should be enough to convince the convincible that
denominationalism contradicts the Bible. Therefore, the church of
Christ is not a denomination and has nothing to do with
denominationalism (except to reprove it - Eph. 5:11).
WARNING NUMBER FIVE:
THE CHURCH OF CHRIST BELIEVES IN WATER SALVATION
Because of the widespread belief of Luther's doctrine of "salvation by
faith ALONE," this is perhaps the most frequent point discussed by men
they "warn" against the churches of Christ. Of course, baptism is the
at which objection is made.
We often like to point out that while "water salvation" is not a
scriptural term, and we have never heard members of the churches of
Christ claim to
believe in "water salvation," one could just as easily object to the
in Genesis 3 as teaching "FRUIT DAMNATION." Most clearly, Moses there
us that Adam and Eve fell due to their eating a bite of fruit! Do we
in "fruit damnation?"
Let us state it clearly: We, and all children of God, must believe in
OBEDIENCE salvation and DISOBEDIENCE damnation. The Lord authored
eternal salvation for those who obey Him (Heb. 5:9), and we're told
He'll take vengeance on those who refuse to obey Him (2 Thess. 1:8-9).
Disobedience has always damned, and obedience has always blessed. The
point that must be made is that the obedience AND the disobedience will
have some action that is incidental
and part of the obeying or disobeying. Adam and Eve's disobedience took
the form of eating of that fruit. Noah's obedience took the form of
God's will relative to the ark and its preparation (Gen. 6).
It cannot be denied, by the Scriptures, that man's obedience to the
Gospel has his being baptized as a part of it. It is a part of his
Gospel (Mark 16:15-16); it is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38); it
is to wash away sins (Acts 22:16); it is to put on Christ (Gal. 3:27)
it is to be saved (1 Pet. 3:21).
Romans 6:3 lets us know that baptism places us where the benefits of
Christ's death can be applied to us. That benefit, of course, is the
blood of Christ. Romans 6:4 continues to show that in being baptized,
with Christ and into his death, the same power that raised up Christ
from the grave will cause us to then be in NEWNESS OF LIFE!
Paul goes on to show that in that very obedience, in baptism, the old
man of sin is ended (v. 6) and that we then are freed from sin (v. 7).
If that opens the door for a FALSE charge that we believe in "water
then so be it! To cover the range of requirements, it must be said that
we believe and teach FAITH salvation (Heb 11:6), REPENTANCE salvation
CONFESSION salvation (Rom. 10:10) as well as BAPTISM salvation (1 Pet.
3:21). The point is that Christ must be obeyed, and that baptism is
and neither one of these facts can be denied by the Word!
FRIENDS, we have dealt with five warnings sometimes given by honest and
sincere people who are MISTAKEN as they warn others about the churches
of Christ. The salvation of your soul is too important for you to rely
on the words of others, whose instructions may or may not be true.
That's why we urgently encourage you to visit and investigate the
church of Christ, comparing all things by your own study of God's Word.
Then, AND ONLY THEN, can you really
know! Why not begin your serious investigation today, and plan now to
the church of Christ at the next scheduled service?
Go To: Elijah
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