The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans 16:16)

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 declare unto you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), we will make plain God’s Plan of Salvation and expose many of the false doctrines being taught 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 for you 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 sect," 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!

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 is inspired by God and profitable..." (2 Tim. 3:16).  Since Genesis 1:1 is inspired just as is Revelation 22:21, and all in between, then the child 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 showing in Galatians 5:4 that if one tried to be justified by the law he was FALLEN 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 Heb. 1:1-2).
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.


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 know of no faithful Christian who would think that he had faithfully worshiped 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 regulated WORSHIP!  He has NOT legislated concerning music and the playing of it purely for entertainment and pleasure, and in circumstances where worship is not the intent. But he has regulated HOW He is to be worshiped, stating that man’s worship must be IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH (John 4:24). That word "truth" demands, by John 17:17, that worship must be in keeping with the Word of God. Indeed, it can't be OF FAITH unless it is by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).
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 (FRUIT OF LIPS); and James 5:13 (SING). Surely no one can miss the action the Lord has repeatedly specified, and it is highly significant that the Lord repeated this over and over in the New Testament, whereas the mechanical instrument 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, hath 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 generic.
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 was 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 any kind of music, for music is generic.  But He specified the music.  READ carefully Ephesians 5:19 and you will notice the specific music God 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 or 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!


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 to 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 blood (Acts 20:28). Acts Chapter 2 throughout the end of the Bible is a record 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 known today as ‘the Church of Christ.’ That's the one Campbell started!" You know, that point would remain to be seen. The seed is the Word of God (Luke 8:11). At any time, in any land, and among any people, if a man plants only that seed, and no doctrine of men, the fruits will be just what God intended, 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 God's Word, or after the opinions of men?  That examination is all we ask of men who want and love truth. And they will see that we teach not Campbell, but Christ!
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 work, has erected this historical marker in Revere, Massachusetts: "Church of Christ - 1710. Meeting house of the Church of Christ in Rumney Marsh. Erected in 1710, Thomas Cheever, the first settled minister, died December 27, 1749.  Aged ninety-one years." This is very important, considering that Alexander Campbell first reached these shores in 1809.  Campbell was born in 1768, and there had been a congregation of the church of Christ in Massachusetts for at least 76 years before his birth!


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 denominationalism.
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. 16:18).
3.  D has human heads.  UDC has Christ alone as its head (Eph. 1:22-23).
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 (Eph. 5:23).
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 (Phil. 3:16).
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).


Because of the widespread belief of Luther's doctrine of "salvation by faith ALONE," this is perhaps the most frequent point discussed by men as they "warn" against the churches of Christ. Of course, baptism is the item 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 record in Genesis 3 as teaching "FRUIT DAMNATION." Most clearly, Moses there shows us that Adam and Eve fell due to their eating a bite of fruit! Do we believe 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 obeying 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 obeying the 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) and 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 salvation," 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 (Acts 17:30),
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 required, 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 visit the church of Christ at the next scheduled service?

Go To: Elijah the Prophet

Return To Home Page