And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XII, Number 51 December 27, 2009
In this issue:
This article will offend some people. That is not our intent. However, it happens whenever people love the darkness of error more than the light of truth (Jno 3:19-21). We must learn to love truth more than anything else, especially when it rebukes and exposes our sin, because that is God’s way of calling us to repentance and salvation (2 Tim 4:2-4; Acts 2:37-39).
Denominationalism is not from God. Jesus built one church, which is His one body, “the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Matt 16:18; Eph 1:22-23; 4:4). The gospel of Christ condemns religious division: Christ is not divided (Jno 17:20-21; 1 Cor 1:10-13). One is not following Jesus Christ when he practices what Jesus opposes. If God approves of denominationalism we would find clear and convincing Scriptures that teach it. We do not.
Christians are disciples of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26). A disciple learns and follows the will of His Master – Jesus (Lk 6:40). Since Jesus never taught, endorsed or encouraged denominationalism, one is not following Jesus when he engages in it; he is sinning against Christ (Col 3:17).
Jesus adds saved people to His church, not to denominations (Acts 2:47). Christ does not count among the saved those who teach and practice the errors of denominationalism; the Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim 2:16-19).
If there are saved people – Christians – in the denominations, these conclusions follow:
1) Denominationalism makes the gospel plan of salvation unnecessary. Denominations do not preach and practice the Bible plan of salvation (believe, confess faith, repent and be baptized, Mk 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-38; 8:5, 12, 36-38; Rom 10:9-10). If there are Christians in denominations then people can be saved without obeying the gospel (which is false, Matt 7:21-23).
2) Denominationalism makes the church of Christ unnecessary. The New Testament teaches the church is essential to God’s eternal purpose of redemption (Eph 3:10-11). God is glorified “in the church by Christ Jesus” (Eph 3:21). Yet, the denominations say one can be saved without being a member of their denomination. True enough, and therefore, denominations admit they are not essential. When one is saved the Lord adds him to the church, the blood-bought body of the redeemed (Acts 2:47; Eph 5:23).
3) Denominationalism makes contending for the faith futile and factious. If Christians are in denominations should we not embrace them as brethren instead of contending against their error (Jude 3-4)? The error of “Christians in the denominations” silences the Bible call to contend for the faith and to hold fast the pattern of sound words. Instead, we are told there are many faiths and God accepts them all (2 Tim 1:13; Eph 4:5).
4) Denominationalism makes fellowship with error acceptable. The New Testament teaches Christians not to have fellowship with error (Eph 5:11). To suggest that false churches practicing error contain saved people (Christians) is a denial of every verse that warns against having fellowship with error (2 Jno 9-11; Gal 1:6-10; 2 Cor 6:14-18).
There are good people in the denominations, but there are not saved people in them. The gospel of Christ saves the lost, not the doctrines of error perpetuated by religious division and human creeds (Rom 1:16-17; Col 2:8; 3:17; 2 Tim 2:15). The Lord adds those who are saved to His church, not to the denominations of men (Acts 2:47).
The church of Christ...
Joe R. Price
The church of Christ…
* Belongs to Christ, Matt 16:18
* Is composed of the saved, Acts 2:47
* Was purchased by the blood of Christ, Acts 20:28
* Is the body of Christ, Eph 1:22
* Is the fullness of Him who fills all in all, Eph 1:23
* Is not a denomination of believers, Eph 4:4; 1 Cor 1:10
* Is the house of God, 1 Tim 3:15
* Is the kingdom of God, Matt 16: 18-19
* Is the temple of God, Eph 2:19-22
* Makes known the manifold wisdom of God, Eph 3:10
* Is essential to God’s eternal purpose in Christ, Eph 3:11
It seems you cannot turn around these days without being warned about something that someone says is harmful. One Maine legislator wants to make his state the first to require cell phones to carry warnings they can cause brain cancer (“although there is no consensus among scientists that they do and industry leaders dispute the claim”, FoxNews.com). U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials issued a warning at a Miami news conference Monday against imported toys that might be dangerous to kids (as opposed to domestic toys that might be dangerous to kids??) as well as those that violate intellectual property rights laws (FoxNews.com). It is truly amazing we have survived this long in the face of so many dangers everywhere about us!!
And yet, the warnings given us by the God of heaven and earth are routinely ignored, rejected and blasphemed as myth and foolishness. Charges of fear-mongering are leveled against those who announce the divinely-inspired warnings given in God’s word (Ezek 18:20; 2 Ths 1:8-9; Rev 21:8).
God exists, sin is real and judgment is coming (Acts 17:30-31; Heb 9:27; 2 Cor 5:10). Salvation from sin is obtained in the Son of God, Jesus Christ (Jno 8:23-24; Rom 6:23). Sinners are saved by God’s grace, through their faith (Eph 2:8-9). Heaven is prepared for the people of God (Jno 14:1-3; Heb 4:9-11). Hell is prepared for those who “do not know God” and “do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Ths 1:8-9; Rev 20:12-15; 21:8).
It may well be observed that until one believes that danger exists he will not give serious attention to the warnings that are issued. The danger of sin is real. The warnings contained in God’s word are intended to save us. We must heed the warnings!
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 01/02/2010
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA