The churches of Christ say that only members of the Church of Christ Jesus are going to Heaven. Because the Church of Christ says this, many are mistaken in asserting that the churches of Christ mean that only those with name “Church of Christ” on the building’s sign are going to Heaven. After going to dozens of congregations of the churches of Christ, being a minister of the Church of Christ, a student under professors at colleges of the Church of Christ, reading numerous books and articles from preachers and leaders within the churches of Christ, this Christian has never heard that only the “Church of Christ” denomination, only “church-of-Christers”, or only those with the sign “Church of Christ” on the building are going go to Heaven. My brethren in the churches of Christ do not make that judgment. God makes that judgment of who is going to Heaven. “The Lord knows those who are His,” (2 Tim. 2:19).
Reports of such judgments come repeatedly from others outside of the churches of Christ, but not from the teachers, evangelists, and elders of the churches of Christ. This claim that “They think that they are the only ones going to Heaven” has come from spiteful, malicious, and antagonistic preachers and leaders of denominations. They do not desire their members to look into the Scriptures and see the Church that Christ built and bought with His blood (Acts 2:41-47). This is the plea of the churches of Christ. Such churches may boast of working together despite their differences, but their differences are traditional and man-made rather than a matter of God’s Word. Certainly, they can compromise their own traditions, opinions, and inventions. Christ’s Church cannot compromise His words.
If someone must do something to join a denomination that a believer does not have to do to join the Church of Jesus Christ, then the denomination is adding to Christ’s words for being adding to the Church. If there joining a denomination is the same as joining the Church, then all Christians would be a part of the same denomination. Must one be a member of your church or a denomination to go to Heaven? Must one be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ to go to Heaven? Which church should we be a part of, a denomination or the Church of Jesus Christ? My brethren believe and are convinced that all true believers can and will only be members of the Church of Christ.
The churches of Christ are solely built upon the Rock of the confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Because Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone and Head of the Church, His Church finds Jesus Christ to be infallible and so are His words given to His Apostles and prophets in the Scriptures. Christ’s churches will not compromise Jesus Christ for the traditions of men to reject the command of God (Matt. 15:7-9, Mark 7:6-9). My brethren in the churches of Christ believe that the Scriptures teach that Christ only saves the Church of Jesus Christ, only Christians. Ephesians 5:25-27 says,
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.“
Clearly those of the Church are saved, but are they the only ones? The Scriptures teach that all the saved are baptized and added to the Church (Acts 2:38, 41, 47). When one is baptized, then one is added to the Church by the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13, cf. 1 Cor. 6:11). As Ephesians 5:26 shows, Jesus washed those in the Church with water, and Ephesians 4:5 says that there is only one baptism. That is the baptism Jesus commanded in His resurrection that Christ said is to be made a disciple and to be saved (Matt. 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16).
Now, are those of the Church of Christ the only ones going to Heaven? Yes! The Church is saved and not any denominated body of believers, but the one and only Church of Jesus Christ. This is the Church that Christ established and bought with His own blood (Acts 20:28). This is the Church that is cleansed of their sins by the blood of Christ (Eph. 1:7; 1 John 1:7; Matt. 26:28; Rom. 3:25, 5:9; Col 1:20; Heb. 9:12, 14, 13:12, 20; 1 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 1:5). Ephesians 4:5 says that there is only one body, which Ephesians 1:22-23 says that this is the Church. Because of this Scriptural teaching that those of the Church of Jesus Christ are the only ones saved and going to Heaven, then when a member of the Church of Christ preaches this truth, then some have seen the opportunity to attack the churches of Christ and claim that they are an exclusive sectarian denomination and a borderline cult. Why? Because we refuse to bear a denominational name or form a man-made organization. These Christians bear the name of Christ in being “Christian”, and therefore Christians are the Church of Christ. By the name “Christians”, there are no dividing walls of denominational titles in the Church.
Therefore, the churches of Christ do oppose being a denominations, which to denominate means to divide into divisions into named groups. This sectarianism is condemned in Scripture and those who practice such will not inherit the kingdom of Heaven (Gal. 5:20, 1 Cor. 1:10). My brethren in the churches of Christ seek not to be a denomination and do not claim to be a denomination, but only members of the Church of Christ. The churches of Christ refuse to be divided by denominationalism and divisive names. Therefore, the Church carry the name of God and Christ such as “Church of Christ”, “churches of Christ”, “Church of Jesus Christ”, “Christians”, “disciples of Christ”, and so on with Scriptural names for the Church and members thereof. Most congregations affirmatively and almost unanimously use the name “Church of Christ”. Christians do not set ourselves apart from any other scriptural congregation based on what scriptural name that they have on their building sign.
My brethren stand against the leaders and teachers of denominations, and plead with all proclaimed believers to be Christians following only Christ through His words. Because of our confident stance upon the Scriptures as our sole authority for doctrines and practices, churches of Christ are diligent to “observe all things” that Jesus instructed (Matt. 28:20). The churches of Christ strive to not go beyond the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9). Because of this, then the churches of Christ are judged and scoffed for our love of God and our obedience to His commands (John 14:21, 23; 1 John 5:3, 2 John 6). Let it be clear that members of all denominations are welcome to be Christians only – apart from the denominations. All may visit and enter the assemblies of the churches of Christ. All are welcomed to be our honored guests. The churches of Christ are at their service.
All Christians are in the Church of Christ. Let it be clear. Only members of the Church of Christ are going to Heaven.