Where is the Church of Christ Today?

Which is the right church? Who created church? Must someone attend church services for God to save that person? Has the church of Jesus Christ died or ceased to exist? Did Jesus intend for so many different churches to exist? Are most churches a part of the church of Christ as a whole? Anyone seeking these answers can find that Christ’s words answer them. People can recognize Jesus’s church today.

The Definition of Church

What is a church? The word “church” is from the Greek word ekklesia and the word’s original meaning “called out” comes from its etymology. However, the word means assembly or congregation. The original idea consists of those people called out of their homes for the purpose of meeting together. churches of ChristThe  writers of the Scriptures use the word is used to refer to a Christian congregation (Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 1:2), a meeting of a congregation of Christians (1 Cor 11:18), all who follow Christ (Matt 16:18; Eph 5:23), a rioting pagan mob (Acts 19:32, 41), or an assembly of civil government (Acts 19:39). These references reveal the meaning of church in the first century.

The Creator of the Church

The church is no accident or invention of men. The apostle Peter reveals that Christ’s church are the people of God (1 Pet 2:10). The church of Christ is the whole of everyone who God has saved and they have obeyed the Gospel through baptism in Jesus’s name. By baptism, the Lord adds being added to the church by God Himself (Acts 2:41, 47; 1 Pet 4:17). Jesus commanded belief and baptism to be saved (Mark 16:16). Those who believed and were baptized were added to the Church. Acts 2:41 and 47 records, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them […] And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Christ built His own Church (Matt 16:18). His church should bear His name since Jesus calls the Church “My church.” The apostle Paul referred to “the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). The church of God is the church of Christ, who is God.

The Institution of the Church

The words of Christ teach that the church is the greatest institution ever. The Church is from Christ and established by Him. Like any building, this spiritual building’s architect, Christ, has a design in mind. This building is the spiritual house of Christ, Christ’s Temple, and it is made of “living stones,” which are Christians (1 Pet 2:5). This Temple, the Church, is served by priests, who are all Christians (1 Pet 2:5; Rev 1:6). Its cornerstone is Christ and its foundation are the apostles and the prophets (1 Pet 2:7; Eph 2:20–21). Make no mistake there is only one Temple, the Church, and this spiritual building has a blueprint that is presented by the words of Christ through His apostles and prophets in the Bible.

Do churches today follow Jesus’s design and blueprint for His church? Are today’s churches man-made rather than made by Christ? Is there still only one church of Christ (Eph 1:23; 4:4; 1 Cor 12:12)? Can you recognize Christ’s one church today? Let’s answer this after further establishing Christ’s purpose for His church.

The church was no mistake, and the church is not a parenthesis or an accident as many corrupt preachers teach today. The church being the temple of Christ can absolutely not be an accident. Christ’s words teach that His church is a part of God’s eternal purpose and that the church is His eternal kingdom for which the gates of Hades will never prevail (Dan 2:44; Matt 16:18; Eph 3:8–11; Col 1:13; Heb 12:28; Rev 1:6). The church is not dead, will not die, and has not died. The false belief that the church is an accident affirms that Christ had to settle for the church. They say that Jesus did not accomplish His mission in establishing His eternal Kingdom when He first came. Now, one may agree that the idea of Jesus failing is severely flawed, but most believers of Christ do not realize that their preachers and teachers believe and teach this. Many allow and even accept this belief when they accept the most common beliefs regarding the last days when they teach about Christ’s kingdom is coming after a rapture, which includes the belief that the church is an accident and, or parenthesis before Christ’s kingdom really comes. Put this belief and its teachers to the test. Most teach and believe that the church is not the eternal kingdom of Christ, and in this belief, they contradict the Jesus who they claim to serve.

The Kingdom of the Church

Before the church, Jesus taught to pray “Your kingdom come” (Matt 6:10) and the kingdom did come. Jesus revealed, “There are some here of them that stand by, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God come with power” (Mark 9:1). The Holy Spirit says that “He,” Christ, “made us to be a kingdom” (Rev 1:6). Christians have been translated into this kingdom (Col 1:13), and they have received the kingdom that cannot be shaken (Heb 12:28). See, Jesus’s eternal kingdom is the church. Jesus’s kingdom has come. The Bible teaches that the church is the everlasting kingdom of God and it is the “holy nation” (1 Pet 2:9). Who can withstand Christ? No one can (Dan 7:14, 27). Who can stop the church? No one can. For the kingdom is everlasting and it will break in pieces and consume all the nations (Dan 2:44; 1 Pet 4:11; 5:11; Rev 1:6). Lets be clear though that the church has no physical standing army for the church itself does not battle against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12), and still the church will consume the nations for it is Christ’s kingdom that has already come (cf. 2 Cor 10:4–6).

There is only one King over the eternal kingdom. “And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, ‘All authority has been given unto Me in heaven and on earth'” (Matt 28:18). There is one man who is head over all things in the church, and that is Christ (Eph 1:22–23). Jesus is the Head, and to separate Jesus from the church or the head from the body is to attempt to spiritually decapitate Christ. Tragically, such attempts are the unintentional result of ignorance and false faith. Now, Christ is the Head of the body, the church. Jesus is also the High Priest and Cornerstone of the Temple of Christ (Eph 2:20; Heb 9:11). See, Jesus is the Head and His words will judge the world on the last day (John 12:47–48), and only His words are spirit and life (John 6:63). Jesus said that He would be ashamed of those who are are ashamed of His words when He comes back (Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26). Jesus gave these words to His apostles who wrote them in the Bible and His words will never pass away (Mat 24:35; John 15:20; 17:8). These words of Christ make up the New Testament of the Bible. The New Testament is Christ’s Testament, which is written so that you can know that you have eternal life and so that you can be complete and equipped to do every good work (2 Tim 3:16–17; 1 John 5:13). No one needs creeds or traditions of men and creeds of churches. We need just the Bible.

The Organization of the Church

In Jesus’s church, there are no special priests known as “Reverend Fathers,” “High Priests,” “Senior Pastors,” “Archbishops,” or “Pope.” Jesus said, “Do not call anyone your father” (Matt 23:9). The government of the church in the Scriptures is very simple. Each congregation is self-governed with no earthly headquarters not even locally. Each congregation was established with elders (Acts 14:23). These elders were only men who met specific qualifications (1 Tim 3:1–7; Titus 1:5–9). These elders are the church pastors not the preachers. For the Bible only mentions once “pastors” in Ephesians 4:11, and the only ones in the Bible who pastor were the elders (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:2–3). These elders are neither to lord over a congregation nor to stray from the words of Christ. See, Christ governs the church by His Word. The church is not the authority for beliefs and practices, but she is the pillar and ground of Truth who upholds the Word of God (1 Tim 3:15).

The Salvation of the Church

How does Christ feel about the Church? What most people do not realize about the church and salvation is that Jesus is the Savior of the church (Eph 5:23). Jesus came to save the lost, but that does not mean those who do not obey the Gospel are saved (2 Thess 1:7–9). He gave His life for the church out of love (Eph 5:25). Did Christ die for everyone? Though God wants all to be saved (1 Tim 2:4), He died for “us,” Christians, when Christians being ungodly sinners believe and obey the Gospel then these are joined to the church of Christ (Rom 5:6–10). The church is Christ’s greatest purchase. Christ bought the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). This shows the great value of the church and that it was no accident.

Christ cleansed the Church by the washing of water with the Word (Eph 5:26). There is only one washing of water in the New Testament, and this is the immersion of believers in water in the name of the Lord (Acts 10:47–48; Eph 4:5). “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Jesus said that those who believe and are baptized will be saved. At baptism, one’s sins are forgiven (Acts 2:38). It is by baptism, an act of faith, that we are raised with Christ, saved by grace, and appeal to God for good consciences (Eph 2:4–6; Col. 2:12–13; 1 Pet 3:21). The church is described in 1 Corinthians 6:11 as “you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” Know this that there is only one baptism to enter the Church (1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:5), and this baptism is water baptism neither Holy Spirit baptism nor any other spiritual baptism, because there is only one baptism, which is the one that Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:18–20.

The Work of the Church

What does the church do? The Church is not a stagnant mass of people. The work of the church is to glorify God especially in worship (Rom 15:5–6; Eph 3:21), to evangelize (Matt 28:18–20; Eph 3:10–11; 1 Tim 3:15), to edify itself (1 Cor. 14:26; Eph 4:16), to do benevolence to everyone who is truly in need (2 Cor 9:12–13; Gal 6:10), to restore those who are sinning (Gal 6:1–5; Jas 5:19–20), and to discipline the openly sinful person and oppose the divisive person especially false teachers (Rom 16:17; 1 Cor 5). The church makes disciples and teaches everyone to observe all things that Christ has taught (Matt. 28:18-20). Ask those preachers among the denominations if it is important to the observe all things that Christ taught? Most will teach that this is not that important to them and they will credit Jesus’s with forgiving those who so not repent from neglecting this command. May God bless the church in her mission to glorify Him in all these things.

The Assembly of the Church

A characteristic of the church, that is lost among many churches, is the assembly. The Church’s assembly is the weekly meeting that is in the name of the Lord on the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). This assembly, “The assembly,” is the most important meeting in existence. It is to be kept decent and orderly in the purposes of worship, edification, and encouragement. This is what the words of Christ teach through Paul in 1 Corinthians. The assembly is generally quiet with exception of men speaking one by one unto the congregation or the congregation speaks to one another with one accord in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Acts 4:24; Rom 15:6; 1 Cor 14; Eph 5:19; Col 3:16). The assembly centers on the Lord’s Supper, which is the great memorial meal of the death of Christ consisting of eating unleavened bread representing Christ’s broken body and drinking unleavened fruit of the grapevine representing Christ’s blood in the new covenant (Luke 22:17–20; 1 Cor 11:17–34). The Lord’s Supper is commanded to be kept every time the church assembled on the Lord’s Day (1 Cor 11:20, 33). The assembly also consists of the purest music of congregational singing (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16), the complete teaching and reading of God’s written Word (1 Cor 4:17; 14; Col 4:16; 1 Tim 4:13), and the honest prayers unto the Father (Gal 4:6; Eph 5:20; Phil 4:6). There is no other meeting like it until the Lord comes. This is the highest meeting of the Church being the greatest institution to have ever been established and still many desire to add to the Assembly rituals of men and entertainment as though Christ’s Assembly is not complete already and it is not entertaining enough as Christ established it.

The Unity of the Church

Christ’s church is neither “Protestant” though protesting sinful traditions of men; nor “Catholic” though “catholic” in being composed of saved souls throughout the world; nor “Orthodox” though correct and right in following the Truth in Christ’s Word. The church is not to be divided that is denominated “that they may all be one” as Christ prayed in the shadow of His own cross (John 17:21). The Holy Spirit also instructs the church that “there be no divisions [denominations] among you; but that you be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Cor 1:10). Clearly, the unity of the church is in observing all of Christ’s commands. Those practicing “factions, divisions [denominations], parties” will not inherit the kingdom of Heaven (Gal 5:20), and therefore such has no part in the churches of Christ. The Spirit also instructs the church that “you be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; doing nothing through faction and conceit” (Phil 2:2–3). The church is one in the Faith and was established in the first century apart from all dividing sects of centuries past. There should only be one body and fellowship of the church apart from denominations. We are can all united again by putting aside creeds and traditions, and observing only the words of Christ given to His apostles and prophets. There should be no misunderstanding of the Scriptures since the Scriptures are complete and the Holy Spirit revealed every word (1 Cor 2:13).

The church is “giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3). The church is united in there being one body the church, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God the Father (Eph 4:4–6). These seven ones are very important and foundational to unity though the Church is taught to observe all things commanded (Matt 28:20). Notice each one. There is only one church with only one faith, with one belief consisting of right and wrong, and consisting of teachings and practices according to God’s Word. There is only one Spirit guiding them in the Truth of the one Faith. There is one hope to reach one eternal life in Christ Jesus. There is only one Lord who has saved the church by His death on the cross. There is one baptism into the forgiveness of sins and to enter the church. There is one God and Father of us all who has established the church as a part of His eternal purpose (Eph 3:10–11).

Finding the Church

Does this description of the church resemble the churches that you know? Are you a member of the church of Christ? It is clear that only those of the church of Jesus Christ are the saved. The Scriptures are clear that the church is alive and well, and no one can destroy it. The Spirit presents in the Scriptures that the one church is to be sought today not by any division in creeds or names of men, but only by what the Scriptures establish. Will you seek to be a part of the church of Christ or a part of a church established by man and his philosophies?

About Scott J Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
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37 Responses to Where is the Church of Christ Today?

  1. Masa says:

    JESUS never ever said HE would build HIS “church” and HE is NOT coming back for “a church” a plethora of religious denominations, be they Christian or not.
    It seems soooooooo hard to drop “church” from ones vocabulary..so how about a re-write and instead use elessia, called out ones, His Body, His Bride..INSTEAD.
    Get the FOUNDATIONS right.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
     Church – The word that changed Christendom

    This may come as a surprise to some people but there is no such thing as a CHURCH
    (institution) in all of Scripture! Oh yes indeed, the word CHURCH is found therein about 100
    times; but the English word CHURCH should NOT be there at all. That word is not a
    TRANSLATION of the Greek word ecclesia; but it is substituted for a translation of the
    Greek word ecclesia in every place it appears in the NT Scriptures with the exception of three
    instances; all three found in Acts 19:32, 39, and 41 (more about this later).
    ————————-
    When Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my ecclesia,” (Mat 16:18) the translators
    purposely used a word identifying a building rather than the people. What He said was that
    upon the great truth confessed by Peter, that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God,
    Jesus would build His assembly, His gathering, or His community of redeemed people. Jesus
    did NOT say that He would build a church and He did not do such a thing! The ecclesia of
    Christ is NOT a church! All churches are the works and creations of men. Jesus did not set
    up a religious institution of any kind. The ecclesia (ek, “out of or from,” and kaleo, “a calling
    or to call”) is His called out, obedient people, wherever they are! The ecclesia (or
    e-k-k-l-e-s-i-a) is NOT an organization or institution.

    In 1604 for example, King James I, who was not only the King of England, but head of the
    Church of England, commissioned fifty-four Hebrew and Greek scholars to give
    English-speaking people the official version of the Bible. The king had always been interested
    in the Scriptures and was somewhat of a scholar in his own right. He appointed Richard
    Bancroft, soon to be made the Archbishop of Canterbury, as chairman and “chief overseer” of
    this committee.
    The “King James pattern of church” was already well established in the ecclesiastical orders
    and offices of the Church of England, so it was relatively easy to follow the instructions of the
    noble King James who held many titles, one being “Defender of the Faith”.

    So, the stage was set to give the world a true English translation of the Bible. But the world
    never had a chance to receive a pure translation because everything was stacked in favor of
    one that would place the emphasis on the institutional Church and its ruling officers.
    Bancroft, as well as Erasmus, were the architects of the King James Version translation and
    they were far from being saints. The translators were obligated to fit the translation with the
    Anglican agenda and beliefs without any conflict between church and state. King James
    knew “no bishop, no king” and he ordered a translation which would make his control over
    the church and the people less difficult.

    When the King James Version of the Bible was created, James actually gave instructions not
    to change the word church in order to reflect its actual meaning. This is not a conspiracy
    theory. This is documented history! Bancroft subsequently, with the King’s approval,
    devised 15 rules which the translators were ordered to abide by in their development of what
    became known as “the Authorized Version;” a cunning ploy that would eventually make all
    other versions “unauthorized.” Notice rule number three: “The old Ecclesiastical Words are to
    be kept; i.e.,the word Church not to be translated congregation or community, etc.” It was
    clear to the translators what “ecclesiastical words must be kept” and you can be sure that they
    would have no qualms for choosing “ecclesiastical words” that would fit the best interest of
    the powerful Clergy/Church, one of which was this rule not to tamper with these terms (i.e.
    church). Again, this is an historical fact. Many other words were translated differently as
    well so as to agree with the Anglican Church.

    So again, the King James translators retained, under orders from the King and the Archbishop
    certain “ecclesiastical words,” including “church.” Such words do not give the true meaning
    of the Greek. “Church” does not translate ecclesia. English words such as “congregation”
    and “assembly” and “community” do. Again we ask, why were these words not translated?
    Why were the people deprived of the true sense of these words? What would the Church of
    England, and subsequent “churchmen,” have to gain by keeping the people ignorant of the true
    meanings of these words? We have given you a hint to the answers to these questions already
    in this article. It is so obvious.

    Bibles are not translated by atheists. If they were, maybe they would be more accurate. But
    Bibles are mostly translated by Christians who profess to adhere to the tenets of Christianity
    and who ALREADY KNOW WHAT THEY BELIEVE. And as they translate, THEY WILL
    PUT THEIR BELIEFS INTO THEIR TRANSLATION.
    The word “church” is not of God. It is the product of man’s own theological imagination
    ===================================================================
    Although Tyndale was very careful about who he trusted, he was finally “tricked” by a man
    whom he thought was his friend, but turned out to be one of the King’s (Henry VIII) spies.
    One day, Tyndale accepted an invitation to this “friends” home for dinner. When he arrived,
    there were other men waiting who grabbed Tyndale and tied him with ropes.

    He was taken to a huge medieval fortress in Antwerp, and cast into a filthy and rat infested
    dungeon. He was beaten and mistreated and was held there for a year and a half.

    The crimes he was charged with, among other things, was for teaching that people should be
    able to read the Truth of the Scriptures and to read it in their own language.

    His pursuit of a fair and honest translation not only put him at odds with the Clergy, but his
    translation brought down the wrath of the Clergy and it cost him his life and for that they
    labelled him a “heretic” and finally succeeded in having him burned at the stake. All this,
    because he dared to challenge the meanings of certain ecclesiastical words; all because he
    translated the Scriptures from Greek and Hebrew into terms that more closely identified with
    their original meanings!

    Tyndale refused to say that he was wrong. He defended his answers by quoting from the
    Bible, which he had given his life to study and translate. In October 1536, he was declared
    guilty and was sentenced to death.

    On the day of his death, he was taken to the place of execution. First he was chained to a
    wooden stake. Then he was surrounded up to his waist with straw and wood sprinkled with
    gunpowder. Church officials were sitting in their seats of honour to watch. Many hundreds
    of townspeople had also come.

    The order was given and the hangman first strangled Tyndale, and when he was dead started
    the fire that burned his body.

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  2. Scott: This is not a tactic. You accuse me of trading Christ’s words for money and you permit slander from others as “interesting points”. Tracy charges that I think women must suffer and you permit this? He places me as a “con” or “hyper-con” and you say nothing. He slanders me claiming that I condemn people as a divisive elitist and you permit this. Tracy belittles the scriptures that teach that 2 or 3 witnesses prove the Truth and you are don’t say anything? He calls God’s providence a “cop-out” and you are fine with that? You say “I totally agree”.

    Randy: I’m sorry, but just as you, everyone is entitled to state things in their own words. Long as he isn’t cussing and things, I will allow whatever he wishes to say. Same with you. Far as him referring to you as an elitist – this was my impression as well. It does seem that you see a ‘certain’ elite as saved – the 99% of the church of Christ you deem right but all other denoms lost. So, in that sense, yes I agree with Tracy.

    Scott: You assert that about me “when you’re being paid to teach something, its sort of hard to consider you might be wrong. So, Scott may not have a choice if he wants to keep a paycheck.”. Evil slander! I will never disregard Jesus Christ for silver. Tell me that the hand of God should be upon such baseless accusations. He makes unsound points off subject concerning following examples of Jesus walking from place to place as though we are inconsistent. You and he assert divisions when we are not divided and though not perfect. You assert that we in the churches of Christ somehow consider ourselves perfect when we do not. You assert that we’ve judged the souls in the denominations as though those babes within are guilty of their hierarchies’ sins. How should I react to such mischaracterization? What you call it when some charges you and your family of evil without proof? You want me to permit this?

    Randy: I addressed this already some. But, again I ask will there be any other groups in heaven? Will any baptist or any other groups be there?

    Scott: Which Baptist do you speak of? Those who condemn the churches of Christ? Those who reject Christ’s words concerning baptism? Those who keep the Lord’s Supper from their congregations on the Lord’s Day? Those who remove baptism from the Gospel gutting the death, burial, and resurrection? Those who require the sinner’s prayer or some other man-made mode of salvation? Those who place their so-called “pastors” up like Jesus Christ above their elders (if they have any)? Those who add believers to their churches by voting? Those who promote denominationalism and accept other bodies of contrary beliefs including paido-baptism? Those who would rather be refreshed by robed singers making a show out of their worship? Those who would not permit their congregations to sing as Christ instructed free from meaningless and vain noise?

    Randy: Now , we are where the rubber meets the road. I agree with this statement. I do NOT see a sinners prayer and such in scripture. My whole point, is there are divisions within the church as Christ, too. This is well documented. How do you handle this? You say this is only 1% of the church of Christ. Please cite where you got the 1% information from. Believe it or not, Tracy and I probably agree much more with you on doctrinal matters than you realize. Tracy come from the coc as he told you. In fact a VERY hyper-con church of Christ. However, he sees the problems and hypocrisy as do I and many others are seeing.

    Scott: I must address such Baptists as I do the erring Corinthians that as long as the Corinthians being a church “of Christ” had some “immature” and “babes” (1 Cor. 3), and some dead (1 Cor. 11:33ff), and yet the Corinthians were baptized in Jesus’ name (1 Cor. 1:11-13), they were thus washed being sanctified and justified in Jesus’ name (1 Cor. 6:11), and these were added to the one body by the one Spirit by this baptism (1 Cor. 12:13). Those few “immature” and “babes” among the Baptists, who were baptized in Jesus’ name for salvation to be added His Church, are certainly my brethren. I desire that they come out from under the oppression of such denominations.

    Randy: I agree

    Scott: Should we also question the Jews rejection of Jesus? Or permit the interpretation of the United Church of Christ to accept homosexuality and abortion while disregarding the deity of Christ? Does God not judge such infidelity?

    Randy: I agree.

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    • You agree and yet still consider me an elitist?

      You know that I do not consider the Church of Christ according to error, division, or splits. I have and will have nothing to do with such disputes unless I pursue helping those engaged in false teaching and unchristian behavior.

      Why not add “United” Churches “of Christ”, Baptists, and “International” Churches of Christ to the splits among the churches of Christ? Did they not emerge from us? Some have even claimed that the Mormons “went out from us”. Add also the Catholics and the Orthodox, who went out from us. Are these all splits in the churches of Christ or are they no longer of the Church of Christ?

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      • I agree on “some” points from you. The conservative church of Christ do have splits. Best I can tell, you are what I would refer to as an elitist. You believe that everyone else is hellbound BUT the group you are with, right? When I say group, I am referring to the church of Christ. I cant comment much right now – still sick with the flu.

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        • I agree with much of the teachings of the church of Christ but NOT at the point where I am willing to say that the church of Christ ‘group’ are the ONLY saved people. Although, I disagree with the sinners prayer and other things, perhaps at baptism, God still, according to Col 2:11-12 does a work on the Baptist folk and others. who fail to understand baptism as the church of Christ.

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          • How are the Baptists raised with Christ, who did not die and be buried with Him to have eternal life?

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            • Some Baptist and other groups believe that one must be baptized to be added to the Body. So, these you except?

              Regarding the ‘purpose’ of baptism, you are contending one must understand that God acts in baptism before baptism ‘takes’ ???

              If one must understand part of Acts 2:38 ( for remission of sins ) before God will add them to the body, remitting their sin … does this also apply to the ending of Acts 2:38? In the church of Christ, there is some debate over the “gift of the Holy Spirit” … if one must understand “for remission of sins” before baptism is valid how can one NOT understand rest of the verse? In other words, if you can demand part of the verse be understood before God will forgive sin, then I have just as much right to demand that one understand “ye shall receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit” before baptism is valid. To be consistent, it would seem so.

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            • Randy: “Some Baptist and other groups believe that one must be baptized to be added to the Body. So, these you except?”

              Scott: Yes, I accept that they were immersed into the Church of Christ.

              Randy: “Regarding the ‘purpose’ of baptism, you are contending one must understand that God acts in baptism before baptism ‘takes’ ???”

              Scott: I don’t understand this question.

              Randy: “[…] In other words, if you can demand part of the verse be understood before God will forgive sin, then I have just as much right to demand that one understand “ye shall receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit” before baptism is valid. […]”

              Scott: There is no debate in the since of division or argument. There are differing inferences.All churches of Christ recognize that those baptized in Jesus’ name are washed, sanctified, and justified by the Spirit being born again by the Spirit (1 Cor. 6:11, John 3:5, Titus 3:5). I’ve never heard of a single congregation bearing the name of “church of Christ” who have rejected this.

              There is also no rejection of the gift of the Holy Spirit. I agree with Alexander Campbell that “the gift of the Holy Spirit” is the general giving of the Holy Spirit including the signifying gifts, the indwelling, and the sanctification and seal of the Spirit. Those immersed in Acts 2:38 may not have fully understood the gift of the Spirit either. Others may discuss differences for that I give a little attention to their reference scriptures. Concerning the indwelling, I agree with the general indwelling to be literal and also only by the Word. The mode of indwelling being personal is certainly of God’s own understanding. What are we to say about the indwelling of the Word, Christ, and God the Father? Yet, I know they also must dwell in me, and that is what matters.

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  3. Scott. I mean no ill will at all nor am I slandering you. Okay, let me ask you this,for the record. Do you contend that denominations are lost? To put it bluntly, are Baptist lost? Just because we disagree, doesn’t mean I am condemning you. If so, could I not make that argument as well in regards to me? This is the same tactic you used on my blog when Tracy addressed you.

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    • This is not a tactic. You accuse me of trading Christ’s words for money and you permit slander from others as “interesting points”. Tracy charges that I think women must suffer and you permit this? He places me as a “con” or “hyper-con” and you say nothing. He slanders me claiming that I condemn people as a divisive elitist and you permit this. Tracy belittles the scriptures that teach that 2 or 3 witnesses prove the Truth and you are don’t say anything? He calls God’s providence a “cop-out” and you are fine with that? You say “I totally agree”. You assert that about me “when you’re being paid to teach something, its sort of hard to consider you might be wrong. So, Scott may not have a choice if he wants to keep a paycheck.”. Evil slander! I will never disregard Jesus Christ for silver. Tell me that the hand of God should be upon such baseless accusations. He makes unsound points off subject concerning following examples of Jesus walking from place to place as though we are inconsistent. You and he assert divisions when we are not divided and though not perfect. You assert that we in the churches of Christ somehow consider ourselves perfect when we do not. You assert that we’ve judged the souls in the denominations as though those babes within are guilty of their hierarchies’ sins. How should I react to such mischaracterization? What you call it when some charges you and your family of evil without proof? You want me to permit this?

      Which Baptist do you speak of? Those who condemn the churches of Christ? Those who reject Christ’s words concerning baptism? Those who keep the Lord’s Supper from their congregations on the Lord’s Day? Those who remove baptism from the Gospel gutting the death, burial, and resurrection? Those who require the sinner’s prayer or some other man-made mode of salvation? Those who place their so-called “pastors” up like Jesus Christ above their elders (if they have any)? Those who add believers to their churches by voting? Those who promote denominationalism and accept other bodies of contrary beliefs including paido-baptism? Those who would rather be refreshed by robed singers making a show out of their worship? Those who would not permit their congregations to sing as Christ instructed free from meaningless and vain noise?

      I must address such Baptists as I do the erring Corinthians that as long as the Corinthians being a church “of Christ” had some “immature” and “babes” (1 Cor. 3), and some dead (1 Cor. 11:33ff), and yet the Corinthians were baptized in Jesus’ name (1 Cor. 1:11-13), they were thus washed being sanctified and justified in Jesus’ name (1 Cor. 6:11), and these were added to the one body by the one Spirit by this baptism (1 Cor. 12:13). Those few “immature” and “babes” among the Baptists, who were baptized in Jesus’ name for salvation to be added His Church, are certainly my brethren. I desire that they come out from under the oppression of such denominations.

      Should we also question the Jews rejection of Jesus? Or permit the interpretation of the United Church of Christ to accept homosexuality and abortion while disregarding the deity of Christ? Does God not judge such infidelity?

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      • I am using my moms PC right now while visiting here and do not have time to address this as I need to. I will, however, do so tmrw, Regarding the term hyper-con, I use that too….just short for hyper-conservative. Thanks for your comments on my blog, I will address this in greater detail tmrw. Again, please do not take things personal as if I something personal against you, because I dont. I just disagree with you on some things.

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  4. Additionally, I’d add that not all conservatives are ‘ultra’ – ‘hyper’ in the conservative views. I know of one fellow blogger who told me that he believed other denominations would also be in heaven, including the Baptist. This man preaches at a conservative church of Christ and has been a fellow blogger with you as well. I also know of another conservative church of Christ preacher who preaches against denominations but wouldn’t say whether they are hell bound, He left that to God. Perhaps you could take up where Matt @ The 7 Ones left off. He read Todd Deaver’s book but never ever refuted anything written by Todd. The reason being Todd cited well-known church of Christ men who disagree over doctrine and used their own writings against them. My point being: there isn’t total unity within the conservative church of Christ. In fact, its denominated as other Church groups.

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    • I’m not putting up with anymore of your slander, Randy. Why are you asserting that I think everyone under the hierarchy of denominationalism is condemned? No one says that. I speak of false teachers and the denominational hierarchies that support them and imprison so many.

      Why do you look for evil and assert such on me to condemn me? Why do you judge me as though I have judged? Why are you legalistic against legalism and yet so legalistic about your standard of grace?

      Repent the judgment is coming.

      My hope is in Christ. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake” (Matt. 5:11).

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  5. Totally lost me, Scott. I have not see where I nor LJS denied Jesus as God. In fact, I see Jesus in the Old Tetamant, too. Anyone who denies Jesus is not of God. When I say ‘church of Christ’, I refer to the conservative church of Christ, not those other groups you cited. The conservative church of Christ are NOT united on all doctrine. This has been published by a few conservative preachers like Todd Deave where its clearly shown.

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      • Scott, I have not slandered YOU. I just have a few disagreements. As Tracy told you on my blog – RELAX. I am not personally coming at YOU at all. I agree with much of what you have on your blog. I am guess Tracy does too, since he come from the church of Christ. Again, I mean no ill will at all towards YOU. Please stop trying to make this something personal because thats not me at all. My whole beef is with how the church of Christ put on this front that they all are united in doctrine, when, in fact, they are not. Call it 1% or whatever, but this is true. I still want to know where you got the 1% from because Iv read tons of writings over the years and it sure seems greater than 1%. I doubt I comment again today, I have a touch of the flu or something. I got the flu shot yesterday….maybe a reaction to it.

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  6. Lord Jesus Saves † says:
    “The body is far from united! Who really has everything exactly correct? I don’t believe anyone does. I done believe the body of Christ will ever be fully united until we are raised from the Dead and come face to face with Jesus”

    Re: I agree. The church of Christ are NOT united in all doctrine, even though they sometimes state so. As Tracy noted on my blog, there are at least 25 sects in the church of Christ, all who claim to be the ONE TRUE CHURCH.

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    • LJS and Randy,

      If you reject the words of Christ, you are not of Christ and not Christian.

      Answering “Is Jesus God?”, the United Church “of Christ” states, “Jesus is not God, but God is like Jesus. Life is full of mystery and much we cannot explain. But in Jesus we see that, at the heart of it all, God’s love pulses and often surprises us, turning many a grim situation upside down.
      While the church has debated the doctrine of Jesus’ divinity, the New Testament is not doctrine. And the Bible is not theology: it’s an anthology of stories about God often culminating in twist endings that bring O’Henry to mind. In these narratives we see God imperfectly, ‘as in a mirror dimly.’ But we still see” (Green, William C. “Is Jesus God?” United Church of Christ. 21 July 2010.).

      Yet, why do you not express the standards of the gospel? Are you ashamed of Jesus’ words (Luke 9:26)?

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  7. I totally agree, ‘lord Jesus saves.’ Even within the church of Christ, there is more splits than they care to acknowledge. I was almost, at one time, convinced to become a ‘member’ of the church of Christ; but after much investigation, I come to realize that today’s church of Christ is just another denomination, although I’m certain Scott will disagree. In fact, I consider the church of Christ closer to the bible than any other ‘Church.’

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    • How are there splits within a united body? There is none. Those who split from Christ and from His body are no longer of it.

      I do not refer to any other body as a denomination, who does not claim to be. Yet, you would be so gracious to such denominations when a body differs in belief and separates from their denominational government that you would grant them to not be a “split”. Or who are you not professing to be of the Church of Christ Jesus as you just stated and yet are you a believer and not split?

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      • The body is far from united! Who really has everything exactly correct? I don’t believe anyone does. I done believe the body of Christ will ever be fully united until we are raised from the Dead and come face to face with Jesus. Then there will be pure Love and perfect Unity. While we are here on Earth we need to strive for Unity through Love with Jesus as our foundation!

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        • You see a lack of unity of doctrine as a lack unity within the body? Did not the Spirit of Christ correct the Corinthians for their errors and yet some were still of the body and we were of Christ? Who is of the body of Christ but those of whose Head is Christ?

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        • As from before, “What is “it”, “the man-made church”? What part does this article have in such a church? Do you have mercy or judgment for this church that you speak of?”

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          • The church institutions. The denominations are all man-made. Even the Church of Christ denomination is man-made. It is those in the Church, the “called out” that is the real true Church! There are ‘called out’ in different denomination. Those who truly know the Lord and are walking in the Spirit.

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            • I agree that the “United Church of Christ” is a denomination and the “International Church of Christ”. The UCC is evil, corrupt, and anti-Christ.

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            • I was not aware the United and International Church of Christ don’t believe Jesus is the son of God and deny his deity. What I do know there are sincere children of God who love the Lord and have total faith in Him yet do not believe the same interpretations of the word as those in the CofC. Does the Lord condemn us because we do not see eye to eye on interpretations or is the problem on how we treat others who disagree with what we believe is truth, by condemning them as if they are not really Children of God. The law of liberty is greater because Our faith is in the Lord yet we love others. I have never stopped loving those in the CofC but I do know for a fact that when I was in the conservative Church of Christ we were taught that those who did not believe the same teachings in the Church were condemned. I know that teaching is false. There are children of God in different man made denominations including the CofC. It has to do with one’s heart and our love for Jesus and others, walking in righteousness.

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