The church are those bought with the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). Those in the church are the only ones saved (Acts 2:41, 47; Eph 5:25–27). Only members of the church of Christ Jesus are enrolled in heaven (Heb 12:23). By the way, all children are safe in Christ (Matt 19:14). Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6).
Because the churches of Christ proclaim this biblical teaching, many are mistaken to assert that the churches of Christ mean only those with name “church of Christ” on the building’s sign will receive eternal life. The churches of Christ are made of imperfect people and they are not perfect in themselves. Only Christ perfects Christians having repented of their faults and strengthened through their weaknesses.
Churches of Christ
Did Jesus build His church as He promised (Matt 16:18)? Did He purchase the church with His blood (Acts 20:28)? Jesus certainly did. For the church of Christ is a part of God’s eternal purpose (Eph 3:9–10). Where is that church? Look to the Scriptures. Christ established and bought the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). Christ cleansed the church of their sins by His blood (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).
As a minister trained by loving evangelists within the church 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 the only ones going into eternal life in paradise. The churches of Christ do not make that judgment. God decides who are His people — the church of Christ. God makes the judgment of who is going rise and live in the new paradise (2 Pet 3:13). “The Lord knows those who are His” (2 Tim 2:19).
In the Scriptures, no one was baptized into the Baptist church, Catholic church, evangelical church, or any man-made denomination or sect. No one was baptized solely into a local congregation, but they were baptized into one body — the church of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 12:13).
Believers were only baptized into the church of Christ in the Bible. The Scriptures do not assure the salvation of those baptized into denominations. Paul taught against divisions according to names — even good names like Paul, Cephas, and Apollos other than Christ (1 Cor 1:10–13; Gal 5:19–21). Paul revealed that divisions are destructive, and those who cause and maintain such division will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (Gal 5:19–21). Jesus prayed that Christians be one (John 17:20–21). Did His prayer fail? Certainly not! Christ is the Head of the one church (Eph 1:22–23; Col 1:18). The plea of the churches of Christ is not to denominate and join as one church of Christ.
Interdenominational churches may boast of working together despite their differences, but their differences are apparently trivial opinions and man-made traditions or they would not forfeit them. Certainly, ecumenical churches can give up their own traditions, opinions, and inventions. No Christian should divide over opinions (Rom 14). However, Christ’s church cannot compromise His words, His teaching, His commands.
If someone must do something to join a local church that a believer does not have to do to join the church of Jesus Christ, then those church leaders are adding to God’s written Word. Joining a denomination is not joining that church that Christ built. The Scriptures provide complete teaching for every good work (2 Tim 3:16–17). Adding and annulling parts of God’s Word is the foundation and source of divisive sectarianism (Gal 1:6–9). If joining a denomination is the same as joining the church, then all Christians would be a part of the same denomination. However, joining a denomination is not joining the church that Christ built.
Must one be a member of a denomination to receive eternal life? No. Must one be a member of the church of Jesus Christ to enter into eternal life? Yes. Must believers be a part of a denomination or the church of Jesus Christ? The Bible revealed that the Lord adds believers to the church when they are baptized in Jesus’s name (Acts 2:41, 47; 1 Cor 12:13). Now, are those of the church of Christ that Christ built the only ones receiving eternal life in paradise? Yes! Jesus saves faithful Christians who have joined the church that Christ built.
The Head of the Church
How can all churches unite? The church of Christ is solely built upon the Rock who is Christ by the confession of faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Matt 16:16–19). Churches unite in Christ, that Jesus rose from the dead, and He gives eternal life through His resurrection (Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 6:12–13).
Because Jesus is the chief cornerstone and the head of the church, the church finds Jesus Christ as having authority over His church (Matt 28:18). Jesus is sinless (John 6:63; 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 1 Pet 2:22). Therefore, Jesus’s words are infallible, and He gave those words to His Apostles and prophets in the Scriptures (John 15:20, 16:12-13, 17:8). The apostles and prophets wrote the Scriptures for Christians to perceive the apostolic insight of God’s revelation (Eph 3:3–5). Christians can unite in the meaning of Scripture and obey Jesus’s commands without dividing over opinions. Christ’s church cannot compromise Jesus Christ and God’s commands for man’s traditions (Matt 15:7–9; Mark 7:6–9).
In Ephesians 4:5, Paul taught that there is only one body. That one body is the church (Eph 1:22–23). Churches of Christ proclaim this church urging all believers to leave the named divisions and man-made church governments behind and let all believers unite in Christ by His Word. In the Bible, the apostles organized churches with elders leading each congregation (Acts 14:23; 1 Tim 3:1–7; Titus 1:5–9). The churches of Christ assemble to learn, sing, pray, break the bread, and give to collection every first day of the week (1 Cor 11:17–34; 14; 16:1–2).
Paul and Barnabas divided over application of the way to spread the Gospel, but they remained united in the Gospel, the revealed message of Jesus Christ (Acts 15:36–41). Christians may differ and do regarding application of the Scriptures, but Christians rarely disagree concerning the meaning of biblical texts.
Entering the Church
The Scriptures teach that Jesus saved the baptized and added them to the church (Acts 2:38, 41, 47; 1 Cor 12:13, cf. 1 Cor 6:11). When the Pharisees rejected baptism, they rejected the purpose of God (Luke 7:30). As Ephesians 5:26 depicts, Jesus washed those in the church with water, and the church unites in only one baptism as one body (Eph 4:5).
Jesus commanded His disciples to make disciples and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:18–20). Peter revealed, “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Peter also taught, “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). Therefore, Peter refused to withhold water and commanded them “to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:47–48).
In His resurrection, Jesus commanded His disciples to make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit (Matt 28:18–20). The early church affirmed that Jesus revealed, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:15–16). Christ saves believers through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:1–4). Therefore, true believers confess that Jesus is the resurrected Lord (Rom 10:9–10). Believers do not reject Jesus’s resurrection; be saved by being raised with Christ from baptism (Rom 6:4–7; Eph 2:4–6; Col 2:12–13).
The Church that is of Christ
The churches of Christ refuse to bear a denominational name or form a man-made organization. Christians bear the name of Christ by being called “Christian.” By the name “Christian,” the church is “of Christ.” Christ tears down the dividing walls (Eph 2:14–17). The church carries the name of God and Christ in descriptions such as “church of Christ,” “churches of Christ,” “church of Jesus Christ,” “Christians,” “disciples of Christ,” and so on with biblical names.
The churches of Christ are congregations of Christians who have set to be the church of Christ as found in the Bible. These congregations are not perfect, and the churches in the first century were not perfect. Like the first century, churches of Christ are made of imperfect people who are only perfected by the death of Jesus Christ (Col 1:21–23).
Some churches will continue to struggle in their immaturity, but those who are truly believers will unite in love for God, Christ, and one another (Eph 4:11–16; Col 3:14). Christ makes Christians holy, blameless, without spot, and blemish (Eph 5:27; Col 1:21–23). Therefore, the churches of Christ diligently strive to unite and not to divide by man-made doctrines and divisive names. Churches in the first century struggled with divisions and false teachings too (1 Cor 1).
Making a Stand
The churches of Christ believe the Bible that Christ only saves the church of Jesus Christ (Eph 5:25–27). Congregations of Christ stand against the leaders and teachers who divide and denominate. The church pleads with all believers to be Christians only and to follow Christ through His words. Because of our confident stance upon the Scriptures as the 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 not to go beyond the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9). Because of this, many judge the churches of Christ and scoff at the church’s love for God, love for one another, and obedience to His commands (John 14:21, 23; 1 John 5:2–3; 2 John 6).
The churches of Christ welcome all believers to unite. Members of all denominations are welcome and urged to become Christians only — apart from denominationalism. If you disagree, we lovingly and kindly plead from the Scriptures to find and join the church of Christ. Those who are honest will all seek Christ. All guests are welcome meet with churches of Christ. The congregations of Christ are focused on the mission of making disciples by baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit and teaching them to observe all things that Jesus commanded (Matt 28:19–20).
Christ has built the church and bought the church with His blood (Matt 16:18; Acts 20:28). The Lord adds repentant baptized believers to the church of Christ (Acts 2:41, 47; Eph 5:25–27). Only members of the church of Christ are enrolled in heaven (Heb 12:23).
Find out more about the churches of Christ via this article, “Ten Characteristics among Churches of Christ,” or online video, “Searching for the Truth.”
If the churches of Christ strictly follow the instructions of Jesus, why is there so many differences in the various churches of Christ? I belonged to one and couldn’t understand why we drove by 3 churches to go to our little congregation of 20. The narrow road is not that narrow. Seems to me this contradicts unity and oneness of mind. If the churches pride themselves with following the commands of God, why do they not obey the command at acts:15,28,29? It reiterates the command to abstain from BLOOD. Is taking a blood transfusion considered abstinence? You all guessed it. I’ve been studying with true Christians. They are called by Gods divine name: Jehovah’s Witnesses. No one else is teaching the truth! Peace.
If we remain in pursuit of being churches of Christ, we can be saved according to Jehovah’s Witnesses even if we do not convert to them. Yet, if we convert to Jehovah’s Witnesses, we will reject that Jesus is God in the flesh, and Jesus said, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).
Our plea is that you reconsider. By your sincerity and honesty, Christ spoke so that you can understand Him without a hierarchy interpreting the Bible for you. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:14-16).
Why do the JWs have numerous congregations in one building? There are thousands congregations of Christ who are united in the doctrine of Christ. You must also consider that all because the sign says “church of Christ” that does not mean that they are a church of Christ. Some denominations have assumed the names “UCC” and “ICC” in the last 60 years. The former group openly denies inspiration of Scripture and more, and one man formed the latter group as he was the head of a shepherding movement.
Also, churches of Christ are not perfect. Jesus warned the churches of Asia to repent or they would not be saved (Rev 2-3). Those were struggling churches of Christ. Should we construct a man-made hierarchy to interpret the Bible for us or to form another translation so that we can be united? What do the Scriptures say? What you are rejecting is the ability of believers to be united in Christ by just following the Bible.
Lastly, there is life in the blood, and we can give it to help others. Blood transfusion is not eating blood. The churches of Christ do not eat blood as the Scriptures command. This is a profaning and disregard for the image of God and life that God has given through blood (Gen 9:4-6, Lev 17:11-14). The blood of Christ is for our atonement (Matt 26:28, Rom 3:24-26). He is the express image of God (Heb 1:2-3). Jesus is the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2:9).
We stumbled over here by a different web page and thought I might check things out.
I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to checking out your web page again.
LikeLiked by 1 person
A problem that is run into though is the judgment that a different name must mean a different body. Or someone that holds a differing view over a practice must be outside the body of Christ. The theme of the Bible is the Gospel in its purity – from that we are to agree on. However, we are not once called to be flawless “perfect” throughout the entirety of scripture.
There are several Churches of Christ that do not agree on certain issues and have had splits over – popular choices being dress, certain hymns, the age-old kitchen in the church dispute and many other discrepancies. God is grieved when there is division, but are the disagreeing members now parts of two different bodies? Or part of the body of Christ? Are we only a part of the body of Christ when we have everything 100% right? If so, then this negates Christ’s sacrifice.
We are called to be deliverers and guards of the gospel – each time we are warned of false teachers and heretics it is in regards to the gospel throughout scripture. When you corrupt the gospel message (Christ physically dying on the cross for the sins of mankind so man may be granted salvation) then that is the point you cannot be of God. I find no where in scripture where we are called to have anything outside of the gospel 100% correct. Why? Because we cannot be 100% correct.
To sum up my point, I would say that if one has obeyed the gospel message of Christ then they are added to the Body. If you have the name Church of Christ, Baptist, Methodist or just Church on Main Street this does not remove you from the body. I say that we are to follow Christ out of love – the burden of the law is no longer over our necks because Christ fulfilled the law (Acts 15 for reference). We are never called to perfection – we are called to be made complete by Jesus Christ. Only one church is going to heaven. There is only one body, one gospel, one Spirit. I say that just because you have different letters on your sign and disagree on matters not concerning the gospel does not mean you are of a separate body.
I very much agree with you. Clearly, opinions or deductive doctrines are not a reason to divide (Rom. 14). The non-institutional churches do not apply to the unity of the Church as they keep dividing among themselves. That is like pinning divisions in Corinth and among false teachers in the 1st century on all of the New Testament Church. We are autonomous. Those who divide are of their own working and do not represent the whole.
Yet, as you say the Gospel, I agree that Christ’s Law is greater than Moses’ Law. We are commanded by Christ to observe all of Christ’s commands (Matt. 28:20). Therefore, I believe and know that we can follow 100% of the Gospel. I find that our unity starts with the 7 ones in Ephesians, which is all encompassing of Christ’s doctrine. Without the doctrine of Christ, we do not have the Father or Christ (2 John 9). Also, we may be built as God’s house, the Church, with doctrine, and yet destroy it by selfishness from within. Methodism or Baptist confessions of salvation are without being raised with Christ, and these are foreign to the doctrine of Christ. Galatians 5 says that religious partyism is sinful, and those who practice such will not inherit heaven. I do not find that everyone among the denominations believe in divisive denominationalism. Such denominations and their names are man-made and selfish. Such denominations are not conforming to Christ’s death (Phil. 3.9-11), or obeying the Gospel of Christ (2 Thess. 1:7-9). The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ are essential to the Gospel of salvation (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Therefore, we must repent dying to our sins, being buried with Christ in baptism, and be raised with Christ into the newness of life (Rom. 6:1-7). This is when we are forgiven and saved by grace (Col. 2:12-13, Eph. 2:4-10).
Thank you for the comment. I hope you get other responses.
May God bless your studies,
I have a couple of questions. If I was baptized by not by a Church of Christ elder or minister would I have to be baptized again in order to join the local Church of Christ? If so then you do not accept any other church at all and that makes you a denomination. Also do you meet or associate with an other churches in your local area? If not why? We are saved by the same grace, the same blood from the same Savior.
No, we do not believe that you have to be baptized by one of our ministers or elders. We have never believed that. Yet, everyone in the Bible were baptized into the church that Christ built; no believer in the Bible was baptized into a denomination. No one was baptized into the Catholic, Baptist, or community church (rather than the church).
Yes, being raised with Christ from baptism, then we are saved by the same grace. We fellowship with other churches of Christ who worship in spirit and truth. We believe very strongly in New Testament assembly (1 Cor 11:17-34, 14, and 16:1-3). That is where all Christians can unite. You can understand why we do not pray “Hail Mary” or participate in entertainment worship (Matt 6).
We plead with all believers to become one in truth and continue restoring NT Christianity in its divine purity. We must set aside opinion and matters of interpretation.
I rather be a part of the body of Christ than a Church or church of Christ. You have been using both the upper and lower case of church in your comments. Please use the upper case for the place that you worship. My real reason for being here is to try and understand my nieces husband. He is a member of Church of Christ and he will not enter another church if he can help it. To me that means that he thinks that he is above any other church. My niece will come to our church for special events but he will not.
We do have a Church of Christ in our town that takes part in events that other church take part in. We have a community Thanksgiving service the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and they have no problem taking part in it. The music is on cd and yes they do use instruments on them but they sing anyway.
These are just my thoughts. One last thought is that when we get to Heaven God is going to ask us ‘Why did we make it so hard? I made it ease but man (all men and all churches) have made it hard.” Just my thoughts.
Yet Law itself is Spiritual in nature. It was in God’s spirit, long before it was on earthly “tablets”.
Phil, I’m not “disagreeing”. Would like clarification. There are those who see “spiritual” as being above law. Christ and Paul both addressed that issue. James says fresh water and salt water should not come from the same well. Love your neighbor as yourself is liberty and law. If the Spirit lays on one’s heart to give a certain amount as an offering, by faith we will be obedient. But the basis of even the Spirit’s movement has it’s basis in “law”. Christ said no adultery, as God it was old law. As Christ it was new love and liberty. Christ demonstrated His love by obeying the Father. The outcome is the same, the motive different. Christ said He didn’t come to set aside but to fulfill. People twist scriptural words and make them into flesh. The spirit staid on man-made rules to save will kill itself. Romans 16:16 is an example. Christ instituted the LS, it’s one of the most divisive elements of worship we have. Miracles are spiritual in nature, but there is still a “law” (scripture) behind them. Gotta love the word law. It and eis. How could 2, 3 letter words cause so much “trouble.”
Not at all! Those who live by faith are united whether they are in a the denomination of the coC or any other denomination. It’s about the inward transformation and the new creature that happens as one surrenders to Christ. That’s it!
The NT teaches that we are to become “Spiritual,” not scriptural. Not once is the term, “scriptural,” mentioned in the Bible. However, the term, “Spiritual” in mention over and over again throughout the Bible. Being “Scriptural” is the same as “legal,” and we know what happens when one become legalistic. Anyone can live by the scriptures w/o any Spiritual transformation occurring. What good is that, except for the outward appearances? The Pharisees certainly would love the word, “scriptural.” It fits right into their mindset.
Jesus said that His words are spirit and life. Those words are recorded in the Scriptures and on the hearts of Christians. Jesus was Scriptural and not a legalist.
Kicked me too wallyks 2000? dw
We are saved by grace through faith. There are many in the Denominations who practice faith and understand the power of grace. These are the one who experience heaven.
A believer is added to Church when saved by grace (Acts 2:38, 41, 47). A person is added to a denomination separate from being saved by grace for a belief as a denominated part of the body. Denominating is contrary to scriptural unity and is not a part of Christ’s message.
Must be a mid-west phrase. To this day many who raised me hold such a view. Romans 16:16 is elevated as law. The movement is waning. It is a beautiful name. So is The Church. 2000 years ago folk understood. The lines have blurred. It was explained to me that in the census of the early 1900’s the church of Christ(Romans 16:16) was chosen as a corporate name to define the separation of Independent Christian(MI) and Disciples of Christ from the non-MI churches.
Good article Scott. I too have never heard a sermon or anyone else from the congregation I attend or any other congregation I know of ever say that we are the only ones going to heaven. I hear it from those on the outside all the time though.
Yep. Thank you.
One must look at history and in the 1950s and early 1960s this was a prevalent view within the Church of Christ – they were the only saved church; not Baptist, Methodist, etc. I would agree that the church has moved off of this viewpoint to the scripturally correct one that it is belief in Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection is what saves people.
1 John 3:24 is excellent. Thou shall love the Lord thy god………Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. Fulfillment of all the commands. Such reveals the Spirit living in and through us. Forgiving, from the heart. The fruit of the Spirit. Eph.2:8ff. The problem still exist in what we call God’s commands v. the continued making of law. If we put Paul behind Christ would we have as many problems as we do today? For example, if we look at the love behind the Lord’s supper and the cross, rather than trying to make law? To make law out of mercy is to be disobedient and in that individual’s life is to quench or deny the Spirit and live in the death of the law. Such a mind is not seeing Christ, but setting self on the throne, and leading others to do the same. As Christ said to Peter get the behind me, satan, they seek to establish an earthy kingdom. If not alive to the Spirit they don’t see, but the end result is the same. Rev. 2 and 3 speaks of love and God’s will for them to repent. Yet the account of Simon the sorcerer reminds us that unlike much teaching today, forgiveness on God’s part is not obligatory.