Peter preaching to the church

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).

Denominations Divide

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 (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 to abandon the denominations and join as one church of Christ.

False Unity

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 and they are contrary to the 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). That is why denominations originally form. 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. Which church should believers be a part of: a denomination or the church of Jesus Christ? The Bible revealed that the Lord adds believers to the church of Christ when they are baptized in Jesus’s name (Acts 2:41, 47; 1 Cor 12:13). Now, are those of the church of Christ the only ones going to new life in paradise? Yes! Jesus only saves faithful Christians — those who have joined the church that Christ built.

Unity in Christ

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 He rose from the dead and gives us eternal life through resurrection too (Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 6:12–13).

Because Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone and Head of the church, the church finds Jesus Christ to be infallible (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. That is why most congregations of Christ’s church almost unanimously use the name “church of Christ.”

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 of divided groups, and plead with all believers to be Christians only 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).

Invitation

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. If we are honest, we will all seek Christ. All guests are welcome in the assemblies of the churches of Christ. The congregations of Christ are about making disciples 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 Clear Characteristics of the Church of Christ,” or online video, “Searching for the Truth.”