A commenter to this site, Tom, asked some questions under my page “About the Author”, since I was going to briefly respond and found my words concise and yet not brief, then I decided to post. Tom asks,
“Why do the Churches of Christ reject the biblical way of salvation? Why do they not allow women in leadership roles since the bible clearly teaches that women are to be elders, pastors, evangelists etc. Why do they reject musical instruments in worship since the New Testament clearly says we are to use them. I agree with them on rejecting Calvinism.”
Thank you Tom for these good questions. I hope to challenge you and others to reconsider your positions on these matters briefly. I also encourage you to search and reconsider these in more detail throughout these articles.
The Way of Salvation
The churches of Christ strive to teach the complete instructions for salvation. We are saved by the Gospel (Rom. 1:16, 1 Cor. 15:1-4). The Gospel is the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4). To be raised into salvation into a new life, we must come unto salvation by faith and confession of that faith (Rom. 10:9-10). Then, we must certainly submit to the Gospel by dying to our sins, being buried by baptism into Jesus’ death, and then we are resurrected into a new life (Rom. 6:1-7, Col. 2:11-12). Notice how baptism is not a work, but we do submit to being buried since we can neither bury nor baptize oneself. Also see that for us to be resurrected then we must die to our sins and be buried. There is no other baptism mentioned here since there is only one baptism by which Christ washes His Church with water (Eph. 4:5, 5:26).
Women Teaching Men
We must all agree that God knows more about the roles of men and women than men and women do in any society. Christ’s Spirit teaches that women are to teach women and children (Acts 18:26, 1 Cor. 11:5, 2 Tim. 1:5, Titus 2:3-4). Women do have leadership roles in the churches of Christ. Yes, the Spirit of Christ reveals that women are not to speak in the Assembly (1 Cor. 14:34ff) and that woman are not to teach or have authority over men (1 Tim. 2:11). Men are only presented as church elders, who pastor the church (1 Tim. 3, Titus 1, 1 Pet. 5). Why? Because God gave man this birthright and Adam was not cheated directly in the beginning (1 Tim. 2:13ff). This does not mean that women are inferior. For the Scripture says, “there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28b). Neither does this mean that women must take a lower role in society nor that any past social boundaries on women were consented by God. Society and culture tell us that it is wrong to observe this God-given birthright for men to lead and to teach that women should not have authority over men. Christ tells us that this is all according to His Word. What else can we do but obey Christ? Any bigotry and prejudice here is directed toward Christ and His followers rather than toward women. If someone chooses to stand before God disclaiming Christ’s Words revealed through His Apostles and prophets, then that is that person’s choice. May they reconsider their position.
Musical Instruments in Worship
The Old Testament form of worship is one of shadows and types of the New Testament, the Testament of Christ. Therefore, the OT forms of worship, the OT references in Revelation, and the OT worship (and the polygamy) of David are not New Testament worship. As Christ’s words are perfect and so is the worship that He established, Christians cannot add to them or take away (1 Cor. 4:6, Gal. 3:15, 2 John 9). Christ’s ideal music for worship is only singing in the New Testament with a big emphasis on speaking via understandable words (1 Cor. 14:15). Therefore, Christians being obedient to Christ’s covenant engage only the perfect, sublime, purest, and most edifying form of music by singing words. In conclusion, Hebrews 13:15 defines “the offering of praise to God” being “the fruit of the lips”. Christians can no more change Christ’s words for “the fruit of the grapevine” in the Lord’s Supper than”the fruit of the lips” in praise to God. Instruments, incense, foot-stomping, and unknown languages offer no praises to God, but rather offer amusements of the flesh and the display of talents by pride. For these reasons and more, we find that adding to Christ’s perfect form of music for worship is sinful and hinders the very heart of meaningful worship.