When the Almighty adds a believer to the church of Christ through his/her baptism into Christ, the new member will want to tell his/her friends about this new and exciting commitment (Acts 2:47; Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:1-4). The friends or family of this new member may grimace or scowl at hearing their loved one becoming a member of the Church of Christ. Such a situation yields a question by those who are not members of the church, but rather an inductee of some Protestant denomination, “Why did you chose that church?” (Or something similar to this question). The Church of Christ holds a reputation for being different than most church groups. Some even claim the church is a cult, but the church simply possesses standards and teachings uncommon and unwanted in popular Christianity, even though the teachings and standards are biblical (1 Peter 3:15-16; 1 Peter 4:11).
Disparaging remarks and unapproving looks of friends and family can cause a new Christian to be discouraged, some might even lose faith, but Christ said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matt. 10:34-36). Christ never promises that doing what is right and following the truth will be popular; in fact, He says the exact opposite (John 15:17-23). No one knows the persecutions of doing right better than Paul, and he wrote by inspiration, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). As sad as it may be, Christians should not expect the world to love their choices to follow righteousness (1 Peter 4:3-4). How should the Christian address this question of “Why the Church of Christ,” so the world may understand the choice to become a member?
A simple question yields an obvious answer. The Church of Christ is the church of the Bible in the New Testament. “The churches of Christ salute you” (Rom. 16:16). The churches/congregations of Christ are mentioned in the Bible, which means they are ordained of God, established and organized by God’s authority. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” (Col. 3:17). Paul explains that a true Christian does everything in Christ’s name (i.e., by His authority). Believers are not doing everything in Christ’s name if they are living and worshipping in a church that bears the name of men, and likewise, established by men. If one cannot find the name of a certain religious organization in the Bible, how can one be sure that the group was established and approved by God? Paul warns the Christians at Corinth not to be followers under any name that was not Christ’s name. “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul” (1 Cor. 1:11-13)? The Corinthian Christians were calling themselves after the name of Paul, Apollos, and Cephas (Peter), but Paul rebukes and reminds them that they were baptized under the name of Christ, not Peter, Paul, or Apollos. Why should believers call themselves after the name of John the Baptist, or Martin Luther, or a name designated by John Wesley, Joseph Smith, or John Calvin? Followers of God should not be baptized in their names nor are these men the head of the church that Christ established (Mat. 28:19-20; Eph. 5:23-24). Would you rather be a part of the church proclaimed in the Bible or one decreed by the committees of men?
Some may challenge the idea that the Church of Christ today is the same “churches of Christ” mentioned in the Bible (Rom. 16:16). Truly, just putting a name found in the Bible on a building does not solely make the assembly biblical; there is more to it. The assembly must likewise teach the gospel message taught in the 1st century! The Church of Christ today teaches the same doctrine, uses the same names and terms, practices the same worship, and follows the same authority, as commissioned in the 1st century doctrine, so how can it not be the same church? Any skeptic who challenges the church in claiming their doctrine or practices are not found in the Bible have been unsuccessful. Many doubters challenge the doctrine of God in trying to discredit the church as the church that Christ established, but for two thousand years, not one person has been able to do it!
- UNDERSTANDING GOD (Part 4: Why Did God Create So Much Division?)
- UNDERSTANDING GOD (Part 3: Did God Create Sin Just to Condemn Humanity With It?)
- UNDERSTANDING GOD (Part 2: Can God Create A Rock So Big That Even He Cannot Lift It?)
- UNDERSTANDING GOD (Part 1: Why Create a Condemned World?)
- WINE AND THE BIBLE (Part 5: Arguments in Defense of Social Drinking)