Do You Belong To A Denomination, A Bible Church Or The Church Of Christ?
DO YOU BELONG TO A DENOMINATION?
I have many friends and family members whom I dearly love that belong to different kinds of denominational churches. Each of these churches profess to be Christian but such denominations did not come from Christ. The Bible does not mention any such denominations. The Bible teaches us that Christ built only one church (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:5; 5:23) which consists of every Christian (Acts 2:47; 1 Corinthians 12:13). These Christians would congregate in various locations around the world. These congregations were not a part of different denominations but were all churches of Christ (Romans 16:16). There were not many different kinds of Christians. They were all just Christians and members of the church of Christ.
Christians who want to follow the Bible will not join themselves to a denomination (1 Corinthians 1:10-13). Denominations are manmade divisions. They are not of God. Christians who are in denominations must leave them and join themselves to a congregation of Christians that is no part of a denomination.
Jesus prayed for the unity of His people (John 17:20-23). He is the head of the body which is His church (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23). Denominations are a distortion and perversion of God’s design for His church. Imagine one head with many different kinds of bodies. It is an ugly monster. This is not what God wants. God wants us all to just be Christians. The Bible teaches us that to become a Christian one must believe the gospel of Christ, repent of his sins, confess his faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, and be immersed in water for the remission of his sins (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 8:35-39; 22:16; Romans 10:8-17; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21). In baptism, one is united with Christ and His church (Acts 2:41, 47; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:26-27; Colossians 2:12). I plead with each one of you to come out of denominationalism and just be a Christian.
WHAT IS A BIBLE CHURCH?
Many churches call themselves a Bible Church. They claim to adhere to the Bible, but they are not the church you read about in the Bible for at least two reasons.
First, most of them are accepting of denominational churches, largely made up of persons received from denominational churches and hold to the same doctrines as denominational churches yet refer to themselves as nondenominational (not affiliated with any denomination) when in fact they are interdenominational (drawing from many different denominations). The church of the Bible was undenominational (opposed to denominationalism). Christ built only one church and He did not want it to be divided into many different kinds of churches built by men (Matthew 16:18; John 17:20-23; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4; 5:23).
Second, most of them do not teach and practice what the Bible says about what one must do to be saved and therefore their members would not normally be saved persons, but the Bible teaches that the church is made up of all those who are saved (Acts 2:47; 20:28; Eph. 5:23). They teach that baptism is a mere symbol of salvation and not a part of coming to Christ but that is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), necessary to salvation (Mark 16:15-16; 1 Peter 3:20-21) and the act of faith by which one comes into Christ and His church (Acts 2:38-41, 47; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:26-27; Colossians 2:11-13).
A true Bible church is not a part of any denomination nor does it consist of denominational persons and it calls all such persons out of denominationalism. A true Bible church is not made of unsaved persons who have never obeyed the gospel of Christ in baptism. A true Bible church is a congregation of saved persons, one of the many churches of Christ that make up the one church Christ came to build (Romans 16:16). Are you a member of a true Bible church?
IS THE CHURCH OF CHRIST A DENOMINATION?
There are those who believe that the church of Christ is just one of many other denominations and that it was founded by Alexander Campbell in the United States in the 19th century but this is not what the Bible teaches nor is it consistent with the historical record of the church of Christ.
Jesus promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18). The first congregation was founded in Jerusalem by the inspired preaching of the gospel of Christ through the apostles of Christ (Acts 2). As the gospel went forth many other churches of Christ were established throughout the world (Acts 1:8; Romans 16:16; Colossians 1:23). Churches of Christ survived persecution and trial for many years and have always existed in various places around the world up to this very day (“Restoration Movements Around The World” by W. Ralph Wharton). Long before Alexander Campbell ever left Scotland for the United States, there were already churches of Christ in both places (“Tradition and History of the Early Churches of Christ in Central Europe” by Dr. Hans Grimm, “The Restoration Handbook” by Leslie G. Thomas).
According to the Bible, the church of Christ will never be destroyed (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Daniel 2:44; 4:34; 6:26; 7:14, 27; Micah 4:7; Matthew 16:18-19; Luke 1:32-33; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Colossians 1:13-14). It is not a manmade denomination but consists of those who have been saved by the blood of Christ in their obedience to the gospel (Acts 2:36-41, 47; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 5:23).
Jesus Christ reigns by the gospel from heaven as the head of His church (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; 3:17). There is no earthly headquarters or manmade hierarchy that rules over the churches of Christ. Each congregation is autonomous, being led by elders (presbyters) who act as overseers (bishops) and shepherds (pastors) (Acts 14:23; 20:14, 28; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-11; Hebrews 13:8, 17; 1 Pet. 5:1-3). These congregations are united by their common faith in and love of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:1-16; 2 Timothy 1:13; Titus 1:4; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 3). They are not a part of any denomination but are opposed to such division (John 17:20-23; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13), calling all out of denominationalism and into the church of Christ by the preaching of the gospel of Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 1 Peter 1:2; 2:9-10).
You can be a Christian, a member of the church of Christ you read about in your Bible. Believing on Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, repent of your sins, confess your faith and be immersed in water for the remission of sins just as the Bible teaches. You will be a Christian and God will add you to His church. Then, join yourself to other Christians in churches of Christ around the world (Acts 9:26-18; Hebrews 10:24-25).