Who are The Churches of Christ?

The Churches of Christ produce several television programs and publish several teaching publications. They also sponsor and support about twenty colleges and universities. They are approximately 2.5 million in the U.S. and 5 million worldwide. This web article refers to those Churches which adhere to ALL the Preaching and Teaching presented in the following television ministries and publications...(only a partial list)

  • (TV) Focus On Truth - God's Answers to Life's Questions
  • (TV) In Search of The Lord's Way - Key To The Kingdom
  • (TV) The International Gospel Hour - What Do The Scriptures Say?
  • (Publications)The Christian Chronicle - The Community Messenger
  • (Publications)E-Bible Class Teacher - Gospel Advocate
  • (Publications)Gospel Minutes - Herald of Truth

A few of their educational institutions include:

  • Abilene Christian University and Freed-Hardeman University
  • Carolina Christian College and Harding University
  • Crowley's Ridge College and Memphis School of Preaching

Their Objective

Their goal is to establish religious unity based upon the Bible wherein God-fearing people of the land can unite. To establish religious unity of all believers in Christ with the New Testament as their basis. It is an appeal to go back to the Bible. It is a plea to speak where the Bible speak and to remain silent where the Bible is silent in all matters that pertain to religion. Beliefs and practices must be conditioned on a "Thus saith the Lord" for all that is done. In summary - The Restoration of New Testament Christianity.

Many have asked about the religious group known as "The Church of Christ". Is this Church a legitimate Church or is it a Cult? The reason for this question is that there is generally a red flag waved in front of potential converts to this Church when they learn that their doctrine includes this major concept...

Red Flag

Only members of the Church of Christ are members of "The Lord's Church" and therefore only these members have Eternal Salvation. Any and all members of any other Church whether denominational, non-denominational, or independent are eternally lost by definition.

Their overall doctrine is not readily apparent to the newcomer even on the internet. Most Church of Christ sponsored websites do not publish a "Statement of Faith" to put forth their major doctrinal beliefs and practices in front of potential converts.

In addition to their "Me Only" doctrine of salvation, other Churches see red flags with the Church of Christ in connection with their doctrinal beliefs and practices. The following issues are generally regarded by most Fundamental Churches as Biblically unsound.

Unsound Doctrine - Beliefs and Practices

  • They teach Baptismal Regeneration - (This means Salvation by Faith Plus Water Baptism)
  • They believe that they are the one and ONLY true Church (that is, The Lord's Church)
  • They generally reject ministry cooperation with local "Non Church of Christ" churches
  • Instrumental music in worship services is forbidden. Acappella singing only is acceptable
  • They teach than a Believer in Christ is NOT indwelt by the Holy Spirit (The third person of the Trinity)
  • They reject the idea that they are a "Denomination"
  • They preach universal unity among churches - (but, premised on the fact that all other churches conform to "ALL" of their teachings and practices including revision of their church name to "Church of Christ")

In other ways their doctrine is quite sound as exemplified by the following ...

Sound Doctrine - Beliefs and Practices

  • They recognize Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God, the Savior of all mankind
  • They profess Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for Salvation
  • They acknowledge the Bible as the inerrant Word of God
  • They acknowledge God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit
  • They observe the ordinance of "The Lord's Supper"
  • They practice water baptism by immersion
  • They assemble and worship the Lord with singing and preaching
  • They worship every Sunday with usually a mid-week Bible Study
  • They teach and practice the Love of Jesus Christ
  • They support many orphan homes
  • They believe in the Great Commission
  • They appoint elders and deacons to oversee Church affairs

To the dismay of our Pentecostal/Charismatic brothers, they reject charismatic phenomena such as "Gifts of the Spirit" - Speaking in Tongues, Healings, Miracles, etc. They also reject the prosperity gospel and the Old Testament system of giving to the Church called "Tithing".

The above beliefs are not readily apparent when visiting their websites which supposedly answer ALL questions regarding their doctrine, beliefs, and practices. Such information comes only after being welcomed into their fellowship and is revealed through pulpit preaching and classroom teaching and from their literature. Other doctrinal teaching includes ...

Other Doctrinal Teaching

  • They teach that the "Lord's Supper" MUST be observed each Sunday
  • They emphasize the study of the Book of Acts to an extreme over the rest of the Bible
  • They reject any reference to their Church as being a "Denomination"
  • They claim the "Entire" Word of God as their Doctrinal Creed
  • They teach that prophecies in the book of Revelation are not future, but past tense - (Preterist View)
  • They teach that a Christian's salvation in Christ can be Lost
  • They do not believe that man is Born a Sinner -Infants are born without sin
  • They reject the doctrine which teaches "The Rapture of The Church"
  • The Old Testament Prophecies concerning a restored and glorified Israel have become null and void. That is, God is through with Israel and He will not gather them from among the nations, sanctify them, and be glorified through them.

Ultimately, based on a fore drawn conclusion, each Christian and Church must decide to regard "Church of Christ" members as either "Brothers in Christ" or as "Cult Members". Their doctrine and practices force every "Saved by Faith" Church to make a decision to either accept or reject these professing Christians based on sound Biblical teaching.

Some issues could be considered a matter of personal belief, but even these must be classified as "Unsound Doctrine" when it is made to appear to their own members that they are equivalent to "THUS SAITH THE LORD" . . .

Many of their teaching, beliefs, and practices are promoted by numerous articles and publication widely circulated among the Church of Christ. This in itself is not unusual, but their conclusions are supposedly based on scriptural evidence. Where such evidence is not found, they resort to a technique that is almost exclusive to their group.

Is the Church of Christ a Cult?

However, the most important question is - - - Does Jesus Christ Consider "the Church Of Christ" A Cult ? The answer to this question is what we seek.

It would appear that the answer might be obvious from reviewing their doctrine. However, a study of the Seven Churches of Revelation reveals that their doctrine is in fact represented by the first church listed of the seven churches. That Church is the Church of Ephesus which is characterized by teaching and preaching a Gospel referred to by the Apostle Paul as "The Other Gospel".

It is because of our Lord Jesus Christ and His mercy toward us, that this church, The Church of Christ, is NOT a Cult....

Since "The Other Gospel" has never saved anyone, cannot save anyone, and will never save anyone, it would be logical to assume that everyone within the Church would be unsaved, and therefore, they are a cult. However, since they do hold to the Word of God in other respects, their Church actually becomes a "Safe Haven" for those Saved, those Believers, those Born Again who lack the Spirit of Understanding. Typically, these Saved enter the Church after responding to the "Truth of Gospel" by Faith and Faith alone from elsewhere and then migrate to the Church of Christ to promote the same doctrine.

Doctrine Review

Their doctrinal teaching technique is found to revolve around a word which is actually foreign to scripture itself. That is their use of the word - "AUTHORIZED".

Church of Christ preachers and veteran church members attempt to validate their practices and beliefs scripturally, and therefore assert to . . .

"Let The Bible Speak"

However, where the Bible does not explicitly command or clarify an issue or a doctrinal practice, they soon resort to their key word "Authorized" as scriptural justification. Regarding a doctrinal discussion for the use of Instrumental music within their worship service, they will quickly resort to their Key Word - "AUTHORIZED" to defend and justify their decision to forbid the use of instrumental music. To not use instrumental music as a matter of preference would be fine and doctrinally correct, but to justify it based on scripture catapult that issue into the "Unsound Doctrine" category. They do not use instrumental music in their worship service because it is not

. . . "AUTHORIZED" . . .

This word is used entirely at their discretion as suits their belief's. For example, concerning the Lord's Supper, . . .

Matthew 26
27 And he took THE CUP, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

In the above scripture verse, how many cups are "AUTHORIZED"?

Therefore, how many cups do the COC use? (If you guessed "one", you would be wrong...)

Based on sanitary considerations, they feel they are biblically "Authorized" to use multiple cups. They will dispense with the technique and key word "Authorized" in this application and use it elsewhere. This approach often entangles themselves with other petty internal church practices such as . . .

  • Can a pitch pipe be used by a song leader?
  • Can a piano be used as a pitch pipe?
  • Can the Church building be used to house a kitchen?
  • Can Instrumental music be played in the Church building but not during service?
  • Can women wear slacks or pant suits to evening church services?
  • etc., etc.

It often appears that their endeavor to be as the Bereans who were more noble than those in Thessalonica and focus on

"In Search of The Lord's Way"

They are often found to be . . .

"In Search of The AUTHORIZED Way"

Their objective is to use the above technique in such a fashion to present and convince members of their congregations that their system of beliefs and practices is ultimately actually equivalent to ...

"THUS SAITH THE LORD"

. . . this explains their intolerance of other church practices and beliefs on non-essential issues...

Well, someone says, why doesn't the New Testament epistles issue commands regarding these issues? Why are we left to ourselves to decide such issues? The reason is, "Born Again" believers have the "Answer Man" with them. ...

Romans 8
10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

The commandment they seek to resolve their issues is overlooked . . .

John 15 (Jesus Speaking)
16 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
17 "These things I command you, that you love one another.

2 John
6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

WATER BAPTISM (THE STAND-OFF)

The predominant and most important doctrinal teaching which separates them from other Churches is the doctrine of "Baptismal Regeneration". This is in the general category of "Salvation by Works" also known as the "Faith Plus" (whatever) doctrine. In their case, salvation occurs by Faith in Jesus Christ PLUS water baptism. Water baptism is complete immersion in water for the remission of sins.

So we have before us a mixture of cult-like, sound, and unsound beliefs and practices by which other Churches must base their response to either accept or reject them. A common decision to view them as a Cult. It is an easy one to make, for "THEY" have already REJECTED YOU as NOT being a Child of God. Their own doctrine has drawn a line in the sand to speak by which they have rejected you, your doctrine, and your Church. Members are taught that for them to accept you as a Christian is to accept LIBERALISM.

Our Lord prophesied that there would be differences in doctrine among His Children. The parable of the sower in Matthew 13 demonstrates this - - -

Mat 13
7 "And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.
8 "But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a HUNDREDFOLD, some SIXTY, some THIRTY.
9 "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"

The fact that this portion of scripture has to do with both hearing and understanding is demonstrated as follows - - -

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?"
11 He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
12 "For WHOEVER HAS, TO HIM MORE WILL BE GIVEN, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

This explains why there are doctrinal differences among Christians over issues like the Rapture, Predestination, Worship on Sunday, and the list goes on. With this fact in mind, it will be observed that many Faith centered Churches rise to defend their doctrinal positions and Church practices WITHOUT any attempt to state, infer, or suggest, that OTHER Christians are not saved because they do not agree with their Theology.

The Church of Christ are not in this category but view all other Christians who do not accept their theology as heretics, liberals, compromisers, unsaved, etc. Therefore, each member is taught to reject other Christians as being a Child of God. The Church of Christ preachers and teachers instill this doctrine into their members. The Apostle John faced this same problem - - -

3 John
9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes (a representative type of "The Church of Christ"), who loves to have the preeminence among them, DOES NOT RECEIVE US.
10 Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, HE HIMSELF DOES NOT RECEIVE THE BRETHREN, and FORBIDS THOSE WHO WISH TO, PUTTING THEM OUT OF THE CHURCH.

Similar to this man Diotrephes, the Church of Christ Preachers are rejecting other Believers and instructing the Sheep of their fold to do the same. So this practice of REJECTION of other Born Again" members by a Church which holds a monopoly on "THE TRUTH" is not new. To reject the teaching given by the Apostle John who wrote three epistles, one gospel, the Book of Revelation, and was granted visitation into Heaven itself is a pretty good size mistake.

THEIR VIEW OF SALVATION

The basic problem with their doctrine of salvation is failure to "RIGHTLY DIVIDE the WORD OF TRUTH".

Church members are taught to see and acknowledge the various time dispensations by which God tested man and his obedience to his plan for salvation.

However, the problem arises when their Church members are taught that God's PLAN of SALVATION CHANGED during each age or under each covenant. There is a mixture of truth and fallacy mixed in with their doctrine concerning salvation. In fact, God's Plan of Salvation HAS NOT CHANGED since the time Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden. God HAS ALWAYS required a blood sacrifice to atone for the sins of man. The fact that a man would slay an animal and offer it upon an altar is an exhibition of inward FAITH causing an outward act (WORKS).

They are confused over the issue of past dispensational believers (the righteous) performing animal sacrifices and particularly all the ceremonial religious requirements given to Israel under "The Law". They see those sacrifices as FAITH plus WORKS. That is why they seize upon the opportunity to proclaim that water baptism is the media and method to obtain salvation. They do not understand that it represents the TRUE baptism which is done for each believer by GOD himself - - -

1 Cor 12:13
For by ONE SPIRIT we were ALL BAPTIZED into ONE BODY--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

Therefore, their study of the Old Testament is at a minimum because they see it as having no great relevance to the Believer of today, but only as reference material to suit their teaching. For the most part, they do not encourage members to be immersed in the entire Word of God by private study, etc.

The Thief on the Cross

A prime example of their view of salvation is seen in the salvation of the "Thief on the Cross" at the time of our Lord's crucifixion. They determine that the Thief was saved because he happened to be next to Jesus at the time and that He could simply save him because Jesus WAS God. The Thief on the Cross was saved through the back door, so to speak. He was saved under a different plan under a different covenant. The idea that the Thief was saved by Faith doesn't register with them because it doesn't coincide with water baptism. They view the Old Testament Saints as being saved by Faith PLUS keeping the Mosaic Law. Water baptism to them is God's modern day method of salvation.

Jesus emphasized the point that all Old Testament saints were REQUIRED to know the way of Salvation - - -

John 3
5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of WATER and the SPIRIT, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.
8 "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?"
10 Jesus answered and said to him, "ARE YOU THE TEACHER OF ISRAEL, AND DO NOT KNOW THESE THINGS"?

They do not understand that saving WORKS follow saving FAITH and therefore we are all saved by Faith. This is why James refers to being justified by Works and not Faith alone, because you CAN NOT SEE FAITH ! ! ! You can only see resultant Works which are based on Faith.

Therefore, when confronted with the Word of God which plainly teaches that we are saved by FAITH, such as

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever BELIEVES in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The Preachers in this group teach their members that the above verse is NOT THE TRUTH but is PART OF THE TRUTH. The members are instructed that the Bible should be looked at as if it were a pie divided up into slices. Each slice is only a PART of the TRUTH. The Preachers then take those slices and combine them together to compile THE TRUTH.They are taught that the following verse is NOT THE TRUTH, but is only A PART OF THE TRUTH ! !

John 5:24
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and BELIEVETH on him that sent me, hath EVERLASTING LIFE, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

The word "verily" can be translated as "truly" or "amen" which also means SO BE IT

CHURCH OF CHRIST - ARE THEY SAVED?

The bottom line is the doctrine of salvation by Works is unacceptable to God. This is referred to by the Apostle Paul as - - -

Galatians 1:6
6 I marvel that ye are so soon REMOVED from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel - - -

IT IS ANOTHER GOSPEL !!!

7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would PERVERT the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any OTHER GOSPEL unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be ACCURSED.

Salvation by Works, that is ANY WORKS is classified as ANOTHER GOSPEL and is a perversion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

To preach this OTHER GOSPEL, would be paramount to an old testament Priest offering a pure unblemished lamb upon the brazen altar for a sin offering before the tabernacle and then placing a freshly killed pig beside it. That would not only be unacceptable, it would be an ABOMINATION ! ! !

So the answer is . . .,

NO! - THEY are NOT SAVED.

Having said that, there does continue to exist within this Church some Born Again Believers. You might ask how can that be since the Gospel they preach can not save anyone? Well, there are several ways by which Believers can exist and dwell within the Church of Christ. For example - - -

  1. A person could hear the gospel of salvation within the Church of Christ, accept it by Faith and become saved. This person did not understand Church of Christ doctrine of water baptism as an agent for salvation. They later become indoctrinated, believe and proclaim the same doctrine of baptismal regeneration.
  2. A member could be saved in another church and later join this church. They too, become indoctrinated, believe and proclaim the same doctrine of baptismal regeneration.
  3. A person hears the Gospel of salvation while not a member of any church and becomes saved. They join this church, become indoctrinated, believe and proclaim the same doctrine of baptismal regeneration. So the point is, that Christians are to view the Church of Christ as a CHURCH, but individual members are more than likely UNSAVED. This is particularly hard to do when they consider YOU as the unsaved person and a member of a Harlot Church.

This is where patience comes into play.

Romans 15
4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the PATIENCE and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
5 Now may the God of PATIENCE and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,
6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore RECEIVE ONE ANOTHER, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God

CHURCH OF CHRIST - OTHER UNSOUND DOCTRINAL PRACTICES

The Church of Christ members are NOT to be confronted nor directly challenged on an individual basis by other Christians concerning their numerous unsound doctrinal practices. The issue at stake with this Church is one of ...

SALVATION

It makes no difference what their Church practices are if the member is NOT SAVED. Unfortunately, we can not tell the wheat from the tares because the Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration is proclaimed by both. Therefore, we are to consider each member as unsaved and attempt to gently present the TRUTH of the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 2
24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, PATIENT,
25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may KNOW THE TRUTH,
26 and that they may COME TO THEIR SENSES and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

The Apostle Paul refers to these Preachers as ENEMIES because they are of Works and not of Faith - - -

Philippians 3
17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.
18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the ENEMIES of the CROSS of CHRIST

Their unsound doctrinal practices are of their own making since the unsaved Preachers in this group are not led of the Holy Spirit. For example, think of all the talented musicians and solo singers in this group who cannot use one ounce of their God given talent for the Lord in praise and worship to the Lord. They are under bondage in many ways because - - -

Matthew 15:9
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the COMMANDMENTS of MEN.

Therefore, a mature Christian should realize the position they are in and avoid confrontations regarding these other doctrinal issues which serve to skirt the real issue. These other unsound doctrinal issues can be and should be challenged through the accurate and faithful teaching of God's Word in a manner where each Church of Christ member has a chance and choice to hear at their own discretion without being forced into a position of confrontation. Jesus said, "My sheep hear MY voice". They have enough problems as it is without other Christians waging war on their other unsound teachings.

Remember, Jesus is concerned with their SALVATION, and not their practices at this point.

THE NEW TESTAMENT MESSAGE TO THE CHURCH OF CHRIST

The instruction and message to this Church is found primarily in the book of Galatians. You might wonder why this book is addressed to them if Jesus' message to them is contained in Revelation chapter 2, "The Church at Ephesus". It would appear that The Apostle Paul's address to the Church at Ephesus in his epistle of Ephesians would be applicable.

The Church at Ephesus was originally founded and established on sound doctrine and Faith in Jesus Christ. Later, grievous wolves entered the Church not sparing the flock. This Church fell from Grace and adopted a Salvation by Works doctrine. After this fall, the epistle of Ephesians no longer reflected the CONDITION of the Church at Ephesus. The Churches at Galatia now characterizes the condition of the Church at Ephesus. Therefore, the epistle of Galatians is directly applicable to these type Churches which includes not only the Church of Christ, but any Church which teaches a doctrine of Salvation by Works such as the Seventh Day Adventists, etc.

Galatians 5 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have
FALLEN FROM GRACE.
5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by FAITH.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but FAITH working through LOVE.
7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the TRUTH?

These Churches have fallen from God's Grace by attempting to couple "Works of the Flesh" with saving Faith. Saving Faith is a "Work of the Spirit". For Jesus said - - -

John 6:63
"It is the SPIRIT WHO GIVES LIFE; the FLESH PROFITS NOTHING. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

The desire of these Christians is to SEE FAITH. Unfortunately, we cannot see FAITH ! ! !

Heb 11:1
Now FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things NOT SEEN.

However, saving Faith does leave footprints which we CAN SEE. These footprints are called Works. We cannot examine a person's Faith, but we can examine a person's Works. That is why James takes a practical approach to this issue and says - - -

James 2:24
You see then that a man is justified by WORKS, and not by FAITH only.

James does not contradict the Apostle Paul's teaching that we are saved by Faith, but James looks at the practical side of the Christian life and in effect says, if I don't see your Works, then I don't see your Faith

JESUS MESSAGE TO THE CHURCH OF CHRIST

Jesus' final message to the Church of Christ as well as any other Church that teaches salvation by FAITH in the person and Work of Jesus Christ PLUS some aspect of fleshly WORKS, is found in Revelation chapter 2 in the Apostle John's letter to - - -

THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS

Therefore, our Lord considers this group "HIS CHURCH" and He tells them that they have left their FIRST LOVE. This Church described in Revelation Chapter 2 is representative of ALL Churches which have left their FIRST LOVE ! ! !

Rev 2:4
"Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have LEFT YOUR FIRST LOVE.

The love our Lord is referring to is NOT BROTHERLY LOVE, but it is - - -

LOVE OF THE TRUTH

The "Love of the Truth" is the truth that Jesus died for our sins and that we are SAVED by FAITH in that TRUTH ! ! !

Eph 2:8
For by GRACE you have been saved through FAITH, and that not of yourselves; it is the GIFT of God,

The Truth in Jesus is obtained by Faith . . .

Col 1
3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
4 since we heard of your FAITH in Christ Jesus and of your LOVE for all the saints;
5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you HEARD before in the

WORD OF THE TRUTH of the GOSPEL,

2 Th 2
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the

LOVE OF THE TRUTH,

that they might be saved.

James 1
18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the WORD OF TRUTH, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

CHURCHES OF CHRIST SOW "BAD SEED"

The Churches of Christ have

- - - Fallen from Grace - - -

and are proclaiming "Another Gospel"

Unlike the parable of the Sower and the Seed where the Sower sowed GOOD SEED, the seed which the Church of Christ is sowing cannot save anyone. They are in effect sowing - - -

BAD SEED

If the Seed is Bad, then theoretically, the Church at some point in time would cease to be a Church if ALL members were seemingly converted based on Bad Seed. That is exactly the case, because Jesus pleads with this Church to repent or else face EXTINCTION ! ! !

Rev 2:5
"Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first Works, or else I will come to you quickly and REMOVE YOUR LAMPSTAND from its place--unless you repent.

This is the Church that has, "FALLEN FROM GRACE".

WHY THEY SOW "BAD SEED"

There is a reason why these type Churches sow "Bad Seed", that is Salvation by Works. First, it is one of the seven deadly sins (WAYS) inherent in man that prevents acceptance of the Gospel, The Word of Truth. Proverbs says - - -

Proverbs 14:12
There is a WAY which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the WAYS of death.

That is why there are SEVEN Churches listed in the Book of Revelation which portray the seven WAYS of man which are contrary to THE WAY

John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I AM THE WAY, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. .

Man's religious tendency in the Flesh is to glorify our Flesh nature by glorying in our Works. This practice serves to bring fellow Believers into Bondage - -

Galatians 2:4
And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might BRING US INTO BONDAGE: -

What bondage is the Apostle Paul talking about? The desire is to be JUSTIFIED in the FLESH ! ! ! Our Flesh nature wants to have a role in our Justification before God as if there is something we can DO in our Flesh which pleases God. That is why the bondage mentioned is WORKS of LAW.

Galatians 3:12 And THE LAW IS NOT OF FAITH: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

This explains why our inherent Flesh nature wants to live by Works. This doctrine has the capability to capture you and bring YOU into bondage if the Teachers and Preachers of this doctrine will do one thing - - -

Galatians 4:17
They ZEALOUSLY COURT YOU, but for no good; yes, they want to EXCLUDE YOU, that YOU may be ZEALOUS FOR THEM ! ! !.

This explains why they consider YOU a Non-Christian ! ! ! Nobody wants to be Left Out, but Jesus says that it is THEY who have become Left Out - - -

Galatians 5:4
You have become ESTRANGED from Christ, you who attempt to be justified BY LAW;

YOU! - "Have Fallen from Grace."

The law he is now referring to is NOT the Mosaic Law but is whatever Law of Works they wish to follow. This explains some of the unusual and unscriptural religious practices that they engage in. These works corral the member, keep them together, keep them in bondage, remove their Liberty in Christ and entice YOU to join their ranks.

This is such a DEADLY but ATTRACTIVE sin that the Apostle Paul describes the Motivation for this Doctrine (THE OTHER GOSPEL) as follows - - -

Galatians 6
12 As many as desire to make a good SHOWING IN THE FLESH, these would COMPEL YOU to be circumcised, only that THEY MAY NOT SUFFER PERSECUTION for the CROSS of Christ.

They desire to have you circumcised, that is to join in their religious works so THEY will not have to defend the CROSS. A person becomes a Christian by FAITH in the Cross, the completed Work that JESUS DID IN THE FLESH, for HE

Romans 8:3
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: HE CONDEMNED SIN IN THE FLESH,

We are not capable of condemning sin in the Flesh, but not to worry, Christ did that for us.

Galatians 5:11
And I, brethren, if I still preach CIRCUMCISION, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the OFFENSE OF THE CROSS HAS CEASED.

FAITH in the Cross of Christ is an OFFENSE. The word "Offense" is the same word as "Stumble". Paul is saying that if I were to change the Gospel from "Salvation by Faith" to "Salvation of Works", then I wouldn't be having the problems I've got nor undergoing the persecutions that I endure.

Galatians 6:13
For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that THEY MAY BOAST IN YOUR FLESH.

Paul is saying that if you will join their ranks, this will satisfy both yours and their FLESHLY LUST and they can boast in the fact that YOU are doing what THEY DO. The doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration or "Salvation by Works" is not only unsound, it is a sign of DISOBEDIENCE. Disobedience forfeits a person's privilege to Salvation by Grace Through FAITH.

1 Peter 2
6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who BELIEVES on Him will by no means be put to shame."
7 Therefore, to you who BELIEVE, He is precious; but to those who are DISOBEDIENT, "The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,"
8 and "A stone of stumbling And a rock of OFFENSE." They STUMBLE, being DISOBEDIENT to THE WORD, to which they also were appointed.

On the surface it appears that Baptismal Regeneration is just a technical error or an innocent error of misunderstanding the Word of God. We have seen that this Doctrine is Satan's way of offering ANOTHER WAY to God which seems right to a man. But make no mistake about it, the Doctrine of "Salvation by Works" promoted by the Church of Christ and other similar Churches is a deadly doctrine, a doctrine of the Flesh, and Jesus said HE will take care of these type OFFENSES when HE comes again - - -

Matthew 13:41
"The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will GATHER OUT OF HIS KINGDOM ALL THINGS THAT OFFEND, and those who practice lawlessness,

(That word "offend" is the same greek word the Apostle Paul used as "offense" in Galatians)

THE CHURCH OF CHRIST - THE CHRISTIANS RESPONSE

The Church of Christ are indeed sowing "Bad Seed" and our Lord Jesus is aware of it. However, the final word is from Jesus and HE considers them HIS CHURCH. He died for this Church as well as the other Six Church types mentioned in Revelation and therefore it would be to our advantage to recognize them as fellow Brothers in Christ.

We cannot and shall not join them in their Doctrine, but we are NOT to alienate them and isolate them because there is wheat among the tares. We can not tell the difference between the wheat and tares at this time, but HE will do the sorting when HE comes again. Therefore, until HE comes let us follow the admonition of the Apostle Paul - - -

Romans 14
16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and PEACE and joy in the Holy Spirit.
18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
19 Therefore let us pursue the things which MAKE FOR PEACE and the things by which one may edify another.
20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.
21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

We Christians who are not allied with the Church at Ephesus must and shall continue to preach and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ until He comes - - -

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL of Christ, for it is the POWER of God to SALVATION for everyone who BELIEVES, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

This is the challenge before us, that we proclaim the Gospel to a dying World, that we teach Jesus Christ and his Word and sow GOOD SEED. Jesus calls on us to do this while maintaining PEACE among ourselves - - -

1 Th 5:13
and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. BE AT PEACE AMONG YOURSELVES

The Church of Christ Preachers and others who teach Faith in Jesus Christ and his work of atonement PLUS SOMETHING ELSE are indeed sowing BAD SEED, but they are accepted by Jesus Christ as HIS CHURCH. There are Believers in this Church just as there are Believers in all seven Churches to whom Jesus writes a personal letter in Revelation. The judgment for the unsaved Preachers of this Church who are NOT SAVED and are sowing BAD SEED will be - - -

Galatians 1
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be ACCURSED.
9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be ACCURSED

We are to admonish and teach the Word of God and Faith in Jesus Christ for the Work that HE performed in HIS Death, Burial, and Resurrection

1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ from the DEAD,

Our Lord Jesus Christ has the FINAL WORD to our fellow Church of Christ brothers. He offers Salvation to everyone who Believes in Him, through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Good Seed - - -

Rev 2:7
To him (C of C member) who overcomes (Believes) I will give to EAT from the TREE OF LIFE, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God."

Matthew 13:8
But other (Good Seed) fell into GOOD ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

Every Believer should be aware that The Apostle Paul defends the Gospel and refutes the "Other Gospel" which this Church teaches in the New Testament book of GALATIANS... (not the book of Ephesians) At the time the book of Ephesians was written, the Church at Ephesus was in good shape doctrinally, but after 50 years or so when the book of Revelation was written, they had adopted "The Other Gospel" as did some of the Churches in Galatia. Paul had prophesied that this would happen in the book of Acts when he said - - -

Acts 20
29 "For I know this, that after my departure SAVAGE WOLVES will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 "Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
31 "Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to WARN EVERYONE night and day with tears.

The Bottom Line concerning the Church of Christ is that even though they are sowing "Bad Seed", (The Other Gospel) which cannot save anyone, - - -

JESUS CHRIST CONSIDERS THEM HIS CHURCH (The Church of Ephesus) !!!

You would be wise to do the same . . .

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