By Robert Hendricks
The church of Christ existed long before the Catholic Church or any Protestant denomination. It was founded in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost following christ’s resurrection (Matt. 16:18; Lk. 24:46,47; Acts 1:8; 2:1-17). Its members were identified by the name ”Christian” and not by sectarian names (Acts 11:26; I Pet. 4:16). The congregations were called ”churches of Christ” (Rom. 16:16). There was no head but Jesus (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23). The members met on the “first day of the week to break bread” (Acts 20:7) and to give of their means (I Cor. 16:1-2). Each congregation had its own bishops (elders) and deacons (Phil. 1:1). The preachers taught sinners to repent and be baptized to be saved (Acts 2:38).
If you are a member of the church of Christ today, you are riot a Protestant of a Catholic — you are only a Christian.
Men tell us ‘different and conflicting” ways to follow in becoming a Christian. Why should we follow them and continue to foster “division and confusion” seeing that practicalI~ every one of them differs from the words of our Savior. It is foolish to argue with Jesus, yet many are willing to do so in contending for what they ”think” is right.
The Bible teaches that “becoming a Christian, receiving remission of sins, becoming a child of God, and being saved” are all synonymous with becoming a member of the church of Christ. Now who would know better than Christ what we need to do to be saved? He is the one v,ho commanded the plan of salvation I follow and preach. Read it from your own Bible: belief or faith Un. 8:24), repentance (Lk. 13:3), confessing our belief in him as the son of God (Matt. 10:32-33), baptism (MR. 16:16).
The Lord himself not only ga’e these commands to be obeyed in the plan of salvation, but we find them being preached in the New Testament by the “apostles” and other faithful men, and people who desired to be “saved” heard and obeyed these very commands.
For further valuable information on the plan of salvation notice what is said about believing or faith in Hebrews 11:6, Romans 10:17; also about the subject of repentance in Acts 17:30 and 2 Peter 3:9. See the example of someone confessing his belief in Christ in Acts 8:36-37 (this is what Jesus had in mind in Matt. 10:32-33, what Paul had in mind in the command of Rom. 10:10). Read for yourself why “faithful gospel preachers” continue to tell people that salvation does not come “before baptism (1 Pet. 3:21; Acts 22:16; Mk. 16:16).
Finally, know for yourself why people are not voted into the church of Christ, but at the time one is scripturally baptized he is added by the Lord to the body or church (Eph. 1:22-23). This is revealed in Acts 2:47. According to the Bible (Gal. 3:27; I Cor. 12:13) baptism is the only way into the body of Christ, which is his church (Col. 1:18). May God help us to be more interested in “obeying” his Son than in following tradition, creeds, or feeling! (Hcb. 5:9)
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 6, p. 4
March 18, 1993