By Johnie Edwards
On August 5, 1975 Mr. Donald Holsten, one of Mr. Billy Graham’s counselors, responded to a letter we had written asking about the church and salvation. Here is the answer:
“In answer to your question, we must first of all emphasize that church membership is not essential to salvation.”
Now let us take a look at what the Bible says about church membership. On the day of Pentecost, when people responded to the words of the Gospel the Bible says, “. . . And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). Then again, Paul told us, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body” (Eph. 5:23). Remember that the body is the church (Eph. 1:22-23).
Now do these passages sound like the church is not essential to salvation? Whose word are you going to take – Billy Graham’s or the word of the Lord? Which?
The letter also stated: “Though our relationship to God is not dependent upon our membership in a particular local. church but upon our personal trust and faith in Jesus Christ.”
Here they are teaching salvation by faith alone. This the Bible does not teach. James said, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (Jas. 2:24). Nowhere does the Bible teach that salvation is by faith alone but salvation comes when faith is put to work in obedience (Heb. 5:8-9).
Truth Magazine, XX:8, p. 6
February 19, 1976