By Andy Alexander
What is the harm in calling any denomination by name if what is said or written is the true position of that denomination. If the belief and teaching of the denomination is not misrepresented, why get upset? The church of Christ teaches that a sinner must hear the word of God, believe in Jesus as the Son of God, confess his name before men, repent of his sins, and be baptized in order to wash his sins away (Rom. 10:17; John 3:16; Matt. 10:32; Acts 2:38; 22:16). This writer does not care if any and every denomination in town proclaims from its pulpit this doctrine. Why? Because every word of it can be supported by the gospel of Christ. But, they will not do it, because it contradicts what they teach and it might wake someone up to the face that he is in error.
Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mk. 16:16). That’s what the church which belongs to Christ will teach, because that is what Christ taught. The Baptist denomination teaches, “He that believes is saved and shall be baptized.” Now, who is following Christ?
Jesus said that we cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). When an individual is subservient to the Baptist denomination and its creed, then he cannot be faithful to Christ at the same time. We have to serve either Christ and his teaching alone or the teachings and commandments of men. We cannot serve both and please Christ.
Kirby Godsey, president of Mercer University and a well known Baptist, told a group at the Woodmont Baptist Church in Nashville that “God is not a Southern Baptist.” He continued, “Being Southern Baptist is not the ultimate good. . . Even if [the Southern Baptist Convention] does fall, God’s kingdom will endure” (The Tennessean, 9-9-88). We cannot be in two kingdoms. Either we are in the kingdom of God that will endure forever or we are in some other kingdom that is sure to fall (Dan. 2:44).
There is no harm in calling names. Only good can come from teaching people the truth and warning them of religious error. The harm comes to a teacher of the gospel who fails to warn those in error. God will hold that individual responsible for not teaching his will so that others would have an opportunity to repent (Ezek. 3:16-21).
The gospel of Christ is the only message from God to man that teaches us what we must do in order to be saved (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:21). Any other teaching must be rejected (Gal. 1:6-10). Denominations have added and taken away from every part of God’s word until most religious services do not even remotely resemble what we read in the New Testament.
These denominations have turned the spiritual, into the carnal. They teach the social gospel that so many worldly people desire to hear. Paul warned Timothy that people would depart from the faith and heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts (2 Tim. 4:14). So, it should be no surprise to those who read their Bible and cannot see any resemblance in their denomination to the church they read about in the New Testament.
There’s no harm in exposing the false doctrines of the denominations. Only good can come from a proclamation of the true gospel of Christ. The church of Christ follows the doctrine of Christ as found in the New Testament. We have no board, convention, or synod to direct our work and worship. We answer to Jesus Christ and follow his divine will alone. We invite visitors to attend our worship and ask questions or make comments. Your soul is the most valuable possession you own and it is the only thing you have that will be here when this earth is no more. Put aside family ties, discard the teachings of men, or break the social ties that bind you to false religions and serve God as his will beckons while time still remains (Matt. 10:28,34-39; 15:7-14; 11:28).
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 2, p. 47
January 19, 1989