I ask that question often when browsing
through some Church of Christ web sites and reading
very weak positions on God’s plan. Sometimes
as I am listening to a Church of Christ sermon, I
ponder the same question—thinking that maybe I
tuned into a denominational church, and when I
check, I am disappointed that I heard that at a
Church of Christ!
Now those of you who know me well, know that
I am a stickler in “saying Bible things in Bible
ways”. But what I am referring to here, is not simply
using bad terminology and calling your evangelist
a “pastor”. This article is not about using sloppy
Rather, it is about teaching and promoting false
doctrine; or by leaving out the truth. What ever
happened to sound biblical teaching?
You can go to many church websites and not
know what you must do to be saved, even though
they have their “statement of faith” right on the
website! Often times I have to go back to the
homepage and make sure that I am still on the
Church of Christ website! Unfortunately I have experienced
this a lot!
This isn’t just limited to websites! One time I listened
to a sermon by a Church of Christ preacher
on John 3. It was on the new birth. How could a
Church of Christ preacher go wrong when preaching
about the new birth? But in the entire sermon,
not once did the evangelist make reference to immersion—
including the invitation! I had to check
the bulletin cover! Sure enough, it stated that I was
at a Church of Christ!
How about no invitation at all? I have both
heard and attended Churches of Christ where no
invitation is ever given. Now I know that a
“standard” invitation may not be recorded for us in
the New Testament. But isn’t it interesting that at
the end of every sermon recorded in Acts, the listener
was challenged to make a decision—if the
preacher didn’t offer one, it was only because he
was interrupted before he got to it (like in Acts 2).
One service I attended, when the preacher was
done with what he called preaching, he said a
prayer and then he said, “you’re dismissed”. No
invitation! No challenge! No decision time! I guess
that day was not the “day of salvation” in that assembly
(II Corinthians 6:2)! When I checked the
sign on the way out of the parking lot—yes, the
sign still read Church of Christ!
Another sermon I listened to included an invitation
for a person to become a Christian. All right!
An invitation! But wait! The Church of Christ
preacher then invited those who were Christians,
but have not been baptized, to be baptized, even
inviting these Christians to be baptized into the
church as an outward sign! The Bible teaches that
a person is immersed into Christ, not the church!
When someone is immersed, they become a Christian,
not the other way around! Mark 16:16
teaches, “He who has believed and has been baptized
shall be saved”? It does NOT teach “He who
has believed and been saved shall be baptized”.
This one really made me wonder whether I was
listening to a Church of Christ preacher or a denominational
preacher who is confused about the
order of salvation. And when I checked, sadly I
was listening to a Church of Christ preacher!
If one is Church of Christ, be the Church of
Christ! Be His church, not simply in name, but in
teaching and preaching! And it doesn’t matter
whether it is on a website or in our daily lives or in
the classroom or from the pulpit! “All the churches
of Christ greet you” (Romans 16:16).
Contending for THE faith once delivered!
Kevin Ziegler
South Side Church of Christ Evangelist