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 terminology. 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).
The Bible Only makes Christians Only! http://www.restorationplea.com