OUR LORD WAS UNDENOMINATIONAL SO MUST HIS CHURCH BE
Our currency system is divided into various denominations: five dollar, ten dollar, etc. Our political system is also denominated: i.e., the Republican party, the Democratic party. We can see from these illustrations that the word "denomination" signifies a division or a segment; thus, in the religious sense, a sect or a party. A denomination is larger than any local church, but smaller than the redeemed as a whole. Yet, the New Testament speaks only of local congregations (1 Corinthians 1:2) or the church embracing all of the saved (Ephesians 1:22, 23). Hence the New Testament church cannot be fitted into any denominational mold.
(1) An observation. Let us kindly observe that the church of Christ (a) is not a Jewish synagogue. The Old Testament, the foundation of Judaism, has been done away (Rom. 7:1-4; Colossians 2:14,17; Hebrews 8:8-13). Furthermore, (b) the church of Christ is not a Protestant denomination. All the denominations of our day were established by men, hundreds of years after the church of our Lord was established on Pentecost, Acts 2, A.D. 33 (Mark 9:1; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-4, 47). Denominational earmarks are conspicuously absent in the church of Christ: prayer altars, voting on baptismal candidates, mechanical instruments of music in worship, universal and territorial organizations, etc. (c) The church of Christ is not the Catholic Church.. The Roman Catholic church did not come into existence in a fullgrown state until 606 A.D., nearly 600 years after the Lord's church was established in 33 A.D. as previously observed. The cardinal doctrines of Catholicism are not in harmony with biblical teaching, as can be scripturally observed in many of the chapters composing this volume.
(2) The church defined . The word "church" is from the Greek word ecclesia, and means "the called out." Thus, the church is that body of people who have been called out of the world by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14), by obedience thereto (2 Thess. 1:7-9). Christ rules as the singular head of the church (Colossians 1:18), and the Spirit dwells within her (Ephesians 2:22, 23).
(3) The church is singular in number. There is one fold (John 10:16). The church is that fold (Acts 20:28). There is one body (Ephesians 4:4); that body is the church (Ephesians 1:22, 23). The Lord taught the monogamy of marriage (Romans 7:1-4) and the church is his bride (Ephesians 5:22-33).
The church of Christ is that one, true New Testament church which existed in the first century. Such can be seen by the fact that it possesses the same identifying features.
(a) Designations: church of Christ (Romans 16:16), church of God (1 Cor. 1:2), church of the Lord (Acts 20: 28 ASV).
(b) Organization: elders, deacons, evangelists and members in the local congregation (Philippians 1:1).
(c) Worship: met on first day of each week (1 Cor. 16: 2), and engaged in acappella singing, praying, teaching, the Lord's supper and giving (Acts 2:42, 47; 1 Cor. 14:15; 16:2, Acts 20:7).
(d) Guide: the apostles' doctrine was their sole rule of faith and practice (Acts 2:42; Gal. 1:6-9; Rev. 22:19).
(e) Terms of entrance: believed, repented, confessed Christ and were baptized (Acts 8: 26:40).
(f) Mission: to support the truth (1 Tim. 3:15).
(a) The church of Christ is designated as just that, the church of Christ, etc.
(b) The church of Christ is organized with elders, deacons, evangelists, members.
(c) The church of Christ meets upon the first day of each week and engages in acappella singing, praying, teaching, the Lord's supper, and giving.
(d) The church of Christ is guided solely by the apostles' doctrine, the New Testament.
(e) The church of Christ is entered by people believing, repenting, confessing and being baptized.
(f) The church of Christ engages in the support of the truth.
NOTE: A thing is composed of the sum of its parts. Accordingly, it can be seen that the church of Christ is not one among the many; but, rather, it is the one, true New Testament church.
2 Cor. 13:5
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