Why I'm a member of the church of Christ
Why am I a member of the Church of Christ?
The most obvious reason is that I believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob does exist. If you do not believe this, especially if you believe there is no divine being at all, I ask you to re-examine the facts. Despite the models that are being presented as theories in the scientific community, it is much more "scientific" and logical to believe in a creator than the general theory of evolution. Remember, belief in God does not violate any laws of science as we know them. Even evolutionary scientists have been known to acknowledge that statistically it is impossible (0% chance) that we could have evolved as they suggest. However, the explanation they give is that they "are unwilling to accept the alternative possiblities". They will even define that alternative possibility as there was a creator. Are you unwilling to accept what is the only other possible explanation? Are you willing to accept what science has proved to be statistically impossible? If you are, you probably have more faith than devout Christians when it comes to believing in something that you have not seen.
Since I have this belief in God I turn to the Bible. You might ask, how do you know that book is the one this divine God wants you to read? Again, I turn to evidences and witnesses. First, according to one science teacher, there is nothing more accepted as fact than a "multiple witness" account. The Bible is definitely that. It is a multiple witness account of men who claim they saw this man Jesus. Not only that, they claim they observed Him perform miracles. Also, consider that many of these men were "unlearned and ignorant fishermen". Yet there is no doubt that it was these men who penned the books. It has been acknowledged that no group of writings has had more influence on the religious world than the works of these men. Are you willing to accept that these ignorant fishermen contrived this story on their own, or do you think that they had a hand in making what has become the fundamental principles for Christians for nearly 2,000 years? Not only that, are you also willing to ignore the writings by secular men that acknowledge the acts of this man Jesus? What about all the things the Bible has shown many years before man ever found or proved them. Such as paths of the sea and prevailing winds, God sits on the circle of the earth, tribes unknown to exist except in the Bible that were found later, and nations such as great Babylon that were believed to be myths for years until remains were finally found.
With my faith in God and the Bible, I turn to its pages to see what God wants me to do. Although even this has been perverted over the years, I see that Jesus died to establish His Church. You might recall that he told Peter He would "build His Church". Obviously I wanted to become a member of that Church.
I will refer you to my other page to see how to become a member of the Church that Jesus built. Though others have said all I must do is believe, or be sprinkled, or touch the radio, I want to know what the good book says. You'll find what it says at What Must I Do To Be Saved.
After discovering that one must be baptized in water to become a Christian, I like the Ethiopian Eunuch, Saul and others gladly obeyed without trying to think of an alternative method that might be nice. It's like Naaman and his leprosy. It would have been nice if the prophet would have let him do a lot of other things than dipping 7 times in the muddy Jordan. But alas, doing what the prophet said is the only thing that took the leprosy away. Do you suppose that doing what the Lord said is the only thing that will add you to the Church too? Although it might be a rough road just to come to the point where you submit to your Lord in baptism, have your sins washed away, and be added to the Church, the rough road isn't over. I would suggest to you that the Lord's Church has structure. It is not just a "free for all", a "do what you want", or a "church of your choice" type deal. I believe the Bible contains the guidelines Christ wanted His Church to follow. It is the authority one must listen to to be pleasing in His sight. Else as the Churches were warned in the book of Revelations, candlesticks will be removed. Or individually, we will be like a branch that is pruned and cast into the fire.
As we turn to the word of God we see there are "positions" in the Church. Ephesians 1:22 lets us know that Christ is the head. Christ truly is the authority and lays down the rules that will be followed by His bride, the Church. We see that some of the members that compose the body are preachers, teachers, elders and deacons. It turns out there is always an eldership. In other words, a plurality of elders. Also, according to the book of Timothy and Titus these elders are married and have believing children. I suggest that if you see a church whose elders are not married or who do not have children, they are in error. (As a bit of trivia there are many names used for elders in the scriptures. Some are overseer, bishop, shepherd, and pastor. Interestingly many religious groups call their minister a pastor. This would only be correct if the minister were also serving as an elder.)
You will not read about a pope in the Church that Jesus established. Though some religious groups might claim such men as Peter were popes, Peter would say other wise. Instead of accepting bows and kisses, Peter would say "Stand up, I myself also am a man" (Acts 10:25-26). Peter would also point out that he has a mother in law who at one point was sick (Matt 8:14). Unless I'm mistaking, this alone shows error in logic that Peter was a Pope since they cannot marry. Christ gospel was delivered early in first century. Jude says it was once delivered. There will be no latter day revelations. No changes. Though an apostle or an angel teach any other doctrine than what is in the Bible, let them be accursed. God's word has already been delivered and confirmed by holy men who were inspired of God. Again, it was done once for all times.
All religions have priests (whether they know it or not!!!). The Hebrew writer tells us Christ is the high priest (Heb 5:10). Paul tells us that each one of us as Christians are part of a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9). What this means is each Christian is a priest. Christians don't wear what some would think is the garb of a priest, but they have the right to go directly to Christ their mediator and high priest in prayer and directly petition God. This is what the veil of the temple being torn in two symbolized at the time of Jesus' death. The fact that no longer would only the high priest be able to go into the Holy of Holies where God was. The veil ripped signifying that every Christian would be able to directly go to God in prayer through their new high priest Jesus Christ. He is the only mediator between man and God. Anyone who teaches otherwise is disagreeing with Paul's writings.
Not only are the positions of Christ's church defined in the scriptures, the acts of worship are defined as well. It's obvious that the Christians sang songs (Ep 5:19; Col 3:16), prayed prayers (1 Tim 2:1), broke bread (Lord's Supper) (Acts 20:7) and had lessons in their worship services (Acts 20:7). Let's take a look at the Lord's Supper.
We find that the Christians broke bread (in the sense of the Lord's supper) on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). We find Paul extending his stay in some cities on his missionary journeys so he might break bread with the saints there. In other words, they didn't bump the Lord's supper to Thursday night, they broke bread on the first day of the week.
It's also interesting that they broke bread often. How often is enough to be often? Once a year? Every six months? Once a month? For sure weekly would qualify as often. Putting the facts that Jesus said do this in remembrance of me and the often together, I would look at it much like the Sabbath day. When those under the Mosaical law (ten commandments which have been removed) were told to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy, did they pick one Sabbath day a year? One Sabbath day a month? No, they knew every week had a Sabbath day and kept every Sabbath day holy. Likewise with their yearly and monthly feasts. They didn't pick and choose the years or the months. Every time a new year or month came, they celebrated the feasts they had been commanded to celebrate. Since the saints broke bread on the first day of the week and Jesus said to do it in remembrance of Him, why not do it often, every first day of the week just like the Sabbath day was kept?
Another interesting thing is the music that was used in the worship. Scriptures like Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 would make it sound like the Christians did not use instruments during worship. The verses say things like singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord and singing spiritial songs. One might ask, did they actually sing without instruments? Someone else might ask, since it doesn't sound like they used instruments do we have authority to use them?
As the scriptures make it sound, the Christians did not use instruments. Secular history shows that the music was "different" so people came up with a different name for it. It was called a cappella, or "in the way of the church". Since the scriptures do not mention the instrument in worship and do not show an example of one being used in the worship, the Church of Christ worships with a cappella music. This way we know we are not disobeying Jesus and are certain we are singing "in the way of the Church".
Another thing that is important is the Church's stand on miraculous gifts. First, let's use common sense. When one realizes that only the apostles could actually pass the gifts on to someone else, common sense would dictate that at some point the gifts would have to end unless someone lived forever. As an example, even Philip had to wait for the apostles to come and lay on hands to depart the gifts. Although he could perform miracles, he could not pass the gifts on. Jesus died around 33 A.D. and the apostles were with Him. Let's suppose one of them lived to about 100 A.D. Let's say around 100 A.D. an apostle touched someone and imparted gifts. That person would then have any one or a combination of gifts. Possibly they could heal, have the gift of knowledge, prophecy, teach etc. Suppose that "last" person lived to 200 A.D. For sure it would seem gifts would have to cease by around 200 A.D. When that person died it would appear spiritual gifts would cease. We don't know exactly when the gifts ceased, but the scriptures show they did.
1 Cor 13 was written by Paul to the Church at Corinth. They were wrong for putting too much emphasis on the spiritual gifts, especially the gift of tongues. They thought anyone who could speak in tongues was "the greatest". Paul shows them in 1 Cor 14 that someone who prophesied actually had the greater gift. But in 1 Cor 13 he tries to show them something else. There was something that made one even greater than he who could prophesy. Love! Why? Because love never failed. Paul showed them that tongues would cease. The gift of knowledge would cease. But love never would.
Why would gifts cease? Because when that which was perfect was come, that which was in part would be done away with. Think of it this way, the whole purpose of the gifts was to confirm and reveal God's word. When God's word or the mystery kept secret since the beginning of time was revealed, what need would their be of prophecy, the gift of knowledge etc. These gifts, or things in part, were like pieces of a puzzle coming together. When the whole mystery was revealed, we had that which was perfect. James called it the perfect law of liberty or in other words the word of God. Jude says it is indeed all here. It was once delivered to the saints. If common sense is right, Paul is right, and Jude is right, spiritual gifts have ceased.
Yet some today still claim to speak in tongues and heal. First remember that a tongue is a foreign language. It is understandable. However, there must be an interpretor at hand to translate the "prophecy spoken in tongues" or the tongue speaker was not to speak. How often have you seen a "tongue speaker" today have his "mumbo jumbo" interpreted into a prophecy of God? Also, one who heals should be able to work a miracle any time and any place to confirm that the word he teaches is of God. If you are sick, have him/her heal you. If you are not sick, have a friend you trust who is sick go with you and be healed. Remember though, just healing someone from a common cold is not a miracle. Miracles were things that could not be done by natural means. For example, healing a lame man from birth, causing the blind to see, or adding a limb on to someone who had no limb even at birth. If no one is sick or has a condition that could be healed and qualify as a miracle, take them to the grave yard and have them raise someone from the dead. If they cannot do this, they are not of God. Beware, they will say your faith was not enough and that's why they couldn't heal you or perform a miracle for you. This was never a stipulation for one of God's "miracle workers". Many times the ones healed did not believe at all in God.
Remember, my whole point in the above section is that spiritual gifts have ceased just as Paul said they would in 1 Cor 13 and just as common sense shows when you consider only the apostles could impart the gifts. If one claims to be a miracle worker, they have deceived themselves (or are a flat out con artist) and are trying to deceive you. The Church Jesus built has no such people in it. It consists of true Christians. The con artists and apostates are withdrawn from as Jesus said they should be.
Another interesting thing is the role the Spirit plays in the Christian's life. Many groups claim that just when one believes, truly believes, the Spirit will come upon that person just as He did the apostles in Acts 2. This is not what the Bible teaches. Recall that Agrippa believed. Paul acknowledged this. Yet Agrippa said, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Just believing didn't make him a Christian. Agrippa realized he had to do something to become a Christian. I suggest he had to do what we spoke of earlier that actually added one to the church in What Must I Do To Be Saved. Also, according to this false doctrine, even the demons would be Christians. For the Bible tells us even the demons believe and tremble. As a matter of fact, when the demons saw Jesus they called Him "thou Son of God". Do you think that the demons are Christians?
Those who teach this do not understand that the scriptures are complete and contain everything necessary to make us perfect (2 Tim 3:16-17). They are even what the Spirit uses, or the comforter, to comfort us. When you're baptized, Peter said you will receive "the gift of the Holy Spirit" or "times of refreshing". In part this would be sins washed away, added to the Church, and that we become a Christian or new creature. Paul tells us that when we are a Christian the Spirit will dwell in us. However, many neglect to add that God dwells in us. Jesus dwells in us. The word dwells in us. Sin dwells in us. God dwells in Jesus. And we dwell in God. When we consider the fact that we dwell in God, is it not clear that this dwelling does not mean the Spirit pops inside of us and controls us like a puppet? Rather it means these things dwell fixedly in us. In other words, they never leave our heart. One person described it this way. Dwelling is a relationship, or a fellowship that influences and controls. When I read and study God's word, it dwells in my heart. When I am faced with a temptation in life, my actions will be influenced by my knowledge of the word of God.
Again I say, the scriptures are complete and contain everything a Christian needs. But we should not be surprised that many continue searching for the "miracle workers". Jesus himself said that this wicked and perverse generation seeks after a sign. But no sign will be given them except the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was in the belly of the fish three days, so shall the son of man be in the earth three days. In other words, the only sign was going to be the fact that Jesus raised from the dead. There will be no other signs. No healings. No prophesies. If you will not accept that Jesus raised from the dead, you are passing up the one sign God has given you.
Another thing is the funds of the Church Jesus established. It seems to be not an important point to some, but yet the scriptures address it. One clear passage is 1 Cor 16. Paul said that the churches of Galatia and Corinth were to lay by in store on the first day of the week (1 Cor 16:1-2). Granted this was a special collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem. However, in trying to stick with the guidelines we find in the Bible the Church of Christ has chosen to take up a collection for the things they need on the first day of the week. Also, you can search the Bible high and low and only find 3 reasons the Lord's money was spent. They are edifying the saints, spreading the gospel, and benevolence to needy saints.
In trying to stick with the guidelines of the Bible the Church of Christ once again chooses to only spend their money in those three areas. Obviously this does not mean an individual Christian cannot use his own money to be benevolent to his friends and neighbors. As a matter of fact the Bible would teach that with his own money he should be benevolent (Gal 6:10). However, as an organization, the Bible shows that the Church is not a social institution to take care of the community. It is to take care of the spiritual needs of people and physical needs of saints if necessary (1 Tim 5:9-11). Remember God himself instituted the government to take care of social needs and the family to take care of physical needs.
Others try to have the Church take care of the physical needs of saints who aren't needy. For example they try to have the Church be an entertainment center. They will have pool halls, basketball courts, swimming pools, and fellowship halls. Try to find one passage where the Lord's money was spent for entertaining the saints. It's not in the Bible. As a matter of fact, we see Paul telling the Corinthians in 1 Corinthains 11 if you're hungry, eat at home (1 Cor 11:34). You don't come together in the worship to eat. That's why the saints had what was called love feasts in their homes (Jude 1:12). The "well to do" saints had food for those who were needy. When they assembled, they sang, prayed, heard the word read, etc. If/when they came together at the worship to eat, they were reprimanded and told to eat at home.
Another thing interesting is what religious groups teach about remaining a faithful Christian. Although Jesus laid down the stipulation that you must be faithful unto death (Rev 2:10), other groups will say you are "once saved always saved". Yet even the basic parables of the Bible show that some servants do not please their master and were cast into outer darkness (Matt 22:1-14). Remember, servants are already those in the Lord's vineyard or in other words are Christians. Some of these were unprofitable. Peter said when one falls away it's like a dog returning to it's vomit and they are worse off than they were in the beginning (2 Pet 2:20-22). Do you think he is talking about a saved person? How could a saved person be worse off than he was before? I pose to you, he would at least have to be in a lost condition again. Who could argue that someone who once was lost but now is saved is in a worse condition than he was before no matter what conditions came upon him?
Some will say that this is too conservative of a view. All I can say is it's a narrow path. If you don't have to be a member of the Church Jesus established, if you don't have to obey his commands, would not many be saved rather than few? All I ask of you is steady the Bible. See if these things are so.