By Dan C. Bailey
Most people do not understand that the church of Christ, the body of Christ, or the church that we read about in the New Testament is not a denomination. As a Christian and Bible believer, I am against division in the body of Christ. In theory, denominationalism says that it is acceptable to God to worship in the various denominations which treat different doctrines from each other, and therefore, different doctrines than those in the Bible.
It cannot be the case that the Bible teaches contradictory doctrines. The very concept of denominationalism justifies and supports the teaching of error. Any organization, group, or theory that justifies error and contradicts the Word of God is an organization, group, or theory that a Christian should have nothing to do with. As Christians, we are not in fellowship with any denomination, neither do we intend to be.
Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:15: "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." One must realize that true Christianity is undenominational and be ready to defend that fact.
In the Bible, God teaches us that there is only one church, body, family or kingdom over which Christ is the head or ruler. This church or kingdom takes its orders or commands from Jesus Christ by means of the words of the New Covenant or New Testament. Christ is not the author of error or doctrines that contradict the Work of God.
Jesus promised to build His church in Matthew 16:13-20. We read in verses 18 & 19: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." The Lord said "my church." He didn't say churches or denominations that would contradict one another. Christ is the builder of the only one church and it belongs to him. "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28).
When a man is saved in obedience to the gospel of Christ, he is immediately added to the church of Christ, body of Christ, or kingdom of Christ. We read in Acts 2:38-41: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." And in verse 47 of the same chapter: "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
The church is the body of Christ, and since there is only one body, there is only one church in the Bible. I do not expect you to take my word for this, but the scriptures teach us in Ephesians 1:17-23. "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
And we read in Ephesians 4:4-6: "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
Christ is the one head of the one church or the one body. "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body" (Ephesians 5:23). "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence" (Colossians 1:18).
Let us never be ashamed to teach what the Bible teaches about the church or any other subject.
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