An oft-repeated charge against members of the church of Christ is that we seem to think that we are infallible. Herein we intend to address ourselves to the validity or invalidity of such a charge with the aim of clearing up any mistaken impressions.
First of all, a fundamental principle upon which our examination must be based is the fact that NO MAN can truthfully claim infallibility! “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Since sin and infallibility cannot co-exist, we must conclude that all men are fallible including members of the church of Christ.
Secondly, I have never known of a member of the church who has claimed infallibility. I have known some few who ACTED as if they were perfect, and perhaps a few who thought they were. But the point is this: members of the church of Christ do not generally and publicly claim to be infallible humans.
How then did the charge originate? If we do not claim to be infallible, and in view of our constant references to such passages as Rom. 3:23, why do people think we claim perfection? Consider a few possible reasons.
(1) We believe in an infallible Christ. Unlike the modernists, we believe without any doubt that Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, that He died on the cross for our sins, that He arose from the dead, and that He now serves us in heaven [as High Priest of God]. We believe what Peter declared on Pentecost when he said: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made this same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). We are also convinced that He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). Our Savior is a Perfect One!
(2) We believe in infallible authority. After Jesus was raised from the dead, He declared: “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). Later the apostle Paul wrote that God “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 fullness of Him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:21-23). So the authority upon which our religion is based is infallible. The blind unfounded expressions of human authority are not approved by a God Who gave all authority to His Son.
(3) We believe in only one infallible way to heaven. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Thus it is our blessed belief that the way of Jesus is the only infallible way to glory. This means that we, with God, must reject the “many ways to heaven” concept, and do our best to encourage our religious neighbors to do the same.
No!! Members of the church of Christ are not infallible. But we believe in an infallible Savior Who has by His authority revealed through the New Testament the only infallible way to heaven. Some of us may fall from that way, 1 Cor. 10:12, and we may not always follow the example of our perfect Savior, but we firmly believe that “Ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:10).
- by Warren Berkley
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