The visit was pleasant, until we got down to the object of the visit - the discussion of religion. "What I have against you people," said the host, "is that you think the Church of Christ are the only ones who are going to heaven." He was highly insulted that we might believe such a thing. What matters, of course, is not what we might believe on any matter, but what does the Bible have to say. We are obligated to believe whatever the Bible says.
In answering the charge, we need to define what is meant by the term "Church of Christ." If the term means "Church of Christ Denomination," as it almost always does in the minds of those making the charge, then we deny it. We deny that we believe that only those in the "Church of Christ Denomination" are the only ones who are going to be saved. In fact, we deny that there is salvation in a "Church of Christ Denomination" at all, any more than there is in any other Denomination. The Lord did not put salvation in a Denomination. He put salvation in the church He built, and the church He built is not a Denomination.
Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church" (Matt. 16:18). He is the builder and owner of the church. He built only one church. It is not a Denomination. It is not made up of Denominations. It has no connection with any of today's Denominations. It is Christ's church, that is, the church of Christ.
Christ placed salvation in His church. He added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47). All the saved are added by the Lord to the church of Christ. He never adds them to a Denomination. "Christ is the head of the church and he is the Savior of the body" (Ephesians 5:23). Jesus Christ saves the body which is the church of Christ. He never promised to save any other body -- which would be a Denomination.
Since the Lord adds all the saved to Christ's church, then if we are saved, He put us there. Since Christ saves the body, the church, then the church is the body of the saved. No one outside the body is saved. Therefore, we are going to have to be in the church to be saved. And it is the church which belongs to Christ, that is, the church of Christ.
The question now is, are we members of the church of Christ or are we members of a "Church of Christ Denomination?" If we hear and believe the same gospel those in New Testament times heard and believed, if we obey the same commandments and do the same things those in New Testament times did, we will be members of the same church they were, that is, the church of Christ. If not, why not?
Now, in light of the correct definition of church of Christ as the church which belongs to Christ, we must affirm in the light of the Bible's teaching that one must be a member of the church of Christ in order to obtain eternal salvation.
by Marvin Rickett
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