Identity of the Church of Christ
Its Unique Nature
We know that the identity of any object is unique in various ways. If you open a roll of pennies, each one is unique in a very minute way and the difference is not seen with the naked eye, nor even perceptible with anything other than an electron microscope. Yet for others, and us each one carries a value: one cent. If we need a penny, it would not matter which one we grabbed, because it would be worth one cent.
When an object carries a greater value, the uniqueness becomes more apparent. Why do you suppose that paper money has a unique serial number upon it? Well one reason is so that the government can track it and learn from a pattern. Knowing where it began circulation, the bills are examined each time they travel through banks or federal reserves. This way they follow the paper trail. If you lost a bill with Ben Franklin on the front, you would probably accept two pictures of Grant, five of Jackson, ten of Hamilton, or any combination that equals one hundred dollars, for the value is what is important to you, not necessarily that unique bill with that unique serial number.
Living creatures have even more value and the need for identification is even greater. If your dog ran away, and you hung posters offering a reward for your dog, can you imagine how many strays would be brought to your door, hoping that it was the right one? If your child came up missing, and people brought just any child to you, would that be acceptable. ABSOLUTELY NOT! The reason is because of the value to YOU. You want your unique child that carries all twenty-six markers of DNA, and would
accept none other.
Scientific methods with DNA have been refined so much, that there is little questioning of the techniques. The courts have accepted the technology as an absolute standard of identification. Out of two hundred sixty million people, a DNA lab could narrow a search to find the right person that their sample of DNA belongs to. Soon, you can expect DNA profiles attached to birth records, drivers licenses, medical cards or any other form of identification.
Yet when it comes to the church of God, people will seemingly accept anything that looks remotely close or will be satisfied with most anything that appears like a church, but does not carry the markers of identification. It is important to only accept the church with ALL the right markers. So, like a lab, we need to investigate and put to the test the markers of the church where we are a member.
For us, there is only one profile sheet by which to judge whether we have the right church or not. That profile is found recorded in the New Testament of the Bible. We are taught about the name, mission, work, organization, fellowship, our behavior, our teaching or doctrine, and the source of authority in the church.
Some of us will only accept a church that carries ALL the markers of identification, and for that we are called legalists, fundamentalists, antis, and many other derogatory names. Yet Jesus said He would build (Matthew 16:18), purchase (Acts 20:7), and judge (John 12:48) HIS CHURCH. We have the pattern of sound words (1 Thessalonians 1:5-6; 2:4,9,12-14; 4:1-2; 5:11) and we have the commands to follow that pattern (2 Timothy 1:13; 2:2,15; 3:14; 4:2). May we seek to live according to the pattern of sound words. May we limit our actions to Divinely approved standards. May God bless you in your study of His word.
By Carey Scott
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