THE CHURCH OF CHRIST
The church of Christ is a divine organization, (hopefully) free from all human traditions, bearing the following marks of identity:
1. The Founder of the church was born in Bethlehem. (Mic. 5:2; Matt. 2:6). A person born in any other place cannot be the founder of the church of Christ.
2. Jesus Christ was the Founder of the church (Matt. 16:18). Any other person claiming to found the church or a church is an impostor.
3. Jesus is the Foundation of the church (1 Cor. 3:11). An instit- ution built upon any other foundation is not the true church of Christ.
4. Jesus is the Head of the church (Col. 1:18). An institution having any other head is not the church of Christ.
5. The church of Christ is one body, each individual Christian being a member of that body, with Christ as its Head (Eph. 4: 4; Col. 1:18). Individual Christians, and not religious denominations, make up the one body of Christ, the church. Each denomination is itself a body with its own earthly head. But Christ is the Head of the ONE body, which is the ONE church mentioned in the New Testament. The church of Christ is made up of individual Christians, not congregations. Individual Christians are added, by Christ, as living stones, to make up His church.
6. Jerusalem is the place of the beginning of the church of Christ (Isa. 2:1-3; Lk. 24:47; Acts 1:1-26; 2:1-47). Any institution beginning at any other place is not the true church of Christ.
7. The church of Christ has a well-defined law of admission (Jno. 3:5; Matt. 28:19,20; Mk. 16:15,16; Acts 2:38-47). An institution admitting members in any other way is not the true church of Christ.
8. The church of Christ has only one Creed that never needs any revision, the Bible. This one Creed, (2 Tim. 3:16,17) nullifies all human creeds, disciplines, confessions of faith, and catechisms, rendering them useless, even condemning those who make them, (Rev. 22:18,19) and those who would follow such man-made creeds, (Matt. 15:8,9).
9. The followers of Christ are distinguished by a divinely-given name (Isa. 62:2; Zech. 14:9; Matt. 10:32; Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:;16). An institution wearing any other name than the name of Christ; whose members wear any other name or names, than those given in the New Testament, cannot be true disciples of Christ.
10. The church of Christ has only one system of worship (Lk. 22: 19,20; Acts 2:41,42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23-29; 16:1,2; Heb. 10: 25; Eph. 5:19-21). An institution that does not observe, or adds to, or takes from or in any way changes this system of worship cannot be the true church of Christ.
11. The church of Christ has one system of government: Elders and Deacons. There must be a plurality of elders in each congregation, or church, that has had time to be fully developed. These elders have no authority outside of the congregation of which they are members (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-4). The centralization of power or authority in the hands of such functionaries as popes, cardinals, arch-bishops reverends, etc., or in such assemblies as synods, presbyteries, conferences or conventions, was not known during New Testament times, nor were the functionaries and assemblies themselves.
The Word of God --the Bible -- contains sufficient instructions to guide us in the worship and in the work of the one true church ( 2 Tim. 3:14-17; 2 Pet. 1:3; Jude 3). It condemns all who go beyond its teaching (1 Cor. 4:6; 2 Jno. 9). It pronounces a curse upon any man or even an angel that would preach any other gospel than that which was preached by the apostle in the first century A.D. (Gal. 1:8,9). It threatens such false teachers with plagues and exclusion from the tree of eternal life. All those who add to or take from the things written in the Word of God, will have the anger and wrath of God to come upon them (Rev. 22:18,19).
Having thus identified the true church of Christ, we ask: Are you a member of this church? If not, why not think seriously on what has been placed before you, follow the truth, and become a Christian only?
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