Why is fellowship not allowed with churches bearing a
Why is fellowship not allowed with churches bearing a
different name than, "_ church of Christ"?
Christ's church is not limited to a specific geographical
location is it? Is not the phrase "churches of Christ"
referring to the individual 'ekklesia' of the Church
Universal, rather than a mandated title? For example, in my
own home there is an ekklesia, or those 'called out' as one
may note in Romans 16:5. If the church names itself as,
"Greenleaf Christian Fellowship", why does that damn that
group if what is taught from it's pulpit is indeed
scriptural? Note this question may not apply to your
particular stance, but the group I find myself contending
with do see the name on the door as an issue of
disobedience and therefore of a salvific nature.
Fellowship does not depend on what a group is called,
but rather depends on whether that group is part of the
body of Christ. Those in the body of Christ are in
fellowship with each other, but not with those outside the
body of Christ. We become part of the body of Christ when
we are buried with him in baptism and put on Christ. (See
this lesson for more about
baptism and see this page for more about
God's plan of salvation.) A faithful congregation of
believers follows the pattern for proper organization
and worship laid out in the Scriptures.
"Church of Christ" is not the name of the Lord's church
but rather is its description. It is the church that was
purchased by and that belongs to Christ. The sign could
just as easily read "The Lord's Church," or "God's Church,"
or "The Body of Christ," or "The Church," etc. It would not
be correct, however, to put on that sign some man-made
designation not found in the Bible because such would
suggest that the church is a man-made organization rather
than an eternal kingdom not made with human hands.
Sadly, many who today sit idly by while heresy is
proclaimed from their pulpits would rise up in arms if
someone tried to change the "name" on the sign outside.
There are many groups calling themselves "Church of Christ"
that likely lost their candlestick years ago. Conversely,
there may very well be groups calling themselves something
else (such as, for example, a Christian Fellowship) that
are faithful congregations of the Lord's body. The test is
whether they follow the word of God rather than whether
they put the right magic words outside on their sign.
God's Plan of Salvation
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel.
(2 Thess. 1:8)
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)