Examining the Doctrine of the Church of Christ Denomination
The Church of Christ denomination uses four main tactics in debating their pet doctrines. These tactics are generally used by all cultic groups. They are:
1. Change the subject 2. Take scripture out of context 3. Straw man arguments 4. Ad hominem attacks (attacking you instead of the issue)
The way to counter these tactics is very simple: Stay on the subject until you are allowed to make your point! And remember, your opinion is no better than their opinion. Base all of your conclusions on the Final Authority… God's Word!
Are They A Cult?
Years ago the Lord gave us (FQM) an acronym for cults:
C. Claim to be The Only True Christians U. Unorthodox Extra-biblical Revelation L. Lying Leaders (History/Doctrine) T. THE Way (Salvation is found only in their organization) S. Salvation By Works (obedience to ordinances such as baptism)
As you can see the only area that the Church of Christ denomination doesn't qualify for the title is that they don't have any unorthodox extra-biblical revelation that they would put on par with God's Word. But, they do:
1. Claim to be the Only True Christians 2. Lie about their history, by claiming that they can trace their roots to the day of Pentecost in the second chapter of Acts. They also mislead people about some of their doctrines, by not telling prospective members what they really believe up front (Billy Graham is a deceiver and they are the only "true" Christians so everyone else is going to hell?). 3. They are the one and only true "Body of Christ." No one goes to the Father outside of their denomination! 4. Their salvation occurs the moment they "DO" their part and get baptized. And you must recognize that it is the baptism that remits your sins, or it is of no effect!
So are they a cult? No. Are they as close as you can get to the edge of that perilous pit without falling in? Based on the Word of God, I would say an emphatic "YES!" If you are a member of the Church of Christ denomination, please seek the Lord's help in attaining true freedom in Christ. You might start by reading the book of Galatians.
If you have a loved one in the Church of Christ denomination (especially the International CHOC), please do all that is within your realm of influence to reach them.
My personal relationship with Jesus Christ has been one of great sorrows but even greater joys. Ironically, when I became a member of the Church of Christ denomination, my father's side of the family basically disowned me because they were mostly atheists. But then when I left the Church of Christ denomination, I became the "black sheep of the family" on my mother's side, because they were all from the Church of Christ denomination! But I have never regretted the decision, and I never will. The love, joy and peace that I have found in a personal intimate relationship with Jesus, far surpasses what any list of "DOs and DON'Ts" could ever offer!
Our biggest concern for our brothers and sisters in the Church of Christ denomination is the snare of legalism. The Church of Christ denomination seems to be more concerned with the length of your hair than they are the condition of your heart. They tend to strain gnats and swallow camels. They seem to be more concerned with peripheral things and miss the weightier matters. I have seen Church of Christ denominations that knew some members were molesting members of the church and nothing was done about it, but GOD FORBID if anyone puts up a Christmas tree! There just doesn't seem to be any balance.
The Church of Christ denomination claims to be an exact duplicate of the original New Testament church. When you point out how radically different they really are from the original NT church, they blow it off and say, “That was then, this is now.” Well, then don’t claim to be a duplicate of the early church. Facsimile? Maybe. Duplicate? No way.
If the Church of Christ denomination is a duplicate of the original church (and they “speak where the Bible speaks, and they are silent where the Bible is silent") then why don't they:
Greet one another with a Holy Kiss? Romans 16:16 says, “Salute one another with an holy kiss.”
Why don't they have signs following them? Jesus said in Mark 16:17-20, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; (18) They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Why don’t they sell all of their belongings and share everything with each other? Like in Acts 2:45, “And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”
Why do they forbid to speak in tongues? I Corinthians 14:39 says, “Brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
When someone is sick in your congregation, do the Elders come over and anoint the sick with oil and pray for healing? James 5:14 asks, “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
Why don’t you meet together, everyday like the early church did?
Acts 2:46, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.”
The fact is the Church of Christ denominationsometimes speaks where the Bible speaks and sometimes they are silent when the Bible is silent. The problem is that they are inconsistent. When you ask them if they “Greet one another with a holy kiss,” they will say, “that was just a mid-eastern custom.” But if you ask them if “it is a shame for a woman to cut her hair,” then that is a COMMANDMENT!
The bottom line is that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ. It's all about what JESUS did on the cross, not what somebody does in some puddle of water. It's the blood that remits sin, for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. Even if baptism was essential, 99% of the protestant church is baptized, so like Hebrews 6 says, let's move on! We baptize every single new believer, just like the Lord told us to. But after the baptism, we teach the new convert to move on to maturity. Why keep looking back at your baptism, when you should be looking forward to Jesus.
Too many churches concentrate on the Body of Christ (the church) instead of its Head. It's all about JESUS!
TO MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST:
Please remember, this is not an attack, it's a defense. Your denomination has said all other denominations are either carnal or demonic and all their members have a one way ticket to hell. In that egocentric theology your leaders have replaced Jesus with their denomination. In their eyes, they are the Way, the Truth and the Life and that's why they are not a denomination (part of the church) because they ARE the church.
Bottom line? If you can serve the Lord with all your heart in the Church of Christ denomination and stay strong in Him until the day you die, then stay in the Church of Christ denomination. The web site is not for you, then. It is for people who are in the Church of Christ denomination that are looking for more of Jesus. They are tired of a religion, and want a true, deep, sincere relationship with God. So if you have been wondering, “Is this all there is?” The answer is, no. Jesus has a lot more for you than just a "religion." He wants to have a real, vital, genuine relationship with you, and it is just a prayer away!!
Christianity is a FAITH based system, whereas the CHOCD is a RULES based system.
Christianity emphasizes God’s LOVE, MERCY and GRACE; the CHOCD emphasizes FEAR and your lack of OBEDIENCE.
Christianity is a RELATIONSHIP with your Abba (“Daddy”) Father; CHOCD is a RELIGION where you fear your mean god.
Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 8:39, “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
II Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
…and many, many more examples.
“If you hear the gospel, believe it, repent of your sins, confess Jesus as Lord and get baptized out of obedience (not for the “remission of sin”) then their god will rot you in hell for all eternity.”
I would rather love my Heavenly Father, knowing that He loves me and wants the best for me, rather than fear him and think that he is always out to get me, and loves to trip people up on a technicality.