The following is a response to an article which can be found by clicking the button below.
The religious sect known as the "Church of Christ" has many peculiar and aberrant doctrines that are contrary to the word of God. It is a most deceptive and dangerous cult (Since no evidence is given to prove the reasoning of this statement of the church being a “cult” then it may be an attempt to discredit the church of Christ using buzz words which incite adverse emotions. This may not be, but it is an interesting word to use without proof.). Their teaching of baptismal regeneration is an age-old heresy that has damned millions to hell, and is still doing so today. The idea that they are the one, true and restored church of Jesus Christ puts them in the same league with the Mormon and Roman Catholic churches (The Roman Catholic Church claims to be the apostolic church which can be traced directly to the apostle Peter, not the restored church. In this statement, the writer therefore claims the Baptist Church of which he is a part to not be the true church. Otherwise it is to be put in the same “league” as the aforementioned churches.).
If you are a member of this "church (The writer has already stated it to be a church, therefore the question must be made, “Why the need for quotations, thereby possibly inciting emotions again?”)" or have been influenced by its teachings, we challenge you to ask your preacher the questions that follow, then get your King James Bible out, open it up, and ask the Holy Spirit to show you the TRUTH (John 16:13) (Since this was asked, all answers will be given from the KJV unless going to the original languages and the words’ meanings.). If you have never been saved in the Bible sense, for heaven's sake, do not mistake being "washed in the baptistery of the church" for being washed in the blood of Christ (Baptism may be done in a body of water which is large enough to fully submerge the individual submitting to baptism – Acts 8:38).
If you ask one of these "preachers (With the speakers of the churches of Christ already being addressed as preachers in the previous paragraph, the question made previously with reference to the quotations used with regard to the church must be made yet again.)" any of the questions in this tract, you won't get a straight answer due to their "screwball (Again possibly inciting emotions against the church of Christ and its teachings)" theology. You'll have them in "hot water," "swimming in circles," trying to explain their heretical positions. They'll be "hopping all over the pond" because they can't stay too long in one spot without sinking in the mire of their false doctrines.
Don't YOU wind up being baptized in the "Lake of Fire" by accepting a "waterworks" based plan of salvation and rejecting salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ. (Matt. 3:11; Rev. 20:15; Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 5:9; Rom. 11:6) (The citation of Eph. 2:8-9 is very interesting in this context. If one can go to the entirety of the Word of God for the answer to a question (John 17:17), and the context of the passage given speaks of one being “created in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:10),” and being “in Christ (Eph. 2:13)” which is the source of reconciliation between the Jew and Gentile by bringing them into one body (Eph. 2:16) which also is called the “household of God (Eph. 2:19)” and the church (Eph. 1:22-23), then one must go to the Bible to see how to become “in Christ.” This is clearly explained by Paul, the same writer as the book of Ephesians (Eph. 1:1), in the book of Galatians as being “baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27, cf. Gal. 1:1).” In order to see what is the “baptism” spoken of in Gal. 3:27, one can look to what Paul did in the account of his being saved. Paul is said to have been “baptized (Acts 9:18),” and even practiced baptizing people only in water (Acts 16:15 – Paul is not stated to do the baptizing but he was present, 18:8 – cf. 1 Cor. 1:14, 19:4-5 – Paul was present, if not the officiator, at the baptism of the Ephesians) as the disciples were commanded to baptize in the Great Commission (Mat. 28:19-20))
Here are Questions for Campbellites (Mr. Martin’s use of this term, “Cambellites,” will be discussed later in this apology of the church.)
1. According to the history of the "Church of Christ," God used certain men to "restore" the New Testament Church in the early 1800's. Where was the true New Testament church before then? Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church (Matthew
16:18). What happened to the church and where was the truth it was responsible for preaching before God restored it?
Again, quotations are used very suspiciously.
The Baptist Church has not been established since the day of Pentecost, yet Mr. Martin obviously believes it to be the true church. Therefore, the question can be asked about the Baptist Church, but it is not needed. Since the Word of God is likened to a seed (Mat. 13, Luke 8:5ff), one can use what has been called the “Seed Principle.” This is in reference to the parable spoken by the Christ while on earth which is often called the “Parable of the Soils,” in which the Christ says a man went to sow his seed in his field and the seed sprouts in one of the soils and continues to grow (Luke 8:5-11). Jesus explains the seed to be the Word and since the Word of God is what gives us the plans of the church (Mat. 16:19, cf. 2 Tim. 3:16-17), then the seed could be dormant for an extended amount of time, but when planted would still produce the fruit, one of which being the church.
The Word of God is the authority in all spiritual aspects (2 Tim. 3:16-17, 2 Pet. 1:3), so the question must be made, “Where does the Bible say the church must be present at all times in history in order for the gates of Hell to not “prevail,” overpower, against it?” We understand that only members of the church which was built by Christ would be accepted into Heaven (Rev. 21:8). Also, it may be understood the passage cited (Mat. 16:18) to be speaking of the fact that the time Jesus spent in the “Hadean world” described in the passage (Hell – “It is the place to which all who depart this life descend, without reference to their moral character (Vincent’s Word Studies).”) would not stop, overpower, His establishing the church.
2. If a "Church of Christ" elder refuses to baptize me, will I be lost until I can find one who will? Do I need Jesus AND a Campebllite "preacher" in order to be saved? If I do, then Jesus Christ is not the only Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) and the Holy Spirit is not the only Administrator (1 Cor. 12:13) of salvation - the "Church of Christ" preacher is necessary to salvation for he is performing a saving act on me when he baptizes me! Is this not blasphemy against Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost?
Nowhere in the Bible does it refer to the spiritual state of the individual doing the baptizing. Therefore, this question is a “straw-man” argument, an argument based on misrepresentation of opponent's position by twisting his words or by means of [false] assumptions and therefore needs not to be answered. If Mr. Martin rephrases the question to one which is not in accordance with this logical fallacy, then it can be answered and will be posted at a later date.
3. If the water pipes broke and the baptistery was bone dry, would my salvation have to wait until the plumber showed up? If I were to die before then, would I go to hell? If obedience to water baptism is the means of forgiveness of sins, then I would.
This is again a “straw-man” in assuming that baptism must take place in a baptistery located in a church building.
4. If my past sins are forgiven when I am baptized in water, and it is possible for me to "lose my salvation" and go to hell after being baptized, then wouldn't my best chance of going to heaven be to drown in the baptistery?!! - before I had a chance to sin so as to be lost again? If I wanted to be absolutely sure of heaven, isn't that my best opportunity?
No, it is the case that baptism in water does result in the salvation of an individual by the act of God in answer to the submitting to the act with a clear conscience and repentance of sins (1 Pet. 3:21, Eph. 2:8, Col. 2:12, Acts 2:38), and one may “fall,” go from one place to another, from their salvation (Gal. 5:4), but the question cannot be answered affirmative because in baptism one is taking part in the representation of Christ and therefore one must be raised from the grave, of water, like Christ because Hell did not prevail against Him (Rom. 6:1-3, Mat. 16:18).
5. If as a Christian I can sin so as to "lose my salvation," just what sin or sins will place me in such danger? Is it possible to know at what point one has committed such a sin, and become lost again? Please be specific and give clear Bible references.
It is the case that a person can fall, which has already been discussed. One cannot fall from a place in which he has not been at one point, and the Galatians were Christians but had “fallen” from the grace of God in their holding the Law of Moses as in effect after the institution of the new law (Gal. 5:4, 3:15-29). The point at which a person “loses” their salvation, in as much as they have become sinners again by erring from the Truth (Gal. 5:4, Jas. 5:19-20), at the point of their no longer walking in the Light (1 John 1:7), which is the extended practice of sin (1 John 1:6). The responder believes this to be specific and clear Bible references; if this isn’t the case more can be provided.
6. If as a Christian I can fall and "lose my salvation," is it possible to regain it? If so, how? If God "takes away" my salvation, doesn't that make Him an "Indian giver"? How could I ever know for sure that I was saved or lost?
Absolutely! Any Christian who has left the way of the Lord can come back (Acts 8:21-24). One can clearly see how a person who has become a Christian could come back to the Lord, that way being repentance from his sins. This can also be seen in light of the passage written by John which states that a man who is walking in the light of the Lord has forgiveness from his sins as long as he is willing to repent of those sins (1 John 1:7-10). If the Lord has promised that those who follow His ways will be saved and those who do not will not receive salvation, then it is not the Lord’s fault that a man leaves His fold but the guilt is placed upon the man.
7. After becoming a Christian, are there any sins that will put me beyond the "point of no return" so that I cannot regain salvation? What sin or sins will put me in such jeopardy, so that, after becoming a Christian, I would be doomed to hell without any recourse? Please be specific and give me clear Bible references.
There are numerous passages that say that a man can reach the point in which he cannot return to the Lord (1 John 5:16 being only one). In light of that fact, there must be a specific understanding as to how a man cannot be returned to the Lord’s way if he commits this sin even though the Lord is a loving God and wishes all to be saved and will forgive those who have sinned (1 John 1:7-10, Acts 17:30, 2 Pet. 3:9). The fact is, there is a “point of no return” at which a man will not be saved from his sins. 1 John 5:16 speaks of a sin which is “unto” death. The original word for the word translated “unto” literally means forward to, or toward. This gives much meaning and understanding to the passage which shows there to be a sin which will not be forgiven or and for which is not to be prayed by the brethren. The person who is sinning without repentance or the will to ever change from his ways is committing sin which is lasting unto death. It is only the case that a man will not be forgiven of his sins if he is not willing to change and come back to the Lord. 2 Pet. 2:10-15 speaks of a man that cannot cease his sinful ways because he has allowed the sin to take control and has no mind to attempt to regain control of his life.
8. If I committed some sin -whether in thought, word, or deed, one minute before a fatal car crash - would I go to hell if I did not have time to repent of it? And, please, don't just say that it's up to God without giving me a specific Bible reference.
It is very illogical to say that the answer, “That is up to the Lord” is not a valid answer to this question, but Biblical evidence can give a more precise answer nonetheless. 1 John 1:6-10 speaks to this question as well. The Lord continuously cleanses a man who is attempting to live in His ways (this can be seen in the verb which is in the perfect tense and is translated, “cleanseth”). The Lord knows the hearts of every man who has or will ever live. In order to answer this question beyond the answer which is forbidden requires some opinion based on faith, an understanding based on evidence. Since it is the case that the Lord knows man’s heart, He wishes all to be saved and if a man commits a sin just before his death but the Lord knows that, if given the opportunity, the man would repent, then it is reasonable to understand the man was walking in the light and therefore would be forgiven of the sin. Nonetheless, the forbidden answer is sufficient.
9. Why does the "Church of Christ" insist that their name is scriptural when it cannot be found anywhere in the Bible? The church is referred to as the "church of God" eight (8) times in the Bible, but never is it called the "church of Christ." The verse they use is Romans 16:16, but it doesn't say "church of Christ." Where does the Bible call the church the "church of Christ"?
This answer can be clearly understood when one uses the transitive property. The church which was bought by the blood of Christ (Acts 2:38) is also called the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23). Paul says that the Christians at Corinth, and therefore all Christians, are members of the “body” of Christ and therefore it can be seen that Christians are members of the church of Christ. The name, “church of God” would be another name for the church; however it is not used by many Christians due to the false teaching and connotation of the denomination holding the same name.
10. If the "Church of Christ" claims to worship God only as "authorized" by scripture because they sing only (and do not use instrumental music), then where do they get the "authority" to use hymnals, pitchpipes, pews, and indoor baptistries in their worship services? If the answer is that they are "aids to worship," where does the Bible allow for that? Where is your required authorization? If a pitchpipe can be an "aid to worship" for the song service in the "Church of Christ," then why can't a piano be an "aid to worship" for Baptists who may need more help in singing?
This question can be addressed with exception of the last bit of the first question (indoor baptisteries, because baptism is not part of a worship service). Hymnals are authorized in the fact that Paul stated Christians are to sing “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” Where are the psalms? (In the Bible) If we are to sing psalms, and there is a great number of psalms located in the Bible, then it would be acceptable to have a Bible out of which to sing them. If it is acceptable to hold a Bible in order to sing the psalms, then the same must be acceptable with regard to hymns. Therefore, having a hymnal is just a way of having a written way in which we can have the words of the hymns so we can carry out the command of Paul. Pitch pipes are used to set the first pitch of the hymn/psalm/spiritual song. It must be admitted that a pitch pipe is an instrument which is not authorized in worship. The distinction must then be made of whether or not that pitch pipe is being used in the worship. The time designated for the congregation to worship is not entirely made of worship (there can be breaks in the worship for expedient purposes). For example; a congregation may stop the acts of worship at some point in order to address the announcements which need to be made that day, but that does not mean the announcements are part of the worship they are simply done during the appointed worship time when the congregation is together (expedient). Likewise, pitch pipes are not used during the worship of the church (during the actual singing) but are used before the worship begins in order to expedite the singing which is about to take place. In regards to pews, this may be something thrown in arbitrarily to distract the reader and attempt to make the stance of the church of Christ of none effect by mentioning something absurd. Nonetheless, pews are authorized during the worship services of the church because numerous times in the NT it is mentioned that the Christians sat during worship (especially Jesus sitting to teach before the Sermon on the Mount. Mat. 5:1). These things are all expedient to the worship of the church, but the only valid point like instrumental music is the pitch pipe, which is easily understood to not taking place during the worship activity. Therefore, a piano can be an aid to worship as long as it is not taking place during the commanded worship (that being the singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs).
11. The "Church of Christ" teaches that a sinner is forgiven of sin when he is baptized in water by a Campbellite elder. (That has already been addressed and is clearly seen to be an assumption which has no logical reasoning in this article other than to pose a straw man argument) Where does the Bible teach that water baptism is required in order to have one's sins forgiven? Every time the phrase "for the remission of sins" occurs it is speaking of the fact that sins have been forgiven previously! The Bible plainly teaches that the forgiveness of sins is conditioned upon repentance of sin and faith in Christ- never upon water baptism! (Matthew 3:11; Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19; Acts 5:31; Acts 10:43; Acts 20:21; Romans 1:16; Romans 4:5; et. al.) Where does the Bible teach that forgiveness of sin is linked with water baptism? When Christ made the statement in Matthew 26:28, "for the remission of sins," it had to be because they had been forgiven all through the Old Testament! Christ shed His blood because God forgave repentant and believing sinners for thousands of years before the Son of God came to "take away" sins and to redeem us and pay the sin-debt with His own precious blood. How can one say that "for the remission of sins" means 'in order to obtain' in light of the fact that God never uses the phrase in that sense?
It is needed, in the case that the writer has said, “every time the phrase ‘for the remission of sins’ occurs it is speaking of the fact that sins have been forgiven previously,” that the phrase “for the remission of sins” is studied. The major point of this statement is to bring out the word “for” in the phrase. Ray Summers, a Greek grammarian, wrote that the word which is found in every one of the passages in which the phrase is used (eis) is to be translated “into, to, in (Summers, Essentials of New Testament Greek Revised, p. 176).” If that is the case, and many other Greek grammarians substantiate it, then the question is, “Where does it say that those sins have been previously forgiven if baptism is eis (into, to, in) the forgiveness of sins.” Mr. Martin states that Matthew 26:28 shows that mankind, or at least the men present at the last supper, were forgiven under, through, the Old Testament. No man was ever forgiven under the Old Testament Law of Moses. In order to prove that statement one may only look to Galatians 3:21, where Paul wrote that mankind was not forgiven under the Old Law. The question then arises, “Did all the people under the Old Law go to torment then?” No, because they were forgiven in prospect of the coming of Christ, but not without the blood of Christ. Therefore, the blood of Christ was shed eis (into, to, in) the remission of all mankind’s sins if only they will obey. Mr. Martin follows this fallacious statement with a statement that gives up his previous statement, in that he stated, “Christ shed His blood... to ‘take away’ sins and redeem us and pay the sin-debt with His own precious blood.” If Christ’s blood is what paid the debt for man’s sins, then how were people forgiven under the Old Testament without the blood of Christ? The fact is, the Greek word eis means into, to or in (which can easily be seen as “unto”) and therefore Peter’s statement on the day of Pentecost that the people were to repent and be baptized unto the remission of sins answers this entire question very easily (Acts 2:38).
In the Old Testament God forgave sin on the basis of a blood sacrifice (Heb. 9:22) - the Old Testament saints had their sins remitted (i.e., forgiven) but they were not redeemed until Christ came and shed His blood at Calvary (Heb. 10:3-10 says this statement is absolutely false in that the blood of the sacrifices did not take away the sins but rolled them back). Their sins were covered (Romans 4:7; Psalm 32:1), but the sinner was not cleared of his guilt (Exodus 34:7) until the Cross (Heb.10:4) (How can a person’s sins be covered by the blood of bulls and goats, which did not have the ability to do so, and forgiven of those sins if their guilt of those sins were not cleared. If this is true, a person can be forgiven of their sins and not be allowed into Heaven because they still held the guilt of those sins.). Before Calvary, the sins of believers
were pardoned, but they were not paid for (i.e., redeemed) until the crucifixion (see Romans 3:25 and Heb. 9:12-15) (This is absolutely true, and has already been addressed). When Jesus said, "It is finished," (John 19:30), all sin - past, present and future - was paid for, and the plan of salvation was completed, so that 'whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins' (Acts 10:43) (If the first part of this sentence is true, what was the purpose of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ? I believe that both Mr. Martin and I can agree that without the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, man could not be saved from their sins, even though Mr. Martin would say that they were forgiven but not really forgiven without the blood of Christ). In Acts 2:38, the people were baptized because their sins were forgiven (at Calvary when Jesus said, "Father, forgive them,") and they received the blessing of forgiveness when they repented of their sin of rejecting Christ and accepted Him as their Saviour and Lord. Friend, heaven or hell depends on what you believe about this (See the statements regarding of the word eis, above).
12. If salvation is not by works of righteousness which we have done, and baptism is a work of "righteousness," then how can water baptism be a part of salvation? (Titus 3:5; Matt. 3:16) In the Bible, we are SAVED BY GRACE, and grace does not involve human effort or merit - grace is grace andwork is work! (Just read Ephesians 2:8,9 and Romans 11:6.)
The writer of these questions, Mr. Martin, does not even believe that absolutely no work is to be done in the obedience to the will of God which leads to Him forgiving the person from their sins. He openly admits that one becomes a Christian by, “inviting the Lord into your heart after believing the Truth (Taken from an email message between myself and Mr. Martin).” The fact is, a person is not saved by works of righteousness which we have done, that is correct, but what is not being said in the statement above are the words “lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9).” No person seeking to gain salvation through works of merit, so as to say, “You owe me this Lord,” will ever be saved! But, when the Lord says to do something, and a person does it, then it is not a work of self-righteousness from which one can receive merit. Human beings are saved by grace, the unmerited favor of the Lord, through obedient faith in Him (Eph. 2:8-9). How ridiculous would it be for a person to say to the Creator of all that is, “Since I have done this (either baptism, which is what Mr. Martin is trying to degrade, or belief and “invitation” of the Lord into his heart), you better give me this salvation, God, because I have EARNED it?” Obedience to the Lord’s commandments is a work of righteousness, but no one doing so has the right and ability to boast of what he has done. Peter says something to this in his statement about baptism being, “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God (1 Pet. 3:21).” If it were a work of righteousness which done in order to merit salvation, it would be the putting away of the filth of the flesh, because what man on this earth can wash the sins of a person, or himself, by submerging him/himself in water? The work of merit is done by God, the obedience is done by the man wishing to receive salvation!
13. The "Church of Christ" teaches that "obeying the Gospel" includes being baptized in water in order to be saved. If this is true, then how is it that the converts of Acts 10 were saved by faith before and without water baptism? The Bible says in Acts 5:32 that only those who obey God may receive the Holy Ghost - so what did those in Acts 10 do to obey and receive the Holy Ghost and be saved? In the light of Acts 10:34-48, Acts 11:14-18, and Acts 15:7-11, how can anyone honestly believe that water baptism is necessary to salvation? Simon Peter said their hearts were "purified by faith" (Acts 15:9) and that we are saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ like they were (Acts 15:11); that is, before and without water baptism!
This question, and the mention of Acts 5:32, contradicts the implication of the belief of Mr. Martin given in the previous question, just as his statement about inviting the Lord into one’s heart. However, this question is a viable nonetheless. The speaking of tongues, and the other gifts of the Holy Spirit, were given in order to be signs to those who did not believe the word of God (1 Cor. 14:22). Because of this, we can see Acts 10 in its actually context. Peter obviously had a problem with going and preaching to the Gentiles, and so God gave him a vision in order to show him that all men were to be preached to (Acts 10:9-16). Peter did not understand the visions at the time they were given, but it is obvious that the meaning would soon come to his understanding. Cornelius’ men came to him, to bring him to Cornelius (Acts 10:17-21). Peter most likely understood the meaning of the visions at this point (Acts 10:34), but there were those who went with him to Cornelius that did not see the visions, and therefore did not know what was going on (Acts 10:47), so Peter asked whether or not any man could forbid them to be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38, 10:47).
Now, “How is it that the converts of Acts 10 were saved by faith before and without water baptism?” There was a need for the Gentiles of Acts 10 to have the gifts to show those who were with Peter that they were to be accepted. Mr. Martin even cites the verses which say this same thing (Acts 15:7-11). They were purified by faith, which is not simply a mental ascension by an individual but a mental ascension accompanied by obedience. The Gentiles in Acts 10 were indeed baptized out of obedience after having faith. It is not logical to say a person will be saved from their sins if they believe in God but do not follow any of His commandments, the difference is Mr. Martin would say he must obey all but one of the commandments (baptism, Mark 16:16), and the churches of Christ believe he must obey all of the commandments (John 14:15).
As for “obeying the Gospel,” the Bible teaches the Gospel to be the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4), and one must be baptized to symbolically reenact that Gospel (Rom. 6:3-4), and that we are to obey God by being baptized (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, John 14:15).
We know that unsaved people do not receive or have the Holy Spirit (John 14:17; Romans 8:9).
John 14:17 is an account of the Christ speaking to His disciples and speaking of the time in which they would be given the entirety of the truth of God’s word, not spiritual gifts. There is a difference in being completely inspired by the Lord and having the ability from the Lord to speak in tongues, which is the context of Acts 10 and the above question. Romans 8:9 is speaking of the indwelling of the Spirit in the believer, not miraculous gifts. Therefore, this statement is using the Scriptures out of context in order to push the false point.
We know that the Holy Spirit is given only to those who have believed on Christ (John 7:39).
Did Cornelius not have an obedient faith in Christ? Absolutely not! He believed and Peter was there to show him how to obey in order to receive salvation.
We know that the Holy Spirit seals the believing sinner the moment he puts his faith and trust in Christ as Savior, before he is ever baptized in water (Ephesians 1:12,13). That has already been addressed and shown to be a false statement. How does the warped theology of Campbellism explain away these clear passages of Scripture without "muddying the waters" of truth and drowning its members in eternal damnation? Campbellism is not the belief of the churches of Christ. Campbell was not the starter of the church of Christ because he did not believe what they believe nor did he teach what they teach, he simply started the movement in America to attempt to get people to go back to the Bible. This statement is nothing more than hateful and an attempt to muddy the waters for those honestly seeking the Truth.