Teaching The Truth About The One Church Is Not Hatred, It’s Biblical

Charles Pogue

Faithful members of the church of Christ are sometimes accused of being filled with hatred for believing and teaching the truth on the oneness of the church. That there is only one church to which one must belong in order to go to heaven is not hatred, it’s Biblical. Furthermore, it is not hatred, because all members of the Lord’s church who are what they should be, do not hate anyone. What we want, as does God, is for all men to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:3,4), obey the Gospel, and be added to the church of Christ not a church of man.

Jesus informed His disciples that He would build His church (Matthew 16:18). It has been correctly pointed out over and again by faithful teachers of the scripture that Jesus promised to build one church and it is His church. Other men have built their churches. Churches of men are easily identifiable because their names do not honor Christ. Most of those bodies wear names alluding to some point of their doctrine the founder of that church held, or a name honoring the man himself. The church Jesus built wears His name (Rom. 16:16), not the name Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Community, or Cowboy. Jesus purchased His church with His blood (Acts 20:28). Those who obey the Gospel do not go out and join a church, they are added by God to the church (Acts 2:47).

Additionally, churches of men are easily recognized by their failure to follow the New Testament in matters of worship, organization, and mission of the church. In worship, unauthorized mechanical instruments of music are used, weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper is ignored. In organization, the New Testament speaks nothing as to organization beyond the fact that Christ is the head (Col. 1:18) and every congregation is overseen by elders and served by deacons. The qualifications for both are given in 1 Timothy 3. There is no organization at all beyond that of each individual congregation. In mission, some bodies of men have as their mission to make men wealthy in the possessions of this life. Those who do have as their mission the seeking of men to be saved, do so by teaching a faith only doctrine which leaves out obedience to the commands God has given in order for one to have the forgiveness of sins and salvation. Faith only teaching will save no one.

The New Testament identifies the church as the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22,23). There is only one body, thus only one church (Rom. 12:4,5; 1 Cor. 10:17; 1 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 2:16; Eph. 4:4; Col. 3:15). Take special note 1 Corinthians 12:13 says one is baptized into that body. Inasmuch as there is one baptism (Eph. 4:5) and one body, one who is scripturally baptized (immersed) in water for the remission of his sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21), and who arises from the watery grave to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:3,4), was baptized into the one body, the church of Christ. And let it be understood the compilation of all denominations does not constitute the church of Christ!

Jesus informed His apostles that all power (authority) had been given unto Him (Matt. 28:18). The church is the body of Christ, and He is the head of it (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Col. 1:18; 2:19). If the church is the body of Christ, He is the head of it, and as the head of it has all authority, pray tell how can one claim a church has any relationship to Christ whatsoever when it engages in worship, organization, mission, or work that is not commanded, exemplified, and approved of by the New Testament. If one engages in matters within these or any other area of the Christian life, using the statement the Bible does not say not to as his authority, it is to admit he is not a member of the church revealed by the New Testament of Jesus Christ! The church of Christ, on the other hand, is identified because it follows the New Testament pattern rather than the “I want to” or “I think” whims of man.

If teaching the foregoing about the church is hatred, then God is hateful because these facts come straight out of the book of God (2 Tim. 3:16,17). However, God is not hateful. God so loved the world, did He not? (John3:16). God would not have anyone to be lost, but that all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus stated the day will come when all men will be judged and some, the majority (Matt. 7:13,14), will be sent away into everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46). In relation to that, He also said not all those who call on Him as Lord would be saved, but those who do the will of the Father (Matt. 7:21). In that passage, faith only advocates are identified as those who claim to have prophesied, cast out devils, and done many wonderful works in His name (v. 22), but did not do the will of the Father. Jesus will tell them, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (v. 23). Some will be lost; Jesus identifies who they will be. Does that make Him hateful? Not at all. He issued the plea, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). However, the benefits of this call are conditional, as we have already seen by one doing the will of the Father. One must come to Christ on His terms, and be added to His body, not a church of man identifiable by the failure to follow the New Testament pattern for the church.

The New Testament clearly points out how one is added to the church of Christ. He must believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God (John 8:24; Acts 8:36,37). One must repent of sins, that is, turn away from them and do them no more (Luke 13:3,5). He must confess, as did the Ethiopian in the Acts 8 passage, belief in Christ, and then be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). He is not baptized to join a man-made church. He is not baptized as a sign that he has accepted Christ as Savior. Nowhere are those even suggested in the Scripture. By obedience to God’s plan, one is added to the Lord’s church. Following that initial obedience, one must a live faithful in all things revealed unto us by Scripture (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 15:58; 1 John 1:6,7; Rev. 2:10).

The foregoing words do not constitute a message of hate. They are a statement of love. God loved and loves the world (John 3:16). He would have all men to be saved, but not all men will be. Only those who follow the teachings of Christ; both the things He personally taught during His life and the teachings of His apostles and prophets who wrote the subsequent books of the New Testament. And let us not be of the mind that any doctrine or practice newer than those revealed in the New Testament have a part in the things pertaining to life and godliness for Peter wrote before the end of the first century that all such things were already revealed (2 Peter 1:3). As Jude wrote, those who are Christians are to contend earnestly for those things; the faith (Jude 3). Those things are not hateful, they are indispensable matters associated with the love God has for all men, and which were prepared from the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20-23). Those things include, as the Scripture plainly teaches, the oneness of the church.

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