What Must They Do To Be Saved???

In the recent Christian Chronicle paper there was an article titled, “How the should we interact?” which discussed how certain congregations of the churches of Christ were interacting with three other churches outside their fellowship (a Baptist Church, a First Presbyterian Church and Methodist Church).

Several other issues aside, I want to quickly point out the futility of such work and worship arrangements between “us and them” by using a direct quote in the story.

On page 19 of the (February 2014, Vol. 71, No.2) story a “pastoral minister” for the Southwest Central Church of Christ said, “None of these [works] requires us to deny who we are or compromise what we believe…In a major urban area like Houston, it is not Churches of Christ against Baptists. It is Christians trying to share Jesus with Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Jews and cultural pagans.

Did you catch that? Because therein lies the problem. We can’t just simply “share Jesus” along side Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists. Do you know why? Because we don’t agree, and rightly so, on what those Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Jews and cultural pagans need to do to be saved.

Do they need to say the sinner’s prayer? Do they need to simply “believe” in Jesus? Do they only need to confess Jesus and then all is well? Or do they need to actually obey the gospel?

After Phillip “preached Jesus” to the eunuch of Ethiopia the eunuch was left asking “where’s the water?” When such a one asks that of the Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists in relation to the gospel of Christ they are told “the water is over there, but you don’t need that right now, we’ll take care of that next week, next month or maybe even next year; everything is alright, you’re saved just the way you are.” And even when they do get around to baptizing people it’s not for a scriptural purpose.

Now I don’t want to sound argumentative for the sake of being argumentative, but I came from the Baptist background. I have family that I love dearly who refer to themselves as Baptists. I have friends that I love dearly who refer to themselves as other denominational names. But my love for them, and even for others that I don’t know, has nothing to do with replacing the unity of the Spirit that Jesus wants for His church with a spirit of unity that does nothing more than ignore the important issues that must be settled, such as the answer to question of “What must I do to be saved?” For if we do not agree on such an answer then how could we possible “share Jesus” with others along with them?

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:10-13)

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Denominations are not to be Celebrated

I know it goes contrary to what many are taught within denominationalism, but the truth of the matter is that denominationalism damages the gospel – it does not promote it (John 17:20-21).

When you get down to the root of the issue many people in the denominational world know that division is wrong; that’s why they have “interfaith” meetings. But what they fail to understand is that the unity of the Spirit is meant to come before the spirit of unity so the bond of peace is based upon the joining power of God and not man (Ephesians 4:3).

I can appreciate the fact that many in the religious world are starting to see that division shouldn’t be so. I can appreciate the fact that many are beginning to understand that Christ wasn’t divided and those who profess to follow Him should walk according to this same measure (1 Corinthians 1:10-13, Philippians 3:16). But I cannot appreciate the fact that there are still those within denominationalism who celebrate denominationalism. There is not one single verse in all the New Testament that encourages or extols the so-called benefits of any spiritual division within the body of Christ outside of the correction of sinful living and heretical teaching (1 Corinthians 5:1-8, Titus 3:10-11). The lengths to which some go to justify their divisive teaching, divisive order and divisive influence reveals just how short-sighted their respect is for the unifying word of God.

At the end of the day setting aside the traditions of men and women for the commandments of God should be one of the many important goals that the church should have. Such was possible in the first century and such could be possible in the twenty-first century if we would only celebrate the right kind of unity that leads to true growth for the kingdom of God and stop celebrating the wrong kind of division that hinders it (Ephesians 4:13-16).

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)

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