Exposing The Christian Church (Part 1)
By: Brian A. Yeager
When I began preaching in Christiansburg, VA I was told that the Christian Church was started during the “Restoration Movement” and that they were our apostate brethren. Even being a liberal (one who took more liberty with God’s word than God permitted; cf. Joshua 1:7) as I was then, I knew that was wrong. When I opposed the errors surrounding that mindset, forty-one liberal “preachers” decided they would mark me for opposing this false doctrine. I still have the documentation, from the days when I too was in error, of these events (http://www.wordsoftruth.net/Incorrect_Marking_of_Brian_Yeager.htm).
As we begin our study of the Christian Church, I am going to start with why members of the true church of Christ and members of the Christian church are not brethren. Understand this, many times apostates, wrongfully using the identity of the church of Christ, often refer to the Christian Church as our brethren (i.e. Highers – Blakely debate). I know, for most of us, this seems a bit silly since the Lord adds the saved to the church of Christ (Acts 2:47 and Romans 16:16). However, many of our so-called “brethren” really do think the church of Christ fell away, needed restored, and then splintered during the so-called “Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement”. It is here that we shall begin our study.
We Are Not Brothers Because Of Some Restoration Movement
To be very clear from the onset, the church of Christ NEVER FELL AWAY. To claim such is to call our Lord a liar. Most of us realize that the church and the kingdom are one in the same. When you study through the Scriptures referring to the kingdom being established in Jerusalem, the coming of it with power during the time of Roman rule (Daniel 2:31-45, Mark 9:1, and Acts 1:6-8) etc., you know the spiritual Mount Zion, the church, and the kingdom are all the same (cf. Isaiah 2:2-3 and Micah 4:1-2; 8). When the kingdom/church was established, Peter pointed to prophesy to show the last days had come. All honest Bible students, who’ve reviewed the Scriptures that were just cited, know that this means the kingdom/church was established (Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 2:14-21). When you close Acts chapter two the saved were being added to the church. When you read further into the New Testament, the saved were added to the kingdom (I Thessalonians 2:12). When you put these things together, you come to find that the church and the kingdom are one in the same (Colossians 1:12-23 and Hebrews 12:22-23).
We’ve briefly studied through all of those points to get to another point. Since we have established that the church and the kingdom are one in the same, we will see what that does in disproving a “Restoration Movement”. For one, we must remind ourselves that God does not lie (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2, and Hebrews 6:16-18). Therefore, when God makes the following promise we know that it will not fail: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Hebrews 12:28). Folks, that closes the case on any “Restoration Movement”. The church never needed restored because the church never failed (cf. Romans 11:1-5). Therefore, anything born out of any movement is something other than the Lord’s church.
The Christian Church admits that they were born out of a movement. In fact, they admit that they did not exist in the first century as the church of Christ did (cf. Romans 16:16). Notice this statement from “the horses mouth” (so to speak): “The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), while founded on American soil in the early 1800s, is uniquely equipped to live up to its identity that it is a ‘movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.’ The denomination was born in the 1800s, and continues to be influenced by its founding ideals of our unity in Christ with openness and diversity in practice and belief” (http://www.disciples.org/AboutTheDisciples/tabid/67/Default.aspx). Folks, with an open admission of being a denomination and the declaration that they did not exist when the Lord’s church was started, how could there even be an argument made that they are or ever were our “erring brethren”? For information on the sinfulness of denominationalism, see our first article in this series written on 9/27/2009 (http://www.wordsoftruth.net/wotvol10/wotbulletin09272009.html).
Christian Church Doctrine Does Not Produce Christians!
The Lord’s church came into existence because Christ died to purchase the church (Acts 20:28 and Ephesians 5:25). This was not a movement, but a divine plan that existed before mankind did (Ephesians 3:1-11; cf. Ephesians 1:4). When someone was converted in AD 33 they were added to the church of Christ (Acts 2:47). As we noted above, by the admission of the Christian Church, they did not exist to have the saved added to their numbers in the first century. Therefore, when one is taught and converted using the doctrine of the Christian Church they are added to something started by men, not by the Lord! Folks, we cannot obey the doctrines of men and become Christians at the same time (Matthew 15:1-9, Galatians 1:10, and Colossians 2:18-23).
When one is taught and the conversion process takes place, what one is taught becomes very important (Matthew 7:21-23; cf. John 17:17). We do obey what we are taught (Romans 6:17 and Colossians 1:5). To be converted, one has to understand the truth concerning the identity of the kingdom/church. This is plainly declared by Jesus when He said this: “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side” (Matthew 13:19). As Jesus declared, when one does not understand the kingdom they then have not received the word of God to proceed any further in the Scriptural conversion process. That is the word of God falling by the wayside.
We always like to show people the conversion examples in the book of Acts to prove the necessity of water baptism (i.e. Acts 8:25-39). We also outline the need to believe the Gospel (Acts 18:8), repent of sins (Acts 2:38; 3:19), and confess Christ (Acts 8:37). We need to also pay attention to what was taught. In addition to the obvious things (the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, etc.), the authority of Christ and the kingdom are part of the pattern of what one MUST be taught prior to conversion. Notice: “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12). The doctrine of the Christian Church produces members of the Christian Church. The authority of Christ is ignored and error on the identity of the Lord’s body is espoused. False doctrine on these very necessary topics does not produce Christians. One must obey the truth and continue therein to be a disciple of the Lord (John 8:31-32).
The Christian Church teaches and practices many doctrines of men. Not all of them are taught prior to being converted into this denomination, but they are taught and practiced after one joins this denomination. These issues clearly show they were never part of the body of Christ (II John 9). The first thing we’ll list in the next section of this article is also something that is widely practiced by nearly every denominational church in existence. That error is the false practice of mechanical instruments of music being used to worship God. Therefore, this particular point can be useful to all of us as a review since it is an issue that we will often find ourselves discussing with those in the world of human religions.
The Error Of Mechanical Instruments Of Music In Worship To God
Let me begin by saying that the usage of mechanical instruments of music in worship to God is no different than any other false practice. All things, within and outside of the worship of the local church without the authority of God, are equally soul damning (Leviticus 10:1-2, Proverbs 30:5-6, Colossians 3:17, and James 2:10-12). There is no difference between mechanical instrumental music, make up servings of the Lord’s Supper, brown bagging the Lord’s Supper, erring Bible versions, unscriptural prayers, etc. When one sings an unscriptural song, they’d do just as well to play it on a piano. Singing is teaching (Colossians 3:16). When we sing a song containing error we are teaching error (Titus 2:1). If we sing a song to God without understanding what we’re singing, we’ve erred (I Corinthians 14:15). Therefore, do not let this part of our examination of this denomination become a beating stick against the Christian Church if we too find ourselves practicing something without God’s authority. We are hypocrites to point out the errors of others if we ourselves are practicing anything false (Matthew 7:1-5).
Having said that, the Christian Church is open about their usage of mechanical instruments of music in worship to God (http://www.fccrogers.org/NWACCDOC/aboutthe.htm). The problem is, we are under the New Testament of Jesus Christ (Romans 7:1-6, Ephesians 2:11-17, and Hebrews 9:15-17) and nowhere in this Covenant is there authority to worship God with mechanical instruments of music. God requires worship to be done correctly (John 4:23-24). He demands that we do not follow the doctrines of men (Colossians 2:8). Since this practice cannot be found in the New Testament, it is a doctrine of men rather than of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). If God wanted us to play instruments of music in our worship to Him, the New Testament would tell us when and how to do so (II Timothy 3:16-17 and II Peter 1:3).
What we do find in the New Testament is the authority for our musical worship to God to be singing. We must understand that God expects us to follow a pattern to do what pleases Him (II Timothy 1:13). Any changes to that pattern results in sin (I John 3:4, Galatians 1:6-12, and Revelation 22:18-19). Worship is about what is pleasing to God, not about what is pleasing to us (Philippians 3:3). Now notice what God wants us to do in our musical worship to Him: “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives…. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives… And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them… And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name…. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also…. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord… Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord… Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee… Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms” (Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26, Acts 16:25, Romans 15:9, I Corinthians 14:15, Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16, Hebrews 2:12, and James 5:13). The pattern is clear, God wants us to sing for our musical worship unto Him!
The fact that the Christian Church was born out of a movement instead of Christ and that they use mechanical instruments of music to worship is enough to prove this denomination is wrong. However, there are more things to expose about this erring religious group. We will continue our series next week.
Volume 10 – Issue 16 - January 10th, 2010