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Frequently Asked Questions about the Church of Christ

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CHURCH OF CHRIST:
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Why does the Church of Christ not use instrumental music?
When Jesus died on the cross the Old Testament was fulfilled and the New Testament was established as the governing rule for the church of Christ. That being stated, it is our responsibility to conduct ourselves in all aspects of life, and especially in worship to God, in the way that the NT dictates. The King James Version (KJV) states in Ephesians 5:19, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord," and again in Colossians 3:16, "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." Many contend that the Greek word translated "psalms" in these verses allows for "plucking" and "twanging" the strings of a musical instrument. This, however, is not the case for these three reasons:

1. In the Old Testament (OT), when someone would call for a psalm, the one making the request seems to have had the option of calling for whatever instruments he preferred, if he preferred any at all (Psalms 57 & 81 & 92 & 150). One shudders to think about what might have happened to a person living under that system who brought in an instrument that was not requested.

2. There were many things that God allowed in the OT that He does not allow in the NT. In the OT God allowed men to have multiple wives and concubines also. In the OT God allowed divorce for any reason (Mt.19:1-9). In the OT God allowed "an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth..." (Mt.5:38-48; Rm. 12:17-21). In the OT God called for animal sacrifices (Hb.9:11-15).

3. The fact of the matter is, however, that we are not now living under the OT, and in the NT there is only one who has the authority to dictate what instrument can and which instruments cannot be played. The only instrument that God authorizes, in fact commands, us to use is the Christian's heart (Eph.5:19; Col.3:16). We feel that we fulfill God's requirements and His authority about singing, as instructed in the NT, best by acapella singing only in our worship to Him.
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Why does the Church of Christ call itself nondenominational?
The New Testament plainly states that there is only one church. (Mt. 16:13-19; Eph. 4:4-6). We believe that Christ is the only Head of the church which is His body (Eph.1:15-23 & 5:22-24; Col. 1:15-18), and only He has authority and dominion over the church which bears His name. We believe that the only headquarters for the church of Christ is in heaven, where Christ (the Head) is sitting at the right hand of the throne of God (Hb.1:1-3 & 12:2). We believe that the only creed that God authorizes for Christians is the NT that He inspired (2Pt.1:15-21). We believe that it is wrong for the church to be divided into separate denominations, all wearing different names and teaching different, often conflicting doctrines (Ac.2:41-47; 1Cor.1:10-15; Eph.4:11-14). We believe that we should be one, sanctified by the only truth that God gave us, as Jesus prayed (Jn.17:16-22).
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Does the Bible teach that only members of the Church of Christ will be saved?
The church of Christ is a nondenominational body and as such one church does not have authority over another as to what should and should not be taught, so, I can only speak for what we teach here . As a firmly established rule, we do our best to teach only what the bible teaches, and especially on the subject of salvation. Jesus said, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. He that believes not shall be condemned.' (Mk. 16:16). The apostle Peter said, "Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying 'Save yourselves from this untoward generation.' Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added about three thousand souls...And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." (Acts.2:38-41, 77).

The question assumes that "Church of Christ" is just a denominational name, and that people in the church of Christ believe that they are more worthy of salvation than those in other denominations. The bible, however (and one would most likely find this to be true of most churches of Christ), does not recognize denominations only "the church". We here believe and teach that there are some who will be saved and some who will be lost. Only those who hear and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (Rm.10:11-17), repent of their sinful life (Lk.13:1-5; Ac.17:30), confess their faith in Jesus as the Savior (Mt.10:32-33; Ac.8:36-38), are baptized into Christ for the remission of their sins (Acts.2:38 & 22:16; Gal.3:26-27; 1Pt.3.21), Walk by faith in the light of God's truth and endure to the end (Mt. 10:22; 1Jn.1:5-7), will be saved. Anyone who does not adhere to the teaching of the NT is in danger of being lost and should repent before it is too late (Hb.10:28-31; 1Pt.4:17-18).
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 What makes the Bible reliable?                                                                                                                                                                        The Canon (measuring rod or standard) is the collection of books accepted as Scripture.  No church body created the Canon.  The OT is comprised of 39 books which the Jewish people accepted immediately and are identified as 5-Law, 12-History, 5-Poetry and 17-Prophecy.  The 4-Gospels that follow pertain to the coming of the long awaited Messiah and His ministry of salvation. Between the years 50 and 100 AD the 23 NT Epistles were written and accepted as Canon by the Christian leaders.  The Bible in its entirety is a truly remarkable book.  It is historically reliable.  Both Old and New Testaments have passed all tests to evaluate their being included as Scripture.  Our confidence in its contents is affirmed as we read "All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."  (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Note:  Multi-facts concerning the establisment of the church, historical evaluation, Bible variations, etc. can be found in a book written by
Angie McGraw (COC Flagler) entitled "About the Bible."  This book is available on Amazon.com. or by contacting (386-437-1941) to order a paperback version.
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What is the Trinity?
Although this term is not found in the Bible, the concept is used to denote the Christian doctrine that God exists as a unity of three distinct persons:  Father, Son, Holy Spirit.  Each of the members of the Godhead is equal and devine.  Many scriptures verify the mystery of the Trinity, among which to name a few are:  (Matthew 28:18) (1 Corinthians 12:4-6) (2 Corinthians 13:14) ) (1 Peter 1:2) (Jude 20-21). 
"There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.  But to each one of us grace was given in accordance to the measure of Christ's gift.   (Ephesians 4:4-7). 
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Why are there so many varied and continual new translations of the Bible?
Basically, this is so that people can read the word of God in their contemporary language.  With the passage of time, words change in meaning and in order to keep God's word living, of necessity it must be kept in the living language of the people who are reading the Bible.  New translations do bring mixed reactions, as there are pros and cons associated with the varying available versions.  That being said, the issue of translatioins should not become a distraction since for the average layman, most of the differences between the versions are relatively insignificant.  All the most notable versions (KJV, NAS, TLB, NIV, NKJV) have a high degree of harmony and convey the same general message of God's word,  albeit using some of their own distinctive phrases and words.
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Why is the Bible misunderstood?
There are some very basic reasons why so many individuals find the Bible difficult.  For most, it is a failure to study intelligently and diligently so as to handle the Scriptures proper (2 Tim. 2:15).  A haphazard method of study that selects passages of Scripture at random is an absurd approach to genuine understanding.  Further, to read with preconceived ideas causes biased opinions (Jas. 1:21).  Many are concerned more with what the Bible does not say, rather than what it does say.  It is far better to concentrate on the practical passages that apply to us today, and not confuse what mankind says about the Bible, but rather what the Bible says about mankind.  Lack of study is possibly the greatest reason and requires that we apply ourselves to the task.  Too many people feel or think or imagine they can be strong and faithful Christians while avoiding Bible study and, unfortunately, are in for a rude awakening. 
A poet once stated:  "One reads with father''s specs upon his head, And sees the Book just as his father said; While others read to prove a preadopted creed, Hence understand but little what they read, For every passage in the Book they bend, To make it suit that all important end." 
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Why Baptism?
Although a controversial subject in the religious world today, the ultimate answer is found in God's holy word.  Ephesians 4:5 clearly states there is one baptism Matthew 28:18-20 teaches what baptism was practiced by the 1st century Christians and there is a litiny of scriptures pertinent to baptism as they convey to us who is a proper subject for baptism and how it is administered by man, in water, by the authority of Jesus Christ (in His name), for the remission of sins, in obedience to a commandment.  The purpose of baptism is to receive the blessings of the shed blood of Christ for our salvation by the remission of our sins, in obedience to His command, and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit as our guide.
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