Whenever I hear of the modern day doctrines of the church, I can’t help but cringe knowing how far from the truth so many have drifted. What is sad is that those who are practicing the doctrines of men are totally unaware of it, and don’t understand how they could be lost. They have heaped unto themselves teachers who are soothing to their ears but are in total error. I am bold to say, the new testament church does not exist today. Here is what that church actually believed and practiced.
To gain entrance into the new testament church one had to obey the gospel of Christ. This meant they heard the gospel (1 Cor 15:3,4), they believed and confessed Jesus is the Christ (Rom 10:8-10), and they repented and were baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Most today in the Lord’s Church believe, confess and are baptized, but many do not repent of their sins. In fact, they are never taught they had to repent of their sins. Therefore, many so called Christians today are still indulging in the sins they never once repented of. This is why so many adulterers and adulteresses are being baptized and not putting away their illegal spouse.
New testament converts were those who were accountable, who were lost in their sins, who were responsible, and who understood what they were doing. The churches of Christ today are baptizing 7 and 8 year old children who have no way of fulfilling each of these. I don’t know of anyone who believe that little children will go to hell should they die. Why? Because they are not of the age accountability. No one I know believe little children are lost in their sins. I don’t know of any child who has the ability to enter into a contract of any kind, much less for their eternal soul. Why criticize the Catholic church for baptizing babies when the church is doing the exact same thing!
The new testament church continued in the apostle’s doctrine. This meant they met each and every Sunday to remember the Lord’s death by partaking of the Lord’s supper (Acts 20:7). They freely gave of their means each and every Sunday (1 Cor 16:1-3 f; 2 Cor 9:6,7). They sang without the use of instrumental music (Eph 5:19). They heard the unchanging Word preached (Acts 20:7 ff; Gal 1:6-9; 2 Tim 4:2-5). Women remained silent in the assembly (1 Cor 4:33-40). Elders were appointed in every church (Acts 14:23).
In today’s churches of Christ, they still take the Lord’s supper and give of their means, and sing A Capella. However, many have forgotten why we have the Lord’s supper. Many are giving out of necessity and grudgingly. Many sing without music accompaniment but see nothing wrong with instrumental music. Many still hear preaching, but not the Word of God. They hear Greek and Hebrew lexicons redefining what the bible actually said. They are hearing commentaries written by denominational teachers explaining away apostolic doctrine. They are hearing political rhetoric. They are hearing God loves divorce and remarriage. They are hearing that going exactly by the bible is “Legalism”. They repudiate the teaching of the apostle Paul by simply saying that silence does not apply to women today. And sadly, most all churches of Christ do not have elders to govern them, and those who do are inept when it comes to teaching God’s Word faithfully. Why should the church condemn denominations when they are teaching and doing the exact same things!
The new testament church was self sufficient. They did not use man made institutions to do the work of the church. They did not own colleges or orphanages. The church itself taught and sent forth preachers. The church members themselves assisted Christian widows and their children. The church did not engage in entertainment of any kind.
Many churches of Christ today do not believe that the church is self sufficient. This is why they are engaging in activities with all sorts of man made institutions. Is it any wonder why preachers today are teaching denominational doctrines and engaging in the same activities as worldly churches? This is why they have kitchens, fellowship halls, banquets, and engage in all kinds of entertainment at the church’s expense.
Sadly, the new testament church does not exist today. In fact, we are far from it. It didn’t happen over night, but the church has drifted from the gospel and doctrine of Christ. I only suspect, if time permits, that within the next few years the church Christ died for will have totally disappeared from the face of the earth. As Jesus asked, “… Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Lk 18:8) If the Lord came today, the answer would be, “very few”!