Many people say, “the church of Christ is just another denomination (a religious body authorized by man’s authority and governed by human wisdom).” Yes, there are some local churches of Christ who have veered so much with human reasoning that they have become a denomination. However, the church of Christ as taught in the New Testament is not a denomination. The question all local churches of Christ (which have self autonomy) need to answer is, are we following New Testament doctrine?
Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church ” (Matt. 16:18). The church that Christ built belongs to Him! Did Jesus have any denomination in mind when he said, “I will build my church”? Obviously not. Jesus did not promise to build a denomination! There is no evidence that Jesus ever built a single, solitary denomination.
To what denomination did the apostles, the three thousand Jews on Pentecost, the Samaritans, the eunuch, the jailer and the Corinthians belong (or were a part of) after they obeyed the Lord’s will? (Acts 2:1-47; 8 cf; 16:25-34; 18:8 f; 1 Cor. 12:13.) Were they not Christians? Were they not citizens in the kingdom (Col. 1:13-14), and members of the body of Christ which is the church? (Col. 1:18 ff; Eph. 1:22-23; 1 Cor. 12.) They did not “belong to” any denomination! To be a member of a denomination a person must meet the requirements set forth by that denomination. To be a Christian, to be in the body of Christ which is the church, one must meet the requirements set forth by Christ and His apostles.
In the first century, the Lord added the saved to the church which was purchased with his blood. (Acts 2:47 cf; 20:28 f; Eph. 5:25.) What about now? If a sinner believes and confesses Jesus is the Christ (Rom. 10:10), repents of sins and is baptized for remission of sins in order to get into Christ (Acts 2:38 f; Gal. 3:26-27) just like the 3,000 on Pentecost in Acts 2, the Samaritans in Acts 8:5-13, the eunuch in Acts 8:26-39, the jailer in Acts 16:22-34 and the Corinthians in Acts 18:8, that will not make him a member of any denomination on earth. Since Acts 2:47 tells us that the Lord added the saved to the church, do you think that God has changed his plan and today he adds the saved to various denominations?
Since it is obvious from a study of the Scriptures that a person can be a Christian, live, work, worship and die in the Lord and be saved eternally without joining or even hearing of a human denomination, every denomination on earth is a non-essential, useless, and worthless institution as far as man’s salvation is concerned. So why should any person who is interested in going to heaven be in one? In Matthew 15:13 Jesus said, ‘Every plant, which my heavenly Father has not planted, shall be rooted up.”
Why not put your faith in Jesus Christ? Why not obey his gospel (1 Cor 15:1-4) that you may be saved and added to his church? (Acts 2:47.) If you are not in the church which Christ built, Christ is not your eternal Savior? (Eph. 5:23.) If you are not in the church which Christ built, you are in danger of hell fire (2 Thess 1:7-9).