Most religious people will quickly respond, “They are willing to accept what the Bible teaches and only what it teaches.” They say that is what they want and what their church does, and if it didn’t they would not remain in it. Yet, such is not really the fact. Ask denominations “where does the Bible teach any group of people to write for themselves a creed, discipline, confession of faith, catechism, or constitution by which they are governed in their church?” They answer: “But the Bible does not say, ‘Thou shalt not write a concise document by which to make our doctrine understandable and definite.”‘ We answer, “No, but does it say write them?” Such things are written for the very purpose for which God gave us the Bible. If this document contains more than the Bible, that is too much. If less than the Bible, that is too little. If it differs from the Bible, it is wrong or the Bible is wrong. If it contains exactly what the Bible does, we have the Bible, hence your documents are useless.
Ask About Baptism
The response usually goes like this, “God, didn’t say, ‘He that believes and is not baptized shall be lost.”‘ No, but Jesus did say, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.” Now which do you want to be – saved or lost? Are you going to trust your salvation upon what God says, or upon what He did not say?
They profess, “God didn’t say, ‘Thou shalt not use mechanical instruments of music in worship.”‘ Again, no, but He did say, “Sing and make melody in your hearts unto the Lord.” Which are you going to do? Which is your guide: what God didn’t say or what God said and the New Testament instructs (Eph. 5:19 f; Col. 3:16-17)?
But The Bible Does Not Say
“But the Bible does not say,” is not confined to those outside the church. The same words are echoed among the saints. There are those within the church of our Lord who will fanatically acclaim, “The Bible does not say ‘how’ to preach the gospel, therefore we may establish an organization through which the gospel can be preached more efficiently and effectively.” The Bible does not tell us how, but it does commission or direct the church to teach the word as the “pillar and ground,” support, “of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15 f; Eph. 4:12). God, through Christ, has given a sufficient “organization or divine arrangement” through which the work is to be done. In the first century, under the direct directions of the Holy Spirit no organization was used, authorized or needed in addition to or instead of the church. The local church stood apart from any other organization to serve God’s divine purpose upon the earth. It worked then, why won’t it work today? We have no further information from God, no other plan can be of divine origin — only human.
The sponsoring, centralized church is foreign to the work of the first century church of our Blessed Lord. It is also foreign to the New Testament. Therefore, no one or group has any divine right to practice any such setup with God’s approval.
This same principle is true in edification. The church is authorized by God to edify itself by practicing and speaking the truth in love so all growth may be unto him who is the head – Christ (Eph. 4:15-16).
The benevolent work was done by the church with no extra organizations, or done individually by Christians. The glory was given to God. The poor saints were the object of the church’s care (1 Cor. 16:1-2 f; 1 Tim. 5:16). This was the practice of the church of Christ for nearly two thousand years. If the church existed without these extra organizations for such a long time, what excuse does man have to add to God’s Word? The answer is none!