Speaking where the bible speaks, and silent where the bible is silent.

I BELIEVE the male, generally speaking, is physically and emotionally stronger than the woman, and as such he is to give honor unto the woman, the weaker sex (1 Pet. 3:7).

I BELIEVE the man is to be the head (ruler) of the woman (1 Cor 11:3 f; Eph. 5:23).

I BELIEVE the woman is to submit herself unto the man in everything (Eph. 5:22,24 ff; 1 Tim. 2:11; Tit 2:3-5).

I BELIEVE the man is to love his wife as Christ also loved the church (Eph. 5:25).

I BELIEVE the man is to love the woman as he loves himself (Eph. 5:28).

I BELIEVE women should bear children, if physically possible, and be keepers at home (guide the affairs of the home) (1 Tim. 5:14).

I BELIEVE women must not teach (the Word) or usurp authority (have dominion) over the man, but to learn in silence (1 Tim. 2:11,12).

I BELIEVE a woman cannot, by the authority of God, speak in the assembly (1 Cor. 14:34,35).

I BELIEVE women are to be a help-meet to their husbands (Gen. 2:18).

I BELIEVE women are to love, and to obey their husbands (Eph. 5:33).

I BELIEVE without faithful women, the church cannot have qualified elders and deacons (1 Tim 3:1-13).

I BELIEVE a woman who realizes her place in God’s plan is worth more than all of earth’s riches (Prov. 31:10).

I don’t believe I am a male chauvinist, but if I am considered to be one by society because I believe what the bible teaches, so be it. I believe I am in good company to believe what God’s Word teaches me to believe.

It is scripturally evident that God wants all Christians to worship Him His way and no other way. As John recorded the words of our Lord, “You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:22-24).

Take note that several features of the Jewish worship are completely eliminated in the doctrine of Christ. For instance: (1) There is no significance regarding any geographical location for any of our worship (Jn. 4:21); (2) The Sabbath day worship was repealed (Col. 2:14-17; Gal. 4:1-11, etc.); (3) The use of instrumental music in worship was eliminated in that it was not included in the New Testament pattern for praise (Eph. 5:19 f; Col. 3:16, etc.); (4) The sacrifices that were permitted and even required under the Old Testament patterns were eliminated because of the supreme sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God, once for all (Heb. 10:10-14) and because of the superior sacrifice which we are to offer, that is, “the sacrifice of praise to God . . . the fruit of our lips . . .” (Heb. 13:15).

The New Testament pattern is very simple and uncomplicated. It involves the worshiper in direct communion with God. If we respect the positive Word of the Lord, we will find that we may express the worship that is in our hearts by singing (Eph. 5:19), by praying, teaching, giving and observing the Lord’s supper (Acts 2:42). Furthermore, we find the following demanding characteristics of this simple means of worship.

1. We may express our worship in singing, prayer and study of the Word at any time, anywhere, alone or together (Acts 16:25 f; Eph. 5:19, etc.).

2. We must express our worship in the Lord’s supper and in giving on the first day of the week when brethren gather together for that purpose (Acts 20:7 f; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2).

3. Thus, we may, on the Lord’s day, when we will have come together for giving and for the Lord’s supper, also sing, pray and study, since these latter three may be done at any time. It is note worthy that examples of the church coming together on any other day than the first day of the week (on a weekly basis) to sing, pray and study was never once recorded; Neither was such commanded for Christians to do so. Such is a tradition of men and not the tradition of Christ and his apostles (Matt 15:7-9).

Conclusion: All that we do must be done “as unto the Lord” (Col. 3:23). Indeed, it must be done “in the name of the Lord” (Col. 3:17), which simply means that we must conduct all of our worship by the authority of Christ (Jn. 14:6). He has fully revealed His will to us in the written Word (2 Tim. 3:16, 17 f; 2 Pet. 1:3, etc.). We must determine to be content with what is written – with the revealed pattern. The traditions of men, the customs of our forefathers or the desires of the people today are of no consequence in determining what we must do. In fact, we have no right to decide what we will do. We have only to discern what God has decided! Without wavering with regard to scriptural principles, we must worship God with correct attitudes and in authorized expressions. Today, let us have the honesty to examine every feature of our worship in the light of the revealed Word and then determine to worship in complete accord with the Bible pattern.

When Thomas Campbell penned the words, “We shall speak where the Bible speaks, we shall be silent where the Bible is silent,” little did he realize the far-reaching impact it would have on the religious world. From the embryo of this famous phrase was conceived the Restoration Movement. This movement grew beyond Campbell’s wildest dreams. The whole thrust of the movement was to restore the New Testament church to it’s original simplicity. The principle behind the Restoration Movement is a valid principle.

While I agree with the underlying principle of the Restoration Movement, I fear that Thomas and Alexander Campbell have become sacred cows. The Campbells did a great service to millions of people by turning their attention back to the Scriptures and to the New Testament church. Yet the lives, belies, and teachings of Thomas and Alexander Campbell were many times completely inconsistent with the restoration principle they were teaching. For a long time after the famous “Declaration And Address” had been written, (which set forth the principles of the Restoration Movement), Thomas and Alexander Campbell both practiced infant baptism. While preaching simple, undenominational Christianity they joined themselves to a denominational organization called the Redstone Baptist Association. While preaching the restoration of the New Testament church, Alexander Campbell, for a period of time, believed he was still in fellowship with “Christians” in all denominations, even the Catholics. The Campbells were baptized by a Baptist minister (Mathias Luce) in 1812, but never took the advice to be re-baptized years later after learning the correct way to be baptized. After Alexander Campbell finally rejected all denominational organizations, he turned around and formed the American Christian Missionary Society, which was no different in principle from the denominational machinery he had just left. The point being made is that the lives and teaching of the Campbells were often contradictory with the original principles of restoration for which they were pleading.

Many preachers are self-styled experts on the Restoration Movement. Some have devoted huge amounts of time to studying the lives and teachings of the restoration leaders. Many preachers can quote profusely from these leaders. I fear that some have enshrined the Campbells to a point that what they have said becomes equal authority with the Scriptures. The fallacy of quoting the restoration leaders is that they can be quoted on both sides of nearly any issue. Quoting the restoration leaders to prove a point is about like the Catholics establishing doctrines on the basis of the “unanimous consent of the church fathers.” There never was any “unanimous consent” among the early “church fathers.” Neither is there much unanimity among the restoration leaders. Alexander Campbell, for example, can be correctly quoted on both sides of the pious unimmersed question. The restoration leaders can be quoted on both sides of the sponsoring church question or the instrumental music question. It is very dangerous to start quoting the restoration leaders on much of anything because invariably somebody else can quote an equally eminent restorationist on the other side of the question. It can be quite devastating to a young preacher who has heard the Campbells revered and quoted all of his life to discover suddenly that the Campbells believed and taught false doctrine. This disillusionment can destroy a young preacher’s confidence in the restoration principle as a valid principle.

It seems strange to me that the original plea for religious unity made by the Campbells is being used today as a tool to divide brethren. BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS WHO USE THE CAPMPBELLS to DESTROY A SOUL. The Campbells were in search of the truth and to return back to biblical teaching. They are not our example to follow nor did they ever teach such. They did teach everyone to speak where the bible speaks and to remain silent where the bible was silent (1 Pet 4:11). In the name of religious unity, wicked men are dividing brethren over the subject of unity and fellowship. These self-styled restorationists, have left the only basis for unity: the doctrine of Christ. Even though the Campbells were inconsistent with their own teaching, the principle of religious unity based on the Bible is a valid principle. In our preaching we need to make sure that we are converting people to Christ through His word, not to a warmed-over, sectarian form of Campbellism. Remember the words of the apostle Peter and the other apostles, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

It is a sad fact that many liberal and misguided members of the Lord’s church believe that there are good in every denomination who will be saved. I want to share with you three reasons why this is not truth and why one cannot be saved in any denominational church.

Denominations are Institutions of Men

The Lord accurately stated the case when he said, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). Thus, this settles the matter; not a single denomination was begun by the Lord. Therefore, not a one of them belongs to Him. This fact is given emphasis in many Scriptures. “It is not in man that walks to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12).

The New Testament is even plainer on this point. “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14). “There is one lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy…. (Jam. 4:12). “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14). “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Each denomination has its own way, its own lawgiver, and normally accepts many churches as being right. This is one reason why I believe that one cannot be saved in the denominations.

Denominations Teach a Perverted Gospel

A perverted gospel will not save anyone. Listen to Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation, to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). This passage makes the gospel of Christ God’s power, his only power, to save the souls of men.

Paul warned, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal 1:6-8). Most of these people appear to have accepted the false teaching that one had to be circumcised after the manner of the law of Moses in order to be saved. In doing this they had removed themselves from God, and had gone after what Paul called “another gospel.” Paul called this insertion of circumcision into the gospel, a perverted gospel.

A perverted gospel is precisely what the denominations teach, adding one or more points to what they would like to think is acceptable to the Lord. They add to, take away from, or change the teaching of the gospel of Christ in one or more ways: in teaching men what to do to be saved from sin, in offering a system of worship, and in the functional aspects of the church. Only God’s truth (obeyed) will save the soul from sin (1 Pet. 1:22). When this truth is mixed with some error, it is no longer God’s power to save. Obeying God’s will, and his will only, is what will take men to heaven (Matt. 7:21). Their teaching of a perverted gospel is another reason why I believe that one cannot be saved in the denominations.

The Lord Established Only One Church

Jesus purchased the church with his own blood (Acts 20:28); he is the head of the church (Col 1:18) and, he saves that one church (Eph. 5:23). Lest someone think that I am saying just being a member of the Lord’s church will guarantee a home in heaven, please read Matthew 13:41-43. Despite the fact not everyone in the Lord’s church will be saved, it is safe to say not anyone separate and apart of the Lord’s church will be saved.

Could we put all three of the above reasons together and simply say, “One cannot be saved in the denominations because they are in error, one way or the other”? I do not think that anyone who believes the three reasons would argue with such conclusion.

If it is wrong to be a part of a denomination, and it is, then what makes it right to be a part of a congregation which bears the Lord’s name but is in error? Yes, there are many liberal churches of Christ who have perverted the gospel and doctrine of Christ. What set of rules do we follow to exclude one and include the other?

It is true that we cannot be saved in any denominational church, and it is equally true that one cannot be saved in a congregation of God’s people who persist in error. If they pervert the gospel, they shall be accursed (Gal 1:6-9). If they abide not in the doctrine of Christ, they have not God (2 Jn 9). If they teach for doctrine the commandments of men, their worship is in vain (Matt 15:7-9). If they add to or take from the Word of God, they will have their name removed from the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev 22:18,19). If we cannot convince them to change their teaching and practice, we need to get out of it (2 Cor 6:17). Do not permit anyone to take your crown of life (Rev. 3:11).

There is a false doctrine which has infiltrated the churches of Christ which teaches that a Christian woman can baptize. These false teachers surmise that the bible did not command or restrict who should do the baptizing. Many in the church conclude that even a sinner can baptize someone and it be acceptable with God. Nevertheless, what saith the scripture (Gal 4:30).

First of all, let’s examine the false teaching that the bible never “commanded or restricted” who should baptize. If that teaching were correct, then meeting each Sunday to partake of the Lord’s supper can be done on any day. Why? Because the bible did not “command” Sunday worship nor did it “restrict” any other day to partake of the Lord’s supper. All we have is the biblical example where the disciples met on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 20:7). I don’t know of one sound member of the Lord’s church which teaches one can take the Lord’s supper on any other day but Sunday, yet some churches of Christ teach that women can baptize because the bible never “Commanded or Restricted” them from doing so. Thus, the basic principle of speaking where the bible speaks and remaining silent where the bible is silent is established on which day Christians meet to remember the Lord’s death  based solely on a biblical example (1 Cor 4:6 f; 1 Pet 4:11).

Now, let us consider the question of who is to baptize according to the scripture. Take note of the great commission which says: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:18-20). In Mark’s gospel, after Jesus commanded his apostles to preach the gospel to all the world, these words are recorded: “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following” (Mark 16:20) In these verses we can see a direct commandment of Jesus Christ to his apostles to both preach the gospel and to baptize. Take note, all of the apostles of Christ were men.

Now, let us consider the biblical examples of those who baptized every Christian convert in the New Testament. Peter and the other apostles on the day of Pentecost preached and baptized nearly 3,000 souls (Acts 2). In Acts chapter 8 Philip taught and baptized the Ethiopian Eunuch. Ananias both taught and baptized Saul (aka Paul) (Acts 9; Acts 22:16). In Acts chapter 10 Peter baptized Cornelius and his household. In Acts 16 the apostle Paul taught Lydia and her household and they were baptized. In the same chapter Paul and Silas taught the jailer and his household and they were baptized. Paul and Apollos taught the Corinthians, who had been baptized of John the baptist, and re-baptized them in the name of Jesus (1 Cor 19). In all of these examples of immersion, all were taught and all were baptized of Christian men.

There is no biblical example or commandment given anywhere in the new testament where a Christian woman ever taught the gospel, or baptized anyone, or assisted in a baptism. Also, we have no example where any Christian convert was baptized by a sinner. In fact, all biblical conversions required both the Christian male teacher and the one who desired to hear the gospel. In fact, we have both commandment and examples of where Christian men both taught the gospel and baptized.

Women were prohibited from speaking in the assembly even to the point of asking questions. “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church” (1 Cor 14:34-35). Women also were prohibited from teaching the Word or usurping a man’s authority given to him by Jesus Christ (1 Cor 11:3). “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission.  And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control” (1 Tim 2:11-15). Christian women cannot serve as elders or deacons or in any place of authority (1 Tim 3:1-13). Christian women in the new testament were taught to be submissive to their own husband (Tit 2:3-5) and to be submissive to Christian men (1 Cor 14 f; 1 Tim 2). Thus, it is self evident that Christian women were prohibited from having the authority to teach the gospel and to baptize anyone. Any such baptism does not have the authority of Jesus Christ or His apostles and thus is invalid.

The Benefits of Baptism

In the ’Great Commission’, Jesus instructed His apostles to make disciples of all the nations “baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Why did our Lord emphasize the need for baptism? What ’benefits’ does the person receive when they are baptized? Here are just a few to consider:

FORGIVENESS OF SINS

Show me a person who claims they have sinned not and I will show you the world’s greatest liar. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). Therefore, one needs to be forgiven if they intend to be saved and enter into His eternal rest. We find that early Christians understood that remission or forgiveness of sins was obtained through water baptism: Take note of these verses:

ACTS 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, ’Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…”

ACTS 22:16, “And now why do you wait? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the Name of the Lord.” (See also Col 2:12-13)

PUTS ONE IN CHRIST

People truly become children of God by faith, but not faith only, but by faith expressed in obedience to baptism. How do people get into Christ? Through faith-motivated water baptism. Take note of these verses:

Galatians 3:26-27, “For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

ROMANS 6:3-4, “Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore, we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

SPIRITUAL REBIRTH

The language of the ’new birth’ or ’regeneration’ appears to have been the favorite conception of the second-century Church about water baptism. Baptism gives us a new life in which we devote our life to Christ and doing His Will. Take note of these verses:

JOHN 3:7, 5, “Marvel not that I said unto you, ’You must be born again…. born of water and of the Spirit.”

2 CORINTHIANS 5:17 , “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

TITUS 3:5, “According to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

ADDS ONE TO THE BODY (CHURCH) OF CHRIST

Jesus bled and died for His church which He is the head thereof. Only baptized believers were added to the church (Acts 2:47).  Although not everyone added to the church will be saved, it is unquestionable to say that no one outside the church will be saved. Take note of these verses:

1 Corinthians 12:13, 27, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,… Now you are Christ’s Body, and individually members of it.”

John 3:5, “Jesus answered, ’Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’”

ACTS 8:12, “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.”

COLOSSIANS 1:18 states that “the body” is “the church”; therefore, one is placed into the Church at baptism. Note the connection in ACTS 2:41, 47, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls…. And the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved.” Christ is “the Head of the Church, He Himself being the Savior of the Body”, having cleansed her by the washing of water.” (EPHESIANS 5:23,26).

ETERNAL SALVATION

I can think of no greater reason to be baptized than to be saved. The average human being will live between 70-85 years old. Surely this is not enough time to enjoy very much in life. One third of your life will be spent sleeping or trying to get to sleep. Another one third of your time will be spent on education or work. This leaves a person with only eight hours a day to enjoy very much and most of that time is wasted. It is only when one gets old or sick that most realize that they had better prepare for the life to come. Like most human beings, they want to give to God as little as possible of their short time here on earth. This is why most don’t have a clue what it takes to be saved. Obviously, what saves us is our obedience to the gospel of Christ which includes: Hearing the Gospel (Rom 10:17); Believing and Confessing Jesus to be the Christ (Rom 10:10); and Repentance and Baptism (Acts 2:38). Definitely, without BAPTISM no one can be saved. Take note of these verses:

MARK 16:16, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved;”

ACTS 11:13-14, 10:48, “Peter… shall tell you words, whereby you and all your house shall be saved…. And he (Peter) commanded them to be baptized in the Name of the Lord.”

1 PETER 3:21, “Baptism does also now save us.”

Conclusion: It is also note worthy that only baptized believers have access to the Lord in prayer (Jn 9:31 f; 1 Pet 3:12). It is also note worthy that only baptized believers will have the peace of God which passes all understanding (Philip 4:6,7). The world will have no peace whatsoever (Isa 48:22). Having considered what the New Testament teaches concerning the benefits of faith-motivated baptism, there is no wonder that the Lord commanded it in the Great Commission for anyone who desires to be saved once this life has been completed.

The Concept of One

If you can count to one, you have the ability to understand what it takes to be saved. In case you need a refresher course in arithmetic, one is more than zero and less than two. This is how simple it is to become and remain a Christian.

According to the scripture, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father…” (Eph. 4:4-6). This one body is also called the church. Jesus is the head of this one body. As the apostle Paul said, “And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all” (Eph 1:22,23). And again he said, “He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col 1:18).  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…” (1 Cor 12:13). Christians collectively are the body (church) of Christ, and members individually (1 Cor 12:27).

Man does not have a scriptural right to choose something contrary to God’s revealed will in the Bible. When God reveals his choice in any matter, man only has the right to accept God’s choice; he has no right to choose something different. There is no choice of Gods, Saviors, Spirits, hopes, churches, faiths or baptisms for those who want to escape the horrors of hell, because there is only ONE of each accepted by the one true God. Every denominational church in the world have rejected God’s choice in one or more points and substituted their own choice! They have all rejected the ONE Doctrine of Christ and turned to the many doctrines of men, which makes their worship vain (Matt. 15:7-9). How many is ONE? Can we choose between ONE? There is only ONE CHOICE to make in life and that is to obey the ONE GOSPEL of CHRIST or reject it.

Jesus kept things very simple when it came to His ONE Church which He bled and died for (Acts 20:28). In fact, it is too simple to ever be misunderstood. The concept of one cannot be easily misunderstood. The equation goes like this: One faith + One Baptism= Salvation “IF” one remains Faithful unto death (Mk 16:16 f; Rev 2:10). Are you a member of the Lord’s body, the ONE body, the ONE church, the church of Christ? If not, why not?

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