Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 29, 1955
NUMBER 21, PAGE 14b-15a

The Limiting Factor - God Given Authority

Jerry F. Bassett, San Diego, California

Millions of people the world over are confused or misled as to what true religion is and what relationship it bears to God.

In preaching the gospel to the world we strongly affirm that salvation is found only in the church which Jesus purchased with his blood. In this one church and only in it does God offer eternal salvation to man. Ephesians 4:4-5 tells us that there is but one body and one faith. That body is the church (Eph. 1:22-23) and its doctrine is the one faith. We wish also to make it clear that this faith is not dependent upon man's speculation or wisdom but is a delivered faith (Jude:3) and is obtained by studying God's word. (Rom. 10:17)

In teaching on the subject of the one church we are immediately confronted by people who want to know why God is not going to save people in the various denominations. We are taught by the New Testament that Christ is the saviour; but being more specific he is the saviour of the body. (Eph. 5:23) To be saved we must be in this body because salvation has never been promised outside of it. God has provided the body, or church, through his son Jesus Christ and men are expected to render obedience to the gospel of Christ to be added to the body of Christ (Acts 2). We are then faced with the basic fact that denominations cannot offer salvation to men for the simple reason that God has never given a man-made institution the authority to do the work of the church — that of saving men's souls.

It is then a question of authority! We can believe nothing and do nothing in the name of the Lord without first having authority from the Lord. (I Pet. 4:11) Religion to be true must be of God which shows also its relationship to God. Religion comes to man from God; man is not left to devise his own.

Let us now ask a question of our own. If denominations cannot offer salvation because they lack God's authority what then of manmade institutions, organizations, or arrangements for doing the benevolent and evangelistic work of the church? If they lack God's authority are they not then inadequate and unacceptable in God's sight to do the work for which men have designed them? If the lack of authority condemns the former, to be consistent it must condemn the latter also.

We recognize the fact that the world must be taught the gospel and that we are bound to care for our needy, but to say that God has not provided the means for such work is blasphemy! II Timothy 3:16-17 clearly states that the scriptures are inspired and sufficient "that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Whose word will you take, that of the brethren who in the cause of "expedience" say we must provided our own means of doing the work of the church or God's word which says that we are "thoroughly furnished unto all good works?

We must realize that God established the church the way he wanted it; to say otherwise is to accuse God of falling short in his work. God made no provision for extra organization or for arrangements born of man's wisdom. A man can no more do the work of the church through a man made arrangement than he can be saved through a man made arrangement. God is to be glorified by man but that glory comes only through the church for that is God's way. Eph. 3:21 — "Glory be unto him in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end". The authority to glorify God by any other means simply is not given.