Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 9, 1956

Concerning The Church Of Christ

Pryde E. Hinton, Dora, Alabama

1. What do members of the church of Christ believe; what is their creed?

The word "creed" means "I believe"; so since they believe only in Christ, and that he is the "one lawgiver," (James 4:12) they have no other creed but him. They say with Paul, "For I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day." (2 Tim. 1:12.) Since everything that we can know about Christ and his grace and teachings is found in the New Testament only, churches of Christ have no rule of faith and practice besides the scriptures.

2. Do members of the church of Christ believe that all one must do to be saved is to be baptized?

No! No true and recognized preacher or teacher of the churches of Christ has ever taught this. They believe that "newness of life" begins when one rises from the waters of baptism. (Rom. 6:1-4..) They believe that baptism, or any other act, does not please God unless it is preceded and prompted by faith. (Heb. 11:6.) They believe that repentance, produced by faith and godly sorrow, must go before baptism. (Acts 2:38; 2 Cor. 7:10; Acts 16:30-34, etc.) They believe and teach emphatically that one must add to his faith the things taught in 2 Peter 1:5-11 in order to have an entrance into the eternal kingdom of Christ. They believe and teach that a life of thankfulness and prayer, as taught in Philippians 4:6-9, must characterize the Christian if he is to be saved in God's heaven at last.

3. Do members of the church of Christ believe in the Holy Ghost?

They believe in him so much that they accept without question or quibbling every word the Holy Ghost guided the writers of the New Testament to write. They believe that the Spirit of God dwells in Christians; (1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 6:19, 20) and that He, the Spirit, helps their weaknesses, or infirmities. (Rom. 8:26-28.)

4. Do members of the church of Christ believe that everybody who does not belong to their church is lost?

In the first place, they know that the church belongs to Christ, not to them. Christ purchased the church with his own blood, gave himself for it, and called it "my church." (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25; Matt. 16:18.) In the second place, they do not judge people; they do not vote on whether a soul can be a member of the church or not. The Lord adds the saved to the church. (Acts 2:41, 47.) God alone knows who are His. (2 Tim. 2:19.) The names of members of the church of Christ are written in heaven. (Heb. 12:23; Phil. 4:3.) Christ writes them, and Christ alone can "blot" them out. (Rev. 3:5; 22:18, 19.) They believe that which is written on page 22 of the "Manual For Baptist Churches," to wit, "In the Apostolic age when there was but 'one Lord, one faith, and one baptism' and no differing denominations existed, the baptism of a convert by that very act constituted him a member of the church, and at once endowed him with all rights and privileges of full membership . . ." end of quote. They do not believe this because it is in the "Baptist Manual," but because it is the teaching of the New Testament.

5. Members of Christ's church do NOT believe the remainder of what is on page 22 of the "Manual": "Now it is different; and while the churches are desirous of receiving members, they are wary and cautious that they do not receive unworthy persons. The churches therefore have candidates come before them, make their statement, give their 'experience,' and then their reception is decided by a vote of the members. And while they cannot become members without baptism, yet it is the vote of the body which admits them to its fellowship on receiving baptism" — end of quote. Where is the inspired authority for voting people into the church? We teach that doing anything, or subscribing to anything, that is NOT in the New Testament to become a member of a church is wrong. Read the story in Acts 8:26-39, and ask, "Of what church did this man become a member?" It is safe to do only what the New Testament teaches, and no Christian will contradict this statement.

6. Do members of the church of Christ believe in "heartfelt" religion?

Yes, if by that we mean sincere, loving, joyful obedience to the Savior. Romans 6:17, 18 shows that we must obey "from the heart." Obeying any commandment, keeping any ordinance, going through any act of worship (even those prescribed in God's word) in a cold or indifferent manner is not acceptable with God nor beneficial to us. We must work at loving God with all the heart.

7. Do churches of Christ forbid "shouting" or manifestations of spiritual joy?

No. I remember numerous occasions on which there was what people would call "shouting" in meetings in which I was the preacher. Somebody confessed Christ; so the faithful Christians who had worked and prayed to bring him to Christ overflowed with happiness. Peter tells of that "joy unspeakable and full of glory." (1 Peter 1:8.) Those who obeyed Christ in New Testament records, and had an "answer of a good conscience toward God," "rejoiced." (1 Peter 3:21, 22; Acts 2:36-47; 8:5-13; 8:36-39; 16:30-34.) The apostles "rejoiced" even when they were beaten for preaching Christ. (Acts 5:33-42.) Yes, members of the churches of Christ believe in rejoicing in the Lord. Do not listen to irresponsible gossip about the church to the contrary.

8. Why do not churches of Christ use mechanical instruments of music in their worship?

Simply because there is not one word in all the New Testament that even mentions instrumental music in the New Testament which teaches us to follow in that kind of music. Read 2 John 9. If anybody knows of a passage in the New Testament that even mentions instrumental music in the church worship, let us have it!

9. Why do churches of Christ practice only immersion in baptism?

First, because there is not one word about sprinkling or pouring for baptism in the Bible! And secondly, because the Bible teaches that believing penitents are buried and raised in baptism. (Rom. 6:1-4; Col. 2:12; Acts 8:36-39.) There was a baptism of the Holy Ghost in the early days of the apostolic age, but about thirty years after the day of Pentecost, Paul says "there is ONE baptism." (Eph. 4:5.) What is that "one baptism"? Is it Holy Ghost baptism? If so, then it is wrong to practice any kind of baptism in water! It is not Holy Ghost baptism; but is the baptism commanded by Christ in Mark 16:15-16.