Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 10, 1957



We are happy to announce that with the October issue we are effecting a merger of Ancient Landmarks and Truth In Love. Both magazines will be issued henceforth under the name Truth In Love. Articles of the very finest quality, stressing the first principles of the gospel of Christ, will be featured. Write us for particulars of the unique individual mailing arrangement by which the paper can be sent each month to anybody anywhere in the world.

— F. Y. T.

The Church Of Christ

J. P. Lusby, Amarillo, Texas The church of Christ is not a material building. It is not made with men's hands. It is not built of bricks and mortar and wood. It is a spiritual house, built out of men and women who have been born of water and of the Spirit, men and women who have obeyed the gospel of Christ and thus have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb who died for this glorious institution called the church and purchased it with his own blood. Jno. 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:22,23; Acts 8:12; 2:38-47; 1 Pet. 2:5; Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:23,25.

There were people in the days of the apostles who thought that the God of heaven dwells in temples made with the hands of men. There may be today those who entertain the erroneous idea that the church is a material building. Stephen, speaking by the Spirit of Inspiration, settles this matter once for all, Acts 7:48-50, when to the Jews he said: "Howbeit the most High dwelleth NOT IN TEMPLES MADE WITH HANDS . . ." Therefore, it matters not how magnificent the structure made with the hands of men, it cannot house God; hence, cannot be the church of the living God, the church for which Christ died. Think you that Christ purchased some material structure, erected by the hands of men, with his own precious blood?!

Not A Denomination

Furthermore, the church of the New Testament is not a denomination. Oh, I know that people are accustomed to thinking of the church in terms of its being a denomination, are accustomed to thinking of the different religious organizations as being but branches of he one true church, the one for which Christ died, the one found on the pages of Holy Writ. But to the candid mind this doctrine is unreasonable, is impossible of being so, from several considerations.

First, it cannot be so because Jesus Christ is declared to be the head of the body, and that body is portrayed as being the church. In Eph. 1:20-23 the apostle Paul said God raised Christ "from the dead . . . and gave him to be the head over all things to the church WHICH IS HIS BODY." Col. 1:18, Christ "is the head of the body, the church." He only has, and can only have, one body. There is only one head — Jesus Christ. There is only one, body the church. One head with two bodies is a freak; it is more than a freak, it is a monstrosity. One head with two hundred fifty bodies is unbelievable and revolting to a man's intelligence! Yet Christ is pictured by some as being the head of more than two hundred fifty different religious bodies in the United States alone, this proud land which boasts of its Biblical knowledge! Could anything — I ask you, my friends, in all kindness, and yet in all seriousness and earnestness — could anything be more ridiculous and contrary to common sense and divine revelation?

"But," some one is ready to explain, "the different denominations are but members of this one body of which you speak, and of which Christ is the head." To many good people that is a seemingly plausible explanation and they accept it without question, without thinking the matter out or closely examining the scriptures. Let us consider this popular and generally accepted explanation.

The "explanation" is faulty because it is based upon false reasoning. When Paul declared the body of Christ to be the church of Christ, denominations were unheard of, absolutely unknown, and did not come into existence until more than a thousand years after the statement was penned. Therefore, he could not have been speaking of a thing that was not, and declare a thing that was not, or rather things that were not, to be the body of Christ. To say that he was speaking prospectively would mean that Christ was without a body until said denominations came into existence, which thing did not occur until more than one thousand years after this statement was written. Therefore, Christ would necessarily have been a head without a body for more than one thousand years! As one of the humorous writers would put it :"Can you beat it?" A head for one thousand years, but no body! My friends, an intelligent man, when he stops to think for himself, cannot accept that. A man acquainted with New Testament teaching knows it is not so.

Denominations Not The Church Of Christ

Denominations, either individually or collectively, cannot be the body of Christ; therefore, not the church of Christ. If one should say they are the body of Christ individually, observe the result: There are more than two hundred fifty different denominations in America. If each is the body of Christ individually, then Christ has more than two hundred fifty different bodies — individual bodies. Since the scriptures declare him to be the head over all things to the body (Eph. 1:22,23), he would of necessity have to be pictured as giving different directives to the different bodies, as giving conflicting and diametrically opposed directives to the different bodies for no two of them teach the same doctrine. If they did they would not be different bodies, but one. For example one religious body teaches that man is saved by faith alone, another teaches man is not saved by faith alone but by faith and works. One teaches that once a person is saved it is impossible for him to be lost, another teaches that doctrine is not so, but that after one has been saved he can and will be lost unless he lives as God directs his children to live. If Christ is the head of each body, he is an inconsistent head and issues conflicting and contradictory directives. I say that humbly and reverently, yet with all the force of my being, because the glorious head of the body, the church, does not authorize any such contradictory teaching. Therefore, he is not and cannot be the head of the different religious bodies individually.

But is he not the head of them collectively? Are they not all branches of the whole? Do they not collectively make up the one body of which Christ is the head, and which is declared to be the church? Let us now consider that question, or rather, that series of questions, in the wake of common reasoning and in the light of New Testament revelation.

First, those questions imply that the different denominations are the various members of the body, If that be so, then tell me, what is the body? "Oh," you say, "that is a foolish question. The different religious bodies brought together form the body, make up the compact whole." Neighbor, can't you see that statement denies itself? The statement admits the different religious organizations to be separate bodies, complete with themselves. Who ever heard of a group of bodies, complete within themselves, being brought together to form one complete body? For that to be true, when the several bodies are brought together and united in one complete whole, then would they not cease to be individual bodies, separate and distinct; and would not the distinctive titles, dogmas and doctrines which differentiate and denominate them cease to exist? Certainly, that must follow. Then, so long as those several bodies remain un-united, separate and distinct, so long as they teach different doctrines, wear different names, and submit and subscribe to different creeds, in a word, so long as they remain different denominations, are they not complete bodies within themselves? Certainly, that must be so. Then, inasmuch as every one knows and admits that there are different denominations, is not the inevitable conclusion that there are as many bodies as there are different religious organizations? Surely, that is inescapable. And if there are as many bodies as there are different religious organizations, and since there are admittedly more than two hundred fifty of the latter, would not the conclusion have to be that these more than two hundred fifty different religious bodies could not possibly be the one body for which Christ died and of which he is the head?

Furthermore, if the different religious bodies are but different members of the one body, Christ's church, then are there not schisms and division in that body? And are not the members warring against one another, and seeking to devour one another? And do not the scriptures condemn this? And is not the house divided against itself? And does not the Savior teach that a house so divided against itself shall not stand? Surely he does, and everybody knows he does. Mk. 3:24,25; 1 Tim. 3:15; Matt. 16:18,19.

In the light of this I conclude that the church of the New Testament, the church of Christ, which is the body of Christ, is not a denomination, nor an amalgamation of several denominations.

What The Church Is

What then is the church of Christ, the church of the New Testament? It is a body of believing penitents who have been baptized in the name of Christ for the remission of sins, who have accepted, and hence recognize, Christ as their head and king, whose only rule of faith and practice is the teaching of Christ and his apostles, and who wear no name other than the names which Inspiration has given them. Such were they who composed the body of Christ in apostolic days, and such are they who make up the church of our Lord in this, the twentieth, century. Acts 2:36-47.

The church of God at Corinth was such a group of people. Paul was the first to preach the gospel at that place. Those who believed, obeyed. Those who obeyed were baptized. The record is in Acts the eighteenth chapter. Verse eight says: "And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized." Paul informs us, 1 Cor. 1:14, that he baptized Crispus with his own hands. They thus obeyed the gospel by which they were saved, and which Paul affirms to be God's power to save the believer. 1 Cor. 15:1,2; Rom. 1:16. In both of his letters to this group of baptized believers Paul addresses them as "the church of God which is at Corinth." 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 1:1. He reminds this body of obedient believers, wearing one name, and of one faith and practice: "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." 1 Cor. 12:27. The American Standard version says "severally member s thereof." These people collectively were "the body of Christ," and individually they were the "severally members thereof."

The same gospel Paul preached to the Corinthians, heard, believed and obeyed, will make out of people today the same thing it made out of the Corinthians then; namely, Christians, members of the body of Christ; and those members "fitly joined together and compacted" (Eph. 4:16) make up "but one body" (1 Cor. 12:20) over which Christ is the supreme and only head (Eph. 1:22,23; Col. 1:18).

This is the doctrine taught in the New Testament concerning the church that is revealed therein. Do you want to be a member of it? Then you must do as the Corinthians did, and as did the people on the day of Pentecost. They were commanded of the Holy Spirit, speaking through Peter: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38. They obeyed, as verse 41 reveals: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." And verse 47 informs us that "the Lord added 'to the church daily such as should be saved."

Will you do as they did? If so, the Lord will add you to his church and you will be numbered among the redeemed.