Who are We?

The church of Christ in Brookings was established in 1961.

(This article used by permission, The Spiritual Sword, Volume 30, October 1998, No. 1, published by the Getwell Church of Christ, Memphis, Tennessee)

The church of Christ Is Different

     The church of Christ is different from every other religious institution on the face of the earth.  Jesus promised to build his church (Matt. 16:18), and on the day of Pentecost it became a reality (Acts 2:37~47).  The church is comprised of the saved (Eph. 5:23).  Individuals are added to the church by the Lord when they are obedient unto his word (Acts 2:47).  New Testament Christians do not join a denomination, subscribe to a human creed, or wear a sectarian name.  They are simply members of the church, Christians, children of God, citizens of the kingdom, and a part of the bride of Christ (Acts 11:26; Rom. 8:16; Eph. 2:19; Rom. 7:14; Eph. 5:25).

     Consider how the church is different:

     1.  The church of Christ is different from atheism due to its faith in God. A theist is one who believes in God.  The word, theist is derived from theos, the Greek word for God.  The Greeks negated a word by putting the letter “a” before it (known as the alpha privative).  Therefore, if a theist is a believer in God, an atheist is one who does not believe in God. The Psalmist said, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psa. 14:1).  In the New Testament it is said: “For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God” (Heb. 3:4).  When David looked into the heavens, he saw evidence for the existence of God.  He said, “when I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained.. .0 Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” (Psa. 8:3, 9).  He also exclaimed, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handy work” (Psa. 19:1).  The church differs from atheism, therefore, because we believe in the God revealed in the Bible.

     2.  The church of Christ is different from paganism because of our belief in one God. Throughout the heathen world there were many gods, as there are today in pagan cultures.  Paul stated that there are “
gods many, and lords many,” yet “to us there is but one God, the father of whom are all things, and we in hirn; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (I Cot 8:5~6).  When Paul visited Athens, he found a city “wholly given to idolatry” (Acts 17:16).  In his great oration on Mars’ Hill the apostle declared unto the people the one true God, stating: “God that made the world and all things herein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands.  For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:22~31).  Paul did not simply declare some deity to them; he revealed the Lord of heaven and earth.  The church is different from paganism because of our belief in the one God revealed by the apostles and prophets.  

     3.  The church of Christ is different from Judaism because of our belief in Jesus as the Son of God. Judaism believes in God and even believes in the one true God.  The Jews stood in contrast to those who believed in pagan deities as they cried out, “
Hear, 0 Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deut. 6:4).  But the Old Testament is also rich with prophecies of the Messiah. In Isaiah 53, we read: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Jesus tasted death for every man (Heb. 2:9).  Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).  Faith in the Son is a requirement for salvation.  The apostle John stated: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).  We honor the confession made by the apostle Peter: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16).  The church of Christ is different from Judaism in our faith in Christ as the Son of God.

     4.  The church of Christ is different from Catholicism in our belief that there is only one mediator between God and man. Paul wrote to Timothy, “
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5).  There is just one God, and there is just one mediator.  In The Faith of Millions, Roman Catholic priest John A. O’Brien tells us that the priest “offers up again the same sacrifice of adoration and atonement which Christ offered on Calvary.  No wonder that the name which spiritual writers are especially fond of applying to the priest is that of ‘alter Christus.’ For the priest is and should be another Christ.” To assert that any man on earth can occupy the place of Christ and serve as mediator between God and man is irreverent and sinful.  But there is more. In The Glories of Mary by Alfonzo DeLiguori, this Catholic writer said: “And there is no doubt that, on account of the merits of Jesus, the great privilege has been granted to Mary to be the mediatrix of our salvation.. .St. Lawrence Justinian also says: Can she be otherwise than full of grace, who has been made the ladder of paradise, the gate of heaven, the most true mediatrix between God and man?” The Bible does not teach that the priest is “another Christ” or that Mary is the “true mediatrix between God and man.” The church of Christ is different from Catholicism in our belief that there is one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus.

     5.  The church of Christ is different from denominationalism in our regard for the authority of the scriptures.  Denominationalism has its creeds, manuals, and confessions of faith.  One cannot join a denomination by following the Bible.  It takes something in addition to the Bible to make one a member of a denomination~the Bible plus the discipline, the Bible plus the manual, or the Bible plus the catechism.  The Bible only makes Christians only.  The church of Christ stands out in bold contrast to denominationalism in its recognition of the Bible as our guide and authority.  “
If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (I Pet. 4:11).  “And whatsoever ye do in word [teaching] or deed [practice], do all in the name (by the authority) of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17).  We endeavor to speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent.  The church of Christ is different from the denominational world because of our reliance upon book, chapter, and verse from the word of God for our teaching and practice.

     The body of Christ is unique in the religious world.  There is none like it.  We believe in a restoration of the New Testament ideal.  We are striving to believe, teach, and practice that which was revealed in the first century.  If any person is weary of human dogmas, let him throw off the yoke of bondage and obey the simple gospel message which is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16).

-- EDITOR [Alan E. Highers, Spiritual Sword]

      This presentation courtesy of the
                  Brookings church of Christ.
                  814-3rd Street
                  P.O. Box 153
                  Brookings, South Dakota 57006
                  United States of America
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