by James Baker
Where do you want me to begin? I’m talking about religion, and I’m asking you to bear with me for a short while. Just open your mind and forget about what someone might have told you or what religion you grew up in. Just open your mind and put your head into the Bible. People have said there are things about which you never talk about, and two are religion and politics. However, the word of God commands men to talk about false teaching, to warn other of its dangers. And since that is indeed the case, one will have to discuss religion because there is no way to save a person from false teaching if there is no dialogue.
First, I’ll ask a question. “How many Bibles do we have?” If you said one, technically and factually you are correct. But, we also have the book of Mormon and the Koran. And we have some people who believe that these so-called books are the word of God.
I don’t believe either is. Those books were written after the Bible was completed, and people were already living by the scriptures.
The history of both books show men starting them and attempting to get people to leave the Bible and adhere to the doctrines in those books.
The Bible is the complete word of God, and no man can produce material that is better than what the scriptures have revealed (Deuteronomy 4:8; Exodus 19:5-6; Proverbs 4:2; 2 Tim 3:14-17).
The Bible also gave warnings about following other doctrines which meant that man already had the word and didn’t need anything else (Galatians 1:6-9; 1 Tim 1:3-4, 6:1-5; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2 John 6-11).
So now we have people following other books and expecting things will be well with them in the hereafter.
Jesus has made it perfectly clear that He is the only Way of salvation and if men don’t accept Him, they cannot be saved (Hebrews 5:9; Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Matthew 16:13-16; John 3:16, 8:21-24; 1 John 4:14-15).
Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-23 was for all His followers to be united in the same way that He and the Father are united. There are no divisions among the Godhead, for all three are the same in message. That is why the rest of the Bible teaches for man to have the same doctrine, same name for the church, same worship, same plan of salvation, etc. (1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:11; Ephesians 4:3-6).
But, we all know that isn’t the case. We have Catholic doctrine, Jehovah Witness doctrine, Seventh Day Adventist doctrine, Methodist doctrine, Baptist doctrine, Presbyterian doctrine, etc. None of these churches are the same.
None will give you the same message on how to be saved. They are different and not united and instead of people pointing division out, they embrace it and say everything is alright. God is not the cause of religious division. He said He doesn’t want it (1 Cor. 14:33). If the Methodist church is the church of the New Testament, everyone should be members of that church, and there shouldn’t be any other kind of church in existence. If the Catholic church is the church that you can read about in the Bible, all should be members of that church only.
Based upon the statement that He is the Christ the Messiah, Jesus said He would build His church (Matt. 16:16-18). Take a good look at verse 18: ask yourself how many churches did Jesus say that He would build? Is the word church plural or singular? The word church is singular—Jesus said He would establish only one church. Then all men can become members of the one church He established and that doctrine would be the same all other the world (1 Cor. 1:10; Acts 2:47; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Cor. 12:12-27).
The establishment of the church that you can read about in the Bible was:
Now get yourself a historical research book and study the origin of a church that you are interested in.
If that church doesn’t match up to the I.D. points of the New Testament church, it isn’t the church of the Bible, and it makes no difference how many people go there or any other thing you may say about it. That church is a man-made church, a denomination (Mark 7:7). And according to Jesus, no person can be saved in man-made doctrine (Matt. 15:13-14; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Matt. 7:13-20).
Christ is the head of his church (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18; Eph. 1:20-23). There is no office called the Pope, President, or Father of the church, etc. (Matt. 23:1-10). Those offices are man made and found only in churches that aren’t the church of the Bible. In the New Testament the believers were called Christians, nothing more nothing less (Acts 11:26, 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16).
No preacher in the New Testament allowed others to call him reverend because reverend is the name for God which means “AWESOME” (Psalm 111:9).
No man is fit to be called such. Instead of addressing men with the titles of God, we must simply call the preacher by his name. If the preacher’s name is Jack Mitchell, just call him Jack or brother Mitchell.
In Matthew 23:8, the Jews called their teachers Rabbi, but Jesus said not to do so (Matt. 23:8). Catholics always address their priest as Father, but Jesus said not to do so (Matt 23:9). And according to the New Testament all Christians are priests, we all offer our service to the Lord in spirit and in truth (1 Peter 2:9; John 4:24). We have no man as high priest or arch bishop. Such man made doctrines aren’t found in the word of God. We have one high priest and that is Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16).
As you can see, we have plenty of error going on in the world of religion.
I challenge you to review what we have taught here and feel free to contact the Mt. Airy church of Christ for further study on these issues. Please don’t run from the truth as many have done. Once you hear the truth, embrace it (Proverbs 16:6).