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Question #30

Is the church of Christ part of the Reformation?

I am a member of the _ Church of Christ, and I am seeking answers to some honest questions that I have. I hope that you will be able to assist me in answering these questions.

I have been told that the Church of Christ does not claim itself as being a part of the Reformation. This being said, I find it ironic that our liberty came through the Methodist, whom, if you track up the line, came from the reformation (i.e. Martin Luther 1500's). Can you explain this to me?

What I'd really like to ask is this. In 1054 ad the Roman Catholic Church separated from the Orthodox Catholic Church. I find much confusion in many articles from people in the Church of Christ that claim the Roman Catholic Church existed before 1054. This simply is not true. Currently, the Orthodox Catholic Church is claiming ownership as the one true, undeviated Church of Christ and historically, I cannot refute their claim.

I am by no means a historian, but I am willing to delve into this quagmire. Have you heard of this argument and if so, can you point me in the right direction.

The Answer:

Please listen to the sermon on “The Undenominational Nature of the Church” and read and study the lessons on the church available on this web site for more complete answers to this question. A short answer will be provided here. The capitalization of “Church” in the question is often used by some (even some who claim to be members of the church) who claim that the church of Christ is nothing more than a denomination that came out of the Restoration Movement (not the Reformation). No one of whom I am aware teaches that the church of Christ revealed in the New Testament was a denomination. If that church exists today, doing Bible things in Bible ways, calling Bible things by Bible names, believing what they believed, teaching what they taught, and practicing what they practiced, what is there that would make that group a denomination? It is not correct that our liberty came through the Methodists. The liberty of New Testament Christians came through Christ. (Gal. 2:4; 5:6.) The Reformation sought to reform the Catholic Church; it did not seek to restore the New Testament church. Unfortunately, it not only failed to reform the Catholic Church, it perpetuated every departure from the faith that had arisen in the Catholic Church. The Reformation not only did not lead to the unity of the faith of the New Testament church, it gave rise to far greater religious division. Its progeny sowed the wind with its division justifying credo, “It makes no difference what you believe as long as you are sincere.” It reaped the whirlwind in today’s division justifying, religion denying, secular humanist credo, “All truth is relative.” It makes no difference what the Orthodox Catholic Church or the church of Christ claims about being the New Testament church. That determination is made by comparing teaching and practice to the New Testament. That truth has not and will never deviate no matter how many men deviate from it. Seed corn from ancient Egypt planted today would still produce corn. The seed of the Word planted today will still produce New Testament Christians.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)