Home | Archives | Guest Book | Links | churches of Christ | Contact Us
Plan of Salvation
 | Correspondence Course | Daily Bible Reading | Store | World Evangelism
Gospel Gazette Online logo

Serving an international
readership with the
Old Jerusalem Gospel
via the Internet.

Vol.  10  No. 10 October 2008  Page 2
powered by FreeFind
Current Issue: Go to Page 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20


Prerequisite to Biblical Interpretation:
Understanding the Importance of the Chruch

By Louis Rushmore

Louis Rushmore

If one has an erroneous appreciation for the worth of the church about which one can read in the Bible, especially as it appears in the New Testament, he is ill-prepared to interpret the Bible successfully. Further, the assertion that it is a mistake to restore the first century church is a bold endorsement of anything else besides by the church for which Jesus Christ died to establish, over which He is the Head and for which He will return someday.

In addition, it is a dodge and a case of dishonesty of supposing that Christians interested in restoring primitive Christianity are faced with the prospect of duplicating the numerous errors of the Corinthian church or any first century congregation about which the New Testament records spiritual deficiencies or sins. Contrariwise, the New Testament clearly teaches what the church should be, by noting the sinful imperfections of various congregations and Christians and contrasting what should be with what they sometimes did. Jesus Christ established his church as a perfect, divine institution.

The church as established by Christ was perfect. Christ was its founder and it was purchased by his blood (Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28). Christ was (and is) both the foundation and the head of the church (I Cor. 3:11; Eph. 1:22,23). The church is composed of people who have obeyed God’s perfect plan of salvation (Matt. 2819, 20; Acts 2:38, 47). It has a perfect system of worship, a perfect organization, and a perfect mission. All of these features of the church are fully described and clearly set forth in the New Testament, the perfect pattern for the church of every age (II Pet. 1:3). (Fulford 5).

The New Testament church is discernible in salvation, worship, Christian living, Christian service and doctrine; however, man can never discern that to which he blinds himself (Matthew 13:14-15).

The New Testament represents itself as a pattern for duplication in congregations and the lives of Christians (Romans 6:17; 1 Corinthians 2:11-13; 4:6; Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:13; 1 Peter 4:11). God has given us everything we need doctrinally (2 Peter 1:3; Jude 3). No changes to the Gospel or New Testament are permitted (Galatians 1:6-9; Revelation 22:18-19; cf. Numbers 22:18). Clearly, the inspired, New Testament teachings were to be passed along to others (2 Timothy 2:2).

God has not left us at sea without a rudder. The New Testament was not merely “human correspondence between or among various human beings.” Paul said, “If any man thinketh himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him take knowledge of the things which I write unto you, that they are the commandment of the Lord” (I Cor. 14:37). It has been suggested that the New Testament writers never perceived or intended that their writings would become a guide for men throughout succeeding generations, but the statement of Paul contradicts that assertion. (Highers 23)

Hence, the seed principle respecting the Word of God is valid today (Luke 8:11; 1 Peter 1:23). Everything produces after its own kind (Genesis 1), so that even the Word of God when planted in honest hearts produces after its own kind—Christians or the Lord’s church.

Several Old Testament examples illustrate the need for and divine approval of patterns in religion, and when necessary, the restoration to God’s way of doing things (Exodus 25:40; Acts 7:44; Hebrews 8:5). King Josiah is one powerful example of restoring the way of God (2 Kings 22:13). Following the return from Babylonian captivity, the Jewish religion was restored (Jeremiah 6:16).

No not the human errors, but yes, the divine plan for the church for which Jesus Christ died, over which He is the Head and for which He is coming back to retrieve must be restored according to biblical patterns. If not, then there is absolutely no hope whatsoever of receiving divine favor in this life or in the eternity to come, because man’s ways only lead astray. “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Any attempt at biblical interpretation that either ignores or denies the importance of the Lord’s church is doomed to become a hermeneutical train wreck!

Works Cited

Fulford, Hugh. “Principles of the Restoration.” Spiritual Sword 28.2: 7-10.

Highers, Alan E. “The New Testament Is the Pattern for Men Today.” Spiritual Sword 6.3 (1975): 22-24.

Current Issue: Go to Page 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20