|Volume 18 Number 9 September 2016||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Brother Rushmore, I am a member of the Church, and have been all of my life. I am thankful for your appeal to the truth of Scripture. I read an article you wrote on Denominations, and I have a question. What about churches that do everything according to the Scripture and have a strong foundation regarding the inerrancy and authority of scripture, BUT do not have “Church of Christ” in their name? Mike Hays, Boyd Church of Christ, Boyd, TX
The name “Church of Christ” (Romans 16:16) is one of a few scriptural designations that appears in the New Testament to identify the Lord’s church. For instance, “Church of God” (1 Corinthians 1:2) is just as scriptural as “Church of Christ.” Due to denominational confusion, though, the churches of Christ generally do not represent themselves by other even scriptural names lest the Lord’s church be misunderstood as being a religious organization of manmade rather than divine origin. It would not be sinful for a local congregation of the Lord’s church to be known by another biblical designation. Yet, it might not be practical for distinction from other churches by fellow Christians and congregations of the Lord’s church, by denominational people and even non-religious persons, and by government and legal perspectives.
It has been rumored from time to time that congregations have been discovered which have achieved the duplication of New Testament Christianity without being aware of other congregations of the Lord’s church previously. Certainly, that is entirely possible, and in fact, that did occur throughout the United States and elsewhere around the world during a period referred to as Restoration History.
Usually, however, congregations that are nearly like the churches of Christ in so many ways are either one of two types. A local church may be independent and evolving toward restoration of primitive Christianity. On the other hand, several churches of Christ over the decades through the present were once clearly identified with the Lord’s church; more recently, they have opted to drop the reference to “Church of Christ” as they feel more closely drawn to the denominational community than do they sense a desirable affiliation with the churches of Christ. For some of these, “Church of Christ” is viewed more as historical heritage than representative of convictions pertaining to the church of the Bible.
Doctors are unable to satisfactorily diagnosis symptoms over the telephone, and often physicians experience enough difficulty accurately analyzing ailments in person owing to complexities and variables. Likewise, I cannot definitively assess religious aspiration in absentia either. Of course, nobody on earth is charged with the responsibility of assigning an eternal destination to anyone else (James 4:12). At best, we are fruit inspectors (Matthew 7:20). We and others need to follow the Bible roadmap from earth to heaven (2 John 4).
If They Had Known
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Please help me to better understand what is stated in I Cor. 2:8 in that ”if they had known, they would not have crucified Christ.” “If they had known” that their actions would bring in the Gentiles to salvation, or “if they had known” that Jesus was the Savior they would not have killed him? Thank you Jack Phillips
Albert Barnes in his commentary made an excellent observation regarding 1 Corinthians 2:8. In so doing, his reference to Acts 3:17 provides a perfect divine commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:8 also.
Their ignorance arose from not understanding the prophecies, and from an unwillingness to be convinced that Jesus of Nazareth had been truly sent by God. In Acts 3:17, Peter says that it was through ignorance that the Jews had put him to death… Had they fully understood his character, and seen the wisdom of his plan, and his work… Had they seen the… fact that he was the long expected Messiah of their nation, they would not have put him to death. It is incredible that they would have crucified their Messiah, knowing and believing him to be such. They MIGHT have known it but they were unwilling to examine the evidence. They expected a DIFFERENT Messiah, and were unwilling to admit the claims of Jesus of Nazareth. For THIS ignorance, however, there was no excuse. If they did not have a full knowledge, it was their own fault. Jesus had performed miracles which were a complete attestation to his divine mission (John 5:36; 10:25); but they closed their eyes on those works, and were unwilling to be convinced – God always gives to people sufficient demonstration of the truth, but they close their eyes, and are UNWILLING to believe. This is the sole reason why they are not converted to God and saved. (Barnes)
The wisdom of the world or human wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:7-8) failed to recognize Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Messiah and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. “Had the human wisdom of the world’s leaders been capable of recognizing God in Christ, they would not have crucified him” (Coffman).
People living today have no more excuse for not recognizing and acknowledging Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Messiah than those Jews and Romans of the first century who were complicit in putting Him to death on the cross. Only when we obey the Word of God – the New Testament of which Jesus is the Mediator (Hebrews 8:6; 12:24) – is Jesus Christ the author of salvation (Hebrews 5:8-9).
Barnes, Albert. Barne’s Notes. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2005.
Coffman, James Burton. Burton Coffman’s Commentary. CD-ROM. Abilene: ACU P., 2001.