Many people look at the name “church of Christ” and assume that we are just another denomination among many. However, this is not the case. We are not a denomination we are neither Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish, rather we are members of the one church (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18) which Jesus died for (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:18-19). The name “church of Christ” simply shows ownership; that is, these people (church) belong to Christ. The term “church of Christ” as it is used in the Bible never represents a building but rather it is always in reference to a people. We find that the name “church of Christ” is a Biblical reference bearing the name of Christ and therefore, one that will please God (Romans 16:16). There are other names which would be Biblical, such as “the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27), “the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10), or “the church of God” (1 Corinthians 1:2).
All these are phrases which are descriptive of to whom the church belongs. Because it is our desire to glorify God, we use the name “church of Christ.” By what authority can we or can others wear names which are not Biblical names? Paul stated: “Whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, . . .” (Colossians 3:17). “In the name of the Lord Jesus” means by his authority. Therefore, I ask again, by what authority do we or others wear names which are not Biblical?
The followers of Christ were called Christians, “. . . the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). Peter said in reference to these people, “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf” (1 Peter 4:16). This is the name in which we glorify God, no one can glorify God in any other name.
As Christians, we believe that the Bible is all-sufficient. By the term, “all-sufficient”, we simply mean that one will find all that is needed within the Bible to guide his footsteps to heaven. Paul said,“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The word “perfect” means to be complete. Paul places further emphasis on this thought by saying that the man of God is “throughly furnished” meaning completely furnished. Thus we learn that with God’s word (the Bible) we, as Christians, can be completely outfitted, or lacking in nothing as it pertains to God’s will. Paul also stated, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). If the gospel was all that Paul needed, then it is all that we need today, for it is still the “power of God unto salvation”. John informed us that we are not to take away or add to this book, and if we do, “God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city . . .” (Revelation 22:18-19).
The so called, “still, small voices”, “direct operation of the Spirit”, “an inner light”, or “superior philosophies” are superfluous and vain. We do not need any “latter-day-revelations”. The Bible is complete. Peter said, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).
Man made creeds and by-laws only serve to distract us from the truth. Therefore, we reject all creeds and by-laws of men. Our only creed is Jesus Christ. Our only law is the Bible.
We read in the book of Acts that the early Christians “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). If we are to please God, then we must do the same as did the early Christians. Jesus said “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). To worship in spirit means with the proper attitude toward God and our fellow-man. To worship in truth means that all that we do must be done in accordance with the word of God. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
God has given us a pattern as to how He would have us worship Him. Therefore, as did the early Christians, so do we gather together upon the Lord’s day to observe the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:24-26). This they did every first day of the week, therefore we must do the same. They were also commanded to give as they had prospered upon the first day of the week, (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). We likewise lay by in store and give on the first day of the week as God has prospered us. On this day, as well as other times when we come together, we place great emphasis on preaching and teaching God’s word, (2 Timothy 2:15). We also understand that God has placed great emphasis on prayer in the life of Christians (Acts 2:42; James 5:16-17), without prayer in our lives we would be helpless against the forces the devil.
When Christians come together to worship God they are commanded to sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). We are opposed to mechanical instruments of music in Worship to God. The reason for this is because they are not authorized. No where within the pages of the New Testament will one find where the early Christians used the mechanical instrument of music in their worship to God. In every reference that is made in regards to the kind of music which God desires of His people it is always vocal music (singing), (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26; Acts 16:25; Romans 15:9; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; James 5:13). Paul said, “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). He also stated, “. . . for whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23b). God has not given us the evidence (revealed it in His word) for the use of the instrument, therefore, to use such instruments is without authority and sinful.
The church of our Lord must not add to nor take away from that which God has revealed (Revelations 22:18-19). Thus we will not use mechanical instruments of music in our worship to God. We will, instead, make melody in our hearts to the Lord.