by Tom Wacaster
When we speak of the “Lord’s church” we are referring to the church we read about in the New Testament. Consequently, when we refer to the “church of God” (1 Cor. 1:2), or the “church of Christ” (Rom. 16:16), we are referring to those who have been saved and simultaneously added to the church (Acts 2:47). The “church of Christ” is the whole body of the saved, nothing more and nothing less. It is impossible, therefore, for the “church of Christ” that we read about in the New Testament to be divided. Churches in the first century believed the same thing, obeyed the same thing, were added to the same thing, and continued steadfastly in the same thing. We must try to understand the mind-set of the liberal who would suggest that there are Christians “other than” those in the church of Christ. He perceives of the “church of Christ” as simply a “part of” the larger whole. Therein he makes his mistake.
There are two things that beg consideration. First, if it is the case that a person can be saved outside the Lord’s church, i. e. outside the “church of Christ,” then it is the case that the church of Christ is a denomination. Try to imagine in your mind a large circle consisting of all the saved. Now, if there are some “saved” outside the “church of Christ,” then it necessarily implies that the “church of Christ” is a smaller segment within that larger circle. This is true because of the law of the excluded middle. Either the “church of Christ” contains all the saved, or the “church of Christ” does not contain all the saved. These are the only two possibilities. If it does contain all the saved, then there are none saved outside the “church of Christ.” If it does not contain all the saved, then the circle must be larger so as to encompass and take in those who are not within the “church of Christ.” When the liberal even suggests that there are “Christians in all the denominations,” or that there are some saved outside the “church of Christ” he is, by implication, making the church of which you and I are members a denomination.
Second, if it is the case that the “church of Christ” is not a sect or a denomination, but the whole of the saved, then it is virtually impossible for one to be saved “outside the Lord’s church.” Search the Scriptures. You will not find a single reference in all of God’s Word that ever speaks of the church in a denominated sense. You will read of the “universal” church in passages like Matthew 16:16-18, Colossians 1:18, and Ephesians 1:21-22. And you will read of the local church that makes up the saved in a local area (1 Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1-2; Col. 1:1-2; Phi. 1:1-2). In order for the liberal change agents to verify their claim that there are some people saved outside the Lord’s church, they must of necessity find a passage that refers to the “church of Christ” as a smaller, segmented, denominational aspect of the larger “church of Christ” which we read about in the New Testament.
Now I begin to understand why the liberals are determined to establish some validity to their false doctrine that there are people saved in the various denominations. Because in so doing, they imply that the churches of Christ are no different than the denominations about us. And this, beloved brethren, is precisely what they want to imply