Is The Church Of Christ A Denomination

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

Spiritual Boycott

by Tom Wacaster

A "boycott" is defined by Webster as meaning "to combine in refusing to work for, to buy from or sell to, or to have any dealings with, as a means to show disapproval or to coerce."   While it is possible to refrain from doing business with some company while not actually boycotting that company, the effects are the same.   When I heard of the recent effort on the part of one religious organization to boycott the Disney company, it dawned on me that the end result of such a boycott is similar to the end result of those who do not support the church as they should.   This spiritual boycott may be manifested in a number of ways. 

First, there are those who boycott the church by refusing to give of their means, i.e. to contribute to the financial support of the church.  It has become a common practice among disgruntled individuals to withhold their contribution when things in the church are not going as they think they should.  We are not speaking of those who refuse to give into the common fund of a church that has abandoned the truth.  When a church reaches the point that they no longer abide by God's teaching, not only should the funds be withheld, but so should our presence.  We are speaking, however, of those who withhold their contribution because they do not like some decision the elders have made, or some sermon the preacher has preached.  Refusal to give to the work of the Lord because of some disagreement in matters of opinion constitutes a spiritual boycott.

Second, those who refuse to meet with the brethren actually boycott the church.  Lack of attendance constitutes disapproval.  Lip service may be given to agreement in these matters, but actions speak louder than words.  When we habitually refuse to take advantage of Bible study opportunities, we imply that such is NOT important.  Our actions actually discourage those who do attend.  By our example we say to the new Christian that Bible study is not important, and we say to the older Christian that he is wasting his time.  There are entirely too many Christians who do not realize the implications of their actions.  Absenteeism constitutes spiritual boycott.

Third, failure to support a gospel meeting at the level of the local congregation constitutes a spiritual boycott.  The absence of such a large portion of a congregation so typical of today's "gospel meeting effort" says to the world, "This is not really that important."  In turn, it speaks volumes to the leaders of the church by implying that you simply do not intend to support this effort.  Hence, the church, the speaker of the occasion, and the cause for which Jesus died are all boycotted.  

An atheist once remarked that if he believed in God, and in the importance of the gospel, and the essentiality of the church, as do the "Christians" of the world, that he would spend every penny he had, extend any effort necessary to evangelize, and lend the whole of his life in the support and furtherance of that message.  Why is it that some folks cannot see what a skeptic realized to be the implications of our faith.  If you were judged by your actions, would men say that you support the church, or that you were presently participating in a spiritual boycott? 

Dreams

by Tom Wacaster


I dreamt that heaven's reward had arrived, and I was ushered into that eternal abode with God, Christ and the redeemed of all ages. The angels of heaven accompanied the saints in singing praises unto He Who sat upon the throne. Never before have I had such a magnificent audio sensation as in that dream. The sound of angels and saints blending their voices in majestic strains of that favorite hymn, "The Old Rugged Cross" filled my imagination in what seemed at the moment so real. One can imagine the disappointment upon awakening.

I still dream of heaven, and occasionally the angels singing heaven's song of redemption, but nothing quite as vivid, or as soul stirring as that particular dream more than a decade ago. Dreams are expressions of the sub-conscience as they are played out on the stage of our imagination and thinking. Often illogical, and unrealistic, they sometimes wake us in a cold sweat of fear and anxiety. At other times they sooth our souls with the hopes that lay deep within. I often wonder if our Lord, in His human form, had dreams. And if so, of what did He dream? Anyway, there are those who "dream" of heaven, but not in the sense in which we are using the word. They live lives out of harmony with God's will, and then expect in the final analysis to receive heaven's reward right alongside of the faithful. Such expectations, like a dream in the night, are illogical and unrealistic. Heaven is for the obedient. Anything else is but a dream!

If Wombs Had Windows

by Tom Wacaster
  
I cannot remember the first time I head the expression, “If wombs had windows, abortions would immediately cease.”  Since the infamous Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973, more than 45,000,000 babies have been aborted.  The opponents of abortion have waged an unending battle with those who would undermine the sanctity of life.  With increased medical technology comes the very real possibility that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned, and the nightmare of infanticide will end.

Most of us have never taken the time to review the records of Roe vs. Wade, and were it not for a small reference to it in a book I am now reading, I may never have come across this little bit of information relative to this subject.   But first, a little background.

In 1970, a pregnant woman in Dallas sought an abortion. It was denied under an 1854 Texas law denying abortions except when the mother’s life was at stake.  She fought the law, using the pseudonym “Jane Roe.”  The Supreme Court heard her case twice.  In 1973, the Court announced its 7-2 vote to strike down the Texas law on the grounds that the 14th Amendment protects a woman’s right to choice in the matter and the 9th Amendment reserves to the people all rights not specifically restricted.  The argument for the defense (i.e., the state of Texas) argued that the state of Texas had an interest in protecting the life of an unborn child after a certain point, which was determined to be the first trimester.   Sarah Weddington was the counsel of “Jane Roe,” and Jay Floyd and Robert Flowers were lawyers on the staff of the attorney general of Texas.   Since the Supreme Court’s decision on that fateful day in 1973, women in America, with the consent of and advice from their doctors, have been instrumental in murdering millions of unborn children.   Permit me, now, to provide you with a couple of statements from the transcript of the lengthy court session that led to the final decision on the part of the Supreme Court.  This little tidbit comes from a book entitled, “Eyewitnesses to America,” edited by David Colbert.  On December 13, 1971, Counselor for the defense, Sarah Weddington argued:  “We feel that because of the impact on the woman, this certainly, inasfar [sic] as there are any rights which are fundamental, is a matter which is of fundamental and basic concern to the woman involved that she should be allowed to make the choice as to whether to continue or to terminate her pregnancy.”  Lawyers for the State of Texas rightly responded: “I think she makes her choice prior to the time she becomes pregnant. That is the time of the choice…once a child is born, a woman no longer has a choice, and I think pregnancy may terminate that choice…We say there is life from the moment of impregnation.”  Justice Thurgood Marshall responded: “And do you have any scientific data to support that?”  Evidently Jay Floyd, lawyer for the State, did not present sufficient or satisfying “scientific data,” and as a consequence, “the rest is history,” as they say.  But let us now tell you “the rest of the story.”  In late 1972, only three months before the final decision regarding Roe vs. Wade, the following argument took place between the “Court” and Weddington (remember, Sarah Weddington was the Counselor for Jane Roe, the woman seeking the abortion). 

Weddington: “The Court has in the past held that it is the right of the parents to determine whether or not they will send their child to private school; whether or not their children will be taught foreign languages; whether or not they will have offspring…So there is a great body of cases, decided by this Court, in the areas of marriage, sex, contraception, procreation, childbearing, and education, which says that there are certain things that are so much a part of the individual concern that they should be left to the determination of the individual. If the state could show that the fetus was a person under the Fourteenth Amendment, or under some other amendment or part of the Constitution, then…the state would have compelling interest, which in some instances can outweigh a fundamental right.” 

Now, dear reader, did you catch that?  If the state could show that the fetus was a person, then the state’s interest (in this case, protecting the right of the unborn child) would outweigh the “fundamental right” of the mother!  The response of the Court to Weddington’s remark will become a crucial issue when the Supreme Court convenes this year to hear yet another case regarding abortion.  Please consider these words from the Court made more than 36 years ago:

Court to Weddington: “If it were established that an unborn fetus is a person, within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment, you would have an impossible case here, would you not?”  To which Sarah Weddington admitted, “I would have a very difficult case.”  

The Court to Flowers: “And the basic constitutional question, initially, is whether or not an unborn fetus is a person, isn’t it?”  

Robert Flowers: (lawyer for the State of Texas):  “Yes, and entitled to the constitutional protections.”

Court: “That’s critical to this case, is it not?”

Flowers: “Yes sir, it is…I think that here is exactly what we’re facing in this case: Is the life of this unborn fetus paramount over the woman’s right to determine whether or not she shall bear a child?  This Court has been delight in protecting the rights of the minorities, and, gentlemen, we say that this is a minority, a silent minority, the true silent minority.  Who is speaking for these children? Where is the counsel for those unborn children, whose life is being taken?  Where is the safeguard of the right to trial by jury? Are we to place this power in the hands of a mother, in a doctor? What would keep a legislator, under this grounds, from deciding who else might or might not be a human being, or might not be a person?”

With the medical technology now available it can be clearly established that from the point of conception there is sentient life in the womb.  We can now look into the womb with cameras and sound equipment, and watch that precious infant as he/she breathes, moves, laughs and cries.  Maybe 2007 will be the year that this horrible holocaust will come to an end.  Maybe our prayers will be heard by God, and those men now sitting on the bench of the highest court in the land will realize that life does begin at conception.  Let us pray that those men will live up to their God-given responsibility, and pass down a decision that is in accord with God’s will.  Oh yes, “If wombs had windows!”