Friday, August 10, 2018

No Need of Salvation? - A Sampling of Websites Among churches of Christ

There was a time when nearly every Christian could share the gospel plan of salvation with anyone who would listen,  Not only that, numerous persons in every congregation were "at the ready" to study the Bible with anyone, anywhere, anytime.  Sadly, times may have changed.  For the last twenty years or so most every congregation has posted and maintained a website.  The website is a snapshot of one individual congregation of the churches of Christ (Romans 16.16) and is a reflection of the spiritual health and teaching found there.  

The other day, I viewed three websites of prominent "churches of Christ" (1) in three cities (2) that openly espouse Calvinist / Baptist error on the subject of salvation.  All three state without
equivocation that salvation comes to one without and prior to baptism.(3)  In other words, baptism is simply an "outward sign of an inward grace."  Disturbed, I began to wonder, "Just how prominent is this sectarian error among us?"  "How can we know?"  I needed a sample, a sample that everyone would agree that it was not random on my part.  Where would I find such an objective sample? I decided to list every congregation mentioned in the current issue of the Christian Chronicle for any reason.  Though my count may be off somewhat, I found 42 congregations mentioned by name.  I proceeded to look up the 42 congregations and discover for myself what kind of salvational message each one had on their respective websites.  I then grouped the 42 into 5 separate categories based upon what I discovered.  Here they are:

  1. NO - No website
  2. N/A - No salvational message of any kind
  3. AMB - A salvational message written in ambiguous language that contains some Bible and some Calvinism.  These salvational messages seem to want to have in both ways, "Calvin and Christ"
  4. BIB - A salvational message consistent with what the New Testament teaches.
  5. BAP - A salvational message clearly Calvinist and clearly anti-biblical.
The results are not encouraging.  Of those 42 congregations:

  • 11 congregations have a clearly articulated and biblical salvational message clearly stating that "baptism is for the remission of sins."  This is where the "good news" ends.
  • 11 congregations have no websites whatsoever.
  • 9 congregations have no salvational message of any kind.  In other words these 9 websites do not answer the question of the ages; "What must I do to be saved?"
  • 9 congregations have a salvational message that contains "some Bible" and some "Calvinism."
  • 2 congregations have a clearly articulated Baptist / Calvinist salvational message in clear contradiction with Scripture.

Here are the chilling conclusions:

  • In this sample, only about 26% of all the congregations mentioned by name in the current (August, 2018) edition of the Christian Chronicle have communicated the gospel message on their websites.
  • An equal amount of about 26% of the 42 congregations mentioned have no kind of website at all!
  • Another approx. 21% of the 42 congregations mentioned have no salvational message whatsoever!
  • Disturbingly, yet another approx. 21% of the mentioned congregations have an ambiguous salvational message, mixing Christ and Calvin.
  • At least honestly, an approx. 5% of mentioned congregations openly admit their Baptist / Calvin error by publishing it on their website in a "salvational message."

What does this say about churches of Christ in America?  Can God be pleased when 75% of these "mentioned congregations" either have no website at all, have no salvational message at all, have mixed "Christ and Calvin" in a synchronistic Yahweh / Baal kind of way, or have apostated completely from the Truth by teaching the "doctrines of men?"

Simply, these say that each and every eldership must monitor and revamp their website to biblically answer the question of the ages; "What must I do to be saved?"  Each and every eldership must purge it's website of all Calvinist teaching.  Each and every congregation must make sure that no elder, no deacon, no preacher, no Bible school teacher, or anyone else openly articulates Calvinistic error.  God help us!


(1)  Though their salvational statements are consistent with the teachings of the Baptist Church and other "evangelical" sectarian bodies, these congregations continue to promote themselves as what they once were but are no longer.... "churches of Christ." 
(2) These 3 are: The Providence Road "church of Christ" in Charlotte, NC, the Williamsburg "church of Christ" in Williamsburg, VA, and the Madison "church of Christ" in Madison (Nashville), TN.  
(3) Here are the specific links to which I refer:
a. - "If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and      Savior, then your are ready to be baptized,  Just like a bride and groom show others their love for one another by a wedding ceremony, your baptism is your opportunity to show others that you trust in Christ and are now walking with Him,,, It is a pronouncement of belief.  It is like preaching a visual sermon.  It is a public way of saying to everyone that you have decided to give your life to Jesus Christ... Baptism doesn't make you a believer it shows that your already believe.  The Bible teaches that faith in Christ is the source of our salvation.  Baptism is the biblical response to saving faith.  It is the visible symbol of the commitment you make in your heart....Does water baptism save me?  No.  Scripture is abundantly clear that only Jesus saves (Acts 4.12).  Faith in His actions is the heart of our salvation.  The work of salvation is a finished work by Christ on the cross (Hebrews 9.23 - 28; 10.10 - 14).  Baptism has no redemptive powers of it's own.  There is nothing special about the water in the river, pond or baptistery."
b.  - A very similar statement to Providence Road's appears on the Williamsburg website as you can see by the link.
c. "SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH - We believe in the salvation of sinners by grace through repentance and faith in the perfect and sufficient work of the cross of Calvary by which we obtain remission of sins.  (Ephesians 2.8 - 9; Hebrews 9.12, 22; Romans 5.11).  WATER BAPTISM - We believe in the necessity of water baptism by immersion in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill the command of Christ. (Matthew 28.19; Acts 2.37 - 39; 19.1 - 6).

NOTE: Public Domain Image of John Calvin Courtesy of Wikipedia.  "Church of Christ" photograph courtesy of the Archdale church of Christ, Charlotte, NC.

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