Introducing the Church of Christ Part 3
Some members of the Churches of Christ cringe when they hear denominationalists say, “You and your little bunch think you are the only ones going to heaven.” That statement is calculated to get under the skin, not promote understanding. Those who have this attitude have most of the time heard, run into, or been defeated by the Truth of God’s Word and have hurt feelings because someone loved the Lord enough to defend His doctrine. When those of us who are “set for the defense” of the Gospel meet people who have this attitude handle people like this with a “I don’t belong to a ‘little bunch’ I belong to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as far as I have been instructed, He has only ONE such Kingdom.”
Some who are not as well grounded in the faith or as certain of the Biblical doctrine concerning the Church Christ married to which they belong reply or imply, “Oh no! We don’t think that! That’s not the way we are at all!” It is quite an embarrassing dilemma for the unstable. It puts some in the position of being ashamed of being right and embarrassed their friends have found out about it. There is NOTHING shameful about being right religiously!! IN fact, it is the state we should desire!! The New Testament is RIGHT!! If those of our acquaintance have not found out about the Truth in God’s Word, we should not be ashamed of God’s Word, we should be ashamed of our have not told them that Truth!! If we follow the New Testament (and all denominations incorrectly tell their followers they themselves follow the Bible forgetting their church manual, catechism, prayer-book which determines what they believe and teach), WE ARE RIGHT AND NEED NOT APOLOGIZE FOR IT!! Again, we do not have a “bunch” either big or little. All they have to do is listen to the “worthy name” we wear to notice the Church is not named after any human being, it is named after Christ!! What the Bible teaches is that the New Testament Church is composed of the redeemed, Acts 20:28, Ephesians 1:7, and if we have obeyed the gospel, we are the property of Jesus Christ, not ourselves and are therefore NOT RESPONSIBLE for the name Christ has given us!!
Because one of the dictionary definitions of exclusive is “snobbishly aloof”, and because we are not exclusive in that sense, we may be inclined to deny all exclusiveness when confronted with the “your little bunch” taunt. If we deny exclusiveness, however, we are throwing away much of the teaching of God’s Word. It is a fact that the church is exclusive! God made it that way. God also made man’s response to His will the deciding factor in the matter-He gave man free moral agency. But God retains the right of judgment. God’s commands exclude those who exclude God’s Commands. Persons may exclude God and His church from their lives by refusal to obey His commands, then complain that those who have a more complete faith are exclusive, but their refusal to obey God will not satisfy justice that the Law demands. To become defensive or apologetic in the face of such ill-conceived thrusts is to accept undeserved blame!!
The church is not exclusive in the sense of not wanting others to participate in the blessings of God-it is not snobbishly aloof!! Christians do not rejoice when a person refuses Christ. They react with sorrow and regret, for they want all men to be saved. Christians are not possessed of a mean spirit of selfishness about the church. They do not consider it a private club. That is not what is meant by affirming that the church is exclusive!!