Ask Your Preacher
THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
Are the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Christ the same?
Dear Drawing Borders,
Those two kingdoms are synonymous. Eph 5:5 states that the kingdom belongs to both Christ and God, and Rev 11:15 points out that the kingdom belongs to the Father and to His Christ.
In an earlier post, you stated that the church of Christ (if following all of the biblical teachings) is the "one true church". Would that also be true if the church name were to be a different "biblical" name (such as church of God)?
Dear Teachable Student,
The name a congregation puts on its door must be a biblical name, but it doesn’t have to be ‘church of Christ’ – it can be any of the names for the church found in the New Testament. Our congregation here in Monroe goes by the name ‘Monroe Valley church of Christ’ because ‘church of Christ’ is a biblical name for a congregation (Rom 16:16). There are other congregations like ours scattered across the country and the world. Most of them use the name ‘church of Christ’. There are many reasons for this. One reason is that it makes it easier for brethren across the country to find congregations if they are traveling, moving, etc. Another practical reason is that many of the other biblical names (such as ‘church of God’ – Gal 1:13) are already used by churches that aren’t following God’s Word, and it gets confusing for people when we use a name that our society has associated with a particular denomination. It isn’t required that a congregation use the name ‘church of Christ’; what is required is that we always follow the Bible pattern for everything we do, and that includes the name we use.
I have been attending a Charismatic church with my husband. I saw one of the posts where you mentioned it's sinful. Is that really so? We are so confused now if the Charismatic church doesn’t do any good. So which churches are good, and which should we attend? Lutheran? Also, what's the difference between Christian and Catholic? Catholics pray to God through the mother Mary? I was told they pray to the same God.
Where To Next?
Dear Where To Next,
Yes, the Charismatic church is not from God. The Charismatic movement believes that in order to be saved, you must have the Holy Spirit take control of you and give you spiritual gifts. They also teach that God still gives people prophecies and visions, even though we have the complete Bible. Both of these teachings are false and dangerous. Please read “Lying Wonders” and “Just Gibberish” for further details on that particular religious group.
The Catholic church also isn’t from God because they don’t do what the Bible says (read “Catholics Or Christians?” for some of the reasons why the Catholic church is a false religion).
Many churches profess to serve God, and they profess to love God – but it isn’t enough to say that we love God; our actions must back that up. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (Jhn 14:15) A faithful person and faithful churches must have the right attitude toward God and the right biblical behavior (Jhn 4:24).
Churches that are faithful are ones that use the Bible and the Bible only. They don’t add to God’s Word, and they don’t subtract from it (Rev 22:18-19). They don’t replace God’s teachings with their traditions (Mk 7:8). The denominational world is very confusing because most churches have replaced sound Bible teachings with manmade traditions. They hold the Bible in their hand, but these churches don’t do the things that we read about the church doing. For an in-depth look at the problem, read “Down With Denominationalism”. If you would like, we would be happy to get you in touch with a congregation in your area that could talk to you about these things further. If that would be of use, please feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a question about 1 Cor 5:1-13; when would you apply it to a member? And if leaders of a church ignore what Paul said about handing this brother over to Satan, could they then be responsible if that sinful member loses eternal life at the Day of Judgment?
Dear Tough Love,
1st Corinthians chapter five discusses the process of a church withdrawing from a christian who is living a sinful life. It is important to note that the man who Paul said needed to be disciplined was living a life that was actively and unrepentantly sinful (he had his father’s wife – 1 Cor 5:1). That is the type of person that a church should withdraw from. If someone is caught doing something sinful, and they continue to do that behavior without any remorse or attempt to change, the church must act. So how do you know someone has reached that point? Matt 18:15-17 tells us that if we know a christian is sinning, we should attempt to talk to them one-on-one. If that doesn’t work, we should bring one or two others to attempt to further persuade the person, and lastly, if that doesn’t work, the church should rebuke the individual and withdraw from them. The principle is that the person should be given ample opportunity to repent because you don’t want to discipline too early, but if it becomes clear that they aren’t interested in obeying God’s Word, the church must stand firm.
If the church doesn’t act, it will have to answer to God because it didn’t stand up for the truth. Paul told the Corinthians that they were arrogant for not addressing their errant member (1 Cor 5:2), and he warned them that if they didn’t act, the church would eventually be rotted away by sin (1 Cor 5:6-7). A church that won’t stand by the truth is bound to fall away from the Lord and cease to be a faithful church. When someone sins, they are responsible for their own behavior, but if the church doesn’t warn them, they have sinned as well (Ezek 3:18-19).
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus tells Peter He is going to build His church on him. Why would Jesus build His church on a man? I know, in a sense, it also had to do with Peter's confession in the previous verses, but Jesus specifically says He will build His church on the apostle Peter. Why was Peter given a higher level of authority?
Dear Building Inspector,
Jesus didn’t build His church on Peter; He built it upon a much sturdier foundation – Peter’s confession. This is one of those times where what Jesus said can be a little confusing to us English-speaking folks because there is a little bit of color that the Greek text gives that makes the text a little clearer. In Matt 16:18, when Jesus tells Peter, “You are Peter”, He uses the word ‘petros’, which means ‘a small stone, boulder, a detached stone’. Then Jesus says, “Upon this rock I will build my church”. The word used for ‘rock’ is ‘petra’ in this case. ‘Petra’ means ‘a rock ledge, cliff’; ‘petra’ is the word used for a massive and immovable rock that is attached to the earth. Jesus is making a play on words in Matt 16:18. In essence, He is saying that even though Peter is a rock, Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Son of God is an even sturdier foundation than Peter is. Peter is a small rock, but faith in Jesus as God’s Son is a massive, living rock that you can build the church upon.