Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

UNITED CHURCH OF GOD

Just Christian

Thursday, October 11, 2018
I love church, and I love being part of God’s family, but I really dislike being a certain type of christian.  I don't understand why there are so many different beliefs for one religion (like Catholic, Methodist, and so on); is it possible to just be a christian and not any thing specific?  Is there a special church that's just christian?

Sincerely,
No Party Affiliation

Dear No Party Affiliation,

All we should ever be is just christians… you are absolutely right for being frustrated.  The denominational world is confusing… exactly the opposite of God’s church (1 Cor 14:33).  The term ‘denomination’ comes from the idea that a church believes that it is a subgroup of a larger religious body.  Lutherans worship and teach differently than Episcopalians, Catholics, Presbyterians, etc., but they all believe themselves to be christians – this is wrong.  Jesus said that there is only one path to heaven (Matt 7:14).  Denominationalism teaches that how you act and worship are matters of opinion, but Jesus said that how you act and worship are matters of truth (Jhn 4:24).  The only way to avoid denominationalism is to find a congregation that simply teaches what the Bible says – no creeds, no opinions, no personal agendas.  If we truly love Christ, we will follow His commandments (1 Jn 5:2).

Everything a church does (worship, membership, how they teach to be saved, how they spend their money, even their name) needs to have Bible verses backing them up (1 Tim 3:15).  A church needs to be able to explain the reasons for why they do what they do (1 Pet 3:15).

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).  We worship by singing (Col 3:16), studying the Bible (1 Tim 4:13), praying (2 Thess 3:1), taking communion (only on Sundays – Acts 20:7), and taking up a collection (also only on Sundays – 1 Cor 16:1-2).  We teach that you must hear God’s Word (Rom 10:17), believe God’s Word (Jhn 3:16), repent of your sins (Mk 6:12), confess Jesus as your Savior (Lk 12:8), and be baptized to be saved (Acts 2:38, 1 Pet 3:21).  We do all these things because they are practices found in the Bible.  As you said, you don’t want to go to a church that offers their own thoughts – you want God’s thoughts.

There are other congregations like ours scattered across the country and the world.  Most of them use the name ‘church of Christ’, but then again, many churches that use that name aren’t faithful.  A Bible name for a church isn’t enough to make it faithful.  We have helped others, like yourself, looking for New Testament Christianity find faithful congregations in their area by contacting other preachers and christians that we know.  We’d be happy to do the same for you.  If you feel comfortable, just let us know what general area you live in, and we will try and get you in touch with a congregation that lives like your Bible reads (our e-mail is askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist.org).  It is frustrating, confusing, and exasperating to deal with denominationalism.  Thanks be to God that there is a better option!

 

Name That Difference

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
I am a member of a Baptist church, but I was thinking about changing.  What is the difference between Church of God and church of Christ?

Sincerely,
Just Browsing

Dear Just Browsing,

The Church of God and the churches of Christ are vastly different.  The Church of God is a name used by numerous, mostly unrelated Christian denominational bodies, most of which descend from either Pentecostal/Holiness or Adventist traditions.  Most groups that use the title Church of God believe in speaking in tongues, modern prophecy, and visions.  All of these things are false teachings.  See “Speaking In Tongues”, “The Lost Art Of Prophecy”, “I Dreamed A Dream” for further details on what the Bible says about these behaviors.

Churches of Christ are all individual congregations (we have no centralized leadership other than the Bible) that simply try to follow the Bible pattern for everything they do.  This is not the case with every church of Christ, but it certainly is for us in Monroe, WA.

Everything a church does (worship, membership, how they teach to be saved, how they spend their money, even their name) needs to have Bible verses backing them up (1 Tim 3:15).  A church needs to be able to explain the reasons for why they do what they do (1 Pet 3:15).
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).  We worship by singing (Col 3:16), studying the Bible (1 Tim 4:13), praying (2 Thess 3:1), taking communion (only on Sundays – Acts 20:7), and taking up a collection (also only on Sundays – 1 Cor 16:1-2).  We teach that you must hear God’s Word (Rom 10:17), believe God’s Word (Jhn 3:16), repent of your sins (Mk 6:12), confess Jesus as your Savior (Lk 12:8), and be baptized to be saved (Acts 2:38, 1 Pet 3:21).  We do all these things because they are practices found in the Bible.  Our philosophy is simple: if the Bible speaks, we speak; if the Bible is silent, we are silent.

Hopefully that helps to clarify the differences for you.  A faithful church of Christ is simply trying to do just what the Bible says… no more, no less.

 

Eternal Torment

Friday, November 10, 2017
Do you believe in Annihilationism… because there are some people like the Jehovah's Witness, United Church of God, and Seventh-Day Adventists that believe a person's soul is annihilated (or extinguished) in hell, instead of being punished.  To me Annihilationism isn't biblical!  Some say it's a heresy!  But, also, there are some verses in the Bible that annihilationists interpret as "Annihilation" (Ex: Isaiah 66:24).  Also, annihilationists interpret the "second death" as annihilation.  Like I said before, though, I don't believe in Annihilationism!  It's also unbiblical!

Sincerely,
Keep The Flame Alive

Dear Keep The Flame Alive,

There are several very clear texts that deal with what happens to lost souls when they die.  Mk 9:47-49 says that hell is a place where “the worm never dies and the fire is not quenched” – the exact opposite of annihilation.  Jesus also told the story of a rich man that died and went to torments (Lk 16:22-23).  In torments, the rich man was in constant burning anguish without relief (Lk 16:24).  Abraham told the rich man that he would remain in anguish and that there was a great gulf eternally fixed between those in Paradise and those in torment (Lk 16:25-26).  Though some good brethren believe that hell is not an eternal location and that the wicked are destroyed at death, we don’t believe that this holds up to biblical scrutiny.  Hell is a real place, and you really don’t want to go there.