by Richard Mansel, managing editor
People claim that we are a cult because they think that we teach that members of the Church of Christ are the only ones going to heaven. Once again, they misunderstand what we believe. It is a false claim based on ignorance of what Scripture teaches./1
It is not true that being a member of a Church of Christ congregation is a prerequisite to entering heaven. A basic understanding of salvation and the church will answer this fallacious charge.
Christ promised to build his church (Matthew 16:18). He went to the cross and died for all humanity (John 3:16).
We are justified by his blood, when we are baptized into Christ for the remission of our sins (Romans 5:1; Galatians 3:27; Acts 22:16). Since most in the religious world do not acknowledge or practice immersion for the remission of sins, they are not in Christ.
Once we enter Christ, we must remain faithful. “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7, NKJV). We are to “walk worthy of the calling by which we have been called” (Ephesians 4:1).
If we remain in Christ until death, we will go to heaven for all eternity (John 14:1-6). No one who is not in Christ will enter heaven. Christ’s body is the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23). Accordingly, we must be in the Church that Christ built and owns, if we will go to heaven for all eternity (Matthew 25:46).
Being in Christ is the prerequisite for entering heaven. The Lord’s Church exists, if we are what Scripture dictates, and we can be in it (Romans 6:17). What we call ourselves does not save us, in itself.
Being on a church roll does not mean that we are in Christ. Does being in a certain building bearing a certain name mean, unequivocally, that we will submit to Christ and be faithful to him and his word? Absolutely not.
Being in Christ is the true measure of faithfulness. If bearing a certain name guaranteed salvation, then the vilest sinners on earth could wear this name and be saved while continuing their heinous acts.
People accuse members of Churches of Christ of being strange and cult-like because we are different from them. Well, they are not our standard. Christ is our role model and we have Scripture to help us be the best that we can be (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
We need to keep our eyes focused on Christ, rather than on those in error. Christ said, “follow Me” (John 21:19-21). There is no similitude between light and darkness and those wandering in darkness develop a distorted view of the world (John 1:4-5; Proverbs 4:19).
If we are observing the world through distorted lenses, we will not see things as Christ does. If we will see with his eyes, his plan will be clear and we will be in awe of his majesty!
Enter Christ and find true happiness and peace (Matthew 11:28-30).