CHURCH OF CHRIST
Recently someone asked this website a two-part question: “How do I know that God exists and that Christianity is the true religion?” That is something many people wonder, even if they don’t bother to ask. Here is our answer.
Does God Exist?
We begin with the basic question , “Does God Exist” because if not, nothing else matters.
We recognize the Bible as the inspired Word of God. Confirmation for this can be found on this website in several essays, under SPECIAL TOPICS, relating to the Historical, Prophetical and Scientific evidences for the accuracy of the Bible. With the accuracy of the Bible settled we open it to confirm God’s existence.
One of the many Biblical clues to God’s existence is found in Paul's letter to the Roman Church where he points out (Romans 1:18-20) that God is known by everyone instinctively!
Nevertheless, some will suppress the truth. Since the earliest days man has seen all that God has made so that he is without excuse for not recognizing the hand of God.
Today we are fortunate in that we are able to see those things that had been invisible to previous generations. We have electron microscopes that are capable of examining the internal structure of, among other things, the basic cell.
Every living being is made of cells. From the largest mammal down to those one celled creatures that were purported to be the first living things in some primordial soup eons ago. Darwin assumed those first cells were some gelatin material, capable of splitting and reproducing.
However that first cell had to have been far more complicated than that! It needed a way to ingest food, digest it, excrete waste, and reproduce. All these required complicated systems and they all had to be working simultaneously. Evolution was not possible because if one of these systems existed first what good would it have been by itself? Did the ingestion system exist before the digestion system? Why? Which part of the reproduction system came first?
None of these systems came first because it was impossible for one to function without the other. They all had to come into existence together. This was not possible through evolution. Planned Creation is the only possibility. A Creator provides the best explanation for fully functioning biological organisms, systems, and subsystems that couldn't come about through gradual evolutionary process.
(Aside: The motto of science is: Question Everything! From our experience we can modify that to: Question Everything, except Evolution! Careers have been destroyed for doing just that.)
There is evidence for a supernatural Creator within the DNA of every cell of every living creature.
Definition noun A double-stranded nucleic acid that contains the genetic information for cell growth, division, and function.
Structure: Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is composed of two strands that twist together forming a helix. Each strand consists of alternating phosphate (PO4) and pentose sugar (2-deoxyribose), and attached on the sugar is a nitrogenous base, which can be guanine, adenine, thymine, or cytosine (GATC). In DNA, these bases pair; adenine pairs with thymine and guanine with cytosine. Hence, DNA is a ladder-like helical structure.
Location: DNA is found in the cytoplasm of prokaryotic cells, and chiefly in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells. A small fraction of total DNA is present in mitochondria and chloroplasts.
Function: DNA is a long polymer of nucleotides to code for the sequence of amino acid during protein synthesis. DNA is said to carry the genetic ‘blueprint’ since it contains the instructions or information (called genes) needed to construct cellular components like proteins and RNA molecules.
(The above definition from http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Deoxyribonucleic_acid )
One can see complexity within the simplest living creature and common sense attributes it to a designer. There is a wealth of information within every DNA molecule. Each piece must be separate, just like the sentences on this page. Modern computer communication systems use "start" and "stop" codes to separate blocks of information. So does DNA. How did that happen by random natural selection? There must be intelligent planning behind all this!
DNA contains the instructions for all living things, plants and all breathing creatures. For example, breathing land based mammal with lungs, brain, blood vessels, skin, finger nails, taste buds, stomach, intestines and so forth.
This can be compared with a blueprint for a ten story building, with all the plumbing, delivery entrances, trash pickup, heating, air conditioning, office space and cafeteria.
How could all this data be coded within DNA? Not only that but the instructions then have to be transferred so they can be acted upon. You have to ask, "How can a complicated coded information exchange process occur in a natural environment?
Your answer has to be, "It can't!" Because a complicated communication system requires a sender, a receiver and information that is "understood" and natural processes cannot understand anything!
Further, the information is not of the vague, nondescript variety. It contains the detailed assembly instructions for building proteins and protein machines that service and maintains the growth of every living creature, from the most primitive one-celled organisms to the world’s largest mammal!
A reasonable question to ask is, how can the detailed instructions for building a complex biological product exist when planning requires thought. To expect this to occur naturally would be similar to expecting a tornado whirling through a junk yard to produce a new car. Food for thought: How many tornadoes would it take to produce a new car? A washing machine? A bookcase? Anything?
If evolution occurred there must be some explanation for the circulatory system. Scientists should be able to explain which came first, the heart, blood or blood vessels and why. Another defining moment in evolution would be the step by step development of eyesight.
In the 1990s scientists found much of the DNA information to be "junk," i.e., superfluous and not needed. They supposed this was a result of evolution trying things, finding them not working and setting them aside and trying something new. That is how evolution (natural selection) works.
Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
(The following information correcting "junk" DNA was presented to the Texas State Board of Education on July 21, 2011 by Franklin May, an engineer and a creationist.)
But since then science has learned much more, including that the non-coding DNA is not useless junk but vital parts of the control system that regulate the life processes for which DNA produces proteins.
In 2003, Scientific American reported that non-coding DNA had been "long ago written off as irrelevant because they yield no proteins" and they "were immediately assumed to be evolutionary junk." The article goes on to say, "That assumption was too hasty. The failure to recognize the full implications of this-particularly the possibility that the intervening noncoding sequences may be transmitting parallel information in the form of RNA molecules-may well go down as one of the biggest mistakes in the history of molecular biology."
The idea that the genome contains very large amounts of 'junk' DNA came to be commonly asserted by evolutionists and it is now realized to be a vital part of the genome's control system, similar to a computer's operating system. Apparently science is catching up. Evolution may not be the answer to the complexity of DNA after all!
While we are thinking of it, here are some of the more interesting stories about evolution. The cow is the result of a whale coming out of the ocean and walking away (after a million years of change) and becoming a cow.
The story of the flying squirrel is another head scratcher. Apparently the squirrel wanted to go from tree to tree. After trying for eons a web of skin developed under the arms and now your average flying squirrel can glide from tree to tree using that skin to keep it from falling directly to the ground. We can't help but wonder how many squirrels gave their lives while the species developed. And if they did die how did they produce offspring that had an improved web? Dead squirrels have a hard time passing on their genes.
Remember, evolution calls for slow improvement, step by step as improvements develop from one generation to the next. Or maybe the squirrels didn't die but fell to the ground and broke their little legs. In that case one would think evolution would provide for more elastic bones rather than a web of skin under their arms. Perhaps you should ask an evolutionist how this happened.
Years ago the story was told that the giraffe has a long neck because they had to reach higher and higher into the trees for his food. However that has been debunked when it was learned muscle memory is lost between generations. For example, a body builder cannot pass on his muscles to his offspring.
Since the original living cell was blind it would be interesting to learn how we can now interpret three-dimensional colored objects. Scientists tell us eyesight started with a “light sensitive spot.” Basically, after millions of years a “light sensitive spot” evolved into eyesight capable of focusing on objects from one foot to several miles away.
Today we know the visual system starts when the lens of the eye focuses an image onto the retina in the back of the eye which converts the patterns of light into neuronal signals which are processed in the primary and secondary visual cortex of the brain. All this was supposed to have evolved naturally? And if eyesight offers a better way to protect us from predators, why don't we have three or more eyes? Because our Designer knew that two was the perfect number for three-dimensional viewing.
These are some of the reasons we suspect the Theory of Evolution is invalid. The complexity of the most basic living cells calls for intelligent design, not “natural selection.” These are some of the reasons why we can infer, from the things around us, that God exists. Natural processes cannot create complicated information transfer systems. We conclude it was created by the Architect of our Universe!
Further, there are many examples that show a superior intellect was responsible for the Bible. There are examples of ancient writers making statements about science that were not known 2-4000 years ago. We recognize that only the Master Architect could have inspired men to write of things that were far beyond their own knowledge.
For more detailed information on evidence for Creation and authenticity of the Bible we recommend other files under SPECIAL TOPICS. They offer detailed evidences for the accuracy of the Bible.
" Evolution - Fact or Fantasy?”
” Historical Evidence for the Accuracy of the Bible”
” Bible Prophecies”
” The Uniqueness of the Bible”
Since the earliest days man has seen the evidence and is without excuse for not recognizing the hand of God. I am convinced there is enough information for any honest person with reasonable intelligence to realize that God does exist!
It is natural for people to ignore religion until they have a change of heart late in life. The closer you are to eternity the more important it becomes! Feeling the need to come closer to God many start a late search for a church. Regrettably there are so many to chose from! When you open the Yellow Pages in any large city you will see literally hundreds of churches. How do you choose? If you feel the need to find a church we offer reasonable search techniques.
People all over the world belong to various organizations for different reasons. Some become members of a club or church or some other institution because of friends or for prestige or for political gain. People should have definite reasons for being members of organizations or institutions of any kind, whether they be religious or secular. Here are scriptural reasons for a person being a member of the Church of Christ.
The Search Begins
The beginning of the Lord’s Church was prophesied in the Book of Daniel, chapter 2. In verses 31 to 44 we see a new kingdom was to start during the Roman period of world domination and it would last forever. In Isaiah 2:3 we see the word will go out from Jerusalem.
Jesus promised His apostles, “I will build my Church” (Matt. 16:18). His Church was established on the day of Pentecost, A. D. 33 (Acts chapter 2) in Jerusalem (Acts 2:5) during the Roman occupation.
In Acts 2, verse 47 we are told, “…The Lord added unto the Church daily such as should be saved.” Jesus promised to build only one Church, and it belongs to Him because He started it and He died for it! Those saved by the Gospel are added to its membership by the Lord, not by a vote of any leadership group. The Church of Christ has a scriptural foundation. The apostle Paul says, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone…” (Eph. 2:19, 20).
Jesus Christ added to the Church because He is the head of His Church. No one voted anyone in, no background check and no sponsors. The apostle Paul affirms this in Ephesians 1:22, 23. He says that God, “…hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” The Church of Christ has a divine head, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The apostle Paul says, “And he is the head of the Body, the Church…” (Col. 1:18). If this Church was to last forever and started over 2000 years ago it must be here now. This is the Church we want to find!
Many modern churches have elected men as their head and look to them for direction. Many don’t mean to but they disparage the Bible, relegating it to a back seat to the decisions of synods and councils. We consider the Bible the Word of God Almighty and it is all we need to see the will of God. Salvation cannot be found in any church that does not have Christ as its leader!
Acts 4:10-12 tells us:
“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
The Kingdom of Christ
KINGDOM: a realm, domain; sphere of influence;
Members of Christ’s kingdom accept the spiritual influence of Jesus Christ!
Many of today’s churches are looking for a future kingdom. However, the kingdom is here now and the Lord calls all to obey the gospel and be with Him in His kingdom. Paul said that we are “translated into the kingdom.” John said, “I, John, who also am your brother and companion in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:9). If men are in the church and in the kingdom and at the same time are accepting the teachings and influence of Jesus Christ we can conclude the church and kingdom are the same! This is something few, if any, of the new churches teach.
The apostles, disciples and members of the many congregations (Ephesus, Corinth, Galatia, Thessalonica, etc.) were in the kingdom and anyone today duplicating what they did can join His kingdom as well!
The Church of the New Testament, consisting of those who are "called out," is not and never was intended to be a denomination among denominations. We bear the name "Church of Christ" because the Church belongs to Christ (Matthew 16:18, Acts 20:28), and because the Scriptures authorize such a name to identify the congregations of believers (Romans 16:16). Despite the existence of a multitude of denominations today, the Bible teaches that Christ established only one church (Ephesians 4:4, Colossians 1:18). The church has the same mission as Christ when He came to this earth: to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).
The Church of Christ teaches that the church is the singular body for which our Lord and Savior died (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4; 5:25). It is the only church which was purchased with His blood (Acts 20:28) and it is the body into which all the saved are added by God (Acts 2:47). This body of baptized believers steadfastly follows the Bible, in spite of differences with the mainstream churches. Thus we deny that the Church of Christ is a denomination among other denominations.
The word “Church” comes from the Greek “Ekklesia,” which means, “called out from the world.” We understand that Christ would establish a body of people that would be a special, peculiar people, called out from the violence, deceit and immorality of the world to respect others, to not lie, cheat or steal. A peculiar people indeed!
The faithful Church of Christ worships God “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24, 25). People who make up their own form of worship do not offer acceptable service to God. One example is the communion. The apostles met on the first day of the week to “do this (communion) in remembrance of me,” i.e., to remember the sacrifice made by Christ (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:26). Many of the modern churches rarely, if ever, have a communion. If and when they do they fail to follow the original pattern, doing things in a way foreign to Scripture.
Another problem with large churches is that the communion cannot be conducted properly. Our Lord took one loaf and one cup, passed it around to the small group and they all partook of IT. To accommodate large congregations modern churches that bother to have communion at all offer small individual cups and separate pieces of bread. Hard to have communion if you are drinking out of different cups.
Also, we notice large congregations have multiple services. The Lord’s Church follows the New Testament pattern of having small congregations and one worship service on the Lord’s Day. One factor is the size of the cup.
Once a group outgrows their cup they should split off into two congregations. This is helpful for several reasons. A major factor is that more men can conduct the worship service. Where one large congregation has several men participating, two congregations would have twice as many. The more men preparing to teach means more men are learning. No one learns more from a Bible lesson than the one preparing it.
Jesus said, “but in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9). Paul said, “We are the circumcision which worship God in truth, and rejoice in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). In other words, we have no confidence in the way the people of the world do things. If Christ started only one church and there are 50 different churches in your city, all claiming to be "Bible Believing" at least 49 must be doing something wrong.
Diversity in membership is a good thing. Diversity in doctrine is not. Many of the modern churches ignore certain verses that appear to conflict with popular modern movements. For example, in 1 Cor. 14:35 we see it is a shame for a woman to speak in Church. We understand this to mean it is a shame for a woman to speak (as a minister or pastor) in Church. It is not a shame for a woman to teach or preach on the street corner, in the home or to her children. But it is wrong for women to speak from a position of authority in church. Yet many do and more and more of the modern churches are voting to allow women pastors. God forbid!
Also, 1 Cor. 11:10-15 tells us God prefers long hair on women. Stand outside any of the modern churches and watch the short haircuts on the women leaving their services. Do they not teach the entire Bible or just the parts that are popular?
Another example of people failing to follow the entire Bible is when we see so-called “Christians” in court swearing on the Bible. Oddly, that very Book tells us to not swear by anything, not by heaven or earth or by any oath. Let your yes mean yes, your no mean no (James 5:12)! By swearing to tell the truth you are saying, “I lie at other times but I will tell the truth now.” Listen, honest people that always tell the truth don’t swear to tell the truth “this time.”
Many of the modern churches select one verse and hang their salvation on it. Some select faith and ignore the rest. Or they teach forgiveness alone is necessary for salvation. Or perhaps they teach just repentance. In any case, they select one item and overlook the whole package!
The Word of Truth
We are convinced the Bible is an accurate portrayal of the events that took place between God and mankind. The accuracy of the Bible was discussed in the documents above – Historical Evidence, Bible Prophecies and Evidence of the Uniqueness of the Bible. So when we read in John 14:6 where Jesus himself says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” we realize that excludes all other religions and denominataions!
The apostle John wrote these things as a witness to the activities of the prophesied Messiah. We know these things are true because we accept the fact that God Himself inspired all these writers and God does not lie. Also, there is no need to, nor is there a reason to, lie. Could the Bible be a fraud? Hardly! There are many who have not read it and call it a fraud. Read it yourself and see what you think.
After one decides a change is needed in his life the question of, “What to do next?” comes up. There are several examples in the New Testament of people converting to Christianity. If we follow their examples, if we do what they did, we should be just as saved as they were! We first notice there are several requirements.
While there is no “Ten Commandments” type list, when we search the Scriptures we can find the treasure of salvation by following the steps taught by the apostles.
And Jesus says, “I tell you, Nay, but, except ye repent, ye shall all
likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). When one makes up his mind to repent, God
demands that he recognize Jesus Christ as His Son, and confess it openly;
“I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God” (Acts 8:37). Finally, He
requires the penitent sinner to be buried in water “for the remission of
sins” (Acts 2:38). At the moment of his baptism his sins are washed away
and the Lord adds him to His Church (Acts 2:47). Jesus declares, “He that
believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). Then as a Christian
he has this promise by the Lord, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will
give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).
Is Christianity the true religion? Since the gospel of Christ offers both a better lifestyle as well as eternal salvation it behooves us to read and heed His instructions. We at the Church of Christ believe we have done that, to the exclusion of synods, committees and manmade traditions.
The Churches of Christ salute you.
Contact Author: Brad Cook