Scripture tells us our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ started only one church. Later, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, his apostles provided examples of how people are to conduct themselves both during the church service and out in the community.

Today there are several thousand churches and they disagree on almost everything, from the day of worship (Saturday or Sunday); how the service is to be conducted (to have communion or not); tithing or not and whether to speak in tongues or not. Some recognize baptism as a requirement for salvation, others do not. Some vote new members in, others do not; Some allow divorce and some do not; Some allow women pastors, some do not. Scripture is clear on each of these issues. Yet they treat Scripture like a Chinese menu: one from column A, two from column B and we will not worry about item D. This cavalier attitude establishing dogma without serious regard to apostolic examples leaves us unconvinced they are valid Christian churches.

These churches, realizing if they criticize each other they themselves can be criticized, all agree to recognize each other as valid and part of the body of Christ.

Our authority for questioning these new churches is:
2 Cor 11:13-15
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

We would be remiss if we did not protect ourselves from false teachers and ministers that are out and about seeking souls to devour.

When one is a member of any organization, be it the Boy Scouts or the US Marines, one is expected to follow certain policy and procedures specific to each group. In the church that Christ started one is expected to follow the express commandments and examples of the apostles.

We give thanks before every meal because the apostles, when in the presence of a shipload of people, stopped to give thanks (Acts 27:35). We do the same, whether we are at home or out in public. Nowhere are we commanded to do this. But we do it because they did and we follow their example!

We are also expected to follow their example when performing church functions. They had communion on the first day of (every) week and we do the same (Acts 20:7).

To show how Protestant churches do not make the grade we begin with Old Testament prophecy about a coming kingdom, a spiritual fellowship. We will then describe how Christ promised a new church, how it started and how people entered that church. Then we show how denominations acted indiscriminately, without design or control, and confused the religious landscape.

During the Reformation of the 1500s, new churches sprang up as a result of opposition to the long sinful history of the Roman Church. With the Bible having been concealed for so long the time was ripe for new dogmas. We will show how a false path to salvation was introduced by respected but inexperienced leaders and accepted by the multitude who also knew very little about the Bible. The people seized the doctrines of these mentors and demonstrated their strong faith in Christ by stubbornly refusing to consider anything, even the truth, when it conflicted with what they had been taught.

The phone book of any decent sized city reveals hundreds of different churches, each claiming to be Christian and “Bible Believing.” The IRS has accepted tax forms from thousands of different groups, all claiming to be Christian churches. Most churchgoers attend the church of their choice because of convenience or it is the one their parents took them to, it has a nice “outreach program.” Perhaps a friend recommended it or they saw it on TV. We suggest a more diligent search would be appropriate.

If there are 1000 churches and Christ only started one (Matthew 16:18) we can say with assurance that at least 999 of them are false. So it is important to search for that one diamond in the rough. How do we do that? Let’s start at the beginning.

KINGDOM: a realm, domain; sphere of influence; Members of Christ’s kingdom accept the spiritual influence of Jesus Christ!

CHURCH: (Greek ekklesia) those called out from the world; a religious congregation; assembly of those who have similar beliefs. Members of Christ’s church accept the spiritual influence of Jesus Christ!

Our search for the Lord’s church begins with prophecy in the Old Testament.

Many modern denominations look forward to a future kingdom that will reign on earth for a thousand years. However, there are several prophecies in the Old Testament foretelling of a kingdom that will arrive a lot sooner than that!

Jeremiah 31:3-34 tells us there will be a new covenant (replacing the Mosaic Law) where the law will not be chiseled in stone but will be in the hearts of God’s people. The Book of Daniel prophecies the Messiah will bring this about during the Roman occupation of Jerusalem.

In brief, the Messiah will do away with the strict Mosaic Law and Jesus Christ will start a kingdom of repentant sinners who will do good because they want to, not because they have to!

Isaiah 2:3
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Isaiah 9:7
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Dan 2:31-43
Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

Dan 2:44-45
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

With God’s help Daniel interprets the King’s dream. He tells of a kingdom that will be established during the fourth of four earthly kingdoms. We can look back in history and see the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar were followed by the Persians, who were followed by the Greeks, under Alexander the Great.

The fourth kingdom to take control of the ancient world was the Roman Empire. It was to be during the Roman domination that God’s spiritual kingdom would be established and the Mosaic Law would be replaced by the Holy Spirit (righteousness would be in the hearts of the people, not mandatory by law).

Further evidence of this specific prophecy is found in Luke 24:47 where “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” That is fulfilled in Acts 2:38 where repentance and remission of sins were preached in Jerusalem.

Prophecy regarding the Lord's kingdom, the kingdom of Christ, the Church of Christ, was fulfilled in Jerusalem during the Roman occupation.

People joining God’s kingdom will repent and put away adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, hatred, wrath, strife, envyings, murders, drunkenness and such. They will be good examples to all mankind, producing the likeness of a city on a hill, a guiding light to all who seek righteousness! God calls people to join His kingdom, turns their lives around and transports them off to heaven for all of eternity.

Regrettably there are many who refuse to give up their worldly pursuits and they will never be a part of this fraternity.

The Church and the Kingdom are the same
We noticed earlier that a kingdom is a realm, a domain, a sphere of influence. It is not necessarily a designated area where people live. Much like a house without walls, this kingdom can be anywhere and everywhere. As long as one accepts the spiritual influence of Jesus Christ they are in his kingdom!

We read that the Lord’s table was to be in the kingdom. The church at Corinth had the Lord’s table. 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 these men are in the kingdom and the church then they are part of the assembly of forgiven sinners who look to our Lord for guidance. The church and the kingdom are the same. There are Churches of Christ throughout the world. For this reason we say the kingdom of Christ is not limited to one area but can be found in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. This is something few of the many small new churches teach.

The New Testament tells us the kingdom was in existence after Pentecost and that the Christians were in that kingdom.

1 Thess 2:12
That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

We also see how the kingdom would continue forever, outlasting all other kingdoms. From this we can look forward to the kingdom of Christ becoming the kingdom of heaven. Those who sought salvation, followed the instructions of the apostles and obeyed the gospel will enjoy eternity with our loving Creator

Jesus said he would build his church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Mt 16:18). In Luke 1:33 we see his kingdom will have no end. While it will have no end, it will have a beginning, in Jerusalem.

But with the overabundance of churches available, how does one find the Lord’s church?

In looking for a church that began in Jerusalem during the Roman occupation I find I can eliminate the Roman Church and the Protestant churches that broke away from the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation of the 1500s.

During the Reformation new churches sprang up as a result of opposition to the long sinful history of the Roman Church. Catholic history includes brutal torture, slaughter, and mass murder. The history of the individual popes includes rape, homosexuality, murder, adultery, incest, drunkenness and the selling of religious offices, including the papacy itself. According to the apostle Paul, “You can be sure of this: The Kingdom of Christ and of God will never belong to anyone who is impure or greedy, for a greedy person is really an idol worshiper--he loves and worships the good things of this life more than God” (Eph 5:5 Living Bible).

Soon a groundswell of opposition to the Roman Church spread across Europe. New churches developed protesting the authority of papal Rome, hence the term “Protestant.” Today there are thousands of different churches, all falling under the umbrella of “Protestant Church.”

The Roman Catholic Church boasts it was started in 33 AD by Jesus Christ. This is a distortion of the facts. For a well-documented testimony of how the Roman Catholic Church evolved away from the apostolic teaching and is built on one fabrication after another, see “Why I Am Not a Catholic” under “Special Topics” on this website.

Meanwhile, here are some of the Protestant churches that started after 1500: (Remember, prophecy foretold of the Word going out from Jerusalem during the Roman occupation.)

Martin Luther founded the Lutheran Church in Germany in 1517.

After the Pope refused to grant Henry VIII a divorce from Catherine of Aragon and the right to remarry Anne Boleyn he founded the Church of England in 1534. (He influenced Parliament to enact the Act of Supremacy. It stated the King of England to be “the only supreme head on earth of the Church in England.) This is an ironic situation. If the Catholic Church were the true church, Henry was wrong. If they are not the true church Henry was still wrong for creating a “subsidiary” of the Roman Church. Today most of England remains in that church.

Scotland’s John Knox founded the Presbyterian Church in Scotland in 1560. Prospective members are required to obtain the approval of the local Membership Committee. (See Acts 2:47 where members were added by the Lord, not a committee!)

First Congregational Church, founded in Scooby, England in 1606; Leaving England in 1620, assuming the nickname ‘Pilgrims” they drafted the “Mayflower Compact” and formed the Plymouth Colony on Cape Cod.

The Methodist Church was founded by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744. (They now believe in the ordination of women, in spite of 1 Cor.14:35).

The Baptist Church was started in 1609 in Amsterdam; The Dutch Reformed Church began in 1628; they are staunch believers in “Sola Fide.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) was started by Joseph Smith in Palmyra, N.Y., in 1829. Nowhere near Jerusalem! (See: Why I am not a Mormon” elsewhere on this website.)

Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy founded the Christian Scientist movement in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1879.

Many religious organizations came along, such as Church of the Nazarene, Assembly of God, Community Church, Jehovah's Witnesses and independent churches such as the Heart of Life Church, City of Life Church, Life Church, and the Bread of Life Church. All started long after the decline of the Roman Empire and far, far away from Jerusalem!

The New Testament church began on Pentecost, 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Book of Acts and the epistles mention church activities from time to time. As we read and study we see evidence of the early church.

There is no “Ten Commandments” type list of what to do during a worship service. But if we follow the pattern of the early church, if we can do what they did we can expect the same salvation offered to the 3000 on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:47). If we follow the example of the apostles we can expect to be in that church!

Conversely, if we fail to follow their example we cannot expect to be in his church! Similarly, if you fail to follow the examples in the New Testament can you say you are in his church? (When was the last time you had communion? Did you use one cup and one loaf as he did or have you “improved” on it?)

We find the start of the Lord’s church in Acts 2. First, they demonstrated their faith in Christ. Then, Peter, using the keys given to him by Jesus, opened the door to the kingdom by telling them what they must do. They were to repent and have their sins washed away in baptism. From this we learn what we must do if we hope to enter His kingdom.

1 Corinthians 16:1-2 shows that when they came together on the first day of the week they donated to provide the needs of others in the church. They did not tithe but gave as they were prospered, i.e., those with less gave less; those with more gave more. In 1 Corinthians 11 we see the purpose and method of the communion. Church leadership, in the form of elders, is discussed in 1 Tim 5, 1 Peter 5, Titus 1:5 and throughout Acts. Colossians 3:16 informs us they sang and prayer is mentioned so many times throughout the New Testament we can conclude it was included in every worship service.

Most modern churches have prayer, singing and a form of collection. A message from the leader, a pastor or elder or such is important. What is not common to most churches calling themselves Christian is the communion. Some do it once a year, some never do it. Jehovah’s Witnesses have it once a year but limit it to the 3000 or so who are still alive from the 144,000 who are going to heaven.

We notice in Acts 20:7 that they came together on the first day of the week to break bread. Just as, “remember the Sabbath” meant every Sabbath, we conclude this meant they came together on the first day of every week.

After the Lord adds souls to his church there are things truly repenting people need to do to clean up their act. (No, you don't have to be perfect to join his church but you do have to be prepared to leave the ways of the majority and become a new person.)

Those who seek righteousness are blessed. Some benefits of membership in the Lord's kingdom are love, joy, peace, gentleness and goodness. Not to mention, confidence in your future!


One of the problems with most of the Protestant churches is their collective acceptance of a false path to salvation- sola fide. What seems like a positive set of guidelines becomes a doctrine of deception!

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Some will say, “See! Baptism is not required! God’s grace saves us, not water!”

We agree it is not the water that saves you. It is the repentance one feels and the pledge of obedience one makes when being baptized. We would also agree that faith is required. At the same time we read confession and remission of sins are also necessary. Thus the path to salvation requires several different acts of obedience, not just one.

Earlier we noticed the start of the Lord’s church in Acts 2. When they demonstrated their faith in Christ, Peter opened the door to the kingdom by telling them to repent and have their sins washed away in baptism. He did NOT tell them, “You were already saved the moment you believed." No, there was more for them to do. It takes more than belief if we hope to enter the Lord’s kingdom.

Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Right away we see faith is not the sole requirement for salvation!

The concept of “Faith Only” is a detour down the “Roman Road” away from true salvation. That salvation is a gift of God is not in dispute. What is missed is the rest of God’s plan of salvation. We are not to add or take away from the Bible yet the “Faith Only” doctrine overlooks several things! Reading only part of the plan of salvation is the same as taking away from the Bible. As far as they go they are right. But they don’t go far enough.

All churches agree Christ died to save the world. We also agree the adversary of God, the Devil, would like nothing better than to divert as many as possible away from salvation. We know he is devious and clever. Look around, do you see anything that looks like a scheme to turn people away from salvation? Not likely. So, do you think he has given up or do you think he might still have a subtle plan to sidetrack people away from God’s plan?

‘FAITH ONLY’ is introduced
Augustine (354-430), the bishop of Hippo, was the first to seriously propose the doctrine of justification by faith alone. He was opposed by Pelagius’ (c. 354-418) who believed that humans are born “with a capacity for good and evil” and that humans could perform meritorious acts which would cause them to be accepted by God. This is the origin of the ‘faith based salvation’ vs. ‘salvation by works.’ Neither of which we agree with.

The Roman Catholic Church, as they do today, embraced Pelagius’ doctrine of salvation by works. As the Catholic Church evolved into the main voice for Christianity the faith based doctrine went into a dormant status.

In the 1300s the Reformation was on the horizon. John Wycliffe (1320-1394), called the, “Morning Star of the Reformation,” produced dozens of English copies of the Latin Vulgate Bible. According to the Roman Church this was considered heresy!

He was an Oxford professor, scholar and theologian and was known for his opposition to the organized Roman Church. Forty-four years after his death the pope was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English that he ordered Wycliffe’s bones dug up, crushed and scattered in the river! (How absurd! -ed)

Standing against the Roman Church he wrote:
Trust wholly in Christ, rely altogether on His sufferings; beware of seeking to be justified in any other way than by His righteousness. Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation.
John Wicklif (Wycliffe)

Thus he dusted off the long dormant “FAITH ONLY” doctrine!

The Catholic Church had been teaching that one could earn their salvation by doing works of penance, by venerating relics, or by obeying the Pope. We suspect that in his haste to oppose this “Salvation by Works” Wycliffe saw the preponderance of verses that promoted faith and prematurely grasped an idea that contradicted the hated Catholic canon. He proposed that man had “NO” responsibility in the salvation process. In his attempt to refute Catholicism he seized “faith” and overlooked other equally important aspects of salvation.

We point out that neither comes from inspired Scripture. Augustine proposed faith only while Pelagius opted for salvation by works.

With the Protestant movement exploding during the 16th century John Calvin, an influential French theologian, stepped up as a leading authority on the Bible. When he dusted off John Wycliffe’s proposal that faith in Christ was sufficient for salvation his ideas were seized by the “Bible thirsty,” many of whom had never read Scripture.

Faith is certainly the first and foremost thing necessary. But there is more. In promoting the error that man has no responsibility in the salvation process Wycliffe, and later Calvin, missed repentance, missed the forgiveness of sins, missed confessing the name of Jesus before men. Without a good heart turning away from sin there is no hope of redemption. With our sins washed away and the grace of God we have an assurance of eternity with our Creator. But to only have faith that Christ is Lord is not enough. Even the Devil has that!

Here is a good analogy of how faith is only the start of the salvation process. If I offered to sell you an authentic treasure map would you buy it? It shows the X on a Caribbean island, where a pirate buried his booty. If you buy my map you will be rich!

You believe it is real so you fork over $1000 and I give you the map. Are you rich yet? Not hardly! You still have to follow the directions, rent a boat and find the exact location. There is more to do. Opening the treasure chest and selling the doubloons is what makes you rich, not just believing the map is authentic.

This is why I say just believing in Christ is not sufficient. Believe in the map and you will be rich (eventually)! Believe in Christ and you will be saved (eventually)! Belief is the essential first step leading to further action! In conversion you will repent, confess his name and have past sins washed away! Only when your sins are removed, when your 'robes are white,' will you be qualified to enter the presence of our pure and sinless God!

Some professed ‘Christians’ would have us believe that a sinner receives forgiveness the moment he believes in Jesus as Saviour. There is no need for obedience or works of any kind. In particular, water baptism is considered a “work” and is not necessary for conversion or forgiveness of sin. However, we need to point out that baptism is no more a “work” than is prayer!

They point to John 3:16 for support. This is probably the best-known passage in the New Testament. We see it on signs at sporting events, on T-shirts and billboards. Countless adherents point to John 3:16 as the way to salvation. But let’s look at this verse and see if that is true:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Many understand this to mean that God sent Jesus and whoever believes in him immediately receives everlasting life. But notice, it doesn’t say, “belief saves you.” Belief is conditional; pointing out that if you believe you should not perish. Jesus did not say you, “will not perish.” He said you, “should not perish.”

Yet millions of followers are convinced salvation is secured by anyone who simply believes in Jesus. This is not true. Even the demons believe and they tremble because they know they will face the wrath of God on Judgment Day.

Most denominations use one version or another of the “Roman Road” as their guide to salvation. We contend “The Roman Road” is a detour away from salvation because it is incomplete. This road is very convincing in that it is true, as far as it goes. But to say it offers salvation is wrong!

  1. The first step on the Roman Road is Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." We have all sinned. We have all done things that are displeasing to God. There is no one who is innocent. Romans 3:10-18 gives a detailed picture of what sin looks like in our lives. (Okay so far!)

  2. The second step is Romans 6:23 which tells us about the consequences of sin - "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." The punishment that we have earned for our sins is death. Not just physical death, but eternal death! (Okay so far!)

  3. The third step on the Roman Road to salvation picks up where Romans 6:23 left off, "but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 5:8 declares, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus Christ died for us! Jesus' death paid for the price of our sins. Jesus' resurrection proves that God accepted Jesus' death as the payment for our sins. (Okay so far!)

  4. The fourth and final step to salvation is Romans 10:9, "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."(Not okay!)
This is where the “Faith Only” advocates misread Scripture to “prove” what they want to prove. First, notice it says “you will be saved.” However, they teach you are saved the moment you accept Jesus as your savior. Not so!

Carefully notice how the verses referenced in the Roman Road lead to salvation but do not provide it! “You should be saved,” “you shall be saved” and “you will be saved” all point to the future, not the immediate reward promised!

Also, notice not one of these verses tells us faith alone will save us! Faith is required, faith is essential but faith is only the first step! After repentance, and confession comes baptism to wash away your sins. It is the answer of a good conscience toward God when you have your sins erased. This is what saves you! (Not the water but the good conscience of obeying God's call.) The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
Peter 3:21

Not one verse in the Roman Road actually offers salvation. Not one verse includes, “faith doth also now save us.”

It seems convincing when someone teaches, “Because of Jesus' death on our behalf, all we have to do is believe His death was the payment for our sins - and we will be saved!” Then they quote Romans 10:13, "for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Again, “will be saved” is in the future. You will be saved – eventually. After you show repentance. After you confess his name before men and have your sins forgiven!

Calling on the name of the Lord means following the teachings of Christ and his apostles. “Why call me Lord and not do the things I say? (Luke 6:46) One of the things taught by the apostles is that baptism is for the remission of sins.

John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

Notice, one must be both a worshipper of God and obedient before God hears him. Belief alone is not sufficient because he remains a sinner until he bows down to God's will and, among other things, has his sins washed away.

Among the many verses that promote baptism for the remission of sins we offer:
Romans 6:3-5 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Sadly, while this is in the Book of Romans it is not included in the “Roman Road.” Why not? Because it promotes baptism! Those who advocate Faith Only are blind to baptism. But Romans 6 clearly states that unless you are buried with him in baptism you will not be raised in the likeness of his resurrection! It could not be more clear!

The Book of Romans has the truth but the “Roman Road” very subtly detours around this and away from salvation, down a dead-end road, taking you far from where you want to be!

Adherents of “Faith Only” point to the thief on the cross and argue that he was granted paradise for simply believing. This is a perfect example of how Satan distorts things in his favor. Yes, the thief was forgiven, just as Christ had forgiven many other sinners during his three and a half year earthly ministry. As the thief was still under Jewish Law he would find himself in Paradise along with other Jews, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses.

It would be another 53 days before the start of the Christian Dispensation. At that time baptism was used for the remission of sins, bringing in a new and better way of doing things (Jeremiah 31:31)!

Some falsely claim water baptism is a public testimony – the outward confession of an inward experience. In baptism, they claim, we stand before witnesses confessing our identification with the Lord.

Others claim that baptism is an important step of obedience in the believer’s life, yet only an acknowledgment of the salvation experience already accomplished – baptism itself has no power to cleanse or save from sin.

Saying baptism has no power to cleanse contradicts Peter who tells us (in Acts 2:38) that the purpose of baptism is to obtain the remission of sins.

At this point many churches replace baptism with saying a “Sinner’s Prayer” to confirm this is a willful decision and a sincere step of faith by actually calling on the name of Jesus. Of the many examples of Christian conversion in the New Testament not one includes such a thing. Christians call on the name of the Lord continuously. Just not in the form of a “Sinner’s Prayer.”

Mt 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. "

If baptism were merely an attempt to publically demonstrate one’s faith why would all Christians be commanded to baptize others but at the same time the others are not required to receive it?

Another problem we have with accepting “faith only” is that baptism is considered a public relations exercise, “to show one’s faith.” If that were true why baptize in private? When one man baptizes another it is followed by the announcement in church that it was accomplished. If baptism is not required why not just make the announcement that the convert is now a faithful believer and let it go at that?

Mt 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

Here we see a tragic example of believers who had faith in Christ, work all their lives for the Lord and he tells them to depart for he never knew them. The message is clear - faith alone does not offer salvation!

We meet the Lord when we are buried with him in baptism. Without having our sins removed we are unfit for heavenly service. Believing in Christ does not wash our sins away.

If you still feel “Faith Only” is sufficient for salvation I refer you to:
Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Others Agree
We are not the only ones who recognize that “faith alone” is insufficient for salvation. One of the best can be found at:

Of these thousands of churches, denominations and sects, I have found:

a) None were started in Jerusalem during the Roman Occupation;

b) Most accept the Devil’s Detour in teaching the Roman Road;

c) Few perform the communion on the first day of the week
(Every first day of the week).

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). The only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

I am not a Protestant because not one of the churches that were formed out of the Roman Catholic Church in the 1500s started in Jerusalem during the time of the Roman Empire. None were started by Jesus Christ, their worship service fails to duplicate that of the original Church. And last but not least, they teach a detour away from salvation!

In addition, they teach attractive legitimate Christian principles sprinkled with a multitude of distorted doctrines. In most cases they are nice, decent people doing their best with what they have. Unfortunately what they have is leading them away from salvation.

Modern churches employ various show-business techniques to entice new converts. Youth pastors, rock bands, faith healings and love offerings are not Scriptural but entice people to join. We prefer to revert to the policies and practices of the original church.

John Wycliffe, John Calvin and Martin Luther, for all the good they did in leading people away from the Roman influence, were remiss in teaching faith as the only way to salvation!

Reforming the false teachings of the Roman Church was insufficient for those trying to find and follow the doctrines of Christ. It would have been better had they restored the process of salvation and conducted worship services as performed in the 1st-century church. In other words, the Reformation should have been a Restoration!

According to 2 Peter 2:1-2 there will be false teachers among the righteous, bringing in damnable heresies and bringing upon themselves destruction. And many shall follow there pernicious ways because those with the truth will be slandered and ignored. This latter is fulfilled when pastors of modern churches call the Church of Christ a cult, as they have done on TV and the Internet.

Members of the Lord’s Church steadfastly follow the Bible, in spite of differences with mainstream churches. Thus we join the church Jesus Christ started over 2000 years ago. As it is not a new church created after the Reformation we deny that the Church of Christ is a denomination.

If you are reluctant to join the church we are offering, for whatever reason, why not simply follow the Lord’s teaching, the same teaching expressed in the Bible, written by the apostles when they informed the world of Jesus Christ and his gospel? Have a worship service on Sunday, include the communion to remember him, have A cappella singing and volunteer donations (no tithing). Have a male member provide a lesson from Scripture and have prayer to our heavenly Father through our mediator Jesus Christ! This is the way the early church conducted their services. Why not do what they did?

In conclusion, we extend an invitation to you to investigate the rest of this website. There are other items involved in Christian worship that are covered. We also offer a Bible study course by mail.

You will also find a list of faithful congregations. If you have any questions, about this article or anything else concerning the Church of Christ you can contact the author or the webmaster at gospel@newtestamentchurch.org

We welcome comments and questions. CONTACT THE AUTHOR:  BRAD COOK