says, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye
are called in one hope of your calling." In Ephesians
1:22-23 we learn that the church is the body of Christ,
and that Christ is the head. We now ask, "How many bodies
or churches has the Son of God on earth? Paul plainly says, "there
is one body" (Eph. 4:4). This one body, he tells us,
is the church. We then, of necessity, conclude that there is
one, and only one, church of divine origin.
As almost all organizations on earth have some head, either
human or divine, it is a matter of serious thought that every
intelligent person should ask himself, "Is the church of
which I am a member of human or of divine origin?"
If it is of divine origin, let us thank God and take courage.
If human, let us remember that Jesus said, "Every
plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be
rooted up" (Matt. 15:13). No intelligent man or woman
can plead ignorance nor offer excuses why he is not a member
of the church of Christ, rather than some human organization.
Every church, whether human or divine, has its standard of
measurement by which all members can measure themselves, and
know to what church they belong. A few illustrations will make
A church claims to be founded not upon divine authority, but
upon the experience of a long series of years, If a man wants
to be a member of this church, he can ask himself, "Do I
believe the 25 articles of religion?" "Am I trying
to live up to them?" His answer to these questions will
easily decide for him whether he is a member of that body.
Another man may have a different standard containing only 18
articles of faith, and find out whether he is a member of that
church founded upon that standard.
But a third man, seeking for the truth, wanting nothing but
the word of God, takes none of these standards of measurement,
but simply clings to the word of God as his only rule of faith
and practice. In so doing, he becomes a member of that one
body we read about in the Bible.
When did Christ become head of the church? Paul tells us that
it was when God raised Him from the dead (Eph. 1:20-22).
Then, if you or I belong to a church that claims an
organization prior to the resurrection of Christ, it is not
the church of Christ, but is of human origin. And it does not
contain the blessings of salvation nor eternal life.
At that time, after Christ's resurrection, it was proclaimed
to the world that Christ had been crucified and had shed His
blood for our sins. That is the blood of the spiritual body of
Christ. As we expect forgiveness only in the shed blood of the
Son of God, no one can go further back than the time when He
shed His blood and established His church without introducing
the blood of bulls and goats, for they were the only shed
blood then, and by them no one could ever be justified (Heb.
All members are component parts of the body to which they
belong, and the body must contain all the parts. Each member
draws its life from the body of which it is a member. No
member can live when cut off from the body. Neither can a man
live a Christian life outside the church of Jesus Christ.
Just as well talk about a live finger, a living foot, a strong
arm, or a growing limb when cut off from the body, as to talk
about a child of God outside the church of Jesus Christ. These
members are all Christians — nothing more, nothing less.
They are brethren in Christ, governed by the law of the
Spirit, and members of His body, doing the work He has
commanded them to do.
All living bodies, whether natural or spiritual, are brought
into existence by a process of law, and are perpetuated by
principles of law. To this rule, there can be no exception. So
it is in becoming members of the church of Christ. We are all
made members — are made free — by "the law of the
Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:2). This law
is also called the "New Covenant" and
established upon better promises than the old (Heb. 8).
"The law of the Spirit" teaches me that I must
hear the gospel of the Son of God; that I must have faith in
Jesus; must repent of my sins; must confess Christ before men;
and must be baptized to arise and walk in newness of life.
After that, I must "live soberly, righteously, and
godly in this present world" (Titus 2:12) that I may
finally enter into that rest that remains to the people of
But, what church should this be, and what name should it wear?
Christ said, "Upon this rock I will build my church,
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it"
(Matt. 16:18). Luke says that God, "added to the
church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47). To
which church did the Lord add the saved? Paul says it was the
church of God at Corinth (1 Cor. 1:2) and the churches
of Christ in Asia.
No where did Paul ever write a letter to the Mormon,
Campbellite, Baptist, or Methodist churches. Then, if we are
members of any of these institutions, let us remember that
they were founded by man — not by God.
Can we go back to the fountainhead, believe the same things,
obey the same commands, and let the Lord add us to His church
as He did people nearly 2,000 year ago? If we can, will it not
be better to do this and let the Lord add us to His church,
and serve him, than it will be to spend our time and
usefulness in a church not found in the word of the Lord?
Remember, our zeal, earnestness, and work will do us no good
if not on the right foundation. The foolish — as well as the
wise man — built his house (Matt. 7:21). But he was
not careful as to his foundation. Then be wise and build upon
the one foundation that will never fall and, finally, with God
you shall forever dwell.
J D Tant