OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


          There are hundreds of denominational bodies within the United States.  Most of them can be easily distinguished by their name.  From time to time, however, one group arises with an interesting name.  One of these groups refers to itself by the name “Christ’s Church.”  This name catches one’s attention.  It appears that this group is seeking to refer to itself as church referred to in the Bible.  If this is the case, one would wonder what the difference is between Christ’s Church and the churches of Christ.

            This writer went to the website for Christ’s Church in Jacksonville, Florida.  Originally, this church was the Mandarin Christian Church.  This reveals a great deal to those who are familiar with church history.  The Christian Church began as a divisive element within the churches of Christ.  This group took a very liberal approach toward Bible interpretation.  They did not respect the silence of the Scriptures.  Initially, they embraced instrumental music in worship and the missionary society.  In 1906, the division was made official.  The Christian Church was named as a denomination by the census of the churches.

            Their name may be different today, but Christ’s Church still takes a liberal approach toward the Scriptures.  In a section of the website entitled, “Beliefs,” one reads the following statement:


                        “We try not to be dogmatic about matters on which believers hold

                        divergent views.  Our core beliefs are centered in Christ and His

                        message as supported by Scripture.  More obscure doctrine, as well

                        as controversial issues about which the Bible is silent, are left to

                        believers to sort out on their own.  On these issues we take no offi-

                        cial/dogmatic position.”


The silence of the Scriptures still causes problems for the Christian Church.  They do not believe that the silence of the Bible is prohibitive.

            This type of an approach toward the Bible opens the floodgates to all kinds of innovations.  These innovations can be found on the website of Christ’s Church.  The following is a list of some of the additions this church practices:  1) Saturday night worship services, 2) Easter Services, 3) Instrumental music in worship, 4) Sports Ministries, and 5) An Executive Leadership Team that includes a leader pastor, executive minister and administrator that works closely with the eldership.  None of these things can be found in the New Testament.  Since the Bible is silent on these matters, Christ’s Church believes it is free to practice them.  Taking this approach, Jesus could have been a priest while on earth.  The Old Testament authorized the Levites to be priests, but it was silent about all other tribes.  The Law of Moses did not say that Judah could not be priests.  If silence authorizes, then Jesus could have been a priest.  It is interesting that the inspired writer of Hebrews understood God’s silence differently.  In Hebrews 8:4, he writes:  “For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest…”  Why is this the case?  The answer is found in Hebrews 7:14.  “For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.”  Nothing was said about Judah, but something was said about Levi.  When Levi was named as the priestly tribe, all other tribes were excluded.  Only God’s revealed will authorizes.  Silence does not.

            Not only does Christ’s Church take a liberal position on the silence of the Bible, they are also lenient toward what the Bible plainly teaches.  Within their “Beliefs” section, they make this statement:  WE BELIEVE the Bible clearly teaches the pattern to receive Christ is to believe in Jesus as God’s Son and Savior of the world, repent of personal sin, confess Christ publicly, and to be baptized (Rom. 10:9; Acts 2:36-38; Mark 16:16).”  In the point that follows, they teach that they believe that baptism involves immersion in water.  The website also contains a special article about baptism.  One part of that article asks:  “Why Be Baptized?”  Six answers are given:  1) Because Christ commands it; 2) Because obeying Christ’s command shows you know him, 3) Because you want to follow Christ’s example, 4) Because it is the appeal we make to God for a clear conscience, 5) Because it unites you with Christ in a very special way, and 6) Because you desire to be forgiven. 

            The statements made in the previous paragraph indicate that Christ’s Church believes very strongly in the necessity of baptism in the salvation process.  Yet in the section about baptism, this question is raised:  “What if I die before I get baptized?”  The answer reveals the liberal approach Christ’s Church has toward doctrine.  “The answer to this question can be found in the character of God demonstrated to the thief on the cross (cf. Luke 23:39-43).  Is it possible for an un-baptized believer to be saved?  Yes, it is possible.”  They go on to say that these are rare cases, but they have just denied what they claim to believe.  They want it both ways:  saved with baptism and saved without baptism.

            In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said:  “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  The church does belong to Christ.  Thus, it should be named after Him.  A name alone, however, does not the “true” church make.  We might call a dog a cat, but it is still a dog.  The Christian Church may call themselves Christ’s Church, but they are still the apostate body that split from the churches of Christ to form a man-made denomination.