The Church of Christ 

By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs 

  1. Introduction. 
    1. John the baptist and Jesus declared the earthly phase of an eternal kingdom was at hand (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). 
    2. Jesus equated the kingdom of heaven on earth with the church (Matt. 16:18-19). 
      1. The church Jesus built belongs to him ... it is his church (Matt. 16:18). 
      2. Jesus is the head of the church (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). 
      3. The church is the body of Jesus (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). 
      4. Jesus has one body (Eph. 4:4). 
        1. It is as wrong to think of the church as having many heads as it is to think of Jesus as having many bodies. 
        2. The church (kingdom of God on earth) is essentially one. 
    3. The church is not a denomination. 
      1. God daily adds the saved to the church (Acts 2:47). 
        1. No saved person ever stayed out of the church overnight. 
        2. All of the saved are in the church, which is the one body of Jesus. 
        3. The church is undivided, because it is a kingdom, and a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand (Matt. 12:25). 
      2. The church is undivided when it follows the New Testament pattern. 
        1. The seed of the kingdom is the Word of God (Luke 8:11). 
        2. Seed produces after its kind. The seed of the kingdom (church) will always produce the church. 
        3. If the seed is tampered with and becomes hybrid (mixed), it no longer produces the original, but makes a dissimilar plant or product. 
        4. Denominationalism occurs when the seed of the kingdom, which is the Word of God, is changed; the product is dissimilar from the original. 
        5. Since the original is from God, it is perfect; the changed or dissimilar product is inferior. 
        6. When human doctrines and traditions are innovated, the seed is altered, and the resulting denomination is inferior to the church. 
        7. It is correct to speak of the true church as opposed to denominations. 
        8. Denominations are made when humans change divine precepts, introducing such things as instruments of music in worship of God, sprinkling substituted for baptism, holy water, extra-congregational authority, or any other departure from the sound doctrine of the New Testament. 
      3. When anyone attempts to change the church in its essential and basic elements, he must of necessity change the seed, which is God's Word. 
      4. The difference between the church of Christ and denominations is loyal adherence to the Bible. The church of Christ holds unwaveringly to the Bible as the verbally inspired and error-free Word of God. Denominations teach for their doctrine the commandments of men. That is the difference between being denominational and being undenominational. 
        1. The church of Christ includes all of the saved and it is therefore correct to say, "We are Christians only and the only Christians," when referring to the undenominational church that Jesus built. 
        2. To say, "We are Christians only, but not the only Christians" is to be denominational, because it suggests that the church is something less than the total of all the saved. 
  2. The Church of Christ. 
    1. The importance of the undenominational church of Christ. 
      1. It is precious because of its cost. 
        1. The church was purchased by the blood of the Lamb of God (Acts 20:28). 
        2. The value of anything is decided, in part, by its cost. The church of Christ cost the very blood of Christ. That was its purchase price. It is therefore of inestimable value. 
      2. It is precious because of its function. 
        1. There is no salvation outside of the church of Christ. 
        2. Jesus is the savior of the body (Eph. 5:23). The body (church) cannot save, but it is the holy order that Jesus will save. He will save none other (See Acts 4:12). 
        3. There is no salvation outside the church of Christ. 
          1. To be in a denomination is to be outside of the body of Jesus, which is his church (Eph. 1:22-23). 
          2. Therefore there is no salvation in denominational bodies. 
      3. All spiritual blessings are in the church (Eph. 1:3). 
        1. All spiritual blessings in heavenly places are in Christ (Eph. 1:3). 
        2. There are no spiritual blessings in heavenly places outside of Christ. 
        3. To be in Christ is to be in his body. 
        4. The body of Christ is his church (Eph. 1:22). 
        5. To be in the church is to be in the body of Jesus where Jehovah has located all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. 
        6. There are no spiritual blessings in denominations. 
      4. Our attitude toward the church is our attitude toward Jesus because the church is his body, and he is the head of it. 
        1. Saul of Tarsus persecuted the disciples of Jesus (Acts 9:1-2). 
        2. The disciples of Jesus are the church, since the church is the saved (Acts 2:47). All the saved are in the church, and there are no saved outside of the church. 
        3. Jesus described himself to Saul of Tarsus as "Jesus whom thou persecutest." 
        4. To persecute the disciples of Jesus—the saved—the church—is to persecute Jesus. 
        5. Our attitude toward the church is our attitude toward the Son of God. 
    2. To chant "Jesus, yes; the church, no" is to display an inexcusable ignorance of the importance and value of the church. 
      1. There is no salvation outside of the church just as there is no salvation outside of Jesus. 
      2. The attempt to exalt Jesus but shame the church is misguided and wrong. 
  3. Conclusion. 
    1. The church of Christ is the beautiful, betrothed bride of Jesus. 
    2. She is to be undefiled. 
    3. To alter (change) the Lord's bride is to violate her. 
    4. To rape the betrothed of Jesus is to invite eternal damnation. 

Published September 1995