International Church of Christ
Becoming their disciple or saved
The international Churches of Christ prides themselves in that they make disciples unlike any other church. They spend long hours every week at bookstores or the coffee shops meeting people to invite them to Church or to their bible talks (that's when you listen, they talk). But this is a far cry removed from the Church who sent people out to give the message of salvation.
The disciples were sent out 2 by 2 to bring the message. They have it backwards they bring people to Church. This means they do not have the same message the apostles or disciples did. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against inviting people to Church. But there is a world of difference to be at Church hear a message and immediately be saved by faith than from what they are practicing. One must practice Christianity before as a disciple and when they see you are serious then you promise a commitment only then will they dunk you in water to have your sins washed away.
If one looks at what happened at Pentecost we see that thousands asked what they must do to be saved. On the spot they received salvation. In Acts 2, they immediately believed and were saved, no discipleship. The same in Acts 3:18, 4:4, Acts 8,10, etc. There was no process of discipleship beforehand. It was an immediate conversion to salvation a 2nd birth.
There was no rigorous process to go through, there was no obligation to commit all you have written on promissory notes. There were no pledges of how much one was to give. There were no quotas written down that were checked by the discipler if not met. This is mans fallen way to control people.
recently I spoke to a discipler and asked him if he was saved, he gave the typical answer they all do "you can't know that until you get to heaven" I said you can be absolutewly assured, he said "no way." I referred him tothe book 1 John to see what he writes about this, he certainly thought so.
Look at Annaias and Sapphira who when rebuked and then judged by Peter Acts 5:4 "While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."
He said it was yours to do what you want but once you made the promise with them all then it became a lie.We have freedom to do what we want with what we own. This does not mean that God is not over all that we have but it does mean the Church (their leaders) are not.You never see the Apostles implement people to write down anything on paper and watch over them to make sure they are good to their promise.
Luke 7:20-23When John the Baptist had been wondering if Jesus was the Messiah since he had not set up the kingdom. He had sent disciples to Jesus to ask. Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. "And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me."
Notice it says the Gospel was preached. One thing about this Church who claims that they have the different races and nationality which makes them the true Church. You will rarely see the poor those destitute as you will in other Churches. Why? Because they can't pledge money so why have them be part of the Church.
Is this church really ashamed of Jesus? They can never introduce someone to him without the process invented by their leaders. Come to our picnic, come to our bible talk, come to our Church ! Never come TO JESUS. Why? Because they have not done this themselves. They mock others who teach one can surrender their life to the Lord be forgiven and have a new life. This is because they don't teach salvation is a single event. You can lose it if your not keeping up with their standard of performance.
What they do is target the young crowd mostly in college that are not street wise(religious wise). They are away from home having few friends and they immediately hook up to them to be potentials for their quota for discipleship.
"Pray Jesus into your Heart" "Accept Jesus in your heart": Their claim is this phrase is never mentioned in the Bible. There are many words that they use that are not mentioned in the bible either but this does not stop them from setting up straw man arguments and knocking them down. 1 Jn.1:11-12 "He came to his own and his own did not receive him but as many as receive him, to them he gave the right (power) to become children of god, to those who believe on his name. To accept Jesus in your heart may not be Scripture but it is the spiritual intent of receiving Him as Lord and Savior since He comes into the inner man to regenerate him. Jn.1:12 "to as many as received him" Rom.10:9 says for us to believe in the heart and announce it with your mouth. this what is meant to pray that Jesus would come into your heart (the inner man ,our spirit)vs. for with the heart one believes unto righteousness...( not with the baptism) if one confesses what they believe in their heart they WILL BE SAVED. Not maybe, not could be. Their own presuppositions to baptism have made their eyes unable to see the spirit of the text.
They claim it is baptism that saves and one must call on the name of the Lord in their baptism There are many New Testament Scriptures that state other than calling on him to save in the act of baptism.
Never forget going down in the water, saying Jesus is Lord of my life, making that confession, coming up out of the waters a brand new creature knowing all your sins have been washed away." (Dave Weger I will Celebrate Before the Lord, audio tape, 1991 S.W. Conference)
(From First Principles Light and Darkness Study Pt. II San Diego Church of Christ) 3D "Baptism is a work - yet we are saved by faith." (Ephesians 2:8): They state Colossians 2:12 teaches we are saved by FAITH - in the working of God by baptism. The focus is their baptism.
Colossians 2:12 do not say "in the working of God by baptism." Col. 2:12 says: "We were saved with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead." Clearly a distortion of what it actually says. Eph. 2 states that we were saved specifically "not by works" and certainly not by baptism. Which is a work. We were buried with Him in His baptism, not ours. We died with Christ - the work was done on the cross, not now in the water. To do this twisting takes the focus off the genuine event that purchases one out of their sin.
Lordship Study Church of Christ, We are the ". . .only major group I know who baptizes those willing to be disciples for forgiveness of sins." McKean states, "I have never taught anyone has to be baptized into the Boston church to be saved . . . however, I do not know of any other church or group movement that teaches and practices what we teach Jesus taught" He goes on to say, "If this is what God teaches in the Bible, then we are Gods movement." (UpsideDown, issue 2, pg. 8) However, if by his own standards it is not what God teaches then they are not Gods movement, but a mans.
Preaching the Gospel
Mt. 9:35 "Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages,
teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing
every sickness and every disease among the people."
They don't preach the gospel as Jesus even though they use him as their example. They certainly do not believe in God healing people .The gospel was proven by the power of God in miracles. Instead they have replaced this with a methodology of man. I'm not saying that we all should do miracles or the gospel is not preached. However they are the ones claiming to follow Jesus better than any other Church!
Luke 10:1 "After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go." As we can see this is the model, they are sent out and teach the gospel.
In Mark 10:14 Jesus ..." was greatly displeased and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God." Do they allow children with child like faith to come into the kingdom? Its not possible when they must give up their time and be discipled. What money do children possess? This may be why children are not baptized to be saved.
Acts 8:25 So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned
to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans." The saving
message goes out. This church teaches that one cannot come into a immediate
relationship with God except through their exclusive training. Not so says the bible.
Acts 9:20 Immediately after Pauls conversion he "Preached Christ in the synagogues that he is the son of God." Paul went and gave the message that saves to those who would never congregate with them.
When I have asked the question whether or not someone dying on their deathbed, who had never heard the Gospel, could be saved from their message. The International Church of Christ answers with a definitive "No!" The reason given is that they are not able to be a disciple and disciple others (do works). It is most disturbing to hear that a group which esteems itself as God's only true church cannot bring the only true Gospel to a dying person. But then they can't bring it to healthy ones either!
Another question to be asked and is never answered . What If I found a Church that does the same teaching as you in baptism and discipleship would it be OK to join? Of course they can't give their approval otherwise they would have to admit they are not the only true Church. But if they do admit this is so then people can feel free to leave and join another Church. this would mean they could not pressure their members in not becoming fall aways when they go somewhere else.
Most cults ignore the work of justification, and focus on a person's sanctification, saying that it is our performance that will justify someone and clear their guilt before God. This view voids the completed work of Christ and takes the emphasis off of grace and puts it on one's own performance. They will either combine sanctification with justification or say that they have neither, that they are both a future tense like glorification. In other words performance equals ones salvation so there is no building on the rock that cant be moved, its always shaky.
Biblically, that our faith is alive before our baptism. In the act of baptism, and after baptism, in our works. Works flow out of a true faith. When we say we receive salvation by faith alone it is referring to being the only conduit to the grace of God. We are saved by faith alone but it is not alone - it is accompanied by works.
The Savior is a person and it is His work for us that one must believe in to be justified (legally declared righteous). and this is what we trust in otherwise we are saying Christ's work is insufficient. We are not justified before God from Christ and what we do. One's own works, baptism, obedience, prayer , or bible reading will not justify anyone. They do make one grow into a healthy follower. It is Gods grace through faith, it is a gift of grace.
When sanctification and justification are confused, it robs from someone the sure foundation which they are to build on. Since Christ is the sure foundation and there is no other, we must build on His finished work not continue on his work to get salvation.
The I.C.C claims that they practice first century Christianity, however, many have concluded that their methodology is more like subtle mind-control in a shepherding atmosphere. Is there any wonder there is a fall-away problem? While they brag at being the fastest growing church in the U.S. if they count those that have left they may also be the fastest emptying church as well.
Articles are taken from the spiral bound book International Church of Christ Birth of a Cult. (click> on books)