Q. What are some of the distinctive teachings that differentiate the church of Christ from other Christian churches?
It is true that many do not believe the Bible is inspired. They reject the Creation story and the miracles. Some religionists are surprised when pressure is exerted to learn that their own preachers deny the inspiration of the Bible.
2 Pet. 1:20,21 –
“but know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
I Thess. 2:13 –
“and for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the Word of God’s message you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”
We make no apology for believing that the inspired writers gave us what God intended them to write. We know that the apostles believed that the words they were writing came from God. This is one of the basic beliefs of the church of Christ.
However. . .there are other groups who do believe the Bible, so we are not “the only ones.” Evolution and humanism are being opposed by conservative preachers in some denominations. Some are trying to oust the modernists from their theological schools and are leading fights in the creation/evolution battles, so this point alone is not what makes us different.
What is that distinction?
A. Jeremiah 31:31-34 (READ) – God promised a new covenant. The New Testament reveals that it has come, John 1:17 – “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”
B. Hebrews 8:7-13; 9:15-17 (READ) Heb. 8:7ff direct quote from Jer. 31:31ff
C. Romans 15:4 – “for whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
D. We must still study the O.T. and learn from its examples but we look to Christ in the New Testament for Salvation.
E. Hebrews 1:1 -2 “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2* in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.”
F. Acts 4:12 –
“and there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”
We are not “the only ones” who understand this, however. Look at the percentage of other religious groups who meet on the first day of the week rather than the Sabbath day for worship and who reject animal sacrifices, polygamy, incense, Passover, etc. There are some others who apparently have believed Col. 2:14 which says,
“Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of degrees against us and which was hostile to us; And he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”
True, this does make us different. But there is a basic reason for it, every passage in the New Testament referring to church music identifies it as “a capella” which is a Latin term (Latin has one “p”), or the Italian term (which has two “p’s” a cappella), both mean “as in church, ” or “in the style of the chapel.”
In all the Bible there are only nine verses that speak about church music.
Matt. 26:30 – After the institution of the Lords Supper, the disciples sang a hymn.
Mark 14:26 – Parallel to Mt. 26:30
Acts 16:25 – Paul and Silas in prison were singing
Romans 15:9 – Mentions singing
I Cor. 14:15 – The early church was to sing with the Spirit
Eph. 5:19 – “singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.”
Col. 3:16 – “teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Heb. 2:12 – Mentions singing in the midst of the congregation.
James 5:13 – “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises.”