Matthew 16:18King James Version (KJV)

18 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.  (Hades in some versions)

Ephesians 5:23King James Version (KJV)

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Colossians 1:18King James Version (KJV)

18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

John 10:9King James Version (KJV)

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 14:6King James Version (KJV)

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

1 Timothy 2:5-6King James Version (KJV)

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Acts 4:10-12King James Version (KJV)

10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Salvation is in no other name than Jesus and one has to enter in him to be saved.  Jesus is the rock in Matt 16:18.

Characteristics:

Do not use graven images:

Exodus 20:4King James Version (KJV)

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Do not eat blood:

Leviticus 17:11-14King James Version (KJV)

11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. 12 Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. 13 And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. 14 For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.

Acts 15:29King James Version (KJV)

29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.  (1 Tim 4:1-4 confirms abstain = not eating; the word “transfusion” is not in the bible).

A good video about blood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USgG4UUOjqE

Music is played for God (musical instruments can be used in worship):

1 Chronicles 25:6New International Version (NIV)

All these men were under the supervision of their father for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king.

Unity:

Ephesians 4:4-6New International Version (NIV)

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Baptism by Immersion:

Matthew 3:16New International Version (NIV)

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.

Acts 8:38New International Version (NIV)

38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.

John 3:5-7New International Version (NIV)

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[a] gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[b] must be born again.’

Sanctity of Marriage:

Mark 10:6-12New International Version (NIV)

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’[a] ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,[b] and the two will become one flesh.’[c] So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

Summary:  Christ builds His church (“congregation” in New World and Revised English Version) and He is the head of it and the only mediator between God and man.  Salvation is in no other name than Jesus Christ. No graven images.  Do not eat blood.  Music offered to God. Unity in teaching (some sects even have a difference in teaching between congregations). Baptism in the water and being born again. Sanctity of marriage.

Any Christian should be able to answer the question “are you in Christ?” 1 Thess 4:16-17.  Some will say “yes I believe in Christ” and you should follow up with “but are you in the body of Christ?”  Basically just about all the websites say that Christ is the head of the body of Christians. In short, if one says he or she is not in the body of Christ, that person denies Jesus.

Romans 16:16King James Version (KJV)

16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

Acts 20:28 American Standard Version (ASV)

28 Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you [a]bishops, to feed the church of  the Lord which he purchased with his own blood. 

This translation will easily support Rom 16:16. Remember that Jesus is called Lord throughout the Bible.  Acts 20:28 is a separate blog because some will say the name is “church of God.” For the purposes of this discussion, ASV supports Rom 16:16.

More detail on Acts 20:28: https://religiousrealist.wordpress.com/2016/06/23/acts-2028/

Summary is that Christ is the head of the body of Christians called church of Christ.

However, the church of Christ is much more than a religious body of that name.  It is also a way of life.  How you treat people.  Trusting in God and our Lord Jesus Christ. How you help your fellow human.  Bringing people to Christ (missionizing; covered in a different topic).  Remember that God wants us to be saved and it is up to us to make the choices.

The bible says you need a place to plant yourself. Check out the websites in “about”

Hebrews 10:25King James Version (KJV)

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Ones to avoid:

  1.  Practice isolation from society (such as not allowing members to attend college or have friends outside the religion, discouraging talent).
  2. Shunning of family members who are either not members or have left the religion (voluntarily or otherwise).
  3. Promoting contempt of other religions (showing they are biblically wrong is one thing but making a blatent statement that anyone outside is of Satan is another). Sugar works better than vinegar.
  4. Prohibition of playing music.
  5. Engaging in idolatry (not necessarily graven images).
  6. Prohibiting members to join the military (for that matter, law enforcement).  The purpose of military is for defense and not conquest as written (furthermore, a lot of jobs don’t require bearing of arms):

Joshua 4:12-13New International Version (NIV)

12 The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, rea dy for battle, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them. 13 About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war.

You have to defend yourself.  Common sense.  If someone comes at you with a gun, are you going to let that person kill you? The rules of engagement are so specific in law enforcement and the military that people have gone to prison (homicide is a crime, in addition to being a sin).

Celebration of holidays is another topic in itself.   A lot of non-Trinitarian religions do not celebrate Christmas based on that the actual birthday of Jesus is not written in the bible (secular articles admit that Dec 25 is Sol Invictus or “Festival of the Sun God”).  Biblical Unitarianism estimates the birth of Jesus as Sept but says that celebration of holidays is a matter of conscience. For a church to actually promote Dec 25 as the birth of Jesus is not biblical.

The links to the churches are on the “about” page.  Examine them. God gives you a choice.  Salvation is critical.

Here is the departing thought…..   Jesus is presently sitting at the right hand of the Father, still the head of the church, still the mediator between God and man.

Some hard core Catholics claim the Roman Catholic Church is the church of Christ.

Mormonism claims IT is the church of Christ (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints); however, use of The Book of Mormon violates Rev 22:18 which is adding to what is written.  They have some unconventional beliefs that God was also a woman and in posthumous baptism.

There is  one Church of Christ that believes that use of musical instruments violates Rev 22:18.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ official title is “Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses” and one thing sticks out in particular: they believe that Michael the Archangel incarnated as Jesus and then returned to spirit being status (this also applies to the offshoot movements such as Dawn Bible Students, Christian Witnesses of JAH, the e-watchman).  Most of this was covered in “John 1:1 – The Glue.”  If one reads Jude 1:9 vs Matt 4:10: in the fomer, Michael doesn’t want to offend Satan and says the Lord rebuke you; in the latter, Jesus DIRECTLY rebukes him.

Hebrews 1:5King James Version (KJV)

For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

Quite a number of Unitarian and restorationist movements have AD 325 and AD 378 where the Council of Constantinople basically created the Trinity doctrine (the word “Trinity” is not specifically in the bible).  Of the 2-3 billion practicing Christians, approximately less than 50 million are non-Trinitarian (Unitarian, Monotheist, Armstrongist, etc).

One of the Churches of Christ listed is Trinitarian but with autonomous congregations.  The Biblical Unitarians have autonomous congregations.  What is common is that there is a legal entity (a central organization of sorts) for establishing congregations, ordaining ministers, etc.

There are a couple things to add to this:

  1. It should not be a for profit organization.  This is a gray area.  One congregation I know of used to have a soft drink machine but the upper level management had it removed. Also, there are some that use the name of God to amass wealth.

Matthew 21:12New International Version (NIV)

Jesus at the Temple

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

2.  It should not do charity for bragging rights or to please a wordly entity (such as a beer company).  A church is supposed to help the needy because there are at least 20 verses about giving to the poor; advertising is fine because you help people.

Matthew 6:1-4New International Version (NIV)

Giving to the Needy

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Other questions to ask yourself:

  1.  Are the hymns of praises uplifting?
  2. When the gospel is preached or when prayer is rendered, do you feel the Holy Spirit?
  3. Do you feel you are in a safe haven when at the house of worship or engaged in activities?
    1. Do you trust other members even with touchy subjects?  That includes congregational elders.
  4. Is it a peaceful and loving environment?
    1. Gossip has no place in a church
    2. Do you look forward to attending a worship service or activities or is it drudgery and a burden?

Was the first century church apostatized?  A number of restorationist churches make the claim and Catholicism said it never was.  The Council of Nicea in 325 AD declared it an article of faith that Jesus is God and also that Easter is the Resurrection.  378 AD the Pope declared the Holy Spirit as God.  The Protestant Reformation was initiated in 1578 AD by Martin Luther and one thing that came out was the papacy being the antichrist (which is held by a lot of Born Again Christians and some restorationist churches) and the “faith alone” teaching.  At this point there are over 40,000 Protestant denominations out of the 2 billion mainstream practicing Christians (the only one appearing to have any unity is Catholicism because the “missal” is the same worldwide on any given day).   Of the non-Trinitarian religions the number of sects is few (Biblical Unitarianism, Iglesia Ni Cristo, Jehovah’s Witnesses and derivatives, Armstrongism, Members of Church of God International, Churches of Christ, International Church of Christ, and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints aka Mormons, Christian Churches of God) and most preach unity (Eph 4) in their doctrine (same lesson on any given day worldwide).

So the parting question: Is it the organization on earth with the name “Church of Christ,” is it in heaven, is it a way of life, or a combination thereof?  Here is what you do?  Examine your current religion and see if it meets the above checklist.  Read the articles in this blog and go to the links listed on the “About” page.  Attend a bible study or a few.  One critical question to ask a member is if that person is in Christ.  If he or she follows up with “we believe in Christ”, then ask if that person is in the body of Christ (the church or congregation); if the answer is no, RUN FAST.

Ultimately, the church of Christ will be those that enter the Holy City on the first resurrection.  Eph 5:27 says it shall be presented without fault and blameless.  Matt 16:18 says the Gates of Hades will not prevail.  Rev 14:1-5 says the 144K are blameless.

So what is a true Christian? https://religiousrealist.wordpress.com/2016/06/23/what-is-a-true-christian/

http://www.lovethetruth.com/false_religion/occult/all_big_religions.htm this is pretty much a true statement.  There is a lot of Illuminati influence in organized religion. This could also be a fanatic rant, so read carefully.

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