The Church Of Christ Is Preaching Another Gospel
by Ray Kane
"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel"
1 Corinthians 1:17
The Church Of Christ, also known as the Boston Movement, is yet another agressively evangelizing cult in the sea of false churches and false teachers out in the world today. These churches go by the name of the city they are associated with, such as the Church Of Christ of Boston, the Church of Christ of New York, etc. Usually, they recruit people in the same manner as Jehovah's Witnesses and other cults, by inviting you to Bible studies or offering to go to your house to study the Bible with you. They call their Bible study sessions 'Bible Talk'. Like other cults, they often focus on college campuses and college students. To find out if someone you have been approached by is in this cult, ask them if they believe that water baptism is necessary for salvation. If they avoid the question, or answer yes or start referring you to scriptures like these below then you can be pretty sure you are talking to one of these misguided individuals
Mark 16:16 - He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Acts 2:38 -Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
John 3:5 - Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
But what does the Bible really teach about baptism in regards to salvation?
Is baptism a part of the Salvation process? How can it be? Salvation is a free gift from God which God gives to those He pleases to give it to:
Salvation is something that man cannot contribute to in any way at all:
Ephesians 2:8-9 - 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Salvation is complete a work of God apart from any help from man:
Jonah 2:9 - But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.
Aren't there any works that we can do or need to do to get to heaven?
John 6:28-29 - 28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
What does it mean "this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent?" It means that we can't do anything to save ourselves. We are hopelessly lost hell-deserving sinners. Only the work of God can save a person. The work that God does when He saves a sinner is to give a sinner the faith needed to believe in Christ as his all sufficient Saviour, sin-bearer, Lord, and Master.
Baptism, means to wash, to cleanse. When God saves a person, He washes away all their sins:
Titus 3:5 - Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
1John 1:7 - But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Psalm 103:12 - As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 32:2 - Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
Romans 4:8 - Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
The baptism that causes regeneration (that brings about a person's salvation) is a spiritual baptism:
1Corinthians 12:13 - For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Acts 11:16 - Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Matthew 3:11- I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Notice that John the Baptist, not only water baptized, but he PREACHED a spiritual baptism, the baptism of repentance.
Mark 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
The water that God uses to cleanse a sinner of sin is the Word of God:
Ephesians 5:25-27 - 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
The things that we do to contribute to our salvation profit nothing. It is the Word of God that convicts and converts the heart of a sinner, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
John 6:63 - It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The thief on the cross received salvation from Christ, yet he was not baptized:
Luke 23:43 - And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Why do people insist on doing something, like baptizing, to get someone into heaven?
Romans 10:2-3 - 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
People in the Bible were saved without being baptized first. Cornelius and his family were saved, received the Holy Ghost, and THEN were baptized afterwards:
Acts 10:44-47 - 44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
God saved the Ethiopian eunuch by using Philip to preach the Word of God to him, so that he believed in Christ. Water baptism was performed afterwards:
Acts 8:34-37 - 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
What about Bible verses that seem to be saying that we need to be baptized in order to be saved:
Acts 2:38 - Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
We must first understand that repentance is a gift from God, and that we cannot just repent because someone tells us to:
Acts 5:31 - Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Acts 11:18 - When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
2Timothy 2:25 - In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
Once God grants a person repentance, they are at that point saved, and then it becomes appropriate for them to be water baptized.
So what is the purpose of water baptism? First of all, it is a commandment of Jesus Christ:
Matthew 28:19 - Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Secondly, water baptism is an outward sign of the spiritual baptism, the new life that has already occurred in a person's heart:
Romans 6:4 - Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
We are acknowledging our association with Christ and His death on our behalf. We are acknowledging that our old self has died and a new creature has been born of the Spirit of God:
2Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Have you been baptized by God? Has He converted you yet?
Matthew 18:3 - And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Have you realized your lost spiritual condition?
Luke 19:10 - For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Cry out to God to have mercy on your soul before it is too late:
Luke 18:13 - And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.