Marvin L. Weir
There is a slogan that has been extremely popular for many years. In most newspapers that advertise the worship services of churches in any community, you will find these words of encouragement: “Attend The Church Of Your Choice.” These words please most people, and this is the primary reason they are in the paper each week. It is the “democratic” thing to do. The majority of people are happy with the slogan as they believe such a statement brings glory and honor to Christ. But does it? This is the question for us to consider as we turn to the only book that can give us a truthful answer —the Bible.
Long before the birth of Christ it was prophesied:
…in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever (Dan. 2:44).
Jesus, during His ministry on earth, said to Peter,
I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matt. 16:18-19, emph. MLW).
One will note that the word “church” is singular, not plural. Christ promised to build only one church —His church. Other inspired Scriptures affirm this truth. The apostle Paul notes that there is but “one body” (Eph. 4:4). One will also observe that the Scriptures affirm that Christ is the “head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). Paul also records that Christ has promised to save only His “body” (Eph. 5:23).
Since God does not lie (Titus 1:2) and His Word is always true (John 17:17), let’s ask some questions. If Christ were on earth today,
Would He attend His church or some man’s church?
Would the Savior attend the church purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28) or one purchased with man’s money?
Would the Lord attend a church of which a man or group of men serve as its head or the one of which He is its head?
Do you believe Jesus the Christ would attend a church governed by the creeds and votes of men that continually change or the church that is governed by His Word which forever been settled in Heaven (Psa. 119:89)?
Would the Lord attend a church authorized by His Word, or a church that is authorized by man?
Does or does not the Lord’s choice in a church matter?
Which church would He choose to attend?
Would Christ choose the church that wears His name and thus gives Him the honor and glory rightly His, or would He choose a church wearing a man-made name that honors a human being?
These are questions that demand serious thought, cannot successfully be ignored, and they certainly deserve an answer! Most people choose a “church” for the wrong reason:
Some choose a particular “church” because of its beautiful architecture. We are not, however, commanded to worship the building, so this is not a valid reason.
Some choose a “church” solely because of what it can offer their children. Their children’s wants and desires evidently means much more to them than the Lord’s commands. They have in mind fun and games, pizza parties, ski trips, camping trips, volleyball, softball, and an appealing chauffeur (oops, youth minister) to shuttle the young folks to and from their entertainment appointments. But the truth of the matter is that the Lord’s church is not in the entertainment and recreation business. Period! Parents should be the “youth directors,” and they are the ones responsible for all recreation and entertainment engaged in by the young people.
Some folks choose a “church” because of its size as if large numbers are to be equated with spiritual success. The truth is that only a few were saved in the ark (1 Pet. 3:20) and a few, not many, will be in Heaven (Matt. 7:13-14). Why is it so often true that numbers carry more weight with men than the Lord’s will?
If one is truly interested in the salvation of his soul, he will surely desire to attend the Lord’s church! One distinguishing characteristic of the Lord’s church is that it was established on the Day of Pentecost in A.D. 33 as promised in Holy Scripture. Any “church” that comes into existence after A.D. 33 cannot be the Lord’s church. The name (designation) “church of Christ” is not a man-made name but a Scriptural term (Rom. 16:16). It does not honor and glorify man. It shows ownership and gives honor and glory to the one whose blood purchased the church —the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:28).
No, the “attend the church of your choice” slogan is not found in the Bible! This alone should run up a red flag in a person’s mind who believes in the authoritative Word of God. This slogan is the product of man’s thinking and man’s wisdom. One should remember Jehovah declaring, “For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9). All roads do not lead to Heaven as so many believe. Jesus is very clear in declaring, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). There are not many “ways,” or many “truths.” Eternal life is found only by following the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. One cannot have it his way and the Lord’s way!
Why not choose to be a member of the Lord’s church that He promised to build? Obey the Gospel plan of salvation: Hear (Rom. 10:17), Believe (Heb. 11:6), Repent (Luke 13:3), Confess (Rom. 10:9-10), and be Baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16) so that the Lord can add you to His church (Acts 2:47).
Choose the congregation of the Lord’s church you attend because of people’s love, reverence, and respect for the Word of God. Are you willing to abide by the Lord’s choice in a “church?” Make your choice the Lord’s choice so that your soul may prosper (3 John 2)!