Frequently Asked Questions
What must I do to be saved?
To ask, "What must I do to be saved?" is to ask the most important question one can. Please understand that only God's word can provide the answer, not the religions of men. We invite you to view the brief video and let us know if you have further questions, or if we can help in any way,
Why the name, "church of Christ?"
Is your religion from heaven or from men?
On one occasion, when Jesus was being questioned by the religious leaders, He turned the question on them and asked, “The baptism of John – where was it from? From heaven or from men?” (Matthew 21:25). In this question Jesus hits at the heart of all that is in religion. Its origin is either from God or it is from men. When you look at the denominational world, you see religions that owe their origin to men: the names they call themselves by, their organization, their teachings and practices, etc. They may have some things right, but much of what they do owes its origin to the minds of men; what they have decided is right, what they have voted on to do or not to do.
This can easily be seen by lining up the teachings of these groups with what is taught in the Bible. It does not matter that these groups are sincere and mean well. It does not matter that they believe they are accomplishing good things for God. What matters is they have set aside the teachings of God with their own teachings and are no longer following the will of God.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'” (Matthew 7:21-23).
Can we help you examine the religion you are part of to determine if it is from heaven or from men?
Is one saved by faith only, or by works of faith?
When asking how one is saved, the answer most often given by the religious world is, “by faith only.” Such an answer suggests that at the point one believes in Jesus Christ, that person is forgiven of their sins and saved. Interestingly, those providing the answer will usually go on to mention other steps that one must do, such as, pray the sinners’ prayer, confess before the alter, etc. (statements not found in God’s word). It would seem that “faith only” would mean “faith (belief) only,” not, “faith only, plus…” But is one saved by faith only, or by works of faith?
We read in James 2:24, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” While it is absolutely true that we are saved by faith, the faith that saves is the faith that moves one to do what is to be believed. The works that justify are the works set forth in God’s word that we are to comply with. To repent of one’s sins, confess one’s belief in Christ, and to be buried with Him in baptism, are all demonstrations of one’s faith in what is revealed in God’s word. One complies with those steps because God has required on to. One cannot claim to believe and then disregard what belief itself requires.
The “faith only” doctrine is a leftover of Martin Luther, who in the 1500s, was so disgusted with what he saw in Catholicism (promoting that one could work or pay to earn salvation) that he went to the other extreme. While it is true that we can never earn our salvation, please do not set aside the simple requirements (works of faith) that our Lord asks of us as a demonstration of our faith in Him and His word. Our Lord is “the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9). When we comply with what He commands, we are not working to earn salvation, we are humbly submitting to His will. Could we study this matter with you further?
What do you mean there is only one true church?
With the thousands of different churches and denominations out there, it is surprising to many to hear that there is only true church. The truth is, you will not find a single denomination in the New Testament. Of course, this should concern all who are involved in a denomination and should prompt them to begin asking some serious questions.
In Matthew 16:18, following Peter’s wonderful profession of faith, Jesus declares that He will build His church. This we see being accomplished when the Apostles begin proclaiming the gospel message to a world lost in sin. Those who rendered obedience in baptism were baptized into one body (1st Corinthians 12:13). All who are saved are members of our Lord’s body, He being the head of the body (Ephesians 1:22-23). In that passage we are told that the body is the church (the two are the same). Later in Ephesians 4:4, we are told that “there is one body.” If the body is the church and there is one body, then there is one church.
One defining feature of the church is that its members all teach and practice the same thing. Paul’s plea to the Corinthians was that they, “all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1st Corinthians 1:10). Besides the fact that all the denominations trace their origin to sometime after the New Testament, they do not even begin to speak the same thing, as seen in their different teachings and practices.
The one true church still exists. You can recognize it by what it teaches and practices, by the work that it does, how it is organized. You will find it doing these things just as they were done in the New Testament by the church that our Lord built. Can we help you leave the teachings and doctrines of men and find the one true church?
Why can’t women take a leading role in the church?
Two words are used in Scripture concerning the conduct of women that continue to confuse many. The words silence and quietness seem to suggest that women cannot make a sound while in the assembly of God’s people, but that can’t be right if women are to sing or confess their faith in Christ before others (or get to a noisy child). Others reject it as an outdated teaching because they don’t think any limits should be placed on the role of the woman. To look at the words in their context should help clear up the confusion, and then it is a matter of one accepting what God has to say on the subject or rejecting what God has to say on the subject.
The first word: silence
“Let women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but to be submissive as the law also says.” (1st Corinthians 14:34)
The word silent is from the Greek word, sigao, which means, “to keep silence, to hold one’s peace.” Are women being told to remain silent under all circumstances? If that were so, they would be contradicting Scripture that commands them to, “Speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,” as they open their mouths to sing (Ephesians 5:19). Scripture cannot tell women they are not permitted to speak in the assembly and then command them to speak to others in the assembly (same Greek word in both verses). So what is being said?
Looking at the context in 1st Corinthians 14, we see that Paul is providing directions for the orderly worship of God. In this context, even the men are told to “keep silent.” But what are the circumstances for his having to tell some to “keep silent”? Apparently, you had several who were trying to address the assembly at the same time which was turning the worship into chaos. So that all things could be done decently and in order (v.40), Paul states:
“But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the church” (1st Corinthians 14:28)
“But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent” (1st Corinthians 14:30)
Those being addressed were not being denied the right to pray out loud or sing. Rather, Paul is discussing the orderly manner of addressing the assembly in the role of a teacher or preacher from a position of authority. As it would then apply to the woman, she is being told that she is not to address the assembly in this role at all (speaking to the assembly in the role of a teacher or preacher if men are present). Again, she was not being denied the right to open her mouth, as other duties would call for. The men in that setting, who were instructed to keep silent, would be able, when appropriate, to teach, sing, lead in prayer, etc. It is about addressing the assembly from a position of authority: men, one at a time, women, not at all.
“If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.” (1st Corinthians 14:35)
The best explanation for this verse is that, apparently, there were women who were interrupting the service with various questions, adding to the confusion and chaos. This was to stop.
The second word: quietness
“Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” (1st Timothy 2:11-12)
“Let a woman learn in silence with all obedience. I do not permit a woman to teach or to usurp authority over a man, but to be silent” (1st Timothy 2:11-12)
The Greek word, hesuchia, is what is here translated silent, silence, and quietness in the different versions. The word itself means “quietness”, and is addressing the manner in which women are to learn rather than ordering them not to speak.
See 1st Peter 3:4, where the same word is used as Peter is instructing the wife to possess that, “gentle and quiet spirit,” in her conduct toward her husband (which would certainly include speaking with him).
In 2nd Thessalonians 3:12, Paul orders those who walking disorderly and not working to, “work in quietness and eat their own bread.” Here, the word is again dealing with the manner of conduct rather than forbidding them from speaking while they work.
In writing to Timothy, Paul also wrote that prayers should be offered for those in authority, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life…” (1st Timothy 2:2). He is addressing their conduct not forbidding them to speak.
In learning, the woman is to have a submissive role, never assuming a role of authority over the man. For a woman to do so violates the teaching concerning what her proper conduct is to be in relationship with the man.
In putting 1st Corinthians 14:34-35 together with 1st Timothy 2:11-12, Paul commends a quiet (meek, gentle) attitude on the part of women, commands subjection of them to their male counterparts, and condemns any teaching or exercise of authority that would be, “over a man.” When a woman stands before a group with men present and speaks from a position of authority, she is violating the clear teaching found in these passages.
This teaching concerning the role of the woman in the church is a natural extension of what Scripture teaches about the role of the woman to man in general (Genesis 3:16; 1st Corinthians 11:3-9; Ephesians 5:22-23; Colossians 3:18; 1st Peter 3:1-6). None of this is to say that men are smarter than women, always more capable than women, and the only ones who can accomplish any good. It is simply the order that God, in His wisdom, established. We can either humble ourselves to this teaching and accept it, or we can follow our own pride and wisdom and reject it.
Why can’t I be saved like the thief on the cross?
The thief on the cross is a wonderful example of saving faith. What he demonstrated convinced our Lord of his genuine faith in Him, and that faith saved him. While our Lord walked this earth, being God, He could forgive whomever He wished when He observed godly sorrow and repentance. As the thief hanged there next to our Lord, he demonstrated what was necessary to convince our Lord of his godly sorrow for the life he had led, his repentance, as well as his acknowledgment of our Lord being everything He claimed to be. And for that, our Lord made to him the beautiful promise, “Today, you will be with Me in paradise.”
Following His death, burial, and resurrection, our Lord commanded His apostles go, “Go and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved. He who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). The thief on the cross never heard those words, but you and I have. Today, this is what our Lord asks of us as a demonstration of our godly sorrow, repentance, and faith in Him.
When the first gospel sermon was preached and those in the audience were convinced of the sin and guilt, they asked, “What must we do?” Peter did not tell them to just believe, like the thief on the cross. He told them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38). Was there response, “Sounds good, but we think we will do it like the thief on the cross”? No, what we read is, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized…” (Acts 2:41a).
Peter would later write that, “baptism now saves us,” in that, “it is the answer/response of a good conscience toward God” (1st Peter 3:21). The good conscience, hearing what our Lord has commanded about what one must do in order to be saved will respond accordingly. To hear our Lord’s command and respond with, “But I think I will be saved like the thief on the cross,” is to disrespect His teaching and refuse to submit to His will as your Lord. That’s what the thief on the other side of our Lord did.
Why isn’t sincerity enough to get you to heaven?
Because sincerity is only half of the equation. Jesus stated that, “God is a spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). To worship and serve God in spirit is to give Him your heart, soul, strength, and mind. It is to worship and serve Him out of love and devotion; it is to give Him your best and be sincere/genuine about all that you do; no hypocrisy allowed.
But the other half of the equation is truth. One can be well-meaning, earnest, professing genuine love for our God, but if what is being done is not according to truth, it profits one nothing and has devastating consequences.
As our Lord was concluding the Sermon on the Mount, He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:21-23).
These certainly didn’t think they were going to fool our Lord; I believe they were completely genuine and sincere in what they had done. The problem? What they had done was not according to “the will of My Father in heaven.” We cannot just listen to our heart and do what seems best to us and assume God will be pleased. We cannot look to what the religious world is doing and follow their lead. We must go to God’s word and determine what we are to do that pleases Him, what is according to truth, and then do it will all our heart.
What do you mean I can be lost after having been saved?
Once-saved-always-saved, or, eternal-security, is one of the most misleading doctrines that Satan has helped men devise. It is rooted in scriptural error, it promotes conformity to the world, and encourages half-hearted service to God as the need to diligently seek Him is replaced with, “why bother, my salvation is secure?”
This scriptural error took shape in the 1500s and was promoted by those who believed all are born guilty of sin and destined for hell with no choice in the matter; in fact, one can’t even choose to do anything about it. However, these would say, God decided (predestined) beforehand that there would be a few among those lost souls who would be saved. On those whom He has decided to save, He sends His Spirit to directly change that one’s heart (whether that one wanted it or not). And, after having gone to this effort, He prevent that one from even thinking about going back into the world; thus, the idea of perseverance-of-the-saints (once-saved-always-saved). But too bad for the rest who did not get selected.
Please understand, every aspect of that teaching is a perversion of what the Bible teaches. God does not want robots who will serve Him because they had no choice in the matter. He wants all to choose to do so out of love, reverence, and devotion. But even after someone willingly chooses to make that commitment, that one can be drawn back into the world of sin and fall away from God; that also is a choice God allows one to make. The beautiful parable of the Prodigal Son is an example of this. Fortunately, he chose to return to his father.
The gospel is God’s call to all who would hear and obey and remain faithful to Him. Could we share with you what the Bible teaches in these important matters in an effort to help you make the right choice?