Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 8, 1961

Do We Really Have A Choice?

Earl Fly, Orlando, Florida

It is frequently said by uninformed people that one should "join the church of his choice," meaning that one should choose one of the 250 or more different churches in the United States as a "church home on earth." It is also said that one has a right to the faith of his choice, the baptism of his choice, the name of his choice and to worship the way he pleases. These statements are based upon the belief that one is as good as another and that it makes no difference which one we choose. But is this true? Do we really have a choice, scripturally speaking?

It is true that our Constitution grants religious freedom to the citizens of America. We have the legal right to worship the one true God, a stone idol, a man, bird, snake or beast. We may legally offer a bloody animal sacrifice in worship, burn incense or dance. We may legally trust in Christ, Mohammed or Buddha as our saviour. We have the legal right to reject all and embrace atheism. We can legally call God a myth and Christ a fake. We may pray in the name of the Devil, legally speaking. But we need to understand that one can be scripturally wrong, yet within his legal rights. Our Constitutional freedom of religion does not guarantee acceptance with God. We shall be judged by the Bible, not by the Constitution! (See John 12:48)

Man does not have a scriptural right to choose something contrary to God's revealed will in the Bible. When God reveals his choice in any matter, man only has the right to accept God's choice; he has no right to choose something different. God revealed his choice in the following matters as his Holy Spirit guided the apostle Paul to say: "There is ONE body, and ONE Spirit, even as ye are called in ONE hope of your calling; ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Eph. 4:4-6) How many is ONE? Can we choose between ONE? Notice what Paul said:

1. "There is ONE GOD." Is one god as good as another god? Do we have a choice of gods?

2. "There is ONE LORD." Is one Lord as good as another? Do we have a choice of Lords (Saviours)? Can one scripturally choose Mohammed or Buddha as his saviour? It's legal, but is it scriptural? Can one be saved if he chooses a Lord other than Christ Jesus? (See Acts 4:12)

3. "There is ONE SPIRIT." Do we have a right to follow the spirit of our choice? Is one spirit as good as another spirit? Would it be just as well to believe an evil spirit of the devil as God's Holy Spirit?

4. "There is ONE HOPE." Is one hope as good as another? Is the Jewish hope of heaven as good as the Christian's hope? Would you as soon have a hope based upon a rejection of Christ as Saviour as the hope based upon acceptance of Christ?

5. "There is ONE BODY . . . which is the church." (Eph. 1:22, 23) Is one church as good as another? Do we have a choice of churches? Since God has chosen ONE, do we have the right to choose another?

6. "There is ONE FAITH." "Oh, it makes no difference what one believes so long as he is honest and sincere," many argue. Is this true? Do we really have a choice of faiths, such as Mohammedan, Methodist, Buddhist or Baptist? Is one faith as good as another? Is the Jewish faith which rejects Christ as good as the Christian faith? What about believing in Mohammed instead of Christ? IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE! (See John 8:24; Mark 16:16; 2 John 9-11; 2 Thess. 2:10-12)

7. "There is ONE BAPTISM." Since there is one, do we have a choice? Is sprinkling and pouring as good as Bible baptism, which is a burial? (See Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12)

Reader, be not deceived by good words and fair speeches of men (Rom. 16:18), who say "choose your way" in religion. Unless we choose God's way we shall be eternally lost. There is no choice of gods, saviours, spirits, hopes, churches, faiths or baptisms for those who want to escape the horrors of hell, because there is only ONE of each accepted by the one true God.

The same Bible which says there is one God also says there is one church. Thus the Buddhist has as much right to choose an idol god as one does to choose a denominational church not built by God, such as Baptist, Methodist or Mormon. Again, the same Bible which says there is one Lord says there is one baptism. Hence one has as much right to choose Mohammed as saviour as to choose sprinkling and pouring as a substitute for Bible baptism. Furthermore, the same Bible which says there is one Spirit also says there is one faith. If we have a right to the faith of our choice, then we have a right to the spirit of our choice!

The Mohammedans, Jews and Buddhists are just as safe in their choices and substitutes as are the Baptists, Methodists and all other denominations who have chosen substitutes. If one can be saved in the Methodist church, one can be saved in the Mohammedan church; if one can be saved in the Baptist church, one can be saved in the Buddhist church. They all have rejected God's choice in one or more points and substituted their own choice! They have all rejected Christ by teaching and practicing the doctrines of men, which makes their worship vain. (Matt. 15:9)

Friend, if you want to live in heaven you must leave the ways of men and turn to God. To choose another god, another saviour, another faith, another spirit, another baptism, another church is to choose eternal torment in a horrible hell. We kindly say that one can no more be saved in a human church than can the heathen who worships an idol god, for Jesus said: "Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up." (Matt. 15:13) This includes Methodist, Mohammedan, Buddhist, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and all other churches not planted by God. This is the reason we earnestly plead with members of these churches to leave them before they are uprooted by God, and to become members of the one body, the church of God's choice which Christ built (Matt. 16:18), for which he died (Acts 20:28), over which he reigns as head with all power (Eph. 1:22, 23; Matt. 28:18), of which he is the saviour (Eph. 5:23) — the church of Christ.

Your eternal destiny will be determined by the choices you make on earth. If you allow yourself to be deceived by the vain promises of men in religion and fail to obey the gospel of Christ, you will pay the penalty in eternity (See 2 Thess. 1:7-9) We urge you to study your Bible and investigate for yourself. Test the claims of preachers for "many false prophets are gone out in the world" (1 John 4:1) There are many "wolves in sheep's clothing" who devour the unsuspecting (Matt. 7:15). There are many "ministers of Satan" who pretend to be God's ministers (2 Cor. 11:13-15). They will tell you that you have a choice. But be not deceived: We must accept God's choice!

If you want to be saved you must believe in God (Heb. 11:6), in Christ (John 8:24), repent of all sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30) and be buried in baptism (Rom. 6:4) for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38). Then you can rise to walk in a new life (Rom. 6:4) as a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17), having been born of water and of the Spirit (John 3:5), saved by God's grace (Eph. 2:5), washed in the blood of Christ (Rev. 1:5). Hence if you will believe in the one God and the one Lord, listen to the voice of the one Spirit as he speaks from the pages of the Bible, believe and obey the one faith revealed therein, submit to the one baptism, God will add you to the one body (Acts 2:47), and you will have the one hope of heaven.

We urge you to consider the uncertainty and brevity of life, the certainty of death, the surety of the judgment, and the fact that all souls shall live in the ceaseless age of eternity either in hell or heaven, depending on the choice they make in this life on earth. We pray that you will choose God's way and obey — NOW!