Vol.XIV No.VIII Pg.7
October 1977

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner

I am a member of the church of Christ, but many of my friends are not. They frequently ask me to attend church with them. Should I go with sometimes? PYM


Why are you a member of the church of Christ? Do you consider the church of Christ one among many religious bodies, any of which would be acceptable to the Lord? Perhaps you like some features of the "c of C" better than those of the A or B church, but feel that the differences are not matters of eternal consequences?

If so, you still have a sectarian conception of "church". Lacking true convictions, I see no harm done by your attending services with your sectarian friends. You are all in the same boat, and I would not want to encourage "party" conflicts among you. Perhaps you could study God's word together, seeking the truth concerning the Lord's church, so that some day the Lord's church could mean what it should to you, and you could worship the Lord with faith and conviction.

On the other hand, if you have been truly converted to Christ, and have studied His word, you know that His church is that body of people who have been "called out" of the world by obedience to the gospel of Christ. (Acts 2:37-47; 1 Pet. 2:9-10) As part of this body, the 'bride' of Christ, you want to be true to Him — and not flirt with another Christ, another spirit, or another gospel. (Eph. 5:23f. 2 Cor. 11:2-4) You have no taste for any religious organization, work, or worship for which there is no divine authority. (Col. 3:17)

You seek the fellowship of fellow saints, assembling with them and holding fast the profession of your faith. (Heb. 10:22-f.) This is not a matter of "party" loyalty with you — although you recognize your obligations to the congregation of which you are a part — but your loyalty is to Christ.

Should you ever visit a denominational "service" with your friends? Well certainly not when it means you must ignore your obligation to the Lord and His people. Further, you can not go "to worship", for we must worship "in spirit and in truth"; (Jn. 4: 24) and you could not sincerely worship God by means which you know are not in keeping with His truth.

There are times, however, when you and your friends may "visit" without either of you slighting your obligations or compromising convictions. I believe I am serving God according to His truth; but I have never contended that my understanding of matters was perfect, or that my conclusions should be used as the rule for others. (2 Cor. 10:12-f) You may observe your friends' religion, measuring it by the word of God; and invite your friends to do the same with you. You can be perfectly frank with each other, granting sincerity on both sides, and you may both learn more truth. As long as you "prove all things, hold fast to that which is good" using the Bible as your standard of truth (Jn. 17:17) the relation will be profitable. P.S. LET ME KNOW HOW YOU COME OUT!