Vol.IV No.IX Pg.3
October 1967

Let "Us" Go To Heaven!

Robert F. Turner

Talk about a mixed-up world; there are all of those good people who believe one can be a true Christian and not be a member of the church. We are quick to tell them that the same process by which one becomes a true follower of Christ, and receives remission of sins, makes that person a member or part of the body of Christ which is His church. (Acts 2:37-47 Eph. 1:22-23 1 Cor.12:12-f., etc.) It is a matter of proper definition for the "church," and "Christian."

Then we persuade ourselves that if one is a member in good standing with a group of people (our group) called "Church of Christ;" that person must be a Christian. If we could get away from the "we" "us" and "our" concept of group -- meeting in "our" buildings and reading "our" papers and sending their children to "our" schools -- it would follow that since all Christians are members of Christ's church, more, constitute Christ's church; then all members of Christ's church are Christians. Alas, we will not let it remain so simple.

Again, this is a matter of proper definition for the "church". It is so easy to forget that mere association and acceptance by a certain group of people is NOT the equivalent of being either a NT Christian or church. The very scriptures that prove all true Christians are members of the church belonging to Christ, prove also that except we remain true to Christ (not to one-another) we forfeit the right to be known as His church or His anything else.

Here is the most obvious reason for Paul's saying we must not measure ourselves by ourselves, or among ourselves (2 Cor. 10:12). Paul would not set his own conduct as a pattern for us, but said, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." To that extent, and that only, may we follow the example of men. (1 Cor. 11:1) Are all those whom we receive into fellowship truly converted to Christ? Experience, if not common-sense, says they are not. Do we, unerringly, discipline all members who go astray: either bringing them to correction or refusing to longer recognize them as faithful members? To ask is to answer. Then we can not use ourselves as the pattern for measuring others.

But none of these things suggest "there is no pattern!" Nothing I have written warrants the conclusion that we should cease to insist upon all who would go to heaven following the divine pattern given in God's word. In fact, our very frailties should make us the more conscious of the need to adhere more closely to God's Work in God's Way. I do not have to be perfect to know that God wants me to be perfect (He gave me a perfect example) and to urge others to likewise "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:14)

It is confused thinking that considers those who urge us to follow God's truth as being intolerant. I have no right to be more "tolerant" than the Lord. As Paul said, "God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you." (2 Cor.10:13) I want to go to heaven, and take you.