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If the church Christ built is to exist in any age, there are certain principles to which men must be committed. As surely as men abandon any of these commitments, so surely will the New Testament church cease to exist. Consider the following necessary principles:
- Respect for the absolute authority of Christ: The Bible emphasizes His authority each time it calls Him “Lord.” He worked His miracles primarily for the purpose of establishing His Divine authority and identity (John 20: 30–31). This commitment includes the recognition that He owns the church (Acts 20:28), and He alone has the right to determine every feature of it. Until all men who claim to follow Christ so honor Him, confusion in religion must reign.
- Respect for the New Testament as the final authority in religion: Christ expresses His authority through the New Testament alone. No alleged latter-day revelations (e.g., The Book of Mormon, The Koran) or prophets (e.g., Joseph Smith, Mohammed) can be accepted by people who are serious about the New Testament church. This principle also relates to the Old Testament because it is inspired history and is necessary for our understanding of God and His plan of redemption through His Son (Rom. 15:4). However, God did not any more give the law of Moses to govern men since the cross than He gave the law of Christ (the Gospel) to govern men before the cross (Col. 2:14).
- Respect for the New Testament plan of salvation: The only plan of salvation in the world is the one made possible by the cross and revealed in the New Testament. It is a plan of grace and faith, but not grace alone and/or faith only. It requires the believer’s response of repentance, confession, immersion in water, and living a faithful Christian life (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:37; 22:16; et al.). Baptism either is or is not necessary for salvation—it cannot be both. The New Testament consistently and plainly declares it is necessary (Mark 16:16; John 3:5; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3–4; Gal. 3:27; Tit. 3:5; 1 Pet. 3:21).
- Respect for the identity of the New Testament church: Jesus built the church according to His own wise plan. He pre-scribed its terms of entrance, its designations, its worship, its work, and how it is to be organized and financed. If the identity of the church is unimportant, why is the church important at all?
- Respect for the foremost task of the church—preaching the Gospel: Jesus had one great work and purpose—to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). Such is likewise the compel-ling ambition of His faithful church (Mat. 28:18–20; Mark 16:15–16; 1 The. 1:8; 1 Tim. 3:15; 2 Tim. 2:2; et al.).
[Note: I wrote this article for and it appeared in the Denton Record-Chronicle, Denton, TX, April 18, 2008].
Attribution: From thescripturecache.com; Dub McClish, owner and administrator.