In the eighth chapter of Nehemiah we find that Israel had drifted from God and His law. Finally the written law itself was lost. When it was found years later it was carefully read and Israel found in it things they were not doing in service to God which they should have been practicing. They began at once to practice them. When they found things they were doing which the law condemned they ceased practicing them at once. So today, if we will follow faithfully God's Word; speak as it speaks (1 Peter 4:11), and use it as our pattern (Heb. 8:5), we can return to the original church. We can do this by teaching everything taught by Christ and His apostles, and refusing to teach anything which they did not teach. If each of us will resolve to practice or not to practice within the bounds of the teaching of Christ and His apostles we will be members only of the original church which was established by Christ. I believe this plea, if accepted and followed by all, will do away with denominationalism and sectarianism, and will restore the original church in all its purity and simplicity. If not, why not? If any man living on earth today will do what the apostles told sinners to do, and live as they directed Christians to live; if he does this, nothing more, nothing less, it will make of him what it made of people in the first century, just Christians. These were added by the Lord to His church (Acts 2:47). God will also add man today to His church upon his compliance with the same commands or conditions of salvation.
Jesus gave us the perfect pattern, a book which contains "all truth"
(John 16:13; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17). He recognized that all believers who followed
this pattern would be "one" (John 17:20,21). The vital questions being asked
"How do I become a Christian?"
"How must I live?"
"How must I worship?"
are not answered by the wisdom of men, but must only be answered by what the inspired writers penned 1900 years ago.
God did not give us a makeshift church in the beginning that needed to be improved by the ingenuity of men. God gave us a church that was perfect. Our changes and modifications render it imperfect. We need to go back to the original and continue in the "apostles' doctrine" (Acts 2:42). Then we will all be "speaking the same thing" and "there will be no divisions" among us (1 Cor. 1:10).
Perhaps you are saying "amen" to this. If so let us be sure we are not deceiving ourselves. Let us be sure we are following the "apostles' doctrine" and not the "traditions of men." To the Pharisees, Jesus said, "Full well ye reject the commandments of God that ye may keep your own traditions" (Mark 7:9). (Perhaps a present day example will help us better understand). Man today observes the traditions of men in such unscriptural practices as "christening" and "confirmation." God's Word teaches that baptism is by immersion for the forgiveness of sins, the subject being one capable of believing and repenting (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38).
To return to the original church one does not have to give up one single truth. All he needs to do is embrace "all truth."
Under what name do you serve Christ? Is it scriptural? How did you become a Christian? Is this teaching found in the Bible? Is there an example of "your way" found in the Bible? Will you not, because of your love for God, for the sake of unity and the salvation of your soul, go back with us to the word of God?
Roy Dunavin has served on the Board of Directors of Southern Christian Home.
On 15 August 1997 he earned his Doctor of Ministry in Biblical Studies from the Theological University of America.
Roy and his wife Joyce have recently served as Bible teachers in Romania, Guyana, and New Zealand, as well as in Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA.
You may contact Roy Dunavin at: Roy@WestArkChurchofChrist.org
Link to West-Ark Church of Christ Home Page