To Be a Christian is to be in the Church

by F.B. Srygley

The point has often been made in these columns that, according to the New Testament, one cannot be a Christian and not belong to the church, for the reason that the same process which makes one a Christian constitutes him a member of the church. The church is the household or family of God, and as such it includes and consists of all the children of God. (I Timothy 3:14; Ephesians 2:19022; John 3:5). The church is the body of Christ, and every Christian is a member of it. (Colossians 1:18,24; Ephesians 1:22,23; Romans 12:1-5; I Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 4:1-4; John 15:1-10). The Baptist Helper has compiled the following list of authorities in addition to the New Testament writers already cited in support of these propositions:

Alexander Campbell said: “We must live in the kingdom or under the government of Jesus Christ, if we would enjoy the blessings of his reign.” (Millennial Harbinger, Volume II, page 53.) Moses E. Lard said: “There are two kingdoms on earth in which men exist -- the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. The two kingdoms are separated by one and the same line. All on this side are saints; all on that side are sinners.” (Campbellism Examined, page 38). J.A. Harding said: “Can a sinner be saved without entering the church? I answer: There is no other way known.” (Nashville Debate.) Dr. J.R. Lucas said: “If I could go to heaven without belonging to the church, I would go that way.” (Ash Grove Debate.) G.B. Hancock said: “There is no other way under heaven to be saved except through the church.” (Verona Debate.) We might quote hundreds of others; but, since they are all substantially agreed on this point, it is unnecessary.

It may be remarked, in the light of this plain New Testament teaching, that anything which a man can be a Christian without belonging to is not the church of the New Testament, and nobody ought to be a member of it. Why should any one belong to anything which he can be a Christian and go to heaven without being a member of? Is it not enough for one to be a Christian while he lives and go to heaven when he dies? Why should any one want to do more than this? God has never required any one to be more than a Christian while he lives or to try to do any better than go to heaven when he dies.

(The New Testament Church, Gospel Advocate Co., page 13-14).

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