The Body, II When a question is asked of you try to determine the intention of the inquirer! Often members of the Churches of Christ are asked: “Do you think yours is the only church?” As I advised last week, don’t answer this question before you have had at least a little time to teach this person. Like any other subject, one cannot jump into a discussion of the molecular structure of the atom the first day of Science. Often people think of a Church as a religious club just like some social clubs to which they belong. You belong to the Free Masons, I belong to the Odd Fellows; they both are good in many respects. To say one is better than the other seems to be out of order: especially to someone who does not know anything about the either. But, if you then told the individual that if they belonged to the Masonic Lodge they would go to Hell, you would get quite a different reaction. They consider this a matter of opinion. Religiously, people think of denominations the same way. They belong to one, or their parents did, or some of their friends do and they are considerate of the one to which someone they know belongs. They really have no way to understand just what you are saying or why you are saying this about something they have not seriously considered anyway. Again, they think all churches are alike, they all serve the same God, and they all read “right out of the Bible”, so you are attacking God to make such a bold statement about their Church. Finally, if their mother or father or some loved one died in that denomination, they immediately add to your statement that since they died belonging to the denomination of their choice they are currently burning in the fiery hall eternal Hell!! Add to this the passion of what they consider an insult and you have a situation that is not conducive to a Bible study!!
Truth is the greatest friend anyone has. Add to this fact that Jesus Christ has no one to defend His Word but you and one quickly sees why a person who would not otherwise harm a flea all of a sudden is picking a fight the accosted individual has not asked to enter!! It also is not something they consider important; all denominations are the same, some are just a little different, but all serve Christ: or so they have been told. No wonder the reception is a little icy!! Add to this a person who WAS GLAD TO SEE THEIR FRIEND, thinking they are joining a friendly conversation, find they are in the middle of an argument. They are not only embarrassed, feel offended and jabbed with a strong right hook somewhere out of nowhere, but have had their life changed never to be the same. See why they are not now ready to study the Bible!!
What do you do when they ask? ANSWER them. How? With all the love you have. What do you tell them? All you think you have the time and they have the understanding to handle. Do all you can to set up a time to discuss the matter when you can fully study the question. If you do not want such a study, you have not lost anything.
What is the answer? There are several ways to approach this study. One is that the Church is the body of Christ, Colossians 1:18, and there is one body, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, and but one! “There is one body, and one Spirit even as ye are called in one hope of your calling: One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all”. Ephesians 4:4-6 this is pretty hard to argue with!! How many bodies? ONE What is the body? THE CHURCH How many churches does the Lord possess? ONE, AND BUT ONE, 1 Corinthians 12:20 What is offensive about this? Nothing IF you are looking for Truth. Consider those who ask, consider the Lord who is to be defended, and teach them when they are ready.