“You Think You’re The Only Ones Going To Heaven”

Are only those in the church of Christ going to heaven?

Are only those in the church of Christ going to heaven?

I hear now and then, “You guys in the church of Christ think that you are the only ones going to Heaven.” It’s meant as a way of dismissing us. Show us to be weirdos, and you don’t have to listen to us.

Hear me on this one:

If you think that way about us, it is only because of ignorance.

Sure, some people might have said to you that if you are not a member of the church of Christ you are going to Hell. There are some people who need to learn manners. Then again, maybe they just felt ignored and felt that was the only way to get your attention.

A Different Perspective About “Church”

Instead of worrying about the merits of such an approach, consider the fact that people who say such things MIGHT be using the word “church” differently than you.

You would probably believe the same thing if you use the word “church” or the phrase “church of Christ” in the same way.

The word “church” can be used in at least two different biblical contexts.

  1. The saved who are not in a particular location. That is, the universal group of the people who are going to Heaven. (See Ephesians 4:4, for example.)
  2. The saved in a particular location.

There are also two other definitions of “church” in our culture.

  1. The building where certain people meet to worship God.
  2. By extension, the people who are part of a denomination or splinter-group of Christianity.

You probably view the “church” according to one of the cultural definitions above. Accordingly, to suggest that any other church is better than the church you attend is unacceptable. That is understandable when you view it from the idea that every church is a part of the greater whole.

There is a difference between suggesting that you are a part of a splinter-group of Christianity and saying that you are part of a local congregation of faithful Christians. I know those sound exactly the same, but consider this difference: Authenticity.

They Are Not All Christians

What I mean is this: We probably agree that not everyone who makes the claim of Christianity is actually a Christian. For the sake of argument, let’s consider the fact that there are at least some people who are disingenuous, who attend church or claim to be Christians but have ulterior motives. Jesus warned about these people in Matthew 7:15.

If it is the case that there are “wolves in sheep’s clothing” out there, that simply means that they look like Christians. Now, if a church is full of such people, are they a part of the “saved”?

Not everyone who calls Jesus “Lord” actually lives based upon that statement.

There you have the difference.

So, consider the phrase about the church of Christ using the FIRST two definitions above. Would you agree that only the people who are a part of the group that is saved (the church) are the ones who are saved?

Before You Object…

You might object and suggest that “there are Christians in all the denominations” and suggest that I am being irrational. That is ONLY because you are looking at the word “church” in the way our culture defines it. Think about the word from another perspective.

  • If the “church” is the group of saved people,
  • And if you are not saved,
  • Then you are not a part of the church.

Or, to put it another way:

  • If the “church” is the group of saved people,
  • And if you are saved,
  • Then you are a part of the church.

Consider it a third way.

  • If the “church” is the group of the saved people
  • Then only those people who are part of the church are saved.

Do you believe that? It MUST be true.

Who does the church belong to? That’s right. It belongs to Christ.

So, if you say, “Only those people who are members of the church of Christ are saved” then it could be correct, depending upon which definition of “church” you use.

Why would anyone say that anyway?

  • It is a teaching mechanism. It forces people to consider the validity of the words and shows that there is a better, higher perspective than the traditional, cultural, denominational view of the church.
  • It forces us to recognize that there is a standard and a pattern. Although none of us are perfect, we better do everything we can to be sure that our actions follow that pattern.
  • It also opens up discussion. If used correctly, and at the right time, it helps create interaction and discussion. After all, our relationship with God is the most important part of anyone’s life. And that’s what we are trying to get people to discuss.
  • Society preaches that all churches are as good as another, but the Bible says there is only ONE church (Ephesians 4:4). The Bible teaches that God wants UNITY, not division. When we have division, it can only be because there is an error somewhere.

When I write about things like this, it is not an attempt to say I am better than anyone else. It’s an attempt to call people to a higher calling than fighting over silly names and man-made ideas and start calling ourselves what we are and getting back to the ideas GOD has for humanity.

Doctrines and ideas are important, but they only matter if they can be proven to be from God. Otherwise, holding on to them is nothing more than holding on to the division that God does not want. Christ did not die for us to have the opportunity to divide into splinter-groups. He died for us all to be part of ONE body, His church.

The Local Congregation

The local congregations are not to be divided based upon ideas and doctrines, but upon location. At every church, let us all hear, teach, and believe the SAME things. That church is what Jesus died for (Acts 20:28).

And that is what we are trying to maintain in the churches of Christ today.

I would never say in casual conversation the exact words, “If you are not a member of the church of Christ, you are not saved.” That is because I know I would be misunderstood. I’ll leave such tactics to others. But I will say all day long that if you are not a part of the church for which Jesus died, you are not saved. And I’ll work all day to help explain how to identify whether a group of people is a part of that church or not. I have a feeling you would too, if you believe in Christ.

About Jadmin

Jason is passionate about spreading the Gospel. He has a wife and two children and has been preaching since graduating Brow trail School of Preaching in June, 1999. He also holds an MA from University of Phoenix.

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