Top 20 List
You can know you are attending a traditional Church of Christ if they

1. Believe or assume that man is born basically 'good' or morally neutral, and does not have a prior inclination or predisposition to sin or to do evil.

Answer: “For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man (Jesus Christ) the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19

“…I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Romans 7:21-24

"For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that He may have mercy on them all." Romans 11:32

2. Believe that the unsaved, natural man can understand and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ without the inner working of the Holy Spirit.

Answer: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” John 6:44

“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. 2:14

3. Believe that if a person will simply try and apply themselves that we have the ability in our own strength to live every day without sinning.

Answer: “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

“There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” Ecc. 7:20

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12

"…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23

4. Believe that to be saved, all a person needs to do is cooperate and be obedient to all the necessary moral and religious requirements of the New Testament.

Answer: “And if by grace, then it (salvation) is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” Romans 11:6

“For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” Galatians 3:21

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph. 2:8-9

5. Believe that the definition of baptism (to dip, to plunge, or immerse) only means to be dipped, plunged, or immersed in the medium of water.

Answer: “He (Jesus) commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:4-5

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free- and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Cor. 12:13

Author’s note: Water baptism is simply the believer’s outward sign or symbol of the true, actual, or Holy Spirit baptism that occurs at the moment of conversion.

6. Find it difficult to explain how that John the Baptist said he baptized with water, but there was One coming after him (that is, Jesus) who would baptize with the Holy Spirit.

Answer: “I (John) did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’” John 1:33

“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 11:15-16

7. Stress the importance of being water baptized ‘for the forgiveness of sins,’ rather than by placing faith in Jesus Christ.

Answer: “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:43

“…that they may receive the forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” Acts 26:18

“…(Jesus) whom God set forth as a propitiation (a satisfactory payment for sin) through faith in His blood.” Romans 3:25

8. Only know 8 verses from the book of Romans in chapter 6 and what they believe is being taught- water baptism for salvation.

Answer: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16&17

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.” Romans 3:21

"(God is) just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." Romans 3:26b"

"But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness." Romans 4:5

"(righteousness) shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead," Romans 4:24

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” Romans 5:1-2

“… that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9-10

9. Believe that faith alone teaches that a person can be saved by simply believing or accepting "as true" the facts of the Christian faith.

Answer: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:36″Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” John 6:44

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” John 11:26

Author’s note: Salvation by faith in Christ means that we are believing God's promise that Jesus Christ saves us. Therefore it should be understood that there is a radical difference between BELIEVING THE FACTS of John 3:16 and BELIEVING GOD’S PROMISE in John 3:16.

10. Believe that salvation by faith alone is a watered down gospel taken out of context from a few passages of scriptures.

Author’s note: There are 154 passages in the New Testament that tell us salvation is by placing our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. It is systematically taught in the book of Romans (chapters 3, 4, 5, 9, 10 &11) and because of a doctrinal controversy, is also addressed in Galatians (chapters 2, 3, 4 & 5).

11. Accept the fact that Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again, but have a difficult time connecting “water baptism for salvation" with how the death of Christ was God’s satisfactory payment for YOUR sin.

Author’s note: Jesus Christ died on the cross receiving in His body ALL of God’s wrath, anger and righteous indignation for OUR sin. And because of God’s great love for us, God was willing to punish Jesus (our substitute) so He wouldn’t have to punish us. In other words, “water” baptism has nothing to do with the gospel and the believer's salvation itself, but rather is simply the believer’s outward sign or symbol of his new relationship and identification with Jesus and His death, burial, and resurrection.

Answer: “Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Question: If Christian baptism is only with water, why did Peter have to say “with water”? Why didn’t he just say, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized?'

“Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Acts 8:36-37

“I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius….For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel.” 1 Cor. 1:14-17

12. Try to attain righteousness and right standing with God through their own imperfect obedience to the commands and laws of God, yet at the same time have to admit they do NOT obey God's moral or religious laws perfectly.

Answer: “What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.” Romans 9:30-31

“Since they (i.e. Israel) did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Romans 10:3-4

13. Are trying to be make themselves righteous by what they do, i.e. 'doing the right thing the right way for the right reason', and have never heard of the perfect righteousness that God provides as A GIFT to ALL AND UPON ALL who believe in Jesus Christ.

Answer: “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” Romans 3:21-22

“…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” Phil. 3:9

14. Have as their salvation theme verse Acts 2:38 and their gospel message is, ‘repentance and water baptism for the forgiveness of sins.’

Answer: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” John 1:12

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-18

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” John 5:24

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." John 20:31

15. Believe methodology and procedural matters of the church, such as the use or non-use of instrumental music in worship, the correct church name (and how it is written), the observance of Christmas or Easter, the use of one cup or two, etc., are important issues because they are convinced we make themselves righteous by what we do rather than by trusting in Jesus Christ who makes people righteous.

Author’s note: The very righteousness we need, and don’t have in our own selves, God provides as a gift to all those who will place faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Answer: “…if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it (faith) was accounted to him for righteousness."” Romans 9:30

"For they (Israel) being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." Romans 10:3,4

“…not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” Phil. 3:9

16. Know someone who has re-water-baptized at least once because they felt they needed a 'do-over' and that 'this time' they'll really attain living for God.

Answer: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” Romans 7:18-19

“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the (our) flesh (i.e. we are unable keep the law), God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh …that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us…” Romans 8:3&4

Author’s note: The good news of the gospel is that while we cannot hope to be “good” enough for heaven, that Jesus lived holy for us so that the basis of going to heaven is based on His perfect life and not our own.

17. Believe that the doctrine of salvation by faith alone teaches a person to continue to live in sin.

Answer: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue to live in sin that grace may abound? Romans 6:1

Question: If we are saved by the CHURCH OF CHRIST gospel of “hear-believe-repent-confess-be-water-baptized-(and-keep-ourselves-saved-by)-living-a-moral-and-religious-good-life”…

…why would the apostle Paul think it necessary to ask, “What then? Can we continue to live in sin?”

Any wrong religious or moral infraction could endanger that person’s salvation.

But if we are saved simply by placing faith in Christ alone, rather than by our own moral and religious conduct, doesn’t it make sense why Paul would anticipate this objection of why the believer, now that he is saved, should not continue to live in sin?

18. Mis-characterize those who believe in salvation by faith alone as though they teach a person to continue to live in sin.

Answer: “And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”? –as we are slanderously reported and some affirm that we say.” Romans 3:8

Question: If the Church of Christ is teaching the same gospel as Paul, how is it that they are never mis-characterized as though they teach, ‘we can continue to live in sin and still be saved’ –as Paul and others were in the New Testament?

19. Believe that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is a Calvinist doctrine.

Author’s note: The doctrine of justification by faith alone is accepted/ predicated by both the Calvinist and “free-will” view.

20. Believe that the Church of Christ is the only church which correctly teaches and follows the Bible, yet cannot explain how there can be other Christians in the world who do not believe and interpret the Word as they do.

Answer: “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.” 3 John 9-10

“Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side.” Mark 9:38-40