My kids are just like everybody’s kids. They are pretty sure I am just a mean, old man with an arrogant attitude about other religious groups. “Dad, why do you think you’re so right?!?!” Sound familiar? Let’s take a look at what’s going on when we hear this kind of claim.
They Had Some Help: As a general rule, young people don’t say this kind of thing unless they hear it from someone else. See if this scenario sounds familiar:
- Kid one: “Where do you go to church?”
- Kid two: “North Second Street Church of Christ.”
- Kid one: “Oooohhhh, you think you’re the only ones going to heaven.”
At this point, kid two doesn’t want to seem unkind, politically incorrect, or intolerant. So, they come home and parrot the discussion back to mom and dad. Kids (and adults!) have an innate fear of being different, fanatical, or narrow-minded. In our post-modern world, there is no absolute right or wrong. All ideas are equally valid and, “How dare you say otherwise?”
All Churches Say They Are Right: It has always struck me as odd when people say, “You church of Christ people think everybody else is wrong.” Well, which church doesn’t think what they teach is right? If someone believes in saying the sinner’s prayer to be saved, don’t they think that to be true? If it were the biblical response to the gospel, wouldn’t that mean my faith-only friend thinks baptism for the forgiveness of sins is wrong? Which of us is mean and intolerant again? Wouldn’t that mean we are going to hell because we don’t teach the truth (sinner’s prayer)?
It Matters Or Nothing Does: At this point, many will back away and say, “Well, I’m not saying anybody else is wrong.” If that is true, then what does matter? There’s a line from an old country song that goes, “If you don’t stand for something, then you’ll fall for anything.” The truth is, our faith-only friends DO think they are right and we are wrong. But because New Testament Christians don’t engage in practices foreign to the Bible, it convicts their hearts. Deep inside they know there are no bands, basketball gyms, or any examples of an apostle telling someone to accept Jesus as their personal Savior or say the sinner’s prayer in the Bible. So, instead of turning in submission to the will of God (Matthew 7:21-23), they throw rhetorical stones.
The Truth Matters: It’s not a matter of, “You don’t like my friend’s church.” or “You won’t let me go to church with my classmates.” It IS a matter of pleasing God. It’s not the name on the marquee or who attends a church that makes a difference. What do they teach about God (Creator? Only God? Does his word have authority?). Is Jesus portrayed as the resurrected Son of God (Christ? Virgin birth? The Jesus who declared sexual immorality to be sin?)? What about baptism (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:38, I Peter 3:21)? Do they play instead of sing (Ephesians 3:17-21; Colossians 3:16-17)? Will they, “Do this in remembrance of me.” and “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”-I Corinthians 11:24, 26? If I have obedient faith in Jesus the Son, there is no way I am knowingly going to a worship service that disregards the word of God the Father.
It doesn’t matter whether my friend attends a certain church. It matters whether a church worships according to the Spirit inspired Scriptures. That’s who I will be with this Lord’s day.