THREE MAJOR ERRORS ON SALVATION WHICH CONSTITUTE
THE CAMPBELLITE "CHURCH OF CHRIST" AS A CULT
NOTE: I have had some calls, visitors, and inquiries
lately which have made me realize the continual need to expose the errors of
Campbellism, alias the "Church of Christ."
lot of people apparently think the CC has "changed" because of a few men like
Max Lucado, Leroy Garrett, Cecil Hook, R. L. Kilpatrick, Arnold Hardin, and some
others, men who have deviated somewhat from hardline Campbellism; but on the
whole, the underlying doctrine of salvation by obedience (works) is still very
much operative in most of the Campbellite sects, including the
pro-institutionalist and the non-institutionalist divisions. This is also true
of the "International Church of Christ" sect, formerly known as the "Boston
Movement," and the "Kingites" or A.D. 70 splinter.
Here is an article which I wrote sometime ago, exposing the three MAJOR flaws of
Campbellite doctrine, which usually prevail in Campbellism in whatever form it
has sectarianized.-- Bob L. Ross
This article will
present three of the major flaws in Campbellite teachings on salvation set forth
by modern-day Church of Christ writers, illustrating unscriptural positions
which they hold. The letters "SS" will be used to abbreviate reference to
THE SPIRITUAL SWORD magazine from which many of the quotations will be
taken. "CC" refers to "Church of Christ."
of THE SPIRITUAL SWORD cult teach that members of the CC are the only people who
"The Bible teaches that there are no
Christians who are not members of the church of Christ"--Thomas Warren, SS 4/85,
"The Bible teaches that every one who enters a
denomination sins in so doing and that those who remain in a denomination until
death will be lost"--Warren, SS 4/85, page 10.
sincere, knowledgeable, devout Christians scattered among all the various
denominations.' I kindly, but confidently, deny this affirmation"--Garland
Elkins, SS 10/85, page 28.
"There are no Christians who
are not members of the church of Christ"--Warren, SS 10/83, page
"Parents MUST teach their children that the ONLY
Christians are found in the church of Christ"--Bill Jackson, SS
The BIBLE teaches that the SAVED are those who
believe in Jesus Christ as Saviour [John 3:16-18, 36, 5:24, 6:47, Acts 16:31,
etc.]. Ideally, members of the church should be saved, yet there is the
possibility that some become members of the church without having been
saved. Church membership adds nothing to salvation, as the work of
salvation is by Christ, not by the good, obedient works of the
2. Campbellites deny the work of the Holy Spirit in
"Thus we see that the eunuch did not
need an angel or the Holy Spirit for salvation, but he did need Philip's message
for salvation"--J. H. Parker, SS 4/76, page 10.
further note that the very efforts of the angel and the Holy Spirit in bringing
Philip to the eunuch show that such divine agents are to have no direct role in
the salvation of a man, rather that a man is to be converted by his hearing
another preach the Gospel to him"--J. H. Parker (op.
The BIBLE teaches that a man is BORN OF
[Greek: "EK" (out of)] God. In every instance where
the SOURCE of the new birth is mentioned, the language is EK HIM, EK
THE SPIRIT, EK GOD. It is therefore essential that the Holy
Spirit work in conjunction with the Gospel, or the Word, as ADDITIONAL to the
preaching. Campbellites deny that there is such a work of the Holy Spirit,
holding that there is nothing more than the Word in bringing about the new
birth. I have debated this with David Brown of Houston and with Stephen
Wiggins of Burkburnett, Texas, and both of them denied that the Holy Spirit
works additionally, accompanyingly, and conjunctively with the Word or Gospel,
but that He only works ONLY "thru" the Word without His personal accompanying
power being necessary to make the Word effectual.
Since they don't believe in the new birth by the agency of the personal power of
the Holy Spirit, they substitute water baptism as the "new birth." Not
that they believe baptism actually imparts the new birth, but it is viewed as
one of the "steps" the sinner takes in putting himself into a forgiven
"state." Nothing is actually done internally, according to this view, for
baptism is simply an "act of obedience" which is required to the remission of
"past sins," and if one holds out faithfully thereafter, he will be finally and
at least "saved in Heaven."
In effect, they deny the
very essence of regeneration, which is to be "born from above" (John 3:3).
This error leads to their denial of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, as taught
by evangelical Christianity, and the denial of the security of the
believer. They postulate everything upon man's "obedience" to the letter
of the Word, denying an accompanying personal work of the Holy Spirit.
They represent evangelical Christianity as teaching the work of the Spirit
"separate from" and "apart from" the Word, when in reality we teach the position
as set forth by Paul:
"For our gospel came not unto
you IN WORD ONLY, but also in power, and in THE HOLY GHOST . . ."-I Thess.
"Lydia . . . whose heart the Lord opened, that she
attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul"-Acts
If there is no additional work, or influence,
of the Holy Spirit, then this last verse, which says the Lord "opened her
heart," is superfluous. Obviously, while the WORD is the means of
communicating that which is to be believed, the additional unseen work of the
Holy Spirit is necessary for being "born from above." Paul referred to his
preaching as being "in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (I Cor.
Is this not why, as so many have observed,
Campbellite preaching is so dead, so staccato, and relies so heavily upon human
"logic" and "legalism?" The only explanation of this barren spirituality
is the absence of the Holy Spirit. This likewise explains their lack of a
proper understanding of the Word of God (I Cor. 2:14).
time any one in the Campbellite movement somehow comes to accept the Bible
teaching on the Holy Spirit's work, the person immediately comes under suspicion
of heresy. This was one of the primary issues which was discussed at the
special meeting which was held in Memphis in 1973, one of the "peak" events
which marked a "split" in the ranks of those associated with the support of THE
HERALD OF TRUTH radio program out of the Highland Church of Christ, Abilene,
3. Campbellites deny that any one is truly saved in this
Walter Scott (1796-1861), who claimed to
have "restored the ancient gospel" in 1827, taught that one is not "born of the
Spirit" until the resurrection of the body (THE GOSPEL RESTORED, page
558: "No Christian is yet born of the Spirit; this event is the
resurrection . . . still in the future").
Mr. M. H. Tucker
says that "We have eternal life in prospect . . . eternal life follows the
judgment; it is received in the world to come"--SS 4/77, page
Tom Warren says, "No one goes into eternal life (as a
present possession) when he is baptized," but "he only comes into hope of
eternal life at the time he is baptized," "if he lives the faithful Christian
life (I John 1:7), he will receive the eternal life which the Lord has promised
(I John 2:25)"--SS 4/77, pages 30, 31.
The prayer of
Garland Elkins indicates that they do not believe they are really saved:
"Forgive us our sins and save us in Heaven"--MEMPHIS MEETING, II, page
Consequently, when they speak of being "saved" during
this life, they simply mean you have been saved from "past and alien
sins." They do not mean that you are saved forever, have eternal life, and
shall not come into condemnation; you could "sin so as to lose
Bill Jackson says there are "many elements
making up a faithful Christian life and man is saved by all of these"--CHRISTIAN
WORKER, 7/88, page 2.
Since they deny the work of the Holy
Spirit in the new birth, and deny the indwelling of the Holy Spirit except by
the Word, and teach that good works are a "part" of salvation, it is only
natural that they do not believe they are actually saved in this life. To
them, salvation is the "reward" that comes at the end of this life. If you
have "obeyed" their "5-step plan," are a faithful member of their church,
worship faithfully according to their "5 acts of worship" teaching, obey
the elders who "rule the church," and "do all that is right to best of your
ability," if your works "favorably correspond" to the truth, then you "shall be
saved" (SS 4/77, pages 8, 9, and SS 1/76, page 26). Until then, no one is
actually saved, according to Campbellism.
three MAJOR errors which make the Campbellite "gospel" to be "another gospel"
than the one true Gospel of the Scriptures. Their exclusivist claim to
being the "one and only Christians" constitute them a cult, and their false
gospel of salvation by works constitute them a cult. We can tolerate their side
fetishes like anti-instrumental music, the necessity of weekly communion,
wearing the "right name" on the church building, anti-millennialism, their
anti-pastor view, their alleged anti-creedalism, their false claim to "speak
where the Bible speaks," and similar nonsense, but on the above three major
errors, they are definitely a cult.
FOR MORE on
Campbellism, see my books on the subject: http://members.aol.com/pilgrimpub/writings.htm
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