Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2003 12:51 PM

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." 
     A 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."

1.  Campbellites of THE SPIRITUAL SWORD cult teach that members of the CC are the only people who are saved.

    "The Bible teaches that there are no Christians who are not members of the church of Christ"--Thomas Warren, SS 4/85, p. 6.
    "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.
    "'There are 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 1.
    "Parents MUST teach their children that the ONLY Christians are found in the church of Christ"--Bill Jackson, SS 10/84.

    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 sinner.

2.  Campbellites deny the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation.

    "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.
    "We can 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. cit.).

    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. 1:5.
    "Lydia . . . whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul"-Acts 16:14.

    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. 2:4). 
    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).
    Any 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, Texas.

3.  Campbellites deny that any one is truly saved in this life.

    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 19.
    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 27.
    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 salvation."
    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.

    These are 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:

A List of "Back" Email Articles Available on Request.
Pilgrim Website:
Second Website: BAPTISTS OF TEXAS Committed to the Bible
Email:  (Bob L. Ross)
By request, your name will be added to my Email List, or be
removed on request.

Publishers of C. H. Spurgeon's Sermons & Other Works
Send your snail-mail address for a printed Price List, or
Request a Price List via Email.
Pilgrim Publications, Box 66, Pasadena, TX 77501
Phone: (713) 477-4261.   Fax: (713) 477-7561
Map to Pilgrim Book Store