Sectarianism in the Lord’s Church

A recent post on a so-called “Church of Christ” FB page on which a supposed member wrote: “The Church of Christ teaches…,” and then she went on to make her allegations about what the church teaches. The use of the phrase, “The Church of Christ teaches…” is a denominational concept. The church of the New Testament is not a denomination, but we have many in the church who look upon it as just another one.

The church of Christ does not teach anything. The Bible reveals the mind of God and Christians teach it. The church has no earthly headquarters that issues a doctrinal platform on anything. That is the beauty and uniqueness of having autonomous congregations. These same folks on that FB page claim that we are “patternists” or follow what they call “pattern theology” as though there is something wrong with following God’s divine Pattern, Hebrews 8:5.

Many in the church need simple fundamental education in the basics of the Scriptures. They need to know what the New Testament says about the church and about how the Bible authorizes. Let us keep the church pure in doctrine and in practice. “Speak thou the things that befit sound doctrine.” 1 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 4:3, Titus 1:9; 2:1.

Speaking the same thing and being of one accord and one mind, of one heart and one soul (as we are commanded to do), implies a pattern of thinking and behaving alike, 1 Cor. 1:10-13; Acts 2; Phil. 1:27; 2:2. Otherwise, we have confusion, and God is not the author of confusion, 1 Cor. 14:33, nor diverse doctrines on the same subject.

Biblical baptism follows the pattern of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, Rom. 6. Those who object to “patternism” say they have been baptized as set forth in the New Testament. Paul spoke of baptism as following that “form” or “pattern” of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, Romans 6:17-18. Whether they realize it or not, they are “patternists” in the very matter of baptism. I wonder if they have ever thought about that? And, if so, I wonder if that galls them?

The apostle Peter admonishes Christians, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:” – 1 Peter 2:21 (NKJV).  The word “example” here means, “a writing-copy for one to imitate” (Robertson’s Word Pictures). Thus, a “pattern” to follow!

So, I guess I am a “patternist.” What does that make those who do not follow God’s pattern? “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”  2 Timothy1:13 (NKJV).

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