Identifying the Church: The Proper Law

The law of the United States is our Constitution. Citizens of America understand that they must follow these laws or they will be punished. But the law governing the church is the Bible, the word of God. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Christians must understand that they follow these laws and none other. Likewise, if we do not follow these laws, we will be punished in eternal torment.

We learn from the New Testament that Christ has all authority (Matthew 17:5; 28:18; John 12:47-48). His authority was delegated to His apostles (John 14:26; 16:13-14). The apostles, being guided by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21), then wrote our New Testament (James 1:25; 2 Peter 1:3-4; Jude 3-5). The apostle John boldly declared, “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6).

In the first few centuries after Christ, men became content to decide doctrinal matters with “church councils.” The first one was the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325). This was followed by the First Council of Constantinople (381), the Council of Ephesus (431), the council of Chalcedon (451), the Second Council of Constantinople (553), the Third Council of Constantinople (680) and the Second Council of Nicea (787). While there were more councils, but these seven are considered the most important. When these councils met, official “church doctrine” grew while respect for the teachings of the New Testament declined.

One cannot disregard the teachings of Christ and His law for the church and not turn away from the truth. Consequently, the Confession of Faith, the Articles of Religion, the Book of Mormon, the Koran, or other assorted disciplines, church manuals, or creeds are the wrong laws for the Lord’s church. And they are wrong because they change the teachings of the New Testament (Galatians 1:6-9; Revelation 22:18-19).

Kyle Campbell

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