Jul 29

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This week we will continue to look at the writings of Dr. Keith W. Schweitzer, Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Greenfield, Iowa (the first two have appeared in “Frank’s Corner); who is writing under what he calls: “Various Doctrinal Positions of The Campbellite Church of Christ And a Lutheran Response to Those Positions.” The first thing to notice about what he writes is that he is making up the “Various Doctrinal Positions” of the so-called “Campbellite Church of Christ!”
It should be of interest to notice this little point. The Campbells, Thomas and Alexander, nor any of those associated with them ever called themselves “Campbellites!” Martin Luther, also desired that no one call themselves Lutherans. Nevertheless Dr. Schweitzer is a member of a church that does just this! Even if he were right, it would be the “pot calling the kettle black,” as the old saying goes! In other words, he does what he is charging others of doing!
He appears to be very concerned with what he calls the: “Position: ‘We (The so-called Campbellite Church of Christ.) use only the Bible to formulate doctrines. We do not have confessions, catechisms, creeds, or other ‘man-made’ writings to formulate doctrines.” Which we have looked at and given some answers to his charges, but now we will look at another.
Here he refers to Leroy Brownlow and his book, Why I Am a Member of the Church of Christ (Fort Worth: Brownlow Publishing, 1945) and gives his “Lutheran Response: This is an oft-cited claim made by the Campbellite Church of Christ. The reality is quite different. The Church of Christ, in fact, has many confessions, catechisms, and other “man-made” writings that have been used to formulate doctrines” It only needs to be pointed out, as in earlier articles, that this book is much too late, been written in 1945, to serve as “confessions, catechisms, creeds, or other ‘man-made’ writings to formulate doctrines” for his so-called Campbellite Church of Christ! As the Campbell’s did their work in the first half of the 1800’s and the Brownlow book was written nearly ninety-five years later!
Another charge is: “Campbellite Church of Christ Position: “Ours is the church you read about in the Bible particularly in Acts 2. Ours is the only true, visible church on earth. Our church began in A.D. 33. A person must be a member of our church if he hopes to go to heaven.” Personally, I do not refer to the Lord’s church as “our church,” though there may be a way the words could be correctly used. Paul wrote: “unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 1:1). This is written in the Greek genitive; to the best of my ability in Greek. However, it is most uncommon for me to hear members of the churches of Christ to use the words, “our church.” We would more than likely say, “The church of Christ started in A.D. 33, as recorded in Acts two.”
Now, let us deal with the second point, “A person must be a member of our church if he hopes to go to heaven.” Taking the words, “our church,” to mean the church of which Jesus said, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18), and the church to which Luke wrote: “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). Would anyone deny that the Lord adds those who are being saved to his church; the church of Christ?
Would the Lord, for instance, add the saved to the Lutheran Church, of which the Lord knew nothing; for which the Lord did not shed his blood (Acts 20:28)? I think not!
Just what does it take to be the church, the church which Jesus said, “I will build,” the church for which he shed his blood? It takes “the teaching of Christ,” nothing more and nothing else but “the teaching of Christ” and humble souls/spirits who are obedient to it! Dare we today preach the same thing the apostles preached on that great Pentecost day in A.D. 33: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38)? A better question, dare we preach something else?

Frank R. Williams

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