Some years ago we used to hear quartets and other singers singing the above song. Did you ever hear it? All of it I can now recall is: "You go to your church and I'll go to mine and we'll all get to heaven at the very same time!" That is a rather comforting thought if it is true, but it isn't true! It is a deception! The song emphasizes the diversity of churches and that we are at liberty, apparently with the approval of God, to decide which one of the many churches we will select as the one we will join or "belong to". I have read in several publications that there are at least 400 different brands of churches. If that is true, this gives people a wide choice of churches and they can take their pick of the one they want to join, and even change churches as they will. The erroneous belief prevails that one church is just as good as another, with God approving all of them! It is true that one church is just as good as any other because no church, whatever the brand, is acceptable to God! Of course, every church of whatever brand believes that it has the approval of God or else they would do away with such a church.
There are several brands of Baptist churches, each one claiming to be from God and acceptable to Him, yet there is no mention whatever of any kind of Baptist church in the Scripture. No such thing as a Baptist can be found in God's word, except "John the Baptist," and he was not a member of any Baptist church for no such human institution can be found in God's word. No Baptist church existed until the sixteenth century. John was known as John "the baptizer/ immerser" which is the correct view of this great man. He immersed those who believed his preaching concerning the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, "the One who comes after me", as he put it. John came to "prepare the way of the Lord". He was "the forerunner" who announced the coming of the Savior.
John preached that "there is ONE coming after me the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose." John's work was to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah or Savior and to "make ready a people prepared for the Lord". John preached "in the wilderness of Judea, saying, 'repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand'". (Matt. 3: 1-2) He proclaimed the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, preaching "For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying, 'The voice of one crying m the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!'" (Matt. 3:3) In accepting Jesus as the Messiah, Godís Son, they became followers of Jesus, but they did not join any Church for no such thing existed then. The Roman Catholic Church was the first church to come into existence, around 606 A.D., and it was the only church in existence until the 16th century when King James started the CHURCH of England, of which he made himself the Head and Ruler. Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, like all other churches of whatever brand name, are from the will and wisdom of men; neither is from God!
In truth there is no "church" in God's word! King James ordered the word church put in the Scripture, for after all, he was the Head of the Church of England, which was and is totally a humanly-devised institution or organization. This is equally true of all other churches, including the so-called "Church of Christ" with its many divisions. Like all other churches, the Church of Christ church is wholly from men, not from God in any sense whatever! It is a man-devised religious institution also. The early disciples had no church and were not "members" of any church. They belonged to the Lord Jesus, not to some organization called a "church". There is absolutely nothing in the NT to indicate that the early disciples belonged to or were members of a church of any kind or name. They were simply disciples of Jesus Christ and there was no church or organization between them and the Savior. Never do you find in the original text of Scripture where anyone ever belonged to a church such as abound today. All churches are the creations of men; there were no churches in the days of the apostles. The English word "church" is not a translation of any word in the sacred text. They had their assembly or congregation, which was nothing more than a gathering of disciples to sing, pray, observe the Lord's Supper, study God's word, and strengthen and encourage one another in faithful service to the Lord.
Do you remember the title of this article? It is: "You Go To Your Church And I'll Go To Mine And We'll All Get To Heaven At The Very Same Time." That was the message of the song. Do YOU really believe that statement is true? Does Jesus want us to start our own church and/or join one started by other people? Does Jesus approve such? Jesus nor His apostles ever started a church of any sort or kind. In Matthew 16: 18 Jesus is quoted as saying to His disciples: "Upon this rock I will build My church...", but that is not what He said! Literally He said: "Upon this rock I will build My ecclesia..." The Greek word ecclesia does not mean church and it is totally erroneous to so translate it. Ecclesia actually means "assembly," "congregation," or "gathering". It does not mean "church" or anything similar to that word. Jesus is not today, and never was, the Head of any church or religious institution of any kind. He is the Head and Savior of all people who are redeemed by His blood.
Remember the English word "church" is not a translation of any word in the sacred, original manuscripts of Scripture and the word should, not be used in any translation. The English word "church" is definitely not a translation of the Greek word "ecclesia". There is nothing in the Scripture that can justify a church of any kind. The C of C church, with its many divisions and factions, is like all the other churches, in that they were all started or established by men! Jesus Christ has absolutely nothing to do with a church of any kind. Keep ever before you that King James, of England, ordered that the word church would be used in every instance where the Greek word ecclesia is found in Scripture with the exception of three instances, all three found in Acts 19 where ecclesia is correctly translated as "assembly" or "congregation". Turn to Acts 19:32, 39, and 41 and check this out in the marginal reading. The Greek word ecclesia does translate into such English words as "assembly," "congregation," or "gathering".
Alexander Campbell, in his day, had a translation made of the NT Scriptures. He chose three of the greatest Bible scholars of that day to do the translation, with his participation. He called it "The Sacred Writings of the Apostles and Evangelists of Jesus Christ, commonly styled THE NEW TESTA-
MENT". It is available today from the Gospel Advocate Company in Nashville, TN. It is a unique and worthy translation. This translation does NOT use the word CHURCH at all; but correctly uses the English word "congregation" to translate the Greek word ecclesia. Serious students would really benefit from this translation and from Campbell's extensive appendix.
There are several other translations which do not use the word "church" at all. Let me name a few:
1) The Simple English Bible (NT), by Stanley Morris. Sorry, but it is now out of print. (It definitely needs to be slightly revised and reprinted!)
2) (Robert) Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, available in most book stores.
3) The Emphasized Bible, by J. B. Rotherham.
4) (Hugo) McCord's New Testament Translation of the Everlasting Gospel, published by Freed Hardeman College. In the appendix McCord explains why the word church does not appear in his translation; which in summary states that the word church does not have a place in Scripture because it does not translate the Greek word ecclesia or any other word in the original Greek!
There is nothing in Scripture that can justify or authorize the starting or establishing a church of any brand or kind, as we have them today. All churches are from men; NONE are from God! God's
people will get together with others, as the opportunity presents itself, for fellowship, study of God's word, the worship of the Father in heaven, and for their own edification and enjoyment. A church, an institution or organization of any kind, is not needed in serving our God and Father. Ė CAH