Today I did a Google search for this term, “What is the Church of Christ pattern?” The search returned 905,000 hits. In most every case, the churches and individuals that came up in my sampling insist that the New Testament provides a “pattern” for worship which must be followed.

Interestingly, I could not find many who stated what the “pattern” is. Those in my sample who did define it included “pattern” components different from each other. Many patternists teach that the “pattern” extends far beyond worship, and their “pattern” is more elusive than the first.

No agreement as to definition

One Church of Christ insists that the five acts of worship (singing, praying, preaching, giving, and the Lord’s Supper) are the pattern. So they will quote verses that support those five things. Another Church of Christ will add baptism for the remission of sins and singing only a cappella to the pattern of “the one true church.” Still another adds to the “pattern” a requirement that only the King James Version of the Bible be used in public readings. The width and breadth of the supposed “pattern” is limited only by the number of people who define it.

The problem with “patternism” is the pattern. If what devout patternists proclaim  is true, wouldn’t it make sense that it would be relatively easy to find in the Bible? I am well aware of many of the proof texts but I must ask, “Is everyone reading the same Bible?”

What about those earliest Christians who, for perhaps two generations, got along quite well before many of the proof texts were written, and for sure before they were widely distributed? Were those early believers not able to worship God acceptably?

When patternism becomes sin

The title of this article is rather strong indictment. Tell me I’m wrong. At least one book has been written, plus scores of articles in periodicals and on blogs, condemning North Richland Hills Church of Christ in Texas, for its decision to include instrumental music in one of many Sunday services.

The attitude of those passing judgment is simple: Forget all the Christian service this church provides in its community, forget its faithfulness to preach Christ, to baptize believers and to live holy, loving lives. No Sir! These Christians went outside the supposed “pattern” and are damned because of it.

It is one thing to decided what is permissible individually or for my congregation, but when I apply that standard to every other Christian, and then teach that they will be lost if they do not comply, I am guilty of teaching “another gospel” and commit a grievous sin.

I recently listed over 40 different issues about which some Churches of Christ have divided, refused to acknowledge each other as brothers, and condemned each other to hell-fire. In each case, one group insists the other violated “the pattern.” In each case, the folks condemning have concluded that what the other people are doing is “unauthorized,” which puts them in open rebellion against God and means they are lost.

When this happens, Patternism becomes a template for sin! Those who design the template require everyone who claims to follow Jesus to fit their exact template or be lost. In Jesus’ day, the patternists were called Pharisees. Among some Churches of Christ today, they are called “elders” and “preachers,” but they are cut from the same cloth.

Yes, there is one “pattern” we should apply to our lives as believers. His name is Jesus.



  1. You are a poor blind guide in this matter. What prejudice that you show in judging patternists by your own pattern! Don’t you know that we are to be imitators of the Christian example (1 Cor. 4:16-17, 11:1; Eph. 5:1; Phil. 3:17; 1 Thes. 1:7; 2 Thes. 3:7, 9; Heb. 6:12; 3 John 1:11))? Do you not know the words for example and pattern are the same (2 Tim. 1:13; Rom. 5:14, 6:17; 1 Thes. 1:7; Phil. 3:17; 2 Thes. 3:9; 1 Pet. 5:3)? Has Christ not set a pattern for us in worship? Do you not follow a pattern for baptism and the Lord’s Supper even if just simply calling them these names? Open your eyes. You who call others Pharisees! For the Pharisees were not patternists according to the Word. Their pattern was their traditions. These were man-made inventions, which went further to neglect God’s instructions (Matt. 15, 23, Mark 7). Pharisees were just as much liberals as they were legalists. Do not be a white-washed tomb and condemn churches for having the same problems that so many had in the 1st centuries. You’re not going to change any minds with this contempt.

    Can you not open your eyes and see the spiritual worship of singing alone? Or are you hard of heart and dull of hearing? Do you not see that God commanded just singing and how completely sublime it is? How completely disgusting to alter what God has made perfect? Yeah, we’re all guilty in profaning the image of God, and yet let’s not profane the blood of Christ and His words which are spirit and life. Do you not know that preaching, praying, and singing in unknown languages was condemned in 1 Corinthians 14:9-15? Why? Why not do anything in the Assembly? It didn’t matter how beautiful it was to hear another tongue, or that this ability was a gift from God. It was misused. For all worship including making melody was to be of the spirit and the mind (1 Cor. 14:15). Yet, they excluded the mind. They had not set the Christian pattern, example in worship. See also that Paul was no “legalist” for correcting them to repent. No matter the beauty of musical instruments, there is no message that could be taught by them other than verse 7 and 8 of 1 Corinthians 14. Yet, we must stand against such additions for we are convicted by the words of Christ that we must observe all things (Matt. 28:19), and to do otherwise is sin. God blessed us with His grace, but not to keep us from striving in love to obey His words. Until “progressives” stop griping and start teaching His words, how will we “patternists” repent? I’ve read words upon words condemning legalism and not a word that confronts darkness with the light. Have you become as much a Pharisee in “liberalism” as those that you despise for “legalism”?

    Let us look to the planks in our own eyes now. You said, “What about those earliest Christians who, for perhaps two generations, got along quite well before many of the proof texts were written, and for sure before they were widely distributed? Were those early believers not able to worship God acceptably?” This statement is a common speculative conjecture. These Christians received all things for life and godliness in the 1st century via prophecy from the Spirit of Christ. Paul expected the Corinthians to have understood the teachings of the Lord concerning the Assembly and the worship in and our of the Assembly. They did not lack except correction.

    On another point, a careful study of the Scriptures show that the Scriptures were collected together in the 1st century and distributed to all.

    May God bless us all in the grace and peace in Christ.

    I will not take the time to go point by point on your lengthy comment. I will ask you one question. How do you explain a history in churches of Christ of church splits with one side or both damning the other to hell? And, most of these folks were considered to be “conservative”?

    Do you believe people are going to hell who use instruments in worship? That is a “Yes” or “No” question. If you answer “Yes” you are guilty of exactly what I addressed in this post. You nor anyone else can site a biblical passage that forbids instruments. The well worn practice of finding commands from what the Bible does not say is not valid. The problem is that one guy believes the “necessary inference” is one thing and another, just as sincere, reaches a different conclusion from the same silence of Scripture.

    I have never even hinted that Christians should not do all they possibly can to follow Christ, His teachings, and the Apostolic teachings. The Word of God is the final authority for both faith and daily living (including worship).

    My problem is this. A preacher prints in the church bulletin that those members who do not attend Sunday night services will go to hell. A so called evangelist teaches that a whole congregation is going to hell because they sung a song (a cappella by the way) as the communion trays were passed. This is only two examples of false teaching, adding to the gospel.

    It is one thing to impose extra-biblical rules on yourself, it is quite another to impose them on everyone else, and that is a sin.


    • Exactly, Royce. The problem is that the Churches of Christ confuse the Christian response to the Gospel to the actual Gospel itself. Therefore, anyone who uses instruments, they quickly condemn and claim that they are going “beyond what is written.” However, they cannot see that THEY are the ones going beyond what is written! They have no authority to make such pronouncements and they’ll throw out strawmen by asking, “Well then ANYTHING is allowed in the ‘Assembly’!” as if most Christians, whom they don’t even accept as Christians, are raging anarchists. Unsurprising enough, I have never seen another denomination as split and fractured as the Churches of Christ, the very one which condemns all others for stepping outside the “authority.” There is a lesson to be learned- focusing so much on the letter of the Law pushes out the Spirit and where the Spirit isn’t, there is no Church.

      Well said! Thanks for your visit and your comment.


    • When I see someone say ” can’t you see the spiritual worship of singing alone ?”, I know that they are referencing Ephesians 5:19, and limiting this one verse of Scripture to ” when Christians are gathered together on the Lord’s Day”. Since none of the other verses in this chapter are limited to a certain time. place, or number of people, we can rest assured that such a person is guilty of not rightly dividing the Word of Truth by teaching the Bible ” out of context “, as in fact showing that they are not approved to teach God’s Word. ( 2 Tim. 2:15 )Their remaining commentary should be immediately ignored at this precise point concerning the subject at hand.

    • This is well spoken, Royce. I have a saying , and I will have to say a pretty good one; “religion majors on the minor, and minors on the major”. When it comes to ” judging others ” to a point of deciding that they are ” hell bound”, religious people of today are no different than religious people of yesterday; their goal is to spy out our liberty, and bring us into bondage to a presupposed doctrine ( Gal.2:4 ). These religious people of Paul’s day tried to impose the pattern of ” circumcisional remission ” on every other person in the Church. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now, thanks to people who rightly divide the Word of Truth.

      • No it doesn’t. The claim that there was “not one Gentile” in the crowd in Acts 2:38 is one of the stupidest claims ever made. It specifically says the crowd was made up of proselytes from every nation in the Roman world (hence Gentiles). If this is a quibble that these were Gentiles who had already converted to Judaism rather than Pagans, I don’t deal in quibbles; they were still Gentiles. And when we get to Acts 10, even though the Gentiles (here not proselytes but only god-fearers) had already received the Holy Ghost, Peter commands them to be baptized in water. I noticed in your article you skipped Acts 10, and for good reason(!); its against your conclusion. Why didn’t Peter just say “Well, you received the Holy Ghost already, so I’ll not bother with water baptizing you; clearly by giving you the Spirit before baptism God means to say that Gentiles don’t need water baptism.” That’s what you want him to say, but instead he commanded them to be baptized in water.

      • Thanks for the reply, reyjacobs. This is an actual quote from the article that you read;” In the case of Cornelius, it is ” inferred ” that the fact that he was later baptized proves that he understood on his own that he was to follow a command that never proceeded from Peter’s lips ;” be baptized for the remission of sins ” in order to be saved, this in spite of the fact that he spake in tongues and glorified God. If Baptismal Remission theology is true, then a Gentile can 1. possess the Holy Spirit, 2. speak in tongues, and 3. magnify (glorify ) God and yet still be lost because they have not been water baptized”. This quote is referencing Acts chapter 10, the chapter that you insisted that I ” skipped “. It is only considered ” stupid ” to conclude that Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 is directed only to Jews if you ignore the rest of the context in the chapter. Verse 5 makes it clear that these were Jews ” out of every nation under heaven”. They were in fact gathered for the feast of Passover; Gentiles did not celebrate this feast. They are referred to as ” Ye men of Israel ” in verse 22; Gentiles are never referred to in this manner. The Jews that Peter directed His sermon to referred to Peter and the other preachers as ” brethren “. This is a reference reserved only for Jewish dialogue. No Jew ever referred to an unsaved Gentile as a ” brother “.

      • Well, in my brief perusal I was expecting to see it in chapter order, and you skipped from 2 to 16, so I missed your return to 10. So I’m sorry I said you “skipped” over it. But the fact remains that Peter did command them to be baptized in water. You will make a mountain out of a mole-hill I’m sure in saying “Ah, but he doesn’t say its for the remission of sins.” Whether he said it or not it would be unrealistic to expect our narrator to repeat it. He has already demonstrated in Acts 2 that Peter views water baptism as “for the remission of sins” and so when we find Peter “commanded them to be baptized in water” in Acts 10 we must assume that its still “for the remission of sins.”

  2. I use to do some wood working
    Years ago and sometimes you had to make a number of the same pieces to complete the
    Items you were building.

    The first piece was cut from a
    Mock-up and was easy. The second piece was traced from the first. I learned as you made each piece, in order to get each piece to resemble the others, you had to use the first piece because no piece was perfect when compared to the pattern. Each piece had mistakes because of the wood grain, broke saw blade, bad lighting etc. When u duplicated those imperfections
    Along with new mistakes, you were in trouble.

    Always go back to the pattern.


  3. Royce I was once a young preacher as Scott obviously is, when I was young I knew all the answers. As I matured I realized that some of the “truths” I had held were not truth at all. If he lives long enough Scott will probably grow as well. Peace

    I pray it is true.


  4. Royce:
    I am the brother you accused of having a “warped imagination.” I wanted to chime in to this line of thought and make an observation. Every group on the face of the earth has pattern to it. You responded sharply to my post at OneInJesus because it did not fit the pattern of what you thought was not warped. Correct? Yes, you are correct; patternism can be a template for sin — especially when we are not listening to Christ’s teachings about loving one another.

    When “pattern” equals apostolic teaching, then we are in good company — the company of the risen Lord. So, yes, the pattern is Jesus and his revelation through apostles. It is both.

    Yours in Christ,
    Bruce Morton

    Bro’ Bruce,

    I don’t remember the context of what you refer to here but I’ll take your word for it. If I was wrong you have my sincere apology. Nothing you said here I disagree with in the least.

    Allow me to restate my problem using this illustration. Brother “A” believes he should only use one cup when he takes the Lord’s supper. That is fine with me. In fact, if that is his firm belief, to practice otherwise would be wrong for him, a sin.

    Now, Brother “A” advises Brother “B” in the next town that unless he only uses one cup too that he will lose his salvation and go to hell. In my humble opinion, now Brother “A” has sinned just as the heretics Paul addressed his strongest language to in his letter to the Galatians.

    Neither I, nor you, nor any other man has the right to bind on others what the Bible does not.

    I do appreciate your common sense reply. And, once more, if I was wrong I apologize.


  5. You are DECEIVING your readers! Did you notice?

    I really thought better of you putting you a bit above the likes of Jay and Al Maxey the inventer and purveyor of ALL of the RACA words and still Biblicalll illiterate: it is not intentional but delusional. Time is short.

    ????? Ken, maybe if you tried making your case in a more conversational, more coherent way people could understand it. Its like you are talking in some secret code. I don’t understand what you are saying, I can’t break the code of a “code talker”. Where in the Bible is the passages that forbid instruments in the Christian assembly. I don’t want to read about “goat pluckers” and “man-boy” and Lucifer. Just give me the texts. If you can’t then please stop wasting my time.


    • In order for an erroneous doctrine to be ” validated “, one must go outside of the immediate text and ” imply ” a certain doctrine. a perfect example of this is Acts 16: 30-31. Nothing in the immediate text suggests that this lost Gentile was ever commanded to ” be baptized for ( in order to contact the blood of Jesus ) his sins, but baptismal remissionists ” prove ” that he was indeed commanded to do so by referencing other N.T. verses and by implication ( because he was later baptized ). If a doctrine is true, then it is true in the context in which it appears. Baptismal remission cannot be bound upon lost Gentiles because the Scriptures rightly divided does not bind it upon them.

      • Now you say “In order for an erroneous doctrine to be ‘validated’, one must go outside of the immediate text and ‘imply’ a certain doctrine. a perfect example of this is Acts 16: 30-31. Nothing in the immediate text suggests that this lost Gentile was ever commanded [to be baptized for the remission of sins].”

        Well, then, when Paul says “believe on the Lord Jesus” we can’t take that to mean that he requires us to believe in Jesus’ divinity, since there is not one word in the context about Jesus being God. Whatever Paul is commanding them to believe about Jesus it isn’t his divinity, because that is never mentioned in the context! So, not one time in scripture do we find a Gentile commanded to believe in Jesus’ divinity!

  6. Men create commandments that God never created as commandments.

    Men declare that a violation of THEIR commandment is a sin where God never declared it to be a sin.

    Men declare that a violation of THEIR commandment is a salvation issue where God never declared it to be a salvation issue.

    Men have created a doctrine that God never created as a doctrine.

    “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:9

  7. Pingback: Top 10 posts of 2010 | Grace Digest

  8. It is amazing how that the Word of God ( rightly divided ) will show a theology to be false when studied just like the real dollar bill will expose the counterfeit. The only thing that one must do to avoid doctrinal error is to rightly divide the Truth of the Word. This man in this article has done that. Remember, any argument from silence is not an argument; it is man’s conclusion. When one rightly divides the Scripture, he will find that the use of ” mechanical ” instruments are neither required nor forbidden. When man concludes otherwise, he is not reaching the same conclusion that the writer of Holy Script did.

  9. I have made the charge that ” patternists ” must abandon their patternism theology in order to impose baptism ” in order to be saved ” on lost Gentiles today. Why? Because NO GENTILE is being saved in the book of Acts until after chapter seven, and their ” pattern ” comes from Acts 2:37, even though not one lost Gentile is in the crowd. The ” pattern ” for lost Gentiles should come from Acts 16:30, but is willfully neglected by patternists because it does not support baptismal remission theology as written. It is time for the Phillippian jailor to be afforded the same conclusion that ” patternists ” afford to Simon Magnus’ ” second ” conversion; that he was not required to be baptized in order to be saved because he was not told he needed to be baptized in order to be saved. Paternism and baptismal remission theology imposed on lost Gentiles are not compatable with each other, and it is time for baptismal remission apologists to choose which one to keep, and which one to abandon.

    • Larry, if you have time, take a look at Too, ask yourself: “Did the apostles teach the same thing (Eph. 2:20; 3:5; 2 Peter 3:1-2, 15-16).” I am not a Baptist nor trying for an argument here. But what you are saying goes against sound hermeneutics – to say the least. Take care. -Brian

      • Paul, the ” preacher to the Gentiles ” taught ” for Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel ” ( 1 Cor. 1:17 ). When asked by a lost Gentile what to do to be saved, He replied ” believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved ” ( Acts 16:31 ). I can’t see how it can be written any plainer than that, and those that conclude otherwise are rejecting the ” plain Truth ” of the Bible.

      • You bring up the tired old passage where Paul is dealing with religious factions, “I follow Paul, I follow Peter, I follow Apollos” and disgusted with the idea that someone might claim to have been baptized in the name of Paul, he says “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel ” ( 1 Cor. 1:17 ) and then proceeds to reminisce how he can’t remember personally baptizing anyone other than certain individuals. But none of this is to suggest that baptism has no importance (as you and those of your position always want to make it out) but rather than Paul is defending himself against the hypothetical charge that he went around baptizing people in his own name, “I now baptize you in the name of Paul.”

  10. Pingback: Kenneth Sublett, Apostle for A Cappella in the churches of Christ | Grace Digest

  11. There is “some pattern” in worship, and too – in the individual life of the Christian. I recommend reading/watching debates on each subject of the N.T. instead of the shotgun approach you find here on this website. Also, I am very happy to say that I am a Democrat in politics and a Christian.

  12. Pattern theology comes from Hebrews 8-9 where Moses is shown a “pattern” in the mount for the building of the tabernacle (8:5) and the “divine service” (9:1). The saying in Hebrews 9:1 “Then verily the first covenant had ASLO ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary” is misinterpreted as if it meant they had it as we also have it rather than they had it in addition to what all else they had. And then it is ASSUMED that we have a “pattern” just as Moses did. But Moses’ “pattern” results in and is contained in long detailed chapters describing exactly how to build the tabernacle and perform the worship in it. Our “pattern” is ferreted out of disjointed passages that aren’t even talking about worship and is glued together ad hoc.

  13. Larry Cheek
    I see much communication here about a pattern of worship supposedly designed in the Bible for us to use in the church. I am fully convinced by my computer aided searches in the new Testament that you cannot find where the inspired scriptures directs anyone to “go to, or come to worship”. Do your own searches if you don’t believe me. The only communication closely resembling that instruction, will be “forsake not the assembling of yourselves together”. The purpose of this assembling was to edify and build each other up, that is Christians associating with each other rather than always associating with those of the world. The world and our forefathers have redefined the “church” into what is not found in scriptures. The church has become almost as an intercessor between Christians and The Lord, but the scriptures plainly teach that the church is within you and that there is no intercessory man or group of men between you and Christ. So what about worship? Your life is worship 24/7. Anytime more than one Christian is assembled regardless of the number they are not transformed into being the church, they are the church assembled. If this would be fully understood by Christians their manner of life between the assemblies, I believe would be more easily identified by those of the world as being servants of Christ. You will find some instructions as what not to do as you are assembled together, but you will not find instructions as to a method, or pattern of what is to be followed while you are assembled. God gave a pattern and procedure to the Jews, but Christ or his followers did not provide those instructions for a so called worship service.

    • Larry Cheek, I know it has been years since you typed that but I just wanted to say- hallelujah! There are actually other believers out there that understand the basics of our faith! I wish everyone could understand what you wrote there.

  14. The fact that a group patterns (copies) itself on a group that already existed is proof that it is not what it is patterning itself after. In other words, the CoC cannot be the NT Church.


  15. The writer Royce rails against patternism, while Paul rallied for it as long as the pattern was based on the teaching that he and the apostles were taught as from Jesus and not man’s pattern or tradition. It is wrong to say that Chruch of Christ teaching is pattern Christianity…it is just Christianity based on the patterns set up by Christ and the Apostles. Admittedly man can get things wrong and replicate them, but Baptism and singing is not one of them. Baptism is linked to salvation and is a Biblical pattern for salvation. Mark 16:16 is an example of a truth table. Belief+Baptism=Salvation or Truth+Truth=Truth, but when you remove one of the truths as Mark 16:16 does (Belief), then it becomes False+Truth=False. This doesn’t make Baptism any less true and in fact if you remove Baptism, then the truth table fails as well. You can’t remove any of the truths without making the sum false. What God has joined let not man put asunder applies here as well.
    Sadly some of the churches have split over things that are very minor or personal issues, but then again what you have of other churches is accepting things that are scripturally wrong just so there isn’t a divide. What does Jesus say about the leaven? About the brother that is walking wrongly? Sometimes division is the only way to get to the truth and retain what is true.

    • Dwight, allow me to correct the foolishness of both Royce and yourself. Patternism has nothing to do with baptism. It only has to do with worship. Patternism is based on that passage in Hebrews that says Moses was shown a “pattern in the mount” concerning the Tabernacle, which is followed by a comment “They also had ordinances of divine service” (i.e. worship) — from this it is assumed that we MUST have such a pattern and ordinances of divine service also! Despite not having anything so detailed as what Moses had there in Exodus, our preachers assume we must have it, and so they go seeking to pull it out of every tiny verse in the New Testament. And so out of Acts 20:7, how many rules do they pull about the communion must be on Sunday and never any other day, and you can never miss a Sunday service or you’ll go to hell, etc. The verse is made to support a weight it cannot bear, because somehow we must make up for the missing pattern. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BAPTISM, which actually is commanded! When we talk about patternism we’re talking about MAKING RULES FROM EXMAPLES. We ARE NOT talking about actual commands. If you see a command that says “be baptized” that’s NOT A PATTERN; THAT’S A COMMAND. But if you read “The disciples came together on the first day of the week to break bread” and from that produce LAWS, like:

      (1) Communion can ONLY be on the first day of the week.
      (2) You can NEVER miss a Sunday service.
      (3) If you miss a Sunday service, we can’t use you to lead a song or a prayer.
      (4) Communion must be every Sunday.
      (5) Communion can only be had ONCE every Sunday.

      Well, NOW you are dealing in patternism. Patternism is not about REAL commands; its about commands being MADE UP from examples, and sometimes the commands being made up don’t have anything to do with the “Example”.

      Patternism is about looking for a pattern of WORSHIP that isn’t there; and since it isn’t there, making up for its non-existence by CREATING COMMANDS from example passages that CONTAIN NO ACTUAL COMMANDS.

      • Rey, After reading your comments here and at several other sites I have decided the following.

        When you criticize me I am in good company. I see that you also criticize the Apostle Paul as well.

        Based on your “pattern” of comments that are demeaning and self aggrandizing your last comment will be your last here.

  16. Can I put in my 2 cents, being in the church of Christ. We follow God’s Commands, examples, and necessary inferences. We DON’T change parts of God’s word for our convenience. The church that Christ built in the NT, is the same church we follow today. We were told to believe, repent, to hear the gospel, to be baptized, and to confess Jesus as our Savior, the Messiah. Now, as you see, we can’t do it in the order it is written here. How can you believe if you haven’t heard the gospel? The same with repenting. Repent from what? What are you being baptized for if you haven’t confessed that Jesus is our Savior. If we put it in a logical order, I’m sorry.
    Also, in (Acts 16:31) Why do you stop there? It says to believe and you will be saved. True, but read the rest. In 32, they “spoke the word of the Lord to them”. It is inferred that they believed and repented, from v 31&34. Then, in 33, the “whole household was baptized”. And I am horrible at memorizing BOOK, CHAPTER, and VERSE, but it is said HE WHO BELIEVES AND IS BAPTIZED will be saved. It can’t be clearer than that. FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD. Like by FAITH, Noah BUILT the ark. There are more, but I can’t find verse right now.

    • Carol,

      The problem with “necessary inference”, (as with what the “silence of Scripture” prohibits or approves), is that it is at the whim of the one making the inference. Making such things (which in themselves are not bad) equal to what the Word of God actually says is not only wrong but sinfully wrong. And, even more wrong when others who do not agree with the conclusions from “necessary inferences” are condemned for not agreeing.

      People who claim “to just follow the Bible” ought to do that and not go further than the Bible goes.

      I wish you the best.


    • Anyone can follow God’s commands and do the CENI thing without one ounce of faith and without becoming a new creation. the coC has no interest in the “new creation” thing. They just want to show God how worthy they are because they can follow commands. I spent 35 years there trying to impress God and my fellow Christians with how well I could read,comprehend and use self discipline to achieve salvation. It finally weighed me down and I finally fell to my knees. It was then that I found God.

      • Phil,

        Sadly I must agree. I have had numerous people tell me that Jesus isn’t enough. Of course this isn’t true of every person in churches of Christ, but it is true of far too many. I’m glad grace found you.

  17. Maybe I misunderstood. I will tell my son, IF YOU GO TO THE STORE AND BUY
    SOME EGGS, I’LL BAKE A CAKE. BUT, IF YOU DON”T GO TO THE STORE, I CAN’T BAKE A CAKE. Just because I didn’t mention buying the eggs in the second line, it doesn’t negate it’s truth. It is inferred in the second line, because if you don’t go to the store, of course you can’t get the eggs, so why mention it?

  18. Carol, thanks for caring about this subject enough to post your comments. I know I will see you in Heaven one day, and I will be ready to worship Jesus Christ with you. When we infer that the Philippian jailor was commanded to be baptized in order to contact the blood of Christ, then we are putting something into the context that the actual writer of the context did not put there. It is a fact that the jailor asked Paul and the others what to do to be saved, and it is also a fact that he was told without hesitation to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ . It is also a fact that he was not told to be baptized to be saved. When we say that in fact he was, then we are assuming that the jailor understood on his own , without being told by Paul, that he was to follow a command that did not proceed from Paul’s lips. If a lost Gentile asks me what to do to be saved, my answer will be the same as Paul’s; Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Baptismal Remissionist’s answer would in fact be different from Paul’s when asked the same question.

  19. It’s been a long time since I wrote and posted this post. I just read it again to make sure I remembered correctly. I can’t understand why anyone would disagree with what I wrote. Someone tell me what part of the post is incorrect. After all, these comments are supposed to be about what I wrote.

  20. Doesn’t Romans 14 address this indirectly? There are principles taught in this passage that apply not only to individuals but also collectively.

    I think patternism distracts one away from our focus on what is paramount, and that is the needs to become transformed into the likeness of Christ. Without following a pattern this is still possible. Paying too much attention to technicalities, such as following a pattern, can distract one away from our quest, which is to allow Christ to become our consciousness.

  21. Faith in Christ is the pattern of the New Covenant. The “Pattern” as held by the Churches of Christ is a manmade pattern based on the assumption that the New Testament or New Covenant is a book and not a relationship with Jesus. It is impossible for the early church (AD 33-98) to follow a pattern, as defined by the Churches of Christ (founded 1889). The reason is the complete collection of the New Testament writings was not not gathered into one book as we have it now until the 300’s AD. Different parts of far flung reaches of Christianity had various collections of the Epistles, some had one Gospel. There was not a gathered NT as we have it now in 33 AD. So to say that there is a neat pattern to be discerned is a clever assumption, which leaves out the fact that there were two main patterns in the early church till 70 AD: Jewish Christianity under James and Gentile/faith-based Christianity under Paul. The Jewish Christian pattern died out. The faith-based pattern won and has been carried on to this day, except by the Churches of Christ, which is a salvation cult based on works righteousness.

  22. Anyone can go to the Scriptures and find a pattern , and then take that pattern to use as a Salvation litmus test to those outside the circle of patternism ( ” the church” ). I can , in fact, find a pattern ” on the pages of New Testament Scripture ” that no one in the church of Christ is interested in complying with, 1. Financial communism, practiced by the congregations in Acts 2-7, 2.Feet washing, strongly urged by our Lord to be practiced by all His disciples. 3. Multiple groups of Christians, differing greatly in doctrine and practice, being in the one Lord’s Church at the same time ( Acts 15, Acts 21 ), and 4. The holy kiss being emphatically and directly commanded to virtually every congregation in the N.T.. I can then take this pattern, that I have found and like ( which is what the c.o.C. has done ), and use it as a Salvation litmus test for those inside the church of Christ denomination. I would be scoffed at and ridiculed if I did such a thing, and yet church of Christ denomination members get offended when they are challenged on patternism theology when ” the denominational world ” points out the error of this dogma.

    • I read your post after I posted mine. Mine looks like yours in a few areas…sorry about that, I wasn’t copying. I guess we’re like minded! I agree with what you posted 100%.

  23. I have been to the North Richland Hill CoC in Texas and throughly enjoyed both services. I can worship just as good with or without the music. I actually felt the Holy Spirit better with the music. Next are they going to send me to hell just because I speak in tongues?

  24. My faith heritage, the Church of Christ, has no idea what worship is. They think it’s ceremony; ceremony that we have to “get right” like in the OT. But there is no list of what should happen in “worship”, so they decide to take examples from this book and that and combine them and put them in order, and create a list of what to do in worship. They interpret verses that contain words like “example” and “pattern” to mean we have to physically mimic time, places, and actions, when those authors were only concerned with attitudes.

    They think there are elevated worships based on what day it is, even though their are no elevated worships, or even different types of worship to begin with. There is only the worship in our hearts.

    They believe they need to “go to church” on Sunday because it’s an example in the NT, but don’t meet in an upper room at night, or greet each other with the Holy Kiss, or wash each other’s feet. They think they CAN’T have music because it is NOT in the NT, but they have youth ministers and church buildings, and many other things not found in scripture. Despite the enormous possibility of scenarios based on choosing this example or that, they imagine that they have figured out the exact correct “pattern for worship”. And who decided they didn’t need an upper room or that they COULD have youth ministers? Men decided. That’s the danger of making your rules through examples; men end up making the rules. This is one of the things Paul was trying to correct.

    They think they need “authority” to do something “in Church”, even though worship is in our hearts and could look like anything the Holy Spirit within our hearts moves it to be. But this simple concept is difficult to grasp if you think worship is ceremony.

    They think there are new rules for the new covenant, even though those are written in our hearts and we do what they did in the Bible because we are like minded and in the same Spirit as they are, and not because those things are rules to follow “or else”. We do them because of love, not from fear of disobeying.

    They think they need to restore the NT Church. That’s because they think “Church” is ceremony on Sunday. They don’t remember that Jesus said that “the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (the church); and therefore it has remained untouched since the beginning of Acts, and doesn’t need restoring.

    They think the “doctrine of Christ” must surely mean the exact pattern of examples that they, in their particular congregation have sandwiched together, when what it really is is Christ’s love for us and what he did for us, and how we need to share the good news.

    They think these things, but none of them are laid out for us in the Bible. It’s so sad that they don’t even understand the basics of their own faith. When we get to heaven, we will all finally realize that doctrine meant nothing, and sharing Jesus, feeding and clothing the poor, and visiting those in sorrow were supposed to be our focus.

  25. I was raised Church of Christ and I agree with everything you said. I am non-denominational now. Thinking that examples are commands is where they go wrong, and it snowballs from there. Worshop to Jews means ceremony in a special place on a special day, and they have to get the ceremony correct, btw. All of those rules are detailed in the OT. But for Christians, worship is written in our hearts. We are never given ceremony for worship. Therefore, there is no need to be authorized to do this or that. The fact that the Church of Christ is even trying to find the “right way” to worship means they don’t really understand what worship is.

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