BUFF SCOTT, JR.
Is The A Cappella
CHURCH OF CHRIST
God’s New Reign Or A Counterfeit Copy?
What Prompted my Absence?
Did I leave Jesus when I left the a cappella
Church of Christ? Goodness, no!
He and I are closer now than ever before. Do I now believe in universal salvation? Of course not. Do I now accept within the brotherhood of God anyone and everyone? I do not. But I do accept as part of the divine fraternity all of those God accepts. And He accepts all of those who have experienced the new beginning and have made Jesus Lord of their lives, regardless of whether they have heard of the a cappella
Church of Christ—or Church of God, or Assembly of God, or Baptist Church, or any of the other sects.
I do not consider it a rigorous assignment to declare that Jesus is not the head and founder of the religious party under consideration. Inasmuch as religious parties in the form of churches did not have their genesis until centuries after the new order was ushered in, it follows that our Lord is not the head and founder of any church.
It is my firm persuasion that churchitis is sectarianism. That Jesus established a new people and set in motion a new Israel, colony, commonwealth, household, congregation, assembly, or community no born-again believer will deny. We need only read and examine Galatians 5:20 to ascertain that Jesus is not the founder of religious parties in the form of churches.
Ambassador Paul placed the “party spirit” alongside drunkenness, immorality, and other evils of the lower nature. The New English Bible
renders “party intrigues,” and the Living Bible
says the partisan spirit is “the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group.” I am inclined to believe this strikes at the very core of it.
A religious party, then, is any group that classifies all others wrong, rejects other believers, and whose terms for staying on the “church roll” are foreign to the terms inaugurated by the King of kings and His special envoys, the apostles.
To deny that the mainline a cappella
Church of Christ considers everyone wrong except those in her own little group is to flirt with the world’s greatest falsehood. To deny that she rejects other believers who are not “of her” is to deny reality. To deny that her terms for staying admitted are foreign to our Master’s plea is to flirt with another falsehood.
To put it another way, a sect or religious party is any group that practices and promotes the party spirit. The “party spirit” is an attitude that generates division and separation. Religious parties are the end result. Inasmuch as the a cappella
Church of Christ is guilty of the party spirit, a work of the flesh, she is therefore a religious party. Stay with me as I give you additional reasons why this church is a counterfeit copy of what our Lord ushered in 2,000 years ago.
She’s In Bad Trouble
As a separatist institution, the a cappella
Church of Christ is in trouble. Over the last few decades, many of her followers have been lost to reformation and to house meetings. These reformers, in an effort to restore her to the plea she adopted initially when she bloomed to stardom in the early 1800s as a movement to “unite the Christians in all the sects,” take her to task for her refusal to recognize the principle upon which she stood originally.
As a religious order, she struggles for a prestigious position in a society already overburdened with sectarianism and rabid partisanism. As a church, she takes her place alongside scores of others and announces that Jesus is her head and founder. As a denomination, none has surpassed her in choosing a selective and restrictive designation. Her ensign is Romans 16:16, “The churches of Christ salute you”
(KJV). In identifying herself to the world, she steers clear of “church of God,” even though the King James Version
of the sacred documents employs the term many times.
To “denominate” is to name by a restrictive and exclusive title. A case in point: Paper money is arranged in denominations. The various sizes of the bills are denominated or named. A ten-dollar bill is the exclusive name of that bill. It separates it from all the other bills. The a cappella
Church of Christ fills the slot for she uses the term “Church of Christ” exclusively on her meetinghouses, signboards, in newspaper and magazine advertisements, and on radio and television. When an outsider inquires of which church they are members, the answer is invariably the same. “We are members of the Church of Christ.”
Yet she staunchly asserts, “We are not a denomination!”
Well, those of us who are free-thinkers know better.
It should be understood that the common nouns used in the sacred writings to designate God’s people are descriptive of some aspect of relationship and were never intended to be exclusive or selective.
As a divisive faction, the a cappella
Church of Christ is second only to the Baptist sect, for within her ranks may be found 12 or more different Churches of Christ. It is ridiculously insane to claim that Jesus is the head and founder of such a lamentable mess.
As a religious party, her platform borders the irrational. According to her dictates, no one can be saved from the “error of his ways” unless and until he surrenders his theology as garbage and accepts her proclamations, edicts, and commissions—conveniently coined “commandments of God.”
That there be no misunderstanding as to which sect I am writing about, she parades and proclaims herself “the church of our Lord” and denounces all others for their invasion of her heavenly corridors. She does not engage the services of musical instruments in her meetings. Her music is a cappella
or congregationally vocal. There are no solos. The Lord’s Supper is observed every first day of the week.
Some of the leading journals that serve as official mouthpieces are The Spiritual Sword, The Gospel Advocate, Truth Magazine
—among others. Each paper represents a distinct faction within this sect. Although each contentious group denies a central office
, one has only to take issue with the “home office” on some ideology to feel their authoritative wrath.
No Freedom For The Membership
To remain loyal to this counterfeit cause, its members must accept the notion that she is the “church” established by the Messiah. Nor may her members retain their membership and express the belief that instruments of music in her public gatherings are permissible. Nor may they privately or publicly articulate the idea that the Lord’s Supper may be observed on other days besides Sunday.
And I could go on and on with other creedal ideologies. The divine message does not support stringent legalism in the likes of “pattern theology.” A church’s “pattern theology” will save no one. Jesus Himself demonstrated His opposition to religious parties and their “pattern theology” when He laid bare the sect [party] of the Pharisees and the sect [party] of the Sadducees. He accused them of not entering God’s reign themselves or permitting anyone else to enter.
It was not essential to be a member of either religious party to receive God’s grace. Nor is membership in the religious party known as the a ceppalle
Church of Christ essential to receiving God’s grace and forgiveness. The crux of the matter is that a man can be a Christian in good standing with God without ever coming within ear-shot of the a cappella
Church of Christ.
The Genesis Of My “Church” Research
At one time, when I was consumed by the party spirit, I saw no believers outside of the a cappella
Church of Christ corral. I finally arrived at the realization that God’s domain on planet Earth is much wider, far deeper, and a lot higher than the little group calling itself the “church of our Lord.” Since then, I have attempted to show my brothers and sisters of the a cappella
Church of Christ that their “church of our Lord” is a sect among sects, a religious party among religious parties, a denomination among denominations, and a counterfeit copy of God’s new reign.
I first toyed with this subject in 1980 during the Walters-Scott Debate
on “The Authenticity of the Church of Christ”
[now out of print], and again during the W. N. (Bill) Jackson-Buff Scott Debate
in 1984 on the same subject [also out of print]. However, my first challenge to the “church” scenario and the Greek “ekklesia,”
which is supposed to translate our English “church,” was in 1976.
It was then  that I began to formulate my ideas about King James’ “church” and “churchianity” in general. Since then I have covered a lot of ground and involved myself in a lot of research relative to these subjects. Consequently, I do not feel my conclusions are based on “grapevine exploration.” Instead, I affirm that the foundation of my conclusions is grounded in credible documentation and valid deductions.
_____ [In PART 5, I will demonstrate more vividly where the a cappella Church of Christ has gone astray in her teachings and practices.]