Biblically, do i think that the "church of Christ" equals "the saved"?
Do i think that having "church of Christ" on the sign in front of the building necessarily means the people inside it are "the saved"?
Do i think that having something other than "church of Christ" on the sign in front of the building necessarily means the people inside it are lost?
No. (i don't think "the saved" are demarkated by names or organizations.)
do i believe i'm a part of the biblical "church of Christ"?
Yes. (And i think saying so makes me neither proud nor a Calvinist.)
I must say, there is a sense in which i do concede that "The Church of Christ" is a denomination. If I can acknowledge even the possibility (regardless of whether i consider it a likely possibility or a remote one) that there are people who are part of the biblical "church of Christ" who are not members nor participants in an organization named "The Church of Christ," then i have acknowledged that the organization named "The Church of Christ" is part of a whole. And i have to decide whether i think i ought to continue to be a member and participant in that so-named part of a whole rather than attempting to find some other part of the same whole in which to participate.
So what keeps me a partipant of the organization named "The Church of Christ"? Last time, i stated that one of the reasons is because of the commitment to the restoration principle as a paradigm. A second reason i am still a member of "The Church of Christ" is because of its teaching and adherence to a particular view of baptism. What is that particular view?
Baptism is the immersion in water of a penitent person for the forgiveness of sins.
i believe that baptism does require water as opposed to those religious groups who teach a "baptism" in some immaterial substance (ex. baptism of the Holy Spirit).
i believe that baptism requires being submerged in water as opposed to those religious groups who teach that sprinkling or pouring are acceptable modes.
i believe that candidacy for true baptism is limited to penitent persons. i believe this excludes the baptism of infants or children insomuch as they are incapable of repentance and/or have no need of repentance.
i believe that baptism is the point at which God forgives the sins of an individual, and it is to be done for this purpose. (Must the person being baptized understand this purpose in order to truly be baptized? i'm no longer 100% convinced that the answer is "yes" because i believe the question is vague. But i will say i still largely lean toward answering "yes" to this question).
Further, i believe that this distinctive view of baptism is consistent with the restoration principle insomuch as i believe that holding this belief and practice is an imitation of the early church.
And further, i do not believe that this distinctive view of baptism in any way implies that a person must earn or merit salvation. Actually, i largely suspect that most of the traditional debates about grace/faith/works do not at all originate from the New Testament, but were largely concocted and framed by Catholicism and The Reformation.
Though there are some religious groups named "The Church of Christ" that no longer adhere to this distinctive view of baptism, by and large most do, and more importantly, the particular congregation of which i am a member does adhere to this distinctive view of baptism. And this distinctive view of baptism is part of why i am still a member of "The Church of Christ."