The church of Eleven22 (2024)

THE CHURCH OFELEVEN22: IS IT THE CHURCH OF THE BIBLE?

By Aaron Cameron

There is a relatively new church that has been growingrapidly in the city of Jacksonville. It has gotten nearly universal acclaimfrom its attendees. “I used to be an atheist, until I went to this church,”says one reviewer on Facebook. “I loved the music and the service!” anotherstates. “Zero judgment,” yet another individual proclaims. This church iscalled The Church of Eleven22. Many attend there and speak of how great itis. However, it doesn’t matter how great we think something is – but it doesmatter what God thinks. With that, we ask the question: “The Church ofEleven22 – Is It the Church of the Bible?”

First, let us examine the name of this church. “The Churchof Eleven22.” What does that name mean? According to their website, the namewas randomly picked because they wanted to choose a name and service timepeople would remember. Did God randomly pick the name of His church, of Hiskingdom on Earth? Absolutely not. Through His Inspired Word, the Bible, Godtook the time to give the local, faithful, and Biblical congregation optionsfor its name. “The church” (Acts 2:47), “the church of God” (Acts 20:28), “thechurches of Christ” (Romans 16:16), “the temple of God” (I Corinthians3:16-17), “the body of Christ” (I Corinthians 12:27), “the kingdom of His dearSon” (Colossians 1:13), “the house of God” (I Timothy 3:15), and “the generalassembly and church of the Firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23) are all possible names givenby God through the inspired writers of the New Testament. Does this listinclude “Eleven22?” The simple answer to that question is “no.” Nor should achurch be named after men (Lutherans), Biblical terms (Pentecostal), or made up(Eleven22, Celebration Church, Community Church, etc.). If none of those namesare acceptable, according to God, would a name fashioned after a time of day beacceptable? Certainly not!

Second, let us examine the leadership structure of theChurch of Eleven22. According to their website, Eleven22 has several pastors,then some Elders, then some staff. Where is the disconnect from God’s Word?The disconnect is the apparent structure of the leadership not reflecting that,Biblically, Pastor and Elder mean the same thing. When one attempts to findEleven22’s definition of an Elder on their site, they are instead led to videoswhere each man talks about himself. What is more beneficial for a personseeking a place to worship: a video of a man talking about himself, or a definitiveexplanation of the role of an Elder in the church backed up by Holy Scripture?The only person, in fact, in what appears to be a lead role at Eleven22 with adescription, is their Preacher, or Evangelist, or Minister, who they refer toas a Pastor. However, we can see in the Word of God that preachers, orevangelists, or ministers, were never referred to as a Pastor. In fact, Pastorholds the same meaning as Elder, or Bishop. We see this in Acts 20,particularly in verse 28, where an examination of the original Greek shows boththe root of “Elder” and “Pastor” used in the same context. Additionally, Paulmakes further note of this in Ephesians 4:11, making a distinction between“evangelist” and “pastor,” meaning the two are not the same. The primary workof the preacher, or evangelist, or minister is to preach and teach the gospel.The elder, pastor, or bishop oversees the church primarily, filling in otherroles where necessary. Additionally, some wisdom and age is required,according to I Timothy 3:6 (not a novice). With the roles of Pastor and Elderseparated, and neither made truly clear, at Eleven22, is it the church of theBible?

Third, let us examine the structure of worship. WhileEleven22’s website does not specifically spell out the different aspects oftheir worship service, we can infer based on pictures and other places on theirsite one thing that can definitely be looked at: the use of instrumental musicduring worship. The usage of instrumental music in the worship is debatedacross several denominations. Even the church of Christ, in some areas, hasgiven in to the usage of instrumental music in worship. Some will compromise,using acappella music in a “traditional” service and instrumental music in the“contemporary” service. Others justify the usage of instrumental music bysaying that it’s what the people want to hear, or it is what draws more of acrowd, or it is more “beautiful” than just the voices of the congregation. Wemust ask ourselves, then, who is worship for? The Bible gives us that answer:“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship theFather in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worshiphim. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spiritand in truth” (John 4:23-24). What is the truth? The truth is God’s Word(John 17:17). Does, then, the Holy Bible lay out for us the acts of worship weare to include as Christians? The answer is yes: we are to partake of theLord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-29, Acts 20:7); pray (Matthew 6:5-15, Hebrews4:14-16); preach and teach God’s Word (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 2:42); give (ICorinthians 16:2, II Corinthians 9:7); and sing (Colossians 3:16, Ephesians5:19). Is the usage of instrumental music commanded anywhere in the NewTestament? No. Is the usage of singing commanded anywhere in the NewTestament? Yes, in the above-referenced verses. Just because God does notexplicitly condemn an action, does that make it okay? For example – God doesnot outright say that we CANNOT have instruments in the worship, so does thatmean he approves it? The answer to that question is found in 2 Timothy3:16-17: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and isprofitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction inrighteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughlyequipped for every good work.” That seems to be a pretty clear example of Godtelling His worshipers that they should not add that which has not beenauthorized, and that with the Bible we are COMPLETE – meaning, everything weneed as Christians, has been given to us from in the Bible. Worship is for thebenefit of God, not man – and as such we are commanded to sing, and only tosing, praises to God. Now, the question comes – what are those who participatein a “worship band” to do with those talents? Did God not condemn those whosquandered their talents (Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14-30)? Theanswer to that question is yes, God does command us to use our talents.However, some talents are not appropriate for the worship service. Forexample, would a surgeon perform a complex medical procedure in front ofonlookers, and call it worship? Or would a lawyer give closing arguments in amurder trial during the worship hour? Is it appropriate for someone who istalented in the area of figure skating to show off their routine at the timethe congregation is to meet? For all these examples, one would say, “Certainlynot, that is an inappropriate time to use those talents!” Such is the same formany with musical talents. One could play the guitar, one the drums, and onethe saxophone, but not use those talents in worship (although they could useother talents, such as participating in the communion, preaching, teaching, orpraying). However, they could use their relationship as members of the churchto form a band, make song choices they are all comfortable with, and studytogether and find ways to evangelize and bring people to God that others maynot have considered. With instrumental music during the worship hour, is theChurch of Eleven22 the church of the Bible?

Fourth, let us examine the road tosalvation. On its website, Eleven22 states that they “celebrate believer’s[sic] baptism a few times a year.” Additionally, individuals “need to attendone of our upcoming baptism classes.” In their “statement of faith,” it isseen that Eleven22 believes, “[s] alvation, the free gift of God, isprovided by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, for theglory of God alone. Anyone turning from sin in repentance and looking to Christand His substitutionary death receives the gift of eternal life and is declaredrighteous by God as a free gift.” Regarding baptism, “baptism is only intendedfor the individual who has received the saving benefits of Christ’s atoningwork and become His disciple.” We can infer from this that the Church ofEleven22 believes that salvation happens prior to baptism, but again we ask… isit something that the church of the Bible believes? Indeed, in the sixteenparagraphs on the “Statement of Faith” page, there is not a single instance ofreference to the Holy Scripture; the words are paragraphs written presumably bythe site’s webmaster or content creator. Let us look to the One, True ContentCreator – God – and see what His Word has to say on the matter of salvation,and the steps to it. First, are we saved by grace? Absolutely – God’s grace,His gift to us of eternal life, is what saves us (Romans 6:23). When wereceive grace, we receive what we do not deserve as imperfect and sinful humanbeings. The cost of that grace is Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). God haslaid out a plan to salvation – steps, directions, whatever an individualchooses to call it – in His Word. First, we must hear the Gospel of JesusChrist. Romans 10:17 states that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by theWord of God.” Just because one’s parents are Christian, or they “feel the presence”of God, does not mean they are a Christian. Christianity is a religion ofteaching (Matthew 28:19-20), and as such we must hear and understand the Gospelbefore it can be believed. Second, one must believe that Jesus is Christ, theSon of the living God (Matthew 16:16). An individual will hopefully come tobelieve in Jesus when he hears the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Next, anindividual must repent of sins (Acts 17:30-31). Repentance is the act of notonly being sorry for the sins one has committed, but by truly making a lifechange from those sins, making a conscious effort to no longer commit them, andinstead perform acts that are good and beneficial to the Lord’s kingdom.Fourth, an individual must confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of theliving God (Matthew 10:32.33). This is the foundation upon which the church ofChrist is built (Matthew 16:18). As the Ethiopian eunuch made the confessionin front of Philip in Acts 8, an individual must also confess that Jesus is theSon of God. Finally, one must be baptized in order to be saved. Baptismfollows belief in every instance it is mentioned in the Bible – and it followsconfession. Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16 – all of these state thatbaptism is a part of that salvation. Baptism is not a later showing of thatsalvation – baptism is the act that washes away those sins. Is a church thatbelieves classes must be taken, after a person has supposedly been alreadysaved, the church of the Bible? The Bible tells us that baptism takes place asa part of the salvation of sinful man, that it is an important part of becominga Christian. Where are the Scriptural references to having a class and goingto a “mass baptism” to “get dunked?” It is often true that further study isneeded to make sure the person who wishes to be saved is clear on the steps ofsalvation and the life changes that need to be made. However, that pertinentstudy does not interfere with God’s Word, or God’s plan for salvation, and theteacher and student must agree that salvation comes AFTER the act of baptism.

There are many other comparisons that can be made betweenthe church of the Bible and the Church of Eleven22. However, this article hasdone its best to point out four that can be referenced by Scripture. The pointof this series is: Can you prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that everythingthe church you belong to does is from the Bible? Where did God approve theusage of instrumental or a cappella music? Where did God approve the name ofthe church you attend? Where did God state, through His inspired writers, thatBaptism is not a necessary act of salvation? Can you flip to the portions ofthe Scripture that can answer those questions? If not, why not? It is not thiswriter, or your neighbor, or your friend asking... it is God's Holy Word, theBible! Please, prayerfully and studiously discover theanswer.

REFERENCES (non-Biblical)

1. Churchof Eleven22 Facebook page – http://facebook.com/coe22

2. “Statementof Faith” – Church of Eleven22 – http://coe22.com/statement-of-faith

3. “PastorJoby Martin” – Church of Eleven22 – http://coe22.com/pastor-joby-martin

4. “Elders”– Church of Eleven22 – http://coe22.com/elders

The church of Eleven22 (2024)
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