Vol. 6, No. 11
~ Page 8 ~
[Bible Light. July-August, 2004:1, 7.]
There is no greater plea in the world today than that one which invites people to be "Christians only." The name "Christian" includes all that is needed, or should be desired, for spiritual appellation. Indeed, a real, genuine "follower of Christ" should be content in worshipping God as a "Christian only." Anything less than a Christian is far too short, and anything that goes beyond, transgresses heaven's testimony for humankind. But the important question is: "How may one be a Christian and nothing else?"
To obey the Gospel as revealed in the New Testament means:
Believe in Jesus Christ as the crucified, buried and risen Lord (John 8:28; Romans 10:10).
Repent of past or alien sins (Acts 2:38; 17:30).
Confess your faith in Christ (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:10; Acts 8:37).
Be baptized (immersed) for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:15; Romans 6:4; Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21).
Upon such obedience, we have the assurance that God will add us to "the church" (Acts 2:47). And we further know that such disciples were called "Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11:26).
The fact that God promised a "new name" (Isaiah 62:2), and that he gave it "first in Antioch," should be ample evidence of the all-sufficiency of that name. To add to it, to put a handle on it, to weaken it by adding some human name, is but to mar its beauty, dishonor the head of the church, discredit him who died for us and whose name we are to wear (Acts 4:12).
It is, then, possible to wear the name of Christ and no other. The Holy Spirit even condemned the wearing of names of inspired men in New Testament times. How could it benefit us to wear names of men who are not inspired, or names given by men who are without heaven's authority to give them (1 Corinthians 1:10-13)?
This must necessitate a repudiation of all manmade creeds that have become binding upon so many people. It must do away with human doctrines for governing worship. It takes the New Testament to make a Christian; it takes something more than the New Testament to make a person more than a Christian. It is possible to make the claim "let us follow the Bible only," yet in actual practice, preaching and worship, accept along with it the "doctrines and commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9). Creeds must be revised each year, but the Word of God never has to be revised. Accept it and nothing else.
It is possible to obey the Gospel, genuinely become a child of God and then go off and "join something" unheard of in the Bible, join an institution not founded by Christ, not wearing his name, nor worshipping according to his divine guidance. To do this is not to be a "Christian only." God's book, the Bible, is sufficient. The Lord's church, the church of Christ, is enough. It is said: "It makes no difference what church one is a member of." The Bible says that the church is the body of Christ (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23). Paul says there is only one body; the conclusion is there is only ONE CHURCH.
If followed, this sacred principle would make it impossible for us to have in the public worship anything that is not authorized by our heavenly Father. There is something wrong with the man who is not satisfied to take just what the Bible has said. Our worship is to be one of faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith comes by hearing God's Word (Romans 10:17). If we practice anything that we did not get from hearing and studying God's Word, it is not of faith. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). When sin is finished, it brings forth death (James 1:15).
From these Scriptures we see that in order to be pleasing to our Father, we must have a "thus saith the Lord" for all that we do. Let us have no doctrine but that which is of Christ, no name but the name Christian, no creed but the New Testament, be a member of no church but that which belongs to Christ, and have a "thus saith the Lord" for all that we do and say religiously. In this way, all men are privileged to be Christians only!