WE ARE SIMPLY CHRISTIANS
Many people are growing disenchanted with present religious forms which originated in the middle ages and have become meaningless. There is displeasure with denominational structures and dogma. Some, because of such views, have even decided that "Christianity" is not relevant today. We believe they have made the decision because they are not sufficiently acquainted with the Scriptures to be able to distinguish between the gospel of Christ and waht men over the centuries have attempted to add to it.
If some of these things have troubled you and you have felt a yearning to return to the simple, uncomplicated religion of Christ, stripping away all the nonessential elements fo religion and simply abiding by the truths of Christ, truths which transform the soul and bind it to God, let us suggest that it can and has been done.
The Bible, God's Word to man, presents Jesus Christ as the Son of God. He was foreshadowed and predicted in the Old Testament which God used to govern His people until Christ should come and establish the New Testament (Jer. 31:31-33; Gal. 3:19, 23,24). That New Testament reveals the religion of Christ. By studying it we learn all there is to know of the way of Christ.
We learn that among the followers of Christ there existed no denominational organizations whatever. All began at a later time. In the New Testament we see people hearing the gospel and obey- ing the conditions of God's grace. Being thus saved, they were added to the Lord's people, the church (Acts 2:36-47). As the gospel sprad, we find them assembling together in congregations in various localities. Each congregation was under its own elders (Acts 14:23) and no one else on earth. These elders could not make laws and be masters. They were given the responisbility of tending and caring for the congregation as shepherds would a flock (Acts 20:17,28; 1 Pet. 5:1-3). The only headquarters those disciple knew was heaven, where their Head, Jesus Christ, was and is (Eph. 1:22,23).
Their worship was something to watch. On the first day of the week (Sunday), for instance, they would eat the Lord's Supper and hear preaching (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23-29), they would sing (Eph. 5:19), they would all pray with various ones leading (1 Cor. 14:15, 16), and they would share in their mutual responsibilities by giving of their prosperity (1 Cor. 16:1,2). We find not contributions being collected on any other day than the first day of the week and no hierarchy taxing them or telling them how much to give. They had no organizations clamoring for their support. They gave as they individually purposed in their own hearts (2 Cor. 9:6,7). In all this they were all necessarily involved for each saved person was a priest (Rev. 1:5,6). No one could perform his service or worship for another.
They lived godly lives. They cared for the poor. They taught others. They sent out preachers to teach others in far communiti- es. With simplicity of faith and fervor there was no need for centralization. Without organized machinery, the gospel was preached to the whole of civilization in a short time (Col. 1:23). These disciples of Christ were known as Christians (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16). They wore no sectarian names. Their religion was not materialistic or sensual. They did not seek to impress men with pious ceremony, rather, they sought to impress God with the only thing that has ever impressed Him, contrite obedience (2 Sam. 15:22). Their appeal was not social or recreational. They offered the gospel, for they knew it was God's power to save (Rom. 1:16,17), and any other appeal was beneath them.
Many sigh, "Oh, if only such could be today." But it is! Free men and women over the earth have despaired of denominationalism, seeing in it neither necessity nor relevance but only a cause of division. They desire the simplicity of what Christ authored, and their number is increasing. How many have taken a stand? Who knows! They are related and connected only in Christ and not in some organization with machinery to keep a tally. We will not try to number them. What is important, though, is that a group of such people meet within minutes of where you live.
They are just Christians. They worship and serve God in the same way the early disciples did. Christ is their only Head, and the Scriptures their only guide. They are not members of any human organization, they are simply a congregation, or church, of Christ. They, in turn, would like to share Christ with you and with all the world.
You too can be just a Christian and serve God without belonging to any denomination, bound by denominational laws or obligations. If such freedom appeals to you, please contact us.
By Gene Taylor via Gospel Power, Vol. 11, No. 30, Aug. 1, 2004.
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