Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Why Be Just A Christian?

Recently I read a tract written by Eugene Britnell in 1953, titled, Why Be Just a Christian. The tract has been reprinted many times, and I would encourage you to get a copy or copies, read it, and pass it out to those who do not have a concept of non-denominational Christianity.

In the tract, under the heading “Who is a Christian”, Britnell writes:

“The name Christian has been applied to so many people and things that its true meaning has been obscured. It has been applied to nations, homes, institutions, and almost every class of religious people. The name cannot be given to any individual who claims to be religious, for there are certain conditions one must meet in order to be a Christian.” (pg. 5)

What was true in 1953 remains so today. Most people, even religiously oriented people, do not have any true concept of what the term Christian entails. The primary reason for this is the liberal and casual use of the term to describe the institutions, etc., which Britnell mentions. Today, just about everyone claims to be a Christian, many times not even knowing what it is that Christ requires of us to wear his name.

In our day we would call it “trademark infringement.” It is the use of Christ’s name in ways and by individuals who have not received permission (authority) from him. It was practiced in Christ’s day, as our Lord said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” (Matthew 7:21-23). Such use of His name, without authority, is lawlessness. If we are going to wear the name of Christ, we had better know His will for us (what He wants for us to do). As Paul wrote, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).

The present state of denominationalism, with its various man-made creeds, and humanly established institutions, is not Christ’s will. Our Lord does not want us to be hyphenated Christians: “Baptist-Christian”, “Methodist-Christian”, “Catholic-Christian” or “Presbyterian-Christian.” We should be Christians, and Christians only. We should be willing to limit ourselves to God’s ways, respecting the authority of scripture. We should seek out those who are likewise respectful of God, and worship together in the simple, pure way revealed in the New Testament scriptures. To do less than this is to infringe upon what belongs to Christ – and is regarded by Him as lawlessness.