You can be just a Christian! Does this sound strange? With about 300 religious bodies in our country it might appear impossible to be a Christian without being part of a denomination. It is not only possible, but there are actually millions of "Christians only" in this and other nations.
The Churches Of Christ
Who are these people who seek to be only Christians? The congregations of which they are a part are usually known as "churches of Christ." This term is not used in a sectarian sense, but is intended to denote their desire to belong to Christ's church. The Bible says, "All the churches of Christ greet you" (Romans 16:16). However, it is just as correct to describe the church of which we read in the Bible as "the church of God" (1Cor. 1:2), "the body of Christ" (1Cor. 12:27), or "the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10) these and similar Biblical phrases are not proper names, but descriptive expressions which show how the church is related to Christ and His Father. Individually Christ's followers are known as "Christians" in the Bible. "The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11:26). "If a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name" (1Peter 4:16). Never does a human name prefix this God given name. Paul was one of the greatest of all Christians, but he did not want disciples to be called "Paulites" or "Paulite Christians" (1Cor. 1:10-17).
A Distinctive Plea
Churches of Christ have a distinctive plea. Of course, in many ways we agree with others striving to follow Christ. We believe in the divine inspiration of the entire Bible, in the death and resurrection of God's Son as an atonement for our sins, that after death all will be rewarded of punished in another life for the way they have lived here and that the moral teachings of the New Covenant are absolute truths to be lived daily in the personal righteousness of the child of God.
The Bible Only
We not only believe that the scriptures are inspired, but also are convicted that the a New Testament must be our only guide in religious faith. God's Word frequently warns us against changing the divine message. (See Gal. 1:6-9.) We therefore have no creed or catechism to present, but accept Christ as our only creed and the Bible as our only guidebook. In this way we are never prevented by an erroneous creed from accepting any truth which may be learned from God's Word.
Just A Christian
In answering the Bible question, "What must I do to be saved?", churches of Christ reply by going again to the scriptures and teaching, as did the apostles back then, that for Christ's blood to remove our sins we must as believers in Him repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38, Romans 6:1-4). No church vote is taken because when we are saved from our sins the Lord adds us to His body, the church (Acts 2:41,47). "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body" (1 Cor. 12:13).
The first-century disciples were Christians only. Although we live 2000 years later, we too can be Christians only if we will follow the same teachings. For Jesus said of those who are planted into His kingdom, "The seed is the word of God" (Luke 8:11). Just as surely as a planted acorn will produce only an oak, so God's Word by itself will produce Christians and nothing more. We invite your earnest consideration to this plea.