Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 10, 1970

The Bible Only Makes Christians Only

Edward Fudge

A teenage boy once asked me, "What church did Thomas and Alexander Campbell belong to?" I explained that they were first Presbyterians, then Baptists, and finally simply Christians. He seemed very surprised. "I thought they were in the Church of Christ," he said. And of course they were, though perhaps not in the sense in which this boy meant it.

Which brings me to this thought: many in the churches of Christ have forgotten, if they ever knew, a primary distinction in our history in America. That distinction is the call to undenominational, or simple, Christianity.

When one reads the New Testament, he finds the "church" to be exactly the same as the "body of Christ" (Eph. 1:22, 23; Col. 1:18). He finds the same obedience of faith both claiming salvation and making one a part of the body of Christ, or the church (Acts 2:41, 47; I Cor. 12:13). Men then did not "get saved," and later "join the church." All those being saved were also brought into Christ's body which is His church. The same things did both, and men could not have one without the other.

Our job today is not to sign men up in any denomination. It is not to sell them on the idea that one is better than another. Rather we are called to preach the gospel of Christ. When men hear the gospel of the grace of God, they are called on to respond in the obedience of faith. This they begin as they are baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3ff; Col. 2:12). At this same point they are added by God to the church, the body of Christ (I Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:26, 27). They are in Christ's church because they are in Him; there is no need for them to join anything else.

This is how it was in the New Testament. This is the way it can be today — and is, for millions around the world. We do not ask men to leave any truth they now hold. We do not ask them to accept anything but the commands of the Lord. We do not ask them to be in anything except the church of Christ, which is His body. In New Testament times, the Bible only made Christians only. It still does today.

— 944 S. Geyer, Kirkwood, Mo., 63122