Most people don’t like to be thought of as being different. Why? Being a part of the family of God IS different.
DIFFERENT, in attitude toward the Bible. These Christians believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible, complete, authoritative word of God. This faith is based upon such scriptures as 2Timothy 3:16; 2Peter 1:3-4,21; Revelation 22:18-19; John 10:35. But, do not all Protestant denominations believe this? There was a time when they did, but now many of them will tell you unhesitatingly that they no longer do. Even those denominations which are known as “Fundamentalists” are guilty of dividing the commandments of Christ into “essential” and “non-essential” commands. This, in effect, nullifies the authority of Scripture because it will let every man decide for himself what is essential and what is not. But those of the true family of God believe that man shall live by “EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD” (Matthew 4:4). Is this what you believe?
DIFFERENT, in attitude toward how to become a Christian. Since their faith in Scripture is such that it will not allow them to divide the commandments of Christ into essential and non-essential commands, this group of Christians insists that because every man has sinned and separated himself from God (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1-2), man’s only hope of benefitting from the blood of Christ is to do all that Christ has commanded men to do in order to reap these benefits. This, of course, involves faith in Christ as the Son of God (John 20:30-31; Mark 16:16). But since Scripture says that our faith avails only when it works by love (Galatians 5:6; James 2:24), they also repented of their sins (Acts 17:30), confessed with their mouth what they believed in their heart (Acts 8:37; Romans 10:10), and gladly obeyed the command of Christ to be baptized, i.e., immersed (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12) in water (Acts 8:36) for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16), that is, to be saved (Mark 16:16; 1Peter 3:21). When one has done all these things—and not until then—the Bible reveals that he is saved, a child of God by faith (Galatians 3:27), and a member of the Lord’s church (cf. Acts 18:8; 1Corinthians 1:1-2). Is this what you did?
DIFFERENT, in insisting on being simply a Christian—nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else. Most religious groups teach that a person can believe all the truth, obey every command of God, be a Christian while he lives, and go to heaven when he dies without ever belonging to any denomination whatsoever. Since this is true, this family of God sees the unimportance of every denomination and hence have not joined any denomination and are not a part of any denomination, but are simply Christians—nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else. Furthermore, since the Bible reveals that it is wrong and sinful to divide the people of God into different categories and be called by different religious names (1Corinthians 1:10-13), this group is satisfied with the name given in Scripture, i.e., the name Christian (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1Peter 4:16), and pleads for all believers to be one even as Christ prayed (John 17:20-21). They are satisfied to be simply members of the Lord’s church and just Christians. Can this be dangerous? Can it be anything but safe? Is that what you are; or are you a “Christian plus another name”?
DIFFERENT, in attitude toward church worship and work. Since Scripture commands Christians to assemble together (Hebrews 10:25), these do so; but such does not make them a denomination in any sense of the word. Such is simply the congregation of the Lord’s people, the congregation devoted to and belonging to the Lord, or the church that belongs to the Lord, hence, the church of Christ or church of God (Acts 20:28; Romans 16:16).
Since these Christians have the confidence in the scriptures already mentioned, they accept Scripture as the divine, verbally inspired and authoritative blueprint for the church throughout all ages. Whatever acts this blueprint reveals that Christians did when they thus assembled is the pattern for them, and to it they cling tenaciously. Since the New Testament reveals that Christians are to assemble on the first day of the week to break bread, or eat the Lord’s supper, give of their money, sing, teach the apostles’ doctrine, and pray together (Acts 20:7; 1Corinthians 16:1-3; Acts 2:42; Ephesians 5:19), that is exactly what this group of Christians does. Since the Bible forbids adding anything to what is revealed (Revelation 22:18-19), these Christians do not do anything else in church worship. Is this unreasonable? Can it be anything but right? Is this what you do?
The New Testament also tells that the church is to preach the gospel, edify itself, and care for its needy (1Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 4:16; Acts 6:1-6). This group is glad to do just that.
DIFFERENT, because it has no ecclesiastical or denominational hierarchy. Since this group accepts God’s word as its blueprint for the church, it is happy to follow the pattern given in it for church organization. The New Testament reveals no ecclesiastical authority higher than the local congregation, except Christ, the head of the church (Ephesians 1:22-23). The local congregation is to be overseen by elders (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:17,28; 1Peter 5:1-3) with deacons to serve (Philippians 1:1; 1Timothy 3:8-10) and is not governed by any conference, association, synod, pope, or council, but is simply free under God to do the will of Christ. It has no denominational machinery or earthly headquarters but is a free, independent, and autonomous body of Christians. Is the church of which you are a member like this?
This group occupies a unique and enviable position, indeed! It is a position based upon and produced by the infallible word of God. This group does not occupy this position merely as their opinion but because the word of God tells them and all others to do so. The family of God IS different!