Church of Christ Slogans Part 2 - No Creed But Christ

I'm going to combine two slogans into one post because they deal closely with one another.

No Creed But Christ.

We are not the only Christian, we are Christians only.

Both have an extremely good side to them. One has also been used to be very destructive to the health of churches. The other has been ignored.

First, let's focus on the positive. No Creed but Christ says that Christ is the only essential to our faith. We are not going to adhere to any man-made tradition if it does not fit under our current focus of living out the life of Christ. I like the quickness to disregard useless traditions. I like the focus on Christ.

But then an evil side has cropped up concerning this slogan.

Let me quote a Bible verse.

(1 Cor 1:11-15 NASB) "For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you. {12} Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of Christ." {13} Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? {14} I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, {15} that no man should say you were baptized in my name."

Or let me change some words and place it in the modern setting.

For I have seen this, my brethren, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying "I am of Luther," and "I of Calvin," and "I of Wesley," and "I of Christ." Has Christ been divided?

You will notice that saying "I of Christ" was not considered by Paul as being better than those who were saying I of Paul, Apollos, or Cephas. If saying you are of Christ is a way to divide believers, then it is a destructive and evil thing. People who follow the interpretations of Scripture that Luther, Calvin, or Wesley used are just as much a Christian as those who follow the interpretations of the Campbells. Maybe the Church of Christ is more accurate, but they, like any group of believers, have their areas where they have strayed.

If we would study our history and educate ourselves on how our beliefs really came about, we would see that we are with the Campbells what the Lutherans do with Luther, the Presbyterians do with Calvin, or the Methodists do with Wesley. We interpret Scripture the way the Campbells did. We cannot escape from history and ignore this fact. We need to be honest with ourselves and realize that our form of interpretation, albeit possibly more accurate, is not an essential to following God. The essential is our only creed, Christ.

That is why the letter to Corinth is so encouraging. Despite all of their faults, Paul still refers to them as brethren. They are still in the Lord despite being a terrible church. That is reassuring.

This leads me to the other slogan of the day. "We are not the only Christians, we are Christians only." If we really believed that Christ was the central, essential creed to us being Christians as the "No Creed but Christ" slogan teaches, then we have no problem accepting that our flavor of Christianity is just as true as those who interpret the Scripture differently. We would gladly accept Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, (dare I say) Catholics, Assemblies of God, etc. as brothers and sisters in Christ because they adhere to our Creed.

Saying "No Creed but Christ" can be interpreted two ways. One is exclusive. "Nobody is a Christian who has additional things to their faith alongside of Christ." The other is inclusive. "Anyone who adheres to the central core of Christ is a brother or sister. The rest of their beliefs are irrelevant." The inclusive interpretation of "No Creed but Christ" is consistent with the other slogan of "We are not the only Christians, we are Christians only."

"We are not the only Christians." That is a tough pill to swallow. But it is a necessary thing for us to believe in order to be in a proper relationship with all of our brothers and sisters of Christ who are of different persuasions.

(1 Cor 13:2 NASB) "And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."

This passage comes straight from the book that the reprimand quoted at the beginning came in. What is the solution to people who claim that they are superior to one another because they follow Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Christ, etc.? The solution is love. If we have all of the correct doctrine but do not have love, then our doctrine is about as useful as soiled toilet paper.

"No Creed but Christ" is a great slogan if it is not used to divide but to include others in our faith. It is a great slogan when it helps us remove traditions that once served a purpose but which no longer fit in with us loving Christ fully today. Keeping it linked with the slogan, "We are not the only Christians, but Christians only," seems to almost be a necessary check to keep "No Creed but Christ" in balance.

Watch out for the potholes.