“By what name you people call yourselves?”
Ques. Please let me know by what name you people call yourselves? What denomination?
Ans. We are strictly unsectarian, and consequently recognize no sectarian name, believing with Paul, (read I Cor. 3:1-4) that where one saith I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, or I am a Baptist, or I a Methodist, etc., it is an evidence of carnality, and consequently in opposition to the Spirit of Christ. Did Paul or Apollos die for us? If so, let us call ourselves theirs. Were we baptized into the Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, or other denominational churches? If so, we are members of it, and should be properly recognized by those names. But if we were baptized into the one body or church of which Jesus is the one and only Head, then we are members in particular of his body, and the only name appropriate would be his; Scripturally called the “Church of Christ,” “Christians,” “Church of the first born,” and such like general names. Again we would remark that ours is the only Scriptural basis of Christian union, viz: We have no creed (fence) to bind us together or to keep others out of our company. The Bible is our only standard, and its teachings our only creed, and recognizing the progressive character of the unfolding of Scriptural truths, we are ready and prepared to add to or modify our creed (faith-belief) as we get increase of light from our Standard.
We are in fellowship with all Christians in whom we can recognize the Spirit of Christ, and especially with those who recognize the Bible as the only standard. We do not require, therefore, that all shall see, just as we do in order to be called Christians; realizing that growth in both grace and knowledge is a gradual process. Nor do we see reason to expect that any but the watchmen of Zion will “see eye to eye” (Isa. 52:8.) until that which is perfect is come, when “that which is in part shall be done away.” (I Cor. 13: 10.)
If all Christians were to thus free themselves of prescribed creeds, and study the Word of God without denominational bias, truth and knowledge and real Christian fellowship and unity, would result. The Spirit of the Head would pervade the unfettered members of the body, and sectarian pride would vanish. Thus we believe, thus we practice, and thus we teach. It becomes our duty to denounce sectarianism and the God-dishonoring creeds of men which while contradicting each other, unite in misrepresenting God’s Word and character. Because these are bonds which hinder God’s children from rendering him the homage due unto his name, hinder their knowing him, hinder their worshipping in spirit and in truth, and also hinder them from enjoying that joy and peace which their Father designed they should have. We “cry aloud and spare not.”
Because we believe sectarianism to be a snare of the devil, and in opposition both to God and his saints, therefore we labor to set them free, and bring them into the liberty of Christ. That this has been so accounted before the present day by holy men of God, we quote you from the words of JOHN BUNYAN, whose name is a household word, and one of whose books has been more read than any other ever written except the Bible – ”Pilgrim’s Progress.” He wrote:-
“Since you would know by what name I would be distinguished from others, I tell you I would be, and hope I am, a Christian; and choose, if God should count me worthy, to be called a christian, a believer, or other such name which is approved by the Holy Ghost. And as for those factious (or sect) titles of Anabaptist, Presbyterian, Independent, or the like. I conclude that thev came neither from Antioch nor from Jerusalem, but from Hell and Babylon, for they tend to divisions: you may know them by their fruits.”
John Bunyan was a Christian whose creed was the Bible. (He was commonly called a “Baptist,” though, then, and in a few Baptist churches now, the Bible is the only written confession of faith.) He was imprisoned in Bedford jail by the English Church in 1660, because he thus believed. It was while there imprisoned that he wrote of “Pilgrim.”
Source: Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence – April, 1882