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The church of Christ

Just Christians

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, “the churches of Christ salute 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” (1 Corinthians 1:2), “the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27), or “the household of faith” (Galatians 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 any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf” (1 Peter 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” (1 Corinthians 1:10-17).

The Bible ONLY

Churches of Christ have a distinctive plea. Of course, in many ways we agree with others striving to follow Christ. We firmly believe both in the inspiration of the entire Bible and in its sufficiency to guide us in all matters of faith; in the death of Jesus Christ and His atonement for our sins and that after death all men will be rewarded or punished in another life for the way they have lived here. We also insist that the moral principles of Jesus are absolute truths to be exemplified in the personal righteousness of the child of God.

However, we not only believe that the scriptures are inspired, but also are convicted that the New Testament must be our ONLY guide in religious faith. God's Word frequently warns us against changing the divine message. (See Galatians 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.

Restoration rather than Reformation

It is obvious that the religious world is badly divided. Great leaders such as Martin Luther and John Calvin sought to correct erroneous teachings and practices. But the reformers often started at different points and thus arrived at different conclusions. Division rather than unity has resulted. Churches of Christ, on the other hand, plead for the restoration of Bible Christianity rather than a reformation of existing religious bodies. Since all can agree that the early church was right, we should also be able to agree that we cannot be wrong if we succeed in reproducing that church today in every essential part. While many things have changed in the twenty-first century, the teachings of Jesus and His apostles have not. Truth is absolute and unchangeable. God's Word is truth (John 17:17) and can save today as surely as in the first century if applied in the same way. “The truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Should you visit one of the churches of Christ you will find it worshiping God as did the early disciples - “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). You will observe that it partakes of the Lord's supper, or communion, every Sunday. This is because we are following the example of the early Christians who assembled every first day of the week to “break bread” (See Acts 20:7). Likewise, in every other way churches of Christ seek to reproduce New Testament Christianity - in organization, in work, and in other areas of teaching.

How to be Just a Christian

In few places is there so much disagreement as in answering the Bible question, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). Here again churches of Christ reply by going to the scriptures for their answer. The Bible teaches that Christ shed His blood for our sins (Matthew 26:28), and that without it we cannot be saved (Hebrews 9:22). But what does Jesus require for that sacrifice to apply to us? Those who crucified Him were told to “know assuredly” or believe that Jesus is “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). When these people on the day of Pentecost then asked for further information, they were told, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Today we teach as did the apostles then that for Christ's blood to remove our sins we must as believers in Him repent and be baptized. As we are thus saved from our sins, the Lord adds us to His body, the church. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). The saved, then, are in the body or church of Christ; one cannot be saved and be outside this body.

The early disciples were Christians only. Although we live about 2000 years later, we too can be Christians only if we follow the same teachings given to these first followers of Jesus. Christ said, “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 will produce Christians and nothing more. We invite your earnest consideration to this plea.

Reprinted from "Just Christians"

The church of Christ in Sugar Creek, Missouri

On November 30, 1989, a group of a little over fifty people met in the home of Jim Hurt in what was to be the initial assembly of what was to ultimately become the Sugar Creek Church of Christ. On December 10, 1989, the group began meeting at Camp MoKan. In 1990 the current property was purchased from the R.L.D.S., and the congregation was incorporated as the Eastside Church of Christ in Sugar Creek. The “Eastside” was removed from the name in 1996. During the time from its beginning until January, 1993, Guss Eoff served as the local evangelist.

Beginning February, 1993, Oran Rhodes came to work with the congregation on a part time basis. In May, 1993, the Midwestern School of Preaching was begun and continued until December, 1998. Since 1993, a lectureship has been conducted each year, with the exception of 1999 and 2009 and a gospel meeting is held every fall. In addition to the yearly lectureships and gospel meetings, in 2007 the “Home Grown Lectures” began consisting of lessons solely from the men of the congregation. In 2009 the name was changed to the “Home Grown Bibles Studies”. Throughout the years many classes have been conducted for the brethren locally as well as for those in area congregations. Evangelistic efforts are ongoing with the congregation always ready to use any sound means to spread the gospel to the surrounding area. One of those ways has been supporting men who are training to become gospel preacher along with men who preach the gospel in other areas in the United States. The congregation currently supports Phillip Langston who preaches for the church in Elwood, KS. The congregation has also helped support mission trips to India by Randy Watson of Lemon Grove, California and longer term mission work in Custer, South Dakota by Jonathan Dalton.

In September of 2008, Oran Rhodes resigned as the full time preacher and in June, 2009 Troy Leland began the work as the full time preacher. Elders were appointed for the first time in October, 2008 with four men being appointed. Then in November, 2008 four deacons were appointed. The congregation continues to strive to follow only what God has instructed in the Bible.


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