Forthright Magazine

Ask away (1)

With so many religions in the world today, many people find it difficult to evaluate teachings and make sense of what they all stand for. When we examine the life of Jesus Christ and his teachings, however, we find that his message is very different from what is being preached by the competing religious groups.

The following questions are common ones for people meeting us for the first time. Our prayer is that, through the replies given, you can appreciate the simplicity of the Good News of Jesus and realize your need for commitment to the Lord of all creation and Savior of those who seek him.

The following text has been adapted from our our work in Brazil. We’ll divide these up over the next three weeks.

What is your religion?

We are followers of Jesus Christ, and accept the testimony of the Bible, which is the Word of God, as worthy of all confidence and respect. The Bible reveals the basic problem of man: sin, or, in other words, selfishness, self-love, presumption, pride, the insistence on being independent of everything and everyone, love for the things of this world. Scripture also leaves no doubt: man himself cannot overcome his mistakes. He needs outside help. We believe and teach that Jesus is the only answer for mankind, as he himself said in the Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” God created us in the beginning. He promises to repair what we destroyed and go with us until the end.

What is the name of your church?

According to the New Testament, the church has no denomination or name. (Also, it’s not our church; it belongs to God and to Christ.) Think about our moon circling the Earth. It has no name. Why is that? Because it is unique. There is only one. Denominations need names because there are many of them, like the moons of Saturn or Jupiter. There is in the Bible, however, a wide variety of descriptions for the communities of Christ and for his followers. We use all the biblical ones to designate ourselves: disciples of Christ, congregations of Christ, church of God, the Way, etc. One name is mentioned in the New Testament: Christian, 1 Peter, chapter 4, verse 16. So that’s what we are: Christians. Period. Above all, we want our terms and language to reflect the primacy and supremacy that Jesus Christ has in our lives.

Where is your headquarters located?

We have no hierarchy nor headquarters on earth. This is by divine design. Our headquarters are in heaven, where our Master Jesus is. Every congregation or local community of Christians responds directly to Jesus. He left his instructions in the Bible. There is no authority in our fellowship above the local community, for that is how Scripture organizes the church of Jesus. Jesus is the head. We are all brothers and sisters in God’s family, Matthew, chapter 23, verses 8-9.

Who is the head of your church?

On earth, there is no head or authority who commands the congregations. Jesus is our only teacher, as he himself commanded in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 20, verses 25-28:

But Jesus called them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions use their authority over them. It must not be this way among you! Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

To be the head means to be the authority, to determine what must be believed and practiced. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to inspire his apostles, who wrote documents that were gathered together for all time — the New Testament. So the Lord Jesus exercises his authority today through the Bible and, specifically, the New Testament.


J. Randal Matheny
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