The Bible Only Makes Christians Only And The Only Christians, Thomas B. Warren
There are those who are comfortable with stating that we are only Christians but become rather squeamish when it is also stated that we are the only Christians. This great book from the late Thomas Warren addresses this vital subject. In the words of Thomas Warren, “Such people seem to hold that while it is a mark of humility to say that members of the church of Christ are Christians only, it is evidence of self-righteousness and arrogance to say that they are the only Christians. But it is neither self-righteous nor arrogant to point out that members of the church for which Jesus died are Christians only and the only Christians. This is the case because the Bible clearly teaches such.”
The book starts out with Jesus’ love for those who love and obey the truth. It then proceeds to establish that the Bible is the standard and the only guide to salvation. It discusses Bible authority, how it is ascertained, and deals with two basic extremes in relation to Bible authority and the fallacies of both—liberalism and anti-ism. I greatly appreciate Warren’s point in reference to inference. He prefers to refer to this concept in a different manner, stating we are bound because God implied an action: “The crucial question is: ‘Has God—in the New Testament—implied it?’ The question is not: ‘Has Joe Jones, Bill Smith, or Tom Warren inferred it?’” This distinction is important for us to understand as it relates to Bible authority.
The book explains that one cannot claim to be baptized into Christ while believing he was already saved prior to baptism. The book explains the law of inclusion and exclusion as it relates to the church. It presents very effective charts to illustrate the Bible is the seed which will produce a consistent fruit—New Testament Christians. It stresses that God is looking for militant faithfulness to His word and the church. Warren also deals with the Christian unity that Jesus prayed and died for not the union of false teachings as espoused by the ecumenical movement to tie various denominations together. Thomas Warren points out that “The church…was not merely a social club, not merely a church among many other equally valuable churches—but that the church (like the Gospel) was (is) unique among all religious bodies.”
One should not be ashamed of the implication stating the Bible makes the only Christians; the alternative is impossible since one cannot obey God correctly while following the Scriptures incorrectly. This book provides a very logical structured case for these great truths.
Thomas Warren was a very capable Bible scholar. He was chairman of the Bible department at Freed-Hardeman College from 1964-1971 and professor of apologetics at Harding Graduate School of Religion from 1971 to 1979. He was the founder of the Spiritual Sword and served as its editor from 1969 to 1989. He entered into debates with some of Christianity’s current critics and defended the truth. Thankfully, he produced numerous articles and books that are still available for us to obtain and read. I am in the process of obtaining all his books for my personal library since I have been so impressed with the depth of this man’s knowledge and presentation of the truth. Indeed, he was a great leader among churches of Christ and defender of New Testament Christianity. Thomas Warren died on August 8, 2000 at the age of 80.
Originally printed West Virginia Christian, Vol. 11, No. 11, November 2004, p. 8. Reprinted by permission.