In his Handbook of Denominations in the United States, 5th Ed, <(Nashville:Abingdon Press), 1970.> Frank S Mead wrote, “There is a distinctive plea for unity at the heart of the [church title removed- bsmc] — a unity that is Bible based. It is believed here that the Bible is the “beginning place” in and through which God-fearing people can achieve spiritual oneness” (p 85). “They disclaim being a denomination, but claim to be nondenominational with no headquarters, no governing boards, and no clergy” (p 86). He stresses, “Since all official status in these institutions [schools and publications were listed] is lacking, none of them being authorized to speak for the entire church, their conformity in ideas and teachings in all the more remarkable” (p 87). Elsewhere in the article Mead mentions the concept of congregational autonomy with each congregation being governed by her own elders and deacons.
Unity or similarity between churches can only exist when there is a focused dependency on scripture to be the basis of both individual and collective faith. Another call for this reliance on scripture is seen in European theologian Dr. Hans Kung’s work, The Church (Die Kirche) <(London:Burns and Oates Continuum), 1967, 1968, 2001, trans. Ray and Rosaleen Ockendon>. Dr. Kung lamented the fact that the established church has lost its way; has become burdened down with tradition; has failed to be what Christ planned it should be. The only answer, according to Dr. Kung, is to go back to the scriptures to see what the church was in its beginning, and then to recover the essence of the original church inner generation.
The Church in the 21st Century?
This is what I want to do and who I want where I assemble to be. This idea of returning the church to what scripture lays out is a continual process. A process that has made changes due to culture, in methodologies, and because of new technology. But my prayer is that I am always true to the message of salvation in Christ and that my life and worship is pleasing to him.
My interest is to be a Christian.
I am interested only in the Bible as God’s word and the simplicity of the good news of grace in Christ. I do not conceive of myself as being anything but a Christian; as anything more than a member of the body of Christ. I desire as an individual for whom Christ died to gather with others who are in Him, called by His name, and guided by His word. Will you join with me?