That word is a blessing or an irritant. It is a blessing in our original use as Christians only. It has developed an obnoxious scent when shifted to the Churches of Christ are the only ones right. A huge problem with the latter (other than not being biblical) is its obsession as to exactly which of the only ones right among us are truly the only right ones.
I believe our obnoxifications are showing.
Meanwhile, the world around us says, So long. See ya later. We're outa here.
What seems to be the line of demarcation between the former and latter use of only? I would see two elements; feeling assured there are several. The first would be thankfulness and the second is humility. These twins lead a person to be humble in approach due to being thankful to have been invited in by the One who chose to knock.
We do Bible things Bible ways seems to always be said with a nose-in-the-air glare. It's harshly worded as if another ignorant soul has just been informed of their failure; their botch of getting the Bible right. All the while, we remain ignorant of our collapse on the very stage of our pompousity.
Should we begin at Acts 2; and who doesn't love to begin there, we will find the true Churches of Christ which are the only ones right begin to---shall we say---fudge a bit?
- :38 Baptism for remission of sins is held while many bow their necks at receiving the Holy Spirit.
- :42 The apostles teaching has been hijacked with the teaching of Wallace and Warren, etc.
- :43 The awe factor is out and the decent and in order is the yardstick.
- :44-45 Yes, donations are offered. Yet, the church is obsessed with more for self.
- :46 Day by day. We've shortened that one to three times a week and called it the most faithful.
- :47 Praising God has been trashed. Praising leaders and ministries and the way we worship has replaced hearts adoring and honoring God.
When we get back to the Bible we will discover that a host whom we had been told were our religious enemies are, also, to be found getting back to the Bible. Christians only remains a glorious plea and hope. The only ones who are the real Christians is stark confession of guilt; not of righteousness.