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Christian churches and churches of Christ

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Christian Churches" and "Churches of Christ"
ClassificationChristian, Restoration Movement
OrientationNew Testament, Restorationism
SeparationsChurches of Christ, Disciples of Christ
Members1,071,616 in the United States

The group of Christians known as the Christian Churches or Churches of Christ are congregations within the Restoration Movement, aka the Stone-Campbell Movement and the Reformation of the 19th Century, that have no formal denominational affiliation with other congregations, but still share many characteristics of belief and worship.[1] Churches in this tradition are strongly congregationalist and have no formal denominational ties, and thus there is no proper name that is agreed to apply to the movement as a whole. Most (but not all) congregations in this tradition include the words "Christian Church" or "Church of Christ" in their congregational name. Due to the lack of formal organization between congregations, there is a lack of official statistical data, but the 2016 Directory of the Ministry[2] documents some 5000 congregations in the USA and Canada; some estimate the number to be over 6,000 since this directory is unofficial.[who?]

These congregations share historical roots with other, similarly named congregations within the Restoration Movement, including congregations organized within formal fellowships, such as the "Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)" or the "Churches of Christ". The congregations discussed in this article, however, have chosen to remain fully autonomous. Further distinguishing these congregations is their use of instrumental music within their worship, unlike the "Churches of Christ" who do not use instrumental music. The instrumental congregations discussed here and the a cappella "Churches of Christ" are otherwise very similar but have little contact with each other in most communities, although there is some cooperation among some larger churches and also in some educational institutions.[clarification needed]

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
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  • What Makes the Churches of Christ Unique? - Part 1
  • Church of Christ's Core Beliefs
  • Why the church of Christ is different - Alan Highers
  • What Church to Join? - BJ Clarke
  • Church History: The Restoration Movement - October 16, 2016 [Widescreen 480p]


Bible Warfare, How to Defend Your Faith, lesson number five; title of this lesson, What Makes the Church of Christ Unique, and this is part one. Well, I think that most folks in this class know our procedure and our purpose in this particular series. I'm answering Bible questions that you've submitted about topics that you have been asked about and perhaps were not able to answer, or they could be questions you yourself have had wanted, perhaps, a clearer answer to. And I've broken the questions down into several categories and answers. One oft-repeated question or several specialized questions each week. And I started with the questions that were most asked by people. We've done those in the first three or four lessons. In addition to this, we set up a kind of ground rules to guide our discussions with other people when we talked to them about Bible or faith issues: respect others' sincerity, keep the discussion based on the Bible, and remember, the sentence that keeps the thing objective and not subjective, okay, is, I believe that the Bible teaches... and then go from there. Not I feel or I think. I believe that the Bible teaches... and you go from there. And then of course, be patient. All right, so let's get to some of the questions. One of the questions that came up in many different forms was, what's the difference between the church of Christ and... you fill in the blank. You fill in the blank between any number of groups or denominations - Catholic, Protestants, Baptists, Methodists, whatever, Jehovah witnesses. What's the difference? Now, I've put all of these questions together because the essential difference between the church of Christ and other churches, whether they be Roman Catholic or mainline Protestant, evangelical, sectarian groups like the Mormons, the difference is always the same. In the simplest of terms, the difference is this: we are consciously striving to be a New Testament church and they, whoever they are, are not. That's the basic difference. Now some, especially among the evangelical churches, may claim to be New Testament churches, but they neither understand nor practice true New Testament style Christianity and church organization. So the question that naturally follows this statement is: what then is a New Testament church? If that's the way we're different than all the other groups, what is that? Well, there are two parts to this answer. One is theological. We're different theologically; and we're also different historically. We'll take theological difference first. New Testament churches, like the church of Christ, are different theologically than others because our approach to the Bible, the source for Christian theology - theology, by the way, the study of God and all that relates to God. We are different in our approach to theology than other groups in two basic ways. Number one, we believe that the Bible is completely inspired by God and is the only and final authority in spiritual matters. That is the bedrock basis of the difference between churches of Christ and all other, quote, Christian groups. For example, in Second Timothy 3:16 the Bible says, "All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness." Notice it says, all scripture. Not some scripture, all scripture is inspired, by who? By God. And then it goes on, Paul goes on to explain how we use the scriptures. We use them to teach and to reprove, for correction, for training. In opposition to this, Roman Catholics, for example, believe that the Pope and church tradition has equal authority to the Bible. Protestants, some, don't accept all as inspired and include the teachings of their founders like Calvin, Luther, as authoritative. Evangelicals, on the other hand, for the most part agree with us on this particular point. Various sects, when I mention a sect I'm talking about Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists. Various sects give equal authority to their prophets and founding leaders, as they do to the Bible. There's always, well, there's the Bible, and then there's the Book of Mormon, there's the Bible and then there's this other book that we use in combination for our religious theological authority. So when you have one church that considers the Bible as the only and complete inspired authoritative document from God, and then other groups who only accept parts of the Bible or they include information from other sources as authoritative, you're bound to have different outcomes sooner or later. For example, we, in the churches of Christ, believe that homosexuality is a sin and it is an unacceptable lifestyle, because in both the Old Testament and the New Testament the Bible says so. In the Old Testament, Leviticus 18, verse 22. That's just one reference. In the New Testament, Romans chapter one, verses 26 to 27 very clearly denounces it. There's not even the word homosexual that exists in the Bible. That's a word made up to explain that activity. In the Bible there's no Greek word that says homosexual. It's actually a phrase - men sleeping with other men as they do with women. That's how its explained. It's not explained as a style of life, it's explained as an action, okay. And then it is denounced. Many Roman Catholics believe that homosexuals can remain this way without change because the Pope has made a special provision for them in the church. The most recent Pope has accepted the idea that there is a genetic source for homosexuality - completely unscientific. I don't know where he got that. In some Methodist and Presbyterian churches, homosexuals can become ordained ministers, because many of their leaders do not consider the epistles of Paul as being inspired. So if you can say, well Paul, sometimes he was inspired and sometimes he was not. Well, you're going to get a different, you're going to get a different result for sure. Many in the denominational world see Paul's epistles as simply the work of a human being, a prejudiced human being. The argument being, well, Paul was a product of his time and in those days homosexuality was looked down upon, and so therefore, it was natural that he would be negative about homosexuals, but we've evolved, we've grown. Now, I choose this example because it is so glaring, but there are a thousand other differences, because we, as a New Testament church, see the Bible as fully inspired and we see it as the single religious authority that guides our moral and spiritual lives, and other people, other groups, either take away some parts of the Bible, or they add to it in some way. And so, they come to a different conclusion because of that. So when you do this, you get a different result and conclusion on issues of faith and practice. For example, if I don't believe that the writings of Paul are part of the inspired record, well then, I can use instruments in worship, because it's Paul that writes about this idea that you sing, when you worship sing. Or I can have women be elders in the church, because Paul is the one that writes about this particular issue. And I can organize the church like a business or a government or a royal thing, as many churches do, because most of the information on these matters come from Paul's epistles, and if they're not inspired or authoritative, then I can do what seems best to me. The thing that people don't realize, however, is that Paul also talks eloquently about salvation in the book of Ephesians and he describes the the gifts and the rewards that God has prepared for all those who remain faithful. So if you want to discount Paul as an inspired authority for issues like homosexuality and the role of women in the church, well you also have to discount whatever he says about the gifts that we're receiving from God. You can't pick and choose. You reject it all, or you accept it all. Of course, the Bible does say something about this as well, Proverbs 30, "Do not add to His words or He will reprove you and you will be proved a liar." First Corinthians 4:6, "Now these things, brethren, I figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sake, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written. So that no one of you will become arrogant on behalf of one against the other." Revelation chapter 22, "I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book." Notice that Solomon and Paul and John restated the same idea, that God forbids any tinkering with His Word - no adding, no subtracting. And so, churches of Christ, as New Testament churches, we take this command literally, and we accept the entire Bible as inspired by God and we are careful not to add or change or eliminate any part of it. That's the thing, well, one of the things that makes us different than other groups. Now hear what I'm saying. I'm not saying that we understand everything in the Bible. I'm not saying that our teachings are all perfect, no fault. We understand every idea, every doctrine, everything, like we get everything - I'm not saying that. I'm saying that we accept the fact that the Bible itself is perfect. The Bible itself is fully inspired. And we are doing our very best to understand it and to obey it. We're not saying we do that perfectly. I tell people, we're not perfect, but we've got the right target. We're shooting at the right thing. We're trying to do the things of God, given to us in the Bible, according to the way God has given it to us. That's the right target. Now, another thing - so that's one thing, why are we different, how are different, that's one way, very important way - we accept the Bible as fully inspired and many, many religious groups that claim Christ as Lord, do not. Another thing that creates differences between us and others from theological perspective is our approach to interpreting and applying God's Word in our lives in practical ways. In other words, we believe that it's inspired, but we have a method of studying it in order to arrive at a consistent conclusion every time. For example, Roman Catholics see the Bible as a basis from which to begin their religious ideas, which are then developed by papal teaching and church practice and tradition, church tradition, even if it contradicts the Bible. How, would you say? Well, they add festivals, they add doctrines, they add laws, they add hierarchy not in the Bible, not even spoken in the Bible. The doctrine of Mary being assumed into heaven, transported into heaven like Elijah, that's not written in the Bible anywhere. They just made that up. Whole cloth. T hat the Pope is infallible when he speaks, as we say, ex cathedra, meaning, when he speaks from the chair of Peter he's infallible, no mistakes. They made that up. That was put together 125 years ago and it passed the vote among Cardinals. Many Cardinals voted against it, who actually knew the Bible and were saying, no, you can't do that. And yeah, they won. They won the vote and that became part of the Catholic theology and doctrine. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that. So they add stuff. I mean, I could go on and on. Protestants, they do the same, except they have a variety of practices and traditions developed by many teachers since they rejected the authority of the Pope and put it into the hands of their scholars. So modern Protestantism is largely driven by their academics, who have long ago abandoned the Bible as the final authority. I tell people, you go to Harvard Theological Seminary, you're lucky if you get out of there still believing in God, never mind the Bible. This has led to their synods or associations or conventions becoming the place where things become decided, and not simply by the Bible. The idea of allowing homosexuals to openly serve, to be openly gay, to be practicing as a gay person and then to be serving as a minister of the church, how did that happen? Well, it happened, the academics began to undermine the authority of the inspiration of the scriptures, and then at conventions and synods, they took a vote, they took a vote. And what they decided with a vote became doctrine for them. So how are we different? We never sit around and take a vote to figure out what the doctrine is. This is why they have so many different groups. Each group can exist separately from the other because it's all about individualism. I'm talking about, now, evangelicals. For example, for evangelicals, the Bible is a resource book, a good book, an inspired book, but it's a resource for a happy and satisfying life here. And a book that gives them a glimpse into the future, heaven. So the multiplication of groups under the evangelical banner is increasing each year because as a subjective process there is no way to decide which group is legitimate or not. You've got the First Baptist, the Second Baptist, the Third Baptist Church, the Fourth Baptist. The minute somebody deviates from a doctrine, they have another idea on stuff, well they just form a new group - Missionary Baptist, New Missionary Baptist. The sects - Jehovah Witness, Mormon, Seventh-Day Adventists - they focus in exclusively on one doctrine or key idea in the Bible, in order to separate themselves from other groups and justify their existence. The Jehovah Witnesses, God's name. The Seventh-Day Adventists, the Sabbath. And from this base they evolved an entirely new religious experience and group, all based on - note that the one thing that causes the differences between all of these religious groups all claiming Christ as Lord, is the way they approach and apply the Bible to their lives as believers, and their organization and function as churches. That's what makes them different. Because of this we have a special way to study and apply its teachings to both our personal and church life. We do. This approach, this method that we have, that gives us the results that we have, and makes us unique among every other church and religious group out there, because we, the churches of Christ, are the only ones using this approach. This approach that I'm talking about, this way to practice or to apply our theology is called pattern theology, based on the instruction of several scriptures. In Second Timothy one, verse 13. Paul says, "Retain the "standard of sound words, which you have heard from me in the faith and love, "which are in Christ Jesus." Retain, keep the standard, keep what I've given to you. Maintain what I've given to you he says. The teachings that I've given to you, that Paul gave to Timothy, retain these, hang on to these. In Jude three, Jude says, "Beloved, while I was making every effort to write to you about our "common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend "earnestly for the faith, which was once for all handed down to the saints." What is Jude asking here? He says, I felt it necessary to write to you appealing that you, what? You contend, you fight for. Fight for what? Well, you fight in order to maintain, to maintain what? He says, the faith. There's an article there. In the Greek there's faith like, I trust you, I have faith in you, I believe. There's that faith. And then there's the faith, which is a body of doctrine, a body of teaching. So here, you see it, the article, that you contend earnestly for what? For the faith, the body of teaching, the body of doctrine. And what does he say? Which was once for all handed down to the saints. Everything that God wanted to give to the church, that body of doctrine, he has already given it. So when I hear 60 Minutes - a new scripture, new epistle found, they've got a new - No. There's no more. We have it all. We've got it all. They may have written others, but they're lost. We know that Paul wrote more epistles than he did, but they were lost. So here's the thinking behind this, in these two scriptures and others, the Apostles are encouraging the church to maintain the integrity of this body of information. You have this body of information, he says, and your job is not only to maintain it and teach it, but maintain it in its purity and hand it down to the next generation, who will then do the same. They will teach it, maintain it, keep it pure and hand it down to the following generation. And if we don't think that that's an important idea, take a look around. Take a look around at what the people, what people have tried to do with the Bible - tear it up, take things out, add stuff to it. Of course, that's the job. That's the work that we've been given to do. I'll give you an example of how pattern theology works, this here is just a picture of, you know when they came out with the new series of quarters. They were minted with the special design for every state. This is the one that they minted for the state of Oklahoma. It's got the regular front and then on the back it's got Oklahoma and this is the scissor- tail and all that stuff. Now, at the mint they have the original dye or pattern for this particular coin. And so long as they have the raw materials, they can produce an unlimited number of coins which are exactly like the original in every way. Well, this idea exists in every industry - you create an original pattern and you produce any number of copies from that original pattern, for dresses, for steering wheels, for can openers, anything. Well, if we apply this idea to religion, the pattern theology approach says the following: the Bible contains all the patterns necessary to produce all facets of spiritual life. What we have here is a book of patterns, a book of blueprints. These include, but are not limited to, the pattern for how one becomes a disciple of Jesus. Someone says, well, I want to be a disciple of Jesus, how do I do that? Well, one guy says, clap your hands three times and jump up in the air three times saying Jesus, and you'll be one of His disciples. And the guy goes, really? Yeah, that's right. And then the other guy says, well let's look at the Bible and see what the Bible says about how you become a disciple. Then, I mean, I'm preaching to the choir here. When you read, slowly but surely you find out, well, wait a minute, if you want to be a disciple, Matthew 28, you need to believe in Jesus, you need to repent of your sins, you need to be baptized. All these things are necessary to become a disciple. How do we know that? Well, the Bible contains the pattern that teaches us how to do that thing. The Bible contains the pattern for how to organize Jesus's church. This is where the term, by the way, New Testament church comes from. A New Testament church is the church that is organized according to the pattern for church organization found in the New Testament. And so, the short form for that is New Testament church. New Testament church, as a church, was established organized and functions according to the pattern for this given in the New Testament. Now we see a pattern for some practice or experience because through direct communication or examples or basic logic the Bible gives us a pattern of teaching to follow for everything: the pattern for proper service, the pattern for personal spiritual growth, the pattern for resolving issues, the pattern for choosing leaders, and the list goes on and on. So we are different from others because everything we attempt to do is done with this approach in mind. We don't always say, what's the pattern, even though that's technically the correct thing. We usually say, what does the Bible say. Well, that's the same thing. How does the Bible tell us to do such and such. I mean, you have a personal dispute with someone, the Bible has a pattern for how to resolve a dispute that you have with someone else. A classic example of course on a larger scale is the issue of the use of instruments in public worship. We are different than others because we are among the only ones who are a cappella or singing only in worship. Every other group uses instruments. Well, every other group, again, except the Greek Orthodox Church, they don't use instruments, because Greek, they speak Greek, they understand the language. So when they read the New Testament in the Greek, they understand that singing that's the way you're supposed to worship in public, so they don't use instruments. We do not use instruments because when we ask ourselves what is the New Testament pattern or blueprint for public worship? When we ask that question and begin scouring the New Testament, we find out certain things about this topic. For example, in every passage that gives information about music and worship, the command or the instruction or the example given to us is that we should sing without the use of musical instruments. Now people - I've answered this before, but people say, oh well yeah, they sang in the Old Testament. That's not the question. They also offered bulls and goats in the Old Testament as well, you want to do that too? We're interested in how does God want us to offer public worship according to the New Testament. So First Corinthians 14, Ephesians five, Colossians three, James five, we could go on and on. Every time music in worship is discussed in the New Testament it is always discussed with the idea that Christians will sing to offer public worship. It's interesting to note also that the specific word used in the Greek translated to sing was the word psallo, which specifically meant to sing without the use of instruments. It was the Greek way of saying a cappella-type singing. Now, there are a 181,253 words in the King James Version of the New Testament, and not a single one makes any reference to the use of musical instruments in Christian worship. Well, how did we get there? We got there because somebody just set this aside and said, we're going to do it this way, because they're doing it, okay. So the pattern of teaching in the New Testament on this subject, music and worship, shows us in clear terms that in public worship we are to sing without the use of instruments. So here's the point, if we want to be a popular church and reach younger people, youth group, Millennials, I mean, it's a lot better to have a well-produced musical worship service, with a professional group of musicians, drama, cartoons, whatever. If you want to get people to, young people, get them interested, the end justifies the means. How can it be wrong? We've got so many young people coming into church. How can it be wrong? That's the ends justifying the means. If we want to create impact, bring visitors, get people involved, start a band, get going with a choir. If, on the other hand, we want to be exactly like the church described in the Bible, oh well, then that's going to be different. Then we're going to follow the pattern for New Testament worship, and have all the church sing praises to God without any accompanying instruments, regardless of what's in style, regardless of what's happening in other churches. This will make us different, but not because we don't use instruments, most others do. No, we're different because we have deliberately and consciously chosen to follow carefully and as exactly as we can the teaching in the New Testament about this particular thing. That doesn't make us legalists. Some people say, oh you're so legalist, so conservative, so narrow-minded. No. That makes me a lover of God. That's what that makes me. That's what that makes me. It makes me a lover of God, because I want to do what God wants me to do, more than anything else. I don't care about being popular. I don't care about that. I only care about pleasing the Lord. That's all I care about. So this is what makes us different. We're trying to follow the pattern while others are not dedicated to this objective. I'm not saying that other people are not sincere or they're bad people, I'm just saying that they're not dedicated to what we're dedicated to. And a lot of times, a lot of people in our congregation don't understand this idea. When was the last time you had a class about pattern theology, right? It's the thing that appealed to me the most when I became a Christian. I was looking for explanations, because I grew up Catholic, as you know. Why are they doing this? Why are they doing that? And I'd read the Bible. And then when somebody finally explained to me the approach, well, yeah. This is what creates the similarity between us and other people at a time. This is why there can be thirteen thousand congregations of the churches of Christ in the United States alone, without any hierarchy beyond the local church. We don't have a state group, union. We don't have some big honcho in Dallas running the show. The highest authority in our churches are our elders. And if Herald, for example, and Jane, decided to move to Dallas, to be closer to some of their grandchildren, and they started going to another congregation of the church, he wouldn't be an elder anymore. It's not transferable. I mean, they could ask him, obviously, with his experience. But you know what I'm saying, you can only be a leader in your local church. Why do we do it that way? Because that's the way it's done in the New Testament. And not just one leader per congregation. According to the pattern in the New Testament, always a plurality of elders, a collegiate, a collegial-type of leadership is what we practice. So 13,000 congregations, some are big, some are small, some are dynamic, others bumping along. But the thing that we all have in common is that we all are devoted to following the patterns in the New Testament for our practice of Christianity, in every area of life. Some churches seem to be able to do that real well, others are struggling, but we're all agreed. And if you travel at all, and if you go to different places and you go to the churches, you walk in and you go, yep. And sometimes you walk in, I mean, you think you're in the right place and there's a big piano and the band in the front. You go, okay, I'm not in the right place. I mean, Baptists, they believe Jesus is the Son of God and so do we. We're are the same in this because they follow the pattern of teaching about the identity of Christ and so do we. It's just that they don't follow the pattern of teaching about all the other stuff as well. Now, what usually creates the differences and makes us unique is that the churches of Christ are dedicated to trying to follow the New Testament pattern for everything pertaining to our spiritual lives in faith and other groups are not. Sometimes they do it and sometimes they don't. We, on the other hand, try to do it every time. Again, it doesn't mean we succeed, it doesn't mean we succeed, but we do try. We know what we're trying to do, and who we're trying to be, okay. I've got too much material to do in one class, so we're going to talk about the history of this next week.


Congregational nomenclature

The churches are independent congregations and typically go by the name "Christian Church", but often use the name "church of Christ" as well. Though isolated exceptions may occur, it is generally agreed within the movement that no personal or family names should be attached to a congregation which Christ purchased and established with his own blood, though geographical labels are acceptable. Thus, it is common for a congregation to be known as "[City Name] Christian Church," [3] but in some areas they may be known as "[The/First] Christian Church [of/at] [City, Community, or Other Location Name]." In recent history, individual congregations have made the decision to change their formal name to break with traditional nomenclature and to adopt more generic names like "Christ's Church [of/at] [City Name]", "[City Name] Community Christian Church", or "[City Name] Community Fellowship". The tendency in Restoration churches to choose names such as "Christian Church" and "Church of Christ" can cause difficulties in identifying the affiliation (if any) of an individual church based solely on its name. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for churches outside of the Restoration Movement to use similar names (see Church of Christ (disambiguation)).

Separation from the Disciples of Christ

The separation of the independent Christian churches and churches of Christ from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (DoC) occurred over an extended period of time.[4]:185 The roots of the separation date back to a polarization that occurred during the early twentieth century as the result of three significant controversies.[4]:185 These controversies surrounded theological modernism, the impact of the ecumenical movement, and open membership (recognizing as full members individuals who had not been baptized by immersion).[4]:185

The Disciples of Christ were, in 1910, a united, growing community with common goals.[5] Support by the United Christian Missionary Society of missionaries who advocated open membership became a source of contention in 1920.[4]:185 Efforts to recall support for these missionaries failed in a 1925 convention in Oklahoma City and a 1926 convention in Memphis, Tennessee.[4]:185 Many congregations withdrew from the missionary society as a result.[4]:185

A new convention, the North American Christian Convention, was organized by the more conservative congregations in 1927.[4]:185 An existing brotherhood journal, the Christian Standard, also served as a source of cohesion for these congregations.[4]:185 From the 1960s on, newer unaffiliated missionary organizations like the Christian Missionary Fellowship (today, Christian Missionary Fellowship International) were working more on a national scale to rally Christian Church/Church of Christ congregations in international missions.[4]:9 By this time the division between liberals and conservatives was well established.[5]

The official separation between the independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is difficult to date.[6]:407 Suggestions range from 1926 to 1971 based on the events outlined below:

  • 1926: The first North American Christian Convention (NACC) in 1927[6]:407 was the result of disillusionment at the DoC Memphis Convention.
  • 1944: International Convention of Disciples elects as president a proponent of open membership[6]:408
  • 1948: The Commission on Restudy, appointed to help avoid a split, disbands[6]:409
  • 1955: The Directory of the Ministry was first published listing only the "Independents" on a voluntary basis.[6]:408
  • 1968: Final redaction of the Disciples Year Book removing Independent churches[6]:408
  • 1971: Independent churches listed separately in the Yearbook of American Churches.[6]:408


Because the Christian churches and churches of Christ are independent congregations there is no set creed, but The Directory of the Ministry[2] contains the following general description:

Members of Christian Churches and churches of Christ believe in the deity and Lordship of Jesus Christ, the inspiration of the Bible, and the autonomy of local congregations. Following the basic principles of the 'Restoration Movement', they accept and teach believers' baptism by immersion into Christ for the forgiveness of sins; they assemble for worship on the first day of the week, making the observance of the Lord's Supper a focal point in such worship. They seek the unity of all believers on the basis of faith in and obedience to Christ as the divine Son of God and the acceptance of the Bible particularly the New Testament as their all-sufficient rule of faith and practice.


Of the principles cited above, one characteristic marks most Christian Churches and Churches of Christ as distinctly different from other modern Evangelical Christian groups today. That is the teaching that a person receives the remission of sins, during his baptism.[7] Baptism is:

  • by immersion,[8]
  • for publicly confessing believers in Jesus Christ [Acts 8:37],
  • a work of God's grace, not a work of man [Col 2:12],
  • a promise received through obedient submission [Acts 2:40, 41],
  • necessarily accompanied with confession of sinfulness and repentance [Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Rom 10:9,10],
  • the occasion when one receives God's forgiveness for their sins [Acts 2:36-37; Acts 2:40-41],
  • the occasion when one calls on His name for salvation [Acts 22:16],
  • the occasion when the equipping, indwelling Holy Spirit is received as a seal and promise of heaven [Acts 2:38; Titus 3:5],
  • a "circumcision" or transformation of the believer's heart by the hands of Christ himself [Col 2:11,12],
  • foreshadowed in the Old Testament ceremonial washings, now fulfilled in a believer's shared experience with Christ [Heb 10:22],
  • sharing in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ [Rom 6:4], and the only assurance of the hope of the resurrection from the dead [Rom 6:5-7],
  • specifically emphasized and commanded by Christ in his brief closing remarks ("The Great Commission") before ascending into heaven,
  • not only an outward sign of an inward change, but is both simultaneously [e.g. "born again" John 3:4, 5],
  • one baptism indeed, both physically in water and spiritually in the blood of Jesus [Eph 4:5; John 3:5],
  • entry into the body of Christ at large, and hence, the only viable entry into the membership of a local congregation of the Independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ (as in the Church of Christ (non-instrumental), a candidate for membership is not usually required to be re-baptized if they have previously been "baptized into Christ" in accordance with the above general understanding and/or guidelines) [Eph 4:5].

Educational institutions

The Christian Churches/churches of Christ support a variety of Bible colleges and seminaries. Because there is no official "denominational" structure in the movement, the local colleges often serve as information centers and allow the local churches to maintain connections with each other.


Colleges and seminaries Location Date Founded
Alberta Bible College Calgary, Alberta 1932
Maritime Christian College Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island 1960


Colleges and seminaries Location Date Founded
International Christian College of Manila San Jose, Antipolo City, province of Rizal, Philippines 2005
Manila Bible Seminary Pablo Ocampo Street, Barangay San Bartolome, Novaliches, Quezon City, Philippines

United States

Colleges and seminaries Location Date Founded
Boise Bible College Boise, Idaho 1945
Blueridge College of Evangelism Wytheville, Virginia 1971
Central Christian College of the Bible Moberly, Missouri 1957
Cincinnati Christian University Cincinnati, Ohio 1924
Colegio Biblico[9] Eagle Pass, Texas 1945
Crossroads College Rochester, Minnesota 1913
Dallas Christian College Dallas, Texas 1950
Emmanuel Christian Seminary Johnson City, Tennessee 1965
Florida Christian College

now Johnson University Florida

Kissimmee, Florida 1976
Great Lakes Christian College Delta Township, Michigan 1949
Hope International University Fullerton, California 1928
Johnson University Knoxville, Tennessee 1893
Kentucky Christian University Grayson, Kentucky 1919
Lincoln Christian University Lincoln, Illinois 1944
Louisville Bible College[10] Louisville, Kentucky 1948
Manhattan Christian College Manhattan, Kansas 1927
Mid-Atlantic Christian University Elizabeth City, North Carolina 1948
Mid-South Christian College[11] Memphis, Tennessee 1959
Milligan College Milligan College, Tennessee 1866
Nebraska Christian College Papillion, Nebraska 1945
Northwest Christian University Eugene, Oregon 1895
Ozark Christian College Joplin, Missouri 1942
Point University East Point and West Point, Georgia 1937
Saint Louis Christian College Florissant, Missouri 1956
Summit Christian College Scottsbluff, Nebraska 1951
Summit Theological Seminary Peru, Indiana 1974
William Jessup University Rocklin, California 1939

Puget Sound Christian College, opened in 1950 but closed in 2007.[12]


A number of slogans have been used in the Restoration Movement to express some of the distinctive themes of the Movement.[13]:688 These include:

  • "Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent."
  • "The church of Jesus Christ on earth is essentially, intentionally, and constitutionally one."
  • "We are Christians only, but not the only Christians."
  • "In essentials, unity; in opinions, liberty; in all things love."
  • "No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible, no law but love, no name but the divine."
  • "Call Bible things by Bible names."

See also


  1. ^ "Denominational Profile: Christian Churches and Churches of Christ". The Association of Religious Data Archives. Retrieved 10 June 2015. Note: The Archive site capitalizes the word "churches" in its naming convention
  2. ^ a b Directory of the Ministry
  3. ^ The naming practice is taken as applied doctrine from Paul's use of city names in writing epistles to "the church which is at Corinth" or "the church at Thessalonica" etc.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Douglas Allen Foster and Anthony L. Dunnavant, The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Churches of Christ, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-8028-3898-7, ISBN 978-0-8028-3898-8, 854 pages, entry on Christian Churches/Churches of Christ
  5. ^ a b Kragenbrink, Kevin R (2000), "The Modernist/Fundamentalist Controversy and the Emergence of the Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ", Restoration Quarterly, 42 (1): 1–17, archived from the original on 2013-11-10.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Leroy Garrett, The Stone-Campbell Movement: The Story of the American Restoration Movement, College Press, 2002, ISBN 0899009093, 9780899009094, 573 pages
  7. ^ Baptism & the Great Commission, pg. 11
  8. ^ Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon
  9. ^ Colegio Biblico
  10. ^ Louisville Bible College
  11. ^ Mid-South Christian College
  12. ^ Puget Sound Christian College
  13. ^ Douglas Allen Foster and Anthony L. Dunnavant, The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Churches of Christ, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-8028-3898-7, ISBN 978-0-8028-3898-8, 854 pages, entry on Slogans


  • Baptism: A Biblical Study; Dr. Jack Cottrell; College Press, Joplin, MO: 1989; ISBN 0-89900-341-9.
  • Union in Truth: An Interpretive History of the Restoration Movement; James B. North; Standard Publishing; Cincinnati, OH: 1994; ISBN 0-7847-0197-0.
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