What makes the Church of Christ different?
The Church of Christ spreads a plea for religious unity based upon the Bible. Our world is divided in religion. We believe that the Bible is the only possible common denominator upon which God-fearing people of the land can unite. Ours is an appeal to go back to the Bible. It is a plea to speak where the Bible speaks and to remain silent where the Bible is silent in all matters that pertain to religion. We strive to have a "Thus saith the Lord" for all that we do. The objective is religious unity of all believers in Christ. The basis is the New Testament. The method is the restoration of New Testament Christianity.
Where did the Church of Christ originate?
The church was originally established on the Day of Pentecost that we read about in the second chapter of the book of Acts. Our prayer is to reproduce, in contemporary times, that original church. If we believe and practice now as they believed and practiced then, we shall be what they were…Christians.
The Church of Christ did not begin in the 19th Century. However, in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there are those who advocated a return to the New Testament form of Christianity. James O'Kelly of the Methodist Episcopal Church advocated a return to the Bible as the source of truth. In 1793 he withdrew from the Baltimore conference of his church and called upon others to join him in taking the Bible as the only creed. His influence was largely felt in Virginia and North Carolina. History records that some seven thousand communicants followed his leadership toward a return to primitive New Testament Christianity.In 1802 a similar movement among the Baptists in New England was led by Abner Jones and Elias Smith. They were concerned about "denominational names and creeds" and decided to wear only the name Christian, taking the Bible as their only guide. In 1804, in the western frontier state of Kentucky, Barton W. Stone and several other Presbyterian preachers took similar action declaring that they would take the Bible as the "only sure guide to heaven." Thomas Campbell, and his son, Alexander Campbell, took similar steps in the year 1809 in what is now the state of West Virginia. They contended that nothing should be bound upon Christians as a matter of doctrine which is not as old as the New Testament.
These were only four of a number of movements that began independently. They eventually became what is often referred to as the “restoration movement”. It is not the Reformation movement. They did not wish to change the present church. They wished to restore instead the original church. The church that Christ built.
How many churches of Christ are there?
The most recent dependable estimate lists more than 15,000 individual churches of Christ. The "Christian Herald," a general religious publication which presents statistics concerning all the churches, estimates that the total membership of the churches of Christ is now 2,000,000. There are more than 7000 men who preach publicly. Membership of the church is heaviest in the southern states of the United States, particularly Tennessee and Texas, though congregations exist in each of the fifty states and in more than eighty foreign countries. Missionary expansion has been most extensive since the second World War in Europe, Asia and Africa. More than 450 full time workers are supported in foreign countries. The churches of Christ now have five times as many members as were reported in the U.S. Religious Census of 1936.
How are the churches organizationally connected?
Following the plan of organization found in the New Testament, churches of Christ are autonomous. Their common faith in the Bible and adherence to its teachings are the chief ties which bind them together. There is no central headquarters of the church, and no organization superior to the elders of each local congregation. Congregations do cooperate voluntarily in supporting the orphans and the aged, in preaching the gospel in new fields, and in other similar works.
Members of the Church of Christ conduct forty colleges and secondary schools, as well as seventy-five
orphanages and homes for the aged. There are approximately 40 magazines and other periodicals published by individual members of the church. A nationwide radio and television program, known as "The Herald of Truth" is sponsored by churches of Christ. The radio program is currently heard on more than 800 radio stations, while the television program is now appearing on more than 150 stations. Another extensive radio effort known as "World Radio" owns a network of 28 stations in Brazil alone, and is operating effectively in the United States and a number of other foreign countries, and is being produced in 14 languages.
An extensive advertising program in leading national magazines began in November 1955.
There are no conventions, annual meetings, or official publications. The "tie that binds" is a commonloyalty to the principles of the restoration of New Testament Christianity.
How are the churches of Christ governed?
The local congregations are governed according to New Testament principles. In each congregation, which has existed long enough to become fully organized, there is a plurality of elders or presbyters who serve as the governing body. These men are selected by the local congregations on the basis of qualifications set down in the scriptures (1 Timothy 3:1-8). Serving under the elders are deacons, teachers, and evangelists or ministers. The latter do not have the authority equal to or superior to the elders. The elders are shepherds or overseers who serve under the headship of Christ according to the New Testament.
What does the Church of Christ believe about the Bible?
The original autographs of the sixty six books which make up the Bible are considered to have been divinely inspired. The Bible is held to be infallible and authoritative. Reference to the scriptures is made in settling every religious question. A pronouncement from the scripture is considered the final word. The basic textbook of the church and the basis for all preaching is the Bible.
Does the Church of Christ believe in the virgin birth?
Yes. The statement in Isaiah 7:14 is taken as a prophecy of the virgin birth of Christ. New Testament passages such as Matthew 1:20, 25, are accepted at face value as declarations of the virgin birth. Christ is accepted as the only begotten Son of God, uniting in his person perfect divinity and perfect manhood.
Does the Church of Christ believe in predestination?
Only in the sense that God predestines the righteous to be eternally saved and the unrighteous to be eternally lost. The statement of the apostle Peter, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is acceptable unto him" (Acts 10:34-35.) is taken as an evidence that God did not predestine individuals to be eternally saved or lost, but that each man determines his own destiny.
Why does the Church of Christ baptize only by immersion?
The word baptize comes from the Greek word "baptizo" and literally means, "to dip, to immerse, to plunge." In addition to the literal meaning of the word, immersion is practiced because it was the practice of the church in apostolic times. Still further, only immersion conforms to the description of baptisms as given by the apostle Paul in Romans 6:3-5 where he speaks of it as a burial and resurrection.
Is infant baptism practiced?
No. Only those who have reached the "age of accountability" are appropriate candidates for baptisms. The
examples given in the New Testament are always of those who have heard the gospel preached and have believed it. Faith must always precede baptism. It must then follow that only those old enough to understand and believe the gospel are considered fit subjects for baptism.
Do ministers of the church hear confession?
No. Ministers or evangelists of the church have no special prerogatives. They do not wear the title of Reverend or Father, but are addressed simply by the term Brother as are all other men of the church. Along with elders and others they do counsel and advise those seeking help.
Are prayers addressed to the saints?
No. God the Father is considered the only one to whom the prayers may be addressed. It is further understood that Christ stands in a mediatorial position between God and man (Hebrews 7:25). All prayers are therefore offered through Christ, or in the name of Christ (John 16:23-26).
How often do we partake of the Lord's Supper?
It is expected that every member of the church will assemble for worship on each Lord's day. A central part of the worship is the eating of the Lord's supper (Acts 20:7). Unless providentially hindered, each member considers this weekly appointment as binding.
What kind of music is used in the worship?
As a result of the distinctive plea of the church - a return to New Testament Faith and practice - acappella singing is the only music used in the worship. This singing, unaccompanied by mechanical instruments of music, conforms to the music used in the apostolic church and for several centuries thereafter (Ephesians 5:19). It is felt that there is no authority for engaging in acts of worship not found in the New Testament. This principle eliminates the use of instrumental music, along with the use of candles, incense, and other similar elements.
Does the Church of Christ believe in heaven and hell?
Yes. The statement of Christ in Matthew 25, and elsewhere, are taken at face value. It is believed that after death each man must come before God in judgment and that he will be judged according to the deeds done while he lived (Hebrews 9:27). After judgment is pronounced he will spend eternity either in heaven or hell.
Does the Church of Christ believe in purgatory?
No. The absence of any reference in the scriptures to the temporary place of punishment from which the soul will eventually be released into heaven prevents the acceptance of the doctrine of purgatory.
By what means does the church secure financial support?
Each first day of the week the members of the church "lay by in store as they have been prospered" (1 Corinthians 16:2). The amount of any individual gift is generally known only to the one who gave it and to the Lord. This free-willoffering is the only call which the church makes. NO assessments or other levies are made. No money-making activities, such as bazaars or suppers, are engaged in. A total of approximately $200,000,000 is given on this basis each year.
Does the Church of Christ have a creed?
No. The belief of the church is stated fully and completely in the Bible. There is no other manual or discipline to which the members of the Church of Christ give their allegiance. The Bible is considered as the only infallible guide to heaven.
How does one become a member of the Church of Christ?
In the salvation of man's soul there are 2 necessary parts: God's part and man's part. God's part is the big part, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift if God; not of works, that no man should glory" (Ephesians 2:8-9). The love which God felt for man led him to send Christ into the world to redeem man. The life and teaching of Jesus, the sacrifice on the cross, and the proclaiming of the gospel to men constitute God's part in salvation.
Though God's part is the big part, man's part is also necessary if man is to reach heaven. Man must comply with the conditions of pardon which the Lord has announced. Man's part can clearly set forth in the following steps:
Hear the Gospel: "How shall they call on him whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14).
Believe: "And without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him" (Hebrews 11:6).
Repent of past sins: "The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent" (Acts 17:30).
Confess Jesus as Lord: "Behold here is water; What doth hinder me to be baptized ? And Philip said, if thou believeth with all thy heart thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:36-37).
Baptism for the remission of sins: "And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).
Live a Christian life: "Ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2: 9).
A seed produces after it’s own kind. When the truth of the gospel is planted, it will produce now what it produced then. Christians. Nothing more. Nothing less. We urge you to study it carefully. We invite you to visit with us about the church at any time. We invite you to become a Christian. We will ask no more and no less of you than we read about in the New Testament.
Come with us as we go back to the Bible, back to Christ and his church!
Frequently Asked Questions
To the serious student, the study of the Bible brings many questions. The following are some of the more common questions asked of us as members of the Church of Christ. We hope these questions and answers are helpful to you as you consider topics of eternal importance. If we can answer any other questions about our faith or practices, please feel free to contact us at any time.