WHAT KIND OF CHURCH IS THIS?
Anyone who is unfamiliar with the congregations who refer to themselves simply as Christian Churches or Churches of Christ may be wondering what exactly makes us different from other denominations.
Our core beliefs define much of what we profess concerning doctrine. Even after studying those doctrines, which touch on the specific aspects of our faith (such as the Bible, the Holy Spirit, the plan of salvation, etc.), the questions still remain, “What kind of church is this?” and “What makes it different than any other church?” and “Why does it exist?”
First of all, we are a New Testament church, fully independent and nondenominational. We have no man-written creed or formal terms of fellowship besides the Word of God. Therefore, we appeal to the New Testament Scriptures alone for our guidance and teaching on how the church ought to function. So, without a denominational set of guidelines and doctrinal policy, we live by this standard, “On nonessentials, we allow liberty; in essentials, we appeal to the New Testament.” Where the Bible speaks, we speak; where the Bible is silent, we are silent.
Secondly, we are different from other churches in that we are independent, yet interconnected. Christian Churches/Churches of Christ share a common theology, purpose, and history, but are not technically considered and do not wish to be named as a denomination. Rather, we are a brotherhood of churches, without denominational structure, who work together to advance the kingdom of God. We do not claim to be the only Christians; we are simply known as Christians only.
Lastly, we exist because there was a general unrest in the American churches in the early 19th century. Those Christians desired to tear down denominational walls and unite together as Christians only, laying aside the traditions of men to rediscover the New Testament church found in the book of Acts. The founders of the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ were not out to start another church but rather to call people back to the church of the New Testament. They were restorers, not reformers. Nonetheless, they began a movement where huge gatherings of people started meeting in the name of Christ, referring to themselves as Christians only, seeking to restore the first Christian church.
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