Who Are The Churches Of Christ?
There are many groups of people gathered today as religious bodies or congregations, who identify themselves with the name “Church of Christ”. There are also very similar names such as United Church of Christ, International Church of Christ, Church of Christ Scientist, Celestial Church of Christ, and to be certain many other variations. Frequently, churches of Christ are differentiated in name by identifying their location before or after the name. For instance, Kibby Street Church of Christ is a church in Lima, Ohio located on Kibby St. It is critical to note: All churches utilizing the name “Church of Christ” do not teach the same doctrine.
There are many different names by which the Bible identifies the church. From God’s word, here are a few different names written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit: “Churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16), “the church of God” (1 Corinthians 1:2), “Body of Christ” (Colossians 1:24), “House of God” (1 Timothy 3:15), “church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23), and “Bride of Christ” (Revelation 21:2). There are indeed additional phrases to identify the church of our God in the Bible. As individuals, we know Christ’s servants by one name: Christians. Acts 11:26, God’s servants were first called Christians in Antioch.
Regardless of the name for which a church identifies itself, it is not the church of God if it is doctrinally different from the church found in the new testament of the Bible.
Many folks in the world today, young, old, non-Christian, and Christian do not know when the church was established nor its distinguishing marks. It is immeasurably important to know the history of Christ and His church. For those exploring salvation, finding the true church spoken of in the Bible cannot be a maybe. In exploring views of the world today, some hear the words “Church of Christ” and their immediate reaction is, “Oh, they think they are the only true church!” Again, the reader must understand that there are many groups identifying themselves by the moniker “Church of Christ” and the Bible identifies the church by many names. The ultimate test of whether a church by any name is the “True Church” is doctrine. Does the doctrine taught match what is taught in the Bible? Thus, in answer to our question, who are the Churches of Christ? They are a group of Christians trying to practice Christianity like it was practiced in the New Testament.
Does the church of Christ believe in the Old Testament?
Yes! Prophets of God delivered and wrote the Old Testament. If it is from God, Christians believe it! There is much Christians would not know if they did not have the Old Testament. The Bible says the Old Testament was “the first covenant” and “Christ is the mediator of a new covenant” (Hebrews 9:15). The Old covenant was for the Jews and our example. The new covenant replaces the old and is binding upon the world today. Thus, while Christians believe in the Old Testament, it’s covenant has not been binding upon them since the resurrection of Christ.
When Did the Church Begin?
It is the duty of a Christian to be able to defend and share his faith for salvation of self and others. To do that, you need to know from where your church and its beliefs came. 2 Timothy 2:15 – “Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.”
Mankind has worshipped God since the beginning, see Genesis 4 and Adam’s sons. However, mankind has had freedom to obey or not obey God from the beginning also. Thus, by Genesis 6 men were not worshipping God in a pleasing way. Although mankind has been worshiping God from the beginning, none of it was through the church. The church and its pattern of worship did not appear until about 30 AD on the day of Pentecost.
The scene of the day of Pentecost is found in the book of Acts 2. The day was the first day of the week, coincidentally, or not, the same day Christ was resurrected. Jesus had promised He would send his Holy Spirit Acts 1:4-8 and told the apostles to remain in Jerusalem until that time. The coming of the Holy Spirit was prophesied in Joel 2 and signified the arrival of God’s kingdom in “power” (Mark 9:1). On that day the apostle Peter preached the good news of Jesus with over 3000 Jews accepting God’s call of obedience leading to salvation. The 3000 Jews after asking men inspired of the Holy Spirit what they should do were told to “repent and …be baptized” (Acts 2:38). From this point forward, the fellowship of God’s faithful was in operation. The believers were zealous in their service of God and were devoted to worship (Acts 2:42).
The Christians of Acts 2, although not yet called that, were witnessing many fulfilled prophecies of that day. A significant prophecy in regard to the church being established that day was spoken by Jesus. He stated in Matthew 16:18, “And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” The rock being discussed was the confession that Christ was the son of God. The 3000 were confessing that belief and acting upon it by being immersed in a water baptism as commanded by the apostles. At this point only the Jews, the children of Israel, had been recognized as recipients of Christ’s sacrifice. However, by Acts 10 Peter was sent to the Gentiles and seeing they too were chosen of God, “he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Why does the Church of God practice a baptism that is a total immersion of believers?
Christ’s church immerses for several Biblical reasons. 1) The Bible word translated baptism means “to immerse”. 2) The New Testament says that we are “buried” in baptism. 3) We have examples of individuals obeying the command to be baptized in water and then coming out of it.
The church baptizes only believers because every person who was baptized in the New Testament was a believer. There is no example of someone being baptized then coming to faith later (such as an infant who later grew up to believe). Whenever faith and baptism are mentioned together, faith is always mentioned first: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16) – (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:36-38; Acts 8:26-39; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:1-4; Galatians 3:26, 27).
Where Does God’s Church Get It’s Teachings?
As Peter put it in 2 Peter 1:3, “…everything pertaining to life and godliness…” had been given to the world. Also in 2Timothy 3:16 – “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.” Knowing these things, we know that we can look to the Bible and learn from there how the church is supposed to act and function without fear of anything being absent from instruction.
The church as a body of Christians the world over has one doctrine. Ephesians 4:4-6 “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.” Any religious body not teaching what was handed down from God to the apostles and written in the scriptures is not a faithful church, therefore, not God’s church.. Galatians 1:8 “…though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you gospel than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.”
Since the time of Christ there have been those of the world who have been false teachers. Since that time the number of doctrinally sound churches has risen and fallen. Today, there are many churches who soundly have chosen the name of Church of Christ to identify themselves. Following the example of the churches of the New testament, there is no central organizing body or authority over all God’s local churches other than Christ. Thus, if you are curious about a church and what they believe, we encourage you to go worship with them and ask first hand what their doctrine is. If after study you see they do not follow the practices of the church set forth in the New Testament, then actively work to help them see the errors of their practices. Following this practice both you and they will grow in Christ.
How is a New Testament Church organized?
The church is autonomous in all of its decision making. Because apostles are no longer alive, above the local level there is no authority. Each congregation selects leaders from within the congregation who are called elders, pastors or shepherds (all three terms describe the same group of men), based on qualities found in the New Testament inActs 14:23; 1 Timothy 3:1-12; Titus 1:1-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4. Elders are responsible for the spiritual leadership of the local church on earth. The congregation also selects men called deacons who aid the church, but do not have authority over it. Finally, elders often choose a preacher. Preachers, while very visible, do not have authority. Like all members preachers are under the guidance of elders who use the Bible as their authority in all matters.
Does Christ’s Church Have Women As Congregational Leaders?
A woman’s biblical role in the New Testament Church is critically important to the salvation of souls. However, leadership in the assemblies in the Bible have been a role reserved for men. There appear to have been no female apostles, elders or evangelists in the New Testament. 1 Timothy 2:12 – “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she must be silent”. 1Co 11:3 – “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” The female role serving Christ in the role given is fulfilling, active, and integral in the function of the church.
How Does Christ’s Church Worship?
- Prayer: I Timothy 2:8; Romans 12:12.
- Lord’s Supper: Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23, 27.
- Bible Study/Teaching: II Timothy 2:15; Acts 2:42.
- Contribution: I Corinthians 16:1, 2; II Corinthians 9:7
- Singing: Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16.
Available on this site, on our FAQ page, are the basics of what the New Testament Church followed. These essentials are what you should see at a sound Church of Christ. If you do not find that for which you are looking, we encourage you to ask the folks in the forums at preachersfiles.com. There are few topics there that haven’t already been posted and discussed there. The brethren are sound and very willing to take the time to discuss the word of God with anyone.
God Bless and may you come to know Christ more completely.
New Testament Church Facts
Who Founded The Church?
“Upon this rock I (Jesus) will build My church” (Matthew 16:18).
How Important Is The Church?
“…the church of God, which He bought with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).
“Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
Who Is Its Head?
“Christ is the head of the church, His body…” (Ephesians 5:23).
What Is Its Membership?
“Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:20).
What Are These Disciples Called?
“…the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch” (Acts 11:26).
One Cannot Be A Christian And Outside The Church.
“You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (I Corinthians 12:27).
Where Is The Register Of Members Kept?
“… the church…whose names are written in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23).
Is There More Than One Earthly Location of the Church?
“All of the churches of Christ send greetings to you” (Romans 16:16).
What Are The Conditions For Membership?
“Every one who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice…” (Matthew 7:24).
What Are The Entry Terms For Membership?
“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).
What Commitment Is Required?
“Any of you who does not give up everything he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33).
What Are The Obligations Of Membership?
“Be faithful until death…” (Revelation 2:10).
What Are The Duties Of Membership?
“Worship the Father in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23, 24).
“Love the Lord your God with all of your heart … and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).
“Be careful to engage in good deeds” (Titus 3:8)
What Are The Benefits Of Membership?
“…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature…” (II Corinthians 5:17).
“You will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-30).
“They will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:5).
There Is Only One Church
“…you [Christians] are all one in Christ Jesus . . .” (Galatians 3:28).
“There is one body . . .” (Ephesians 4:4).
The Church Is Nondenominational
“…each one of you is saying, I am of Paul, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. Has Christ been divided?” (I Corinthians 1:12, 13)
The Bible Is Our Only Guidebook
“God … in these last days has spoken to us through His Son …” (Hebrews 1:1,2).
“Anyone who goes on, and does not abide in the teaching which is from Christ, does not have God. . .” (II John 9).
“…so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, ‘Do not go beyond what is written'” (I Corinthians 4:6).
WHAT CHURCH MUST ONE JOIN?
One does not join a church, but is born into it.(I Timothy 3:15; John 3:5).
The Lord adds the saved to His church. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls”(Acts 2:41).
“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47; 1 Corinthians 12:18). Thus, it is impossible to become a Christian or be saved and stay out of the Lord’s Church.
How Must One Worship As To Please God?
Regularly. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”(Hebrews 10:25; Acts 2:42).
Giving Glory to God in the Church Through Christ. “Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end”(Ephesians 3:21). All worship must be directed to God through Christ and in His name [by His authority] (Ephesians 2:18; Colossians 3:17).
In Spirit. “God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). To worship in spirit means to worship sincerely and earnestly. Our worship must be free from all hypocrisy and pretension (Matthew 6:1-6; 15:8).
In Truth. To worship in truth means to worship according to the teaching of God’s word (John 17:17; John 4:24; Matthew 15:9).