Churches of Christ - Who Are Those Folks?

Acts 2:42 -- They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowhip, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

 

            Some of you might say, “That’s us.”  Well, what do you know about ‘us’?  Maybe you’re new to the churches of Christ.  Members of the churches of Christ are a people of restoration spirit wanting to restore in our time on the basis of Jesus’ teachings and His apostles’ teachings the original New Testament church.  Of course, we believe in the Old Testament scriptures, but we don’t go there to find out how to become a Christian and how to be a church.  We are a “Back to the Bible” movement.  We claim to be a non-denominational fellowship.  We seek to be Christians only.

 

            In the early 1800’s, Barton W. Stone and the Campbell’s, Thomas and his son Alexander, left their denominations to be Christians only, to simply be Disciples of Christ.  This movement known as the American Restoration Movement was born on the 19th century American frontier out of a deep concern for Christian unity.  The leaders of the movement believed that the divisive doctrines and practices of denominationalism should be abolished.  The movement grew rapidly.  Their motto was, “We are Christians only, but not the only Christians.”  After the Civil War, the movement divided.  Now there are three heirs or branches of the Restoration movement – Disciples of Christ, the Christian Church and the churches of Christ.

 

            Churches of Christ are not as small as many members assume.  In comparison with the rest of the 245 church groups in America, Churches of Christ are the 11th largest in number of members.  The membership is about 1,400,000 in nearly 13,000 congregations.  Most of our folks are in Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky and California.  There are churches of Christ in every state in the U.S. and in 109 other countries.  A vigorous missionary program is carried on by churches of Christ.  Churches of Christ support 1000 career missionaries overseas.  Membership outside the U.S. approaches 1,600,000, that’s encouraging isn’t it?  There are about 3 million of us worldwide

 

            Our “Back to the Bible” mentality explains such practices as believer’s baptism by immersion only, baptism as the official time of salvation instead of "the sinner's prayer," the weekly observance of the Lord’s supper, a cappella singing in the assembly, a vigorous prayer life, support of church needs through voluntary giving and a program of preaching and teaching the Bible.  The Restoration concept also explains the autonomy (or self-government) of local churches, governed by elders (or overseers) and served by deacons appointed under New Testament qualifications; dignified worship services; enthusiastic mission campaigns; and benevolence programs, all financed by local churches.

 

            I’m happy to be a part of the churches of Christ.  Let’s remember that the ultimate way to measure the health of a church is its faith, hope and love.  The greatest of these is love.  Let’s be a people known not only for our doctrine, but primarily for our love. We believe that sound doctrine is a means to an end. The end or aim is wholehearted, passionate love for God and unconditional, compassionate love for people.

 

- Terry Graves


 

 The Plan of Salvation

Hearing
Romans 10:17--Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Believing
Mark 16:16--Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not will be condemned.

Confessing
Romans 10:10--For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Repenting
Acts 2:38--Peter replied, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ
so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the Holy Spirit.

Baptism by Immersion
Acts 22:16--And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.

Faithful Life
Revelation 2:10--Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you a crown of life.