Question:

Hello I am a member of the body of Christ and it disturbs me greatly that people within my phyiscal family, as well as my spiritual family, are saying that God never founded the church of Christ. Below you will find a few correspondence sent to me by a family member who has left the church and not going anywhere.:

Christ did not start the Church of Christ. He never even used spoke these words. Nothing in this article disputes this fact. Christ did not authorize anyone to be called a Christian.

There are many Church of Christ doctrines that are unscriptural and anti-biblical. I'll list those later. Nevertheless, my main contention is that you should be following the teachings of Christ, not of Paul or Peter or John.

"The Bible says...." Yes, but what did Christ say? Are you followers of Christ or of the apostles? If you are going to follow the teachings of the apostles, then you should follow the teachings of all of the apostles. Where are the writings of Andrew, Bartholomew, Matthias, and the rest of the apostles? Right now, I care what GOD said and what Jesus said. I am not a follower of Paul or Peter or James or John. I am a follower of YAHWEH and YAHWEHSHUA.

Read the Church of Christ history, too: it is all in there. Before 1900, the Church of Christ was known as the Christian Church. Read the old biographies of Marshall Keeble, B. C. Goodpasture, Hardeman, Hardin, G. C. Brewer, and others who are considered pioneers in the Church of Christ and you will see references to the Christian Church especially before 1900. The name was changed. Daddy knew this and kept this information from us. Here is one piece of evidence to support this: I have the original deed that was signed by our ancestor. In that deed, which is dated in 1899 or 1900, Nathan George gives land (in the Primm Springs area of Tennessee) that he owned to the Christian Church - not the Church of Christ -, as Daddy had always said. Daddy's grandfather, Alexander Dolphus English, who was born in the 1800's, was also a member of the Christian Church. Also, the church in Nashville from which most Black preachers were sent was known as the Christian Church.

Members of the Church of Christ do not know their own history. You think that it has been around since Pentecost Day because Church of Christ doctrine and your preachers say that it is so. Further, it's not about which church is right. Jesus did not ever say that he will invite members of the right church or the Church of Christ into heaven. I urge you to read it again. The true followers of Christ obey what Christ said. Also, it's about knowing your own history. If you can find evidences of the Church of Christ before 1800, then show me so that I might study it too. Many former members of the Church of Christ know what I know. But my information did not come from them. I studied it on my own. Also, you might be shocked if I named the many current members whose beliefs differ from yours and the traditional Church of Christ doctrine.


Answer:

The fact that this critic is not attending any church says volumes by itself. You should not let a fraud bother you with his remarks.

The mistake being made, and it is a common one, is viewing the churches of Christ as a denomination. The only document that defines Christ's church is the New Testament. When people follow the blueprint laid out by Christ, then the church is a church belonging to Christ or a church of Christ. History of a continuous chain of believers is not necessary to prove that a church is following Christ, what is needed is to examine if the church is accurately following the doctrine of Christ. "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (I John 4:1). "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son" (II John 9).

In regards to "Christ did not authorize anyone to be called a Christian": "And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch" (Acts 11:26). A subtly is lost when the Greek is translated into English. The Greek word behind "called" is chrematizo. It means something spoken by an oracle or a prophet, or of divine origin. Thus, Luke is telling us that God called the disciples Christians for the first time at Antioch.

Your critic knows that the teachings of the apostles do not support his personal beliefs, so he attempts to undermine their authority by creating an artificial division. It is Jesus who said to the apostles, "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning" (John 15:26-27). The Holy Spirit would make sure that the apostles accurately reported what Jesus wanted taught. "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you" (John 14:26).

It is actually laughable his stance of saying he would only follow Jesus' words since he denies that Jesus gave his apostles authority to speak for him. Paul stated, "If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord" (I Corinthians 14:37). The reality is that we know Jesus' words in the Gospels because the apostles and prophets wrote them down for us! Yet he wants to pretend that he may ignore the inspired writings of the apostles. How silly can you get?

The fact that there are false teachers has been true since the first century. This does not change the contents of the Bible, nor does it redefine what a church of Christ is like according to the Bible.

Your critic also is ignorant of the history of the church in this country. When people realized that they needed to leave denominations and return to the pure teachings of the New Testament, the various congregations used several names: "Disciples of Christ," "Christian Church," and "Church of Christ." Sadly, a division occurred among the brethren over various issues. The most liberal element chose to use the name "Disciples of Christ." The middle-of-the-road group, which had the majority of members at the time, used both "Christian Church" and "Church of Christ." In fact in many places you can still still see "Church of Christ" on the cornerstones of old church buildings belonging to the Christian Church. As time marched on, most of these congregations changed their names to "Christian Church" to align themselves with the majority and to distinguish themselves from the conservative group. The conservative group used the name "Church of Christ" exclusively since they strongly felt that any congregation should use a name that honors its head and should stay with one of the names found in the New Testament (Romans 16:16).

A historian numerous years ago, in a booklet titled "The Emergence of the Church of Christ Denomination," examined this three-way split and predicted that it would happen again. Sadly, he was correct. Today we have a very liberal branch which is dropping the name "Church of Christ" for a more generic "Community Church" name. The middle-of-the-road group again has the most members, but is liberal in its beliefs -- though not nearly as liberal as the community church group. Yet, there still remains a conservative group that insists on book, chapter, and verse for all of its practices.

This is a much more accurate summary, but notice that it proves nothing. This man is not obedient to the teachings of Christ. But he feels justified because he finds others also being disobedient. Individual Christians are the ones who enter heaven, not congregations; that is something we learn from the letters to the seven churches in Asia (Revelation 2 and 3). But Christians need to worship God as He commanded and a part of that command is to band together as local churches to carry out God's will. That this nay-sayer finds fault doesn't make what he says true or that his life is right before the Almighty Judge.