I don’t know how many times I have been asked, “Are you ‘church of Christ’?” or “Are you a ‘church of Christ preacher’?”
The answer, Biblically speaking, is “no.”
That may surprise you for me to say. After all, I do preach for a church of Christ, and have been a member of various churches of Christ since I became a Christian about 26 years ago. I love the church of Christ, and I graduated from a university associated with churches of Christ.
So why would I say that I am not “church of Christ?”
It is very simply because I am a Christian only. I do not belong to a denomination, nor will I ever do so.
When we speak of “church of Christ preachers” or “church of Christ schools,” we may not mean anything by it, but we are using “church of Christ” as a descriptor. Such is common in the denominational world, where there are “[denominational name] ministers” or “[denominational name] schools” or “[denominational name] publications,” and so forth.
But this was not the work nor prayer of my Lord.
Jesus stated that He would build but one church (Matthew 16:18), and He did just that, purchasing it with His own precious blood (Acts 20:28). Thus, it is His church. We have no right to denominate it; to break it into little pieces based on our own whims or fancies.
Part of His desire for His church was autonomy for each congregation. Jesus is the sole Head of the church (Colossians 1:18), and there is no other authoritative ruler between the local congregation and His leadership. Each congregation is shepherded and overseen by elders, but the elders of one congregation have no right to strive to tell other elders what to do. All are to appeal solely and wholeheartedly only to the teachings of Jesus found in Scripture.
I am pleased to be a member of a congregation that is called a church of Christ, but only because the congregation where I worship and serve seeks to be Christians only, following the teachings of the New Testament. We do not appeal to other congregations, conferences, conventions, or confessionals to tell us what to do. We have no hierarchy above our congregation, other than the headship of Jesus, Himself.
There is no governing body and no decision-making board.
If our congregation decides to change worship in a way that is wholly unbiblical, that does not reflect one bit on any other congregation of the Lord’s people. It would, of course, be wrong, but not because “the church of Christ” says it is wrong. It would be wrong because Christ clearly showed in the New Testament what His desire is. That settles it; no vote necessary.
If one congregation decides to bind things as necessary that are not to be bound, that does not change what our congregation will do. They would be wrong in binding what the New Testament does not bind, but not because “the church of Christ” decided that. They would be wrong because Christ decided that!
I love the church of Christ! I do not love it, though, because it is a “better denomination” than some other group. I love the church of Christ because it is the only church my Lord paid for with His blood. I love it precisely because it is not a denomination.
So, am I a “church of Christ?” No.
Am I a “church of Christ preacher?” No.
But, am I grateful to be a member of the church of which Christ is the head? I could not be any more grateful.
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn