and Churches if Christ are independent churches - products of
the Restoration Movement founded by Alexander Campbell. The
Restoration Movement began in the nineteenth century out of a
conviction that the Church needs to be transformed by God's Word
in order to be the unified and effective tool God meant it to
be. Christian Churches and Churches of Christ are working at
"restoring" the Church to the pattern of Christianity
found in the New Testament. Nothing more is needed. Nothing less
is acceptable. (Adapted from NACC 1999)
Church/Churches of Christ are autonomous churches that have
fellowship with one another as a part of a
"brotherhood." We have no denominational status, no
hierarchy, no headquarters and no official voice. We are the
segment of the Restoration Movement, which James DeForest Murch
in Christians Only describes as holding the
Our separation from
the Disciples of Christ has its roots in the 1927 formation of
the North American Christian Convention. This convention, which
has no official status among our churches, began as a rendezvous
for conservative congregations in the Disciples' movement. Our
churches became dissatisfied over the movement towards an
official organization of the Disciples; we also opposed open
membership policies that were in effect in some churches. While
attempts at reconciliation with the Disciples' International
Convention were made in the 1930s and 1940s, this was not to be.
The Disciples participation in the Ecumenical Movement further
drove a wedge between our two bodies. When the Disciples
officially became a denomination in 1968, the independent
churches asked to be removed from the Disciples yearbook.
We have a number of
publications (all independent); the most notable is the
Christian Standard that was formed in 1866. Our fellowship has
many colleges and missions. Churches and individuals support
these programs on a voluntary basis. The Directory of the
Ministry: A Yearbook of the Christian Churches and Churches of
Christ is printed privately. This yearly publication lists
personnel, churches, schools, missions and other outreach
programs: all entries are voluntary submissions by each
congregation or agency.
For the most part,
churches in our brotherhood use either the name Christian Church
or Church of Christ. There are a variety of tertiary names also
in use. As one can expect, churches using Christian Church are
often confused with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ);
Churches of Christ are often confused with the non-instrumental
churches of Christ which officially separated from the Disciples
in 1906. In the recent past, some churches in our movement have
participated in dialogue with the Church of God (Anderson,
Indiana). The two bodies have similarities; however, there are a
number of doctrinal differences.
We desire the unity
of Christ's disciples (as Jesus prayed), but we do not seek
unity for unity's sake. We hold to the position that the New
Testament, and the New Testament alone, needs to be our rallying
point for union. For nearly two hundred years, we have
identified ourselves with the following:
We speak where
the Bible speaks, We are silent where the Bible is silent.
In essentials unity; In opinions liberty; In all things love.
We are not the only Christians; We are Christians only.
No creed but Christ; No book but the Bible.