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Misconceptions About the Church of Christ #4

Every now and then we will hear someone refer to the church of Christ as “just another denomination.” Some people have it in their mind that a member of the church of Christ is a “church-of-Christer.” Or, they may refer to a preacher who is a member of the church of Christ as a “church-of-Christ preacher.” Others disparagingly call us “Campbellites.” None of this is correct.

First, the church of Christ is not a denomination, that is, it is not a derivative of a larger body. The word of God defines Christ’s church as the body of the saved (cp. Eph. 5:23). In the New Testament, we see the church of Christ in the universal sense, all of the saved (Rom. 12:5; 1 Tim. 3:15), and in local congregations (1 Cor. 1:2; Rom. 16:16 [plural number of congregations]). Never is the church described as a subsection of the universal body of believers which is made up of several congregations, that is, it is not designated as denominational. Rather, the Bible defines the church as Christ’s body and there is to be just one unified body. “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). “There is one body‚Ķ” (Eph. 4:4).

Second, the Bible designates members of the church of Christ as “Christians,” “disciples,” or “brethren” (Acts 11:26; 20:7; 21:17). Never are they called “church of Christers” as if they were sectarian and on par with denominationalists such as “Baptists” or “Methodists.” Likewise, a preacher is never described as a “church-of-Christ-preacher” in the Bible. Rather, a preacher is referred to as “preacher,” “evangelist,” or “minister” (Rom. 10:14; 2 Tim. 4:5; 1 Tim. 4:6).

Third, we have never known of any member of the church of Christ to follow Alexander Campbell. All Christians are to follow Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:21). We are not like the Lutherans who call themselves after a man, Martin Luther. We are not like the denominations of men, who are distinguished from one another by their adherence to the creeds, names, and organizations conceived and born of men. We follow Christ and His word alone — and we are not ashamed of it (Mk. 8:34-38).

Steve F. Deaton

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