What Makes the Church of Christ Different?
- We believe that authority for our actions was established at the time the church began. This approach holds that there are three different ways that scripture authoritatively communicates the will of God. First, there are explicit commands (“Repent and be baptized…“). Second, there are examples / approved precedents (“Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church“). Third, there are necessary inferences (“On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” Therefore, there must have been an assembly every first day of the week. And therefore we are obligated to do the same). If a teaching is found in any of these three forms in scripture, we are obligated to obey it.
- Conversely, if a practice does not have either a command, example, or inference we cannot practice it as it does not fit the pattern given to us.
- We have no organization larger than the local church. In the New Testament there was no organization larger than the local church, with bishops, deacons, and saints in those local churches (Philippians 1:1).
- We have no creed but Christ and his word -- the New Testament. The early disciples were taught not to add to or take from the inspired scriptures (Revelation 22:18,19), or teach any other gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).
- The name that we wear makes us different. What name were the early disciples called? They were called Christians (Acts 11:26) and were not to be ashamed to suffer as a Christian (I Peter 4: 16). That is the name we use today. As a collective, the early disciples were called the "church" (group of people), "church of God" (group of people that belongs to God), "churches of Christ" (groups that belong to Christ). There was no "specific" name for the local churches. Today, we refer to the church in the same manner.
- The worship we render to God is different. We eat the Lord's Supper "upon the first day of the week" (Acts 20:7), which necessarily infers a weekly observance. Our music in worship is a cappella, just as it was in the New Testament (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19).
- We teach the plan of salvation just as the apostles taught it: believe in Christ as the Son of God, repent of sins, and be baptized --that is “immersed” to simulate a death, burial, and resurrection, – for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 8:36,37; Mark 16:16).