Practically all of my life I have heard (in one form or another) these five facts about the Churches of Christ. I now ask– are they fact or myths?
Members of the Churches of Christ know the Bible well. Just how true has this ever been? Were we a people of The Book? Did we know the Bible better than other churches? Or did we just know a certain set of proof texts very well? And shouldn’t being a people of The Book be a given in any generation?
Members of the Church of Christ are the only ones going to heaven. Did we ever really believe and teach this? Isn’t this an arrogantly narrow position to take? How can anyone or any group claim sole possession of God’s grace and truth? If I can read the Bible and discover God’s will for my life then others can as well. Is this really what we want our identity to be?
Churches of Christ have restored the New Testament Church. I do know the significance of what we call “The Restoration Movement” to who Churches of Christ are (even today). I appreciate the courageous and noble work of those early American pioneer preachers in re-emphasizing the central importance of New Testament teaching and the New Testament church model. But is the New Testament church now completely restored? Or is it an ongoing and continual process as this teaching and model interacts with each new generation and takes root in different world cultures?
The Churches of Christ are not a denomination. Has this ever been completely true? I know from a structural point-of-view it is. That is, we have no overall church system and no formal denominational hierarchy. But attitudinally? When I hear statements like, “I am a Church of Christer” or “You are a Church of Christ preacher” or when one congregation tries to impose it’s will upon another, I wonder.
Churches of Christ were once the fastest growing church in America. I believe the timeframe for this was in the late sixties and/or early seventies. Was this true? More recently I have seen statistics demonstrating this was not the case. With all of my heart I wish we were rapidly growing today.
Myths or facts? Your input on my thoughts is welcome. Please be kind. I love the Churches of Christ. I have no ax to grind. This is no invitation to bash. The purpose of this post is simply for reflection- to get us honestly thinking about ourselves; who we are and who we want to be.