February 28, 2012

Who We Are

The Church of Christ is a non-denominational Christian fellowship. For most people, “non-denominational” means “no ties to any overseeing body – an independent local congregation.” That definition suits us well, but it doesn’t mean we are just one congregation. There are over 13,000 congregations, all calling themselves the Church of Christ, throughout the United States. There are an additional 15,000 congregations in 73 foreign countries. Each congregation governs itself independently from all the others and any overseeing board. We have no official “headquarters.” No governing body mandates or dictates doctrine. And yet, we are very united in our attitude toward the Bible, in the way our congregations are governed, in our concept of the Christian life, and in the way we believe people become Christians.

 

We Are Active

In the United States alone, members of the Church of Christ:

— operate over 100 youth camps nationally (in our area camp WAMAVA serves hundreds of children each summer)
— direct 26 colleges and universities. Among them are the following:

  • Pepperdine University in California,
  • Abilene Christian and Lubbock Christian Universities in Texas,
  • Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma,
  • Harding University in Arkansas,
  • Lipscomb University and Freed-Hardeman University in Tennessee and
  • Ohio Valley University in West Virginia

— have developed prison ministries in 46 States run by over 1000 volunteers from 645 congregations
— have built and currently administer over 100 Senior Care facilities nation-wide
— operate four national and international relief agencies
— support hundreds of missionaries, mission schools and hospitals internationally
— operate a national newspaper, a world-class scholarly journal, and numerous other journals and magazines

How does it all get done? We believe it is a testimony to what can happen when people devote themselves to trusting in God, accept the Bible as our final authority in faith and practice, determine to obey God and show Jesus in our lives.

 

We Are A Unity Movement

The Church of Christ has been around, officially, for over 200 years in this country. But actually, world-wide, we’ve been around a lot longer – 2000 years as a matter of fact. Here’s how we look at it.

Jesus promised to build his Church. It was intended to be the Body of Christ on earth. Just as Jesus was God, visible on the earth, Jesus intended that after his death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, His Church would be the visible Christ on the earth. Jesus never intended there be a host of religious bodies, all calling themselves different things, with conflicting doctrines, claiming to be His Church. God is not the God of disorder or confusion. He is the God of peace. Denominationalism is and has always been divisive.
Historically, in this country, much of our early outreach was designed to call people to Christian unity. Even today, we do not call people to be “Church of Christ” people, but simply “Christians” as God intended us to be. Those who are a part of Christ’s body, the Church, are those who have, in faith, been baptized into that body (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). Baptism, by definition, is immersion. Believers are, by faith, clothed with Christ when baptized into His body. Paul put it like this:

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29).

Any adult, who, believing in Jesus, is baptized into Christ, is a Christian and all who have done this are our brethren.

 

We Are Scripture Led

We believe the Bible is the Word of God and the only reliable guide for our lives. For that to be true, the Bible cannot be open to just any interpretation – no matter how convenient or comfortable that interpretation might make us (though, we admit, some of our people find themselves doing that from time to time). Our approach is to ask what each book of the Bible was intended by God to say to the original readers. It cannot say more than what it was intended to say to the original readers, and that is the limit of its interpretation for us.

 

Who Are We?

We are a non-denominational Christian fellowship, active world-wide in ministry, calling the world to unity in Christ and following the will of God as expressed in the Bible.