The Church of Christ is convinced that they have the precisely correct understanding of the Bible. But critics say that they have strayed from their original purpose of Christian unity. They accuse the Church of Christ of having a different gospel, being divisive and sectarian, legalistic, and ignoring or explaining away passages of Scripture that do no fit their presuppositional interpretation. Church of Christ author K. C. Moser accused his brothers of preaching A PLAN instead of THE MAN. By this he meant that they belittle the finished work of Jesus while elevating man’s role in salvation. Could any of these charges against such a biblically based group be at all true?
Here is an article by a Church of Christ insider offering a candid look at their exclusive thinking. See chapter 18 of Heritage. It appears, however, that the legalistic patternist segment of the Church of Christ is dwindling, as indicated by this article: Ephiphanies.
RT- I suppose if Leroy Garret, Carl Ketcherside, and Al Maxey are your sources of information then there is no telling what might be “learned” falsely about the Lord’s church in the various communities. They are not sources of authority, and they are outside the “mainstream;” thus, not representative of what is taught by the majority. With that said, however, it can’t be underscored enough that each local congregation teaches in accordance with their understanding of the New Testament – there is no “headquarter” (or an equivalent word) that gives “marching orders.”
QUESTION: If you are a Church of Christ person reading this, let us describe a situation that might be revealing. Let’s say that you are introduced to a preacher or elder of conservative denomination (not Church of Christ). How do you feel inside? Do you greet this person with love and a feeling of warmth to be with another believer and servant of the Lord? Or do you immediately feel a sense of distance, antagonism, uneasiness, or superiority?
RT – What kind of substantive series of questions are these? Any time one interacts with another Matthew 7:12 and 22:37-40 applies. To answer precisely: I feel fine inside and with regard to another status in relation to the Lord I am not so presumptuous to judge. The fact that a person is a servant or not a servant of the Lord is immaterial to how I will approach him (or her). On the other hand, if in conversation more is learned then perhaps we can pursue that topic. Nope, I feel no distance, antagonism, and most certainly, no superiority.
What is the Gospel? Please see our article What is the Gospel.
1. Doesn’t 1 Cor 15:1-11 give the clearest and principle definition of the gospel as being something to be believed about Christ dying for our sins? Doesn’t gospel mean “good news” in Greek (as the ancients used the word for events such as the birth of an emperor or a major military victory)? We fear that a non-believer visiting a Church of Christ and hearing that the “good news” is a list of things that they have to do, would not see it as good news. Is it not ultimately found in the grace of God (Acts 20:24 and Col 1:3-6)?
RT – One might say that the Corinthians passage gives a succinct idea, but is this exclusive of the “gospel” in Ephesians 4? To attempt to give a succinct idea without substance to that idea is futile. Paul said he delivered first of all the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Does this mean that while the Lord lived one ought not to include that in the gospel? What did the Lord read and preach in Luke 4:18 – but the gospel! Moreover, is it not the case that others things are also included (1 Timothy 6:3; Romans 15:18)? The “gospel” is the good news, message of Jesus Christ. Your third question in this series is perplexing to me, especially in relation to your lead in. in any case, I will answer Titus 2:11-14. Perhaps I should ask: did Jesus require anything of a person if that person would be saved?
RT – The answer to the first question is the former, the second, YES.