SOURCE: The Church of Christ denomination is much more prevalent in the southern portion of the Bible Belt, and down south if you call them a denomination…well, let’s just say “Them’s fightin’ words!” This is one of their foundational tenets. You might be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal? Who cares if they think they are a denomination or not?” The answer is that it’s not a big deal, unless you know the logic behind why they make the claim. It is simply this: if they accept being called a denomination, then that would relegate them to a position within the Body of Christ. But their claim is that they are not just a part of the Body of Christ, but that they are THE BODY OF CHRIST!
The sad thing is to hear what great lengths they will go to in order to shun the label of “denomination.” They will actually redefine the term in such a way as to cause the unaware to agree with them. As an ex- member, I have heard so many definitions for the word “denomination” over the years that it’s hard for me to remember them all. The most common one they use is that a denomination is “a group or thing that has come out from an original group or thing.” Now that fits their theology just fine, thank you, because it allows them to say that all denominations are “groups that came out from the original group” which, you guessed it, the original group is them… the Church of Christ! This also allows them to claim that you are not a true Christian and you are not going to heaven, because you don’t belong to the one and only, true Body of Christ. Convenient, but ignorant. A denomination is simply a certain type of the same thing, such as a denomination of money. Let’s say I had $50 in my pocket. And we’ll say that it was a $20 bill, two tens, and two fives. Each of those denominations is a form of paper money. They are different denominations and are of different values but they are each considered to be of the same currency. But according to the Church of Christ denomination, some of the bills are real money but others are not, because a denomination is a “group or thing that has come out from an original group or thing.” Their obvious flaw in this scenario is called “circular logic.” Why are they not a denomination? Because “they are the true body of Christ!” And why are they the true body of Christ? Because “they are not a denomination!” The word “denomination” comes from the Latin word “nomin”, which means “name” and the prefix “de” means “of.” So, “de nomin” simply means “of the same name.” And in the case of the church, it would be of the same name… Jesus!
Paul addresses the issue of denominations in I Corinthians 11:18-19.
He says, “For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. 19For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.
The Greek word used in this verse for “division” is schism, which simply means a division.
The Greek word used here for “factions” is hairesis, which means dis-unity.
So on the surface it seems as though Paul is condemning these divisions… or is he? In reality, under closer scrutiny, he is virtually endorsing these divisions or denominations. Why? Because he says in verse 19 that the divisions allow our congregations to be separated into groups that can be identified as “approved” or “not approved.”
If I go into a new city and I want to go to a Church of Christ, I simply look in the Yellow Pages under “Churches of Christ.” If I want to go to an Assembly of God, I do the same. This way I don’t unknowingly go to a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). I’m sure that the Lord would prefer perfect doctrinal unity in all his congregations, but He knows that won’t happen this side of Heaven. Even the three Church of Christ denominations can’t decide on the issues of multiple cups, musical instruments or multiple loaves for communion. So basically we are back to square one, it doesn’t matter so much what you call your church (Church of God, Church of Christ, Church of Jesus Christ, etc.), but more importantly, what you teach.
Paul also addresses this issue in I Corinthians 12:12-31,
12″For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
14For the body is not one member, but many.
15If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.
16And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.
17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?
18But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.
19If they were all one member, where would the body be?
20But now there are many members, but one body.
21And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
So we see that God says that there is one BODY of Christ (one Church) but is has many members or parts. Those parts all have their own individual callings and functions. Unfortunately, the Church of Christ denomination says to all other members of the body: “I have no need of you…you are not a part of the body!”
Oddly, the Church of Christ denomination seems to hang their hat on one focal point to “prove” that they are not a denomination. It is that they have no headquarters. They are autonomous. In other words, they say that because the early church had no headquarters, and THEY have no headquarters, that proves that they are not a denomination AND they are more like the original church than YOUR church. Sadly, this is just another example of being blind to the obvious. If you ask them what would designate a “headquarters” they would usually say, “a centralized governing body that decides doctrine and behavior for multiple congregations.” We would agree with that definition. Unfortunately, that leaves the Church of Christ denomination out in the cold, because the early church DID have a headquarters, using the church of Christ’s own definition. It can clearly be found in the 15th chapter of Acts. The sticky subject of what to do with the Gentiles came before the leadership of the church. So they got together as a body of leaders and came up with an official decree, determining the doctrine and behavior to be adhered to by the different congregations, which was sent to many (if not all) the then known congregations in many cities and countries.
So, this proves that the early church DID have a headquarters with a governing body that set down the guidelines for doctrine and behavior. Just another anomaly in the quiver of the Church of Christ denomination.
Strangely, this example sets them at odds with the early church, and yet they see it as something to brag about.
There are many groups that teach and think they are the One and Only True Christian Church. But real Christian churches do not say they are “the” “one True Church” or “the” “body of Christ”. Rather they are united with other churches and denominations around the essential and cardinal doctrines of the historical Christian faith. Real Christian churches and denominations have the freedom of diversity in non-essential doctrines. They know they are only a part of the Church of God and only a part of the body of Christ. As an old adage says, “In Essentials Unity, In Non-essentials Liberty and in All Things Love”. Some Churches of Christ and their members see the church and body of Christ is not a “blood bought institution” but rather it’s an incorporeal, invisible and spiritual group of blood bought individuals. The CoC’s who see themselves as THE One True Church and do not follow orthodox Christian doctrine are not really Christian. Like other groups who do not follow orthodoxy and claim to be the One True Church, the Hardline CoC is really a Cult.
Cult Apologetics pioneer Walter Martin defined a cult as follows, in his 1955 book “The Rise of the Cults: An Introductory Guide to the Non-Christian Cults”, Martin gave the following definition of a cult – “By cultism we mean the adherence to doctrines which are pointedly contradictory to orthodox Christianity and which yet claim the distinction of either tracing their origin to orthodox sources or of being in essential harmony with those sources. Cultism, in short, is any major deviation from orthodox Christianity relative to the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith.”
These “essential Christian doctrines” are almost universally agreed among cult apologetics ministries to be 1. The Trinity 2. The full deity and humanity of Christ 3. The spiritual lostness (need for salvation) of the human race 4. The substitution atonement and bodily resurrection of Christ 5. Salvation by grace through faith alone in Christ alone.
Here is the Watchman Fellowship’s 2001 Index of Cults and Religions listing for the Churches of Christ. “Churches of Christ: The independent Churches of Christ movement was one of several associations and denominations that developed from Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott and Barton W. Stone’s restoration movement of the early 19th century, which was designed to promote unity among Protestants. Many (but not all) Churches of Christ today, however, differ from traditional Protestant doctrine in two key areas. Many maintain that water baptism and/or other commandments (rather than salvation by grace through faith alone) are a requirement for salvation (see Baptismal regeneration, Salvation by works). Some also believe that today’s Churches of Christ are the only true churches on earth and that they can literally trace their history to the first century church in Jerusalem”. This is why some CoC congregations belong to the Kingdom of The Cults.
Please watch both videos because I do not differentiate between the CoC and the hardline CoC in the first one.
I posted this article in a MSN group that I visit. The “Church of Christ” is not the “one true church”! It is a Cult. By Damon Whitsell, I was asked this question,,, “Why does the CoC rate the label “cult” over “heretical”?”, then the questionnaire ask a series of questions voicing his concerns about me referring to the “Church of Christ” as a cult.
What follows is my response.
I would be happy to help out. You said,
QUESTION: “Usually these revelations are presented as truth by a leader who is proclaimed to be a prophet of some kind and whose teachings and writings are considered to be an addition to Scripture and of equal or near equal authority.”
Responce: The COC claims that all individual congregations are autonomous but in reality they have many “Scholars” that write manuals for them. That is why no matter where you go you here the same arguments and rhetoric from the majority of them. They do not have any extra biblical books such as the Mormons book of Mormon, Doctrine and covenants and the Pearl of great price. They do not have a “prophetical figure“ dispensing “new revelation from God”. But these manuals by COC scholars are considered a “New way” of understanding biblical truth.
QUESTION: Usually said groups practice one form or another of shunning.
Responce: The COC is authoritarian in that they claim to be the “only true Christ of Jesus” and only they have the way of salvation. The claim is made that the NT church of Jesus and the apostles ceased to exist and had to be “restored”. They are a part of the restoration movement. You can read more HERE. http://www.how2becomeachristian.info/restorationism.htm
If your not of the COC your shunned as not a real Christian. If you are COC and leave to go to another denomination you are shunned as having left the one true church and forfeited your salvation. This is demonstrated in Sissy’s thread The Church and the doctrine of Christ and many other threads and a considerable number of her post in other thread topics. Can we count the number of threads that have been hijacked by Sissy and her claim to be sinless and her claims that we too must be sinless to be saved?
QUESTION: Usually said groups reject that salvation is possible by any other means than a strict embracing and adherence of/to their extra-biblical doctrines.