and members of the Church of Christ take offense at my urging that
they closely examine our doctrines to see where they originated.
They are offended, because that they maintain that our Church of
Christ doctrines originated with the apostles, and have been
preserved in their pristine condition over the past 2,000 years.
This is a
perversion of our church history. The American Restorers proclaimed
that there was only one church, which belongs to Jesus Christ. They
accepted any repentant, believer baptized for the remission of sins
as a member of that one, true church.
Over time, the
claim has devolved into “the only, true church is the denomination
that has named itself the Church of Christ”, and you have to repent,
confess, and be baptized into that group. We are told that this
“one, true church” named the Church of Christ was started in the
time of the apostles of Christ and has continued to the present day
exactly as it was 2,000 years ago.
our church history, we deny that our present beliefs were influenced
by any other church group, such as the Roman Catholics, the
Catholic-Protestants, the American Restorers, or the Church of
Christ of the past 100 years. The truth is that much of what we
teach and practice is either directly from doctrinal decisions made
within the Roman Catholic church; by their reformers, who became
known as Protestants; by American Restorers, such as Alexander
Campbell and Barton W. Stone; or by
preachers, orators, writers, editors, and college founders
within the Church of Christ over the past 100 years.
Since we have
these influences, it behooves us to examine our doctrines as to
where they actually originated, instead of blindly proclaiming that
they are pristine, preserved from the time of the apostles of Jesus
I have put
together a simple doctrinal timeline showing a few of the many
changing influences on us over the past 2000 years. Keep in mind
that the middle column is the one alleged by many preachers,
teachers, and members in the Church of Christ. It is not the truth.
The right column shows the actual chain of events that led to the
formation of the Church of Christ, denominated as such by David
Lipscomb, of Nashville, Tennessee, around 1906.
Now that you
know the truth, please examine every religious thing that
you say that you believe, or that you practice, and do a bit of
research. Don’t just assume that it is upheld in the scriptures,
even if you can point to, or quote, a verse that you think supports
that doctrine. Too many scriptures are taken out of context in a
desperate attempt to support false doctrines that have been handed
down to us by our religious forebears.
Do you want to
know the truth? Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth
shall set you free.”
Some dates are
approximate due to discrepancies in reported historical dates and
confusing history regarding disparate religious activities in
Christianity which were later alleged to be part of a highly
organized Roman Catholic church, when in reality they were not.
Many in the
Church of Christ claim a straight line of doctrine from the apostles
to the present, a false claim first put forth by the Roman
Catholics, and adopted by different groups, including some Baptists,
and the Church of Christ.
The truth is
that doctrine in the Church of Christ evolved over time, including
through the Roman Catholic Church, as well as through the Protestant
Reformation – which was itself carried out by Roman Catholics,
through the Church of England, the Church of Scotland,
Presbyterianism, and the American Restoration, also called the
Stone-Campbell Movement. Doctrines were further refined by Church of
Christ preachers, editors, orators, and writers.
made, first by the Roman Catholic Reformers (Protestants), and more
recently, the American “Restorers” (Stone-Campbell Movement), to
move doctrine back toward what the Bible teaches. Unfortunately, too
much of the evolved doctrine
since the time of the apostles has been handed down to us, with
attempts to justify it by abusing, misusing, and taking out of
context, certain scriptures. Instead of going back to the apostles’
doctrine, a false claim is made that we have always had it, thereby
negating a need to keep examining and comparing our doctrine to