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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Answering a question about the Church of Christ(Stone & Cambell Restorationist movement)

As seen from the HCR forum. (For those that don't know about the Church of Christ denomination, they are the ones behind the website. They are one of the first American denominations. They came into being around 1830 with the restorationist movement, and they broke up into smaller groups around the beginning of the 20th century.)

Da'Legend said:

"Hey fam just got home from a friends house where I was
talking to a member of the church of Christ.

I just have some questions.

Anybody here in church of Christ?

What exactly do they believe?

What is correct in their belief?

What are the faults in their

I should get a good number of responses(I hope), since
Calvinism, Pentecostals, and Baptists were some of the many listed on their
"false doctrine" pamphlet."

Originally Posted by t-roberts:
I go to a "Church og God" church, and we don't believe any of that nonsense. We are just arminian (except me) in our beliefs.

My Responce to T-Roberts:
Your Church of God is Holiness, or maybe Pentecostal. The Worldwide Church of God comes from the millerite movement......the same movement as the first day adventists, the Seventhday Adventists, and Jehovia Witnesses.

You might know them as "The Armstrong Worldwide Church of God international"

Or something like that.

The Cambellites are from a totally different stream from your group "Church of God holiness or Church of God Cleveland Tenessee". They are also different from the "Millerite movement".

The Cambellites were heavily influenced by Methodhists, Landmark Baptists, and Prespyterianism. They were mostly influenced by Prespyterianism, but their Baptism distinctives comes from Land Mark Baptists......who are also very exclusive.

You can still find Land Mark Baptists today, if you read up on them and what they believe then you can see why the Church of Christ is saying some of the stuff it says. They are pretty much copying the Land Mark Baptists in certain areas.

Some people may not know this group of Baptists by the term "Land Mark"....another name is "Baptist briders".

If you look at who all influenced the Cambellites then you will understand why they believe some of the stuff they do.

(below is a quote or two from the handbook of denominations)

christian churches (the stone-cambell movement)

protestantism, with its emphasis on the bible alone as the basis of
faith, has always sought to remain true to the church of the apostles in the new
testament. Most protestants have been willing to accept some historical
development of the church and its doctrine in the post biblical period,
accepting the apostles' creed, for example. There have been others, though, who
have seen most of the history of christianity as the story of decline from new
testament purity. These christians have attempted to "restore" original or
"primitive" christianity by purging the church of all nonbiblical elements,
incuding creeds and confessions of faith. During the second great awakening
(beginning at the end of the 18nth century and continuing through the first two
decades of the 19nth century), this restorationist impulse grew particularly
strong. In politics, the u.s. Had "restored" greek democracy; many thought
americans could also restore the structure to the new testament alone, without
recourse to creeds or rituals, the restorationists also hoped to end fraternal
strife among churches.

Thomas campbell (1763-1854) was a scottish
presbyterian who left his church in ireland to come to western pennsylvania in
1807. Campbell was convinced that the historical creeds and confessions of the
church were a source of christian division rather than union, and he preached
that all christians should share in the lord's supper together. When his views
led to a censure from the presbyterians (see presbyterian churches) in 1809, he
formed the christian association of washington county, pennsylvania, and
published the declaration and address, which was to become the magna carta of
the restorationist movement. In that document he argued that "schism, or
uncharitable divisions" in the church were "anti-christian, anti-scriptural, and
anti-natural" and "productive of confusion and every evil work." the church and
church membership should be based solely upon the belief and practices of new
testament christianity, he maintained; the articles of faith and holiness
"expressly revealed in the word of god" were quite enough, without adding human
opinions or creedal inventions. The bible, campbell asserted, was a reasonable
book that any reasonable person could read and understand; therefore, there is
no need for creeds or other human interpretations. God has spoken clearly, and
the bible lays down the rules for church practices. "we will speak when the
scriptures speak, and remain silent when they are silent." with that phrase,
campbell abolished many traditional church practices, such as days of fasting
and the use of musical intruments in worship.

Campbell's son, alexander
(1788-1866), was less scholarly than his father, but more dynamic and consistent
in his application of his father's principles. He convinced thomas that infant
baptism was not christian, and in 1812 all of the campbells were immersed by a
local baptist minister. However, even the baptists were not biblical enough for
the campbelss. Father and son continued their independent evangelical work, and
alexander fought many public battles against atheism, mormonism, unitarianism,
creedalism, sectarianism, emotionalism, and even slavery; but he was singularly
unsuccessful in bringing about church unity. His noncreedal church became one of
the first independent denominations to be born in the united states.

other major branch of the nineteenth-century restorationist movement had its
origins in the convictions of james o' kelly (1757-1826), a methodist minister;
abner jones (1772-1841), a baptist; and barton stone (1771-1844), a
presbyterian. In 1792, o' kelly withdrew from the methodist church (see
methodist churches) in protest over the recently established episcopacy. He
especially objected to the power of bishops to appoint ministers to their
charges. O' kelly and his followers organized under the name republican
methodist; the new church insisted that the bible be taken as the only
requirement for church membership.

Abner jones, convinced that
"sectarian names and human creeds should be abandoned," left the vermont
baptists (see baptist churches) in 1801 to organize first christian church at
lyndon, vermont. This was done from a desire to secure a wider freedom of
religious thought and fellowship. Like o' kelly, jones insisted that piety and
character be the sole test of christian fellowship.

When the second
great awakening swept through tennessee and kentucky in the early 1800s,
preaching focused on the need for conversion rather than denominational or
doctrinal distinctions. Barton stone was instrumental in the famous cane ridge,
kentucky, revival, which began on august 7, 1801. Somewhere between 10,000 and
25,000 people appeared during the weeklong revival in which preachers from a
variety of churches took part. Participants desribed the event as a new
pentecost where thousands were converted, often with dramatic emotional
displays. The experience of the revival convinced stone that salvation has
little to do with church affiliation and that "deeds are more important than
credds." the egalitarian promise of the american revolution was being felt in
cane ridge and other western "camp meeting" revivals, but the controversy over
them led to a schism in the presbyterian church.

The groups led by o'
kelly, jones, and stone engaged in a long series of conferences that resulted in
agreement on six basic christian principles: (1) christ, the only head of the
church; (2) the bible, sufficient rule of faith and practice; (3) christian
character, the measure of membership; (4) a right, individual interpretation of
the scripture, as a way of life; (5) "christian," the name taken as worthy of
the followers of christ; (6) unity, christians working together to save the

By 1832 the "stoneeites" and the "campbellites" had come together
for a meeting in lexington, kentucky. Stone used the word christian to designate
his group, feeling that all of god's children should be known as such. Alexander
campbell used the phrase "disciples of christ." after 1832, some of the
christians and the disciples of christ merged; both names are still used, but
commonly and officialy the body is known today as the christian church
(disciples of christ).
Early in the movement, walter scott (1796-1861)
popularized the term restoration, meaning the restoration of the new testament
pattern and practice. Like stone, scott was suspicious of the values of the
current revivalistic frenzies; he related faith more to the mind than to
emotions. He stressed the importance of faith together with repentance of sin
and baptism by immersion. Very soon thereafter, however, differences arose among
the restorationists, and, over time, distinct fellowships emerged. Devoted in
varying ways to the restoration ideal, several of these groups continue to be
influential." [1]


"Churches of Christ
founded 1906, with roots to the
Membership: est 1,500,000 in over 10,000 churches (2000)

Largest of the bodies in the American restoration movement, Churches of Christ
are located throughout the nation but are concerntrated in the South and the
Southwest. As with the Christian Church (see Christian Churches and Churches of
Christ), the Churches of Christ reject the idea of denominationalism and have no
central headquarters; therefore, accurate statistics are impossible to attain.
This group has no governing bodies, but they do cooperate voluntarily in
international radio programs sponsored by any congregation.
The Churches of
Christ are anti-creedal and look for a Christian union based on the Bible alone.
They assert that the Bible is "the beginning place," in and through which
God-fearing people can achiev spirtual oneness. All Christians are to "speak
where the Bible speaks and to be silent where thebible is silent" in all matters
pertaining to faith and morals. Consequently, members recognize no other written
creed or confession of faith. In all religious matters, there must be a "thus
said the Lord."
The leaders among the Churches of Christ in the nineteenth
century were more conservative than their counterparts among the Disciples of
Christ. Stressing a strict adherence to the New Testament pattern of worship and
church organization, they refused to join any inter-congregational organization,
such as the missionary society. Worship was simple, and they opposed the
addition of instrumental music on the grounds that the New Testament did not
authorize it and that the early church did not use it. Around the beginning of
the twentieth century, the differences between the conservative and the more
liberal wings of the restoration movements became evident, and in the 1906
census of religious bodies, Churches of evident, and in the 1906 census of
religious bodies, Churches of Christ were listed separately for the first time.
Today one of the outstanding features of Churches of Christ is their
acceptance of the Bible as a true and completely adequate revelation. This basic
concept has resulted in such practices as weekly observances of the Lord's
Supper, Baptism by immersion, a cappella singing, a vigorous prayer life,
support of church needs through voluntary giving, and a program of preaching and
teaching of the Bible. This concept also explains the autonomy of local
churches, governed by elders and deacons appointed under New Testament
qualifications; dignified worship services; enthusiastic mission campaigns; and
far-flung benevolence, all financed by local churches.
Key doctrines of
Churches of Christ include belief in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost as
members of one Godhead; in the incarnation, virgen birth, and bodily
resurrection of Christ; and in the universality, virgin birth, and bodily
resurrection of Christ; and in the universality of sin after the age of
accountabilty, its only remedy the vicarious atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Strong emphasis is also laid on the church as the body and bride of Christ. A
figurative, rather than literal, view is prevalent with reference to the book of
Revelation. Church membership is contingent upon an individual's faith in Jesus
Christ as the only begotten Son of God, repentance, confession of faith, and
baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. Church attendance is stressed.
Churches of Christ maintain that the final judgement of all religious groups is
reserved to the Lord. This view, however, still allows for a vigorous evangelism
that finds unacceptable the "doctrines, practices, names, titles, and credds
that have been grafted onto the original practices of Christianity."
are ordained rather than licensed, and they hold tenure in their pulpits under
mutual agreement with the elders of the churches in which they preach.
Mininsterial authority is essentially moral; the actual governace of the church
is vested in its elders.
A vigorous missionary program is carried on in 92
nations outside the U.S., and in recent years a strong movement to extend the
influences of the church in the northeastern states of the U.S. has developed.
Counting native workers on the foreign field and mission activities within the
U.S., more than 1,000 missionaries or evangelists are suppported by groups other
than those to which they preach. Generally patriotic, the Churches of Christ
maintain a quota of chaplains in the U.S. military.
Churches of Christ
support 24 Bible colleges, liberal arts colleges, and universities and 27 high
and/or elementary schools in the U.S. They also sponsor numerous facilities for
care of the aged. The church publishes over one hundred periodicals, newspapers,
and magazines. published continually since the 1850s, except when it ceased
during the Civil War due to lack of mail delivery. The churches also carry on an
active ministry through the Internet. Since the statues of these institutions is
unofficial, and none is authorized to speak for the entire church, their
conformity in ideas and teachings is all the more remarkable. [2]

Originally Posted by Oppose3
j norm. outside of this report from the "handbook of denominations in the us" what's your take on them? have you encountered the church of christ (i'm guessing you're from, the Pittsburgh church of christ?)

My Responce to Oppose3:
Yes, I had contact with the more radical off shoot in Pittsburgh.

The Boston Church of Christ tend to focus on college students so you might find alot of disciples on campus all around the country. I met one some years ago near Pitt University.

I met more when I lived in Alabama some years ago. The ones I met down there were mostly from the more traditional Church of Christ. However, I am corrently in contact with a former member of the Boston Church of Christ. In recent years, alot of Church of Christ people (both from the Boston movement as well as from the regular Church of Christ movement) have been influenced by David Bercot, and that's how I got to meet alot of former members. Alot of them (former members I know) don't have anywhere to go, so they are in a state of limbo right now.
Most of them tend to be conservative, and they have high they refuse to fellowship with a church they feel lacks what they believe to be "true christian beliefs and practices".

With these folks, there is alot of cross breeding going on with the Mennonites.

But they are very sincere people, and alot of them have extremely high convictions and standards of what they think a christian fellowship should be.

To be honest, I never had any trouble with the Boston movement......nor with the other Church of Christ groups. I think it depends on how you talk to them.......and relate to them.

But then again.......I don't know......I just know .....I tend to get along with the ones I meet.

But just like with any do have alot of nominal members in regular Church of Christ churches. But that sort of thing is true with every group. Nominal members are everywhere and in every group. When I lived down south, I had a handfull of friends who were Church of Christ, yeah, I met some and I visited one of their churches as well.

Alot of people might get turned off by their exclusive claims, but such a thing never bothered me. In the past.....alot of churches were more exclusive than they are now. If you are able to get past their exclusive claims then you might be able to relate to them better. I just know that alot of people get turned off by their exclusiveness.

(More about the Stone & Cambellite movement)
page 657-658 from "A History of the Christian Church" by Walker

"The Presbyterians were also torn by controversy. Those, often of Scotch Irish background, who held firmly to confessional standards and to traditions of an educated ministry were troubled by frontier revivalists whose doctrinal positions and ordination standards were more lax. Attempts to curb them, however, led only to schism. In 1803, Barton W. Stone (1772-1844) led a group of evangelistic Presbyterians out of the Synod of Kentucky. These "New Lights" soon dropped all "sectarian" names, seeking to be known simply as "Christians." Several years later, attempts to discipline Cumberland (Kentucky) Presbyterian revivalists led to an open break and the formation of what became the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Some of the smaller Presbyterian bodies suffered schism, too. Thomas Cambell (1763-1854), a Seceder Presbyterian minister in the north of Ireland, came to America in 1807 and began work in western Pennsylvania. His freedom in welcoming Presbyterians of all parties to communion aroused criticism, and he was discipline by the Seceder Presbytery of Chartiers. Cambell felt it his duty to protest against such sectianism and to assert as the standard of all Christian discipleship the literal terms of the Bible alone, as he understood it. He broke with the Seceder Presbyterians but continued to labor in western Pennsylvania, announcing as his principle: "Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; and where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent." It was not a new denomination that he planned, but a union of all Christians on this biblical basis, without added tests of creed or ritual. In August 1809, Campbell organized the Christian Association of Washington-so called from the Pennsylvania county of its origin-and for it he prepared the "Declaration and Address" which has since been regarded as a fundamental document of what was to be known as the Disciples movement. The same year, Thomas Campbell's son, Alexander (1788-1866), emigrated to America, and he soon outstripped his father in fame as an advocate of Thomas's views.

In spite of their deprecation of sectarianism, the cambells organized a church in Brush Run, Pennsylvania, in May 1811. The Lord's Supper was observed each Sunday from the beginning. But doubts arose as to the scriptural waarent of infant baptism. In 1812, the Cambells and a number of their associates were immersed. A year later, the Brush Run Church became a member of the Redstone Association of Baptist Churches. Points of disagreement with the Baptists soon developed, however. The Campbells disliked the Baptists' strenous Calvinism. To the Campbells, the Old Testament was far less authoritative than the New. To the Baptists, baptism was a privilege of the already pardoned sinner; to the Campbells, it was a condition of forgiveness. Moreover, the Campbells, without being in any sense Uniterians, were influenced to some degree by the thought of the Enlightenment, and they refused to employ other than scriptural expressions regarding the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The result was a withdrawal from the Baptists, which may be said to have been completed by 1832, when the followers of Cambell merged with the bulk of the followers of Barton Stone to form the Disciples of Christ. Perhaps twenty-five thousand strong at that time, they passed the million mark before the turn of the century."


[1] pages 103-105, [2] pages 111-113, from the book "Handbook of Denominations in the United States" 11nth edition by Frank S. Mead, Samuel S. Hill & 11nth edition edited by Craig D. Artwood; Nashville press

[3] pages 657-658 from "A History of the Christian Church" by Walker published by Scribner


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