What is the history of the church of Christ?

Question:

I am interested in learning about the church of Christ. Please give its history. What are its policies and teaching?”

Answer:

It is great that you want to learn more. I will try to answer your questions as briefly as possible.

The church of Christ had its beginning on the Pentecost after the death of Jesus (Acts 2). This was in fulfillment of the promise of the Lord, “I will build My church (Matthew 16:18, New American Standard Bible). When Jesus went to the cross, it was to shed His blood to purchase that church (Acts 20:28). The Lord adds the saved to that church (Acts 2:47), and is “the Savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23). When the blood of Christ cleanses people, He then adds them to His church (Acts 2:47). The Greek word for church is “ecclesia” and its literal meaning is “called out.” By definition, the church of Christ is that group of people who have been called out of sin by Christ and have been bought by His blood (I Corinthians 6:20).

The policies and teachings of the church of Christ are “the word of God” (I Thessalonians 2:13), which was delivered by Christ through the apostles. We have no other “creed book,” nor dare we have any others teachings. That word is able to make “the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:17). In fact, the apostle Peter declares, “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3). So if it isn’t in the word of God, it does not pertain to life and godliness. That is why churches of Christ insist that the Bible is our sole authority in all matters of religious life.

As to the history of the church of Christ, I can (again) only point you to the word of the Lord. Read carefully the book of Acts, for therein you will find the earliest history of that church. From Romans through Revelation you will find more information about it. This recorded history is reliable, because God gave it. But after the close of the Bible, “history” depends on the people who are writing it – and it is at times subjective, highly speculative and thus unreliable. In other words, “history is written by the winners” applies not only to nations but also to religious movements. But what happened a generation ago (or two hundred years ago), does not affect in any way the nature or validity of the church that Jesus built. THAT is found only in the inspired word of God.

Additional information that you may find helpful are included in the “Recommended Links” section of this blog (in the right column of this page).

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