The Church of Christ got its start through the motives of a man named Thomas Campbell. After Thomas’ humble beginning, his son, Alexander, Barton Stone, John Smith and Walter Scott were other men also played vital roles in the development of what became known as the “Restoration Movement.” The desire was to restore the church back to it first century roots. The desire was also to create a bit more cooperation and harmony between churches. This involved several theological adjustments, such as forsaking creeds and using the Bible only.
There was strict competition between denominations during that time. From this writer’s perspective, loyalty to ones denomination was a high priority. An example can be found from a letter John Adams wrote to his wife on September 7, 1774 which in part states:
“When the Congress met, Mr. Cushing made a motion that it should be opened with prayer. It was opposed by Mr. Jay of New York and Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina because we were so divided in religious sentiments, some Episcopalians, some Quakers, some Anabaptists, some Presbyterians and some Congregationalists, that we could not join in the same act of worship.
“Mr. Samuel Adams arose and said that he was no bigot and could hear a prayer form any gentleman of piety and virtue, who was at the same time a friend to his country. . . The next morning Mr. Duche read several prayers and the 35th Psalm. . . . I never saw greater affect on an audience”
Between the account in writings of Thomas Campbell and what we can glean from American History, people’s religious beliefs tended to divide. Individual’s loyalty to beliefs in church creeds, infant baptism (paedobaptism) and heritage, were a few large hurdles Thomas Campbell had to overcome. There was nothing wrong with creeds for they were founded upon the Bible. However, when the creed carried higher importance or equal value to the Scriptures themselves creates a problem.
Thomas had some success. His son Alexander and the other men had further success. Various congregations began cooperating together. Creeds became less important and the Bible was preached. Through time though this call for unity became fractured and split and it too became sectarian (a broken off or fraction of a larger group).
Through many decades the gospel message of Jesus’ grace has taken a beating. What started as a return to the Bible and a reaching out across denominational lines has become the EXACT opposite. What began as a leader breaking down the barriers between denominations and establishing common grounds on which there was agreement has turned into a whole NEW denomination proclaiming that it is the ONLY one that is right and acceptable in God’s eyes. This is the hard core Church of Christ.
How do you know if you are in or have experienced the hard core Church of Christ? Here are several characteristics of a hard core Church of Christ:
- The belief their church and churches that believe like them are the only ones going to heaven.
- The belief that outward water baptism IS the exact point a person becomes a Christian.
- The belief that instrumental worship music wrong and one will go to hell if they worship with an instrument. Vocal music is the ONLY way to worship God and not just one option.
- The belief that believers MUST do good works to go to heaven. Yet they have a failure to understand that believers do good works BECAUSE they are saved.
- The hyper restriction on female participation in the church assembly.
- The insistence that the Church of Christ is THE CHURCH and has been around since Acts and was not the result of an American movement in the 1800’s.
- People are born into this world perfect, good and not in anyway related to Adam thus denying many scriptures such as Romans 5:12-14; Genesis 8:21. Therefore undeserving of God’s just wrath and it is only later when they sin that they are in need of a Savior.
- Emphasis on collective salvation. For example, purity of the group equals purity of the individuals. This is taught in that you can’t find Jesus only in a Church of Christ congregation and not in a Baptist, Nazarine, Methodist, or other church.
- An attitude of arrogance and superiority.
- Strange and legalistic concerning divorce & remarriage.
There are SOME Church of Christ congregations through out the world and The United States that are doing wonderful things. There are a number Churches of Christ that understand the Grace of God and live and grow in that grace. There are many Church of Christ’s gatherings who understand their heritage. These churches have good leadership. They are filled with members who PREFER no instruments in their worship but know and understand that this is NOT the only way to worship Jesus. Church of Christ Recovery is not referring to them.
The list above describes the larger spectrum of believers in this denomination. Church of Christ recovery is for those who are in congregations who meet THREE or MORE of the short list above.
If you are considering leaving or who have left a Church of Christ this site is for you. You can read the purpose of this ministry HERE. For some leaving may not be difficult however this is not the norm. For many there is a family history in this denomination and it can be very difficult, guilt ridden and even depressing. There maybe letters, calls, texts and emails where Scripture is continually twisted to pressure you into staying.
This site desires to educate and help you in the process of finding a healthy relationship with God. It is maintained by a man who has spent thousands of hours of reading, meditating and establishing a relationship with God after leaving the Church of Christ.
The desire is that this site can help restore a loving relationship between you and God. Church of Christ Recovery is not about throwing stones but leading you to the Love of Christ. It desires to lead you to rest in God’s grace.
It is a bold move to leave a hard core Church of Christ. This move most often does not happen over night and comes with many questions. Trust the Spirit. If there are thoughts that you are finding fault in the Church of Christ message then follow that instinct. Use reason, logic and study. It is a strong desire that this site will be helpful in your pursuit of truth.
You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32) For freedom Christ has set us free: stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
 America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations, Federer, William, J. Page 6, 7