It is quite the debate to rightly ascertain the biggest lie of the hard-core Church of Christ denomination. However, one does stand taller than the others and just where this one began is not easy to pin point.
To be specific the lie comes in several different forms and stated in the following ways:
- The Church of Christ is the only true church
- The Church of Christ has always been the only church
- The Church of Christ was established on the Day of Pentecost 33 A.D. (Acts 2)
- (A variation from above) The Church of Christ was established on the Day of Pentecost 33 A.D. and grew strong then decimated to nothing or almost nothing for a number of centuries. Then in the past 200 years revived and became vibrant again.
Each of these statements, and even others very similar, have been spoken, written and taught in the presence of this writer. This is not just a lie, it is the BIGGEST lie of the denomination that is the Church of Christ.
WHY IS THIS THE BIGGEST LIE?
It is the biggest lie because by teaching this it boasts that everything the Church of Christ leaders say comes with authority. These statements give the denomination importance and significance. Yet the very act of saying or repeating these things is not only to speak a lie but also to show daft ignorance.
On one occasion Jesus asked his followers who people thought he was. There were many rumors going around about who this Jesus was. Several answers were given and then Jesus asked his closest associates, “Who am I?”
Peter responded and said, “You are Christ, son of the living God.”
This answer was correct and immediately Jesus makes the following statement,
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18
If the Church of Christ denomination is the ONLY true church and all other churches going by other names are false – then it means for several centuries the church failed. It means the gates of hell prevailed against the church. This is a direct contradiction to what Jesus stated in Matthew 16. IF the Church of Christ denomination began in AD 33, then the claim that the Church of Christ lost vibrancy, fell to nothing or was “revived” after several centuries of nothing, then this is a direct violation of Christ’s words.
WHEN DID THE CHURCH OF CHRIST BEGIN?
No evidence exists that there was ever the presence of the Church of Christ denomination before the Restoration Movement of the 1800’s. It is true that many of the Puritans, who settled New England in the 1600’s, had church buildings that wore the name “Church of Christ.” However, the Puritan theology (Reform) and Church of Christ theology (a Pelagian/Arminian hybrid) are in direct contrast to each other. Those names the Puritans placed on the buildings were just that- names. They did not practice or teach what the Church of Christ teaches.
As any good Church of Christer would tell you Romans 16 Paul salutes the Churches of Christ therefore that is the proof and evidence of it’s first century existence. However, that is stretching things a little. Paul was making a general reference to the churches that belong to Christ. Just as the same Paul talked about the the church of God in Corinthians. It is a general statement of possession and not a reference to any modern church name.
The Church of Christ denomination, officially recognized in 1906, did not begin in AD 33. It began in North America in the 1800’s. It began with MANY noble ideas and exclusivity was NOT one of them. There “was now no intention to set up a new separate communion or denomination. Alexander Campbell was pleased with the Baptists more than any other community of Christians.” (Murch, James DeForest, Christians Only page 61.)
What sprang from the work of Alexander Campbell was eventually a new denomination. A denomination that thru the years grew more exclusive and divisive. It grew into what is present day Church of Christ. He had no desire to set up a new denomination. He regarded his friends in other churches as Christians. (ibid, page 44). This idea would most definitely be damned in the present day hard core Church of Christ.
There are these things called facts. Ignoring them produces ignorance and apathy. With the smallest amount of research one can find the truth that the present day Church of Christ was set up in America in the 1800’s and not Jerusalem in AD 33. Some may hear their leadership make the false claim that the Church of Christ was began in AD 33. When they find the historical facts prove this false, those people may begin wondering what else the leadership is also falsely claiming.
The Big Lie in the Church of Christ is found in the claims that it IS THE CHURCH. That it began in AD 33 on the Day of Pentecost. This false claim props up the denomination as the authority. The writer believes that many who repeat this lie may genuinely be ignorant and are unaware that it is a lie. Further, it is often said the more something is repeated the easier it is to believe it. That can certainly be the case here. The more hard-core the Church of Christ congregation is, the more adamantly they repeat this error.
To those who are considering leaving and finding another body of faith remember that Christ church (a church or collection of believers that span MANY names) will never be weak, decimated or disappear. As Jesus promised, the gates of Hell have never nor will ever prevail against it!