The Big Lie

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:

  1. The Church of Christ is the only true church
  2. The Church of Christ has always been the only church
  3. The Church of Christ was established on the Day of Pentecost 33 A.D. (Acts 2)
  4. (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!

Be Free

5 Replies to “The Big Lie”

  1. I agree with the general premise of your article that we cannot say that a particular, visible congregation is THE church that Christ established. The church the Lord established is composed of all the redeemed of all ages and cannot be found in any one particular building, location or denomination.
    That invisible church composed of visible and invisible members, however, was established on Pentecost and belongs to the Lord. You are correct when you say that the particular church of Christ that has come to be known for its overwrought “zeal” was established in 19th century America. But we should not “throw the baby out with the bath water” and claim that there is today no church that was established on Pentecost. To be sure, no denomination can claim they are that church, but members within them certainly can.

    In addition, I think it’s important to point out that many churches of Christ have moved away from the ultra doctrinaire stance of the “old time” CofC and have come to realize the truth about their denomination’s historical claims. I myself attended a CofC until just over a year ago and I can say without fear of contradiction that churches of Christ today come in many varieties. To be sure there are still the ultra conservative ones, and there are still some members of that persuasion that attend other, less strident congregations. But there are also many that are faithful, bible-believing congregations that understand that, so long as congregations are made up of men, they will make mistakes. Others have gone the way of the “seeker friendly” church and have basically abandoned any semblance of being bible-based.

    In the final analysis, it is important to point this out so that those who come to your site will not be under the impression that all of the CofC is alike. By all means, point to those who are engaging in that behavior, but don’t paint with too broad a brush.

    May God bless you!

    1. I would like to extend a thank you for your post. For some reason, even though it was approved, it passed our attention and it does require a response.

      You are correct in saying that there are many Churches of Christ who are not “ultra-conservative”. This is a true statement. This is site is not geared that direction (for the most part). If you read the articles on the home page (currently at the bottom) you will see that our attention is to 1. Those in the “hard core Churches of Christ” and 2. Those who are leaning in the direction of leaving. We want to be a source and guide in regards to things to think about and generally what to expect when leaving. We have not categorized all C of C in the same category.

      As for those who are not “hard core” the direction that this site will be taking in the near future is how to grow. Having worked in the past in the C of C I know first hand what goes on in elder meetings. I know the fear that leadership has. There are those with head knowledge yet there is a fear of offending someone or some group or whatever. Sometimes this fear is real. I know of near fist fights from unreasonable, ignorant (not used in a pejorative way) and people who lack proper basic theological and Biblical knowledge. This is another outreach and direction we want to go.

      Basically, we love Jesus. We want to help others love and lead like Jesus. Our area of expertise is the C of C for it is in our past and therefore a felt need to lead in this area.

      God bless you – Thanks again for your input.

  2. At the age of 49 I heard a professor say, “Spiritual ab-use is the most common form of ab-use on the planet!” In the moment, I wondered who she thought she was to make such a powerful assumption. Before I graduated, at the age of 52, I realized that she was absolutely correct! As a former, born-n-bread Church of Christer, a person with 25 years of recovery from various forms of toxic shame, addiction, ab-uses of self and others, and a licensed addiction counselor of 12 years, I could write on this subject for days. Let me just suffice it to say that very few people have any idea of the “subtle power of spiritual abuse” and in how many ways spiritual ab-use/neglect manifests itself in the lives of its victims. Spiritual ab-use/neglect is the root cause of all addictions, both ingestive and non-ingestive addictions, and both psychological and physiological addictions. “Religious addiction”, very similar to codependency addiction, is no different than any other addiction. All addictions are born out of shame and not knowing who we truly are as Beings created in the image and likeness of the Triune God. When adults/parents do not truly know/understand who they are as images of God, they cannot pass this knowing/understanding on to their children. When adolescents do not know who they are, the world of delusion(s) will gladly provide many identities for us to experience. The delusionary identities of this world become the identities of idolatry. The unknowing, and/or rejection of who God says we are, leaves us vulnerable to all sorts of toxic identities and experiences.
    Only when we are able to re-cognize our true Self(s)” as spiritual beings, can we re-cognize others as such. To speak of “spirituality” prior to this re-cognition, is to speak with an untransformed mind. [Caterpillars are unable to re-cognize themselves as butterflies, capable of flight, prior to the transforming process of divine metamorphoses.] We can not re-cognize our true Self(s) as images of God until we are divinely transformed from predator mentality/consciousness to prey mentality/consciousness. To “have the mind of Christ” is to have the consciousness of the Christ. The consciousness of agape, nonjudgmental, nonviolent, unconditional, inclusive Love.
    If I might add, I was divinely lead to a book, “Free In Christ”, by an old C of C preacher by the name of Cecil Hook. This book changed my life and set me free to grow in Christ. It took another 20+ years to re-cognize that being “in Christ” is being in/sharing His Consciousness of unconditional, nonviolent love, even unto death.
    Today I am free in Christ-Consciousness to explore, and to love others as He has loved us. The journey out of childhood spiritual ab-use, the misuse the spiritual realm, has been long and extremely painful, but well worth the journey! Being transformed, by the grace of God, from a life of paradigm paralysis into a life of paradigm shifting has allowed me to remain a life-long learner in Christ!
    I encourage others to trust the process of the Holy Spirit to re-mind you of who you truly are!
    FYI: This journey must be taken at a slow walk on a donkey, not a mule, not a horse!! Getting and being in touch with ones “ego” or inner-ass is very humbling and helpful. (ego = Edging God Out)

    1. I have read Hooks book and do recommend them. In fact, they are linked on this site.

      I do have to take add to one thing you said in your thoughtful post. “All addictions are born out of shame and not knowing who we truly are as Beings created in the image and likeness of the Triune God.” and “Only when we are able to re-cognize our true Self(s)” as spiritual beings, can we re-cognize others as such.”

      I do not think this is what God’s word teaches. We were created absolutely innocent in the Garden. But in Adam, all of humanity failed. We inherited Adam’s nature (Romans 5:12-14) and it has affected us so that “every intention of the heart is evil” (Genesis 8:21) even from our youth. Because of our nature our flesh is evil. So it is safe for me to say that SEEKING WRONG is the default position of our hearts desires. Addictions pour forth from this heart.

      This may be picky but theologically correct. I have a M.A. in clinical Psychology so I am aware of the direction that most instruction in that field.

      Thank you for posting – it is very thoughtful. God bless your journey.

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