Is there an identity crisis in Churches of Christ today?

The Christian Chronicle, an international newspaper for the members of the Church of Christ published an article which sought to answer –

Is there an “identity crisis” in Churches of Christ today? In other words, do we know who we are and what we stand for like we once did?

Can we learn from their insights?

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One thought on “Is there an identity crisis in Churches of Christ today?

  1. John Waddey


    The March 2007 issue of The Christian Chronicle featured an article by Bobby Ross, headed, ‘Churches Face ‘Identity Crisis.’ To prove his point he interviewed a number of people associated with churches caught up in the change movement. They do have an identity crisis. Comments from those from traditional churches of Christ, suggest they don’t seem to have the problem.

    Among the painful doubts that must be faced by Christians who are caught in the currents of change are the following:
    * Am I a member of the church which Christ built and will save, or am I a member of a church established by Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone, neither of whom can save me?
    * Am I a Christian in the biblical sense of that word, or am I a Protestant Evangelical?
    * If the Church of Christ is actually a denomination, as our change agents say, then what right do have we to exist?
    * Must my loved ones be baptized to receive God’s saving grace, or will they get to heaven without baptism?
    * Are Protestant and Catholic Churches equally pleasing to God as the Church of Christ? If so why should I stay with the Church of Christ?
    * Has my previous faith and worship been Bible centered or has it been all a matter of human tradition?
    * Can I trust my Bible as the inspired and inerrant Word of God, or does it contain mistakes and contradictions?
    * Was the Christian faith once for all times delivered to the church (Jude 3), or does it have to be changed and adjusted when new world-views arise?
    * Are the commands and prohibitions of God to be understood as absolutes or are they all relative and left up to me to accept or reject?
    * Were my grandparents and parents true Christians when they heard the gospel, believed it, repented of their sins and were immersed for the forgiveness of their sins?
    * If a Christian woman insists that the prohibition against women teaching or having authority over men (I Tim. 2:11-12) does not apply to her and proceeds to do that, is she defying God? Is it a sin to defy God?
    * If the congregation of the Church of Christ in which I grew up and was baptized should change its name, change its worship and faith, is it still a Church of Christ?
    * If the preacher and elders of my congregation are introducing new and strange teachings and practices that I cannot verify by scripture, do I sin by staying with them?
    * If we can use the Old Testament to justify the use of instruments in music, could we not also use it to justify the burning of incense and candles, having a separate priesthood and special garments for them?
    * If because God does not say “Thou shalt not use instruments” we can use them, could we not baptize babies since He does not say “Thou shalt not baptize babies?”
    * If the New Testament is not the law of Christ, how should I understand those verses that speak of the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2)?
    * If we borrow mystical practices of meditation and contemplation from pagans, does that make us in some way pagan?
    * If the Church of Christ is so terribly flawed, as my change teachers insist, and if denominational churches are so wonderful and good, why should I stay with the bad rather than go to that which is better?
    * Am I being honest and truthful if I accept a position with a traditional Church of Christ when my intentions are to change them into a contemporary, denominational church?

    Disciples who are forced to wrestle with such profound questions are going to face an identity crisis. If they have unseared consciences they might even feel shame, guilt or remorse. We can expect to see many of them leave the Church of Christ and gravitate to denominational bodies. Some will drift into churches with “New Age” tendencies and mystical practices. Those who know the truth of God and believe and act upon it will have no such conflict (John 8:32). They will continue to strive to practice in their lives and discipleship the teachings of Christ as revealed in the New Testament (Matt. 28:20). They will know they are members of Christ’s one true church (Matt. 16:18) and they will seek to bring others to the Savior and his church. When all around them is change and decay, they will hold to God’s unchanging hand. They will look to his unchanging Son and chart their course by His unchanging Word (Matt. 24:35). John Waddey

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