Christian Church/Church of Christ

Discussion in 'Defending the Faith' started by Sergeant Will, Sep 28, 2018.

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  1. Sergeant Will

    Sergeant Will Puritan Board Freshman

    I took my kids to a homeschool coop yesterday which is held at the largest church in town. It just so happens to be a Christian Church (CoC) a part of the restoration movement. I picked up a magazine and their was a Q&A article asking whether a CoC could partner in ministry with a Calvinist. The basic answer given was no because Calvinist believe in a satanic doctrine (his words not mine) from man. He sited Zwingli as one of the reformers that propagated a false view on baptism, and then touched on the errors of TULIP. Many of the authors arguments were a gross misrepresentation on the doctrines of grace. I felt compelled to write in the margins and highlight these errors and sited scripture. My hope is that if anyone did pick up and read this article at least it might make the reader stop and think and maybe even investigate in-depth a little more. My brother-in-law by marriage is very involved in CoC, and we've touched on theology a few times. So I know a little about it, but I couple of questions for the board.

    1. Have you ever found yourself in a similar circumstance, and what is the appropriate method of response? This would go for any hetrodoxical and heretical groups.

    2. What are some evangelism resources that are out there that directly confront the CoC? Are there books, tracts, etc.? I know that I'm going to engage members of the CoC because I'm in a rural area and this church seems to dominate the town.

    3. I found this on the board hetrodoxogical which was helpful. https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/what-is-the-church-of-Christ-coc.26283/
     
  2. hammondjones

    hammondjones Puritan Board Sophomore

    While hiking on the Appalachian Trail I found a Book of Mormon that had been left in one of the shelters, Gideon-style I assumed. I launched it deep into the woods.
     
  3. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    If this is the Church of Christ that states that we must be water baptized in order to be saved, would say that by adding that additional requirement to the Gospel, they no longer teach the real Gospel. They teach a mixture of faith and works. I know people who are what I woudl consider to be really saved, but are also very gaainst Calvinism. Most of the time, they either have never read any works by Calvinistic teachers, or else have neen taught wrongly about what is believed and taught. My major concern with them would still be the adding to Grace of God, and believing in a fasle Gospel itself, and that woudl be where to address your concerns with them.
     
  4. Sergeant Will

    Sergeant Will Puritan Board Freshman

    This is the same Church of Christ/Christian Church that adds the necessity of baptism in order to be saved. Many CoC are Pelagian and reject original sin, as does my brother-in-law. They are very good at proof-texting to support their positions such as Acts 2:38, but are very poor at having a comprehensive theology that incorporates the whole Bible. They have catchy little 'creeds' such as 'no creed but Christ Jesus'. They also ignore almost 2000 years of church history stating all they need is the Bible and no doctrine of man. Hence forth them being a part of the restoration movement of the 19th century. I just know that I'm going to be interacting with them a lot more now and need to be prepared.
     
  5. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    It sounds like you already have a pretty good handle on their errors. Not all churches going by the Churches of Christ name will believe the same things, since they tend to be fiercely congregational, but most of them agree on the errors you mentioned.

    I think you're also right in your assessment that they are proof-texters who lack a good understanding of the Bible as a comprehensive whole. Some with whom I have interacted will not listen when I start explaining things that belong to a larger, whole-Bible system of doctrine. The idea of a system of doctrine sounds wrong to them and they react against it. Their "no creed but the Bible" seems to have an unspoken corollary: "No more than a few verses at a time."

    I believe many of these churches must be resisted rather than tolerated. Their belief in self-salvation through submission to baptism is so strongly Pelagian that it is a large-scale denial of the gospel and essentially a dependence on works. Regardless of what they may say, functionally many believe regeneration is an act of man (you must decide to change your heart and believe), justification is an act of man (you are justified by submitting to baptism), and sanctification is an act of man (once you've gotten yourself baptized, if you truly were sincere enough about it, you will have power over sin).

    Furthermore, many make their bread and butter by preying on believers from sounder churches. They will ask young Christians whether they feel they have power over sin in their lives. If the young believer admits to weaknesses, they will say this is due to not being baptized in a Church of Christ, thus not being a true Christian who has sanctification power. For this reason, many (not all) Churches of Christ are dangerous to the true flock.

    I will tolerate a fair amount of error. I even (carefully) put my kids in an Adventist school for several years. But I would be very wary of a homeschool co-op with a heavy Churches of Christ influence.
     
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  6. Sergeant Will

    Sergeant Will Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you Jack for your analysis. My wife and I have discussed the whole CoC issue since her sister, brother-in-law, and nephews are in that church. We've basically came to the conclusion that we don't know if they're saved or not. The homeschool coop I go in with my eyes wide open. I was a little leery at the get go because they were asking on the forms what church we went to. The problem is that we are in a rural area and this church literally 1 block away. So it's convenient and it's only offering gym, arts & crafts, etc. So it allows my kids some much needed time to exert energy outside the house. However, if ever I feel they are crossing the line and using the coop as a tool to draw us in that will be it for me.
     
  7. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    The event that happened in my past that made me understand just how bad the theology of the Church of Christ is, was when my Father's best friend died of a sudden heart attack, and when I asked his family what their hope and confidence was for his eternal state , they answered that he had recenly been water baptized. I asked if he had made any profession of faith in Jesus, but they just was trusting in that water baptism to have saved him.
     
  8. bookish_Basset

    bookish_Basset Puritan Board Freshman

    Jack's comments are spot-on, such that there really isn't much I can add, despite having attended a Christian Churches congregation for a number of years (granted, much of that was when I was a child and young teen). Both my husband and I did, actually, and it was a rather long and winding road for both of us to be led toward the doctrines of grace. In my case, it had to do with a fascination with theology from an early age (very unusual for someone in the restoration tradition), sparked by the fact that I lived in a heavily Catholic region and felt a pressing need to understand the differences between my beliefs and my peers'. Very gradually, over many years, that led to a greater openness to church history in general, to the creeds and ultimately to confessional Protestantism.

    As mentioned above, it can be difficult to know what an individual CC/CofC person believes because of that suspicion of creeds or theological systems. Despite not being familiar with the whole spectrum, I get the feeling that my church was a bit more "middle of the road" and were a bit softer in the ways they talked about, e.g., baptismal regeneration. I remember pressing my dad on this question as a teen, and he conceded that it's Jesus' death that saves us, not our obedience in baptism. But the Pelagian teachings are definitely out there--I remember coming across a tract along the lines of "How can I be sure I am saved?" which basically offered a checklist, including immersion baptism and a heavy emphasis on one's choice to believe and obey, etc. I lost a lot of sleep over such things, because even then, I perceived that my will was a wretched mess and couldn't fathom how someone could feel "sure" based on such a thing.

    Anyway, I'm sorry I can't offer more straightforward advice on how to engage with them. I appreciate your desire to do so! I can testify that the Lord does free his sheep from such false teaching, through any number of improbable paths, and will continue to do so. I might add, too, that I think He used the high value placed on preaching and the Lord's Supper in my upbringing to make me receptive (much later) to Reformed teaching on the means of grace. I don't know if that could be an opening for anyone else, or if this was another way in which I was a bit of an oddity.
     
  9. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    While I appreciate your enthusiasm, your written apologetic might carry more weight if you took more care with your vocabulary. It's "cited".

    If you made similar errors in your comments, they will likely be dismissed without the merits being reached.

    I also question the propriety of vandalizing someone else's property, even in a good cause.
     
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