inside a church of christ history class

I marked up a cartoon that has been going around lately. It summarizes what is taught by Church of Christ historians and its theologians. It made me smile.

Restoration Movement History Chart (click to enlarge)

HT: Bibleworks on FB.

15 Responses

  1. Yep. That about sums it up.

    (And, we attended a more “modern” Church of Christ congregation for several years.)

    I heard the following joke from a Russian Orthodox priest, who told it about his own denomination. For the sake of staying “on topic, I will change it to Church of Christ. (Sadly, the point is true for nearly all Christian denominations — which flies in the face of Jesus’ prayer “that they may be as one, even as We are one”.)


    A naval ship was patrolling the ocean, and the lookout spotted a column of smoke on the horizon. Investigating, the captain turned the ship toward the smoke. There were no islands on the map.

    As they got closer to the smoke, the lookout shouted, “Land, ho!” The captain used his telescope, and saw that there was a solitary man on the island. The captain told his executive officer to assemble a landing party to rescue the castaway. When the party was assembled, and about to board a skif, the captain took the XO aside and said, “I’ll bet you that the castaway is a member of the Church of Christ.” Stunned, the exec asked, “What makes you guess that?” The captain replied, “Wait until you get the answer from him, and then I’ll tell you.”

    The exec and his men landed, rescued the man and his belongings, and came back to the ship. After things settled down, the captain reminded the executive officer, “Ask him.”

    The exec turned to the castaway, and asked, “Sir, to what church denomination do you belong?” The man replied, “The Church of Christ.”

    Stunned, the exec turned to the captain. Reading the exec’s curious gaze, the captain said, “Ask him about those two buildings on the island.”

    “Sir,” the exec said to the castaway, “I am curious. Please tell me: if you were living alone on a small, uncharted island, then why did you build two identical buildings, side-by-side.”

    “That’s simple,” the castaway replied. “One is the church that I attend. The other is the church that I do NOT attend.”

  2. Bob,
    I just wrote a column/blog on “The Triumph of Abrahamic Religions” looking at them only in terms of their percentage of the world’s population. Having made the point that if you take all Christians together they make the biggest religion, I then receive comments excluding one Christian group or another. They want to win, but not if so-and-so is included.

  3. i’ll read it now. Yes, it is always the infighting that does a group in. thanx. – bc
    For those who want to read the article, the permalink is here:

  4. There’s a pastor from the local Church of Christ who comes to my campus on occasion. He has a habit of trying to convince everyone that they’re not a real Christian unless they’re baptized, and that we’ll never understand the Bible until we accept inerrancy on faith. I’m not sure if this is standard fare among members of the Church of Christ, but it makes for some interesting discussions.

  5. I don’t know… I swear that was the history I grew up with. Sure, the CoC had a decent name, but, um, they weren’t really from the Apostles. We were. Said so in the bible.

  6. As a minister in the churches of Christ, this is not what we teach. Though you may not accept it, we believe that the churches have existed throughout the centuries. Separate from the churches of Christ in America and the history of the Restoration Movement of denominations into churches of Christ, Dr. Hans Grimm, who is German, wrote about the churches of Christ going back centuries in Central Europe. Also, Keith Sisman, who is English, traces his heritage among the churches of Christ in England back centuries before the non-conformist churches and the “lollards”.

    Scoff at our convictions if you want. We are not going to stop striving to be churches of Christ no matter who writes history. We simply want to follow Jesus Christ, to be His Church, and to diligently strive to put away sectarianism from us and unite all believers. Yet in doing this, many unjustly charge us with being sectarian because we are separate from others in our mission. We simply want an open discussion of the truth in Jesus’ words, and hope that others will challenge us there or consider our convictions as much as those words follow Jesus Christ.

  7. Having attended two different Church of Christ congregations — both within moderate walking distance of David Lipscomb University — I applaud your defense of the denomination that tells people, “Oh, we’re not a denomination.”

    While many of the CofC leaders claim to truly seek to be like the historical Christian church, in practice they often put down and/or ignore two thousand years of history. Many of the “missionaries” from the CofC go into countries (such as Ukraine) with a long history of Christianity, and then try to “convert” them. Why? Well, because the denomination that says it is not a denomination does not approve of the denomination that is predominant in that nation. (Say that five times fast.)

    Having not grown up in a Christian home, but instead coming to Jesus after I was already in the Air Force, I’ve made an ongoing study of the Christian faith. One of the saddest conclusions is that many Christians, especially here in the USA, have no idea what it is that they believe nor why. But, despite being woefully ignorant of this doctrine or that verse, they are quite zealous to tell other people what to NOT do in church.

    Consider this example. Many of the Protestant leaders and preachers that I’ve met think that they need to “convert” people from Orthodox Christianity. But, even under 70 years of Communist domination, the Christians living in Russia and Ukraine referred to the first day of the week as “Voskresseniye” (Resurrection Day). By contrast, we here in “Christian America” call the day that we go to church “Sun” Day. Do you know who Baal was? He was the SUN god of Mesopotamia! So, which country is more Christian — the one that goes to church on Resurrection Day, or the one that goes to church on Baal’s Day??

    I applaud much of the INTENT of the Restoration Movement, but some of its practices are just as divisive as the practices that they hope to replace.

  8. Shalom, I truly applaud the C of C and all christians for their zeal to replace the Sabbath of G_d with their own day of worship, although I cant quite understand why. They serve a G_d who remains the Same yesterday, today and forever, who established HIS Sabbath as the seventh day FOREVER, assume they have been given the authority to change this to a day commonly associated with pagan worship. Please show me the scripture that says: Remember my Sabbath and keep it Holy until my son comes, then you can change it to the first day of the week. G_D has established certain days throughout the year as appointments to meet with his people, and be among them, then here comes the church and they tell G_d this is OUR appointed day, you can be there if you want, or not, it is your choice, but we will be there in any case. Oh, by the way, it doesn’t matter that your son taught us to worship on your Sabbath, as he does, be advised we are doing this our way and our way only. Is there any other question we can answer for you G_d?
    The only restoration I find in churchdom is the restoration of mans authority over G_d’s commands.

    P.S. I am a believer in and follower of Messiah Yeshua, Son of the Living G_d and his teachings.

  9. Great points.

    I’m not sure that I entirely agree, but I do admire your zeal for Yeshua.

    My understanding is that the reason churches gather on the first day of the week is because it honors the Resurrection. However, I do agree that the Ten Commandments require that we keep the Sabbath holy. (Therefore, it seems to me that perhaps life under the New Testament requires that we worship God on TWO days of the week, instead of only one. I don’t know. But, it seems to me that the intensity of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 suggests that as a possibility.)

    Also, in Acts 20:7 it shows that the early Church was already in the habit of gathering on the first day of the week.

    You asked for a verse to support any type of change. Three times, it is written in the Gospels that Yeshua is the “Lord of the Sabbath”. (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5). So, if we are honoring the Resurrection of the Messiah by honoring the resurrection day*, and if He is the Lord of the Sabbath, then I see no conflict.

    * In traditional Russia, the first day of the week is called Voskresseniye, which means “Resurrection Day”. Even under 70 years of brutal Communist persecution, the Russian people did not let go of calling it Resurrection Day. (Yet, here in so-called “Christian America”, we voluntarily call it “Sun-Day” — which, as you alluded, is associated with the pagan worship of Baal, the sun-god of Mesopotamia. In an interesting side note, the son of Baal is the moon-god of Mesopotamia. His name is Allah. That is why “Moon-Day” comes immediately after “Sun-Day”.)

  10. Ooops!

    I replied only to John’s comment (which I got by e-mail), and did not see that I had already posted the story about Voskresseniye until after I submitted my comment.

    On the one hand, I apologize for being redundant.

    On the other hand, everyone needs to read that repeatedly, until America wakes up.

  11. My only issue with this cartoon is that the history of the church was never taught but rather almost completely ignored where I grew up. Certainly there was no mention of Campbell or Stone. I did figure out that our faith community in the north somehow seemed to be a mission field for southerners. I learned more about church history (and the long rich tradition of theology) at my secular private high school.

  12. Shalom again,

    Tom in reply to your scripture quotes, but before we go there I need to say that we seem to be going far from the original theme, or are we? As it seems the history of all of christiandom seems to be in question here, not just the C of C theology. This said let us consider Toms’ answer: Devarim 6:4 thru 9 needs to be taken in context, read the entire chapter and discover that it is a call to continually worship and follow the commands of G_d, and teach them to our families rather than be separated for re-newed testament use only. Acts: 20:7 taken out of context can and usually is used to back church first day worship, but they come to this scripture with little cultural understanding.
    My People, the Jews, have long followed a custom called Chavarrah, this is a meeting at a local home after the Sabbath day is over, in the time of Rav Shaul (Paul) days ended and began at sundown, the first day of the week began at sundown on what we now call saturday, these men met at a local home to “Break Bread,” or as we would say “eat the evening meal” and discuss their itinerary for the coming week, bring passionate for G_d they would necessarily discuss scripture. Read the entire chapter, understand the cultural aspects and find the truth, not a justification for church theory!
    Now I do not mean that we should only worship G_d on Sabbath, nor has any Jew or christian ever suggested that, no, we should set Sabbath apart for a time to meet with G_d, on a day of his choosing not ours.
    As a final note: I find no scriptural reference to holding the day of resurrection as a Kodesh (Holy) convocation, although I see nothing wrong with honoring the first day of the week following Passover as the actual day of his rising.



  13. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” — Proverbs 27:17

    The tradition of Chavarrah seems to not only explain your position, but also to be a very good custom. Also, I can now understand how Paul preached “until midnight”. It was not a 15-hour sermon, but likely a four or five hour discussion after dinner. That makes a lot more sense.

    This is why I enjoy participating in these forums. I learn a lot. And, it’s fun!

    My thanks to Dr. Cargill for hosting and for tossing out ideas and scenarios for discussion. (I found this forum because I saw him interviewed on the History Channel a year or two ago.)

  14. Shalom Tom,

    I have not ignored the three scripture references you gave explaining that Yeshua is Adonai (L_rd) of the Sabbath, but felt they needed a more thorough explanation. I can do nothing but agree that Yeshua has authority over the Sabbath, which is what the Greek and/or Hebrew words used in these verses mean, but again we need to examine these verses in context as they do not stand alone but are a part of a larger theme discussed by Yeshua and two groups of Rabbis, and that is: What is and what is not legal to do on the Sabbath according to the Word of G_d or the Torah.

    Yeshua and the Talmadim are walking through a corn field on Sabbath and are hungry, so they do the obvious, they eat some of the corn and are chastised by a group of Rabbis for “working” on the Sabbath.

    Yeshua alludes to the “Spirit of the law” and the opposing Rabbis’ contend that the “Letter of the Law” should be followed. Which is right? Yeshua proves his point by the actions of Da’vid and his men, something that all the Rabbis agree is a “legal” illegal action, thereby proving his point beyond doubt.

    This is not a dissertation on which day Sabbath is, but what is allowed on Sabbath. Next Yeshua uses the example of a sheep falling into a hole, should it be left there because it is Sabbath or would it be better to remove it and save it’s life? Yeshua alludes to the obviousness of the situation as the answer, “Take it out of the hole.”

    Next Yeshua is teaching in a synagogue on Sabbath and shows that Healing a person on Sabbath is good and is allowed, he again shows the “Spirit” of the law taking precedence over the “Letter of the Law.”

    Yeshua is teaching directly against that great nemesis of the church, “Legalism!” Yeshua is teaching the Rabbis and the people to observe the Mitzvoth (Commands) of G_d and ignore the “Traditions of man” for his father gave the Torah as the teacher of men and not as the “controller” of men.

    Now, explain to me what this has to do with the day the Sabbath is kept on, show me where this is a matter of discussion anywhere in the scripture, these you cannot show me or anyone else unless you take the scriptures out of context. Nowhere in the B’rit Chaddasha (Renewed Covenant) is the day of the Sabbath discussed as being changed to another day, it is not even alluded to.

    Worshiping on the day of Yeshua’s resurrection weekly or for that matter ever is not mentioned. The day of this event held no special meaning for the believers of that time, except as I explain later, what mattered was: His rising is a fact, it did happen as foretold by scripture, Yeshua is “Living proof” of the Salvation of G_d, This is what matters.

    As a side note the Jewish Holiday of Bikkourim, “Feast of the first fruits of the barley harvest” was celebrated on the first day of the week following the Passover, this is where the title “First Fruit” comes from as Yeshua rose on this day.

    Another lesson of the times is found in the Hebrew counting of the days from sundown to sundown, it is this: Yeshua arose on the beginning of the first day, so it was probably fairly dark when Miriam and her friend came to dress his body, do we need to question any more why she did not recognize him? She only saw a darkened outline of a man, not expecting to see Yeshua alive she assumed the man was a gardener. Remember, she finally recognized him by his voice.

    Something else interesting about the sundown to sundown counting of days is: “The day always begins in the dark and ends in the light.”

    Yeshua, Adonai of Sabbath, did not see fit to change the Sabbath to the first day of the week himself, so the challenge is to show everyone the scripture(s) where Yeshua, Adonai of Sabbath, has given man the authority to change it, or we must admit that G_d is serious about the day of Sabbath and start honoring his will rather than our own will.

    Yes this blog is a great forum for discussion, I happened on it by mistake but am really glad that I found it, our exchange has been as rewarding to me as it has been to you and I hope it has been the same for others. Hopefully we can keep the discussions going.



    Do the Scriptures authorize the use of “instrumental music” in worship? The short answer is, YES!

    Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (NASB)

    PSALMS DEFINITION: Primarily denoted a striking or twitching with the fingers (on musical strings), then, a sacred song, sung to musical accompaniment, a psalm. (Work of reference: Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words)

    HYMN DEFINITION: A song to harp, a pulling or twanging with fingers. A sacred song or hymn. (Work of reference: Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary)

    There is the argument that psalms found in the Old Testament are different than the psalms in the New Testament. The meaning of the word psalm did not change when the New Covenant came into force. The Day of Pentecost did not mark the change of the meaning of the word psalm. There is not one verse of Scripture that indicates the definition of psalm has been changed or altered. There is no dictionary Greek or English that I know of that has changed the definition of psalm.

    The Book of Psalms defines the meaning of a psalm.

    Psalm 81:2 Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. (KJB –Cambridge Ed)

    A psalm was sung with musical instruments.

    Psalm 81:2 Raise a song, strike the timbrel, The sweet sounding lyre with the harp. (NASB –1995)

    A psalm was sung with musical instruments.

    Psalm 81.2 Bring a psalm, and strike a tambourine. Play lyres and harps with their pleasant music.(GOD’S WORD Translation —1995)

    A psalm was sung with musical instruments.

    Psalm 81:2 Take a psalm, and bring here the tambourine, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. (American King James Version)

    A psalm was sung with musical instruments.

    Psalm 81:2 Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. (ESV–2001)

    A psalm was sung with musical instruments.

    Psalm 81:2 Take up the psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with psaltery. (English Revised Version)

    Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, sing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. (NKJV)

    The word psalm means the same in the New Testament as it does in the Old Testament. God did not changed the meaning of psalm and men have no authority to do so.


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