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July 26, 2015

L. John Bost
L. John Bost

Previous: Keep Your Eyes Upon Jesus.

To those who have been reading our articles for some time, thank you. To those who are new to this site, welcome. Perhaps you have been wondering, "Just who are these church of Christ people?" It is a legitimate question, one that we want all to have an accurate answer to. I will try to provide an answer to you in this article. There is no intent to offend anyone here. We just want to compare other churches with the churches of Christ to help you understand some major differences.
We are not the Baptist Church, but all of our members have been baptised. Baptism is for those who believe in Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15-16) the "remission of sins," as Peter taught in Acts 2:38. When one believes, and repents of his sins (Acts 2:38; Luke 13:1-5), confesses his faith in Jesus, and is baptised, he is saved from the consequences of sin (Mark 16:15-16; 1 Peter 3:21).
We are not the Methodist Church, but we do things by the proper methods. For example, the Lord's supper (communion) is partaken of on the first day of each week, following the example of the early Christians (Acts 20:1-7; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; Acts 2:46). It consists of the bread, which represents the body of Jesus who died on the cross for the sins of the world, and the fruit of the vine which represents Jesus' blood so lovingly shed for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:22-33). We sing to praise God and "teach and admonish one another" (Ephesians 5:19-21; Colossians 3:16.) Melody is made "in the heart," with no instrumental musical accompaniment (Ephesians 5:19). This we do because it is "in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Colossians 3:16-17). In other words, we do all things by the authority of the Lord.
We are not the Presbyterian Church, but every church which has men who are willing and qualified are overseen by elders. The qualifications of the elders are set forth in Titus 1:5-9 and 1 Timothy 3:1-7. When Barnabas and Paul visited the churches that they had established, they "ordained them elders in every church" (Acts 14:23). Elder is from the Greek presbuteros (the word from which the English word, presbytery, derives), meaning, elder (Strong). There are, in keeping with the New Testament practice, a plurality of elders overseeing the individual churches (Acts 14:23).
We are not the Episcopalian Church,, but we do have bishops. The elders are also known as bishops. Bishop comes from the Greek word, episkopos, (the word from which the English word, episcopalian, derives) meaning, "an overseer" (Thayer).
We are not the Catholic Church, but the church is the universal church, which is the meaning of the word, "catholic" (Webster). Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). Those that are saved are added to the Lord's church (Acts 2:47). Jesus equates the church with the "kingdom of heaven" in Matthew 16:13-19. Daniel prophesied that the Lord's kingdom would be a world-wide kingdom (Daniel 2:39-45; 7:13-14). So the Lord's church is a universal kingdom that shall "not be moved" (Hebrews 12:22). In that sense it is a "catholic" (universal) church.
We are not the Christian Church, but we are all Christians, each of varying degrees of faithfulness and maturity. As faithul Christians, we work to help the erring and weaker ones to grow into mature and faithful Christians (1 Thessalonians 5:14; Ephesians 6:1-2; James 5:19-20).
Though various churches have some of these characteristics, the churches of Christ are the only churches that have all of them! These, and other matters taught in God's word, set the churches of Christ apart from other churches. Since each one of these is taught in God's word, it is imperative that every church follow them.
Who are we? The churches of Christ are a people who love God and His word and strive to follow the New Testament in every respect as we work to restore New Testament Christianity. Will you not join us in this effort?

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