Did The Church of Christ Arise Out Of The Stone-Campbell Movement?
There are many people who are teaching that the church of Christ is just another denomination that arose out of the Stone-Campbell (Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell – the “Restoration” leaders) movement that started in the early 1800s in America.
First, consider the “seed principle” mentioned in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower. Luke 8:11 teaches that the seed is the word of God. The Bible teaches that a seed produces after its own kind (Genesis 1:11,12; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:22-25). When Jesus first built the His church on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47), was it a denomination? The church was NOT a denomination. It was (1) pre-denominational, (2) anti-denominational, and (3) non-denominational. It is a fact that congregations of the church of Christ were being established on the seed principle (Romans 16:16). When a person receives the true word of God in a good and honest heart (not man-made traditions that pervert the Scriptures – Galatians 1:6-9), then that person becomes a true child of God/saint/disciple/Christian. Paul taught the pure gospel of Christ all over the Mediterranean world (1 Corinthians 4:15). There were congregations of the church of Christ that were started in Samaria (Acts 8), Caesarea (Acts 10,11), Antioch (Acts 11), Galatia (Acts 13-14), Macedonia (Acts 16), Athens (Acts 17), Corinth (Acts 18), Ephesus (Acts 19), and many other places. They were all united as the one body of Christ who adhered to the doctrine of Christ (2 John 1:9-11).
1 Corinthians 4:15
Paul ------------ the word of God (the seed) --------------- Corinthians ------------------- Born again
A Christian --------- the word of God (the seed) ---------- A sinner today -------------- Born again
Second, consider the “restoration principle.” The Bible teaches that God pursues His creation who have become lost in sin by wanting to restore them in fellowship with Himself through the plan of redemption (Acts 3:19-21). God desires for us to be restored back to Him from where we turned away. There are many people who have perverted and twisted the Scriptures and who have turned away from the Scriptures for such a long time. The following is an abbreviated list of false doctrines that are taught when men refuse to follow the principle of restoration: limbo, the infallibility of the pope, purgatory, the faith-alone doctrine, the preacher is known as the pastor, infant sprinkling, baptism is pouring, mechanical instruments of music in worship, females placed in spiritual leadership roles over men, etc. The Old Testament was written for our instructions (Romans 15:4). There were men such as Josiah and Hezekiah who under the old covenant gave their heart and soul to bring themselves back to the Scriptures because the Lord authorized such (John 14:15). Any person in history who went back to what the Scriptures taught were restored back to being simply a faithful Christian. All who genuinely repent, confess and turn to God can be restored (Acts 8:20-24; Galatians 6:1-2; 1 John 1:9).
The church of Christ existed long before the Stone-Campbell movement.
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