What Is Your Faith-Heritage?

Among our brethren today you hear people talking about our “faith?heritage,” or being a part of the “Stone?Campbell movement.” What is all this about? Upon first reading, one might think this is just some convoluted way of referencing the American Restoration movement. An unsuspecting Christian might even find himself using these terms interchangeably when referring to the Restoration movement. In reality, these terms and others like them are code words used by men who believe and teach that the church of Christ is just another denomination. One such man who espouses this belief says, “I am not a ‘Church of Christer,’ I am a member of the ONE CHURCH of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, I claim the churches of Christ as my faith-heritage and currently work and worship within this group. But, this group is only a part of the whole. My citizenship is not restricted to any one part of the whole, but encompasses it all.”
Make no mistake, when these men use the phrase “my faith?heritage” it is simply code for denomination; the same is true for the phrase “Stone-Campbell movement” when used in this context. Those who wish to see the church of Christ acknowledged as a denomination are distancing themselves from the doctrines of the church while clinging to its members all at the same time.
One who studies their Bible should know that it is not our choice what church we are a part of when we become a Christian. After hearing the first gospel sermon preached, the people asked the apostles what they needed to do in response.

“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off -? for all whom the Lord our God will call.’ With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day” (Acts 2:38-41 NIV).

This same process is still taking place today! When penitent sinners come before God in obedient faith and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins, Christ adds them to his church. Therefore, if you have been baptized for the forgiveness of sins then you are a member of the church of Christ, not a “faith-heritage,” not a “movement,” you are part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).
The church was built not with Thomas or Alexander Campbell as the cornerstone, not with Barton W. Stone’s blood. The church was “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:20-22).
I thank God for the work of men like Alexander and Thomas Campbell and Barton W. Stone who devoted their lives to the gospel of Christ and started the great restoration in America. These men deserve to be remembered in the history classes of our universities. However, I don’t believe that these men would be pleased to find their names being attached to a “movement” or “faith?heritage.”
Jesus’ prayer for all believers was that we would be unified, and not just for the sake of unity but unified around the truth. “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” (John 17:17-21).
If there is a “faith?heritage” left to us by the “Stone?Campbell movement,” let it be unity around the truth.

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Mitchell Skelton

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4 thoughts on “What Is Your Faith-Heritage?

  1. Brother Skelton,
    Your are exactly on target. The restoration plea these men and many others contemporary to them and after them held to was not a man-made creed but rather an appeal to do away with these and return to the pure, plain, and simple fountainhead of truth; the word of God as our only guide. The history of these men properly understood will reveal that they held to an anti-denominational attitude. Our heritage is Christ and him crucified. His blood washing away our sins in the watery grave of baptism. After the Apostles, all that is written is the fallible word and commentary of man. Let us never pretend or presume to improve on God’s design. Keep up the great work!!!
    Brotherly,
    Gary

  2. Gary,
    Thanks for your kind comments. You are exactly right, if people would remember that the Restoration was more a “plea” than a “movement.” Our only creed is Christ. What will be God’s judgement of us if we cannot be unified around the gospel his Son died for and he so aptly has preserved for us even to this day?

  3. Mitchell Skelton,
    The answer to your question of “What Is Your Faith-Heritage?” is the “Church of Christ denomination (faith-heritage) of the Stone Campbell American UNITY Movement” and I’m also a member of the “church of Christ of the New Testament”. Therefor I am a “Church of Christer” and a “Christian”. I have followed the example of the Bereans (Acts 17:11) and I have come to the conclusion you are not speaking as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11)
    You and they are talking about two different things. You are talking about the “church of Christ of the New Testament”. They are talking about the “Church of Christ denomination (faith-heritage) of the Stone Campbell American Unity Movement” which is two different things. They are not talking about the church of Christ of the New Testament. They are not saying that the “Church of Christ denomination (faith-heritage) of the Stone Campbell American Unity Movement” is not a “church of Christ of the New Testament”.
    This time, let’s “rightly divide the Word of Truth so we are not ashamed” (2 Tim 2:15) of the scripture that you listed. It is now time to do a proper exegesis of the scripture that you listed.
    “Peter said to them, “Change your hearts and lives and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Then God will forgive your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
    This promise is for you. It is also for your children and for the people that are far away. It is for every person that the Lord our God calls to himself.” (Acts 2:39)
    Peter warned them with many other words; he begged them, “Save yourselves from the evil of the people that live now!” (Acts 2:40)
    Then those people who accepted (believed) what Peter said were baptized. On that day about 3,000 people were added to the group of believers. (Acts 2:41)”
    When it talks about the “group of believers”, it is talking about the “church of Christ of the New Testament”. They are not talking about the “group of believers” (church of Christ of the New Testament). They are talking about the “Church of Christ denomination (faith-heritage) of the Stone Campbell American Unity Movement”.
    It is not our choice if we are added to the “church of Christ of the New Testament” but it is our choice what denomination (faith-heritage) we join. It does not matter if you are attending a “Church of Christ denomination (faith-heritage) of the Stone Campbell American Unity Movement” church or not, If you do what is listed in Acts 2:38-41 (Walter Scott’s Five Finger Exercise), you then become a member of the “church of Christ of the New Testament”. You might not be a member of the “Church of Christ denomination (faith-heritage) of the Stone Campbell American Unity Movement” but you would be a member of the “church of Christ of the New Testament”. Remember what Jesus said in John 14:2 “In my father’s house are many mansions”. In other words, what Jesus is saying is that in the “church of Christ of the New Testament” are many denominations (faith-heritages). “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in EARTH, as it is in HEAVEN. (Matthew 6:10)”Remember the three major biblical hermeneutic principles, 1. Context 2. Context and 3. Context. Prooftext without context is pretext.
    In Acts 2:38, do you have to know what is the “gift of the Holy Spirit” is before you receive it? Do you have to know that baptism is for the remission of sins before baptism is valid? I am not talking about the baptism of John, I am talking about the baptism of Jesus. Have you ever heard, nowadays, of people being baptized with the baptism of John?
    “All of you together are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of that body.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
    “In my father’s house are many mansions”. (John 14:2)
    Here is another biblical hermeneutic principle. Let scripture interpret scripture. By the way, Alexander Campbell understood this principle very good. Latter on in his life, he came to the conclusion that the denomination (faith-heritage) that he was in was in fact another denomination (faith-heritage). 1 Corinthians 12:27 backs up what John 14:2 is saying perfectly. This is a perfect example of God not being the Arthur of confusion (1 Corinthians 1:27). What 1 Corinthians 12:27 is saying is that all denominations (faith-heritages) are the “church of Christ of the New Testament. Each denomination (faith-heritage) is part of the “church of Christ of the New Testament” (the only kind of brother we have is a brother in error) which fits in perfectly what John 14:2 is saying. As a matter of fact, Romans 12:3-8 (many gifts, one body), Ephesians 2:20-22 and Romans 14 fits in perfectly what John 14:2 and 1 Corinthians 1:27 is saying. The “church of Christ of the New Testament” was built on the cornerstone of Christ but the “Church of Christ denomination (faith-heritage) of the Stone Campbell American Unity Movement” was built on the cornerstone of Stone Campbell. That is where words Stone Campbell come in the title “the “Church of Christ denomination (faith-heritage) of the STONE CAMPBELL American Unity Movement”
    “You believers are like a building that God owns. That building was built on the foundation that the apostles and prophets prepared. Christ himself is the most important stone in that building. (Ephesians 2:20)
    That whole building is joined together in Christ. And Christ makes it grow and become a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:21)
    And in Christ you people are being built together with the other people (the Jews). You are being made into a place where God lives through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)”
    Ephesians 2:20-22 interprets the other scriptures that we have looked at perfectly. For those who love the truth, this is so very clear to see (2 Thess 2:10-11) what the Bible is saying. The denominations (faith-heritages) was built on the “church of Christ of the New Testament” with Christ himself is the most important stone. We all are one in Christ. Where every God has a son, we have a brother in Christ. He might be a Jew, but he is still a brother in Christ. You do not have to be my twin to be my brother in Christ or to be part of the “church of Christ of the New Testament” (Romans 14).
    Another important fact that we need to look at is in Ephesians 2:22 which relates to Acts 2:38 is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit that Acts 2:38 is talking about is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of which Ephesians 2:22 is talking about. Let scripture interpret scripture. One part of scripture does not negate another part of scripture. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 1:27)
    “I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire. All the people who had won the victory over the animal and his idol and over the number of his name were standing by the sea. These people had HARPS that God had given them. They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: “Great and wonderful are the things you do, Lord God All-Powerful. Right and true are your ways, Ruler of the nations. (Revelation 15:2-3)
    And I heard a sound from heaven like the noise of flooding water and like the sound of loud thunder. The sound I heard was like people playing their HARPS.
    The people sang a new song before the throne and before the four living things and the elders. The only people that could learn the new song were the 144,000 who had been redeemed (saved) from the earth. No one else could learn the song. (Revelation 14:2-3)
    After the Lamb took the scroll, the four living things and the 24 elders bowed down before the Lamb. Each one of them had a HARP. Also they were holding golden bowls full of incense. These bowls of incense are the prayers of God’s holy people. (Revelation 5:8)
    Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in EARTH, as it is in HEAVEN. (Matthew 6:10)”
    “Make them ready for your service through your truth. Your teaching is truth. (John 17:17)
    I have sent them into the world, the same as you sent me into the world. (John 17:18)
    I am making myself ready to serve. I do this for them, so that they can truly be ready for your service. (John 17:19)
    “I pray for these men. But I am also praying for all people that will believe in me because of the teaching of these men. (John 17:20)
    Father, I pray that all people that believe in me can be one. You are in me and I am in you. I pray that these people can also be one in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. (John 17:21”)
    In John 17:20, Jesus is praying for all Christian denominations (faith-heritages). Jesus is praying for all people, not just those in the “Church of Christ denomination (faith-heritage) of the Stone Campbell American Unity Movement”, but for all people (Ephesians 2:22). Unity is around truth. Christ is truth (John17:17) so unity is around Christ (Ephesians 2:20, 1 Corinthians 12:27, Acts 2:39, )
    To summarize and to tie the scriptures that you listed together, let’s add them all up together using the “Easy to Read” Version.
    “Peter said to them, “Change your hearts and lives and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Then God will forgive your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you. It is also for your children and for the people that are far away. It is for every person that the Lord our God calls to himself.” Peter warned them with many other words; he begged them, “Save yourselves from the evil of the people that live now!” Then those people who accepted (believed) what Peter said were baptized. On that day about 3,000 people were added to the group of believers. All of you together are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of that body. You believers are like a building that God owns. That building was built on the foundation that the apostles and prophets prepared. Christ himself is the most important stone in that building. That whole building is joined together in Christ. And Christ makes it grow and become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Christ you people are being built together with the other people (the Jews). You are being made into a place where God lives through the Spirit. Make them ready for your service through your truth. Your teaching is truth. I have sent them into the world, the same as you sent me into the world. I am making myself ready to serve. I do this for them, so that they can truly be ready for your service. “I pray for these men. But I am also praying for all people that will believe in me because of the teaching of these men. Father, I pray that all people that believe in me can be one. You are in me and I am in you. I pray that these people can also be one in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me.” (Acts 2:38-41, 1 Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 2:20-22 & John 17:17-21)
    Putting the above in today’s terminology, basically what this is saying is that the ““Church of Christ denomination (faith-heritage) of the Stone Campbell American Unity Movement” and all other Christian denominations (faith-heritages) members who follow Acts 2:38-41 are in “the church of Christ of the New Testament”. All people, regardless of the denomination (faith-heritage), who follow Acts 2:38-41 are in “the church of Christ of the New Testament”, the one true church.
    So, when one such man who said “I am a member of the ONE CHURCH of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, I claim the churches of Christ as my faith-heritage and currently work and worship within this group. But, this group is only a part of the whole. My citizenship is not restricted to any one part of the whole, but encompasses it all.” He is exactly right, biblically. This man is speaking as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11)
    However, Matthew 7:21-23 does tell us that not all who are in the “Church of Christ denomination (faith-heritage) of the Stone Campbell American Unity Movement” and all other Christian denominations (faith-heritages) will be saved. Not all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. “You do not have to be my twin to be my brother” is true (Romans 14 & Romans 15:7) up to a point but we cannot call all who call upon the name of the Lord our brother in Christ. Not all who are members of the “Church of Christ denomination (faith-heritage) of the Stone Campbell American Unity Movement” and the other denominations (faith-heritages) are members of the “church of Christ of the New Testament”. So, the denomination (faith-heritage) of which you are a member have nothing to do if you are a member of the “church of Christ of the New Testament” or not (Acts 2:28-41).
    God is not the author of confusion or is he? (1 Corinthians 14:33, Genesis 11:7-9 & 1 Corinthians 1:27)
    I dialogue with the open-minded snatching them out of the fire (Jude 1:23) and I do no waste my time debating the close-minded (1 Timothy 6:20, 2 Timothy 2:16, 2 Timothy 2:23, Titus 3:9, Titus 3:9, Matthew 7:6)
    2 Timothy 2:15
    “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING the word of truth.”
    James 3:1
    My brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers. Why? Because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly than other people.
    Iron Sharpens Iron (Proverbs 27:17),
    Tom Shiflett
    PS. I have no idea if anybody is going to read this sense Mitchell Skelton wrote this 2 years ago.
    Posted on 4-25-07
    “If you haven’t left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear”
    Why is that?

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