by Stan Mitchell
Several have asked me about why I preach for the church of Christ. Why am I a member of this fellowship? Here are the reasons, offered in kindness, yet plainly.
I am not a member of the church of Christ because I think we are right or shall always be right in God’s sight. I am not a member of the church of Christ because I think we are somehow infallible and have a perfect understanding of truth. Our God is perfect; we are not. His word is inspired; the church is not.
I am not a member of the church of Christ because I feel every other fellowship is wrong in every one of their teachings or practices. There is much to admire in many other churches.
We go to the Bible and the Bible alone. We have the very highest respect for its authority, its God-based pronouncements. In a changing world, we look to a word that does not change.
We honor Jesus Christ as God’s son and head of the church (Colossians 1:18). Each congregation is led and shepherded by elders, and served by deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13). Our messages and classes refer reverently and frequently to scripture as guide, doctrine, and spiritual nourishment (2 Peter 1:21). We believe that, in history’s greatest act of mercy, Jesus Christ died on a cross for all nations, was buried, and on the third day raised to life (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). We partake of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week (Acts 20:6,7). Our worship in song is a cappella (Ephesians 5:19). We believe in believer’s baptism for the forgiveness of sins (1 Peter 3:21).
In a nutshell, the genius of churches of Christ is their absolute reliance on the authority of scripture. We have at times been accused of arrogance, of behaving as if only we are “right.” May I put it this way? To presume to “speak for God” drawing from a source other than Scripture, now that is an act of arrogance! How could we possibly know what God would and wouldn’t require, unless we drew it from Scripture? To seek Scripture for what God has said is an act of humility. If our emphasis is on the Bible alone, then though we might be wrong for a time, we cannot be wrong for long; God’s word would see to that!
Scripture is a sort of self-correcting mechanism, helping us not to veer too far on the side of grace without law, or law without grace, obedience without faith, or faith without obedience. Churches of Christ do the best job of appealing to Scripture of any fellowship I have seen. I am not a member of this fellowship because it is perfect. If it was, I would not readily fit. I preach for it because it follows a perfect pattern, the one found in Scripture.