What is the church of Christ? Clearly most don’t know the answer to this question. If they did, there would not be such a word as denominationalism. If they did, there would not be the doctrines and commandments of men. First of all, the church which Christ built is not an ever changing, or ever evolving church. No! The church which Christ bled and died for is the same yesterday, today, and forever, even as Himself (Heb 13:8). The Word which the church of Christ teaches is not designed to change, but rather it is designed to change all who obey it.
The Church of Christ was not established by a prophet, a prophetess, or a pope. The church of Christ is the church which Christ paid for with his own blood (Acts 20:28). Jesus built the church, he is the head of it, and is its only Savior (Mt 16:18 ff; Col 1:18 ; Eph 5:23). These facts alone separates the church of Christ from all other churches. However, this alone is not all that differentiates the church of Christ from all denominations.
In order to become a member of the Lord’s church one must obey the unadulterated gospel of Christ. What is the gospel of Christ? It is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:1-4). All who believe that Jesus is the Christ and confesses such with their mouth (Rom 10:9,10); And all who repent of their sins and have them washed away by water baptism are added to the Lord’s church by Jesus Christ himself (Acts 2:38 ff; Ac22:16; Acts 2:47). This is what places a person in a saved condition, but this alone doesn’t save someone.
Once a person is added to the Lord’s church by their obedience to the gospel of Christ, they must worship God in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:23,24). This means that they must assemble with fellow saints each first day of the week to remember the Lord’s death by partaking of the Lord’s supper and giving of their means (Acts 20:7 ff; 1 Cor 11:24-26; 1 Cor 16:1,2). They must sing and make melody in their heart to the Lord (not with instruments of music) (Eph 5:19 f; Col 3:16). They must sing and pray with the spirit and understanding also (1 Cor 14:15). They must hear the kind of preaching that reproves, rebukes, and exhorts, in and out of season (2 Tim 4:2-5). They must attend a church of Christ which doesn’t add to or take from God’s Word (1 Cor 4:6 ff; 1 Pet 4:11; Rev 22:18,19). The must attend a church of Christ which prohibit women speakers or from taking leadership roles, but encourages faithful men to become teachers, elders, and deacons. (2 Tim 2:2 f; 1 Tim 3:1-13).
Christians must attend a church of Christ which abides not by the commandments and doctrines of men which turn men from the truth, but rather abide by the doctrine and traditions of Christ and his apostles (Mt 15:7-9 ff; Tit 1:14; 2 Jn 9; Acts 2:42; 2 Thess 2:15). All faithful Christians must endure trials and persecutions, and temptations (2 Tim 3:12 f; 1 Pet 4:12,16) . If they overcome these, then, and only then shall a person gain an everlasting crown of life (Jam 1:12 f; Rev 2:10).
The churches of Christ which abide by the gospel and doctrine of Christ are the pillar and ground of the truth and the manifold wisdom of God (1 Tim 3:14 f; Eph 3:10). Their source of the truth does not come by the will of man but by the revelation of the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:21). The Spirit revealed the Word of God to the apostles as He received it from God the Father (Jn 14:26). Jesus himself spake nothing on his own, but spoke only what God commanded him to speak (Jn 12:49,50). The doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of the apostles, the doctrine revealed by the Holy Spirit, was the doctrine of God the Father (Jn 7:16,17).
All faithful Churches of Christ follow four basic principles which are the foundation of all truth. One, they believe that all scripture came by the inspiration of God (2 Tim 3:16,17). Secondly, they do not go beyond that which was written, but speak the very words of God (1 Cor 4:6 f; 1 Pet 4:11). Thirdly, they prove all things by the scripture, and are ready to give an answer to every man by studying God’s Word (1 Thess 5:21 ff; 1 Pet 3:15; 2 Tim 2:15). Lastly, they believe that Jesus nailed the old covenant, including the 10 commandments, to his cross (Col 2:14 f; Eph 2:14-16). Therefore, all Christians are under the law of Christ and not the law of Moses. If there be any thing else which best describes what the churches of Christ teach it is this “And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col 3:17).
What is the church of Christ? The church of Christ is headed by Christ, bears His name, obeys His gospel, and abides by His doctrine. There is no other church on this planet which can make accurate claims such as these, but the church of Christ.