“why serve among the Churches of Christ?”

This article was originally posted by Edward Fudge, who maintains a large blog/email list, and was reposted by Brian Mashburn, who I occasionally read. I found it to be an interesting article, and one I identified with in some ways. Emphasis added.

My home base is with the Churches of Christ because that is where God has placed me for now. If I ever sense that God is leading me to a different subdivision on the Christian map, I will not hesitate to move. The truth is that I am at home wherever believers worship God, proclaim Jesus Christ, teach the Bible, live in the Spirit and love each other. The spiritual address is irrelevant.

I also remain in this nondenominational movement of my youth because I have complete freedom of understanding and conscience. I have a congenial home congregation, the Bering Drive Church of Christ in Houston, Texas, in which I have served as a teacher and an elder since 1982. A new generation of Churches of Christ is coming on the scene: one focused on Jesus Christ rather than on a church system, that proclaims justification by grace through faith rather than salvation through human effort or doctrinal conformity, and that enjoys fellowship with other believers based on commitment to Jesus rather than on sectarian allegiance or denominational membership.

I also reside among the Churches of Christ because I appreciate their founding ideals. The 19th-century Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement from which it sprang began with the goal of uniting Christians under the leadership of King Jesus without regard to human traditions or creeds. Its founders’ vision was to be “Christians only, but not the only Christians.” It adopted the more ancient slogan, “In matters of faith, unity; in matters of opinion, liberty; in all things, charity.” It professed to “speak where the Bible speaks and to be silent where the Bible is silent.” It offered freedom of conscience to individuals and autonomy to congregations. I find these ideals to be biblical in origin, refreshing in theory and hospitable for daily living on the ground.

Not everyone in Churches of Christ enjoys the freedom of which I speak, or encouragement in their local fellowship, or healthy gospel preaching from the pulpit. I encourage them to work for such results as God gives opportunity. If the doors are slammed shut in their face, these individuals must sometimes leave the “home-folks,” as the Apostle Paul was required to do, and go where God is leading. When that happens, I confidently commend them to his tender care. I deeply regret that some among these churches have been brainwashed to believe that they have no other spiritual option. Those who are responsible for such nonsense will one day answer to God.

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