Weekly Bulletin Articles
I confess that I have been slightly disturbed over the years when I have heard those whom I considered great and good gospel preachers refer to “our historical roots” with the seeming implication that “we would not know what “we” really are or believe if we did not study and know about “our historical roots.”
In no way do I mean to disparage the giants of the “Restoration Movement.” I confess that I have read most everything I can find written or published by Alexander Campbell and others of that era. I am ready to confess also that I have read everything I can find by Guy Woods, Gus Nichols, Roy Deaver, Tom Warren and Garland Elkins. I owe a great deal to all of those, and many more. But the truth of the matter is that I was a Christian before I ever heart of ANY of them, and expect to remain such if they all turn out to be apostates.
I started reading the New Testament at the age of 7 and became a Christian after reading it carefully for about 4 years. I do not remember reading anything about Alexander Campbell for MANY years after that. This is simply to emphasize the fact that we in no
sense need to deny or disparage the greatness and worth of men who have gone before or are contemporaneous with us, nor to pretend that all our insights were gleaned ONLY from the study of the Bible. At the same time, we need to realize and emphasize that if Alexander Campbell, Guy Woods and Tom Warren had never lived, although the world would be a much poorer place, I would have been a Christian anyway by following the word of God.
The seed of the kingdom was and is the Word of God (Luke 8:11). If we are not rooted and grounded in love (Eph. 3:17) of that Word, it just does not matter what we or anyone else calls “our historical roots” or how similar those roots may be to some other persons “roots”.
A great and good man, now deceased wrote some tracts on “What the Church of Christ Believes.” In my judgment, all such does disservice to the Cause of Christ. Many times I have heard or used such expressions as: “The Churches of Christ have historically taught—.” The proper answer might be, “So what?” When we imply that the “Church of Christ Church” and the “Christian Church” are TWO churches with some common “historical roots,” and thus the doctrines and practices are equally relevant and valid because they have some common roots in “the Restoration Movement,” great damage is done.
The truth is that the very concept of a Christian Church and a “Christian Church preacher” teaching a “Christian Church doctrine” is unscriptural, sectarian and sinful. But it is no less true that the concept of a “Church of Christ Church” with a “ Church of Christ preacher” teaching “Church of Christ doctrines” is equally so. (To be continued next week)