I’m starting to feel a very weird sympathy for the Churches of Christ in America.

The anti-creedalism and extreme sola scripturalism of these churches very weirdly leads to positions which are quite close to my own. They believe in baptismal regeneration, aren’t as concerned with minute formulations of sola fide (I mentioned before that I think the Law-Gospel distinction to be more important than exact formulas on justification by faith alone) and they possess the extreme rationalism of Protestantism in identifying the work of the Holy Spirit with the inspired words of Scripture and that the Holy Spirit draws people to salvation and sanctification by means of the inspired word alone “in the same way any person moves another—by persuasion with words and ideas”. Echoes of Luther’s invectives against “enthusiasm” and any attempt at divorcing the Holy Spirit from the External Word. 

There is a very weird convergence between a Kerygmatic emphasis, rationalism, and fundyism… Of course, I also admire their Reformed rationalistic simplicity and insistence upon a capella and all that.

3 thought on “On the Churches of Christ”
  1. I feel similarly — especially after attending Edward Fudge’s church. The “moderate” CoC is certainly attractive. (Oddly, although they had no instruments, they did play an instrumental piece at one point.) It was a liturgically beautiful service.

    On the other hand, the mainline seems to be more than a little legalistic, even extending into sectarianism (that is, have no fellowship with anyone outside of our denominational group, and even declare that everyone outside of their group is unsaved).

    Fudge’s first interview on the Theopologetics podcast explains the problem well; and the movie “Hell and Mr. Fudge” is, plotwise, largely about Edward’s work in reforming that church (his study on hell provides most of the theological content, but the drama is all about his work on his church’s sectarianism).

    Good movie, worth watching.

    1. Thanks, can you direct me to a sample of the CoC “liturgically beautiful service”?

      Haha, one of the appeals for me about CoC is its low churchism, it would be ironic for CoC’s low churchism to merely replace the Vatican with the local church in their sectarianism.

  2. Sorry, I don’t know of a source for that — and note that most churches don’t record their liturgy (Douglas Wilson’s church records some of theirs, but they clip out the Lord’s Supper specifically).

    However, it was a familiar liturgy to me — the intent clearly was to simply speak the ancient words. Here’s another http://www.crcna.org/resources/church-resources/liturgical-forms-resources/lords-supper/lords-supper-1994.

    I was also glad to note that they observe the Lord’s Supper every service — it’s absurd how rare the Lord’s Supper is in some places.

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