We are a group who believe in the truth of Jesus Christ. The Bible, as God’s holy, inspired Word, is our only guide to establishing and maintaining the good works that He has in His plan for us. We know that the only way to have a relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ, is to read and follow his teachings (John 14:15-18). If we follow Christ’s example and live faithfully, then we are promised forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
The church of Christ is a different kind of church. How is it different? It is different in that it does not honor people or things, but Christ. It does not honor a group of men such as the elders or presbyters. It does not honor a man such as John the Baptist, or a “church ordinance”. By its description (or as some call it, its name) it honors Jesus Christ. Its members are simply called Christians, not hyphenated Christians (denomination A or denomination B Christians).
It is different in its organization. It does not have an earthly headquarters that speaks for the churches of Christ as a whole. It is autonomous (each congregation rules itself under the headship of Jesus) as the Bible says it should. In Acts 20:28 Paul is speaking to the elders from Ephesus and tells them to feed the flock (the church at Ephesus) among which the Holy Spirit made them overseers. The elders were not overseers of all the congregations of the church, just the one in Ephesus. In Acts 14:23 we find that Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in every church within a city. In Philippians we see that the church had deacons as well (Philippians 1:1). The qualifications for elders (bishops, overseers, pastors or shepherds—they all refer to the same group of men) are given in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. In Acts 20:17 Paul called for the elders (who were called overseers [episkopos (Greek) or overseers (English), poimen (Greek) or pastor (English)]. Notice, one of the qualifications of a bishop in the first century was to be the husband of one wife; therefore women cannot be bishops or elders.
It is different in that it does not combine Old Testament and New Testament teachings. Many churches try to bring the Old Testament into their practices (worship on the Sabbath or instrumental music). A careful reading of Deuteronomy 5 tells us that the Law of Moses, including the 10 Commandments was for the Jews only. Notice verses 4-5, God made His covenant with the people who were with Moses on Mt. Horeb. The Law of Moses was not made with their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. They were to teach their children, who would be Jewish as well. The Old Testament was never binding on Gentiles. (Romans 15:4 and 1 Corinthians 10:6 tell us that we can learn lessons from the Old Testament, but we are not bound by it.) That does not mean that we have the right to murder, bear false witness against someone, etc. Those things are forbidden in the New Testament as well.
The church of Christ is different in its worship. It observes the Lord’s Supper on the first day of every week (Acts 20:7 is an approved example). It gives money into the church treasury the first day of every week (1 Corinthians 16:1-2) as is commanded. It does not use instrumental music because there is no authorization to do so (Romans 15:9; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Colossians 3:17; Hebrews 12:2; James 5:13 talk about singing, but not singing and playing). Some noted denominational people opposed instrumental music: Adam Clarke (Methodist), John Calvin (founder of the Presbyterian Church) and Charles Spurgeon (noted Baptist preacher) are just a few examples. Instrumental music is an addition to the worship of God.
The church of Christ is different in how one becomes a member: the Lord added to the church (Acts 2:47) those who were being saved. People were not “voted in”. We are saved by grace through faith. We are not saved by “faith only”. The only place in the Bible where the phrase “faith only “occurs is James 2:24. There it says we are not saved by faith only. We need to, not only believe, but to repent (Acts 2:38); confess Jesus (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:10) and be baptized. In every example of conversion in the book of Acts people were baptized—Acts 2:41; 8:12-13; 9:18 (22:16); 16:31-34; 18:8; 19:1-5 (a case of people being “re-baptized” because their first baptism was not valid).
Don’t you want to belong to a different church, like the people of the first century did?