Church of Christ Doctrine
By Donnie Vick
Occasionally, members of the church will speak of “Church of Christ doctrine.” Those outside of the church may refer to what we teach as just a “Church of Christ interpretation.” Such uses of the term “Church of Christ” are not Scriptural. One will never find Paul or Peter or any other the New Testament writers referring to their teachings as “Church of Christ doctrine.”
This matters because Peter wrote, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Pet 4:11). Paul also told Timothy to “Hold fast the form of sound words…” (2 Tim 1:13). Therefore, we should be careful to use Scriptural designations as much as possible.
One will never find “Church of Christ” or “churches of Christ” used as an adjective in the New Testament. It is always a noun. Paul did not describe the church as the pillar and ground of “Church of Christ teaching.” He said that the church is the “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). The Bible speaks of truth and error, the gospel and a different gospel (Gal 1:6-9).
When one uses the expression “Church of Christ teaching” or similar expressions, one implies either knowingly or unknowingly that what the Lord’s church teaches is on the same level as what the Baptist or Catholic Church teaches. Nothing could be further from the truth. To learn of Baptist doctrine, one must read a Baptist manual. To learn Catholic doctrine, one must read from a Catholic catechism or other Catholic sources. However, the church of Christ has no creed but the Bible. Thus, when a Gospel preacher stands in the pulpit to declare the Word of Life, he does so not by teaching “Church of Christ doctrine” but by preaching the Gospel. Paul told the Corinthians that he had begotten them “through the Gospel” not “Church of Christ doctrine.” Only the Gospel is God’s power to save mankind (Rom 1:16). As brother Curtis Cates used to say when distinguishing the New Testament church from denominations, “That’s Gospel!”
Therefore, let us not “denominationalize” the Truth and give people the wrong impression by speaking of “Church of Christ doctrine.” We are not merely proclaiming our view of things or our interpretation, but as Paul told Festus, we “speak forth the words of truth and soberness” (Acts 26:25).