Man-Made Doctrines in the Hard-Line Church of Christ

This came from a discussion going on elsewhere, but I thought they brought up great points.  Typically, the hard-liners claim that denominations are wrong because they use man-made doctrines.  But, what doctrines do the hard-liners follow that are manmade – personal interpretations?  This is a list that several commenters came up with:

1. the Bible commands us to take the Lord’s Supper every Sunday morning. Those who do not do so are not following the Lord’s command
2. It is a sin to drink alcohol
3. “Church of Christ” is the best name for the church
4. The “Church of Christ” of today existed before the American Restoration movement
5. It is a sin to dance
6. If a divorced person is remarried, and the prior marriage ended for a reason other than sexual sin, he must divorce his current wife to be allowed in the Church – God hates divorce, so we must create two divorces
7. all other denominations are wrong in their interpretion of the Bible
8. It is wrong to have a choir in worship service
9. It is wrong to use instruments in a worship service
10. one must have mental awareness that they are being baptized for their remission of sins at the time of baptism 
11. baptism is by emersion only
12. it is wrong to use congregational money to support orphan’s homes and CoC colleges (this does not apply to all CoCs)
13. the COC is not a denomination
14. all first century churches were identical in form and practice
15. God commands us to conform to the 1st century church
16. They were talking about grape juice in the bible not literal alcoholic wine.
17. It is sinful to clap during singing.
18. Women can not stand at the table to pass out the Lords Supper but they can do it sitting down passing it left to right.
19. There is absolutely nothing about the bread or fruit of the vine being placed on a table in front of the auditorium (sanctuary)(Nothing wrong with it, buts its a man-made tradition.)
20. There legally is a certain pattern to follow in worship.
21. The thief on the cross did not have to be baptized because he was under the Old Convenant.
22. You can only be called a preacher, a minister or an evangelist. Calling a preacher a pastor or a reverend is WRONG!
23. God allows songbooks and song leaders as necessary expedients, even though they are not authorized by scriptures. 
24. Attempting to authorize the use of musical instruments by quoting Old Testament scripture is wrong because we are not under the old law. However, the Lord’s doctrine of silence is clearly illustrated in the Old Testament stories of Noah, Nadab and Abihu, and Uzzah to disprove instrument worship!
25. The New Testament is littered with 1st century churches using spiritual gifts. These gifts have gone away. Anyone that views this differently is either dishonest or mislead.
26. Baptists believe you can do whatever you please due to the once saved always saved doctrine.

Thanks to DMH and JPManzi for giving this list over at topix.

Anyone have any other ideas for the list, or responses to them?  I’ll even allow Shawn to post his responses, if he agrees to adhere to the blog standards, which he knows well.

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13 thoughts on “Man-Made Doctrines in the Hard-Line Church of Christ

  1. Great article and statements. I would like Eric to come on here and address some of these.

  2. A comment on number 26. A lie that has been cast on Baptist for years by those who have a disdain for Baptists. You will not find such a belief or statement or doctrine in Baptist teachings. Find it in the Baptist Faith and Doctrine Statement and show it to me.

  3. The lie I refer to is the statement that Baptist believe that they can do what ever they please.

  4. Shawn is an interesting guy, he pushes my patience with his bullying and treats my fellow compadres with such disrespect.

    Sure is fun though!

  5. Number 11, “immersion” is spelled incorrectly, lol. Another one I was taught was that it is a sin to dance.

  6. I am kind of split on Shawn. On one hand he is good for hours of entertainment. Watching him dodge questions is hilarious. One the other hand, the idea that some people might take him seriously is scary.

    Number 26 is a long standing bashing tool against Baptists. Baptists and CoC are natural rivals in both geographic location and similar outward appearance and practices. Naturally, the hardline CoCs must distinguish themselves from them.

  7. I am not split on Shawn-that is for sure-he is a spiritual bully, but he has definitely not been able to stand under his own doctrine. I don’t think he has any clue how ignorant and self-righteous he looks, or if he would even care. I sure hope no one takes him seriously-that is incredible scary!

    I love number 18-as a woman in ministry in the CofC (I know! *gasp*) I have never had anyone actually tell me how this is wrong-they only get flustered. 24 cracks me up, too-I get so incredibly tired of the Nadab and Abihu argument for this, and obviously there is no consistency with the OT/NT switching. I don’t believe most people really understand how illogical many of the “doctrines” are.

    I typically love being a part of the CofC, I love my heritage and many of the people in it-but then people like Mr. Paden come about, and try to screw that up-and that makes me sad. I feel for now that I have been called to stay in it and keep forging ahead.

    Blessings~

  8. At least for me, i have no problem with women in any part of a ministry. Sometimes it would be nice to have a womens point of view. The way i see the headship role is within marriage. I see nothing in the OT that states man is above a woman. Anything close that people could use is in Genesis and that is towards a wife to her husband and not in general relationship. My 2 cents for now.

  9. I’m about as conservative as one can get without being apart the divisive minority who are also referred to as non-institutional. I will answer these as would the expected response from the dozens of preachers and professors of the Universities would.

    1. They would say every Sunday and not Sunday morning (Acts 20:7). (Every congregation that I know of has the Lord’s Supper in the evening assembly for those who could not meet that morning.)
    2. It sure does sound like that and there are a few that would say that but most discourage the use while strongly teaching that drinking parties and drunkenness are the sins of drinking (1 Pet. 4:3, Gal. 5:21). Throw in drug use as well in Gal. 5:20 for “sorcery” is the Greek word “pharmakeia”.
    3. “Church of Christ” is the best name for the Church among many others, but in our opinion, it is the best in being the simplest representation of a congregation of Christ. Every preacher and teacher that I know would heartily agree upon using any Scriptural name.
    4. That’s right. It is a proven fact.
    5. No. This is not true. With exception of one or two backwoods preachers, we do not believe that it is a sin to dance, but it is to dance sensually, which is the most common form of dancing. [This may have been different among some brothers 50 years ago.]
    6. No. The second marriage is adulterous, so one must stop sinning. God hates adultery too. Read Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9, “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for sexual immorality, and shall marry another, commits adultery: and he that marries her when she is put away commits adultery.” Romans 7:3, “So then if, while the man [husband] lives, she be joined to another man [husband], she shall be called an adulteress: but if the husband die, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be joined to another man.”
    7. We do believe that most sects err in some area resulting from interpretation otherwise those sects would not exist differing among themselves. We believe that is the result of their blind teachers. We find agreeing interpretations among those who accept the inspiration of Scripture. The usually points of disagreement are 2 Tim. 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21, and especially 1 Cor. 4:6.
    8. We do believe that special singing groups separate from the congregation are not only not Scriptural but un-Scriptural since the Church is to sing with one mouth and with one accord (Rom. 15:6), and we believe that all should worship without proxy-worship.
    9. Yes and no. This is regarding musical instruments during singing. We believe that the specifics of music being singing and using the fruits of our lips excludes other forms of music as being pleasing to God. This was true of all the denominations, excluding the Catholic church, 200 years ago who all opposed the use including Spurgeon (Commentary on Psalms 42:4), Fuller (Complete works of Andre Fuller, Vol 3, P. 520, 1843), Wesley (quoted in Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 685), Calvin (Commentary on Psalms 33), and The Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (Questions on the Confession of Faith and Form of Government of The Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, published by the Presbyterian Board of Publications, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1842, pg. 55). This is still true of Greek Orthodox, some Primitive Baptists, and some Pentecostals. We find such exclusions like to that of the God-given spiritual gift of tongue-speaking being done incorrectly in 1 Cor. 14. We believe that there is nothing more beautiful and desired by God than the music of our lips as opposed machines.
    10. Yes. This is true based on Acts 2:38.
    11. Yes. Baptism comes from “baptizo” in the New Testament Greek meaning immersion. Baptism took going down into the water (Acts 8:38). Baptism is described as a burial (Rom. 6:4, Col. 2:12).
    12. This is not true of most churches. This is true of a small minority who have divided into more than 15 different directions as a result of their non-Scriptural hermeneutics.
    13. The churches of Christ strive to be the Church of Jesus Christ. Since division is condemned (Gal. 5:20, 1 Cor. 1:10), which is the definition of denomination (look up also “denominate”, “denominator”), we refuse to be a denomination.
    14. Yes. We believe this in as much as they kept the commands of God. This was not always the case like with the Corinthians (1 Cor.).
    15. No. This is not necessarily true. We try not to conform to the sins of the 1st century church. We do strive to conform the Church of the New Testament that Christ died for.
    16. The Greek word is “oinos” which is grape juice, which if it were fermented then it maybe at the most 5% alcoholic, but the Scriptures usual present that the grape juice is fermented if it is true.
    17. All body percussion is excluded since God desires only the fruit of our lips (Heb. 13:15). This is the same principle as with musical instruments during singing.
    18. No. This is not true. The churches in Africa do the reverse. The women stand and pass as not to have dominion over men (1 Tim. 2:12). This is recognized by most if not all as a cultural interpretation in obedience to God commands.
    19. I don’t what you were trying to say by this one. We recognize 1 Cor. 10:21 as presenting the use of a table.
    20. Yes and no. It seems as though you’re labeling the Assembly as solely “worship” as though prayer outside of assembly is not worship. There is a pattern for worship and the Assembly. God has given us commands concerning both like 1 Cor. 14:40, which teaches that the Assembly is to be done decently and orderly. Other legal stipulations are clearly made by the Spirit in 1 Cor. 14. We love God so we keep His commands (John 14:21, 23, 1 John 5:3, 2 John 6).
    21. Yes and he may have been baptized by John or the Apostles. Also, this was before the baptism in the Lord’s name, which was established after Christ was resurrected (Matt. 28:19, Mark 16:16). The thief on the cross lived before immersion in Christ’s name was into the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38) when Christ washes away our sins (Eph. 5:26).
    22. This is very true as the Scriptures present that elders are to pastor (Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:1-4). These are the pastors of Eph. 4:11. Pastors are a separate office from preacher though pastor could be a preacher, a preacher cannot always meet the qualifications of a pastor (1 Tim. 3, Titus 1). Reverend is opposed as the glorification of a teacher (Matt. 23:8-10).
    23. Yes. Good point. Authorization is needed concerning something that God has already commanded. For example, the Bible presents that elders are to shepherd congregations, and there is no mention of a hierarchy of presidents, higher bishops, archbishops, and/or popes, so these are not authorized. First Corinthians 4:6 teaches that we are not to go beyond what is written. What is written about songbooks and song leaders? Nothing, so you cannot go beyond it.
    24. The “doctrine of silence” as you call it is given in the OT and the NT (Gal. 1:6-12, 1 Cor. 4:6, Gal. 3:15, 2 John 9, and so on). The OT is used to make the same point by the NT in Heb. 7:14. It should be emphasized that specifics excluded concerning those things for which the Bible is silent. Lastly, instrumental music for worship is not commanded against in the NT, but neither is polygamy. Instrumental music for worship is in the OT, but so is polygamy. Why is polygamy wrong? Because it is excluded by the specifics of God’s ideal for marriage in the NT (Matt. 19:4-6, Eph. 5:31, Gen. 2:24). What the specifics of God’s ideal for music in the NT?
    25. Yes, we believe this that all revelation from God was revealed to the Apostles and prophets in the first century (Heb. 1:1-2, Eph. 3:5, Jude 1:3), and the Scriptures present the complete revelation (2 Tim. 3:16-17, 1 Tim. 5:18-Luke 10:7). The purpose of spiritual gifts was to confirm the messenger and his revelation from God (Heb. 2:3-4, John 20:30-31, Mark 16:17-18). Add to this many other points like the Apostles being the only ones able to pass on spiritual gifts (Acts 8:14-18, 19:6) and that there is only one baptism (Eph. 4:5) in water (Eph. 5:26), then the baptism of the Holy Spirit has ceased while only recorded to have happened twice. This leaves no way to Scripturally pass on these gifts. These gifts were predicted to cease (1 Cor. 13:8-12, Dan. 9:24).
    26. No. We believe that the Baptists are very confused being led astray by erring points of Calvinism. We do point out that if one cannot fall away then the logical conclusion is that you can do whatever and not fall from grace though Baptists would say that those who “fall away” did not truly fall away since they were not truly saved in the first place.

    Now, where are the man-made doctrines?

  10. Wow! I grew up in what must have been that Church of Christ. I am still a member of the Church of Christ but my views and the views of my church have matured. Its fun to bash other churches, isn’t it? Would Christ approve? It seems every denomination bashes the other like Dallas Cowboy’s fans bash the Redskins. We are Christ’s brothers and God’s sons so do we have to fight like Cain and Able?

    When I was young my Youth Minister told me that because my grandmother was Methodist I should convert her or give up on her. Would Christ condone that?

    Several years ago a Baptist friend whom I love dearly told me he couldn’t associate with me anymore because I am a member of the COC and his wife told him I only believe COC members will go to heaven. First, I don’t believe that. Second, did Christ die for that?

    Churches of Christ are all independant and while some core traditions exists its beginning to be hard to find two congrations alike in the beliefs and worhsip styles…except some “hard cores”. I think there are still “hard cores” of every denomination, isn’t there?

    Fact is, every denomination ( Yes, COC is one like it or not) can back their doctrines and beliefs with scripture. Sometimes scripure from one part of the bible seems to contridict other scripture. Nobody’s out their flying by the seat of their pants.

    Christians have a bigger challange than fighting among themselves and re-converting each other. Christ said go into the world and convert non-believers… There are too many of those walking around to ignore.

  11. The defininition of denomination according to a dictionary says a religious body. If there are at least 2 denominations there are 2 seperate religious bodies. This is not scriptual for God’s word says there is one body and one head. Ephesians 1:22,23, Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 4:4. That one body is the Church that Jesus the one head promised to build Matthew 16:18. Men and women all over the world who obey the word of God without adding or subtracting make up the one body. When you accept, promote, teach or establish a deneomination you are adding to the word of God which God himself condemns. Galatians 1:6-9, 2Jn 9-11…

  12. Jehovah said “I declare the end from the beggining”…in other words, everything is going exactly as Jehovah has decreed, and if He has called you, then you are secure in His Salvation, it is not of your own strength that you were saved nor by your own choice. it was Jehovah’s choice and not based on any merit of yours. “I sought you, you did not seek Me, I chose you, you did not choose Me”….And if Jehovah elected you, then you are a member of His Elect. It is not according to man’s desire, or his running, but by the Will of Jehovah…He is the one that chooses you, you do not choose Him.

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