[quote=aSaintoneday]I have been trying very hard to find the starting point of the “Church of Christ” (no not the Catholic Church), I cannot find which group or what person started this denomination, or the year that they were founded, or what country they were founded in.
They believe that they were started by Jesus Christ, but they fail to give their history for atleast 1500 years. I cannot find a straight answer about their history or who/when they were founded, besides them saying Jesus . . .
So if anyone out there can help me find, who founded the “Churches of Christ” and when. I would really appreciate that.
I have posted on this at some length at least twice, elsewhere.
In the middle to late 1700’s in frontier America, a movement knowns as the ‘Christian Connection’ or as ‘restorationism’ sprang up among Christians seeking to evangelize those whom the established Protestant denominations tended to have limited contact with or concern about. The idea was that Christians could re-discover their unity if only they would ‘restore’ the worship and practice of the church to it’s apostolic simplicity. In many ways, the early movement resembled non-denominational mega-churches of the modern era: there was originally great liberty in the structure of individual congregations and how they were governed. Some portions of the ‘Christian Connection’ were absorbed into the “Christian And Reformed” denomination, which was absorbed in turn into the United Church of Christ, now a very liberal mainline denomination.
In the early 1800’s, a father/son team (Thomas and Alexander Campbell) began evangelizing in the emerging midwestern frontier, while a Barton Stone did likewise in the Dixie South. The churches established by the Campbells tended on-balance to favor the names ‘Disciples of Christ’ (in the American East) or ‘Christian Church’ (in the Midwest); Stone’s congregations tended to prefer ‘Church of Christ’. In the middle 1800’s, a split emerged in what was becoming, loosely, a denomination which denied it was a denomination, over the issue of slavery. The Churches of Christ tended to be pro-slavery; other parts of the movement tended to be abolitionist. As modernist (early liberalism) seeped into Protestant churches following the American Civil War, the Churches of Christ ‘split’ from their Yankee sister-churches.
Towards the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, the Disciples of Christ formed a national governing body, which the independent Christian Churches resisted, largely because the Disciples tended to be more liberal than the Independents. The Disciples became an official denomination in the 1920’s though the ‘Christian Churches, USA’ (official name of the Independents) did not incorporate any sort of national denominational body till the 1950’s or 1960’s. The Churches of Christ and the Independents are similar, but the Independents are far more moderate and Evangelical. The Churches of Christ are usually thoroughly fundamentalist. They still follow a strictly Congregational form of governance not entirely dissimilar to that of the Baptists.
The Churches of Christ are SELDOM pacifistic so I suspect you’ve either found a deviant sect amongst them or have misunderstood something. They are ‘cessationists’–they don’t believe in the perpetuity of the ‘sign’ gifts such as speaking in tongues, etcetera. They practice weekly communion (all in this tradition do likewise), do not use musical instruments in congregational singing, deem themselves strictly “New Testament Christians”. They baptize all new converts immediately following a profession of faith but do not practice nor accept infant baptism. They are especially sectarian and some few have been plagued by deviations into something akin to cultism–the ‘Boston Church of Christ Movement’ is notorious in this respect.