Talking to someone in the Church of Christ

Hey all,

I could use some help, especially from anyone here who converted from Church of Christ. My sister (not Catholic), because she’s dating someone from a Church of Christ congregation, seems to be likely to convert from Methodism to Church of Christ (a slight disappointment for me, since I had hoped she would follow my brother’s and my footsteps and swim across the Tiber). I’m trying to read up as much as I can so I can gently (and non-confrontationally) give her some things to think about.

Obviously, I know it all has to start with prayer. Does anyone have any other good resources, though, in addressing Church of Christ in particular? It seems there’s very little at Catholic.com. If you’re a Catholic convert from CoC, what got through to you?

Some questions I’ve got mulling to pose to her have to do with authority (who decides when you disagree with your friend or pastor regarding interpretation of a specific bible passage or disciplinary practice?) and structure (where are the bishops, governing multiple church bodies, that the New Testament talks about?) and sola scriptura (where is this practice of “bible only” found or taught in the bible?). Does anyone else have any ideas of questions to pose?

On the one hand I’m thrilled that it seems to be prompting her to read and study her bible more. On the other, it saddens me that she won’t be receiving the amazing grace from the sacrements soon. I guess it will take more prayer.

Thanks for your help! I’m not really interested in debating CoC vs Catholic as much as just looking for some questions to ask her to consider.

“My sister (not Catholic), because she’s dating someone from a Church of Christ congregation, seems to be likely to convert from Methodism to Church of Christ”

I don’t think the problem is rooted in religious beliefs. You do a lot of things when you are emotionally involved with someone. I don’t think she will be think about church authority and structure, sola scriptura or anything else except him.

This will be a long post:thumbsup:

I was raised and baptised CoC and came into the Church this past November.
I can give you some information that i’m using right now to help the situation with my mom who is still CoC

What brought be to the Catholic Church was a mix of 5 years of searching and basically being a non-practicing Christian.
It all started when I visited rome and the vatican in my senior year of high school. It was then that I realized that the CoC could not be true because it only spanned 200 years.

I think that these are more answers than question??

  1. The first thing that needs to be discussed is that the Bible itself does not even say that it is the ultimate authority…it says the Church is the bulwork and pillar of truth, and what church would that be? Ask her to find a specific passage that says to go by the Bible alone…she will not find one
    Sola Scriptura is not practiced in the Bible because its not Biblical, it is a later man-made tradition

  2. Another thing that I used was that the new testimate only covers the very, very begining of the Christian Church. For my mom I used the old testimate as an example. We can see the whole story of the Jews from their begining to the start of Christianity, we can see the development and hp different practices came about. In the New Testimate we only have a tiny fraction of Christianity…what happened after the apostles died? what happened to the Church?

  3. I would say prayer for the dead and the missing books of the protestant Old Testimate

Below is a copy of a post I made earlier today…

After all of the back and forth of this verse and that passage; of this really means that and “you are misunderstanding (misinterpreting) what he says here”…the ultimate question will have to be - which of our personal, prayerful, “Spirit Guided” - and yet conflicting understandings is correct? How do we resolve this issue? Who has the authority to determine???

What does Scripture say???

Scripture says it is “The Church”

The Church is the pillar and bulwark of Truth (1 Tim 3:15)
The Church has authority to bind and loose - whatever (Mt 16:17-19) (Mt 18:15-18)
The Church settles arguments between distant church communities in a wonderful example of the instructions given in Mt 18…(Acts 15)
The Church is the vehicle by which God reveals His Wisdom to the world. (Eph 3:8-12)
Christ and the Apostles exhort the faithful to unity…to be of one mind

John 17:20-21
20 "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Rom 15:5-6
5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 1:10
I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

2 Cor 13:11
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Php 1:27
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

1 Pet 3:8
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

All of these calls to unity, along with the instructions in the Gospel of Matthew and the example in Acts as well as Paul’s presenting his teachings to Peter and others to assure they are correct, the Church being the Pillar etc…All point clearly to doctrinal unity within a visible and authoritative Church.

Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura) adherents can offer nothing in support of the (evangelical?) protestant view of “church” and “authority” that comes anywhere close to this preponderance of evidence for the RC/EO “Model” of Church structure.

I say this with confidence because I have repeatedly asked protestant apologists to counter this evidence with “equally clear and compelling” evidence for what I call the “Protestant model” of locally independent church communities based on SS.
They just simply cannot do it…

Peace
James

I too was brought up and baptised a cofcer.

I studied my way out of the “cofc” by reading and applying the things they ignore, like “this is my body”, and St Peter being the head of the church. The passage in John that tells us the Holy Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Christ. They either ignore or try to explain those scriptures away.

Their basic premise is the same as the Mormons. They believe that the true church became “apostate”, when they stopped being solo scriptura and ceased to exist until it was restored by them of course.

Point out to her that the original chruch would not have the bible cannonised until after the “great apostacy”, and the cofc premise does not hold water.

I hope this is just a side effect of infatuation.

I see you are in the midwest, where cofcers are not so radical as those in the south and southwest. I was taught the cofcers were the only Christians in the world and everyone else was hell bound.
They think that calling themselves just Christians makes them the world’s only Christians.

I wonder if calling myself Barack Obama would enable me to move into the White House? By cofc reasoning it would, becuase the name is all that matters. They call themselves the “church of Christ” which automatically makes themselves the one and only church Christ has. Even though the were invented in only 1906.

The cofcers, at least the southern version I am familiar with is the most anti-Catholic. Catholic hating denomination in Protestantism.

Of course they dislike being called a denomination, and Protestant.

Thanks for a very compact and useful summary. :thumbsup:

Let me start off by saying, I was raised CoC and have since been involved with many other protestant churches. I am now Catholic because I have studied early church history and I know that the Catholic Church is the one Church founded by Christ. We still have friends who belong to the Coc and they are devout Christians. The thing is, they just don’t know enough about the Catholic Church and have always been taught that the Catholics are wrong.

The key to communicating with them is to find common ground, although there may be subtle differences in belief. For instance:

They believe baptism is necessary for salvation. Although they believe in a “believers baptism” (age of reason), it is still a starting point of conversation. Most evangelicals believe baptism is only a symbol and has no salvific importance.

They believe in weekly communion (Eucharist). Although they think it is symbolic, they still believe it should be taken at every service. Most evangelicals either don’t find a reason to have communion or do it every once in awhile.

They don’t believe in “once saved always saved”. Most CoC believes you can lose your salvation. This is huge compared to most evangelicals!

I’m not saying these things will convert CoC members, but they are a starting point to conversation. These are big issues that both faiths believe that other protestants do not believe. Hope this helps!

Great post Mark. :thumbsup:

Yes it is always important to find and express common beliefs.

Peace
James

You are welcome.

Peace
James

I was part of the CofC until I was in my late twenties. Crossed the Tiber about 10 years later.

One question is what kind of CofC church? Some are very strict, some have loosened up over the years and do not condemn all other churches. Some (the “Boston Movement”) are cults. It is part of the “Restoration” versus the reformation movement in that it considers itself to have looked at the Bible fresh instead of reforming a previous denomination. It does not recognize the Nicene, or any other, creed.

The important thing is to address the premises involved, and avoid being bogged down in the fine details (proof texting) of what they’ve developed from those premises. Chances are they aren’t even aware that they are premises. Those would include:

1: The Bible is the inspired word of God, but early church went off the rails almost immediately. Question is if the Bible was not compiled until well after the last apostle was dead, then does that not imply that those who compiled it (from dozens of competing gospels and letters) were guided by the Holy Spirit. Unlike some Protestants, the CofC holds that the organized church went bad almost immediately after the last apostle. How could those same people be guided in the Spirit in Bible compilation while being completely un-inspired and anti-scriptural in everything else?

2: *One only needs to follow the instructions in the Bible. * The premise is that the New Testament (Acts and the letters at least) is a set of instructions of how to make a church. They are not, they are the history of a Church once made. They were not written and then sent out in a mass-mailing so others could start a church using the blue prints. Rather, the apostles and those they ordained went and started churches and the letters involved corrections to the churches, not all-encompassing instructions on how to make churches. If Acts and the letters were instructions on church making, then they are a poor set of instructions.

3: The Church was made in the book of Acts, is substantially described in the books of Acts, and the goal is to be a “New Testament” or “First Century” Christian. * This falls down flat as the New Testament did not exist in the first century, and did not come close to being defined until the close of the second. It also makes the assumption that churches were autonomous groups that could be created anywhere in isolation. They scoff at any development of the Church as unscriptural. Cardinal Newman’s Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine *makes the point that the Church was a seed that took root, sprouted, and grew and is growing true to the seed it came from. Why does one want to put a limit on how tall a mustard tree can grow, so long as it remains a mustard tree? Also, have they ever studied any of the writings of the early church fathers (Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, et al)? They wrote while being persecuted and before the New Testament was settled, how can they be ignored? CofC people will assume they were doing the 5 acts of worship in house churches back then, and will be knocked to the floor if they read them.

4: *The CofC speaks where the Bible speaks, and is silent where it is silent. * The denomination got started when a Presbyterian minister named Alexander Campbell decided (among other things) that to draw Protestants together worship should be radically simplified. He arbitrarily picked what the new, simplified, worship would be. When the Church of Christ broke from the Disciples of Christ, the Church of Christ became the stricter one of the two and latched onto what Campbell picked as the one true way, and has spent the last hundred years proof texting the heck out of it. But they are not consistent. For example:
4a) Women cannot speak in church as they are to remain silent, so then why can they sing?
4b) If they can sing why can’t they lead singing? If they can’t lead singing then why can they sing apart from men (as in the chorus of The Great Redeemer)? And why don’t they keep their heads covered?
4c) Do they do as Jesus said and not pray in public (and pray in their closets instead)?
4d) They hold that prayers should not be recited but made up fresh each time…why does that not apply to songs as well? Why written songs but no written prayers?
4e) The Bible speaks of Deaconesses, do they have any?
4f) When was the last time someone spoke in tongues or prophesied?
4g) Where is the invitation song in the Bible?
4h) When they quote chapter and verse (which they will) why are they using chapters and verses that were added hundreds of years after the books were written? Where in the Bible does it say to use chapters and verses?
4i) When was the last time they greeted one another with a holy kiss?
4j) Do they believe that women will be saved through child bearing?
4k) Do they encourage celibacy, as Paul recommended?
4l) If in giving the left hand is not know what the right hand does, do they fill out pledge cards and get statements of donations for the IRS every year?
4m) Where were colleges of preaching mentioned in the Bible?
4n) If Jesus passed the cup of wine, then why do they pass little thimbles of grape juice? (Actually, some off-shoots do only have one cup).

5:* Either private interpretation or going to the elders is sufficient to determine morality.* Problem is that elders are inconsistent (ask ten elders about artificial in vitro fertilization and get ten answers) or people rationalize their way to anything. That is not to say that people in that group tend to be unusually immoral, but that rationalizations are common.

(Continued)

Positive approaches leading to Catholicism include:

1: A rational approach to sin and forgiveness. The CofC is not Calvinistic or even Armenian, it is die with any sin not forgiven and dude, you’re going to Hell. All sins are equal to them, maybe some are more easily repented of, but they are all equally condemning. That is a poor way to live, and unscriptural too (Paul writes of degrees of sins). In the CofC it can lead to wholesale denial that something is sinful, often aided by discovering just how sinful everyone else is, or by overly scrupulous and joyless living. Forgiveness is not well defined after Baptism. One is supposed to publicly confess sin (“go down front”), but that is only if one is in a public sin. Otherwise one asks for forgiveness in prayer and tries to feel sorry. That can lead to sinning with abandon then saying a quick prayer asking for forgiveness before bed time. Presumption is not understood to be a sin. There is not a means to certain absolution that Catholicism has.

2: A grown up morality. One that while based on the Bible, is interpreted using defensible and repeatable logic to settle issues of the day. Things that old ladies get excited about are not always sins, some things “everybody” does are sinful. It puts a fence around the dangerous areas, without carrying over puritanical prejudices about other areas. We are to love God, knowing what makes Him happy and what does not is a gift not to be thrown away for a make-it-up-as-you-go approach. I have heard one preacher who endorsed abortion (based on his interpretation of Genesis), and have heard members who rationalized pre-marital sex and divorce. It also prevents one from being judgmental about non-issues.

3: One thousand and eight-hundred years of church history, some bad but a lot of it good. It literally built Western Civilization, defended it from the Mohamedian invaders, invented the university and the hospital, etc. The saints. The martyrs. Go to any Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, etc., and look at the Christian Religion section. 9 out of 10 books of serious theology books will be Catholic, it is deep and rich.

4: A sacramental aspect to life. No spirit good, matter bad neo-Gnostic dualism. Baptism and Marriage make more sense as sacraments.

5: The Eucharist and Mary being pre-figured in Old Testament typology. The Eucharist actually makes sense in the Catholic Church; the CofC “Lord’s supper” is a bizarre “reminder”, reminder of a goofy ordinance. What an odd way to tell people to remember one by. And how does one improperly remind themselves of something?

6: An assurance that the Church will not lapse into error. There have been some bad Popes and such, but they did not preach what they practiced. The Church has been consistently right about things (e.g., abortion) even before it was popular to be right. Any or all of the CofC preachers or elders could teach error at any time with only one’s individual private judgement getting in the way.

7: The ability to have a world-view that is in the world but apart from it. Instead of putting some Christian seasoning on the spirit of the age, Catholicism can stand against it. Dan Brown, the New York Times, et al, do not bother smearing the CofC, they are confident groups like that will go along with the age that is to come, just give it time, the Catholic Church is the enemy of the age.

At its worst it is sort of the Christian version of Islam: things are simplified to the extreme: 5 pillars of Islam—5 acts of worship and the 5 point plan of salvation in the CofC ; everything is in the Koran—and everything is in the New Testament; Imams are not ordained—preachers are not ordained; both are legalistic and both reject the development of doctrine through logic; both are non-sacramental; one is supposed to read the Koran in Arabic and CofC ministers are supposed to learn Greek to really understand the Bible; and neither really makes much of the Old Testament (i.e., no typology). Don’t get me wrong, the CofC does not do jihad and stone people and such, but some of them can be a little fundamentalist in the bad kind of way. A danger of that is that people burn out and then they have been-there-and-done-that when it comes to religion and they may lose interest in Christianity.

Thanks for all your responses. I’ll probably review this more than a few times and try to find ways to slip things like this into discussions with her. I’m hoping to plant a few seeds and let God water them for a while and this gives me some great places to start.

Someone asked how strict they are. To be honest, I’m not sure (nor do I have a great scale to judge the strictness on). I’ve never gone (my Mom has) but I know little bits and pieces. I know that they’re generally encouraged to but not required to attend church on Sunday evening in addition to Sunday morning. Members cannot consume alcohol. And they don’t use instruments in worship. Beyond that I’m not particularly sure. :shrug: It’s only been more recently that its been clear that my sis is really headed toward joining so I’m really just now trying to figure out where she stands on all of this. It does not appear (at least from what my sister has said) that this particular congregation believes that anyone outside the CoC is not Christian.

Someone mentioned the 5-point plan of Salvation. Is this universal with the CoC? It seems like there’s not much cohesion between individual congregations and my sister swore up and down that because of this they are NOT a denomination. Is there any sort of doctrinal cohesion or are they, as she maintains, completely independent?

Again, thanks for all your answers.

Each church is autonomous and there is no national assembly or association. However, there are de facto groups that set the pace, if you will. That would include some of the bible colleges (private 4 year liberal arts schools that have Bible majors that prepare one to go to a “school of preaching”), the Gospel Advocate magazine, and a few book authors. In theory the elders are in charge of each church, but that is almost always in terms of finances, hiring and firing preachers, etc. They don’t normally decide moral issues, and people don’t normally ask them for decisions.

A new flavor has shown up in the last 15 years or so that is more faith centric, and does not think that everyone else not in their denomination (which they will deny is a denomination) is going straight to Hell. It doesn’t sound like the church in question is one of them. Some of the people in that new movement are Edward Fudge, Cecil Hook, and Rubel Shelley (for amusement, see what the traditional CofC people have to say about them).

As far as most of the traditional CofC goes they consider most things to be settled and closed. Although each church is autonomous they would tend to have the following marks:

  1. A preacher, always a paid position in large churches. Always male. No ordinations or what have you, in theory any male can be a preacher. In practice they have a Bible degree from a college affiliated with the CofC and then have a certificate from a school of preaching. Zero philosophy, heavy emphasis on New Testament including Greek. Preacher is supposed to give a really good sermon twice a week and he and his wife is supposed to be the social hub of the church.

  2. Songs without musical instruments ('cause the New Testament doesn’t say to use them). Lots of emphasis on singing.

  3. No fixed prayers, but for the short “Lord’s Supper” prayers in practice there are a few different unwritten prayers that people say. Kind of an odd area, one can read the Lord’s Prayer as a scripture reading, but one would never say it as an actual prayer. One could write a prayer in advance, then say it in the worship, but one would not say it again a month later.

  4. Communion as a remembrance / act of obedience. Done every Sunday. Usually done again at Sunday night worship, but only for those who could not make it that morning. Every baptized person takes it, being in or out of grace does not matter.

  5. The “five point plan” is to hear, believe, repent, confess (confess belief), be baptized. Baptism is for the age of reason only, used to be around age 12 but that has trended down lately. Infant baptism or baptism by non-immersion is considered invalid. There is much dispute as to if someone can be baptized more than once (if they gain greater understanding, and basically can reason more then why not?)

  6. The “five acts of worship” is to sing, have a sermon, do the “Lord’s Supper”, have prayers (usually two), and giving. They universally have an “invitation song” after the sermon in which anyone caught in public sin is to go down front and be prayed for, or when anyone wanting baptism should present themselves.

  7. Applying Bible teachings is inconsistent. Again, in the 1800’s it was arbitrary, then it was proof texted to death. More lately various people have tried to construct hermeneutics to justify what they do. That can include labeling some things as being cultural artifacts of the Jewish New Testament era, some being direct commands, some being commanded and recorded as actually having been done, etc. There is a lot of argument in this area.

The end game is to question the premises behind it all:

  1. Especially the extreme Sola Scriptura. It is supposed to all be about the Bible, but is is don’t ask and don’t tell when it comes to how the New Testament came about. They simply don’t know. Many of them honestly assume that the Bible was pretty much settled in the Apostolic era and have no idea that dozens and dozens of texts and gospels were floating about and that the early Catholic Church determined which ones were, and were not, valid.

  2. Even more especially the assumption that the New Testament is a how-to guide. Contrast the clear instructions in Leviticus to the New Testament. God can, and did, give clear directions. The New Testament is not clear as a set of instructions, as it is not a set of do-it-yourself instructions on how to found a church. It was the story of Jesus and the story of the first years of the Church once founded.

(Continued)

Some ideas for openings:

  1. She’ll hear that “the Church of Christ” is the name in the Bible for the One True Church. Christ is a Greek word for anointed. It really ougt to be the church of Jesus, or really the church of Yeshua as “Jesus” is sort of a Greek corruption of Yeshua and better translated as Joshua if it is to be translated.

  2. She’ll hear that they are just “Christians”. But in the New Testament they were followers of “the Way”. “Christians” was a derogatory term applied to them by outsiders.

  3. She’ll hear that they are just simple honest First-Century-New-Testament-Christians. But the New Testament did not exist in the first century. The individual books existed, but it is unlikely any one person had them all, or knew which ones were valid, and the typical Christian had none. What defense would she have for the Dan Brown (daVinci Code) rubbish? And what to make of 2nd Thess 2:15 where the Thessalonians where they were told not only to follow the letter, but to do as Paul had instructed them while he was with them.

  4. She’ll hear that women are to remain silent in church (usually explained by that theyare not allowed to teach men). Ask her if she sings. She’ll say yes, so ask her if she can lead singing. The answer is no. But if one is singing from a printed song they did not write, how is that teaching? Or could she read a scripture, again, the answer is no. But again, if it is simply reading scripture how is that instruction, is it not the original writer who is really instructing? If they have Sunday School can she say anything there at all? If so, how is “Sunday School” different than worship assembly in the New Testament.

  5. Ask her what would happen if she committed a small sin, forgot about it, and then died. All sins are mortal to them, which is kind of scary. Ask about a person on the way to be baptized who dies in a wreck? They have no baptism of desire.

  6. Ask her if everyone outside of her church is “lost.” If the answer is yes, then ask if that might be extraordinarily judgmental if she is wrong.

  7. Ask her what repentance means, in terms of sins after baptism. Whatever she says it will probably be vague and fuzzy. How is she sure if she has repented enough? Is presuming God’s forgivness a sin? What does she think blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is?

  8. Ask her how she would know if artificial in vitro fertilization were to be moral or not?

  9. Ask her if she thinks the earliest Christians thought that the Eucharist was a symbolic remembrance only. Have her read Justin Martyr’s decription of the Eucharist in his first apology.

  10. Ask her if she is going to sell all she has and live in common with the others (as some in Acts were recorded to have lived). She’ll say no. Ask her if she can have a glass of wine, she’ll say no. Why is it OK then to go against scripture (literally interpreted) but then turn around and make a moral law that has no basis in scripture (other than drinking to drunkenness)?

  11. Ask her if she will do missionary work in obedience to the “great commission”.

  12. Ask her about the trinity. Ask her where that is in the Bible.

  13. If she starts talking about Greek words (e.g., the Greek definition of Baptize being to immerse, etc.) ask her if Jesus really said Baptize or said something in Aramaic that was later translated into Greek. There is some evidence that some of the New Testament Gospels were written in Aramaic and then later translated into Greek. Why should those translators have been infalliable any more than the RSV translators were infalliable?

  14. In the book of Acts ask her why the gentile believers asked the Apostles to let them into the Church. Why did the Apostles, including a successor to the vacancy of Judas, need to do anything? Could not the gentile believers just make their own church given the Bible (which did not exist yet, but that is another issue).

  15. In Paul’s letters that admonish local churches to clean up their acts, ask why the faithful members had not gone off and made their own church and left the fallen ones behind? Why wasn’t having church splits a means of keeping the faith back then? Where is there a record of a do-it-yourself church popping up in the New Testament? If the Apostles established churches then, should Apostles establish them now?

Don’t be surprised if someone from the CofC church shows up to “save” you after rapid fire verse proof texting. Catholics are supposed to be easy marks.

The attraction to the CofC is that it claims to have all the answers (at least how to be saved, how to worship, etc.) and has simple explanations for most of it. Once primed with those assumptions one can then spot them in the New Testament, although* a priori*, one would never have seen them on their own. It has a narrative that they are really the true church from the first century. It all sounds good. But, it is historically ridiculous and contradicts itself. Also there is no source of authority other than one’s own judgment–I know a CofC person who just divorced another because “they [the other person] don’t make me happy, so they are sinning, so to keep them from sinning I must divorce them as the lesser of two evils”. And the elders basically said that they could not judge, that they loved everyone, etc. OK, what can’t be rationalized? At the same time, every sin not repented of is deadly so often there is a bizarre response where one is just dandy and everyone else is sining and that includes dancing, drinking, not going to church on Wednesday night, etc. Or one gives up not being able to pull out of sin and sits in despair.

Some people stick with it if the social bonds are strong. Others start spotting inconsistencies and decide that they are being judgmental about arbitrary things and go Baptist (familiar worship, not as judgemental, an improvement so long as one can go with Calvanisim and the whole Rapture thing). Some have an intense almost cult-like experience then burn out and are done with religion. Some decide that to really be like the New Testament church they ought to study what the earliest Christians wrote, and are very surprised at what they find–I’m one of them, St Irenaeus is my patron saint.

Please forgive the long, probably repetitive post.

Jacob,
What a wonderfully written and informative post.
Thanks for sharing that…:thumbsup:

And welcome to the boards…

Peace
James

Jacob - thanks for your insights and welcome to the Church! You all have been super helpful! I’ll be praying for her (and her boyfriend) and look for opportunities to bring some of these in! Thanks!!

If you can get her interested in the early Church then a great book is Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words, $5 used from Amazon. It demolishes the assumption that the early Church was just a bunch of autonomous house churches doing the five acts of worship.

Might want to talk about marriage. The Catholic view of marraige is that it is a sacrament, it is a vocation, it is mystical, and it is unbreakable. The service is serious.

The CofC view is that one should not have sex outside of marriage, and while divorce is discouraged no one gets kicked out for it. That is pretty much it. There are two camps on divorce, one says that one can divorce and remarry (for any reason) and although it is discouraged, it goes on. The other camp says that divorce is allowed, but remarriage is allowed only if the other spouse had adultry (based on a goofy interpretation the of Greek word *proneia * in Matthew 5 as meaning adultry). Basically it amounts to divorcing then waiting for the other person to marry first, then it is OK to remarry. In short, the CofC view is basically a few legal loop holes and rules. Nothing really sacred about it. Kind of sad really. People in the denomination tend to marry early (the guys want sex, and sex outside of marriage is prohibited, but divorce is an option) so they tend to pair off early. The servrices for it are anything goes in all respects, anyone can perform them, any vows can be used, there is no required scripture readings, prayers, etc., and it can be done anywhere (but no instrumental music if in a church building).

There is no comparison between the two views.

A few other items on which the CofC differes tremendously from the Catholic Church:

  1. The CofC does not believe in original sin. It does, however, hold that people invariably fall into sin at the age of reason.

  2. The CofC bases all morality exclusively on what is found in the New Testament. The 10Comandments are part of the “old law” which is not the “new law” they are under. There is, understandably, a lot of legaistic argument over what New Testament morality is. It is usually what the other person enjoys doing. Strangely though, they take the “no graven images” part of the 10 comandments to heart.

  3. Ultimately, everyone is their own authority. One’s own interpetation of the Bible over-rides everything and everyone.

  4. Instrumental music of any kind is banned from worship. Some people even get enraged if someone uses a pitch pipe before a song. It can vary some, but the no-graven-images thing is taken to mean no crosses (not just no crucifixes, but no crosses), no bells, no art work of any kind depicting anything religous. One can have a picture of a foot ball player on the wall at home, but not one of Jesus. They don’t even have Muslim-like non-graven-image art. The church building are bare. Some won’t even have steeples.

  5. There are no holy days. Not even Easter. The sermon might mention it, and kids might hunt Easter eggs, but it is not celebrated as such. Christmas is disputed, some think it is a pagan corruption and don’t have Christmas trees, etc., others go along with the Santa Claus sort of Christmas, but it is just another day religously. If Christmas is on a Sunday they have Sunday worship, but otherwise the church is closed on Christmas eve and Christmas day.

A few areas where they come close:

  1. The CofC rejects Calvanisim and Armenisim. Add venial versus mortal sins and the resultant purgatory and it comes darn close to the Catholic Church.

  2. The CofC tends to belive that baptisim removes actual sin (they deny the existance of original sin). So that is closer than most Protestant denominations. However, that is a little iffy as if one is baptized at the age of reason they should not have any actual sin, and repentance prior to baptisim is part of their plan, which is either not needed if there are no sins prior to the age of reason, or is redundant if actual sins are removed anyway. The general idea though is that one is sinless immediately after baptisim.

  3. The CofC does do their version of communion weekly. At least it is weekly. In other denominations it is an akward once a month or once a quarter exercise.

  4. They belive the Bible is free from all error. They have no interest in determining which (if any) verses were added later on by copyists, if the Synoptic Gospels came from Q, etc. That is an improvement over some Protestants who hold that the Bible is bascially a corruption and one should pick and choose which bits of it is reliable. In that regard they are closer to the Catholic Church than they are to other Protestants.

Hope that helps.

As I have stated in other threads I am CofC in name only at this point. I am mostly Catholic in my beliefs with a few issues about Papal Authority to sort out, but I was raised CofC and went to CofC schools from preschool through college so I feel like I can add something to this discussion.

Almost everything posted about the CofC is correct except no crosses and religious art. My congregation has a huge glowing cross behind the baptistry, and women often wear Cross necklaces. In Sunday school growing up we were always given coloring books showing Jesus and other Biblical characters, and shown paintings of Jesus as well as cartoons where Jesus was depicted as other Biblical characters. In vacation Bible school actors always dressed up like Biblical characters. When we were older we saw movies with actors portraying Jesus, and a huge group from my congregation went to see the passion of the Christ in theaters.

As far as holy days, you hit the nail on the head. On Easter you will usually get a sermon on the resurrection and that is about it. One year we did get the lights dimmed with some sound effects of a stone being rolled back, but that was as far as it went on Easter. There is no lent. In fact I had never heard of lent until I started looking into the Catholic Church. For Christmas I have found that services on Christmas result in Christmas songs and the lights being dimmed with the spotlight on an empty podium while someone reads some scripture over the sound system. Christmas must be on a Sunday to have a Christmas day service.

The CofC is so varied from congregation to congregation that one congregation in town will have females baptize people, while another congregation in the same state makes all females where a head covering. People from my congregation love to go for a few beers after Wednesday night service (I go for beer in the rare event I show up on Wednesday night) while other CofC people see alcohol as pure evil. Each congregation can literally do whatever it wants(one local CofC congregation now has faith healings and speaking in tongues), so don’t be surprised that my experiences are drastically different from what you have been reading.

At the end of the day people convert to religions all the time due to a significant other and not because they care about the beliefs. I have no room to talk because I show up about once a month even though I no longer believe the CofC because I don’t want to upset my family and my in-laws. My wife is the same way, she is agnostic but I am the only person who knows because she doesn’t feel like making her family mad. I hope the OP’s sister makes a decision based on her beliefs and not to please a guy. I have friends who are as dogmatic CofC as it gets and they are happily married to people outside of the CofC. There really is no reason for her to convert to CofC.

=DrPiano;9431741]Hey all,

I could use some help, especially from anyone here who converted from Church of Christ

. My wife was Church of Christ and converted to the Catholic Church. She was disowned by her aunts because of her conversion.

Does anyone have any other good resources, though, in addressing Church of Christ in particular?

Get the book *Christ In His Fullness *by Bruce Sullivan. He was a Church of Christ pastor that converted to the Catholic Church. Excellent book.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.