Are Members of the church of Christ “Campbellites?”

As we continue our refutation of the accusations of a baptist preacher we turn now to a term that he uses in his article. He uses the term “Campbellite” to speak of members of the church of Christ. Some have never heard such a term as it hasn’t been used in decades.

The term is a pejorative or derogatory term intended only bring reproach upon those who worship among the churches of Christ. It is simply childish name calling and has no place in serious Biblical discussion. Use of such a term is an example of an ad hominem attack. Such an attack appeals to prejudice rather than the truthfulness of one’s argument. He attempts to side step facts and logic and appeal instead to baser interests. A fuller denotation is found here.

Those who fully obey Jesus Christ are simply called Christians (Acts 11:26). Read the New Testament and you will never find a description of Christians as Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Wesleyans or Episcopalians. Such names, and there are more, were not needed until men began to denominate themselves into splinter groups off of the true church. Each name denotes a group with similar, but still differing, doctrines. It seems that those who have opposed the restored church of Christ felt the need to class the church as a denomination. Therefore, the name was given to those who are members of the church of Christ. The church itself has never used such a name and has always rejected it. In fact, churches of Christ reject the notion that they are a denomination. Instead, we seek to restore original church of the New Testament.

The origin of the term dates to the father and son restorationists Thomas (1763- 1854) and Alexander (1788-1866) Campbell. These two men, along with many others, left denominational preaching and began an attempt to return men to the Bible alone. They sought to restore the church one reads of in the New Testament.

Neither Thomas nor Alexander ever held a position of authority over the entire church of Christ for such is reserved for Christ alone. Both preached and wrote many articles in an attempt to bring men back to the Bible. Neither man ever claimed ownership of the church for that belongs to Jesus only (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28). Obviously, neither man died for the church as did our Lord.

Neither man was perfect either. While they accomplished much to restore the church some doctrines they held are generally not taught today and are considered errant by most. While we appreciate and honor their work, they are not founders of the Lord’s church and are rarely even studied by most members.

The church belongs unto Christ and is under his authority only. In time, he will hand the kingdom over to his Father (1 Corinthians 15:20-26). Therefore, it seems odd to place the name of a mere man over a church. Likewise a system of church government or some such church ordinance or worship practice.

Members of the church of Christ are not Campbellites – never have been and never will be. We are simply Christians.

More on his accusations will come throughout the week. Your comments are desired. Registration is not necessary and you may post your comments anonymously.

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