And so, we've begun a six-week series at Littleton about the history of Churches of Christ. Our history is so rich, but we've been unaware of our past for a variety of reasons.
One reason we've been unaware of our past is because we've denied that we have a history. It's easier to slap an "Established 33 A.D." cornerstone on our buildings and pretend that we restored New Testament Christianity without any other influences.
But we have a wealth of influences that brought our movement to its beginnings in the early 19th century.
Did you know two guys by the name of Glas and Sandeman, who were Scottish Congregationalists, believed in the plurality of elders and weekly communion? And the Campbells just happened to know them back in Scotland.
Did you know that Glas believed that Scripture is the only rule for Christian beliefs and practices?
Did you know that two brothers, James and Robert Haldane, sought to restore New Testament practices, the immersion of adult believers, and congregational autonomy? The Haldanes were Alexander Campbell’s teachers.
Did you know that the Puritans had a controversy over whether new hymns should be introduced and if it was ok to print music? In fact, those who are frustrated at the lack of musical notations on songs displayed on screens in our worship services might be surprised that Alexander Campbell himself would be their biggest detractor. He argued strongly that musical notes should never be included with the words of our hymns because they detracted from spiritual worship.
Many of our most basic beliefs – our emphasis on Scripture, our rejection of predestination, our emphasis on congregational rule by elders and congregational autonomy – all have precedents in the Reformed thought of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Which means that believing Churches of Christ discovered the ancient way of things is equivalent to our generation claiming to have discovered grace. It’s arrogant and shortsighted.
I'm excited about what this study will do for Littleton and what it has the capacity to do for Churches of Christ across the United States.
Below is a link to a preview of the 1st video Kent Rogers put together for our series. We've got a video for each of the six weeks in this series. Great work, Kent!