Differences Between the Church of Christ

and the Christian Church

Roy J. Hearn


Many have been led to believe that the only difference between the Christian Church and the Lord’s church is the use of mechanical instruments of music in worship.  It is only fair to state that some Christian Churches are more conservative than others and are not guilty of as many points of error as their more liberal brethren.  However, to be guilty of one deliberate departure, from the New Testament is sufficient to condemn.  In Galatians 5:3-4, the apostle Paul proclaimed that one addition to Christian service — circumcision borrowed from the law of Moses — caused condemnation; likewise the use of mechanical instruments of music does also.  If the people clamoring in summit meetings for unity really desire unity, let them get back to the Bible, the Lord’s authority.

The following contrasts are taken from a tract written by J. A. McNutt, Memphis, Tennessee, about 40 years ago.  Be it observed that the Christian Church has not improved through these years, but in the main, has digressed the more.

A century ago the church of Christ and those who later became the Christian Church composed one body; they were united upon the principles of truth; they shared the sentiment of a great gospel preacher who said: “Nothing ought to be received into the faith or worship of the church, or be made a term of communion among Christians, that is not as old as the New Testament itself.” With the introduction of mechanical instruments of music in the worship division was caused, and this innovation led others, until now many Christian Churches have departed farther from the truth of the New Testament than any other denomination.

Our plea, then, to those of the Christian Church, is that they remove the modern barriers to fellowship and communion that they have erected.  None of these innovations are as old as the New Testament, and many of the conservative element in the Christian Church deplore the extremes to which thousands of their brethren have gone.  Why not discard the erroneous principle that “Whatsoever is not expressly forbidden in the Scriptures may be practiced,” and get back to a “Thus saith the Lord” in all worship and practice?  Why not love the Lord enough, and love his cause so supremely that every unauthorized practice shall be laid aside, and the unity and harmony of God’s people be achieved upon the basis of God’s Word?  A summit meeting is not needed — just get back to Bible authority and be and do only and all things therein commanded and authorized.  Unity would be immediate.  (After all, when did the Lord authorize a “summit” to be higher than his authority?)

A Great Contrast in Principle


Christian Church


I. Whatsoever is not expressly forbidden by the Bible is permissible.


2. “Areas of silence” allow liberties.


3. Attitude toward the world and denominationalism is one of compromise.


4. Lacking in charity, in as much as it has clung to its innovations in spite of grief and division. (Romans 4:15).


Church of Christ


I. All items of faith and practice must be supported by scriptural authority. (I Peter 4:11).

2. Respects the silence of the Scriptures, doing only what is specifically authorized.

3. Contends for the faith and fights spiritual wickedness in high places. (Jude 3).

4. Holds no unauthorized practice that will cause division.

(I Corinthians 1:10).


Striking Distinctions as to Worship


Christian Church


I. The Christian Church has special choirs on Lords day that discourage and supplant congregational singing.


2. They use mechanical instruments of music in worship, which, according to recognized authorities, were first introduced by Catholic Pope Vitalian I, in AD. 660.

3. Its robed choirs, solos, plays, book reviews, and instrumental music cater to those who love entertainment, ostentation and showmanship.

4. Indorses and makes use of rummage salts, bazaars, food sales, bridge parties, plays, and other money-raising schemes Jo support the church.

5. Many Christian churches observe pagan feast days such as Lent and Easter, uniting with denominations in keeping “holy Week”, observing the Lord’s supper on Thursday night.

Church of Christ


1. Churches of Christ have congregational singing encouraging the individual to worship God in song. (Ephesians 5:19;

Colossians 3:16-11).

2. Only vocal music authorized by the New Testament.

(Ephesians 5:19).

3. The church of Christ admits only the elements of scriptural worship: the Lord’s supper, prayer, teaching, singing, giving. (Acts 2:42; Colossians 3:16). These things appeal only to the spiritually minded and result in peace and edification. (Romans 14:19).

4. Free-will offerings, as prospered, on the Lord’s day (I Corinthians 16:1-2), giving of our means as Cod directs. (I Corinthians 9:7).

5. Observes no such days In Its services. (Galatians 4:10-11; Colossians 2:16). Observes the Lord’s day. (Acts 20:7).

6. Boasts of Its “progressive spirit” and does not hesitate to transgress the doctrine of Christ In all points above out lined. (II John 9).

6. The church of Christ under the reproachful titles of “old fogies”, “mossbacks”, and “reactionaries” dill “abideth in the doctrine ‘.1 Christ.”

(I John 9).


Differences in Preachers and Teaching


Christian Church


1. Has women preachers who speak in the public assembly.


2. Their preachers seem to delight in such titles as “Reverend”, “Doctor”, and “Pastor.”


3. Preachers belong to ministerial alliances; fellowship and exchange pulpits with denominational preachers, while some of them claim to condemn denominationalism.

4. The fear of preaching anything distinctive, soft preaching, compromise, prevail in the Christian Church.


5. In speech they have forsaken the “form of sound words” speaking the “language of Ashdod,” referring to “Lent”, “Palm Sunday”, “Easter”, “The Pastor”, “Reverend”, and such like.

Church of Christ


1. Lets the women keep silent in the church assembly. (I Corinthians 14:34; I Timothy 2:12).

2. Elders are the pastors (Acts

20:28) and each congregation has a plurality. (Philippians 1:1). Reverend Is applied only to God. (Psalms 111:9).

3. Real gospel preachers are courteous to all, but refuse to compromise convictions and weaken effects of the gospel by unscriptural alliances. (II Timothy 2:4).

4. Preaches the whole counsel (Acts 20:20, 27) with emphasis and distinction, contrasting truth and error. (II Timothy 2:2-4).

5. “Where the Bible speaks, we speak”; and “if any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (I Peter 4:11) still practiced by the churches of Christ.



In Declaring the Terms of Pardon


Christian Church


I. The Christian Church professes to teach faith, repentance confession and baptism for tie remission of sins — but constantly fellowships and accepts those who ignore or deny the necessity of baptism. Is practice contradicts the profession.

Church of Christ


I. The church of Christ teaches all believing penitent persons to be baptized for remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38), upon a confession of faith In Christ.

 (Acts 8:37).


2. Many Christian Churches have abandoned the plan of salvation and practice “open membership.”


3. Some Christian Church preachers have been known to practice sprinkling, as did J. J. Walker of East End Christian Church, Memphis, Tennessee, a few years ago.

2. Churches of Christ still maintain that one must be born of water and the Spirit, else he cannot enter the kingdom (John 3:5).


3. Teaches one baptism (Ephesians 4:4), and that by immersion in water. (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12).



Great Contrast in Organization


Christian Church


1. Christian Churches have various “boards” chairmen, presidents and “the Pastor”, while scriptural offices are seldom mentioned.


2, The Christian Church has missionary societies, circles;

‘‘Christian Endeavors”, National Benevolent Association, and Various subsidiary organizations.

3. Some of the organizations are national in character, such as the U.C.M.S and Christian Endeavor,



Church of Christ


1. Churches of Christ are autonomous, local in organization only, having a plurality of elders, deacons, Saints (Philippians 1:1) with ministers or evangelists working under oversight of elders.

2. All missionary and benevolent work done through the church, that Christ may be glorified (Ephesians 3:21; Colossians 3:1)

3. The New Testament authorizes no earthly organization larger than the local congregation (Acts 14:23).

Differences in the Name


Christian Church


1. Uses the name “Christian” as a title of the church. Thus “Christian” Is changed from a noun to an adjective.

2. The terms “Christian Church

honor the members instead of


3. Honors the name of Camp bell and celebrates his memory. His 100th anniversary was celebrated by Christian Churches in Memphis, Tennessee, and elsewhere,




Church of Christ


1. “Christ is a noun and the name given Io God’s people individually (Acts 11:26). The Bible never uses this term as name for the church.

2. “Church of Christ” is supported by the Scriptures (Matthew 16:18; Romans 16:16; Acts 20:28). Christ is given preeminence in all things. (Colossians 1:13),

3. Honors no human name in religion, and accepts no teaching of Campbell that was not already found In God’s Word before Campbell was born. (1 Corinthians 3:4).