Pre-denominational Christianity

The church of Christ that gathers in Clinton, Illinois changed an assembly time recently and got the sign in the yard redone to reflect that. It would have been easier to simply leave everything as is and just change a couple numbers, but this was an ideal time to make some changes to the layout and message communicated to our community. If you're reading this transcript, you can see a picture of the new sign below.

The new sign used by the the church of Christ that meets in Clinton, IL

Besides the time change, it was decided to make three other alterations to the content of the sign.

First, the preacher's name (i.e., my name) was removed from the sign. No, I wasn't fired and I'm not planning on moving in the near future! Although that may disappoint some, the Lord's work is going well here, in my estimation. So why remove my name from the bottom of the sign? It is true that we wanted to add our congregation's website address, and this freed up space for that. But, more to the point, why was my name up there to begin with? Sure, I preach and we don't have elders at this time, but I'm not the leader of the church. There are others who teach classes and lead singing and take care of the finances, maintenance, etc. Why should my name be on the sign because of the role in which I serve? It seemed like a good idea years ago when my name was first put on the sign, and although there is nothing wrong with it, per se, further reflection has made me wonder about the wisdom of it. Does it put the focus where it needs to be spiritually; that is, upon Christ and His will?

Second, we removed "CLINTON CHURCH OF CHRIST" from the top of the sign and replaced it with something that is much more descriptive, I think: "THE CHURCH OF CHRIST MEETS HERE - All Visitors Welcome!" Not only is it welcoming, but it makes it clear that there is a difference between the church and the church's building--a big difference! Biblically, we understand that the church is the people. The church is composed of Christians; that is, members of the body of Christ (cf. Eph. 1:22,23; I Cor. 12:27).

Third, we wanted to give people something to think about: "Pre-denominational Christianity." I saw that phrase used recently for the first time by a preaching friend, Ben Giselbach , and I like it a lot! For years we have referred to ourselves as "non-denominational" and it is a true description though not as distinct any more. The problem is that many other religious groups now use the same terminology (e.g., non-denominational community churches). But these churches have their origin in the modern era, not antiquity. The church of Christ simply means the church that belongs to Christ, and you can read about it in the New Testament (cf. Rom. 16:16) because its origin was in the first century, specifically in Acts 2. It's been in existence for nearly 2000 years! It is pre-denominational; it existed before the denominations. We, as members of the church Jesus established, endeavor to go back to the New Testament and use it alone as our standard of authority today for Christian life and worship. Believers in the first century were not Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc. They were simply Christians (cf. Acts 11:26); nothing more and nothing less. That's the way we think it should still be. "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, 'I am of Paul,' or 'I am of Apollos,' or 'I am of Cephas,' or 'I am of Christ.' Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" (I Cor. 1:10-13). Our aim in life and worship is to peel back centuries of man-made traditions and opinions and just follow the New Testament of Jesus Christ and it alone. This is what early, faithful Christians did before they started dividing.

Anyone can be a faithful member of Jesus' church by simply believing and obeying the New Testament of Christ. If you live in our area, we invite you to come and visit one of our assemblies soon. If you would like to study the Bible or learn more about pre-denominational Christianity, please contact us. We would be honored to visit with you and be of service in any way!