Tuesday, August 14, 2007

5 Things I Love About The Church of Christ

I have been critical on this blog of my Church of Christ heritage for various things that I have perceived to be deficient either in theology or practice. Yet I love my heritage. I appreciate where I came from and some of the wonderful blessings I have received from them. While I am now more committed to my Christian identity than my Church of Christ identity, I love the latter nonetheless. The following are some of the things that I truly appreciate about my COC heritage:

5. Relationships. While I believe I could form meaningful relationship with Christians of any stripe, I KNOW that I my deepest friendships have been provided through my association with the Churches of Christ. My greatest spiritual growth has happened as a result of some of these relationships.

4. Music. The a capella heritage of the Churches of Christ is something that I love. I regret the divisiveness that we have perpetuated around this issue, but I absolutely love the music itself. And I think that there are some theologically sound reasons for preserving it. I think a lot about Christianity should be "stripped down" to the simplest forms. This comes close in our musical worship.

3. Respect for Bible Study. My people have always prided themselves on taking Bible study seriously. While we have often done this to the exclusion of other elements of discipleship, and while our hermeneutical method has rendered the results of our study theologically lacking, the value of instilling in me a high view of scripture has been an invaluable fundamental.

2. Communion. The practice of weekly remembrance of the cross has been a tremendous part of creating and building my Christian identity. By rehearsing the story of the cross each week, it has become a constant part of my consciousness. Churches that only participate in occasional observance are missing out on a tremendous part of spiritual development. I understand the risk of and tendency for familiar things to become rote and meaningless, but in the midst of such ritual I believe that genuine meaning can be imparted.

1. Baptism. The dedication to preserving the high place of baptism in soteriological understanding is possibly the greatest contribution that the COC has made to the conversation. I'm not sure how long this has been in place, but I have noticed a lot of writers from other denominational heritages reconsidering the role of baptism in their theology and coming much closer to a position identical with the traditional COC teaching of "baptism for the remission of sins."


Dana said...

I tend to complain about things too but I whole heartedly agree with what you love about the church of Christ. I joke from time to time about some congregations being stuck in 1954 but wouldn't the world be a better place if we were back there instead of dealing with some of the battles we have today? I have been given a firm foundation to stand upon from my upbringing. It has given me the ability to question with a safe place to land. For me, when I encounter people who talk about the church of Christ, I go into "I can talk about my family, but you better not!" mode.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff!

It is indeed great to 'meet' you! I hail from Athlone Church of Christ in Cape Town, South Africa. I appreciate your blog. While there are always things that could be improved when it comes to leadership and teaching, I nevertheless appreciate the groundedness in scripture the church manifests, love for its members and sharing with those in need. I wish you well as you continue to walk with Christ!