CSC: WELS Topical Q&A: Religion: Church of God: Beliefs of other Church
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Q:My son is dating a girl whose father is a preacher/missionary for a Church of Christ in the Nashville area. With daddy being an important figure in the church, the girlfriend often invites my son to services, and he does go at times. What are the major belief differences between C-of-C and WELS and/or is there a reference book I can look at?

A:The Churches of Christ are independent congregations. They are not technically a denomination, but a fellowship or association. There is interaction and cooperation among the congregations in lectureships, journals, and colleges or universities.

The Churches of Christ have their origin in the Restoration Movement of the 19th century. This movement attempted to restore primitive Christianity by rejecting what the movement's founders considered to be the false accretions of history. The Churches of Christ (Non-Instrumental), for example, reject instrumental music in worship. The Christian Church/Churches of Christ (Independent) don't go to this extreme. Like the other churches of the Restoration Movement [e.g., Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)] the Churches of Christ are decidedly non-creedal, rejecting confessions of faith and creeds, which they claim divide the church.

Although the Churches of Christ believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and the sole authority for the church, it is difficult to make a doctrinal comparison with what our synod teaches because they refuse to publish a confession of faith.

The following differences can be gleaned from their writings. As Confessional Lutherans we believe in baptismal regeneration, the real presence of Christ's body and blood in the Lord's Supper, and infant baptism. The Churches of Christ deny infant baptism, baptismal regeneration (although they teach that baptism is necessary for salvation) and the real presence, and insist on baptism by immersion.

Lutherans believe in the importance of creeds and confessions; the Churches of Christ reject them.

Lutherans are liturgical; the Churches of Christ are not.

For more information you might want to look at Handbook of the Denominations by Frank S. Mead (Abingdon Press), The Religious Bodies of America by F.E. Meyer (Concordia Publishing House), and Dictionary of Christianity in America (InterVarsity Press).

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