WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

I urge you to look carefully at the above diagram. I ask you to honestly, based upon God's word, answer the question at the top. To be sure that there are some differences, but these differences are not basic to what these religious institutions are in reality. There are differences between Main Street Baptist Church and Back Street Methodist Church, but you (and they) recognize that each one is a full-fledged denomination. My point is that whatever it takes to make denominations is likewise true of the Central Church of Christ or any other Church of Christ Church. Let me enumerate.

(1) There is no difference in the institution or organization formed. Each one is a functional unit, a corporate body, a legal entity that acts and functions in its own name as any other operational organization or denomination does.

(2) Each one has a formal, exclusive name by which it is identified. This name does not tell you what it is; the specific name merely tells you what that legal entity or organization is called. Wal-Mart is a name, but it does not tell you what that organization is or what it does; it only tells you what that legal entity is called. That is its name-identity.

(3) The respective names, labels, or brands for these institutions separate and divide them from one another. We all recognize this fact. A Baptist is not a Methodist; they belong to different denominations.

These names are inclusive and restrictive, including only those who "belong to" or who are "members of" the Central Church of Christ. This name even divides and separates that "membership" from even the "members" of other Church of Christ Churches, just as the name separates them from the Baptist or Catholic Church.

But these names are also exclusive in that they shut out, divide, and separate those "members" of the Central Church of Christ, just as it excludes and shuts out the "members" of the Methodist and Lutheran Churches. Surely we can see the error and evil in all of this.

(4) All of these local church structures (institutions, corporate entities) are divisive. They are realities of separations, walls, schisms, pens, and alienation. They divide one people from another people just like that horrible Berlin Wall does it.

(5) Each one is a denomination! Do you question this? If so, please identify one essential requirement for being a denomination that is not true of the Central Church of Christ; the Loop 287 Church of Christ, or any other Church of Christ Church! In all I have presented above this is made clear.

(6) The institution or organization features and essentials are identical! Whatever it takes to make the Main Street Baptist Church a denomination is equally found in the Central Church of Christ! There is no more difference between the Central Church of Christ (or any other Church of Christ Church) and the Back Street Methodist than there is between the St. James Lutheran Church and the Back Street Methodist Church. Each (and all) of these brands of churches has every essential requirement to be a denomination. All of them honestly and openly admit this fact except the Central Church of Christ and St. Barnabas Roman Catholic Church! Both of these institutional churches claim to be the one true church "founded" by Jesus Christ. Both offer the same kind of arguments to prove their "identity" as such. Both are wrong!

All are sectarian and all are denominations! They are all of men, not from God! Whatever essential requirement it takes to be a full-fledge denomination, "the local Church of Christ Church," in connection with the whole "brotherhood of Churches of Christ," has in full measure! The rather modern claim (even affirmed in debate) that the "Church of Christ is scriptural in name, origin, organization, doctrine and practice" is the height of sectarian ignorance and folly.

As far as I know only the Church of Christ Churches, the Independent Christian Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, and the United Pentecostal Church churches claim to be the original Lord's church institution!

Jesus Christ did not die for any institution or organization - local or universal. He came to seek and save the lost - people - you and me! The saved constitute His ecclesia or assembly of people. He never put any walls of division or separation among or between them. To the contrary His prayer and concern was that we all are to be one even as He and the Father are one! We are all one family, all children of God. There are to be no divisions among us.

Oh! God, our Father, help us as thy children to recognize and repudiate our error and evil in the erection of institutions and organizations that divide and scatter thy children. Help us to have the faith, courage, and understanding of Thy will to move us to repudiate this monstrous shackle to thy saints! Grant that we can in patience and love work together to free ourselves from this slavery of our own making. Please be merciful to us as sinners because we are thy children and we love Thee as our God and our Father. Amen! CAH