The congregations associated with the Church of Christ have always identified themselves as non-denominational. For centuries this was a peculiar identification, but in recent years it has become very popular for congregations to claim that they are non-denominational, especially among the community church movement. According to a June 12, 2015 Christianity Today article, “over the last four decades, there has been more than a 400 percent growth in Protestants who identify as non-denominational.” With the growing popularity of non-denominational congregations it is important for us to consider what that means, and why the churches of Christ have maintained that identity.
Why Does the Church of Christ Teach Definitive Parameters on Marriage and Divorce?
Earlier this year, we presented a series of articles about the beliefs and practices of the churches of Christ that were thematically arranged around “why” questions, such as “Why Does the Church of Christ Believe That Baptism is Essential to Salvation,” "Why Does the Church of Christ Lack Musical Instruments in Their Worship Services,” and “Why Do Churches of Christ Observe the Lord’s Supper Every Sunday.” Since the writing of those articles, it has become evident that a few more “why” questions need to be addressed, the first of which deals with the subject of marriage and divorce.
Christianity’s stance on marriage and divorce frequently finds itself in opposition to culture’s stance on marriage and divorce. This is because one’s stance on marriage and divorce is predicated on who or what one deems to be the authority on the subject. The congregations affiliated with the “Church of Christ” acknowledge that marriage is an institution established by God, not by man; therefore, He is the authority on this subject. And the churches of Christ acknowledge God as the authority on marriage and divorce because Jesus acknowledged God as the authority on marriage and divorce. In Mark 10:2-12 (and its sister passage Matthew 19:3-12), Jesus was asked by the Pharisees to weigh in on a doctrinal dispute regarding marriage and divorce. Jesus responded not by consulting cultural practices or government standards, but by referencing the expectations instituted by God when He established the first marriage. Notice what He said in Mark 10:6-9.
Have you ever heard the phrase “fully involved?” To me, that phrase refers to whether or not you want all of the fixings on your sandwich at Firehouse Subs. However, that phrase actually comes from the world of firefighting. In firefighting jargon the phrase “fully involved” is a “term of size-up” indicating that “the fire, heat, and smoke in a structure are so widespread that internal access must wait until fire streams can be applied.” If I understand this terminology correctly, then it means that a structure is “fully involved” when it is completely engulfed in flames to such a degree that the structure is inaccessible. Or, to say it a little differently, a structure is “fully involved” when it is consumed by the fire to the degree that it is dangerous to the fire’s opponents.
October is my favorite month of the year, and here’s why.
First, October is one of the best months for sports. It contains the ALCS, NLCS, and World Series. It contains the heart of the college football season with conference competitions and unexpected upsets happening nearly every weekend. It is also a month that hosts NFL games and ushers in the NBA season. So, October is wonderful because it neatly packages all of these sports into one extraordinary month.