Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

A Statement of Identity

"Disciples always have opposed...the use of creeds to exclude persons from the church. It was (the) use of creeds as 'tests of fellowship' that the Disciples' founding fathers fingered as the major cause of division among Christians...(So) unlike most other churches, we Disciples do not have an official doctrinal statement we can refer to when someone asks, 'What does the Christian Church believe?'" Kenneth Teegarden

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is a community of believers who through baptism into Jesus Christ are bound by covenant to God and to one another. Disciples draw their inspiration from Scripture and the Holy Spirit, celebrating around the Lord's Table the life, death and resurrection, and continuing presence of Christ. We proclaim the good news of salvation. We claim as our particular witness the quest for Christian unity as a sign of God's unity for the human community. While stressing freedom and diversity under God, we believe unity and mission are inseparable; we witness and serve among the whole human family in the interest of peace, justice, mercy and kindness.

Composed by General Minister and President Emeritus Kenneth Teegarden, affirmed by the General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

While Disciples honor no human-made creed, the preamble to a document called The Design for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) poetically and prayerfully expresses our shared affirmations in this way:

The Design for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

  1. "As members of the Christian Church, we confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and proclaim him Lord and Savior of the world.
  2. In Christ's name and by his grace we accept our mission of witness and service to all people.
  3. We rejoice in God, maker of heaven and earth, and in the covenant of love which binds us to God and to one another.
  4. Through baptism into Christ we enter into newness of life and are made one with the whole people of God.
  5. In the communion of the Holy Spirit we are joined together in discipleship and in obedience to Christ.
  6. At the table of the Lord we celebrate with thanksgiving the saving acts and presence of Christ.
  7. Within the universal church we receive the gift of ministry and the light of scripture.
  8. In the bonds of Christian faith we yield ourselves to God that we may serve the One whose kingdom has no end.
  9. Blessing, glory and honor be to God forever. Amen."

Where are they today?

Originally part of the Restoration Movement (begun by Thomas and Alexander Campbell, Barton W. Stone and others), the Disciples of Christ adopted a denominational structure and created Christian Missionary Fellowship in the late 1800s, thus "abandoning" the "non-denominational" principle of the Movement.

In recent years (1970s following), the Disciples of Christ denomination has sought to broaden its "liberality" and has endorsed the following anti-Biblical positions:

  1. ordained women ministers
  2. ordained women elders
  3. denied the requirement of immersion for salvation as essential to salvation, as they did when they were first founded.
  4. participated in unity discussions with the Roman Catholic church, apparently acknowledging the latter's claims and doctrines.
  5. A few have denied the virgin birth of Jesus
  6. A few have participated with other liberal denominations in undermining the accuracy and authenticity of the Bible.
  7. A few have supported gay marriage.


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