Becker Bible Studies Library
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) claims to have a deep Christian spirituality in their way of life. The Disciples of Christ believe they fully live what God has revealed in Jesus Christ and through their experiences with the Holy Spirit. They encourage each other in their spiritual disciplines and each other to allow God to shape them.
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) focuses on Bible studies as well as practiced tradition of their church, prayer, worship service, stewardship, and hospitality to all strangers. Each Disciples of Christ congregation has its own personality, but all focus on the mission to study and have fellowship at every opportunity, with all people from different walks of life.
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) considers themselves followers of Jesus Christ by helping in their neighborhood communities. They have been committed to serving in soup kitchens, food pantries, and homeless shelters and care for abused children, as well as for the senior citizens. They help repair homes and community centers and with whatever is needed after natural disasters to bring hope to the hopeless. They consider their church to be anti-racist and pro-reconciling.
There are three key people that founded the Christian Church; Disciples of Christ Barton W. Stone, Thomas Campbell and his son Alexander Campbell.
Barton W. Stone was a Presbyterian minister that was born in Port Tobacco, Maryland on December 24, 1772 and died in Hannibal Missouri, on November 9, 1844. He got his education as a school teacher before he entered the ministry in the Presbyterian Church. Stone was a minister in Cane Ridge Kentucky and hosted the historic Revival at Cane Ridge in 1801. He, along with others formed the Springfield Presbytery which denounced all human creeds and accepted only Bible based creeds.
Barton demanded the Bible should be the only rule of faith and life practice. Once the Springfield Presbytery was dissolved they published a Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery. This became one of the important documents for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). All denominational ties were dissolved once the Springfield Presbytery was dissolved. They entered into the unity with the body of Christ and called themselves just Christians.
FOR where a testament is, there must of necessity be the death of the testator; for a testament is of force after men are dead, otherwise it is of no strength at all, while the testator liveth. Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die. Verily, verily I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. Whose voice then shook the earth, but now he hath promised, saying, yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken as of things that are made, that those things which can not be shaken may remain.--SCRIPTURE. 
Thomas Campbell also was a Presbyterian minister in the Seceder branch of the Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland. He who was born February 1, 1763, in County Down, Ireland and he died in Bethany, Virginia, (West Virginia of present time), in January 4, 1854.
Thomas Campbell came to America and settled in the Seceder church in Western Pennsylvania around in 1807. He encouraged open communion and petitioned from creeds to the Bible as a basis of faith. He was reprimanded by the Pennsylvania Church because he refused to use the Presbyterian creeds in 1808. He believed there was no creed except those expressed through Christ. Thomas Campbell was excommunicated and formed the Christian Association of Washington, Pennsylvania and thus started the Restoration movement.
Thomas and his son Alexander Campbell, as well as the Christian Association founded the Brush Run Church, which later in 1815 became part of the Baptist Association. The Reformer Movement cut their association with the Baptist Association because of too many differences that were unable to be worked out. They called themselves Disciples in 1830. Thomas Campbell wrote the Declaration address called the Magna Charta of the Disciples and the denomination which is now known as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was born.
Alexander Campbell followed his father’s lead and gave the movement its formative theology. He was born in the County of Antrim, Ireland, on September 12, 1788. Like his father. Alexander was raised as a Presbyterian and educated at the University at Glasgow, Scotland.
Alexander Campbell joined his father in America in 1809. He was a skilled writer and talented debater and this propelled him into a leadership role in the Disciples of Christ Church. He founded the Bethany College in Virginia and was their first president in 1932. It was also in 1932 when the Christians and the Disciples merged and became known as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) believes Jesus Christ is the son of the Living God, that Jesus Christ offers saving grace to all persons and all persons are the children of God. They believe in an open Communion, which is celebrated in weekly worship and is open to all who believe in Jesus Christ.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) believes as Disciples they are called together to one essential faith which is the belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. They are guided by the Bible, and the Holy Spirit, study and prayer. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) believes all Christians are called to be one in Christ. They are expected to give witness and service at every opportunity. Ministers and lay persons may lead in their worship service and lead other in a more fulfilling spiritual growth.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) believes the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and the center of their belief. There is however, controversy when it comes to the interpretation of inspiration and infallibility of God's Word. There are some who believe the Virgin Birth must be believed in order to have faith; others believe faith is a matter of individual conviction. A believer must believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and they must accept Him as their personal Savior before they can become members of the Church.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) believes in Baptism by full immersion. Baptism is considered the centering of life resulting in a new life trusting in God. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will honor other Baptism traditions.
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About the Author
Joanne B. Holstein is a Becker Bible Studies teacher and author of Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians. She has received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology/Christian Counseling with honors from Liberty University. She is well-known as a counsleor to Christian faithful who are struggling with tremendous burden in these difficult times. She is a leading authority on the history of development of the Christian churches and the practices and beliefs of world religions and cults.