Category Archives: Congregational Autonomy and Mergers

Church 2.0: Part 10.11: Congregational Autonomy, Part 5 (Next Steps)

So what are the next steps? Teach grace sufficient to allow us to treat other denominations of Christians as saved. Teach a faith certain enough that we don’t treat non-Christians as Christians. Jews and Muslims aren’t part of this. Faith … Continue reading

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Church 2.0: Part 10.10: Congregational Autonomy, Part 4 (FAQs, Part 2)

Continuing to reflect on the NT example of one congregation per city. We’re so divided today, how could we ever achieve such a thing today? A couple of thoughts. First, we need to stop thinking of unity as something for … Continue reading

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Church 2.0: Part 10.9: Congregational Autonomy, Part 3 (FAQs, Part 1)

For those of us with a restorationist bent, the idea that there was but one congregation in a given city during New Testament times is a disturbing conclusion, because the Churches of Christ operate in ways that are very contrary to … Continue reading

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Church 2.0: Part 10.8: Congregational Autonomy, Part 2

Ephesian elders and the Jerusalem church Now, consider Paul’s speech to the elders at Ephesus – (Act 20:17-21 NAS) 17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church.  18 And when they had come … Continue reading

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Church 2.0: Part 10.7: Congregational Autonomy, Part 1

In the NT, ekklēsia is used in two senses: the church-universal and the local congregation. These parallel the use of ekklēsia in the OT to refer to all of Israel gathered at Mt. Sinai or in Jerusalem for worship, the … Continue reading

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The Future of the Churches of Christ: On Congregational Autonomy, Part 2

As Americans, the idea of valuing accountability and submission is entirely foreign. We are strong believers in self-determination, independence, and freedom — defining “freedom” as freedom from anyone else’s control. But this is not the New Testament concept of freedom. … Continue reading

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The Future of the Churches of Christ: On Congregational Autonomy, Part 1

Historically, the Churches of Christ have confused autonomy with isolation. Indeed, the thought of a congregation being accountable to another congregation in any meaningful sense is considered heresy. And I must say, I find little appeal in the Methodist model, … Continue reading

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Church: “We’re all congregationalists now” — Stanley Hauerwas

In a recent interview published in Christianity Today, Stanley Hauerwas discussed his recently published autobiography. Hauerwas is a scholar who helped found the neo-Anabaptist school of thought with John Howard Yoder. He is a Methodist who taught at Catholic Notre … Continue reading

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Congregational Mergers and Autonomy: Thoughts on a Reader’s Question

In the last post of this series, a reader described how a proposed merger between a Church of Christ and an independent Christian Church had gone badly because many in the Church of Christ objected to the unification — even … Continue reading

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Congregational Mergers and Autonomy: A Reader’s Question

I get emails — A reader wrote to ask this question. I’ve edited it with his permission to make it anonymous — Some time ago the local Christian church was left without a preacher and only one elder remained. They … Continue reading

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