Most Churches of Christ and Christian Churches identify themselves as “A New Testament Church”.

         I have often heard a response from those not familiar with these groups with a question like; “Do you mean that you use only the New Testament and not use the Old Testament?”.This should be an expected response if we only use typical English language rules. (In other words, we have used a term that is only understood correctly by those within the noted groups.)

         Considering the above thoughts on the subject, I recently came across a book “Sermon Outlines on The Restoration Plea” by C.C. Crawford published in 1927.

The opening comments of first sermon titled “The Church of the New Testament” are as follows”

“By the term “church of the New Testament” is meant:

  • That institution, the pattern of which was revealed to the Apostles by the Master Himself during the forty days He spent with them between His resurrection and ascension, (Acts 1:1-5)”
  • The Church whose organization came directly from Christ and was set up by His Spirit-filled apostles after He had returned to the Father;
  • this Church as it was instituted and organized by the apostles, previous to the introduction of human creeds and practices;
  • in short, this “one body” mentioned by Paul, vitalized by the Holy Spirit, and animated by the one hope, acknowledging the one Lord, professing one faith, submissive to one baptism, and humbly dependent upon one God and Father of all. (Eph. 4:4-6)……….”

             Our use of the term “New Testament Church” is may understood by those within the noted congregations to agree with the description shown above by C.C. Crawford, but not understood in the same manner by those outside these fellowships. However; we have become so far removed from the time when the efforts were made to restore the church to the characteristics described in the New Testament, than many (or most??) with the noted fellowships may likewise not know what is meant. The result of such is that many within the fellowships of both Churches of Christ and Christian Churches have no idea as to how these differ from the numerous denominations around us.

         It is the opinion of this writer that the efforts of our forefathers to examine the beliefs and practices has long been forgotten. The church of today should examine their beliefs and practices and determine “if” we are following the pattern of the organization that was established by our Lord and was described in what we know as the New Testament.  The guidelines noted above should be a good starting place.


James Rowe Lives in Louisville, KY. And attends the Hikes Point Christian Church.