Bible Studies...

Am I a ....."Campbellite"???
by Mark J. Ward

There are many people in the religious world today teaching that members of churches of Christ are "Campbellites". This is a reference to being a follower of either Alexander or Thomas Campbell, who lived in the 1800's. Is this true? Please read the following and study for yourself.

I received an email recently that inferred that I was a "Campbellite". There are many denominationalists who like to assert that members of the Lord's church are merely members of a religious group founded by Alexander Campbell, or his father Thomas Campbell, who lived in the 1800's in America. I would like to express that such is a false charge in this article.

In order for the charge to be true that I am a "Campbellite", one (or both) of the following two things would have to be true.

1. I would have to say, "I am a Campbellite" and be following the same teaching and practices that Campbell espoused. OR,

2. I would deny being a "Campbellite", but would be following some teaching or practice that was uniquely "Campbell" in either origin or practice, but was not authorized by the New Testament.

Since I deny being a "Campbellite", Number One above does not apply. That only leaves Number Two above, and the challenge goes forth for anyone to name a teaching or practice that originated with Campbell (i.e. something not authorized by the New Testament), that I follow. For if I only practice those things authorized by the New Testament and do not claim to be "of Campbell", then the claim of some who call me a Campbellite must be false.

Please note the following truths:

1. Jesus Christ built His Church (See Matthew 16:18).

2. The Lord adds the saved to the body, the church (See Acts 2:47).

3. When people today do what people in the New Testament did to become Christians, they are saved and are added to the Lord's church, not a church of men! (See Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; I Peter 4:16; Acts 2:47; Eph. 5:22-25; Eph. 4:1-5; Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 2:38; Col. 1:13; Rom. 6:1-4; Mark 16:16; I Peter 3:21; Col 2:12; I Peter 1:22).

4. The local churches were called "the churches of Christ" and "the churches of God " in the New Testament (along with other descriptive phrases) as found in Rom. 16:16 and I Cor. 11:16.

5. I do not claim to be a member of a Protestant denomination (like Baptist, Methodist, etc) or a member of the Catholic Church or a member of the Jewish religion or some other Eastern Religion (Hindu, Islam, etc). Religious division is condemned in I Corinthians 1:10 and other passages in the New Testament.

6. I do not claim to be "of Paul", "of Apollos", "of Cephas", "of Martin Luther", "of John Calvin", or "of Thomas or Alexander Campbell" (See I Corinthians 1:11-18).

7. There is one faith (Ephesians 4:5) one body (Ephesians 4:5) as there is one Lord (Ephesians 4:5).

8. Those who would follow simple, undenominational New Testament Christianity today are just Christians, who are members of the Lord's body, and work and worship together as local churches of God, or churches of Christ, following the pattern of the perfect law of liberty (Jas. 1:25; Jas. 2:12; John 4:24; Matt. 15:9; Matt. 7:21; 2 John 9).

My faith and my relationship to God has nothing to do with Alexander Campbell's or Thomas Campbell's relationship to God, insofar as following men is concerned. The New Testament teaches that I am only allowed to follow any man as he follows Christ. Paul said we should imitate him as he followed Christ in I Corinthians 11:1. But my faith is NOT to stand on the premise of any denomination or uninspired man! Please read I Corinthians 2:1-5.

No, I am NOT a "Campbellite". This is simply a false charge. It is a form of persecution, however, and I gladly bear it. Some folks are honestly mistaken who make this charge. Let that ignorance be removed by the passing of information and study. Others are informed and still make the charge. Such is tragic! To God be the glory! I welcome comments from the readers.

Thanks for reading. - mjw

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