Summary: The independent Christian church came out of the Restoration Movement of the 1800’s. What does that mean and how does that make us distinctive?
(based on a message by Paul Snoddy)
SERIES: “IMPORTANT QUESTIONS”
TEXT: JOHN 17:20-23
TITLE: “WHAT ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH?”
OPEN: A. Jn 17:20-23 – “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me
through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.
May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the
glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be
brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you
have loved me.”
B. Have you ever wondered how many different types of churches exist?
--In the “Church Directory” section of the Friday edition of the Washington Times-Herald, I
counted 24 headings and 120 congregations
1. While names of congregations may not be all-telling, they can be significant.
2. Did you know that in Boring, Oregon is …? You guessed it?
--The Boring Christian Church.
a. How would you like to invite your friends?
--“I go to the Boring Christian Church and wish you would come with me.” “Oh, really? Is
it that boring?” “Yes, it really is Boring!”
b. Can you imagine all the church announcements?
“Please come to Boring Mother/Daughter Banquet this Friday night.”
“Hear the Boring choir sing next Sunday at all the services.”
c. Can you imagine how the Sr. Minister would introduce himself?
--“Hi, I am the Boring preacher!” (No comments from the audience, please!)
C. Over the last three weeks, I’ve shared some of the biblical, yet, distinctive doctrines of our church:
--the plan of salvation, baptism, and communion
1. This congregation is part of a fellowship of congregations called the Independent Christian
Churches and instrumental Churches of Christ.
a. While we exist within a fellowship of many congregations – just over 6,000 nationwide – we
are not part of any formal denomination.
b. In other words, we have no headquarters.
--Each congregation is governed locally.
c. There is no “outside” authority that tells us what to do doctrinally, organizationally, or
2. One of the results of being locally governed and independent of “outside” authority, this concept
has really taken fire again and the Independent Christian Churches are one of the fastest-growing
church groups in the United States.
3. Each year an annual convention is held – called the North American Christian Convention
--The 2006 convention was just a few weeks ago and was held in Louisville. The 2007
convention is slated for Kansas City.
a. Our convention is what is termed as a “free” convention
--What that means is that, as opposed to many denominational conventions, it’s not a
convening of formal delegates and there is no voting on issues or proclamations
b. The North American is just four days of praise, worship, preaching, teaching, and fellowship
--It’s open to anyone who wants to attend
D. A brief history lesson on the origin of the Christian Church
--the Christian church began in the early 1800’s
1. There were some spiritual men who saw that many different church groups were forming and
many of them were getting away from the basic teaching of Scripture.
2. They desired to see a restoration of the church as it was established in the New Testament
--that’s why the movement is called “The Restoration Movement”
3. Out of this movement there arose several slogans that described what the Christian church was all
a. “We’re not the only Christians; just Christians only.”
b. “No creed but Christ; no book but the Bible; no name but the Divine.”
c. “Where the Bible speaks, we speak. Where the Bible is silent, we are silent.”
4. One of the slogans is the basis of my message today:
--“ In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, love.”
a. Please repeat that slogan with me
--It’s the outline on the bulletin insert
b. We’re going to repeat that slogan several times today
I. IN ESSENTIALS, UNITY
A. One of our main goals as a church is to have unity based on Scripture; based on truth. If there is no
consistent standard, there can be no unity.
1. If there were no standard for a speed limit on a highway there would be chaos.
--That’s why a police officer has the right to pull you over if you exceed the posted limit. There is a
standard which we are called to follow
2. Many people – including some Christians – believe unity should simply be based on acceptance of all
ideas - all beliefs - and that we should be completely tolerant.