Talk:Churches of Christ/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Misleading lead

I question this sentence, currently the second one in the article: "They seek to model their congregations as closely as possible to their understanding of how New Testament Churches operated." While this was certainly the case in the 19th century, and even for the majority of the 20th century, I do not believe it is the case any longer. I would cite Shelly and Harris' book The Second Incarnation, which instigated a shift in c of C theology in the 1990s. I think that few congregations now believe that their ecclesiological raison d'etre is to recreate, ahistorically, first-century churches, which were as riddled with problems as ours are in the present. The sentence above might work better if placed in the history section and put in the past tense. Josh a brewer (talk) 16:45, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

I agree with your interepretation for most larger and urban/suburban churches, but there are plenty of CofCs who've never switched. I think what you propose may go too far, but some movement that direction may be appropriate. Jclemens (talk) 17:03, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Shelly and Harris' thinking is an important development, and I'd like to see it covered. We need to be careful that we don't overstate it, though. My sense is that where it's leading among most mainline churches of Christ is less a repudiation of the restoration concept, but more a matter of broadening it to restore the spirit and goals of the first century church, as well as the forms of worship and ecclesiastical organization. (There's a recognition that many have been rightly criticized for focusing almost exclusively on just the forms, and giving relatively little emphasis to other, arguably even more important aspects of the gospel.) I think there's also a movement to make the church a bit less ahistorical, in the sense of being more aware of the history of Christianity since the first century.
This could be viewed as a return to the 18th and early 19th century roots of the restoration movement. Stone, the Campbell's, and their contemporaries had a bit broader view than simply making sure congregations had the right structure for their elderships. Would it be too flippant to describe this as a "reformation movement" within the "restoration movement?"
Perhaps more to the point, could I suggest as a stop-gap changing the sentence in question to say something like either:
a) "They have historically sought to model their congregations as closely . . . "; or
b) "They seek to base doctrine and practice on the Bible alone, and see themselves as recreating the New Testament church established by Christ . . ."
. . . and then figure out how to handle the discussion kicked off by Shelly in the body of the article. Of the two options, "a" has the advantage of being minimalist. I like "b" better because I think it still characterizes where most congregations are, but reduces the emphasis on how congregations "operate" and allows for a broader focus like Shelly and Harris'. EastTN (talk) 18:15, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
I think "b" the most accurate and also think it is a stronger sentence rhetorically to be in the lead. The first option, "a" sounds a bit more passive to me. We need to remember that Shelly's thinking has had a dual effect. Some have moved with him while many have moved against his reasoning with vehemance. I'd be careful not to give undue weight to him or to his writings. JodyB talk 22:29, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
O.k., I've dropped in option "b" for now. Looking back, I think we may have already started reflecting some of the impact that Shelly and others have had, in the section on hermeneutics, where we talk about a movement away from the strict command/example/inference model and a shift towards giving a greater emphasis on servanthood and discipleship and less emphasis to ecclesiology. EastTN (talk) 14:35, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Restoration Movement Navigation Template

I've made a first stab at mocking up a restoration movement navigation template, as discussed above in the section on "A cappella distinct fellowship?". It's at Template:Restoration Movement, and really is just a straw man at this point. Does something like this look like it might be useful? EastTN (talk) 22:46, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

First Stab at a Timeline

I've taken a first stab at a timeline. You can find it at Template:Restoration Movement Timeline graphical timeline. Please take a look and see what you think. My goal was to put together something general for the restoration movement as a whole. If it looks o.k., I'd like to suggest adding it to the Restoration Movement article as well.

I went with a horizontal timeline because it seemed a good way to show the lineage of the groups without taking up a lot of space. If we want something with lots of dates on it (e.g., births, deaths, meetings, etc.) a vertical layout may work better. I'm also wondering if, at some point, we may want a more detailed timeline for each subgroup. For instance, with the churches of Christ, we might want to show more detail on the development of the institutional/non-institutional discussion, and the origins of the ICoC.

In interests of full disclosure, I used 1968 as the date for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) / Independent Christian - Church Churches of Christ split, and 1982 for the churches of Christ / International Churches of Christ split. Those seemed like reasonable first approximations, but I'm not wedded to them if someone has better information. EastTN (talk) 22:08, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

The Separation of the churches of Christ and the Christian Churches

User:EastTN, since the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) did not exist as an entity prior to 1968, with the adoption of "Restructure," it is hardly correct to use that title for the 1906 separation of the churches of Christ and the Christian Churches. Immediately after that separation, the Christian Churches would not have drawn the distinction between "independent" Christian Churches and "cooperative" Christian Churches. Those distinctions began to emerge gradually in the first half of the 20th century. The "co-operative" Churches would eventually become the "Disciples."

The challenge of NPOV on the separation issues, it seems to me, is to recognize the realities of the separations without getting into the who splintered off from whom. The role of David Lipscomb in the US Religious Census decision in 1906 to list the Churches of Christ separately is well documented. The History of the Christian Churches following the 1906 is also well documented. To say "(1906 split is generally considered to be with Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)," not the Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ)," is a curious POV of recent years, which does not reflect the reality of 1906. That there are some grounds for affinity between the independent Christian Churches (instrumental) and the churches of Christ (non-instrumental) is a reality. In 1906, however, there were two groups recognized by the census, not three.

I really appreciate and respect your efforts with the Churches of Christ and the Restoration Movement articles. I wonder, however, how much of the post 1906 history of the Christian Churches (both Disciples and independent) is relevant to the Churches of Christ article. Of course the separation must be included. After that, the stories of the two groups diverge. John Park (talk) 09:00, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

John, what part of the article are you specifically referring to - the time line? Or that last edit I made? The context of the edit was that we had existing text in the lead that said:
"Though officially recognized as distinct movements from 1906, the actual separation of the Churches of Christ from the Christian Churches had already been taking place gradually for decades."
The wikilink used redirected to Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, which seemed misleading to me for exactly the reason you identified. I changed it to:
"Though officially recognized as distinct movements from 1906, the actual separation of the Churches of Christ from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) had already been taking place gradually for decades."
I'm sorry if my edit comment caused confusion - all I was trying to do is say that it makes more sense to link to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) article, instead of the Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ article, because the second group didn't exist as a separate, identifiable fellowship at the time of the 1906 split. Do you think that's the right link, or should we go back to the old one?
More generally, I agree that the history of the Disciples post 1906 isn't particularly relevant to this article. Having the broad restoration movement time line in the history section seemed reasonable to me, to provide some context for how the churches of Christ fit into the movement as a whole. I don't see going into it any further than that, unless perhaps to talk briefly about the efforts that have been made to talk with other restoration movement groups. Does that make sense? There might also be some value in talking about the affinities between the churches of Christ and the Independent Christian Churches, but I'm not sure it that should go here, or in the restoration movement article. EastTN (talk) 15:52, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
EastTN the link is correct, IMO. The problem comes with the use if the Christian Church (DOC), which did not exist until the 1968 adoption of the provisional design. Almost all the churches moved to calling themselves Christian churches, after 1906, NOT Disciples. After the adoption of the design, The independent Christian Churches had a clear way of saying we do not want to be affiliated with the "Co-operative" churches that formed the CC(DOC). I am more comfortable with the use of Christian Churches in the last paragraph of the history in America than I am with Disciples, even if the Wikilink goes to the CC(DOC) Article. Suggestions? Naturally the time line has the same problem.John Park (talk) 20:38, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm fine with changing the text to something like Christian Church if that makes more sense to you. I just felt that the link was pointing to the wrong article. The best approach for the time line seems less obvious to me. Post-1968 it would seem that Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is the right name. "Christian Church" may have been the more common name for the period 1906-1968, but I don't think we want to structure the time line so that it looks like the Christian Church disappeared and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) suddenly appeared. My understanding is that what happened in 1968 really was a restructuring, rather than the end of one denomination and the creation of a new one. Would you be o.k. with making the change in the text, and leaving the time line alone to show the continuity? The other approach might be to do something like this:
That seems to me, though, to suggest more of a break at 1968 than may be appropriate. What do you think? EastTN (talk) 22:43, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Without getting into a debate as to what specific year to use, it was a major break. Congregational autonomy is one aspect of it. Centralization of some non-congregational institutional functions was another aspect. IOW, I think that the way the break is displayed in the template is appropriate. jonathon (talk) 02:04, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
John Park, do you agree with jonathon that the timeline should show a hard break between the Christian Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at the time of the restructuring? If so, I'll defer to you guys, since you both seem to know a lot more about that group than I do.
Do either of you have a good source for the name "Christian Church" being used almost exclusively before the restructuring? I'm inclined to backtrack a bit on something I said earlier. It's easy for people to get confused by the similar names for the different restoration movement groups. I'd like to have the paragraph that talks about the split, then after it add a few sentences to clarify how today's groups relate to each other. Not much - just a sentence to document the use of the name "Christian Church," then a couple of sentences to say that it restructured to become the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and some congregations split off to become the Independent Christian Church/churches of Christ. I don't want to give a history of either group, here, but I do think there's some value in helping readers keep the various "Christian Churches" and "Churches of Christ" separate. Does that make sense? EastTN (talk) 15:48, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

(unindent)Several points:

  1. I changed the Christian Church to Christian Churches in the wikilinks in the article. -- not perfect, but as NPOV as we can make it for now.
  2. I do agree with Jonathon that the sharp break seems more appropriate, but EastTN, I share your concern about the discontinuity. From a NPOV, neither group would feel any real discontinuity from the pre-1968 past.
  3. In the timeline template, Instead of your current "Christian Church," (from 1906 to 1968) I would suggest "Christian Churches, both Independent and Co-operative." Both terms date back to the 1830's and 1840's, but those were the terms used in the 1950's to distinguish "us" and "them." It was the co-operative Churches and their leaders who eventually became the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
  4. As to a reference: The best discussion I've seen of the names ambiguities is found in Macalister and Tucker. I will try to get a page number.
  5. I agree that you may want to add a sentence such as: "After the separation between the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Independent Christian Churches it became clear that there were a number of similarities between the independent Christian Churches and the churches of Christ...."
  6. There is a POV issue if you say "a few congregations split from" the restuctured CC(DOC). Perhaps something like: "In 1968, the churches that favored cooperative mission work and other ministries restructured, becoming the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the independent churches went their own way, completing a separation that had begun decades before." John Park (talk) 05:07, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
I've taken a stab at adding the new text to the History in America section. I added the paragraph:
"In 1968, those Christian Churches that favored cooperative mission work and other ministries restructured, becoming the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and those that chose not to be associated with the denominational organization created during the restructuring went their own way as the Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, completing a separation that had begun decades before. After the separation between the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Independent Christian Churches it became clear that there were a number of similarities between the independent Christian Churches and the churches of Christ discussed in this article. Perhaps the most obvious difference is that the Independent Christian Churches use instrumental music in worship."
The history section could use some more work - and more references - but perhaps this at least puts the various groups into context with each other. EastTN (talk) 23:50, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Well Done. I think it is NPOV and articulates the relationships well! Keep up the good work.John Park (talk) 03:29, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
I also raided a couple of other articles for text on genesis of the International Churches of Christ, and their split from the mainline churches of Christ. That part also needs good references (the parent articles did have them). EastTN (talk) 00:08, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
O.k., I changed the template to:
Does that look like what you had in mind? Working on it made me wonder if we really should have a separate article on the 1906-1968 Christian Churches. For now, I have that section of the timeline linking to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) article, because that's where we have most of the information on the history for that period. But if there really was that distinct a break at 1968, would it perhaps make sense to discuss the "Christian Churches, both Independent and Co-operative" in their own article? Again, I'll defer to you guys on that.
If you can find the page number from MacAlister and Tucker, that would be great. I'll plan on trying to edit the text along the lines you suggest later today (right now, real life is rearing its ugly head). EastTN (talk) 14:53, 12 December 2008 (UTC)


Maybe I'm misreading things, but it looks like the suggestion is for the following articles ( "Church" is capitalized, because it is an article title) (dates in parenthesis need not be a part of the article title.):

  • International Church of Christ [1980 - current];
  • Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ) [1968 - current];
  • Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ [1968 - current];
  • Christian Church: Independent and Co-operative [1906-1968];
  • Churches of Christ (A Capella) [1906 - current];
  • Church of Christ (Non-Institutional)[1938 (?) - current];
  • Church of Christ [1820 (?) - 1906];

For other splits, and potential articles, look at the previous section time line.jonathon (talk) 19:27, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Maybe it would help to think about the articles we already have, and how they line up with what we might want:

In my mind, the real question is whether it makes sense to cover the "Christian Churches: Independent and Co-operative [1906-1968]" in the same article as the "Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) [1968 - current]" as we have it now, or if they should be split out into separate articles. The current structure of the article, which covers 1906 on through the restructuring and up to today, seems fine to me - but I hadn't understood the 1968 restructuring to be a major break with the past for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I'll defer to people who know more about the group than I do, but I'd probably still be inclined to leave them in one article, because it doesn't sound like people in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) thought of the restructuring as a complete break with the past. But I really don't have a dog in that fight. EastTN (talk) 20:57, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Gentlemen, Neither the CC(doc) nor the independent Christian Churches would see a radical break in 1968, though some in each movement would claim that the other broke with them. The separation was identically the same challenge as the 1906 separation. Both groups coexist with growing tension until a way is found to formalize the separation. In 1906, the census Bureau responded to request from David Lipscomb and others. in 1968, the cooperative Christians, dba the International Convention of Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) adopted restructure. A separate article for the 1906 to 1968 era creates a POV regarding that era that would not be seen as NPOV by either the CC(DOC) or the Independent Christian churches. The timeline has the problem of trying to set a date for the separation. The cc(doc) would make a valid case for the original continuity in the timeline. The independent Christians Churches could rightly make the same case. so....
Text does not have that kind of limitation. The CC(doc) article and the independent Christian Churches article may need to be reviewed in the light of the Controversy in the 1906 -1968 window. I would NOT favor trying to create a redundent article for the era.John Park (talk) 23:19, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
That makes sense to me; my impression all along was that the CC(DoC) evolved pretty continuously from 1906 through the present day, and that the 1968 restructuring was just one step in that development. I also thought that the CC(DoC) and Independent Christian Churches gradually grew apart from, I don't know, the 1930's through the 1960's, and that the 1968 restructuring of the CC(DoC) just made that de facto separation completely impossible to ignore. The need to show the restructuring as a discontinuity in the time line surprised me, and prompted me to question whether it should also affect the structure of the articles. Frankly, I'm more comfortable if the answer is "no" - but was willing to defer to a "yes" if people more knowledgeable disagreed. Adding a bit more nuance to the other articles does strike me as a better approach than creating a new one. EastTN (talk) 22:00, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

A cappella distinct fellowship?

Within the Infobox, an "a capella" distinct fellowship is listed first. If the great majority of Churches of Christ include a cappella worship, which I understand to be the case, wouldn't it be congregations that do not practice a cappella worship that might be considered a distinct fellowship? The provided source citation covers all but the a cappella distinction; a source citation for this one would be helpful, or perhaps "a capella" should be removed here. —ADavidB 21:53, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

If "distinct fellowship" is not intended to include the main body of a religious group, then you are correct--it should be removed. Jclemens (talk) 22:26, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

It could include the main body, though if that is what is intended in this case, I suggest "a capella" is not the best identifier (as most if not all of the other listed fellowships include a cappella worship). How about "mainstream" or "mainline" to identify the main body? —ADavidB 22:50, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Ah, heh, yeah, right. (blush) "Mainline" is a commonly used word, but means something specific and different in the case of protestantism as a whole. I'd think the least contentious option would be leaving it out entirely. Jclemens (talk) 23:05, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree with the "Leave it out" approach. How can the main body of the movement be a distint fellowship within the movement? Would a category wording different from "Distinct fellowships" communicate better? In some cases the groups themselves see themselves as the true believers within the greater fellowship and in other cases, outside the fellowship.John Park (talk) 14:51, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Removing the "A capella" item seems best. Division of fellowship is covered in the source reference; the "Distinct fellowships" collective category is defined in the Infobox template and isn't necessarily unique to this article. —ADavidB 15:53, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Would it would help to ask what the functional purpose is for including the "Distinct fellowships" section in the infobox? It strikes me that the primary purpose would be to help organize a series of articles on related subgroups. There's only one other group here that has a link - The churches of Christ (non-institutional). There's not enough text in the infobox to explain what the groups are, and without links, the reader can't get anything else without reading the article or going to the source. Do we need this section in the infobox at all? All of this is discussed in the body of the article, and we can beef that up if need be. (Just a question - I don't feel strongly about it either way.) EastTN (talk) 14:41, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm not opposed to removal of the whole "Distinct fellowships" field content. It may have been added after prior editors expressed an interest in these groups of churches, though as you pointed out, only one of the listed groups has a separate article, and it's discussed in this article body. If deleted from the Infobox, might the source be reapplied elsewhere in this article? —ADavidB 23:41, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

I blanked the field per this conensensus. Feel free to reapply the text anywhere else in the article if desired. Jclemens (talk) 00:52, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

The A Capella, Non-institutional, and Instrumental articles had identical content in the "distinct fellowships" box. Those three groups were linked and listed. My intent was to also link to the other fellowship that has a Wikipedia page, when I relocated that article.jonathon (talk) 18:48, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Distinct Fellowships

Where/how "distinct fellowships" should be treated, depends upon whether one looks at when the splits occurred, or only at the theological differences. For example, mutual edification is a distinct fellowship within Non-Institutional, based on theology. Based on the timeline, it is a distinct fellowship within A Capella.jonathon (talk) 18:48, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

The information about church of Christ (Mutual Edification), church of Christ (One cup), church of Christ (Wine), etc is most consistently found in the The churches of Christ (non-institutional) article, but has appeared, and disappeared from both the Instrumental and A Capella articles.jonathon (talk) 18:48, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
We may need to figure out how many articles we actually have. For instance, I don't think the Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ article belongs here. They're a later offshoot of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (1950's versus 1906). Those congregations from among the Churches of Christ (and there are some) that have begun using musical instruments in worship are a different group. EastTN (talk) 18:56, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I'd almost think it would be simpler to have much of the similar content--e.g., doctrinal importance of baptism, ecclesiology, etc.--covered in a centralized "restoration movement churches" article. Really--how much does the doctrine of baptism differ among all these groups? (Well, aside from the Disciples, but I think you know what I mean...) Jclemens (talk) 19:16, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
That's a good question. I don't know that there's an easy answer. I'm going to oversimplify terribly here, but one way to look at it is that that the Restoration Movement gradually developed, over time, a liberal wing and a conservative wing (please bear with my using these as terms of convenience - I'm not trying to imply any judgments here). Both were rooted in strands or themes that dated back to the beginning of the movement (though I don't buy the Stone=liberal, Campbell=conservative framework that some seem to suggest), and differences grew gradually through the mid-to-late 19th century. A de facto division was recognized circa 1900, with the churches of Christ on the conservative side, and the Christian Church/Disciples of Christ on the less conservative side. There are, by now, very real differences between these two groups in what they teach and how they teach it.
After that split, divisions developed within both wings. We've talked about the non-institutional churches of Christ, which represent a conservative subgroup within the churches of Christ, but most would not yet characterize it as having formally split off into an entirely separate fellowship. A liberal/conservative divide also developed within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The conservative side gradually split off into the Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ - if I understand correctly, the de facto division was recognized circa 1970. They now fall, on many issues, somewhere between the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) and the churches of Christ.
There are many similarities between these groups, coming from their common heritage. The greatest degree of difference is between the Christian Churches and the churches of Christ (and particularly the non-institutional churches of Christ). The Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ and the churches of Christ are very, very similar in many respects. Both groups understand themselves to be separate fellowships, however, and my sense is that their doctrinal emphases are somewhat different.
My suggestion would be to think about discussing the splits - and what prompted them - in the Restoration Movement article, and then include a section on common doctrinal approaches/themes/beliefs (or whatever other word seems most appropriate when we get into it). I don't think it hurts to have more detailed discussions in the articles on each group, because there will be subtle differences. But, if we had something really solid in the main Restoration Movement article, it might allow us to simplify the discussion in the group specific articles.
Having said that, though, I must say that I'm a bit skeptical of our ability to reach agreement on a common description of doctrine in the Restoration Movement article. Prior debates on this article suggest that it can be very difficult to get people to agree on what a single wing of the Restoration Movement believes - much less on what the movement as a whole believes.
Along those lines, it might be really helpful if we had a family tree chart for the various wings of the Restoration Movement, and maybe a good Restoration Movement navbox. Is there any easy way to create line charts in wikipedia? EastTN (talk) 21:25, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't know of any, but I see no reason one of us couldn't create it in Visio or something--I have access to a copy at work. Jclemens (talk) 21:34, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I was thinking about something like these charts from the article Christian denomination: [1] & [2]. If you could do something like that, I think it would be very helpful. We could also try to put something together as a table. What do you think - would it make sense to start by creating a table with the timelines and splits, try to get consensus on it, and then think about converting it to an image?
I don't want to ask you to do all the work. If you want to think about the graphic, I can try to work on mocking up a restoration movement navbox later on this week. EastTN (talk) 21:47, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Would a timeline of when a specific doctrine was first/last used/taught/practiced, be helpful here? I _might_ have one, constructed from reading back issues of various publications.(Probably qualifies as original research.jonathon (talk) 20:28, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
It might very well. My sense is that a good time-line could help a lot in bringing clarity to the various restoration movement articles. If you have a time line for doctrinal developments in your head, maybe we can chase down the sources we need to support the key dates. We might also want to combine the doctrinal timeline with a timeline of the various splits in the movement, since the splits are so closely tied to doctrinal developments. Would it make sense to just start listing key dates in the Restoration Movement churches, and see where it takes us? Some of the early events like the Cane Ridge Revival, the Last Will and Testament, the Declaration and Address and the union of the Stone and Campbell groups would seem reasonable, as well as the dates associated with each of the later divisions. All of that should already be here; it's just spread out across multiple articles. If we could gather it in one place, and then if you could add dates for some of the key doctrinal developments, we might have a pretty good basic road-map for the movement. What do you think? EastTN (talk) 21:53, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
I found some templates we might be able to use: Template:Graphical timeline, Template:Horizontal timeline and Template:Include timeline. EastTN (talk) 15:00, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Once you strip doctrine inflicted by the Magisterium out of Catholic theology, you end up with something that is fairly close to "standard" CoC theology. jonathon (talk) 19:23, 12 December 2008 (UTC)


I'll add a timeline here, but without any sources, or other documentation.  :( Locating sources etc will be time consuming. Anyway, it is a start. jonathon (talk) 19:23, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

First source I'm using is When I included citations below, they usually are from that page.

  • Sunday School : 1780 Robert Raikes : 1847 Alexander Campbell endorses them,with one caveat --- the potential for sectarian abuse is potentially too strong to resist;
  • No Sunday School : N L Clark 1918 --- cites historical practice;
  • Multiple cups : 1910 (?) Both C E Holt (Florence, AL) and G C Brewer (Chattanooga,TN) claim to be the first CoC minister to advocate,and use multiple cups. (? Ronny F. Wade, The Sun Will Shine Again Someday (Springfield, Missouri: Yesterday's Treasures, 1986) ?) I guess the USPTO forgot that they issued a patent back in 1894 to J G Thomas for that invention.
  • Pre-Millennial: 1920 (?)
  • A-Millennial: ?
  • Dispensation: Scofield's Reference Notes was published in 1909.Darby published his material much earlier, but it didn't gain popularity until Scoffield's Reference Notes was published. I don't know when it first crept into, and then out of CoC congregations.

jonathon (talk) 21:32, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

jonathon, that's a great start! Where do you think this should be developed - here, in the CoC article, in the Restoration Movement article, or perhaps across a couple of articles? EastTN (talk) 22:02, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
Before it gets incorporated into an article, everything needs to be fact checked,and sourced. I'd also like to include far more of the "differences in theological practice" (I think I finally found an appropriate NPOV term.) One source I came across suggested that there were at least twenty "separations" in the A Capella branch, between 1906, and 1968, with at least that many differences, that did not result in "separations". The Disciples of Christ branch didn't fare any better, during that time frame. (Most of the "separations" within the DoC, ended up in mainstream Protestant Churches, such as United Church of Christ. (I _think_ that some of those congregations ended up under the jurisdiction of either or the Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa or the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East.) Prior to 1906, there were at least 100 "differences in theological practice", ranging from paedobaptism to the translation of the Bible to use. My guess is that since 1968, there have been at least 100 differences, across DoC, Instrumental, A Capella,and Non-Institutional. The majority of these differences are probably practiced by less than a dozen congregations. I'm hoping that by only listing the doctrine, where it was practiced, who practiced it, and when it was practiced, with complete citations,WP:NOR issues will be avoided. (I also expect it will face vandalism, by those who disagree with,or claim that such things were never part of CoC theology, doctrine, or practice.)jonathon (talk) 11:14, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
I'd expect that too much coverage of such differences would go against the undue weight provisions of NPOV policy. —ADavidB 13:15, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
One reason for developing the time line in a talk page, is so that WP:UNDUE can be ignored during data compilation. I'll grant that Paedobaptism, Women Preachers, and Foot Washing are of unequal notability. One of those is a distinct fellowship. One has been argued about, if not actually practiced,for decades,without forming a distinct fellowship. One has been consciously rejected, but congregations which split years ago, on other issues, have re-instituted the practice. Which practice should be mentioned, and where it should be mentioned, can be discussed after more data is available. jonathon (talk) 14:08, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
I find myself agreeing with all of the comments. What may help is when we can find sources that give some estimate of the number of congregations involved, and whether a practice or doctrine is still current. We were able to get something out of the Encyclopedia of the Stone Campbell movement for the "variations" section of this article on what I think of as the four big ones. They're the ones that are generally mentioned in secondary sources (non-institutional, no separate Bible class, one cup, and mutual edification). I'd also really like to find a source for the approximate number of congregations that are using musical instruments (most of what we have says something along the lines of "a few"). But in any case, just knowing whether a group represents a couple of dozen congregations or a couple of thousand should make these judgments a lot easier. I also wonder if looking at the history of some of the big doctrinal disputes may be as important - or even more important - than developing a family tree of all the little subgroups. I'm thinking, for instance, over the discussions that have swirled around divorce and remarriage and the role of women in public worship. Understanding how those are affecting the churches of Christ may be more significant than counting how many congregations practice foot washing on special occasions. EastTN (talk) 16:46, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
Getting _reliable_ hard numbers for anything is going to be non-trivial. Likewise,getting firm starting/ending dates for specific doctrines is going to be non-trivial. Take,for example, paedobaptism. We have a date for when Alexander Campbell first preached against it. I haven't seen any data (real or alleged) on when the last congregation in the Restoration Movement performed their last act of paedobaptism. I'm using this as an example of what was a fairly common practice, and as such, should be easy to document. Nonetheless, the best one can do, is cite when the various leaders of the movement preached against it. For something really contentious, such as women preachers, about the best that one can do,is say that the first article about this appeared circa #?#? . It might be possible to find when, and where the first congregation that had a woman preach the Sunday Sermon,including serving the communion. (Wondering if the _Directory of the Ministry_, would record the first congregation to have a woman preacher.) For most of the material, one is looking at journal articles, that may not have follow up articles that describe how other congregations looked at the theology/doctrine/practice/etc. (For example, I haven't found any follow up articles to the exploration of using the Revised Common Lectionary, for the Sunday readings. Does that absence mean only that one congregation experimented with it, or did others pick it up, but choose, for whatever reason, not to publicize that fact? In a similar vein, I didn't find any follow up articles to the one about using either the Anglican, or Catholic Dueterocanonical books,as well as the Protocanonical books.jonathon (talk) 07:17, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
"Getting _reliable_ hard numbers for anything is going to be non-trivial." Amen to that! Explicitly sourced squishy numbers may be the best we can hope for. Is there some way we could prioritize things? Perhaps be focusing on the issues that lead to the biggest splits in the Restoration Movement first? Or does it make the most sense to look for sources, grab all the dates from each source we find, and then decide how (and if) to use each date? EastTN (talk) 15:21, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

External links

There's a set of IP addresses removing the Christian Chronicle as an external link without explanation. Why someone would choose to do this is puzzling. I'm willing to see it go if there's a clear consensus that it should, but I'm going to treat the commentless removal by IPs as vandalism unless someone wants to come here to talk and explain why it should go. Jclemens (talk) 04:42, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Who says this newspaper represents the Church of Christ? You? Have you read some of the editorials? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:06, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
If I recall correctly, the paper actually calls itself a "newspaper for the Churches of Christ" or something like that. No website at all represents the Churches of Christ--it's part of the ecclesiology. Do you have a specific objection to a particular editorial that you can share, or a different website that you think would be as or more representative? Jclemens (talk) 18:51, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps the best solution would be to find some other websites or publications. Do we have any sense for the circulation of the print version of the Christian Chronicle, or how many page hits the website gets? I don't have any feel for how representative this publication is (other than not being personally familiar with it). The challenge may be that there is no generally recognized brotherhood "newspaper." All of the publications I'm familiar with would be better described as magazines or journals, and don't focus on what you wold generally think of as "news" articles but have more of a teaching or doctrinal flavor. EastTN (talk) 21:03, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
There was a comment with its removal on 29 November which stated simply, "This newspaper is not a good representation of the Churches of Christ." I've seen no reason as to why it is considered to be this way, just a flat opinion. If the publication is found/agreed to represent views of a minority subset of Church of Christ members, perhaps something to that effect could be stated with the link. —ADavidB 13:10, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
Heck if I know why it's not considered representative. It may be in part because we've included a link to this particular magazine, while other more prominent ones - such as the Gospel Advocate - aren't mentioned. Also, we can easily give the impression of taking a particular point of view by selecting particular journals for inclusion. The churches of Christ have a long history of waging their internal disputes through brotherhood journals - with different camps reading different magazines (and different magazines being identified with different camps). EastTN (talk) 22:14, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
Well yeah, I suppose, but the CC focuses on news--it doesn't really do much in the way of doctrinal editorializing. I'm not opposed to adding another one or two in if appropriate, but I don't see any good reason to exclude it. Jclemens (talk) 01:31, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
A couple of readers left comments suggesting that women preachers be allowed. My _guess_ is that those comments triggered this round of link deletions. Going thru half a dozen or so issues, I noticed an extremely subtle bias in favour of Church of Christ (Mutual Edification) theology. I doubt that that bias is a conscious decision on the part of the editors, but rather a reflection of the socio-economic changes in the last couple of years,in the united states.jonathon (talk) 10:21, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
That sounds like a good guess - I hadn't looked at it that closely (I'm honestly not familiar with this particular publication). I guess my bias would be, if we're going to link to the websites of brotherhood journals, to try and include three to five of the most broadly read ones. Or perhaps to pick a mainline one, a non-institutional one, a mutual edification one, etc. (Identifying the right ones could get messy, though). I haven't given all that much thought to the links, yet, so I don't have strong feelings about it either way at this point. But since journals do often tend to be associated with particular subgroups or doctrinal views, we may well see some disagreement here as long as we're including just one. EastTN (talk) 14:47, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

[Outdent] I've done some looking around, and I agree that a link to the Christian Chronicle published by Oklahoma Christian University is appropriate. It appears to have the broadest circulation of any newspaper-style publication in the brotherhood. EastTN (talk) 22:10, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

B class

The uncited sections need reliable, inline citations. --Secisek (talk) 04:35, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

"Recreating" versus "continuing" in the lead section

We've had a couple of back and forth edits in the lead section, centered around whether the churches of Christ should be described as seeing themselves recreating/restoring the New Testament church, or continuing the New Testament church. This is a subtle issue, and I've been giving some thought to how best to approach it.

First, I completely understand the motivation behind the word "continuing." I don't think it's the best approach, though.

The sources I've seen are quite clear in describing the goal of Restoration Movement leaders as seeking Christian unity by stepping away from existing denominational structures and practices and recreating or restoring the teachings and practices of the New Testament church - hence the name Restoration Movement. That approach is not just of historical interest - in the mid-twentieth century, Batsell Barrett Baxter described the appeal of the churches of Christ this way (the italics are mine):

What is the distinctive plea of the church of Christ?
It is primarily a plea for religious unity based upon the Bible. In a divided religious world it is believed that the Bible is the only possible common denominator upon which most, if not all, of the God-fearing people of the land can unite. This is an appeal to go back to the Bible. It is a plea to speak where the Bible speak and to remain silent where the Bible is silent in all matters that pertain to religion. It further emphasizes that in everything religious there must be a "Thus saith the Lord" for all that is done. The objective is religious unity of all believers in Christ. The basis is the New Testament. The method is the restoration of New Testament Christianity. (Batsell Barrett Baxter, Who are the churches of Christ and what do they believe in?)

A similar statement is made by Baxter and Carroll Ellis in the tract "Neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jew": "We believe in the restoration of New Testament Christianity, speaking where the Bible speaks and being silent where the Bible is silent." (italics are mine again) Baxter and Ellis are not the only ones to continue this "restoration" view in modern times - others, such as Monroe Hawley in Redigging the Wells: Seeking Undenominational Christianity and Rubel Shelly in I Just Want to Be a Christian have taken the same approach. I would argue that a careful reading of Douglas Allen Foster and Anthony L. Dunnavant's Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement reinforces the view that the motivating purpose behind the development of churches of Christ (and much of their current doctrinal debates) is the desire to restore in modern times the New Testament church.

I believe we misrepresent the history and thinking of the group if we don't make that clear.

Now, having said all that, I do understand the motivation for using the word "continuing" or "perpetual." There are two ideas, both very common in the churches of Christ, that it attempts to capture. The first is the idea that God will not allow, at any time in history, His church to be completely overwhelmed. In any given century it may be difficult or impossible to find, but it never completely disappears - there will always be a faithful few maintaining a pure form of Christianity. This idea is based on certain verses from the New Testament (e.g., "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it") and an analogy to the Old Testament theme of the faithful "remnant." Looking back historically, various groups such as the Anabaptists are sometimes identified as examples of people maintaining a New Testament form of Christianity in earlier times. (This general belief is also common among certain Baptists.)

The second idea is that whenever a group of Christians follows the New Testament pattern for the church, they don't represent a "new" church, but exactly the same church as that described in the New Testament. Baseball (or a similar game) is sometimes used as an analogy. Imagine if, 500 years from now after the complete and utter collapse of our civilization, someone were to dig up an official rule book for baseball. Imagine if they carefully constructed bases, balls, bats, gloves, uniforms and all the other necessary equipment according to the official specifications they found. Then imagine they practices, and begin playing games using exactly the same rules we do, based on the same rule book we use now. Then, the argument goes, they would be playing the same game we do, and not a new game.

Both of these ideas may well merit discussion in the body of the article (we'll need to find good sources for them, but that should be doable). In particular, the idea that by following the New Testament pattern you can recreate or restore the same church might fit well in the Overview section, the History section or the Hermeneutics section. I don't think that they should go into the lead section, though, except perhaps as an expansion of what churches of Christ hope to accomplish by following New Testament patterns, and the theological heritage they understand themselves to be following. But most churches of Christ see the Restoration Movement as an important turning point where there was a turning away from denominationalism and a turning back to the New Testament, and understand restoration to be a defining theme in their heritage. I'm convinced that we provide a clearer picture if we lead with that, and then backfill as approapriate with these other themes. EastTN (talk) 18:08, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

On the language in the lead section, I would like to suggest we say that they see themselves as "restoring" the New Testament church. The word "restore" has more of a sense of continuity than the word "recreate," but also carries the idea of going back to a prior model or purer form of Christianity. EastTN (talk) 19:17, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

I agree with restoring--Fact is, Stone, Campbells, et. al. set about to convert existing denominations (their own, for starters) back to New Testament Christianity as they saw it. Whether such a New Testament Church existed perpetually since the end of the apostolic era is a theological question best addressed elsewhere. Jclemens (talk) 19:51, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Stone and both Campbells described the movement with the word "restore." They would NOT have thought of "recreating" the Christ's church. John Park (talk) 20:27, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
O.k., I'll flip it to "restoring" for now. We can tweak it from there as needed. EastTN (talk) 20:35, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Category:American clergy of the Churches of Christ

This category is inaccurately named. I can't remotely imagine Foy Wallace allowing anyone to call him Clergy, for example, and even some of the more "progressive" currently in the category (Lucado, Shelly) haven't particularly disagreed with the priesthood of all believers. Options include:

Thoughts? Jclemens (talk) 15:20, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

  1. Given that the number of people will likely be small I would opt for deleting it as redundant to Minister of the churches of Christ. My 2 cents. JodyB talk 19:01, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
I agree - one characteristics of the churches of Christ is that they don't recognize a clergy/laity distinction. Who would we include in the category that would not also be included in Category:Ministers of the Churches of Christ? One could imagine a category for church of Christ authors or scholars who aren't active ministers, but they wouldn't think of themselves as clergy. I guess you could have a category for elders and deacons, but they wouldn't think of themselves as clergy either, and any that may be notable but are not also ministers can go in Category:American members of the Churches of Christ for now. EastTN (talk) 20:04, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
I've emptied the category, verified in the process that all of the men who were included are listed at Category:Ministers of the Churches of Christ, and wrote a note on the category explaining why it should not be used and pointing folks to this discussion. If no one objects, I'll delete the category in 5 days as routine maintenance--I don't see any reason we need a CfD post for this, given the consensus here. Jclemens (talk) 22:05, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
This redundant category should be deleted as per discussed. The term "clergy" is not used frequently if at all within the movement. --Ichabod (talk) 02:56, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Someone should also delete Category:Churches of Christ clergy for the same reasons stated above. This category is currently empty. --Ichabod (talk) 22:04, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
Done, thanks. Jclemens (talk) 22:54, 28 June 2009 (UTC)


Shall we take a run at Good Article status? I've been through the process multiple times before. Jclemens (talk) 07:26, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

How much effort do you think it would take? And what do you think needs the most work? I've been thinking that improving the sourcing for the "History" section and strengthening the "Outside the United States" section might be the highest priorities. I'll be glad to do some more work, but job demands may limit the time I have available for the next week or so. EastTN (talk) 00:30, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Honestly, I think you've done the vast majority of the heavy lifting already. This article is close enough to get a hearing, and often times an article will end up "on hold" with a specific set of actions. Good news is that GA will likely take several weeks before anyone gets around to looking at it. If you don't have time to help, you don't--no biggie; many things that "fail" GA the first time get approved the second time around. The process may seem intimidating, but it's really not that bad, having been through it six times successfully, and a few more unsuccessfully. Jclemens (talk) 22:22, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! I'll be glad to help with this, but it may be the end of the week before I can do much. I'm coming to the end of a project at work that's been consuming most of my time.EastTN (talk) 14:52, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

GA Review

This review is transcluded from Talk:Churches of Christ/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

I'm going through the article from the top down, so I'll be listing issues as I come across as I read the article. The only ones that don't need to be corrected to pass would be in the "Other things to remember" section (but may be a good idea especially if FA is considered). Here are the following issues I see, so far.

Prose/MoS issues

  • In the Overview section, I'm assuming when you meant "first century", you meant "first century A.D." as opposed to "first century B.C."? You may want to disambiguate that.
    • Done, although that seems a bit... I dunno, overly precise? Jclemens (talk) 23:23, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
  • The capitalization of "churches" in "[Cc]hurches of Christ" is inconsistent. Please stick to one form throughout the entire article; sources and my personal experience say it should be lowercase.
    • I can't speak to your personal experiences, but sources are mixed on the matter, so I prefer following the rules of English, which expect dual capitalization. Actually, if we go solely by church signage, "CHURCH of CHRIST" seems far more common than either "church of Christ" or "Church of Christ", but the latter form with the proper English capitalization is typically the formal organizational name, regardless of what the sign says. Jclemens (talk) 23:23, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
    • This is an issue that's been discussed multiple times. For purposes of the article, I'm personally o.k. with the tacit compromise that's been reached: a) the article discusses why members generally prefer the lower case usage, but b) the article itself goes with the upper case usage. On the broader issue, my sense is that for signage most congregations go with typical sign conventions, using some form of title case that either goes with all caps or capitalizes all but the least significant words. (This really does seem to be just a matter of following the typical practice for signs, because it's not just the word "church" that ends up being capitalized on a sign when it otherwise would not be in, say, an article in a church newsletter.) For other purposes, most authors within the fellowship will capitalize the word "church" if it begins a sentence, but not if it does not fall at the beginning of a sentence (for the reasons discussed in the article). Most authors outside the fellowship, however, do capitalize the word "church" in "Church of Christ." That's why I'm generally comfortable with the compromise. It recognizes the usage preferred by the group, but then adopts a usage consistent with Wikipedia being an "outside author." Having said that, because the lower case usage is the one I'm more familiar with, I do tend to fall into it when editing. EastTN (talk) 16:04, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
      • I think this is fixed; I did a case sensitive search, and only found one place where a lower case "c" was used that was not either in the discussion of the preferred usage or in a direct quote. I flipped the one instance I found to upper case, but you may want to review that. The sentence is "They believe that the New Testament demonstrates how a person may become a Christian (and thus a part of the universal Church of Christ) and how a church should be collectively organized and carry out its scriptural purposes." In that instance it's talking about the church universal, so should the term "Church of Christ" really be treated as a title there?EastTN (talk) 03:14, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
  • You have two sets of bulleted lists which are formatted differently – one in the "Overview" section and one in the "Beliefs" and "Soteriology" sections – with regards to using end-punctuation and (with the latter) how it's used as a series. Please stick with one form throughout.
    • Done EastTN (talk) 16:12, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
  • In the bulleted list in the "Non-instrumental worship" subsection, at the end of each passage, there should either be a period there or an ellipsis if the sentence didn't end there.
    • Done.EastTN (talk) 16:25, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
  • In the "Early Restoration Movement history" subsection, I'm not sure that italics are the right things to use for the early names of the people in the Restoration Movement as denoted by the Campbells (i.e. "Christians" and "Disciples of Christ"). Something tells me that quotation marks are more appropriate, but as I said, I'm not sure.
    • Done. I've changed them to quotation marks. It had looked a little funny to me, but I'm not a manual of style guru, so I'd left it alone. EastTN (talk) 22:13, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Throughout the article, there are quite a few occurrances of the word "however" in there, which is a word to avoid. Try and remove or replace as many of them as possible, knowing that it will be difficult to remove all of them as it would break flow in some areas.
    • Done. I've removed all instances of the word "however" that are not in a direct quotation (two are left, one in the body text and one in a footnote). I don't think I've damaged the flow too much, but you might want to check. EastTN (talk) 15:44, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
  • In the "Race relations" subsection, As with the country as a while, the assumption of white racial superiority was almost universal among those on all sides of the issue and it was common for congregations to have separate seating for black members. - Can the first part ("As with the country as a while") be rewritten, as there's either a typo in there, or something else.
    • Done - that was an embarrassing typo for "As with the country as a whole."EastTN (talk) 22:09, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
  • In the "Baptism" subsection under "Doctrine of Salvation (Soteriology)": David Lipscomb insisted that if a believer was baptized out of a desire to obey God, the baptism was valid, even if the individual did not fully understand the role baptism plays in salvation. and More recently, the rise of the International Churches of Christ (who insisted on re-baptising anyone joining their movement) has caused some to reexamine the issue. → the usage of the word "insisted" in this context seems POVish and loaded. Please replace with a verb not as POVish and loaded.
    • Done. For Lipscomb, I've replaced "insisted" with "consistently argued" (I think that's a reasonable parallel for what the source meant by "insisted"). For the ICoC I've replaced "insisted on re-baptizing" with "required the re-baptism of." EastTN (talk) 21:57, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
  • In that same paragraph: Austin McGary contended that to be valid, the convert must also understand that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. → the same issue as the above point with the verb "contended". Please change out with something more NPOV.
    • Done. I've replaced "contended" with "argued strongly." With both this one and the one above (Lipscomb and "insisted") I've intentionally kept the wording fairly strong - the source suggests that this was a pretty strong argument at the time. You may want to take a second look at what I've done - I've tried to keep the intensity without suggesting a point of view, but I may not have pulled it off successfully. EastTN (talk) 21:57, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
  • In the "Overview" section: Although they view the Old Testament as divinely inspired[8]:103 and historically accurate, they do not see its laws as binding under the New Covenant in Christ (unless they are repeated in the New Testament). → I think it's something with the first part of that sentence, but it sounds comparatively POVish (could be the usage of "although" in there). Can that be reworded a bit?
    • Done (or, at the least, "attempted"). I've replaced that sentence with "They view the Old Testament as divinely inspired[8]:103 and historically accurate, but they do not see its laws as binding under the New Covenant in Christ (unless they are repeated in the New Testament)."

Verifability concerns

  • In the "Overview" section, ...and historically accurate, they do not see its laws as binding under the New Covenant in Christ (unless they are repeated in the New Testament). They believe that the New Testament demonstrates how a person may become a Christian (and thus a part of the universal church of Christ) and how a church should be collectively organized and carry out its scriptural purposes. → can you please provide a source for this (looks like it would be the same source from as was previous used earlier in the paragraph)?
    • Done. EastTN (talk) 23:15, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
  • In the "Variations within Churches of Christ" subsection, the first paragraph is unsourced. Is that reference in the second paragraph covering the first one? If so, when I would place a citation at the end of the paragraph for good measure.
    • I think this may have been an editor's attempt at "pulling it all together." For now, I've sourced that there are divisions, and cut the rest. I think the result flows reasonably well, and provides the same essential content. Does this work, or do we need to chase down some more sourced material? EastTN (talk) 23:10, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
      • Looks good for now. You can always add back in once you find a source. MuZemike 16:55, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
  • In the "Non-instrumental worship" subsection, This is not a formal distinction; church members simply refer to congregations as "instrumental" or "non-instrumental". → needs a source or should alternatively be removed.
    • I removed this for now, since that seemed to be the simplest solution. When I get a chance, I'll see if I can find some indication of how many congregations use instruments (don't know that I can, but that would seem to be a useful bit of info).EastTN (talk) 02:37, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
  • In the "Separation of the International Churches of Christ" subsection, In the early 1980s, the focus of the movement moved to Boston, Massachusetts where Kip McKean and the Boston Church of Christ became prominently associated with the trend. is completely unreferenced. Please provide a reference for this.
    • Done. EastTN (talk) 01:41, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
  • In the "Separation of the International Churches of Christ" subsection, This new designation formalized a division that was already in existence between those involved with the Crossroads/Boston Movement and "mainline" Churches of Christ. Much of the outside literature during this period refers to it as the "Boston Movement" or occasionally the "Discipling Movement", after the practice of assigning each new church member a mentor who was to "disciple" the newer member through prayer and advice about a wide range of day-to-day decisions. is completely unsourced. Please provide a reference here.
    • Done.EastTN (talk) 02:11, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
  • The URL in reference #20 is a deadlink. Either find a working link for this, or, if there is a paper source for this, you can provide a reference to the corresponding print reference.
    • Yep, that link is completely dead. I've found where the paper version of the survey is available for sale (a university bookstore), and also an mp3 of the author presenting the results at a lectureship a few months later. As soon as I finish here, I'm going to order a copy of the booklet so I'll be able to verify it in the future. EastTN (talk) 17:02, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Image issues

  • Image:Millennial views.svg is going to need a caption in there. Also, normally we don't force a certain size of thumbnails, (It also is technically against MOS:IMAGE to do so.) but I can see why an exception can be made here.
    • I'm fine putting one in, but is it necessary given that the chart has the descriptive title "Comparison of Christian millennial teachings"? When I originally added the image to the article, I went to add a caption, but found myself basically just re-typing the title at the top. That struck me as unnecessary, unless we wanted to use it for purposes of providing a link to one or more of the articles on eschatology.EastTN (talk) 16:51, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
      • I've taken a stab at a caption that tries to relate the typical CoC view to the chart. Does this work?EastTN (talk) 16:56, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
        • Looks good. MuZemike 17:07, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Other things to remember (not part of the GA review)

  • Always try to have long, full paragraphs whenever possible (around 4 sentences minimum and about 8 maximum). Longer, fuller paragraphs look more professional to readers than short, choppy paragraphs. I tried to combine some where it would make sense; if it doesn't, feel free to undo or whatever.
  • Watch out for overlinking. Normally, once in the infobox, once in the lead, and once in the article body is sufficient. However, for longer articles, it's not uncommon to have it wikilinked again several sections down.
  • Don't forget non-breaking spaces between numbers and figures or measurements, like "1.8 million".
  • Unless quotes are involved, there's not really a need to repeat inline citations; just have one at the end of the paragraph or whatever is being referenced.
  • Based on the history of this article, we've consciously tried to provide a specific citation (and when possible, multiple citations) for each and every assertion. Up until about a year and a half ago the article was quite contentious. Given the nature of the group involved, there isn't an official body that can be quoted for beliefs and practices. As a result, the article was quite unstable as editors with different points of view would argue about what "churches of Christ" believe based on what a particular congregation or preacher did or said - in far too many cases it turned into a debate over which belief or practice was "correct," without any regard to how prevalent or characteristic of churches of Christ it really was. The only way we could find to put an end to that was to "over cite" each statement using the best secondary sources we could find. It does tend to break up the flow of the text, but it has seemed to bring stability to the article.EastTN (talk) 15:47, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Unless a quotation itself is a complete sentence, then the end-quotation precedes the end-punctuation.
    • Done (I think). I took a pass through trying to clean up the punctuation at the end of all of the quotations. This one's a challenge to me, because I went to school long enough ago that I learned the older U.S. conventions, so this usage always looks wrong to me.EastTN (talk) 18:23, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
  • In the Congregational autonomy and leadership subsection, (I'm not going to gig on this for GA but may present issues in front of FAC.) the last sentence in the last paragraph, though it's referenced from that passage from Romans, lacks an inline citation. Again, I can clearly see that it's verified, but at FAC, you may get some stingy people complaining about consistency, lack of citation, etc.
    • Done. The verse from Romans really wasn't one of the best ones available for making the point (it has Paul's salutation to all those in Rome "called to be saints"), and I was able to find a CoC source that explicitly says there's no distinction between clergy and laity, that every Christian has a gift, and that they all have a role to play in doing the work of the church. Take a look, but I think this makes the text stronger. EastTN (talk) 00:47, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Remember, when using appositives, they are either set off by commas, endashes with spaces, or with emdashes without spaces. Hyphens are not used to set them off.
  • I also think those images need to be spread out a bit as the images, where they currently, are presenting from problems with layout. MuZemike 20:00, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
    • What would you suggest? Given the nature of the topic, the most obvious images to include were of prominent early leaders. It seemed to make sense to put them in the history section where they were discussed, but that does mean that all of the pictures are bunched together. Would it be too confusing to spread them across the article so they looked better visibly, but weren't as tied as closely to the text? One additional constraint is that, given the objection of members to identifying anyone other than Christ as the "founder," it probably doesn't make sense to put a picture of any early leader at the top of the page - that might be seen as implying a point of view on the issue.EastTN (talk) 22:21, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
      • I've moved Stone's picture down to the race relations section where he's also mentioned to spread things out a bit.EastTN (talk) 15:55, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Also, per MOS:IMAGE (while not a GA issue but will be an issue at FAC), the faces of the people in the images are supposed to be looking toward the text; in the "History in America" section, they're looking away from the text. MuZemike 20:02, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Done. EastTN (talk) 15:55, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
  • You will also need to include alt text in all the images in the article when the article approaches FA. Please follow WP:ALT (a fairly new guideline) for guidelines on how to utilitze alt text for images. MuZemike 17:04, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Done. I've taken a stab at adding alt text to all of the images. EastTN (talk) 18:01, 26 November 2009 (UTC)


I am placing the GA review Symbol wait.svg on hold pending improvements above. As of this timestamp, I am done through the "Beliefs" section. More will be coming, and I will update the above sections as well as down here when I see more issues. MuZemike 21:10, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

  • Update – I'm done through the "History in America" section (though I may have to go back and check a couple extra things as I am kind of pressed for time right now). MuZemike 20:48, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Thank you for taking the time to do such a careful review - and for all the minor fixes you're doing yourself. EastTN (talk) 21:57, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Update – that should be everything. I went through the last section and saw no glaring problems, and I have noted some additional MoS issues above, mostly regarding WP:NPOV issues as far as wording/words to avoid are concerned. MuZemike 20:19, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Everything looks good. Symbol support vote.svg Passed. MuZemike 00:56, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Thanks for all of your help! Do you have any other advice on next steps for the article? EastTN (talk) 02:28, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
      • Well, I cannot catch every little thing with the article, prose, grammar, or MoS-wise. You can always request a peer review of the article through WP:PR or, if your WikiProject has a peer review section, through there. Somebody else can (and probably will) catch things that I did not see in this GAN. If your WikiProject has A-Class, you may also want to consider, in the future, an A-Class assessment if you feel the article is complete and near-FA quality.
One more thing, though. With the images of the luminaries of the Churches of Christ, you may want to consider spreading them out more. One no-no with WP:LAYOUT is to, first, not have text sandwiched between two images or other boxes; and second, to not have images directly below L3 headings (something with that the software doesn't like).
As you get past GA, more attention to detail is needed. When approaching FA, all i's need to be dotted, and all t'd need to be crossed. That is, the prose needs to be polished and ensured that it's written in a professional tone (especially for a topic like this). Double-check the images and make sure they are appropriately and properly tagged, in this case, as public domain or other appropriate license such as CC-BY-SA. If there are other print sources out there that are not referenced in the article that can help out the reader look more into Churches of Christ add them into a "Further reading" section; see WP:FURTHER for more details. Finally, look at other FACs and look at the most common "opposes" and remedy them in this article if need be. Hope that helps out a bit more. MuZemike 16:45, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks - that helps! EastTN (talk) 03:19, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Instrumental or Non-Instrumental

Churches of Christ in the United States is the probably the most comprehensive listing of A Capella congregations in this grouping. In 2009 it delisted some congregations that allegedly were instrumental. Other congregations, that had the same degree of "instrumental" worship were not removed. Was the non-removal due to a lack of knowledge on the part of the editors of that publication, as claimed by the editors of that publication, or were other criteria used to delist the allegedly instrumental congregation, as claimed by some bloggers and pundits? ( partially discusses the issue of "What is the Church of Christ (A Capella)".) There are "instrumental" congregations that self-identify with the "A Capella" group. There are "A Capella" congregations that self-identify with the "Intrumental" group. This specific article is about the A Capella branch, but as one digs into the specific practices of specific congregations, the question of what "Instrumental" and "A Capella" includes, and what they exclude, gets very blurred. jonathon (talk) 15:40, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

It seems to me that this article should cover those "churches of Christ" that separated from the Disciples of Christ in 1906. The Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ are a different group that split off from the Disciples later on. They are sometimes described as Churches of Christ (Instrumental), because other than the use of instruments in worship and participation in an annual conference, they are very similar to the group that split off in 1906. The congregations that this article is talking about (arising from the 1906 split) are often described in contrast as the Churches of Christ (a capella), because they have historically not used instruments in public worship. There are several identifiable subgroups within this fellowship, though, such as the churches of Christ (non-institutional) and a relatively small group of congregations that have begun using musical instruments.
My understanding of this article is that it is intended to describe the broader fellowship of churches of Christ historically associated with the 1906 division of the Restoration Movement. Accordingly, it describes the historical origins, the most common beliefs and practices within the fellowship, and identifies the most significant variations and subgroups. We can add specific articles for those subgroups as needed, along the lines of the article for the churches of Christ (non-institutional). That's why the section on non-instrumental worship says:
"The Churches of Christ generally combine the lack of any historical evidence that the early church used musical instruments in worship and the belief that there is no scriptural support for using instruments in the church's worship service to decide that instruments should not be used today in worship. Churches of Christ have historically practiced a cappella music in worship services . . . There are congregations that permit hand-clapping and musical instruments."
It's intended to cover the general practice while recognizing that some congregations do use instruments.
Your point about the difficulty in sorting out all of the modern divisions among churches with a Restoration Movement heritage is well taken. I think it's probably easiest to keep it all straight if we continue to organize things historically - so we have these "churches of Christ" originating in 1906, the "independent churches of Christ" originating in a later split (1926 or 1968, depending on how you look at things), and the "International Churches of Christ" that split off from the 1906 group during the 1970s.
Does that make sense? EastTN (talk) 20:47, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
I concur with your organization of the major divisions. Jclemens (talk) 23:00, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
EastTN's statement makes sense to me. This article is specifically about the "A Capella" branch. I made this subsection to avoid breaking up the "verifiability concerns" list. The "disputed" statement was/is This is not a formal distinction; church members simply refer to congregations as "instrumental" or "non-instrumental". Richland Hills Church of Christ" --- which probably should have its own wiki article --- _might_ be able to point to verifiable data on "A Capella" congregations that also have an instrumental service. The editors of Churches of Christ in the United States stated that there are individual congregations that are in "no man's land", because they consider themselves to be "A Capella", but utilize instruments. What I haven't seen on the instrumental side, is a list of congregations that don't (¿currently?) use an instrument. The only reason I'm aware that they exist, is that I've seen references to such, in various places. From the outside, the only difference between the two groups, is whether or not they use a musical instrument.jonathon (talk) 19:39, 14 November 2009 (UTC)
That's a good point. It seems to me that a formal historical distinction can be made between the "churches of Christ" and the "Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ," because the former were on one side of the 1906 division and the later were on the other side. There are certainly congregations of the "churches of Christ" that use musical instruments, and it's causing a good bit of consternation. Whether that yet constitutes a "formal" split or not may depend on the eye of the beholder. I wasn't aware that there were congregations of the "Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ" that don't use instruments, but it doesn't really surprise me. I've thought for a long time that if there were any two branches of the Restoration Movement that might come to rapprochement with each other, it would be these two.EastTN (talk) 22:12, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

On-line Documentary

Our congregation received permission to publish the documentary, "Our Restoration Heritage with Dr. Bill Humble" online. You can view it by clicking below. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cherokeeok0817 (talkcontribs) 12:55, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Grape Juice/Wine

If you can dredge up, and read some of the late C19/early C20 Non-Institutional magazines, you'll find some interesting material on whether grape juice, or wine should be used. I don't know if church of Christ (Wine) ever "formally" existed, but prior to Prohibition, there were some congregations that would have termed themselves as such, with the rest being church of Christ (Grape Juice). jonathon (talk) 19:31, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

From what I've read, a few do still use wine, but I've never personally encountered that. I've never read anything to suggest that they consider themselves to be a separate fellowship, though. Do you get the sense that it's a significant issue? EastTN (talk) 21:29, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Grape Juice/Wine is a dead issue, killed off by Prohibition. I brought it up mainly as an example of how the splits occurred --- what is required to differentiate between a "distinct fellowship", and a congregation, or group of them, that departs from the rest in one specific thing.jonathon (talk) 20:32, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Agreed, and it is a good example. I did find one source that suggests there are still a few out there, but it can't be very many (at least, in the U.S.). Did they start throwing anathema's at each other, and refusing to recognize each other? My sense is that those are the things that distinguish a separate fellowship; one side starts saying "you're not really one of us" rather than "our congregation looks at it (or does it) this way." EastTN (talk) 17:19, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
The anathemas may only need to flow one way. Typically, (but not universally) more liberal/progressive congregtions will accept more conservative folks as valid, but not the other way around. Jclemens (talk) 20:20, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree with that, too. My sense is that the side - whichever one it may be - that sees a particular issue as a moral one, or a matter of fidelity to the will of God, finds it difficult or impossible to accept something that they see as immoral or a refusal to accept God's will.
I'm beginning to think that jonathon's question about how we define a "distinct fellowship" is deeper than I'd originally realized. It's pretty clear that the Disciples/churches of Christ split was deep and fundamental - both sides would say "no, that's different group" about the other. Not only are there differences in local congregational practices, but there's a completely different approach to church organization and, I think it's safe to say, some significant doctrinal differences as well. The churches of Christ/International Church of Christ split seems to be equally significant, if of more recent vintage (though there are still some efforts to achieve some sort of restoration of unity).
I don't see the many communion cups vs. one communion cup difference among churches of Christ being of the same level. To me, that's a distinct or identifiable subgroup within the churches of Christ. But people might still read some of the same brotherhood periodicals, there will still be some contact between ministers, and there might be some contact and mutual recognition between congregations - at least on an informal level. If nothing else, at the member in the pew level, someone might say "yeah, my sister's family goes to a one-cup congregation" but I don't think they'd go so far as to say "she's not a member of the church." I don't think the institutional/non-institutional split has gone quite that far either, though there has been some bad blood on both sides.
That distinction between a "split" and a "distinct" whatever it is (subgoup? fellowship?) still seems a bit fuzzy to me, though. Perhaps the test is whether one side or the other would say about a family member associated with the other side "he/she is a member of the church" or "he/she is not a member of the church." Is it fair to say you have a split if either side would say "is not," and a distinct fellowship if both sides would say "is" (regardless of how many caveats or buts they added behind the "is a member of the church")? —Preceding unsigned comment added by EastTN (talkcontribs) 14:49, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
I'd suggest that the institutional/non-institutional split is at least as deep as the instrumental/non-instrumental split. Consider the usage of the term "antis" as a demonstration of that split.jonathon (talk) 11:55, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Historically, the first splits were congregations that would later be classified as "non-institutional. Had these congregations been less militantly autonomous, and had slightly greater numbers, they would have been listed as a separate congregation prior to 1900.jonathon (talk) 11:55, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
You may be right. Certainly the issue is a deep one - and the moniker "anti" is truly unfortunate. I does seem to me that there may be some subtle differences between the institutional/non-institutional dispute and the instrumental/non-instrumental dispute. While they both deal with questions of what the Bible permits (or, at the very least, what it is prudent and appropriate for the church to do given the teaching and example of the New Testament church), the institutional question deals with what a congregation can or should do with its funds, while the instrumental question deals with how worship is conducted. As a practical matter, that means that whichever position I hold on contributing church money to an educational or other institution, I can comfortably worship with a congregation taking the other view when I'm traveling or visiting family (though it may affect how comfortable I am making a contribution to the congregation while I'm there). In fact, unless I make a point of asking, I may not know which view the congregation holds unless I'm there for a while and get involved. The same isn't true true for the instrumental/non-instrumental question - if I believe it's wrong to use instrumental music in worship, I won't feel comfortable worshiping in a congregation where instruments are used. That seems to create a stronger barrier against fellowship between congregations. Differences over how congregations spend the money in their treasuries don't seem to hamper fellowship between congregations to quite the same extent. EastTN (talk) 23:40, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
There is far more to the institutional/non-institutional split than finances. I will grant that the casual observer won't recognize those effects, as readily as they recognize the effects of the instrumental/A Capella split.jonathon (talk) 11:47, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
There is now, but the original dispute was over congregational support for such things as educational institutions and charitable organizations. Some of the older material I've read is from representatives of the non-institutional view who are almost pleading with supporters of these institutions, asking why congregational contributions are necessary in addition to support from individual Christians, and arguing that since the issue was driving a wedge between congregations, it would be better to just not do it (if nothing else, as a concession to avoid offending fellow Christians). Since that time, the two groups have grown further apart, which is unfortunate. But my sense is that even today none of the differences touch the issues of how one becomes a Christian or how Christians conduct their worship when they meet together. Those are the foundational requirements for casual fellowship between congregations. Neither side has to feel like they are somehow sinning by participating in the worship when they visit a service at a congregation with the other view, or that they are somehow compromising the Bible when they recognize the members of that congregation as fellow Christians (even if they do think the other congregation is mistaken on these particular issues). I think that's why all the reference materials I've seen treat the institutional/non-institutional groups as subsets within the churches of Christ, rather than as a separate fellowship (as they do the International Churches of Christ or the Disciples of Christ). EastTN (talk) 15:32, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
There were two major waves that created what now constitute "non-institutional churches. The first one was before 1900, and picked up mutual edification, no Sunday school, and similar groups. The second one was roughly between WW2 and 1960. The first wave is where most of the distinct fellowships evolved. This is where CoC theology is hard to grok.
But my sense is ... how Christians conduct their worship when they meet together. Not to the same extent as Instrumental/A Capella. (Those are more likely to be found in the other distinct fellowships.) The differences are found in how the congregation organizes itself. The Soteriology is more or less the same--- no more different than any two randomly selected A Cappela congregations. jonathon (talk) 02:58, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm almost a year too late, but I'd note the above is incorrect. The one-cup group is as distinct from the NI group as the NI group is from institutional churches. The reason one-cup churches are effectively "non-institutional" is that institutionalism only came into existence (at least in any meaningful way) long after the one-cup churches divided themselves from the rest. Not sure of the origins of this urban legend (though I have some suspicions), but there's a treatment of it on the NI churches page. Jdb1972 (talk) 00:14, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
I think that's right. The soteriology is very similar, as are the worship services. I'd suggest that, for now , at least, we continue to treat them as an identifiable subset of the churches of Christ rather than as a completely separate deal. It may not be perfect, but that's how it's treated by all the histories I've been able to find. EastTN (talk) 16:30, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
The more I look at this, the more I think that a diagram might be useful here. One axis is Mutual Edification/Disciples of Christ and the other axis is A Capella/Instrumental. I know I can plot specific congregations along those dimensions.I'm not sure if I can do it for the groups as a whole. I'll also point out that this plotting would constitute WP:OR.jonathon (talk) 22:35, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
Just to confuse you, I have run into individual congregations that had no musical instrument, but were not affiliated with the A Capella branch. Reasons for this state of affairs varied, but generally boiled down to either a lack of funds, or lack of permanent space. (Natural disasters can have weird side effects.)jonathon (talk) 22:35, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
... And I know plenty of folks who have no doctrinal problem with instrumental music, but choose to worship in a cappella churches for various reasons. There will always be outliers in any etymology, especially of any group that holds that each individual should be able to study the scriptures and come to his or her own conclusion. Jclemens (talk) 22:53, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
That's what happens when you take congregational autonomy seriously. And to follow up on your comment that some congregations that don't use instruments are "not affiliated with the A Capella branch" and throw some confusion back at you, real congregational autonomy makes it very hard to define what affiliated means. There aren't any formal organizational ties, so you have to look to other things. In practical terms, I think affiliation may be best defined based on two criteria: 1) operationally, measuring informal ties based on the extent to which congregations have contact with each other (e.g., their members move back and forth, they invite each others' ministers to preach, read the same periodicals, hire ministers from the same schools, go to each others' gospel meetings, link to each others' websites, etc.) and 2) categorically, measuring similarity based on the extent to which they teach the same things and have the same practices.
. . . and to trade back another anecdote, I know of one professing Catholic who attends an a capella church of Christ. She began attending with her husband, but when he gradually stopped attended church, she kept coming because she'd gotten involved in the life of the congregation (she handles all the church's insurance issues now, and helps manage the food pantry for the benevolent work) - but if you ask her what her religion is, she'll say "Catholic." Go figure.
I do think you're correct in noting that there's more than one doctrinal axis involved. I would make one axis congregational autonomy and non-denominationalism versus organizational unity and ecumenism; another would be the relative importance placed on New Testament patterns; a third might be the degree of literalism with which the New Testament is interpreted. My guess is that my grid might look very much like yours, but I'd try to over-complicate it. It would be really nice if we could find a source for that sort of visual. I haven't seen anything so far, though. EastTN (talk) 15:49, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
I think it's a largely based on the interpretation of those doctrines. From one point, a historical perspective states that wine was the only method to preserve grape juice at the time of Jesus. There was no canning, bottling, or refrigeration. All of the key symbolisms that make up the wine structure around the juice aspect. The fermentation into wine was just the common method to preserve juice for shipment. Of course, then you do have traditionalism of trying to stay as close to possible to the original actions, as it is an act of rememberance. Of course almost no congregations use common Jewish wine as would be used at the last supper. Specifically, it would have been Passover wine, which I'm sure you can look up in the Jewish segment for Passover. —Preceding unsigned comment added by RuediiX (talkcontribs) 04:22, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I would seriously consider returning to the Churches of Christ if they'd bust out a bottle of Manischewitz every now and again in the fellowship hall . . . and sing the old songs . . . and not be so sexist and homophobic and monochromatic. Oh, well, never mind. I'll stick with agnosticism.
Historically, the shift to grape juice (un-fermented wine) occurred during, and was associated with, the temperance movement in the U.S. This was a broad shift, cutting across denominational lines and affecting many other groups (such as the Baptists). One concern that's often expressed is that the use of fermented wine would pose a challenge to those members of the congregation who may be recovering alcoholics. It's my understanding, though, that there are a few congregations that do use kosher wine in communion. EastTN (talk) 19:21, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Plan of Salvation and Role of Baptism

I've spent a good bit of time trying to flesh out the section on the doctrine of salvation, and particularly the role of baptism, because it's such a central teaching for the churches of Christ.

Do we have this covered reasonably well now? Is there anything obvious missing? The one thing that occurs to me might be a little more detailed discussion of the "five step plan of salvation" - it's something most people who've come in contact with the churches of Christ will have heard of, and it might be useful to describe how it originated as a mnemonic used by preachers in sermons and gospel meetings. That would add a paragraph or two, though, and might require breaking the section up into subsections. I'm not sure how to do that cleanly, though. Maybe by having a main section, then a subsection for the "five steps" and a subsection for the role of baptism is salvation?

Or would we be better off leaving it alone? I don't know how critical talking about the five steps really is. EastTN (talk) 21:09, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

What you have is comprehensive, well sourced, and accurately represents my understanding of both the current thinking and historical conflcits over baptism. I do worry that the tone might be a bit too oriented towards Christian readers, and that it might be better to copyedit what you have, probably by generally expanding it, to make it more accessible to people without a background in American protestant Christianity. Does that make sense? Jclemens (talk) 21:15, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, that does make a lot of sense to me - I needed that "second set of eyes" insight! I'll probably let the section sit for a couple of days, and then come back to it with (I hope) a little fresher point of view. EastTN (talk) 21:41, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

If we left out the "five steps", we take out the essence of main teaching mnemonic of the churches of Christ. I encourage everyone to leave it in. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mark0880 (talkcontribs) 15:31, 24 April 2012 (UTC) Oops forgot to sign: Mark0880. --Mark0880 (talk) 15:47, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

That section "Because of the belief that baptism is a necessary part of salvation, some Baptists hold that the Churches of Christ endorse the doctrine of baptismal regeneration...." seems incongruent in the section. The Baptist denomination has nothing to offer in the churches of Christ Baptism paragraph. What any denomination thinks or feels about this section is not germaine to the discussion AT ALL. - Mark0880 --Mark0880 (talk) 15:47, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Also, the sentence, "While Churches of Christ do not describe baptism as a "sacrament", their view of it can legitimately be described as "sacramental"" is not germaine to the discussion of the section. The word "sacrament" is not in the bible, and is not used in the churches of Christ. I suggest that this sentence be left out or put in some section like arguments against baptism, or something to that effect. It doesnt fit here. - Mark0880 --Mark0880 (talk) 15:47, 24 April 2012 (UTC)


Why has this become "top" priority? I can see "high", but it's just a moderate sized, primarily American, protestant denomination. Jclemens (talk) 05:10, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't know why it was prioritized that way. I wonder if it might be because the churches of Christ represent a theological view that's distinct from the Calvinist, Lutheran and Wesleyan traditions? EastTN (talk) 18:55, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
I went back and looked at the list of "top" priority Christianity "good articles" and compared it to the list of "high" priority Christianity "good articles." In general, it does appear that the "top" priority articles are ones that should have a higher priority than the "high" priority articles - so the relative ranking seemed o.k. to me. But, looking at them I do wonder if we're getting some "priority inflation" with the good articles. Just for kicks, I looked at the Featured articles, and the "priority inflation" seems even stronger there. Anne Hutchinson is a top-importance, featured article for Wikiproject Christianity, as is George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore. Both of these people are undoubtedly important, but are they really at the top of the list of the most significant people in the development of Christianity? Similarly, the Catholic doctrine regarding the Ten Commandments is a high-importance featured article. Again, not an insignificant subject, but not one of the first things the average reader needs to know to understand Christianity. Perhaps this is natural, though, and not all that bad. Once an article has reached a certain level of quality, perhaps it makes sense to give it a bit more priority. Anyway, I agree with you - I personally would have ranked this one as "high" rather than "top" priority. But ranking it as a "top" priority does not appear inconsistent with the rankings given other Wikiproject Chrisitianty Good Articles and Featured Articles. EastTN (talk) 15:43, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Redundant repetition

At the end of the intro this sentence includes both "the New Testament", and "scriptural". "They believe that the New Testament expresses how a person may become a Christian (and thus a part of the universal Church of Christ) and how a church should be collectively organized and carry out its scriptural purposes." The second reference to the scriptures should be deleted. Markewilliams (talk) 23:04, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

The word "scriptural" is intended to define what kind of church "purposes" are under discussion. Church organizations have, in different times and places, taken on a variety of purposes (such as advancing particular political positions or parties) that are only tenuously related (at best) to scripture. EastTN (talk) 19:59, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

About the recent changes in the paragraph “Work of the Holy Spirit.”

Recently, some passages from the Scriptures have been added at the end of the paragraph “Work of the Holy Spirit.” Although the Holy Spirit is mentioned in those passages, how do they relate to the paragraph in particular? —The Sackinator (talk) 01:56, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

As I see it, they don't, and unless some sourced relationship is found and included, I propose they be removed from the paragraph. —ADavidB 07:41, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
I agree, unless there is a relationship, of course. As of now, though, I don't see one. —The Sackinator (talk) 17:46, 23 October 2013 (UTC)