The Christian Church: From Heaven or of Men?

Harrell Davidson

The Disciples of Christ was officially formed and became a denomination in 1968 though there was a liberal movement within the First Christian Church as early as the 1920 era. Both the First Christian and The Disciples of Christ on various websites falsely claim association with churches of Christ, even to this day.

The First Christian Church began more than anything else over the use of instrumental music in worship. Other departures soon came, such as the missionary society. Even more liberalism followed with many advertising a “traditional worship” at 8:45 with Bible Classes at 9:30 and a “modern worship” at 10:30. These groups are more in line with The Disciples of Christ church than they are with any other mainline First Christian Churches.

Both of these groups claim a kinship with churches of Christ. However, when an individual, or individuals, forsake the Holy Scriptures, they have left the Lord and His church and started a movement that is not approved by the Savior and is not then the true Lord’s church. There are certain commands to be obeyed to be a part of the body of Christ and certain avenues of worship that He has ordained. Where these are not followed then one might say that “one church is as good as another” which is the thinking of a large segment of society today. It is true that the First Christian Church left the churches of Christ and formed another body not approved of God. They have denominated themselves like the church in Corinth did in the first century. Paul, the apostle, wrote about that failure in 1 Cor. 1:10-13:

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

The Disciples of Christ may have originally gone out from among the church of Christ but they are not affiliated with the Lord’s church in any manner under the sun. Churches of Christ have no headquarters on earth while The Disciples of Christ have their headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana where they have their annual convention. Let us hear from the general minister and president of The Disciples of Christ, headquartered in Indianapolis. Notice this from their president and leader:

Dear Church

We are approaching Easter, a time when faith communities and families gather to celebrate the joy that we have in the saving grace and resurrection of Jesus. We are also distinctly aware of new life with the signs of spring surrounding us in God’s good creation.

I love this text from the book of Job. In chapter 14, verses 7-9, it says, “There is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again…and though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant.” There are those who would say that our experiment of covenantal structures and diverse belief is passe and obsolete, but I respectfully beg to differ. The text of Job proclaims that at the very SCENT of water, new life and new growth is possible! Your faith, indeed you, are that scent of water, standing and persevering wherever you are, still trusting and believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and in the power of that gospel to transform lives.

I have seen grass roots efforts to speak up with the poor just as Jesus did. I have seen faith communities reach out with kindness to those on the margins, just as Jesus commanded in Matthew 25. Our work together through regional and general ministries touches people all across the U.S., Canada and, indeed, the globe with the message of hope that is ours in Christ Jesus.

I want you to know that I have confidence in you, Disciples of Christ! More importantly, I have confidence in God, who has begun this work in and among us, and who will complete it! I have seen the passion with which you serve your communities. God is not finished with us. As long as we abide in God, persisting in sharing the love God shows us through Christ Jesus, we can live; we can thrive.

We have another opportunity to gather as a faith community in Des Moines this summer. There we can see and demonstrate how the unity of our whole church matters. The rich diversity of our church means that while we are united in love, we are not uniform in how we live out our call. Whether you are able to attend or not, I invite you to spend some time in the Word with the Bible studies available from the General Assembly website ( “Abide in me,” Jesus says, and you will bring forth good fruit.

You are a Church—a movement—whose time has come, Disciples. You can show this fragmented world what it is like to live together, united in our love for Jesus. We can show the world that when we walk together, even when we disagree, we make the most powerful witness to the love of Christ for us all.

With joy and love

Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens

General Minister and President


There you have the facts gleaned from their own website. Yes, they have a president of the society under which they now function in the guise of Christianity and their president and general minister is a woman, further violating many passages of scripture such as 1 Timothy 2 :12: “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Teresa Hord Owens violates this passage in every way imaginable. There is no “general minister” or “president” of the Lord’s church upon this earth. But notice further:

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is a Protestant Christian denomination in the United States in the Reformed tradition with historical ties to the Restoration Movement.[1] The Disciples of Christ denomination officially was chartered in 1968, as it developed as a splinter from the non-denominational Christian Church. Within the Christian Church, from the 1920s forward, a segment moved in the direction of more liberal Protestant theology and acceptance of biblical criticism. This segment eventually developed a denominational structure and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was established in 1968. Although the Disciples denomination has historical ties in the Restoration Movement with non-denominational Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, it is now more akin to Protestant denominations from Reformation heritage.

It is often referred to as The Christian Church, The Disciples of Christ, or as The Disciples. The Christian Church was a charter participant in the formation of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and of the Federal Council of Churches (now the National Council of Churches), and it continues to be engaged in ecumenical conversations


The Disciples of Christ are ecumenical in that they are affiliated with most all religious institutions on the earth and have fellowship with them in what they call “communion around the table” meaning that all religious groups can come and share the Lord’s Supper as a sign of their fellowship together. They further say,

Disciples have given leadership to the establishment of Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A. (CCT) that brings together Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Evangelicals and Pentecostal Christians to seek to make a common witness in the United States. The Rev. Richard L. Hamm, former General Minister and President, was CCT’s first full-time executive.

Thus, it makes no difference what one believes (meet around the communion table) they can be united with The Disciples of Christ Church. No one is left out of their circle, even one female who calls herself “pastor” who supports Planned Parenthood, thus arguing for abortion—murder of babies.

Additionally, they have a missionary society which is governed by a board of directors that makes decisions as to what work will or will not be done, to which each Disciples church sends money and headquarters determines where the money will go. None of these churches have any say as to where or how those funds will be used. They have created a monstrosity within the church that is almost bigger than the church itself, and without any Bible authority.

The Disciples of Christ are so far removed from the truth that pages could be written showing their fallacy.

First, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 John 1:5-6). From the very few things we have mentioned in this article these two passages make a strong statement. Due to the Disciples’ failure in faithfully following the Scriptures they say they have God but note what God says about them in verse 6—they “lie and do not the truth.”.

Disciples are not in fellowship with God due to their unscriptural practices. We note: “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 9-11). “Transgress” means to go beyond. Disciples go beyond the teaching of God’s Word. They are in clear opposition His Word when they are in fellowship with almost every denomination in society.

Second, their use of instrumental music is worship is a violation of Scripture. “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19). “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16). In the personal ministry of our Lord: “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives” (Matt. 26:30). There is not one scintilla of Scripture to support any mechanical instrument in attempts to worship God. Neither is there any choir in the New Testament. Congregations sing from the hear,t not group singings, humming quartets, solos etc. No mechanical instrument of music is authorized in the Scriptures.

Third, the Lord’s church of which we read in the New Testament has no earthly headquarters. Disciples have their headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. There is no president or vice-president or other chain of officers over any convention among God’s faithful people. Paul said to the church at Ephesus, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). No eldership was over more than the local congregation and was thus independent of any other congregation of the Lord’s people. Jesus Christ is the head of the church as we note, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body” (Eph. 5:23).

Last, there is no mention in the Word of God about a missionary society of any kind. Local elderships are authorized only to make decisions as to the work that the local congregation will support afar. Each congregation in the New Testament was separate from all of the others. Local congregations may scripturally send support to another congregation as the apostle Paul did among Gentile congregations collecting funds for the poor in Jerusalem. “But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem” (Rom. 15: 25-26).

One would be wise to turn away from any denomination—church—that does not follow the Holy Scriptures for they—the Scriptures—will judge us in the last day. “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). They have rejected God and have not received His Word. The Disciples of Christ (Christian Church) is not from God, but of men.

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