Why I’m a Member of the Church of Christ
Our identity—who we are and what we are about is realized by remembrances of the important people and events of our past. There is a lot about our past that we allow ourselves to forget. We actually are very selective about what we remember from our past and we combine our current experiences which we highlight or diminish in order to fashion a coherent story of our lives. This is not an attempt to be dishonest; and the majority of this work is done without our intentional awareness, it is simply an effort on our part to make sense of our past along with our present in order to forge a purposeful future.
It is important that we remember our religious history in Churches of Christ. For example, Alexander Campbell, Barton W. Stone along with many others worked for and sacrificed to bring about unity among all Christians. Obviously they were limited in how far they accomplished that goal. But it is a worthy goal which we should continue to work toward because it is the desire and prayer of our Lord offered in John 17. That’s one of the reasons why I’m a member of the Church of Christ—I want to build up not tear down the church which Jesus died in order to save!
There are people in my past who represent a bent toward “tearing down” the church on the one hand, and others who I remember “building up” the church by their general character and demeanor as well as particular actions and behaviors. I remember Batsell Barrett Baxter as a builder of the kingdom. In the middle of a circus of people who were accusing him of being a liberal and a compromiser of truth (offenses intended to portray him as tearing down the church), he stood before them to speak at the Freed-Hardeman Lectureship, instead of returning their criticism with criticism and rancor with rancor he instead gently but firmly reminded everyone that our mission as members of the Church of Christ requires us to be bigger than personal opinions and petty jealousies even when we think they are more than that, and put Christ and the cross (that is, the good news of salvation) in front of the men and women who do not yet know him as their Lord and Savior.
It is people like that who I remember and admire and cause me to claim with some pride that I too am a member of the Church of Christ.