"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VIII No.I Pg.12a
June 1945

Is The Church Of Christ A Denomination?

A. B. Keenan

Don't turn in impatience from another consideration of this question, dear reader, because you consider it unutterably trite. We wish it were "trite" and answered negatively forever. But certain trends among immersed believers in Christ have brought the subject to the fore again, and if you can "hear us of your clemency a few words," you will find, we are confident, that you have not been bored by a twice-told tale.

Whether or not the church of Christ is a denomination among denominations depends altogether upon circumstances.

It is a denomination if it is characterized by one or all of the following attributes:

1. A date for its founding previous to or later than Pentecost, A. D. 30.

2. A name unknown to the New Testament.

3. Terms of admission which do not coincide with faith, repentance, confession, and immersion.

4. Innovations in worship (they may range from pageantry and incense burning to the use of mechanical musical instruments).

5. Unscriptural methods of spreading the gospel.

6. Preachers who affiliate themselves with undeniable and undenying denominationalists in "ministerial alliances" and "union meetings."

7. Preachers who by word or deed, or both, imply, if they do not overtly assert, that the church has been too extreme and needs to get closer to the "middle of the board." Surely they have been thinking of the church largely in terms of its being a sect which needs to get along with other sects amicably. If this has not been their thought, then they have been unfair in encouraging out-and-out denominationalists to believe that we are ready to concede that our position is not all that the scriptures would have it.

8. Preachers who leave that which is clearly revealed for that which can be understood only with the aid of their own ex cathedra utterances, the denial of the legality of which leads them to brand the rest of us as "rejecters of the whole counsel of God."

The church of Christ is not a denomination if

1. Its history can be traced back through secular and sacred history to, but not beyond, Pentecost in the year of our Lord 30.

2. Its members are called "Christian" without any kind of sectarian prefix or suffix.

3. Its name honors Christ and helps that giving of preeminence to him which Paul enjoins.

4. Its members are immersed believers in him..

5. They follow a "thus saith the Lord" for everything they do in worship or work.

6. They respect the silence of the Word both with respect to this worship and work and to God's handling of the future.

7. They cherish and hand down to their children the things which have been revealed, and leave to God's interpretation in his own good time the things which are obscure.

8. They demand that the only "getting together" with professors of religion of any kind or degree be strictly on the basis of the New Testament Scriptures.

9. They do not stultify themselves by hobnobbing, fraternizing, handshaking, backslapping, stomach stuffing, tiptoeing, tap dancing, teeter tottering, or wire walking.