Wouldn’t it be great to be truly non-denominational? What if our Church of Christ stream of the Christian faith took our stance on autonomous congregations seriously? What if this philosophy—no, most of us would probably label it a theology—of autonomy were upheld in practice the same way we preach it in theory?
What if our flashing sign out on Mid-Cities Boulevard one morning began proclaiming “Legacy Church of Christ: A Non-Denominational Community Church”?
It’s everything we claim to be. It’s everything they tell me we aspire to be. But I’d never get away with putting it on the sign.
It’s a dream of mine that the congregation of believers at Legacy, and all families of disciples, would be guided by Christ and his Word, not ever by outside forces. Not by other congregations. Not by other denominations. Not by other faiths. Certainly not by the world and its standards and beliefs and practices. We’d have to jump totally off the A-B Line way of thinking to ever make that happen. And we can’t do that overnight. It’s going to take some time. It’s going to take an intentional shift in our thinking and our practices.
Some of our number glory in the recent decision by 21st Century Christian to remove from a Church of Christ directory 21 congregations who’ve added an instrumental worship assembly on Sunday morning. And they completely miss the irony when I say, “Well, somebody’s got to draw those lines if we’re going to be a real denomination!” Our brothers Stone and Campbell must be spinning.
Is autonomy important or not?
Yes. I think it’s important. I think it’s critical. I think it’s biblical. I think it’s theological. I think we’ve got a long, long way to go.
I appreciate my friend Jim Gardner’s comments related to my plea that we don’t skip our Christian worship assemblies to watch the Super Bowl. I think we ignore the impact we’re having on our children and our neighbors when we make these kinds of choices. They’re not dumb. They see very well the message we believe and the message we’re sending. Whether it’s staying home to watch a TV show or taking our kids to their Sunday morning soccer game, what we’re saying is this: church is important, of course it’s important; it’s just not as important as this TV program or your ball game.