What Does The Church of Christ Teach?
I have often been asked; "What does the Church of Christ teach…" on a specific question. The thrust of the question is based upon the thought of doctrine or dogma (an official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behavior, etc., as of a church) emanating from the church of Christ. This question should be answered from the standpoint of understanding God's authority first.
The church of Christ doesn't legislate any teaching; all teaching is from God- Matthew 18:18, II Timothy 3:16-17, and II Peter 1:19-21. As an individual Christian, I can give an answer to a question based upon my understanding of the scriptures, but I don't speak for the church or any other brother. God speaks forth His word through the Bible, and we are individually to come to an understanding of His will. Men have imposed catechisms, manuals and doctrines to set forth a dogma of teaching for a religious group. God has spoken forth His will in the Bible, which is not closed or legislated by any men- I Peter 4:11. Whatever the question may be by a person asking; "What does the Church of Christ teach…" must be addressed “that answers come from God, not the church.” Some might point out what Paul states in Ephesians 3:10 "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God," to say that the church does teach. What Paul is saying is that the church is the evidence of God's manifold wisdom. The saved are added to the church by God (Acts 2:42, 47). All, no matter race or gender, have been given the grace of God in being part of it (Galatians 3:26-28). All can be called sons, children, heirs and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14-16). All, no matter what they have done in the past, can be forgiven (I Corinthians 6:9-11). In all of this, God's manifold (multi-faceted) wisdom is seen or shown forth to the world through the church, sinners are forgiven, and hope of glory is promised (Colossians 1:27) to the obedient. Paul is not saying that any preacher or church speaks ex cathedra (from the seat of authority; with authority).
Concerning authority, no man save Christ has ever had authority (Matthew 28:18), not the prophets, apostles or inspired men or women. The Old Law was known as the Law of Moses, but only in the sense that Moses was the mediator of it, and it came through him (John 7:16-19, John 1:17). The apostles did not have authority; they were authorized in their work and word by God (Acts 11:17).
The church of Christ has no dogma. We have the teaching of God's word through the Bible. If we lose sight of this, we make ourselves a church stylized after men's wisdom and not God's manifold wisdom.
- Garren Stroud