Community Christian Church is part of a nondenominational fellowship of Christian Churches and Churches of Christ.  We are sometimes called the Restoration Movement because of our plea to restore unity in the church by a return to the teachings of the New Testament.   In America, with over 3,000 different denominations, finding a church home is a difficult task at best.  The confusion is overwhelming.  Our answer is to go past the creeds, confessions, and denominations of today and simply return to the time in history when there was only one church—the church described in the New Testament.  

This first church began in 30 AD on the Day of Pentecost when Peter preached the very first sermon (Acts 2).  In those early years, guided by the Apostles and kept pure by persecution from both the Jews and the Romans, this church experienced a remarkable period of growth, purity and simplicity.  The New Testament tells us about Jesus Christ, how He established his church, how it grew, and records the letters of the Apostles to some of these individual congregations.  These early Christians spread the Good News of Jesus everywhere they went, by their words, and by their lives and behavior (Romans 8:29).  

Around 323 AD, the Roman Empire made Christianity not only legal, but mandatory of all its citizens.  Many people became involved with the church who may have not even known Jesus Christ!  The simplicity of the early church was changed into an elaborate system of doctrines, creeds and confessions.  The informal worship and fellowship of the early church was changed into a complex system of rituals and regulations.  Great cathedrals replaced the intimacy of private homes.  A “religion” was established, and a “relationship” with Jesus was lost. 

Trapped in these external forms of a religion, many people were no longer interested in living like Jesus.  History reminds us of the chaos and confusion that resulted from this tragic period.   During the 1500s godly men tried to reform this corrupted state of the church.  Men like Martin Luther, John Calvin and, later, John Wesley gave noble attempts to reform this huge political organization.  Even from within the Catholic Church itself men sought to bring it back in line with their biblical heritage.  But rather than restore unity, these efforts led to more divisions within the church. 

The roots of most American denominations go back to this turbulent period of history that we call the Reformation. Many different denominations came to America, most for religious freedom.  But, in America, they tended to be very hostile to each other.  There was very little unity on the American Frontier!  In the 1800s, several men, Thomas Campbell, Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell, believed that unity could be returned to the church, not by reforming denominations, but by restoring in each congregation the simple and pure teachings of the New Testament.  They did not seek to start another church, but their radical willingness to be “Christians only, but not the only Christians” soon excluded them from existing churches.   As the Christian Church we have the distinction of being the first indigenous church in America, although we would quickly respond that we had no intention of being, or ever becoming a denomination. 

In the early 1900s our movement was the fastest growing church in America.  People were excited to discover that they could understand God's Word for themselves and realize that God loved them!     Today we have about two million members in over 6,000 local congregations.  We have no denominational headquarters, but support some 38 colleges and seminaries, send some 1,000+ missionaries around the world and sponsor 1,000+ benevolent institutions and parachurch agencies within the United States.   

Today, many movements seek a return to the church of the New Testament.  As the first church to champion this cause in America, we welcome their vision and want to partner with them to become Christians only, but not the only Christians!  After all, it has to be about Jesus, not denominational loyalty.   Our Guiding Principles: "To restore unity in the church by a return to the simplicity and purity of the New Testament Church.  To require for membership only what Christ requires for salvation.  To speak only where the Bible speaks; to speak the truth in love.  To be Christians only, but not the only Christians.  In essentials, unity;  in opinions, liberty;  in all things, love."  
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