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Religion Library: Disciples of Christ

Quick Facts

Formed1832 CE
OriginUnited States
DeityGod (Trinity)
Sacred TextsBible
HeadquartersIndianapolis, IN USA

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), as it is formally recognized, is a mainline Protestant denomination originating from the American revival movements in the early 19th century. Also known as the Stone-Campbell Movement, or the Restoration Movement, the early history of the Disciples of Christ is also shared with two other branches of the movement, the Churches of Christ and the independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ. In 1832, two separate revival groups, one led by Barton Stone and another by Thomas and Alexander Campbell united to form The Christian Church. As a "restoration" movement, they wanted to lose all of the baggage associated with denominationalism (such as creeds and ecclesial hierarchy) and return to the original order of the church found in the 1st century Church as described in the New Testament. Their ultimate goal to unite all churches based on New Testament faith and practice. Even though the new denomination spread rapidly throughout the American frontier, it made little impact in unifying the various denominations. In 1906, The Christian Church divided into two branches over disagreements around the use of instrumental music in worship. The a cappella churches were labeled "Church of Christ." In 1927, another split occurred and the more conservative Independent Christian Churches/Church of Christ branch was formed. Like other Free Church Protestant denominations, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) maintains autonomous local churches that are congregationally governed. Most Disciples of Christ worship services consist of singing, prayer, a sermon, and weekly observance of the Lord's Supper.


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