The denomination known as "Church of Christ" is a fundamentalist Protestant group that arose out of the Restoration movement in the 19th century. Individual churches are completely autonomous, and are governed by a board of elders. Most churches do not use instrumental music in their services and do not allow women to participate in the church services, although a few do.

The thing that always separated the Church of Christ from other mainstream religions was the often expressed belief that no one would be found in heaven aside from those who were members of the Church of Christ. This belief puts these particular Christians in a position of being among the most intolerant of any believers in Christ.

I don't think Christ would have cared much for them, but don't try telling them that. Their veins bulge in their necks and their eyes become blood red when confronted with any sacrilege. They give Christians a bad name, and I have yet to have one of them give me a good explanation of why a musical instrument cannot be allowed in church.

The autonomous churches that identify with the Church of Christ are seen as intolerant, sometimes because certain members are really are intolerant bigots, but often just because they have a different paradigm. The idea is pretty basic, that when the church was being built in the New Testament, there was only one church mentioned, and it contained all the saved.

The different paradigm, that causes so much misunderstanding, is that churches of Christ see themselves as the same as what is mentioned in the New Testament. This does not involve some long, winding organizational linkage to the original church, but rather the idea that the gospel is a seed (Lu 8:11), and the church is the same as the original, as long as it is based on the New Testament in the Bible and nothing more. Bible teaching is a high priority, and the result is a lot of members who are able to quote a lot of Bible verses. (This is also the reason for not having instrumental music, or choirs, basketball courts, etc.)

Another result of this different way of looking at things is the perceived intolerance of other Christian groups--member of most Protestant Denominations will generally agree that only those who are members of the church in the Bible, are going to heaven.

1: The mainstream Churches of Christ are a mostly harmless denomination of Christianity.

2: The less-than-sane International Churches of Christ are a branch of the above, founded by Kip McKean. The ICoC is also known as the Boston Church of Christ, the Crossroads movement, Campus Advance (as a college club), the UpsideDown Club (a youth movement), and various other names. The ICoC is considered by many to be a cult, though I that term is misused, IMHO. I prefer to call it a "pseudo-Christian desreuctive religious group"

Traditionally known as a stiff, non-tolerarant denomination that believed that any other christian denomination was going to hell along with non-christian religions. Churches of Christ like that exist to this day, but are becoming rarer.

Many Churches of Christ are now much more accepting and tolerant than they used to be. There are many loving and caring Churches of Christ that are trying to break away from the old stereotype.

The stereotype that Church of Christ people don't allow instumental music in church is also being fought against. Many will tell you that it's not that instruments are "not allowed", but just that tradition dictates a capella only worship. Yes, there are many who are old-school about it, but there are many more who are fine with it, but understand that it is because of tradition.

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