A Sisterhood of Churches

Floyd Chappelear
Hazelwood, Missouri

All the passages of scripture that come to mind that deal with the perplexing problem of unity indicate that such is derived on an individual to individual basis. For instance, the unity sought in the Corinthian church was to be realized among the members of that congregation and not some artificial unity derived through joining the Corinthian church with the Berean one. And so it goes throughout the New Testament. Unity is first in and with Christ; then it follows among individuals as they seek to serve the Lord.

The problem with some brethren, however, is that they make an attempt to apply the "rules" for unity to church federations; whether they be loose coalitions or firm ones makes no difference! No longer is it a matter of "loving the brotherhood" of faithful saints, just now it is one of recognizing the "sisterhood of churches." Now, I ask you, where in the scriptures do you read about a sisterhood of churches of Christ? Nowhere!

The reason Carl Ketcherside appears to be so hard to answer is that some concede to him his basic error of affirming the sisterhood of churches. Once we have given him that, it does indeed become ludicrous to establish rules to govern the thing.

You cannot by the Word of God determine what is right or wrong for a thing that ought not to exist in the first place. As an example, can you determine by the Bible the qualifications of the Pope? Of course not! The same thing holds true for the sisterhood of churches.

Churches of Christ are independent, autonomous units in which unity is found through the action of individuals who are "walking in the light" of the gospel of Christ. We should not seek to find, or develop, a "sisterhood of churches of Christ or Christian Churches." Such is without the authority of the Holy Writ. Furthermore, to do so would be tantamount to establishing the very thing the action is, purported to oppose. It would result in a sectarian view of the Lord's church and would lead to the formation of a church of Christ denomination.

Let us all resist the sectarian influence of men who would form the very thing they claim to abhor. We do not need a church of Christ denomination in the world today.

January 14, 1971