I need your help on this. I am not going to answer the question quite yet. I would like to hear your answer to this question and then I will follow it up with my answer.
Let me encourage one thing I should have encouraged a long time ago. Please interact with each other in the comments. One of the things I have tried to get away from in teaching is the teacher lectures, someone comments, the teacher responds and keeps on going. That keeps the conversation between the teacher and the class rather than among all the participants. Sometimes I need to sit back and listen. This is my sitting back and listening.
Please comment with your answer.
Please engage each other in the comments.
I am going to mostly listen on this one and will speak up later.
Thank you for your help!
The lack of comments says a lot about us. How can we fulfill our purpose life if we don’t know what that purpose is. I would say we exist to further the advance the reason Jesus came to earth – to seek and save that which was lost. Not that we do the saving but we are to direct the lost to the one who saves us. Along the way we are to follow Matthew 22:37-40 by looking after the people of the world. Put them together and we have evangelize and do benevolence. Some would say that is the work of Christians, when you asked why does the CoC exist. We are the church, the church is us. The church isn’t an institution, it is people.
If the question is “Why does the CoC exist as opposed to the Presbyterians or Methodists”, then the answer is, some people thought that for a group of believers, a church, to be valid, they had to follow the teachings of scripture exactly and they thought they were the only ones doing so. That leads to, do we have to be perfect in our understanding of scripture, is anyone ever perfect, are we really closer to scripture than the people we dismiss as “the denominations”, and beyond our beliefs, are our practices closer to what God intends than those who aren’t us?
I started, someone else can finish.
The cofC exists because Daniel Sommer split the church of Christ off from the Christian church. Then, he and others convinced the members that the cofC had (to get) everything right and forced other churches to follow. Basically, they set up a denomination while railing against denominations. The ideas took hold and were transferred through periodicals who only a few could afford to print by editors who made themselves into bishops. So as to not be called down in these publications, churches started getting in line and following. Biblical proof texts were found and (re-)interpreted to prove points in debates with the Baptists, convince the members the church they were attending had everything right and that all the other churches were going to hell for getting things incorrect.
We started splitting from the DoC during the Civil War, Daniel Sommer just made it so we couldn’t be friendly with the opposition anymore. The reason for the split is generally given as differing views on instrumental music and missionary societies but I think it was more about different socio-economic factors following the Civil War as the northern congregations became more prosperous and started to follow the examples of their more progressive religious neighbors and the southern congregations became poorer and drew back into more conservative beliefs and tried to be different from growing mainstream denominations. I think the CoC has split again (I am not counting one-cuppers, anti-institutional and other fringe groups) into conservatives who think every aspect of worship has to be correct to please God and who have a narrowly defined set of rules as to how that is to be done and progressives who value the 6 days out in the world over the 1 hour of 1 day spent gathered together. This all goes to Mark’s reply and doesn’t answer the original question of “Why do we exist?”
We exist because of strife and division in the presbyterian church. We existed for a long time because we were confident that we were the only ones that understood the New Testament correctly. Should we exist is a more difficult question that I have been thinking about for the last serval days. I no longer have an answer to that one.