|Volume 17 Number 1 January 2015||
Why are members of the Church of
Christ sometimes called Campbellites?
Mark N. Posey
Early in the 19th century, Alexander Campbell (1788-1866) broke away from the Presbyterian Church and was baptized (1812) for the remission of his sins (Acts 2:38), determining to follow “nothing that was not as old as the New Testament” (Phillips 57). After associating with the Baptist Church for a short time, he broke fellowship with them over the issue of baptism and started preaching, “Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent.” General Robert E. Lee said, “If I were asked to select a representative of the human race to the inhabitants of other spheres in our universe, of all men I have known, I should select Alexander Campbell” (Phillips 37). It is wrong, however, to state that Alexander Campbell founded the “Campbellite Church” or any other church. He simply called upon people to take the New Testament as their guide and the church of the New Testament as the only church that is authorized by the Word of God. Robert Owens was the first to use the nickname, “Campbellite” (The Shattered Chain 32). In 1828, Campbell responded to the question “What is Campbellism?” in the following fashion: “It is a nickname of reproach invented and adopted by those whose views, feelings and desires are all sectarian – who cannot conceive of Christianity in any other light than an ISM” (Christian Baptist, vol. 5, 270). Many today falsely identify Campbell as the founder of the Lord’s church and label her members with the misnomer “Campbellites.” Churches of Christ do not owe their origin to Campbell or to any other human leader. Jesus is the founder of His church (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:20-21; 5:23; Colossians 1:18), not Alexander Campbell. Members of Christ’s church are called “Christians” (Acts 11:26; 1 Peter 4:16). Thank God, however, for those like Campbell who threw off denominationalism and returned to the church of the New Testament as the only one authorized by God.
May an Elder Resign?
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Someone inquires whether an elder may resign from the eldership. Historically over the last three centuries, the church has observed elders resigning for a number of reasons. Likely, from time to time since the establishment of the Lord’s church nearly 2,000 years ago elders have resigned from their respective elderships.
Some reasons for which elders sometimes resign include the death of a spouse or their failing health or the failing health of their respective family members. In addition, since elders are appointed over the congregations of which they are members, were an elder to move away, obviously he could not serve as an elder over a congregation with which he no longer worships. Furthermore, he would not automatically be an elder over whatever congregation with which he next placed his membership.
Among the qualifications for the appointment of elders in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 is especially one requirement that pertains to this inquiry. The very first qualification listed is that a man desire the office of responsibility of being an elder in the church. “…If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work” (1 Timothy 3:1 NKJV). If for whatever reason a brother serving as an elder no longer desires to serve in that capacity, then owing to not possessing the very first qualification of being an elder, it is reasonable for him to resign from the eldership.
How Does Exodus 3:6
Indicate the Resurrection?
Louis Rushmore, Editor
A person asked, “How does Exodus 3:6 indicate the resurrection?” The verse reads, “Moreover He said, ‘I am the God of your father — the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God” (NKJV); verse 15 of that chapter repeats the same statement. In addition, Jesus Christ quoted this phrase in Matthew 22:32, and He also commented further on it and defined those words as relating to the resurrection. “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31-32). The words of our Lord Jesus verify, then, that Exodus 3:6 implies the resurrection from the dead.
Biblical language is much more precise than the everyday colloquial speech we hear daily. Typically, people mix and mismatch their words in ungrammatical ways. Not so, though, with the Bible. Therefore, when the Lord said “I am the God” of deceased Bible characters Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He affirmed that although their bodies had died, they were yet alive; compare verse 14, which reads, “I AM has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:6 implies that mankind is composed of a body and a spirit (a soul), which followers of God have understood to be the case under Patriarchy, Judaism and Christianity. In addition, even non-religious and idolatrous peoples throughout the ages have believed strongly in an afterlife. The belief that humans are more than merely physical beings confined to an earthly habitation appears to be an innate, instinctive feature of the human makeup. Atheists and materialists, for instance, are not born that way, but they have developed an antagonism toward God.
Evidently, the acknowledgement of life after death itself implies a resurrection. Apparently, there is no plausible explanation for the existence of souls after death than that those departed spirits will be resurrected. Of course, the unique resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave has made it possible for human souls to be resurrected permanently in the future. “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself [Jesus Christ] likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham” (Hebrews 2:14-16). “I am He [Jesus Christ] who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1:18).
Whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’ Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. (Acts 2:24-32)