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‘Which distinctives do we cling to?’

Harding Bible dean responds to the question: 'Is there an identity crisis in Churches of Christ?'

“Given the apparent decline in the number of congregations and in total membership, I can certainly understand why some would characterize what’s happening as an identity crisis,” said Monte Cox, dean of the College of Bible and Ministry at Harding University in Searcy, Ark.

Monte Cox

“I prefer to see it more positively as a ‘reorientation’ in which we are learning to focus on Jesus as the center of our faith rather than on the boundaries that separated us from other Christ-followers,” Cox said. “That reorientation can be disorienting. If ‘we’ were defined by the boundaries in the past but want to be defined by our allegiance to Christ above all else, how do we see the boundaries now? Which distinctives do we cling to as biblical imperatives and which ones do we attribute to tradition? In some quarters, even raising the question smacks of unfaithfulness.

“But my sense is that addressing that question is in our spiritual DNA; it is part of our heritage as a renewal movement. We should not be afraid to ask it.”

Filed under: Big Questions Big Questions Harding University Monte Cox People What is a Church of Christ

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