200 years

Things are beginning to happen amongst the individual and diverse communities of what began to emerge 200 years ago as the Restoration Movement and ended up under a plethora of monikas covering most of the countries of the world – variously Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ, the Christian Church, churches (small c) of Christ. This movement for Christian unity and church restoration has a chequered history, sometimes punching above its weight in its impact on the wider church scene, but often falling into the bitter divisiveness its origins abhorred. This is us warts and all!

This year sees calls from all streams of the movement to a rediscovery of our common roots and the passion evoked in the hope of a transformation of current vision. Study groups, web-sites and publications are beginning to appear – all with good stuff. It remains to be seen whether this anniversary will have any effect on our self-understanding as a whole. Will it pass like a summer storm with a bit of dampness but little lasting effect? Or will we see some drenching, saturating rains that will bring fresh, verdant growth and a fecundity of wisdom and understanding to contribute to the wider church and the world at large?

What might be possible in this year of  The Great Communion?

Looks like the South Australians are kicking things off with a series of provocative essays.

On Saturday, we host a breakfast attended by B J Mpofu, Zimbabwe Churches of Christ leader and President of World Convention of Churches of Christ. Responses from a few churches are starting to come in.   Maybe a cloud, the size of a man’s hand, is beginning to form on the horizon.

Published by wonderingpilgrim

Not really retired but reshaped and reshaping. Now a pilgrim at large ready to engage with what each day brings.

4 thoughts on “200 years

  1. The South Australian Conference is to be congratulated for establishing this website to allow discussion of the “Declaration and Address” bicentenary. This event provides an excellent opportunity for Churches of Christ in Australia to review their raison d’etre, and on the basis this, achieve greater community impact.

    Thomas Campbell’s propositions were not intended to provide the bases which might allow one congregation or communion to decide whether or not it would associate with another. Rather they set out some higher order principles, derived from Scripture, to which all Christians might be drawn. The relationship is vertical, not horizontal, though that may follow. There is, after all, only one Lord, one faith, one baptism and only one Body of Christ.

    The contemporary church faces some unprecedented challenges and opportunities. On one hand we have the rise of strident atheism, and on the other, the growth of “emergent” forms of Christianity. Paradoxically, both of these developments must be seen as reactions to rigid, remote expressions of institutional Christianity. Churches of Christ with their catholic outlook and local autonomy have great potential to address these issues.

    It is important that our churches contextualize this commemoration. We have had our own pioneers and struggles on the road to New Testament Christianity. As important as Americans theologians and leaders were in moulding and forming the direction of the early church in Australia, the Australian church is not simply an offshoot of an American movement which has had it own crises of growth and development.

    It is also important that we localize this commemoration. We can do this by sharing aspects of our communion service on October 4 with another congregation, of whatever “stream”, somewhere else in the world. I would have no doubt that Global Mission Partners would gladly suggest a congregation or two with which we might want to link for that occasion. That would be in the true spirit of the “Declaration and Address”.

    Nth. Turramurra NSW


  2. Keep ity up mate… it is good to think that SA is setting the course for us. I would like to think that the other CEOs will make a run for it before the time slips away


  3. Mr Hayward. I’m a Christian and a member of the churches of Christ. I’ve just come across a couple of examples of your views – especially on the “demise” (?) of the Australian Christian. I had not previously heard of your name. Can you please fill me in on where you fit in the scheme of things? What has been your connection with Churches of Christ and the Australian Christian?
    Thanks in advance


  4. Dear Bro. Carr,

    That introduction should “date” me.
    I’m just a curmudgeonly old bloke who’s been around Churches of Christ for probably too long ! Im a foundation member at North Turramurra NSW church.
    I have no connection with “The Australian Christian’ except that my family and I had been subscribers for probably 80 years.Those family roots go back to the foundation of Mile End church.
    Keep up the good work.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: