Movement or Master

A God Reflection on Cross Church

This is one of seven posts I am bringing back to the light of day from a former series of exploration I titled Cross-Church. You can find more of these posts at under the heading Gary’s Reflections.

garyguarujaI don’t like to think about it in these terms but I can’t get around it—my DNA originates from both a movement and the Master.

First, I was aware of the Master. Much later, I learned of the movement. I am finding it to be a life-long process to reconcile the two.

My church heritage comes from the Stone-Campbell movement, tied closely to what historians refer to as the Second Great Awakening. I can’t believe it—I have Presbyterian blood in my DNA.

Only twenty-five short years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, Presbyterians Barton W. Stone and Thomas Campbell began independently of one another a movement of restoration of the church of the New Testament. Their groups united in 1832 and became known as the Christian Churches, Disciples of Christ or Churches of Christ.

It was a grand vision to unite all believers by discarding human creeds, following scripture only, highlighting the priesthood of all believers, and honoring Jesus as King.

The dream was short lived. By 1906, the Stone-Campbell movement shattered into three distinctly divided groups that continue today their divided past.

I owe a lot to Barton and Thomas. Deep within the DNA of the movement, these two men planted the desire to honor Scripture. Their writing and sermons reflect their honest desire to honor God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The nature of any movement is the development of traditions (some true and others false) to sustain the movement’s identity. My movement has great traditions. It also has traditions that are not so great.

Where does this leave me?

First, I honestly love my church movement. I like its original ideals. My formation comes from countless people whom I love within the movement. Like me, they followed God, not always knowing to distinguish truth from tradition.

I admire the fact that in the tradition of the movement we see ourselves as a continuation of the church of Jesus. I regret the fact that the unity of all believers is not prominent on the current agenda of the movement.

Human weakness within any movement obscures the good traits.

As much as I love the ideals of my movement and the wonderful Christian people who blazed its trail for the past two hundred years, I want to remember always that my allegiance is to the Master and not to the movement.

Movements don’t save. The Master Jesus does.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on Cross-Church.

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