South End
Church of Christ

4001 Taylor Blvd
Louisville, KY 40215


Differences Between
“Liberal” Churches of Christ
“Conservative” Churches of Christ
Aaron Erhardt

There is a division that exists among churches of Christ. Some churches no longer hold to the divine pattern in every detail. They are called “liberal.” The churches that do hold to the divine pattern are called “conservative.” This chart will contrast some of the views and practices of the two groups.

Liberal Churches

Conservative Churches

Embrace the social gospel philosophy by providing entertainment and recreation for members. They offer church dinners, church camps, gymnasiums, fellowship halls, childcare facilities, etc.

Do not believe that it is the work of the church to provide entertainment and recreation. They oppose the social gospel philosophy with all its games and gimmicks.

Use missionary and benevolent societies to execute the work of the church. They believe that human organizations are more effective in reaching the lost and caring for the needy.

Do not believe that human organizations are authorized to do the work of the church. They say the church is fully capable of doing the work.

Seek to attract crowds by conducting youth meetings, rallies, and other activities. They have plays and contemporary worship services for the young.

Seek to draw men to Christ with the preaching of the gospel. They oppose the innovations of the liberals to attract crowds as unauthorized and insulting to the gospel.

Have special singing groups perform in the assembly. They have choirs and solos.

Believe the singing of the church is to be congregational. They oppose musical performances.

Base many of their practices on the silence of the Scriptures. They do not believe we must have authority for every activity.

Believe the silence of the Scriptures prohibits an activity. They base their practices on book, chapter, and verse.

Have “associate ministers” and “youth directors” working in the church. They also have special committees to oversee various aspects of the work.

Do not recognize offices that cannot be found in the New Testament. They have evangelists who preach, elders who oversee, and deacons who serve.

I hope this chart has helped you to see some of the differences between “liberal” and “conservative” churches of Christ. These are important issues that cannot be ignored. Which group do you want to fellowship? Which group is doing the will of the Lord? Investigate these things for yourself.


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