Where is the Headquarters of the Church of Christ?
Many people inquire of brethren, “Where is the headquarters of the Church of Christ? The answer given to them is not what those inquirers expected to hear. Most all-religious organizations have an earthly headquarters, or conventions and/or synods. This includes the various denominations that profess Christianity. In contrast, the members of the body of Christ can truthfully state, “The headquarters of the church of Christ is in Heaven!” Jesus Christ is the head of His church (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22-23). Therefore, the governing structure of the church of Christ is a monarchy. Jesus Christ is the monarch. At Matthew 28:18, the Son of God declared, “…All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
On the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus, the Apostle Peter, by inspiration, proclaimed, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). The term “Lord” means master; whereas, the term “Christ” means anointed. Thus, the word Christ has reference to the kingship, which is the church (Col. 1:13). The significance of this is that not anyone or a group of individuals have the right or the authority to legislate additional laws in religious matters. We have already received “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (II Pet. 1:13). The inspired scriptures are adequate; and therefore, do not need any additions, subtractions, or modifications (II Tim. 3:16-17; Rev. 22:18-19; Gal. 1:6-9). Since the New Testament is the complete and only law governing the church, we must adhere to it rather than to alter it in any matter.
The only governing body here upon earth is that authorized by the scriptures. This governing body is the eldership of a local congregation (Acts 14:23; Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:5). This is not inconsistent with what has already been stated. It is true because a scriptural eldership of a local congregation do not have the authority to legislate. Those elders have the responsibility to uphold the principles of the New Testament. The new covenant is referred to in the scriptures as “the faith” at Jude 3. Elders, as the overseers of a local congregation, must contend for the faith which was once and for all delivered unto the saints. However, in the realm where the Lord has not legislated in matters pertaining to a local congregation as a collective body, its elders are authorized to make decisions deemed beneficial. Even in the realm of judgment, their decisions must not violate matters of faith.
There is absolutely no authority for one man to oversee a congregation. Neither does the Bible give authorization for one man or a group of men to oversee more than one local church. Modern day religionists have violated scriptural teaching concerning the governing body taught in the New Testament. This has been done in a multiplicity of ways. These digressions include: having one man or woman to govern over one local church or over more than one congregation. Others have had an official governing body separate and apart from their churches to govern them. Still other denominations have periodic conventions and synods made up by representatives of their local congregations to make laws or alter laws that are adhered to by their membership.
The church of our Lord must ever be watchful against unauthorized organizations such as a Missionary Society developing within the brotherhood. To create an enterprise within the brotherhood to collect money and make decisions of its use in the realm of edification, benevolence, and evangelism is usurping authority that rightly belongs within the local congregations. This does not mean that more than one congregation cannot cooperate in a good work. A plurality of local churches can work together free willingly in the area of edification, benevolence, and evangelism. An orphan home is a substitute home for a natural home that no longer exists for those in that orphan home. Neither does an orphan home usurp the benevolence work of the church. Orphan homes are homes, whereas the church is the church. The church is involved in the realm of benevolence in supporting an orphan home such as Hope Harbor Children's Home at Claremore, Oklahoma. When a natural home is destitute and needs assistance, it does not usurp the authority of a local congregation by accepting money or other help from the church.