A new commandment I give to you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
By this shall all men known that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:34-35
The Christian Congregation is rooted in the historic Restoration Movement that produced the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, the Church of Christ, and the Disciples of Christ. It was founded by those associated with Barton Warren Stone in 1798 along the Ohio River Valley as an informal, non-creedal evangelistic organization. In 1887, ministers John L. Puckett, John Chapman, and Isaac V. Smith, along with other former members of the Christian Church in Kokomo, Indiana, who united with the Christian Congregation, incorporated the Church in the State of Indiana in 1887 and revised the church charter in 1898. In October of that year, the church was reincorporated under the new charter.
The first Christian Congregation church, on North Armstrong Street in Kokomo, was founded by Dr. Puckett who also served as its first pastor. Under Puckett's leadership, the church purchased Spice Run Cemetery. The purpose of the purchase was to provide a place for the poor to bury their dead. The cemetery underwent two name changes after the purchase, the Christian Congregation Church Cemetery and Puckett Cemetery, its current name.
The Christian Congregation adopted John 13:34-35 as its theological and philosophical statement as it remained faithful to the Restoration Movement’s non-creedal position. The basis of this Christian fellowship is love toward one another. The theological persuasion of the church is theologically universalist and opposes abortion, capital punishment, and war. Christian Congregations are located primarily in the states of Kentucky, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, and Texas. Ministers and laity may also refer to themselves as Disciples of Christ reflecting roots in the Restoration Movement.
For many years the church was headquartered in LaFollette, Tennessee with The Rev. Dr. Ora Wilbert Eads serving as General Superintendent. Dr. Eads assumed the role after the death of the former General Superintendent O. J. Read in 1961 until his own death in 2008. Due to its loose structure, congregations and clergy lost contact with the Church after Eads' death and records cannot be located. Many Christian Congregation churches and clergy eventually assimilated into the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ or other Restoration Movement bodies.
A small group of Christian Congregation ministers, concerned about the future of the Church, is continuing the work of Stone, Chapman, Puckett, and Smith as the Christian Congregation Conservative Conference. The Church continues the original mission and vision of a Restoration Movement, non-creedal church body and has added the following Five Cardinal Principles:
Jesus Christ is the only Head of the Church
The Holy Bible is sufficient for faith and practice
The right of private judgment and the liberty of conscience
Christian character the only test for church membership
The Christian Congregation Conservative Conference provides ministerial affiliation for independent clergy. Ordinations are performed at the local level. Christian Congregation ministers may independently ordain. All ordinations must be reported to the Office of the General Superintendent in order for the minister to have ecclesiastical recognition.
All congregations are autonomous and congregationally governed. The Lord's Supper is served weekly. Baptism is by immersion.
For additional historical information, please click here.
The Rev. Dr. Raymond Pineau, Jr.
580 Kennel Rd
Springtown, TX 76082-5928