Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Theological Studies (MTS)


Divinity College


Gorfon Heath




The Churches of Christ trace their roots back to the Stone-Campbell movement that began in the early-nineteenth century. This Restoration movement was initially formed by several smaller religious groups that left mainstream denominations in the search of freedom in worship and Christian lifestyle. Over time, they pursued the dream of uniting Protestant denominations by restoring the first-century church. This new fellowship embraced a wide range of worship styles despite disagreements on several theological issues.

From these irenic roots, the Churches of Christ underwent three major fractures over issues of worship and Christian lifestyle in the twentieth century. There were various social and theological issues that influenced each fracture. In each case, however, this tension was initiated by a desire to restore and preserve the first-century church, and was brought to fruition by the inability to resolve different practices through the use of the Restoration hermeneutic. This thesis shows that despite different social conditions, different issues, different combatants, different countries and different times in history, this church family continued to fracture due to the application of the Restoration hermeneutic.

McMaster University Library

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