How can I contact your ministry?

If you would like to know more about Christ and the Christian life, you can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and LibraryThing by searching either "Progress and Joy" or "Wesley C. McCarter."  You can also write to us by email at wesley[at]progressandjoy.org or by mail at P.O. Box 146, Rural Hall, NC 27045.

What happens after death?

The Bible teaches in Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”  There will be a day of reckoning when Christ will judge men and women by their deeds.  The Lord Jesus Himself said in John 5:28-29, “. . . for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear [Christ’s] voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”  The Scriptures also teach that, “There is none who does good, no, not one” (Psalm 53:3) and that, “. . . all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. . ..” (Romans 3:23).  If there are none who do good, and Christ must judge the world righteously, then that must mean there are none who will escape the wrath that is to come on Judgment Day after death, right?  That is technically correct, but Jesus has offered up Himself as our substitute to pay for our sins that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).  To access that grace, one must respond positively to that Gospel message.  One must put his/her faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.  This is the only means by which we may inherit eternal life after death and be welcomed into God’s heavenly kingdom.  Death à Judgment à Heaven or Hell.

Why do your church members only call themselves Christians?

A movement began in America around the end of the 18th century and into the beginning of the 19th century to unite all believers in Christ.  In order to bring unity and rebel against divisiveness, those men urged for believers to shed denominational names and only bear the name of Christ.  They claimed to be Christians simply, but not the only Christians.  Thus, we only bear the name of our Lord who is the Christ, and we follow the New Testament which says that believers were called "Christians."  We have been united with Christ, are hidden in Him, and want nothing else than to be completely identified with Him in this life and the next.

Can you give some brief history of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement?

A Movement began in America around 1800 among several denominations such as the Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists to move away from denominationalism and into the unity of all believers in Christ.  The Movement has been called by several names over the years including the American Reformation, the Restoration Movement, and the Stone-Campbell Movement.  Those men pursued unity among Christians which required that they shun denominations, creeds, unbiblical leadership structures, and turn to the ancient order of things, namely the Bible.  Key leaders of the movement included Barton W. Stone, Thomas Campbell, Alexander Campbell, and Walter Scott.  Some of the famous slogans from the Movement can be given to demonstrate some of the foundational principles: Where the Bible speaks we speak, and where the Bible is silent we are silentWe are Christians only, but not the only ChristiansNo creed but Christ, no book but the Bible, no law but love, no name but the divineIn essentials- unity, in non-essentials- liberty, and in all things- loveWe will call Bible things by Bible names.  One of the important aspects of the Movement was returning to a biblical eldership.  The Christian Churches and Churches of Christ ordain elders (also called pastors, bishops, overseers, and shepherds in the New Testament) to shepherd the flock of God.  Deacons also hold office to serve the church in a variety of ways, but the overall governance and well-being rests upon the elders.

Today, the Movement has divided into three main branches: the churches of Christ (non-instrumental), the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ), and the independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ.  The independent branch is a loosely connected fellowship of mostly conservative churches.  They work together for church planting, mission work, and education such as colleges and seminaries.  The McCarters belong to the independent branch of the Stone-Campbell Movement.

What does it mean to be an independent congregation?

Christianity has splintered into various denominations because of major issues such as doctrinal points, but also over trivial things such as traditions and preferences.  To be independent means that a congregation can govern itself.  It is locally autonomous. 
The Bible shows various congregations that were certainly linked to one another and came together for mission work, but they were each independent.  Christ is the head of the church, and the highest leadership under Him in any one local congregation is an eldership of qualified men who serve in areas of teaching and governing.  There are no central headquarters, no general superintendents, no bishops who preside over several congregations, or any of the like in an independent church.  Each church governs itself as it follows the Lord Jesus Christ by means of the Scriptures and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Do you have any more questions? Send them our way!

For Progress and Joy in Christ