Our local church began in 1840 with twelve faithful worshippers meeting at the Coles County Courthouse. In its beginning our church was known as the Church of Christ, but for most of our history we were called the First Christian Church of Charleston. But our name is not the only thing that has changed over time.
We were founded in the Restorationist or Stone-Campbell movement, and were part of the Disciples of Christ denomination for many years. One thing we respect from the Restorationist heritage is the desire to uphold Scripture alone as the ultimate authority for the church. It is this dedication to a high view of God’s word that led us to leave the Disciples of Christ in the 1990s. It is also our study of Scripture that has led us to disagree with our Restorationist forebearers, though we are indebted to them in many ways. For example, some of our views on baptism and church governance have changed. We also have a more positive view of what can be learned from church tradition and historic creeds and confessions. In many ways, our views have more in common with the Reformation than the Restoration movement.
So when it came time to build a new building to better suit our ministry needs, we decided it was also a good time to change our name to better reflect who we are as a church. The name “Christ First” takes the best elements of our old name and heritage. Christ has always been not only part of our name, but the reason for our existence as a church. We’d like to think our new name reflects not only who we are now, but the best parts of who we’ve always been.