The churches of Jesus Christ International is an association of sovereign world-wide Churches of Jesus Christ who hold to the “Oneness” doctrine as taught in Ephesians 4:1-16, and summarized in Ephesians 4:5-6. There is, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” That is, we believe the scriptures teach there is only One God according to the First Commandment, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is One Lord.” (Deu 6:4). There is not One Lord of the Old Testament and another Lord of the New Testament. All scriptures of the Old and New Testaments give evidence that Jesus Christ is that One Lord and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in everyone who has received the gift of the Holy Ghost, for, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (Joh 4:24). The Spirit of Christ is that One Spirit of God. Additionally, the One God who we worship in spirit and in truth has only One Name, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Act 4:12) Though God has many titles and has appeared to man in many different forms and personalities throughout history. (Heb 1:1) There is only One Name that Saves and that name Jesus literally means “Savior” (Mat 1:21). The next two verses tell us Jesus was the savior to come (Mat 1:22 & Isa 45:17) and that savior was Emmanuel or God with us. In addition, the name Jesus is the name of the Father, “Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” (Eph 3:15) We know this because Jesus came in the name of the Father (Joh 5:43). Jesus was the name of the Son of God (Mat 1:21) And, the Holy Ghost came in the name of Jesus (Joh 14:26). Therefore, when we baptize those who believe on the Lord Jesus and have Repented of their sins, we baptize them in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Baptism in the name of Jesus Christ is the One Baptism the Apostles practiced. There is no record of anyone ever being baptized in in the titles of Father, Son and Holy Ghost in the Bible. First, the early church knew the difference between a title and a proper name. They also understood that “name” means only One name. So, when Jesus commanded his disciples He said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Mat 28:19). We consider this doctrine to be the basic tenant of our One Faith. And, while we recognize some may differ on other points of the scripture, we consider the unity of the faith as our primary reason to exist among a world of antonymous and sovereign congregations. Therefore, we also agree to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:3) until we all come into the unity of the faith … (Eph 4:13).
Location: The offices of The Churches of Jesus Christ International and the local Church of Jesus Christ of Cleveland, Tennessee share the same campus. We are located at 800 Benton Pike, N.E. in Cleveland, Tennessee 37311. Correspondence may be addressed to the International Offices of the Churches of Jesus Christ International, P.O. Box 1414, Cleveland, Tennessee 37364. To reach our offices by phone call 423-472-0303. The Executive Bishops Council is charged with oversight and care of the International Offices. The members of the council consist of the General Secretary and six Bishops who reside within 100 miles of the campus.
History: The original Unincorporated Church of Jesus Christ was founded by Bishop Ben Hawthorne in 1922 as a result of a split with the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World over the baptismal formula. In 1923, Bishop Mark K. Lawson heard the preaching of Hawthorne about baptism only in the name of Jesus Christ. He was subsequently, baptized by Hawthorne in his church at Inglis, Florida and later incorporated the Church of Jesus Christ in 1927 in Tennessee. Bishop Hawthorne remained in Florida until his death. Bishop Mark Lawson continued to expand the association by chartering many other Churches of Jesus Christ in other states. But, at one point during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s doctrinal differences threatened the unity of the association. However, Bishop Mark Lawson’s son, Bishop Boyd Lawson revived the efforts of his father and reestablished the general offices in Cleveland, Tennessee under a new charter under the name of The Churches of Jesus Christ International, in the 1990’s. Disunity was one reason for the name change, but it was most likely divine providence and the fact the we began to grow internationally around this time. Under Bishop Boyd Lawson’s oversight churches bearing the name Church of Jesus Christ began to spring up in Jamaica, Canada, Malaysia, Africa, the Philippines and other places around the world. This Bishop of the Philippines reported having over one hundred churches alone that bore the name The Church of Jesus Christ. No one knows how many total members exist in The Churches of Jesus Christ world-wide, since our official membership includes only ministers. But, some have estimated over 100,000 people are affiliated with The Churches of Jesus Christ International. Bishop Boyd Lawson was convinced that Christ is the head of His church and it should thrive as an organism rather than an organization. Some may consider this difference just a matter of semantics, but he believed the Body of Christ was a living body which could not function with two heads. Therefore, after his death in 2016 he wanted The Churches of Jesus Christ to be less centralized and less authoritative. Consequently, the Executive Bishops Council which has oversight is made up of six local Bishops having equal authority and a General Secretary to handle the daily administrative affairs.