From Where I Stand: Independence

America has always had an independent spirit, dating certainly at least to its break with King George in the 1700s. That spirit has played a role in her ability to invent, to innovate, and to excel in science, manufacturing, and philosophy. It is also an important part of America’s Constitutional freedoms, contained within the Bill of Rights and explained in other founding documents. Most notable of those, for our purposes, is the freedom of religion that we enjoy and sometimes even exercise. In some twenty-first century nations, that freedom does not exist, and worshiping the God of the Bible is a perilous enterprise, but one which must be undertaken. Churches of Christ have long championed congregational independence as well, that is, local autonomy in establishing the leadership and operation of the individual church. This self-rule does not negate the authority of Christ over his church; rather it promotes it by preventing an unbiblical layer of denominational bureaucracy from developing at the regional, national, or even international level. Local congregational autonomy is rooted in the limitation of pastoral oversight to the lone church in which appointed bishops labor (First Peter 5:1-4, Acts 20:17-28).