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THE NAME OF THE CHURCH


“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will

build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it”

(Matthew 16:18, NKJV).

I came across the following article by Hugh Fulford at the Carolina

Messenger. I thought it was worth your consideration.


https://carolinamessenger.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/the-name-of-

the-church-hugh-fulford/


“On one occasion, Leonard Johnson, one of the founders of what is now Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama, was preaching in a gospel meeting in a small Alabama town. One night he preached a sermon on the church. In the midst of his sermon brother Johnson said, ‘Now within the next four to five minutes I am going to tell you everything the New Testament says about the name of the church.’ For the next four to five minutes brother Johnson was completely silent. He did not utter a word. Then he said, ‘There you have it—everything the New Testament says about the name of the church!’"


Brother Johnson was absolutely right—the church, the body of people redeemed to God by the blood of Christ, does not have a proper, formal, exclusive, and patented name! It was not and is not a denomination and does not wear a denominational designation. Instead, the New Testament gives numerous descriptors for the church. The church (the aggregate of all who have been savedby obedience to the gospel) is the spiritual body of Christ, of which there is but one (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4). It is the spiritual temple of God, being composed of living stones (Ephesians. 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4-5). It is the house (household, family) of God, with every child of God a member of it (1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 3:5-6). It is the kingdom of

God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13; cf. Acts 2:47). Christ, in promising to build it, called it ‘my

church’ (Matthew 16:18). A plurality of local congregations are designated as ‘churches of

Christ’ (Romans 16:16). At the same time, they also are described as ‘churches of God’ (1

Corinthians 11:26), and the universal body of redeemed people is called the ‘church of God’

(v. 22). Geographically, the people of God are spoken of as the church at Jerusalem, the

church of God which is at Corinth, the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and

the Lord Jesus Christ, the churches of Judea, the churches of Galatia, the seven churches

of Asia, etc. Modern Catholic and Protestant names are noticeably absent from the New

Testament, and came to be applied to religious groups arising this side of the New Testament!


Churches of Christ today strive to be churches of the New Testament order. We do not

profess to be a denomination. The use of the biblical descriptor ‘church of Christ’ is not intended as our ‘official, exclusive, denominational name.’ Any biblical descriptor is acceptable. However, in our sadly divided religious world, it is practical to use rather consistently a descriptor that sets forth in a scriptural way those who are pleading for a return to the undenominational church of the New Testament and who are contending for ‘the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3).


Clearly, it is possible to use a biblical designation for the church in a sectarian and denominational sense and, sadly, many are doing that with the descriptor ‘church of

Christ.’ At the same time, to use this scriptural designation does not make those using it a

denomination.”


(Visit the website listed above for the complete article.)

—John Ostic

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