Is the Name Church of Christ a Hindrance to Growth? (2)

by Richard Mansel, managing editor
Some congregations are deciding to remove the name Church of Christ from their signs because they think that the name has negative connotations.
Each individual Church of Christ is an autonomous body, governed, we hope, by Scripture. The leadership of this congregation can decide how best to conduct themselves, as long as it falls within the boundaries of Scripture (1 Corinthians 4:6).
We must remember that these elders do not have absolute power. They are under the same New Testament under which everyone else serves (James 4:10). Their dictates do not supersede the Word of God.
Some argue that since they are an autonomous congregation, we have no right to criticize their decision. Well, these congregations are a part of the whole Church. Accordingly, they are saying something substantial about the rest of us in the Church. The name that we wear is no longer worthy. Since it is the Lord’s name, and they are speaking of those of us who wear his name in a derogatory manner, it is indeed our business.
Christ came to build his church (Matthew 16:18). It is his body, which fills “all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23, NKJV). It bears his name because he established it and died for it.
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).
Christ will return the kingdom back to the Father in the end and we want to be in it when he does (1 Corinthians 15:24).
The removal of the name, Church of Christ is, in part, a reaction to the charges leveled against members of the Church. This results, in part, from the careless and imprecise use of language that many have used. Our words have consequences and we bear some responsibility when we misrepresent the truth of Scripture and unwittingly contribute to leading people away from the Lord.
Firstly, that we think that members of the Church of Christ are the only ones going to heaven. It is proof that brethren have accepted the denominational mindset of the religious world, rather than God’s way. Viewed through this broken prism, the church will have profound distortions.
Worshipping in a building called a “Church of Christ” is not the determining factor of who goes to heaven, despite what some have appeared to teach./1 Salvation results from immersion into the blood of Christ, walking in the light and being in the Lord’s body (Acts 2:38; 1 John 1:7; Galatians 3:27).
Second, that we think that salvation comes from works. Very few believe that we can earn our way to heaven. Nevertheless, too many have given the impression that we can do so.
While works do have a place in our salvation, the blood of Christ cleanses us from our sins (Romans 5:6-11). We cannot live good enough to earn our salvation and we must do a better job enunciating this truth to the world (Romans 5:1; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1-2).
Finally, people act in ways related to their own reasons and do not speak for everyone. For some brethren, this trend to remove the name Church of Christ may simply be a tear in the fabric. Instead of having a huge fight over doctrine, they are just stepping away from the rest of us.
The answer for some is that they no longer wish to follow the teachings of the Church. The name change is cover for leaving completely and following after the denominations. They ask their members to focus on the altruism of the name change rather than the sleight of hand of apostasy. This may appear to be clever, but God knows better (Galatians 6:7).

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1/ http://tinyurl.com/2w3tmv

5 Replies to “Is the Name Church of Christ a Hindrance to Growth? (2)”

  1. Firstly, that we think that members of the Church of Christ are the only ones going to heaven. It is proof that brethren have accepted the denominational mindset of the religious world, rather than God’s way. Viewed through this broken prism, the church will have profound distortions.
    Comment: Members of the body of Christ ARE the only ones going to heaven! Ephesians 4:4-6; 5:23 “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling;
    Worshiping in a building called a “Church of Christ” is not the determining factor of who goes to heaven, despite what some have appeared to teach./1 Salvation results from immersion into the blood of Christ, walking in the light and being in the Lord’s body (Acts 2:38; 1 John 1:7; Galatians 3:27).
    Comment: Whatever happened to “The church of Christ meets here.” on the sign in front of the building? That indicates that the church of Christ is not the building, but a group of people who are saved out of the world.(II Timothy 1:9).
    Second, that we think that salvation comes from works. Very few believe that we can earn our way to heaven. Nevertheless, too many have given the impression that we can do so.
    Comment: This is denominational hogwash and a smokescreen erected by the Devil so that he can capture even more souls. Those that preach that works are not needed for salvation should be branded as false teachers and withdrawn from.
    There is no profit if a person says he has faith but he has no works (James 2:14). There is no faith if there is no works (James 2:17-18)…then, where is salvation by faith only? No faith is evidenced by no works; so there is no salvation because there is no faith!. Read James Chapter 2.
    While works do have a place in our salvation, the blood of Christ cleanses us from our sins (Romans 5:6-11). We cannot live good enough to earn our salvation and we must do a better job enunciating this truth to the world (Romans 5:1; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1-2).
    Comments: Why do congregations want to be like the denominations? Jesus said we are a peculiar people (Titus 2:13-14; I Peter 2:9). That means that we are not like other people. Why, then, do we want to be like all the others? Because we’re persecuted? If we are Christians, we will be persecuted – the Bible says that we shouldn’t think it is strange if we are persecuted, but we should rejoice and be happy if we are persecuted for the name of Christ (I Peter 4:12-14; 16). Jesus said, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake…” (Matthew 5:10-12). We’re persecuted because we are the true followers of Christ and, since the world hated Him, the world will hate us (John 15:16-21).
    Do we love God or not? Changing the name is just apostasy and falling away while trying to hide it. We are either for Him or against Him – it cannot be any other way! (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13)

  2. In one way I see your concern. Yet, church of God is mentioned more than “church of Christ.” Is it less Biblical? In fact, I have as much authority to refer to God’s people today simply as “the Church” which is used more than all other terms of designation. To claim the church has a name is doing the same as the sectarians- in fact is sectarian. The only name we bear is “Christian” (Acts 11:26). To claim that the church must be referred to as “the Church of Christ” would be to exclude the other designations in Scripture. Claiming that the church has a name is therefore, denominational.

  3. Scott,
    Christ built the church (Matthew 16:18). It is His body (Ephesians 1:22-23). He purchased it by His own blood (Acts 20:28). He will return it back to the Father in the end (1 Corinthians 15:24). So, it sure seems Biblical to me to say that Church of Christ is the most accurate term for the Lord’s Church.
    Even if there weren’t any denominational churches, I think Church of Christ would still be accurate. Having a name doesn’t make a church a denomination. We must not use English dictionaries to override what God says.

  4. Why is there such concern over a name when the church has not been given a name in Scripture (unless, of course, one would focus on the term, “the Way”)? Because some, unwittingly, have developed a denominational mindset. The “whole church” is not a conglomeration of congregations, but the totality of individual Christians. A denomination is a conglomeration of congregations. Yet the article defends the denominational attitude when it states, “Well, these congregations are a part of the whole Church.”
    Whatever happened to only wearing the name, “Christian”? Why are we committed to the man-made tradition of “naming” congregations? Are we more committed to a movement or tradition than to the simple truth of Scripture? Perhaps when we reread articles such as this, we might see our own inconsistencies.
    “Church of Christ” is an accurate description of the church, but there are a multitude of other descriptions also as accurate. So long as individual disciples continue to be called, “Christians”, why is there so much heartache over something not even addressed in the New Testament Scriptures? As many problems as Corinth had, they were never scolded for not having the right “name” on their building. We need to make sure we’re “speaking where the Bible speaks” and not simply reacting to things we personally do not like.

  5. Stuart, I agree with you that Church of Christ is the most accurate description of the name of the church that Jesus died for, purchased with his own blood and exists in His body. Thanks for your comment and for answering your own question.
    Individual congregations exist in the New Testament. If you notice, entire epistles were written to them. They are even called the Church. The body of Christ is made up of those who’ve been immersed into His body. They are part of local congregations. Local congregations, like Christians, must be bringing glory to Christ and walking worthy of the name Christian (Ephesians 3:20-4:1). If they are, they are still in Christ. If they are not, they must repent and return to the Lord.
    This is all very Biblical.

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