Church of Christ is Not the Name of the Church

The church doesn’t have a name. The expression church of Christ is not a name but a description.

It means “the called out ones that belong to the Anointed One.”

It is a description just as churches of the Gentiles is a description (Romans 16:4/ Romans 16:16).

Romans 16:4 (NAS): who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles;

Romans 16:16 (NAS): Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

Some cite Acts 4 to justify using a “name” with Jesus’s name in it such as church of Christ:

Acts 4:12 (NAS): And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.

There are two problems with this:

The first is that there is no name of the church. The first century Christians didn’t have church signs to bear a name like we do today. This idea is literally denominational (to give a name to).

Secondly, Christ isn’t Jesus’s name; it is a title. It means “the anointed.” Many in the Bible bore this title: priests and kings (both Gentile and Jewish). Jesus, as God’s Son and both king and priest, is the ultimate Anointed One.

In the Bible, many descriptions are used: the way, church of God, the church, etc.

None of these are names.

2 Replies to “Church of Christ is Not the Name of the Church

  1. Daniel, just curious what brought this topic to mind? Have you run across a church that is making a “name” an issue of faith?

    Good to see all the blogs coming out again. All the best,

    Phil

    1. Most say it isn’t an issue of faith, but I’ve known very few people that would be comfortable attending somewhere that didn’t have that on the sign.

      I don’t know of any that use the other descriptions available in the Bible that have remained in fellowship with “mainstream” Church of Christ.

      The reason why it came to my mind is that we had a question in class about it the other day. These articles often get printed for our weekly bulletin.

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