"The Churches of Christ Salute You"
I came across a website dedicated to “Answering the Church of Christ.” It said,
“Often on our local TV station, the cofC preachers will talk about the churches of Christ in Romans 16:16...From this kind of literal citation of Scripture, without regards to the context, they have developed a theology about the name of the church, which just happened to be the “Church of Christ” that came out of the Stone/Campbell movement.
“They often reasoned like this: Where in the Bible do you read of a Baptist Church or a Methodist Church or a Presbyterian Church? One can read about the Church of Christ Church in Romans 16:16, but one cannot read about the others” (“Romans 16:16,” Answering the Church of Christ).
Romans 16:16 does not assign a denominational name to the Lord’s church. It is a statement of possession, referring to churches that belong to Christ. These churches are local congregations, not denominations. (A basic knowledge of the New Testament and church history confirms this. For example, Romans 16:4 mentions “all the churches of the Gentiles,” not as a denominational name of churches, but as a description of their constitution, namely, all the congregations composed of Gentiles. The “churches of Judea” in Galatians 1:22 are the congregations located in Judea, not a collection of different denominations. It is entirely proper to ask the question, “Where in the Bible do you read of a Presbyterian Church, Baptist Church, Methodist Church, etc.?” They are not there.
The question remains whether today’s churches of Christ are like those we read of in the New Testament. Sadly, many are not. Many have abandoned the “pattern of sound words” revealed in the New Testament and accepted the doctrines of men (2 Tim. 1:13; 4:3-4). Many have corrupted the work of the local church by adding the social gospel to the old Jerusalem gospel (1 Cor. 11:22, 34; Acts 2:42). Many have corrupted the independence of congregations by becoming “sponsoring churches” that mimic denominationalism in their organization and control of men and money. Some have perverted the worship of the New Testament by adding instrumental music (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16-17). A church may identify itself as a church of Christ but that does not mean it actually belongs to Christ.
Furthermore, the church of Christ did not “come out of the Stone/Campbell movement.” These men and many others left denominations and chose the Bible as their final word of authority, including how to describe congregations (churches) of Christians. Since Pentecost, the church of Christ has been composed of Christians, not denominations and not churches (Acts 2:47). A local church is a church that belongs to Christ (a church of Christ). More than one are “churches of Christ” (Rom. 16:16). That’s not a “developed theology,” it’s Bible teaching.
We urge people to give up their false concept that Christ’s church is composed of denominations. We urge them to obey the gospel of Christ to be saved from their sins. When they do, the Lord will add them to His church, the church of Christ (Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:47; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4; 5:23).
Joe R. Price
"In Jesus' name" is as much a part of our prayers as "our Father in heaven." Our supplications would feel incomplete...