Is the Church of Christ a Denomination?

The answer to this question could be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ depending on what one has in mind. This lesson will examine three things: the church of Christ, a church of Christ, and “Church of Christ.”

The Church of Christ

  • This is simply the church that belongs to Christ — He would build it (Matthew 16:18), purchase it (Acts 20:28), and be the head over it (Colossians 1:18)
  • This church is made up of all those who are saved (Acts 2:47)
  • Sometimes referred to by other names — kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), kingdom of His beloved Son (Colossians 1:13), body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23), bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-24), church of the firstborn (Hebrews 12:23), brotherhood (1 Peter 2:17)

A Church of Christ

  • This is a local congregation made up of those who are part of the universal church — only one universal church (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 4:4), but many local churches (Romans 16:16)
  • These churches will have a uniform doctrine (1 Corinthians 4:17) — disciples taught to observe all that Christ commanded (Matthew 28:20), this includes His instructions regarding the church (Acts 1:1-3)
  • These churches have a particular work to do — evangelism (1 Timothy 3:15), edification (Ephesians 4:11-12, 16), and limited benevolence (Acts 4:32-35; 11:29-30)
  • These churches would worship in a certain way — teaching (1 Corinthians 14:26), giving (1 Corinthians 16:2), Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7), prayer (1 Corinthians 14:15), singing (Ephesians 5:19)
  • These churches would be organized in a certain way — elders (Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 3:1-7), deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13); they would be autonomous (1 Peter 5:2)

“Church of Christ”

  • Here the phrase is used as an adjective — “Church of Christ” preacher, “Church of Christ” building, we are “Church of Christ”
  • If we are not part of a denomination, then this is not accurate — gospel preacher, church building, we are Christians
  • It is possible to have a proper name but still be wrong (Revelation 3:1) — a denomination can use this Scriptural term
  • What would have to be true for us to be part of a denomination — we unite upon a standard other than the word of God (John 17:20-21; 2 Timothy 1:13), we claim allegiance to someone/something other than Christ (1 Corinthians 1:12)
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