Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 10, 1962

The Churches Of Christ

Harold F. Savely

What constitutes a church of Christ? "Quite an elementary question," one might say. Yet, it is quite complex. In establishing a true church of Christ, just what must be done? Negatively, what must a once faithful church do, or fail to do, before it ceases being a church of Christ? One of the seven churches inspected by our Lord was on the brink of having its symbolic candlestick completely removed, while another was threatened to be vomited completely away. (Rev. 2:5; 3:16)

What does "Church of Christ" mean? The appellation "Church" signifies a calling out. "Of" denotes ownership, possession; belonging or pertaining to one. "Christ" suggests to whom it does belong, The "Church of Christ," therefore, is the called out, recognized by Christ as his. Merely to call a thing "Church of Christ" would make it no more Christ's than the naming of a wolf, "lamb," would cause the ewe to mother it.

Various institutions call themselves "Church of Christ." The Mormons so designate themselves; Christian Scientists, the Federal Council, the liberal Disciple movement, etc. How long before our promotional brethren will sectarianize themselves into "The First Church of Christ," if ever, remains to be seen. What makes a church to be truly "of" Christ?

Its members are saved by the "grace of Christ" By his grace are they made rich, and It abides with them ever. (2 Cor. 8:9; 13:14) The grace of Christ into which they are called also continually deals with their spirits. (Gal. 1:6, 7; 6:18)

Its members in fellowship were called by the true "gospel of Christ." That was what Paul preached around Jerusalem to Illyricum, and in the establishment of the Corinthian church. (Rom. 15: 19; 2 Cor. 10:14) He left converts having the word of Christ richly dwelling in them. (Col. 3:16) He fully laid the principles of the doctrine of Christ, and John warned against its transgression. (Heb. 6:1; 2 John 9) Such gospel was confirmed in the Corinthians as the testimony of Christ (1 Cor. 1:5, 6), which the apostle affirmed to be the truth of Christ. (2 Cor. 11:10) His preaching was the cross of Christ, the faith of Christ, and the law of Christ. (1 Cor. 1:17; Gal. 2:16; 6:2) The unsearchable riches of Christ were revealed unto Paul, who preached it and wrote it as the mystery of Christ. (Eph. 3:4, 8)

Its members are purchased by the "blood of Christ." By the blood of Christ, therefore, are they made nigh to God. (Eph. 2:13) By his precious blood also are they redeemed. (1 Peters 1:18, 19; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14) Weekly the saved have communion with the blood of Christ. (1 Cor. 10:16) That blood purges the conscience from dead works to serve the living God. ( Heb. 9:14)

Its members are the "members of Christ." The Corinthians were of Christ, having had Christ die for them and were baptized into his name. (1 Cor 1:12) Their bodies were also given as members of Christ, and they were followers of Christ. (1 Cor. 6:15; 11:1) They were the ministers of Christ (Col. 1:7; 1 Cor. 4:1; 2 ()or. 11:23), servants of Christ (Col. 4:12; Gal. 1:10; Eph. 6:6), and the priests of Christ (Rev. 20:6)

Its members compose the "body of Christ." The body has everything necessary to its complete edification (1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 4:12) It stands distinct from every ordinance of the fleshly man. (Col. 2:17)

Its members wear the "name of Christ." Those who confess and wear his name must depart from iniquity. (2 Tim. 2:19) They happily bear the reproach of Christ in wearing his name. (1 Pet. 4:14) Congregationally, they are called the "churches of Christ." (Rom. 16:16)

Its members are led by the "Spirit of Christ." Each possesses his Spirit (Rom. 8:9) They possess and know the love of Christ which Christ abundantly bestows upon them. (Eph. 5:19; Rom. 8:35) They possess the mind of Christ, his meekness and his gentleness. (1 Cor. 2:16; 2 Cor. 10:1)

Its members completely rely upon the "power of Christ." They trust not in the wisdom, power or ingenious ways of man, but the power of Christ is sufficient to them in all things. (2 Cor. 12:9)

Its members gladly bear the "sufferings of Christ." They rejoice to be partakers of. the sufferings of Christ, his afflictions, his reproach and his patience. (1 Peter 4:13; Col. 1:24; Heb. 11: 26; 2 Thess. 3:5)

Its members are complete in the "fulness of Christ." Every spiritual blessing is provided by Christ, and its members are expected to content themselves with what he has filled into his church. (Eph. 4:13) The church, i.e., the plan, including the church in God's eternal purpose, is Christ's fulness. (Eph. 1:22) Everything essential he put into his church, and left out every non-essential. Its members, therefore, exclusively utilize every "tool of the trade" he put into it.

Its members look forward with hope to the "day of Christ." They wait without offense until that day which the Lord delays for later fruit, rejoicing therein. (Phil. 1:10; 2:16; 2 Thess 2:2) At which time also they anticipate with fear the judgment or Christ. (Rom. 14:10) They expect an eternal inheritance in the kingdom of Christ. (Eph. 5:5)

It takes a lot of things to constitute a "church or Christ." One thing may make a church to be not "of Christ"

— Dimmitt, Texas rm-