Vol.V No.VI Pg.4
August 1968

"Our" New Name?

Robert F. Turner

Several years ago I wrote something about the practice of "signing" newspaper articles and highway billboard advertisement with "Churches of Christ Salute You!" A plurality of local churches, acting independently, might decide to "salute" the general public with holy kisses — but both the propriety and scripturalness of such is questionable. Further, many single congregations were presenting statements to the public, and indicating by the "signature" that this was from "Churches of Christ."

Since then the practice has increased, and I have seen several statements by the press and other world sources that indicate some are thinking of "Churches of Christ" as a proper designation for a denomination — "our" denomination, if you please. What else can one expect from presswriters who know "us" as they see us. The Herald of Truth has presented the "work of one church, Highland church of Christ in Abilene" under the banner of "The Churches of Christ." (?)

In a recent brochure Christian Benefits, Inc., is said to be "a non-profit organization, operated by Members of the Churches of Christ." The capital "M" and "C"'s were their idea. If they meant to say members of several churches, why the "caps"? The blunt truth is that "Church of Christ" and now "Churches of Christ" are not party or denominational labels, even though "our" brethren use them.

It is bad enough when brethren use "brother-hood" as though it were a "hood" of "Churches" — "church-hood." With "Churches of Christ" as a proper designation for "our" brotherhood, we make congre- gations the units of the universal church in name as well as in concept. Now we can have "Churches of Christ" preachers, doctrines, and practices — as well as "Members"!!

Maybe this is the solution for a problem that has bothered many a sectarian minded member recently. As one Tyler, Tex. sister asked me, "If the church divides, who will get the name?" It occurred to me she was more interested in who got "the name" than in who stayed with the truth of the Lord. But now we have enough to go around — for awhile at least. One "side" can be "Churches of Christ" and the other "Church of Christ." It will be permissible for both to use Rom. 16:16 to justify their claim — even though, of course, both will have to mis-use the passage.

The Lord's people belong to God, in Christ, and it is wholly in keeping with the scriptures to speak of the church (called out people) of (belonging to) God — or Christ — or the Lord — etc. The local church is a functional entity (Phil. 4:15) and in addressing these saints grammatical and copy rules may dictate the use of a capital "C" — but we must not allow ourselves to accept an unscriptural concept of the Lord's church on the basis of such practices.

Our concept of "brotherhood" must never become smaller than "all the saints in Christ Jesus;" and the basis for that "fellowship" must never become more nor less than the revealed truth of God -- That "light" in which we walk and live.