Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 12, 1957

"Christian Church" -- An Unscriptural Term!

Luther W. Martin, St. James, Mo.

It was recently this scribe's opportunity to read a letter from a preacher of the "Christian Church," in which the name "Christian Church" was being claimed as a "scriptural" name. At least, the preacher in question had a feeble attempt to secure Bible-backing for his assertion.

His statement was to the effect that in Galatians 1:22, as rendered by Goodspeed, Moffatt and Weymouth, the expression "Christian Churches" was used. This statement reads, "the churches of Judea which were in Christ," in the King James Version. In view of this claim by the "Christian Church" preacher, we thought it would be in order to study the issue in order to determine the TRUTH of the matter.

Christianos — Used Only Three Times In The Bible!

This writer knows of no Greek Lexicographer who has published any work dealing with christianos, who does not render that word, and that word ALONE, as "Christian." It is found in Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, and in I Peter 4:16. In EVERY instance of its usage, it is NEVER used in reference to an assembly, let alone a man-originated denomination!

Thirty-Eight Translations And Versions Checked!

Weymouth, Goodspeed and Moffatt, are not the only renditions of the New Testament that have dealt in an extremely "loose" manner with the Greek language in Galatians 1:22. So also have the Berkeley, 20th Century, Knox, and Williams. Although the Williams Version gives a footnote, which reads: "Literally, churches of Judea in Christ." Another version, written by Schonfield, reads; "Christian communities of Judea." But the fact still remains, that in the Greek language, the word always translated "Christian" is NOT included in this passage. Hence, it is nothing less than an INSERTION, rather than a translation.

On the other-hand, versions which read as does the King James Version, include: Clementson, Sharpe, Book of Books, Corrected New Testament, Anderson, Panin, American Standard, Swann, Basic English, Roman Catholic with McCloskey's Approbation, Westminster, Rheims, Confraternity, American Bible Union, Cunnington, Wesley's, and the English Revised.

Still other versions use slightly different readings, such as: "churches of Christ in Judea" (Lamas, Sawyer, Montgomery and Revised Standard). "Assemblies of Judea which were in Christ" — Rotherham. "Congregations in Judea which are in Christ" — Living Oracles. "Assemblies of Christ in Judea" — Fenton. "Churches formed in Christ in Judea." — Spencer. And, still others.

The whole point to this investigation is to show the lack of accurate scholarship and proper treatment accorded the original language in using the expression "Christian" when the original contains no word that can be properly so translated.

Goodspeed's Use Of The Word "Christian"

Inasmuch as Goodspeed saw fit to insert the word "Christian" in Gal. 1:22, we thought it would be interesting to check and see just how many times he made similar insertions. In addition to the three actual usages of the word "Christian" in the New Testament, Mr. Goodspeed inserted it in FIFTY-ONE other passages where christianos is NOT to be found in the Greek. Such a foundation hardly seems worthy of allegedly serving as `scriptural' basis for the name of the modern denomination calling itself the "Christian Church."

In the 16th chapter of Romans, Goodspeed uses the word "Christian" SEVEN times, although in Romans 16:16, he still correctly translates the passage, "churches of Christ." In the one chapter long book of Philemon, he sees fit to insert "Christian" four times. It is used erroneously a total of ten times in the First Corinthian letter. Such usage is to be deplored, rather than misused as a "scriptural" argument for a "name!"