"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.IV No.II Pg.5a
September 1941

About Church Names

John W. Kurfees

In your issue of May 1941, you have a two page article, one paragraph of which is headed: "Names—Designations of the New Testament Church."

Under that heading you speak of the "religious nomenclature of the day", using church designating terms which are "foreign to Bible parlance."

Why should it not be foreign to it, when they are speaking, and writing about religious institutions which are, themselves, foreign to the Bible?

Then you say some claim that it "sectarianizes the church to call it church of Christ."

Sectarianizes what? "the church", you say. So that is the thing we are talking about.

Yes, it is "the church" about which we are speaking, and there is no danger of ever sectarianizing that institution when we call it the church.

It is the qualifying designations we use, and the manner in which we use them, that makes it sectarian.

If we would use the designating, or qualifying, terms as they are used in the New Testament, that is without any preference, for one above the others, it would not be sectarianizing at all.

The church is what the Lord established, and he didn't established but one; But the Holy Spirit, through the inspired writers, saw fit to use some dozen or more qualifying, or designating terms, when speaking of that institution.

They call it the "church of God" six times in the singular; and three times in the plural, they refer to it as "churches of God." They refer to it, in the plural, one time as "Churches of Christ."

They also speak of the church as "The household of the faith," "The church of the first born," Etc., Etc.

It can readily be seen that the Lord's body is the church; but as stated above, the inspired writers used several qualifying, or designating terms in referring to it.

So who are we, that we should single out, and paramount one of these terms, and so use it as to practically exclude all the others?

Then too, it should be noted that, in the New Testament, our Lord's spiritual body is referred to just as "the church" far more often than any other way; as in Acts 13:1, and Rom. 16:1.

In this modern day of ours, some even go so far as to say we are dishonoring Christ, unless we say "Church of Christ." Would any one be willing to say Paul was dishonoring Christ when he referred to the church as "the church of God"? Surely not.

I hope the time may soon come when the brethren, preachers and all, will cease sectarianizing the church by stereotyping one particular designating term, to the practical exclusion of all the others.