"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.VI Pg.3a
January 1942

More About Church Names

John W. Kurfees

It is not my purpose to carry this discussion to an "erroneous extreme," as Bro. Wallace seems to fear.

But it should be carried far enough to get people to see the "erroneous extreme" many have gone to, and are going to, in order to stereotype, or patent, so to speak, one specific designation for our Lord's body; when no such is even hinted at in the New Testament.

They have carried it to such an "extreme" that their patented term "Church of Christ," is being referred to by prominent preachers and writers, as "the regular designation."

Yes, it sure has become "regular," but who is responsible for such regularity?

I am sure no one can blame Peter or Paul for it.

They were pretty regular fellows, but not in that respect. In fact, Paul didn't mind calling his Lord's body the "Church of God," or any of the other names found in the New Testament. But how many places can Brother Wallace cite us, where the brethren have, out in front of their meeting houses, a sign reading, "Church of God"?

I asked a party some time ago why they never used the designation "Church of God," but persisted in using, all the time, and every where "Church of Christ?"

"Oh," they said, "another denomination is using that term." There you have it. Another Denomination" is right.

Bro. Wallace agrees that the term "Church of Christ" is used in a sectarian manner, when it is "employed to cover too little or too much.

Certainly it is, and yet many, when referring to the church in a certain section will say, the "Church of Christ in Tenn.," or the "Church of Christ, in Okla.," and to whom do they refer? They of course are referring to no one except those who do not use instrumental music in their worship.

Of course those who are using mechanical instruments of music in their worship are in error, and should not do it, but many of them have obeyed the gospel and were of course added by the Lord to his body; and it is sectarian to be sure, to speak of the body of Christ in that particular section in a manner not to include them.

But Bro. Wallace says I seem to be "particularly concerned about what brethren write on their bulletin boards;" and then he informs me that the "meeting house is not the church at all."

He had better read my article again if he thinks I ever intimated that the meeting house was a church.

I know what the New Testament says the church is, and I think I understand what the meeting house is. Then Bro. Wallace says, "The term, the church' has no religious significance whatever aside from the qualifying designations, either expressed or implied, in the New Testament."

Where is any qualifying designation in Rom. 16:1, where it says, "I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church that is at Cenchreae?"

Then in Acts 13:1, it says, "Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there."

I respectfully contend that there is not the slightest hint about religion, in either of the above statements, taken by themselves. It is neither "expressed" or implied," that the writer was even talking about a religious institution.

Of course I know religion is, or was, in it, but how do I know it? Certainly by nothing said in either passage. I can know it only by what I read before and after them; and so it is today. Bro. Wallace knows, as well as I, that, notwithstanding the term "church" means technically, a called out body, it is seldom used in any other than a religious sense, either in the New Testament, or in common parlance today.

So when we say, here in our city, "Goldfloss Street Church, which meets for worship at 719 Goldfloss St.," we are not uneasy but that all who read such notice, either in newspaper, or on sign board, will understand that we are not talking about a "mob," but a religious gathering, even though we use no qualifying designation, before the word "church".

I have often said that you can't ever tell what is preached or practiced in a meeting house, by what the sign out in front may say; and as proof of this many brethren from other places who are wedded to the stereotyped designation, "Church of Christ," come into our city, and of course are looking for a place to attend worship. Well, they drive around and find four nice meeting houses with sign out in front of each reading, "Church of Christ," so they park out in front of one of them and go in.

There they find a pipe organ, piano and robed choir. Bro. Wallace insists that the sign be placed "over the meeting house door;" so I suppose if he passes through our city, he will be caught in the trap above referred to.

I would feel sorry for him, but he should not grumble, for he would be only getting a dose of his own medicine.

I don't know who is responsible for the change, but anyway, there has been a big change in the way church reports, from preachers over the country, read in the last few months.

Not so long ago, practically every report would say the "Church of Christ" in such and such place. Now most of them say, "the church" at such and such place. A few weeks ago, I read in one issue of the Gospel Advocate 71 reports, and the term "Church of Christ," was in only one. Of course, as stated before, the church has a dozen or more qualifying designations in the New Testament, and that inspired record is speaking them all, every day, and all the time. We of course cannot do that, but we can speak and write in such manner as not to paramount, or in any way show a preference for one of these designations above the others; and to the extent we do show a preference we are violating God's order; a thing we have been preaching against for a long time.

Of course we know that each denominational church seems to think that one distinctive denominational title is essential to its existence and its place among its sister denominations; but Christ had no such idea about his church. He did not give his church one distinct, exclusive name; and who are we that we should presume to change his arrangement?