Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 14, 1961
NUMBER 32, PAGE 5,13c

The Church Of Christ Is Not A Denomination

Richard Weaver, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

A denomination is defined by the dictionary as "a class, or society of individuals, called by the same name; a sect." In the religious world a denomination is a segment or division of Protestantism. Christ's church, the church of Christ, is not a division of anything. It is "the body of Christ." (Eph. 4:4) Therefore, the church of Christ is not a denomination since the word body suggests wholeness, an entirety; not division. Paul said to the Corinthians, "Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular." (1 Cor. 12:27) True, there are "many members, yet one body." (1 Cor. 12:20) Since the church is the body of Christ, and since there is "but one body," there is, therefore, one church that is acceptable to the Father.

Paul admonished that we endeavor to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Eph. 4:3) Then he revealed the seven-fold unity or oneness of the teaching of the Holy Spirit. He said, "There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Eph. 4:4-6)

Observe my friends, that in the same verses where the Spirit teaches the oneness of God, the Father; the oneness of Christ Jesus, the Lord; and the oneness of the Holy Spirit, he also says, "there is one body." Not many — "but one body." (1 Cor. 12:20) Your attention is now pointed to the fact that "the body of Christ" is the church of Christ. Colossians 1:18 says, "And he (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church." In this statement "the church" is in apposition to the term "body." An apposition in grammar is "the setting of a second word beside a first as an adjunct term." Hence, "the church" explains what Paul meant when he said, "Jesus is the head of the body." In other words, Jesus is "the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body." (Eph. 5:23) Now you can see plainly that "the body" and "the church" are the same for one time Paul says, "Christ is the head of the body, the church" and in another place he says, "Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body." Therefore, since there is "one body," and "but one body" (1 Cor. 12:20), there is one church!

Naturally we want to know which religious group in the world is the body of Christ, the one church of Christ. The way we can determine this is to further "search the scriptures." (John 8:39) In all of your reading and searching of the scriptures have you ever read about the denomination of which you are a member? Of bourse, since none of them are mentioned, this should significantly impress you. But don't get mad at me because you can't read about the Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Mormon, Catholic, etc. churches in the Bible. It is not my fault that you can't find them taught in the word of God. I'm just trying to be your friend by pointing up this truth for your benefit. "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? (Gal. 4:16)

Christ The Builder

Think with me as to why the church of Christ is not a denomination and is truly the "church of Christ," that is, the church which belongs to Christ. In the first place, Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church." (Matt. 16:181 It is not the Baptist Church then because when Jesus said, "I will build (future tense)," John the (not a) Baptist was already dead. See Matt. 14:1-12. Rather, it is Christ's church because Christ said, "my church" "I will build." This is tantamount to Paul's statement, "The churches of Christ salute you." (Romans 16:16) Since there were a plural number of congregations, one congregation is a "church of Christ" and by this "of" form Of the genitive case is meant the church which belongs to Christ. It belongs to him because he is the builder. He said, " I will build my church." So it is Christ's church or the church of Christ.

Christ The Foundation

In 1 Cor. 3:11 we read "For other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Hence, it is Christ's church because he is not only the one who built the church but he himself is the foundation. In fact, the rock upon which Jesus said he would build his church is the confession of his divinity that Peter made. (Matt. 16:13-18) So the church is a divine organization since it is built upon the rock, the confession of his divinity!

Christ The Chief Corner Stone

In another figure Paul teaches that Jesus Christ is the chief corner stone of the church which "groweth unto an holy temple in the lord. Read with me Eph. 2:19-22 which says, "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles an prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." The church of Christ has Christ for her builder, foundation and chief corner stone. It is not, therefore, a denomination.

Christ Bought The Church

With his own precious blood Jesus bought the church. In Acts 20:28 Paul told the Ephesian elders to "take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." No denomination can claim that Jesus purchased it with his blood. The church of Christ, the church which belongs to Christ, is not a denomination.

Christ The Head And Saviour

The scriptures also teach that Christ is the head and saviour of the church of Christ. In Eph. 5:23 we read that "The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body." In order to be saved by Jesus one must be a member of his church, which is his body, of which he is the saviour.

In this article I have listed some scriptural reasons why the church of Christ is not a denomination and why it is truly the church of Christ! Won't you obey the gospel of Christ to become a Christian, a member of the church of Christ? To obey Christ (Heb. 8:5) you need to hear the word of God (Romans 10:17) which produces faith. This faith is to be in God and in Christ as the son of God (Heb. 11:6; John 8:24; 3:16). Then you need to repent (Acts 17:30-31; Luke 13:3). After your confession of faith in Jesus (Romans 10:8-10), you must be baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27; Romans 6:3-4) for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). God then will add you to the church (Acts 2:41, 47). You will, therefore, be saved from your past sins (Mark 16:16) and be a Christian (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16). We trust you will obey from the heart the form of doctrine delivered you; then you will become a servant of righteousness (Romans 6:17-18).