Vol.XV No.IV Pg.7
June 1978

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Does the expression "the brethren" of Acts 11:29, refer to every individual "brother" in Judea? S.O.


"The brethren" (like "the saints," "the believers," etc.) is often used to designate a class of people. It refers to Christians as a class, and in contrast to "the unbelievers." It is like "the heathen," "the Gentiles."

In Acts 11:1 we read that the apostles and brethren... heard that "the Gentiles" had received the word. Surely, no one would contend that this meant every individual Gentile had received the word.

In Acts 11:2 they that were of "the circumcision" contended with Peter. Does anyone believe that every such person (Jews), or even every Jewish Christian, argued with him?

"The brethren" in Acts 11:29 tells us that the contribution was for the saints, as a class, and not for the population generally.. A concordance will give scores of such N.T. usage to those interested. (See Acts 12:17; 17:10; 18:27; 28:15; etc..)

Bro. Turner:

What can be done to correct the "party label" aspect of "Church of Christ" used to the exclusion of other scriptural designations? K.S.


A sign is erected to say something to the general public. But the impression conveyed may be one we have given to the words used, rather than the literal meaning of the words used. As an example, what do you think when you see a church building with the sign: "Church of God"? Do you not think "Pentecostal," "Holiness," or whatever connotations your section of the country gives that designation?

If "church of Christ" does not convey the idea of the saints who serve God through Jesus Christ, who gave it the different meaning? "WE" did!! And don't you forget it!! By that, I mean people who have used this designation have given it the connotation now assigned it by the public. If it "says" "Promoters," "Fun-and-Frolic," "Just Another Sect," or "Stubborn Antis," it is the fault of those who use it. Changing the "name" (or leaving off "names" all together) (the public can say "those nuts that won't use any name") will not answer the need to so live and teach that the public will think of us as the people of God.

Too much has been made of designations. I suspect that earlier concern for the "name" was spawned by a subconscious desire for institutional image; but it must be admitted that our society demands some sort of means for public recognition. If we used only "the church" (or "assembly") the term would take on special meaning in the publics eye. A different designation every week (an actual proposal), would only add to the confusion.

I'm afraid we are stuck with the difficult task of teaching, living, demonstrating that we are truly children of God, members of the church one reads about in the New Testament. Now isn't that just awful?