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Question #297

Is Church of Christ the only biblical name that can be used on a church sign?

Denominations and man-made names aside. Is Church of Christ the only biblical name that can be used on a church sign?

The Answer:

First, "church of Christ" is not the "name" of the church, but rather is the description of the church. It is the church that belongs to Christ.

Second, as to your question of whether "church of Christ" must be the "name" on the church sign, the answer is no. There are several descriptive terms used of the church in the New Testament. One is just as scriptural as the other. They are:

church of God, Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Cor. 10:32; 1 Cor. 11:22; 1 Tim. 3:5;

house of God, church of the living God, 1 Tim. 3:15;

church of the firstborn, Heb. 12:23;

churches of Christ, Rom. 16:16, speaking of a plural number of congregations;

churches of God, 1 Thess. 2:14; 2 Thess. 1:4. speaking of a plural number of congregations.

Sometimes the church is simply called “the church,” or “the body, which is the church.” This was sufficient because there were no denominations using man-made names or descriptions. The term “church of Christ” came to be the term applied to New Testament congregations that sought to restore New Testament faith and practice. A denomination adopted the scriptural term “church of God”; however, it takes more than a descriptive term that is scriptural to be a New Testament church, and that includes the term “church of Christ.” There are congregations that have “church of Christ” on their sign that have departed from New Testament faith and practice. The name of the sign will not save them, or anyone else for that matter. The saved are those who do the will of the Father, including that which is on the sign. Matthew 7:21-27.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)