Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:16-18)
The Church Of Christ
In a world divided by religious mixtures of changing faiths, the New Testament church is hard to find. Terms that once declared simple truths have changed to describe a host of things far from the original meaning. Satan has been very busy in camouflaging the unique character of the divine kingdom convincing the world worship to God is a matter of choice dependent on the personal values and taste of the individual. Often Satan is more successful in deceiving the minds of men by allowing them to believe in God but to offer a transitional view of how to worship the Lord. He convinces the multitudes that calling on the name of the Lord will save them without following His will. Surveying any community it is unmistakable the variety of churches that dot the landscape taking different names, creeds, practices and faith – the scheme of the devil has been very effective in creating religious confusion.
What is the church of Christ? Many outside the church (and inside the church) see the “Church of Christ” as a denominational body no different than the thousands of other churches in the community. In part this would be true as denominational concepts have crept into the New Testament church creating a world of man-made religion no different than the creations of men. Examining the teachings of the Bible is where the church should always plead for authority, design and structure; regardless of how things have been done the past fifty years or who began what church in what place. Biblical authority comes from the authority of the Bible and nothing else. The church of the New Testament is a very unique and special formulation of divine origin and purpose. Man would do well to look to the pages of God’s word to see the pattern of His divine word in what the church belonging to Christ must be.
The church of Christ is the body of Christ representing those who are called out belonging to the Son of God. Paul describes the church as the “bride of Christ,” “kingdom of Christ,” “family of God,” a “building” and a “flock.” When Paul was persecuting the church he went looking for those who were of “the way.” All of these are terms describing the function of the church. The church of Christ is undenominational in character because there is only one body or one church with one faith, one Lord and one God and Father. Writing to the saints in Corinth, Paul called the body the “church of God.” To the people in Thessalonica he called them the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. A close study of New Testament scripture exposes the fact there is no “official” name for the church Jesus died for as each name describes a particular nature of the church.
Why is it fitting to call the church by the name of Christ? It is proper to refer to the church as belonging to Christ because He built it and bought it with His blood. Christ is the foundation of the church and the only head and savior of the body. Bible authority demands the church of Christ be referred to as belonging to Christ. The bride of Christ belongs to Christ. Man-made churches exalt some man in name rather than Christ! The church in the New Testament is never referred to as the Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Nazarene, Episcopal, or Roman Catholic Church. Paul does refer to the churches of Christ in Romans 16:16. Reading the Bible is not a difficult task and finding the truth is just as simple as reading about it in the word of God. If it is not in the Bible it is created by man.
The church of Christ is not a denomination and it is not a building. Alexander Campbell did not start the church and there is no man that is the head of the church. The church of Christ is a 2000 year old body of people who belong to Jesus Christ as given by the pattern of the New Testament! Every pattern of the church today must follow the arrangement of the church found in the New Testament. Anything less and anything more is a perversion of what Jesus said He would build. He built the church. The church is built on the foundation that He is the Son of God. Thank God for the church that belongs to Jesus Christ.