I’ve heard it countless times over – “If your church doesn’t have the name of Christ on it then it has the wrong name.”
This is a point oft used when discussing the nature of the church with members of denominationalism, or putting-down denominationalism while talking with members of the church. Either way, one should be careful how this point is used. As a matter of fact, if you take the point as it stands, I’m not so sure the point should be used at all!
In the context of a conversation revolving around church names such as Baptist, Methodist, Adventist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and Presbyterian, (amongst numerous other churches who bear the names and teachings of their man-made and woman-made founders) talking about a scriptural name of the called-out body to which God desires all to belong to is obviously a conversation worth having (Acts 2:47). But we must be careful in drawing lines God has not drawn because we like the way an argument makes us sound.
Let me explain what I am saying as plainly as I can.
I am not ashamed to say I am a member of the church of Christ (Romans 16:16). Not in the least! But neither am I ashamed to say I am a member of the church of God (1 Corinthians 1:2), a member of the church of the first-born (Hebrews 12:23), or even a member of the house of God (1 Timothy 3:15). Perhaps it would even be valid, in the spiritual sense of the church being God’s temple today (2 Corinthians 6:16), to say I am a member of God’s house of prayer (Matthew 21:13). I am not ashamed of these church names because they are found in the same source of spiritual authority to which we call all of the denominational world to submit to – God’s word!
You see, for obvious reasons, placing an emphasis on the identity and ownership of the church through the name of the church is a valid challenge to the majority of the denominational world (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13), but insisting that the church of the Bible wear one specific name while several scriptural names remain available makes our “plea of unity” as denominational in nature as the rest of the divided religious world.
Remember the goal of the restoration movement … the goal of breaking down denominational lines without creating new ones.
“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” And again: “I will put My trust in Him.” And again: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”” (Hebrews 2:10-13 NKJV)