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AVOIDING DENOMINATIONAL SPEECH PATTERNS
In order to maintain an undenominational stance in the religious world, members of the body (church) of Christ must avoid the use of denominational language. Surrounded as we are by those who do not use a biblical vocabulary, it is easy to pick up their unbiblical terminology and/or to use biblical terminology in unbiblical ways. Consider the following expressions which we as New Testament Christians should avoid.
“I’m Church of Christ.” This reflects a denominational view of the church. We are Christians, disciples of Christ, saints, brethren, members of the church, but we are not “Church of Christ” or “Church of Christ-ers”! A number of years ago a good Christian woman said to me, “I’m Church of Christ all the way!” While I appreciated her spirit of loyalty to the cause of Christ, I was appalled by her sectarian and denominational manner of expression.
Church of Christ preacher, etc. We would not refer to a gospel preacher (the proper and biblical term to use) as a “church of God preacher,” a “body of Christ preacher,” or a “kingdom of heaven preacher.” Yet all of these phrases (and various others) are biblical descriptors of the church, and all of them refer to the same entity. To speak of “Church of Christ” ministers, schools, colleges, papers, etc. is to be guilty of using a biblical descriptor in a sectarian manner.
Further, since the church does not determine the doctrine to be taught, it is not “Church of Christ” doctrine or teaching that we are to set forth, but rather the doctrine of Christ and His apostles as revealed in the New Testament. To speak of “Church of Christ” doctrine conveys the notion that we are a denomination, with our own humanly devised doctrine.
Still further, since “church” and “congregation” have the same meaning, the height of redundancy is reached when one speaks of “a congregation of the Church of Christ” or “Churches of Christ congregations.” It is the same as saying “a church of the Church of Christ” or “Churches of Christ churches”! (More …)