Question:

I just found your site on the web. Very interesting information you have compiled. I am curious, are you, in fact, affiliated with what we know as the denomination Church of Christ? Or is it that you just align yourself with the Christ?


Answer:

As far as I know, there is no denomination using the name "Church of Christ." A typical definition for a denomination is: "A group of religious congregations united under a common faith and name and organized under a single administrative and legal hierarchy." While churches of Christ are united under a common faith, that which is found exclusively in the Bible, and many, but not all, use a common name based upon Romans 16:16, there is no single administrative and legal hierarchy here on earth. The only head recognized by Christians is Christ Jesus (Matthew 28:18).

In general, the denominations of the world view their organization as a hierarchy of members belonging to a local church, which in turn belongs to a defining organizational body.

But in the Bible, the word "church" translates the Greek word ekklesia, which means "the called out." Thus the church refers to those who have been called out of the world. It is used in two senses: all the Christians of the world, past, present, and future (eg. Matthew 16:18); and, a group of Christians who worship together in a locale (eg. I Corinthians 1:2). The Bible discusses the organization of a local church with elders, deacons, evangelists, and teachers (eg. Ephesians 4:11), but the universal church is spiritually organized under Christ and the recorded teachings of the apostles and prophets. There is no earthly body which currently directs the operation of the church.

More importantly, there is no organization of local churches into higher bodies. Each congregation is independent. Thus a Christian is a member of a local church and a member of the universal church, but there is no hierarchy between the Christian and his Lord. "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy" (I Peter 2:9-10).

Technically, the word "church" is non-descriptive. It can refer to any assembly of people. For example, the Greek word ekklesia is used in Acts 19:32 to refer to the unruly mob which gathered in Ephesus. Thus a qualifying name makes it clear what assembly in being referred, such as a "church of Christ" or a "church of God."

Denominationalism is contrary to the teachings of the Bible. "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (I Corinthians 1:10). That is what a denomination means, a division from the whole. In order to create a division, men formulate creeds and statements of faith which define their particular division of Christianity in an attempt to make it distinct from other divisions of Christianity. The members here in La Vista and other Christians whom I know around the world have all rejected creeds and statements of faith, recognizing them to be works of men and not of God. Frequently these documents contain errors which are contrary to the teachings of the Bible. By accepting such erroneous statements, people have added to God's word things that God has not commanded. Even when a creed or statement of faith manages to stay faithful to the Bible in what it says, it is still inadequate because it is only a summary of what the Bible teaches. Thus creeds and statements of faith subtract from the full Gospel message. "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you" (Deuteronomy 4:2). There is only one document authorized to define the church, the Bible.

"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-10).