[forthright] Is the Name Church of Christ a Hindrance to Growth? (2)

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 02:28:26 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
http://www.forthright.net 
Straight to the Cross

Richard Mansel goes to the Bible to answer ... "The
Most Important Question." Great for classes, groups,
evangelistic studies and individuals.
http://forthrightpress.com/#MostImportant


COLUMN: LIVING THE FAITH

Is the Name Church of Christ a Hindrance to Growth? (2)
 by Richard Mansel, managing editor

Some congregations are deciding to remove the name
Church of Christ from their signs because they think
that the name has negative connotations.

Each individual Church of Christ is an autonomous body,
governed, we hope, by Scripture. The leadership of this
congregation can decide how best to conduct themselves,
as long as it falls within the boundaries of Scripture
(1 Corinthians 4:6).

We must remember that these elders do not have absolute
power. They are under the same New Testament under
which everyone else serves (James 4:10). Their
dictates do not supersede the Word of God.

Some argue that since they are an autonomous
congregation, we have no right to criticize their
decision. Well, these congregations are a part of the
whole Church. Accordingly, they are saying something
substantial about the rest of us in the Church. The
name that we wear is no longer worthy. Since it is the
Lord's name, and they are speaking of those of us who
wear his name in a derogatory manner, it is indeed our
business.

Christ came to build his church (Matthew 16:18). It is
his body, which fills "all in all" (Ephesians 1:22-23,
NKJV). It bears his name because he established it and
died for it. "

Therefore take heed to yourselves and to
all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you
overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He
purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28). 

He will return the kingdom back to the Father in the end 
and we want to be in it when he does 
(1 Corinthians 15:24).

The removal of the name, Church of Christ is, in part,
a reaction to the charges leveled against members of
the Church. This results, in part, from the careless
and imprecise use of language that many have used. Our
words have consequences and we bear some responsibility
when we misrepresent the truth of Scripture and
unwittingly contribute to leading people away from the
Lord.

Firstly, that we think that members of the Church of
Christ are the only ones going to heaven. It is proof
that brethren have accepted the denominational mindset
of the religious world, rather than God's way. Viewed
through this broken prism, the church will have
profound distortions.

Worshiping in a building called a "Church of Christ”
is not the determining factor of who goes to heaven,
despite what some have appeared to teach./1 Salvation
results from immersion into the blood of Christ,
walking in the light and being in the Lord's body 
(Acts 2:38; 1 John 1:7; Galatians 3:27).

Second, that we think that salvation comes from works.
Very few believe that we can earn our way to heaven.
Nevertheless, too many have given the impression that
we can do so.

While works do have a place in our salvation, the blood
of Christ cleanses us from our sins (Romans 5:6-11).
We cannot live good enough to earn our salvation and we
must do a better job enunciating this truth to the
world (Romans 5:1; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1-2).

Finally, people act in ways related to their own
reasons and do not speak for everyone. For some
brethren, this trend to remove the name Church of
Christ may simply be a tear in the fabric. Instead of
having a huge fight over doctrine, they are just
stepping away from the rest of us.

The answer for some is that they no longer wish to
follow the teachings of the Church. The name change is
cover for leaving completely and following after the
denominations. They ask their members to focus on the
altruism of the name change rather than the sleight of
hand of apostasy. This may appear to be clever, but God
knows better (Galatians 6:7).
___________

1/ http://tinyurl.com/2w3tmv

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