Frequently  Asked  Questions

 

Did Jesus name His church?

 

Jesus said in Mt 16:18 “I will build my church”. It was established in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit filled the Apostles with power fifty days after Christ had risen (Ac 2:1-4) and had thousands of members in a short time (Ac 2:41,47; Ac 4:4). After the martyrdom of Stephen the one church that Christ built was persecuted to such an extent that Christians were scattered from Jerusalem into other regions of Judea and Samaria (Ac 8:1) and eventually to all parts of the world where they started local congregations of the church Christ promised to build.

 

Did Jesus give a specific, exclusive name to His one church or to the individual congregations that make up His church? If He did then any other name would almost surely be unacceptable to God (Mt 7:21, 1Pe 4:11)  and, conversely, if He did not give a specific, exclusive name to His church(es) it would be presumptuous on our part to demand a particular name be used. It all comes down to whose authority is supreme in all things spiritual. It is Christ's church and He has all authority (Mt 28:18).

 

Before Jesus returned to Heaven He promised His Apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth (Jo 16:13) so there was no spiritual truth that had been hidden from them. They, in turn, revealed to us everything we need to know of a spiritual nature (2 Pt 1:3). Therefore, if Christ's church has a specific, exclusive name then the Apostles knew what it was and they revealed that name to us in the holy scriptures.

 

How do the scriptures describe Christ's church: 

  1. In about 59 places it is simply called “the church”.
  2. In another 21 places it is called “the church” in a specific city or region such as “the church which was at Antioch” (Ac 13:1) to differentiate local congregations from the church in general.
  3. “Every church” is used twice.
  4. “Whole church” is used three times.
  5. “Church of God” or “churches of God” is used eleven times.
  6. “Other churches” is used twice.
  7. “Glorious church” is used once.
  8. “Church of the living God” is used once.
  9. “Church of the firstborn” is used once.
  10. “The seven churches” is used once.
  11. “Churches of the gentiles” is used once.
  12. “Churches of Christ” is used once.
  13. “Churches of the saints” is used once.

 

This is not every place the word “church” is used but the point is made that no single, specific, exclusive name was revealed for the Lord's church. “Churches” is not capitalized in the above list because a title is implied but simply because the word appears at the beginning of a sentence.

 

There are other ways the church is named other than “church” such as “body”, “house of God”, “the way”, “flock”, etc. A good concordance will verify all these claims. Any of these descriptions is true and valid because the Holy Spirit of God has put His stamp of approval on them as the author of the Bible. Therefore, because the Holy Spirit approves these names the use of any other name than those used in the Bible could invite God's wrath. Did Jesus name His church? He either did not give it a specific, exclusive name or it has many names. Since God is only glorified when we keep our opinions to ourselves in spiritual matters and act only on faith that comes from the holy scriptures (Ro 10:17).

 

Christians have scriptural authority to use only the descriptions for Christ's church that are revealed in the scriptures. Use of any name that is not found in the scriptures would only glorify the creature rather than the Creator.

 

 

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