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This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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The Patternists: The Undenominational Church


Recently I came across the phrase, “congregations of the Churches of Christ.” I am sad to say that it was not a member of some religious denomination, but a baptized believer who used the words. There is so much talk about offensive speech in our day. Well let me tell you that those words offended me.

First, I am offended by the ignorance. The phrase is redundant. The phrase “churches of Christ” is used only once in the New Testament, in Romans 16:16, “Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.” In that verse, the word “churches” has reference to congregations. So, in the offensive phrase above, it could be rendered, “congregations of the congregations of Christ.” Such silliness is similar to the popular phrase “born again Christian.” By definition a Christian is one who is born again. There is no such thing as a Christian who has not been born again. So, the phrase is redundant, “a born again born again person.” But, I digress.

The second, and most offensive aspect of the phrase “congregations of the Churches of Christ” is that it indicates a denominational concept of Christianity. In other words, it differentiates between congregations of the “Churches of Christ” denomination, as contrasted with congregations of say, the Baptist denomination, or congregations of the Methodist denomination. This denominational concept of Christianity is clearly condemned in scripture (John 17:20-21; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13).

Scripture reveals that there is only one church, established by Jesus Christ, (Matthew 16:18). That church is made up of those INDIVIDUALS who are saved, (Acts 2:47). That church is organized in one way, and one way only, into local congregations, (1 Corinthians 1:1-3). If your concept of the church is different, then you are part of a big problem.

Denominationalism (Many churches instead of one) is abhorrent to the One who founded His church. I refuse to be a part of any denomination, or to describe the Lord’s church using any denominational terms. Words mean things, and it is offensive for Christ’s church to be referred to in such an obviously unscriptural way. It may be simple ignorance, or it may be a willful departure from God’s pattern that fosters these words. Regardless, our Lord deserves more respect.

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