The New Testament Church - The Name It Wears

One thing which sets the New Testament church apart from manmade denominations is the name it calls itself collectively by and what its members call themselves.  A desire to do Bible things in Bible ways and call Bible things by Bible names is part of having everything we do be done in the name of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:17) and speaking as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11).  A commitment to these principles will lead us to call ourselves what the New Testament church called itself rather than inventing some sort of new name which to refer to ourselves by.

The New Testament church is not referred to with just one title or designation.  Rather, several descriptive phrases are used to describe the New Testament church.  Here are a sampling of some of those phrases and the passages where they can be found:

  • Jesus speaks of the church as, “My church” - Matthew 16:18.
  • Jesus speaks of the church as, “My kingdom” - John 18:36.
  • Jesus speaks of the church as, “the kingdom of heaven” - Matthew 16:19.
  • Jesus speaks of the church as, “the kingdom of God” - John 3:5.
  • The church is sometimes simply called “the church” - Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; 3:10; 5:23-32.
  • The church is referred to as the, “the church of God” - Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 1:2.
  • Individuals congregations are spoken of as “churches of Christ” - Romans 16:16.
  • The church is the, “house of God” - 1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 2:19.
  • The church is the, “household of faith” - Galatians 6:10.
  • The church is, “the kingdom of God” - Acts 28:23, 31.
  • The church is, “the kingdom of the Son of His love” - Colossians 1:13.
  • The church is, “a kingdom which cannot be shaken” - Hebrews 12:28.

Can you read about a Lutheran church, Episcopalian church, Presbyterian church, Baptist church, Methodist church, Mormon church, Seventh-Day Adventist church, or Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the New Testament?  Since you cannot read about a church wearing such names in the New Testament, one needs to be willing to discard these names which came from men and be content to call themselves by a name which came from God!

Individual members of the Lord’s church also were called by a variety of designations.  Some of these designations include: disciples (Acts 6:1), saints (1 Corinthians 1:2), sons/children of God (Romans 8:14-17), Christians (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16), etc.  Many people today will claim to be a Christian but will refer to themselves as some various kind of Christian.  The saints at Corinth were having a similar problem where they were wanting to call themselves after various men and Paul rebukes them for it (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).  Where do you read about a Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Baptist (as a description of a follower of Christ), Methodist, Mormon, etc. in the New Testament?  Let’s be content to simply be what the early disciples of Jesus were called and abandon any name as a designation for us as individuals which cannot be found in the pages of the New Testament!