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What's in a Name?

In the following e-mail exchange, the e-mailer's comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.

>I appreciate your research and information to enlighten the world, good job. Have you read about the Christ Community Fellowship in your studies/research of the early Christians? When you became a Christian, which Church would you have been added to according to the scriptures?

According to the 27 documents comprising the NT I could not find any mention of Christians being the Christ Community Fellowship?

Could you explain?


I assume you believe that a Christian group should just go by the name "church" or something similar. That would be possible if all groups claiming to be Christian held the same doctrines, but that simply is not the case. So "labels" are used to differentiate from different church groups. But assuming their doctrines are Bible, all are part of the one universal Church.

> Gary

Thanks for your response.

According to 1st letter to the Christians in Corinth the first division and verse 10 the admonishion was to speak the same thing. Should we today, having ascertained that we have derived the correct interpretation to the message of Christ and preach that truth as the early church was expected to believe and preach and being the bride of Christ, wear his name?

I read of the Church of Christ, Romans 16 and the Church of God (which he purchased with his own blood).

How can the church be one, according to Ephesians, and believe different doctrines about Christ, worship, organization, conversion, etc., and wear different names and yet be the universal church?


See the following article on my site where I address this issue: Essentials of "the Faith."


Appreciate very much your detailed answer. Does rule 8 include baptism for the remission of sins according to second division of Acts verse 38, Mark 16:16?

You call yourselves by a name that I cannot find in the 27 documents for Christians and your explanation was to differentiate by 'labelling', are you not the bride of Christ and should wear his name individually and collectively? Who died for you, in whose name were you baptised? 1 epistle to the Church of Christ at Corinth first division and verse 13?


In the Bible, believers are referred to as: the church (Matt 16:18), the church of God (1Cor 1:2), church of the Lord and God (Acts 20:28; MT), the Way (Acts 9:2), Christians (Acts 11:26), the elect (Matt 24:24); the elect of God (Col 3:12); the flock (Acts 20:28); the flock of God (1Pet 5:2), the believers (1Tim 4:12), the bride, the Lamb's wife (Rev 21:9), and probably other terms that I can't think of off hand.

In addition, the word "church" (Gr. ekklesia) simply means "assembly." It is used in reference to OT Jews (Acts 7:38) and to non-believers in an assembly that can best be described as a mob (Acts 19:32). So there is nothing "special" about the word.

Putting the above together, it doesn't appear to me that the Bible puts any kind of special emphasis on how believers are referred to. So I will stand by what I said that the "name" a particular group of believers uses is not relevant. What matters is what they believe. And all assemblies and believers that abide by the essentials of the faith are part of this one Assembly regardless of their particular identifying name.

As for your claim that baptism is required for salvation, I address this in my Scripture Workbook.

> Dear Gary

The principle of Christ and the Church (His Church) just like a husband and his wife; his bride wears his name, Is that different with His 'Ekklesia.' Why, because of husband/wife principle, should another name be sought?<

Because it is only one of many "names" used in the NT.

> When Henry VIII sought to divorce Ann and marry Catherine and therefore started his church to do so; that was not the bride of Christ, therefore he correctly called it by another name. Every denomination started after the Jerusalem church could not rightly be called by any first century name; the Founders and their dates were too late.


Sorry, but you have not answered me as to which name "should" be used out of the list I gave you. You have not answered my argument that the numerous names used in Scripture shows that God is not concerned about what name a group uses. And most of all, you have not answered the fact that the word ekklesia is used in reference to Jews in OT times and to non-Christians. As such, there is nothing special about it. It simply means an "assembly" of people. What distinguishes a Christian assembly from a non-Christian assembly is not its name but its character.

Acts 2:42 sums up the marks of a true Christian assembly nicely:
Now they were continuing in the teaching of the apostles and in fellowship, and in the breaking of the bread and in prayers (ALT).

Correct doctrine, love among Christians, engaging in the Lord's Supper (although "the breaking of the bread" in this context might be referring to shared meals), and constant reliance upon God as evidenced by prayer. These are the marks of a true Christian assembly, not what name it goes by.

Below is the entry for ekklesia from several lexicons:

(1) in a gener. sense, as a gathering of citizens assembly, meeting (AC 19.32); (2) as the assembled people of Israel congregation (HE 2.12); (3) as the assembled Christian community church, congregation, meeting (RO 16.5); (4) as the totality of Christians living in one place church (AC 8.1); (5) as the universal body of believers church (EP 1.22). (Friberg)

an assembly of the citizens regularly summoned, the legislative assembly, Thuc., etc.: ... II. in N.T. the Church, either the body, or the place (Liddell and Scott).

church, congregation; assembly, gathering (of religious, political, or unofficial groups) (UBS Dictionary)

church, congregation, assembly (Louw and Nida).

So it can be seen that the word has a range of meanings and applications. It simply is not a special word that only refers to a group of Christians.



The above lexical entries were copied from:  BibleWorksfor WindowsCopyright 1992-1999 BibleWorks, L.C.C. Big Fork, MT: Hermeneutika. Programmed by Michael S. Bushell and Michael D. Tan.

Friberg, Timothy and Barbara. Analytical Greek New Testament. Copyright 1994 and Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament. Copyright 1994. Both as found on BibleWorksfor Windows™.

Liddell-Scott Greek English Lexicon (Abridged). Public Domain. As found on BibleWorksfor Windows™.

Louw, Johannes and Eugene Nida, eds. Greek-English Lexicon. New York: United Bible Societies, 1988. And second edition, Copyright 1998 as found on BibleWorksfor Windows™.

Newman, Barclay M. Jr. A Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Copyright 1971 by United Bible Societies and 1993 by Deutsche Biblelgesellschaft (German Bible Society), Sttugart. As found on BibleWorksfor Windows™.

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