A few years ago, while traveling, I took particular note of signs in front of church buildings. After a period of time, I started making a list of the various names which groups called themselves.
At the end of the trip, my list was quite long and also interesting. First, there were the more common names such as The Harmony Baptist Church, The Ebenezer Baptist Church, and The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. There were some that sounded a little unusual such as The Higher Ground Church, and The Church on the Rock. There were other names which, at least to me, sounded a little more upbeat and modern. These were: The Outreach Church, The Spoken Word Tabernacle, The Apostolic Lighthouse, The Full Gospel Outreach, and The St. Thomas the Apostle Center. There was also The Church of the Holy Spirit and The Calvary Tabernacle United Pentecostal Church. The longest and most descriptive name was The First Independent All Nations Gospel Holy Church of Christ. Where do people come up with all of these names?
The above, although amusing, seems to illustrate a very important point as it shows how much the religious world ignores God’s Word. God’s Word is ignored today concerning the work, the organization, and the worship of the church. More specifically, however, God’s Word is ignored concerning what the church should be called. People seem to care little about what the Bible teaches in this area.
It is interesting to note what the church was called in the Bible. Although the church did not have one formal name, it was referred to by certain designations. Some of the designations from the Bible are: the CHURCH OF GOD (I Cor. 1:2), the CHURCH OF CHRIST (Rom. 16:16), and the CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN (Heb. 12:23). Individuals were simply known as: disciples (Acts 6:1), Christians (Acts 11:26), believers (Acts 5:14), etc. The separate congregations were referred to by the locations, but this did not designate any religious meaning.
Men today have named churches after systems of government, other men, and certain actions or modes of acting. Why do people refer to themselves religiously after the name of some man or by some party name? We should just simply be Christians. We should be satisfied to “speak as the oracles of God” (I Pet. 4:11) and “abide in the doctrine of Christ” (II Jn. 9) on what the church should be called, and in the way which individual followers are referred.