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    What does one mean when he says, "I am a member of the church of Christ?"  Many who are not members of the church of Christ believe that when one makes such a statement, he is claiming membership in a denomination.  In fact, many sincere, religious people believe that all churches are basically the same, because they feel that all are denominations.  Please understand, however, that those who claim membership in the church of Christ are not claiming to be members of a denomination.  We, members of the church of Christ, feel that it is extremely important that others understand...

The Church of Christ Is Not a Denomination.

    On the occasion of Matthew 16:18, Jesus promised to build His church.  He said, "Upon this rock I will build my church."  Note that Jesus promised to build "a" church.  Acts 2:47 reveals that the church promised by Christ was built:  "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." To which church were the saved added?  Obviously, they were added to the Lord's church, the church of (the one belonging to) Christ. Therefore, there was a church which existed in the first century which belonged to the Lord, and that church was not a denomination.

    Now since it was possible to be a member of the Lord's church, the church of Christ, in the first century without joining any denomination, why would such not be possible today?  The Scriptures teach that it is possible to be a member of the Lord's church without being a member of any denomination.  So when one says, "I am a member of the church of Christ," he is not saying that he is a member of a denomination; rather, he is saying that he is a member of the church Jesus built-the one that is found in the New Testament.

    The truth is, there were no denominations in the first century; there was only the Lord's church. In denominationalism there are scores of churches, but in the Bible there is only one church. Paul wrote, "There is one body" (Ephesians 4:4). The body is identified in Ephesians 1:22-23: "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (emp. mine ML). There is one body, and the body is the church. Therefore, there is one church. Consider this illustration. If there were one animal in the field and that animal were a mule, how many mules would there be in the field? Very obviously, the answer is "one." By this same logic, the Scriptures teach that there is one body and that body is the church. So, according to God's inspired Word, there is only one church. Again, when I say, "I am a member of the church of Christ," I am referring to that one church of the New Testament.

  Additionally, the position that all the denominations make up the one church of Christ will not stand in the light of God's Word.  Each denomination comes with its own set of doctrines, and many denominational doctrines contradict one another.  But the Lord's church is to be united doctrinally. Paul wrote, "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of or Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (I Corinthians 1:10). Since the Lord's church, the church of Christ, is to be "perfectly joined together in the same mind and judgment" and the denominational world is fractured and divided, then, the denominations do not comprise the true church of Christ.

  Furthermore, that Christ's church existed in the first century before there were any denominations, proves that the Lord's church is not made up of denominations (Acts 2:47). Simply put, the Lord's church could not be a conglomeration of denominations, because His church was built before there were any denominations!


Excerpt from the tract, "WHAT IS THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?" by Mark Lindley.
(Used with permission.  Edited-LWG)