February 2021, Vol. 40, No. 2

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Are We A Denomination?

posted on February 1, 2021

[356 words]

Q: Has the term “church of Christ” become a denomination in the minds of people?

A: Obviously, yes. Many people outside the church call us “church of Christer’s.” They do not understand what we mean by the phrase “the church.” In some people’s minds, a Christian has to be either a member of a denomination or a member of a sect. 

What we strive to be is simply “Just Christians.” What do we mean by this concept? 

• It means trying to be like the 1st century church in work, worship, and teaching. They were just Christians. Why can’t we be the same? 

• It means being an independent and autonomous church, not part of any denominational structure—just like the Christians in the New Testament. 

• It means worshiping like the people in the New Testament did. 

• It means believing and practicing what the New Testament church believed and practiced. 

• It means an end to “hyphenated Christianity” were some human-centered name or creedal position is attached to the term Christian. 

We are one of many “churches of Christ.” This term is not used in a sectarian (denominational) sense, but is intended to denote our desire to belong to Christ’s church. The Bible says, “The churches of Christ greet you” (Rom. 16:16). However, it is just as correct to describe the church as “the church of God” (1 Cor. 1:2), “the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27), or “the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). These and similar Biblical phrases are not proper names, but descriptive expressions which show how the church is related to Christ and His Father.

We are called “Woodlawn” simply because our building is located on Woodlawn Street. 

“I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Cor. 1:10). 

The phrase “Church of Christ” in the US generally means a body of believers who believe in this ideal. I want to be just a Christian!

Larry Fitzgerald
Woodlawn church of Christ
Abilene, TX

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