The name “church of Christ” recognizes the church’s relationship to Christ as founder, purchaser, head and savior of the church. It gives him the honor He deserves. We do not denominate ourselves or take a name that honors some man (Lutheran, early 1500’s A.D.), some doctrine (Free Will Baptist, mid 1700’s A.D. and Mormon’s a.k.a. The church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints, mid-1850’s A.D.), some practice (Pentecostal, in 1900’s A.D.) or some nation (Church of England, in 1534 A.D). All such names take away the honor and glory that is Christ’s alone.
Just who is a Christian? Luke tells us “the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). A disciple is a follower, student of the master teacher (Matthew 16:24, 10:38). In Christianity, a disciple is a baptized believer. Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:” (Matthew 28:20 ASV). When in faith he is immersed, a man is born again and enters Christ’s kingdom (John 3:3-5). He is a person in whom Christ dwells (Colossians 1:27). He is daily being transformed into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:18). His sins are forgiven and God’s Holy Spirit fills his heart (Acts 2:38). The gift of the Holy Spirit, received at his baptism, is the seal of his salvation and the sincerity of his ultimate home in heaven (Ephesians 1:13-14). When baptized, a person is added to Christ’s church and none other (Acts 2:47). Only those who have believed in Christ, turned from their sins and been buried with Christ in baptism (Romans 6:3-4) can rightfully claim this sacred name.
As members of the church of Christ we like to say, “We have no doctrine but Christ, no creed book but the Bible, no name but Christian.” Our mission is summed up in the words of Paul, “we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).