‘The church meets here’. Brazil congregation understands what the church is

 RIBEIRÃO PRETO, Brazil (BNC) — “The church meets here.” Today on Facebook this picture appeared of a sign on the front of the building of a congregação in the city of Ribeirão Preto, state of São Paulo. The congregation understands that the church has no name, because it is unique, one body, Ep 4.4, and that denominating the church with a name turns it into a denomination.

The sign communicates well the singularity of God’s church. It goes against the fad of giving increasingly creative and long names to entities that, by their teachings, are clearly human inventions and not divine.

We knew of another congregation in the northeastern Brazil whose official legal name is “The Church in ____.” The brethren in that city also give testimony to the uniqueness of the family of Christ.

May God’s people always be conscious that religious division is not an advantage for those who are looking for a church, but shame for those who reject God’s plan and invent their own religions, far from the divine commandment.

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree together, to end your divisions, and to be united by the same mind and purpose”
1 Corinthians 1.10 NET.

The question is, why don’t American churches show the same understanding?

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

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15 Comments

  1. Alfred Beyan

    I think the right inscription should be”The church of christ meet here. In the first century there was one church but today we have thousands of Churches. So we should labelled the Name church of Christ to distinct us from Other

  2. Mitch Moss

    I think this is fantastic. I for one belong to The Church, The Lord’s Church, The Church of God, The Church of Christ. Not to some denomination that has decided we would all write Church of Christ on our sign.

  3. Ron Jones

    The “Church” – The “called out” Who called them out? When I travel I like to meet with my Brothers in Christ to worship. How will I find them if there is no distinction given? The term “The Church” does not tell me anything as to who these people are.

    • The idea that writing Church of Christ on a sign and in so doing we make ourselves a denomination, is foolish. That “reasoning” is no more sound than saying, as Baptist used to say, those whom John the Baptist baptized were made Baptist. The sign “Church of Christ” is purely a matter of expediency. The church can meet without any sign, and it would still be the church. Turning the Lord’s church into a denomination is done by false teaching, which today is becoming more and more a menace to New Testament Christianity. Upper case or lower case lettering on a sign has nothing to do with our salvation. Faith in the Lord and obedience to his gospel is what makes one acceptable to God, not some sign which distinguishes the church from the denominations. If this seems foolish to you, then the next time you get a hair cut, see if that turns you into a barber!
      Marlin Kilpatrick

  4. Howie

    This seems very exclusive to me. My guess is that the idea likely came from the US and both the brethren from the US and those they have taught in Brazil have quite a number of quirks that are not required by our Lord. This group is another segment/denomination of Christianity at large no matter what or whether they have a sign at all. I once stopped to worship at a new congregation in Charleston, SC with the name Church of Christ only to be surprised as services began by the start up of their piano. We must be Biblical and we need to be practical beyond that.

  5. The name “church of Christ” honors her head, her Saviour, her Lord, her example, her cost, her God, her Spirit and her members. Since there seems to be those who think that the name “church of Christ” is no more pratical than let’s say “church of God”, I challenge you to do something. At you next opportunity, change all of your signs on or around your building to “Church of God.” I dare you to do it. Since you believe that the church can be identified by terms such as “church of God”, “the church”, “the kingdom of God” ect. then you should have no problem accepting my challenge. I can assure you that when someone is bothered by the church being identified by name with the one who gave Himself for her, this person has some serious problems that have nothing to do with what name is being used.

  6. Frank R. Williams

    I will just say with Paul, “the churches of Christ,” and if we are a congregation not “of Christ,” I don’t want any part of it! If words on a sign means that we have given a name to the church, why is it different when we put the word “the church meets here” on a sign?” Are these not words on a sign? I desire to be “of Christ!” As another wrote, there are many churches today, as I drive by looking for a place to worship, how will I know where to stop? Shall I stop at the sign that reads: “the church meets here?” If so, I have done anything different than when I stop at at sign that reads, “the church of Christ,” as it is understood, “meets here!”

  7. Dale Martian Davison

    Often when I am out and about I engage strangers in conversation. And I wish them a cool Eternity. When they seem puzzled I say, “We don’t want a Hot one!” Besides always getting a smile, this often leads to a short, on the spot, discussion of scriptures in the Bible. If they show interest I suggest they go on line and check out oldpaths.com where they will find many short Bible lessons easy to understand. One of these lessons is titled – “Are we a church of Christ.” I encourage them to read the scriptures given and then take what they have learned and compare the teachings to what the church they are attending is doing, to see if the church they attend is truly a church of Christ. I also add that if by chance they attend one of the groups around town that put the words Church of Christ on their building, that they also need to see if they are following the teachings of the Christ. I encourage you to do the same.

  8. Joseph Wheatley

    I don’t know why we are so opposed to being called a denomination. Look at the simple English meaning of the word. In a religious sense it means a group of churches having the same name (Church of Christ), same doctrine (5 steps, 5 acts, no creed but the Bible), same leader (Jesus Christ) and same headquarters (right hand of God, heaven). By the simple act of picking a common name for all of our congregations we have denominated ourselves. Some say that denomination is related to denominator and that implies that we are divided into parts but that is a Church of Christ folk entomology and has no basis in fact. We have to realize that there could be a congregation in a far corner of the world that follows the Bible the same as we do but which has chosen to call itself The Way or the Church of God and which isn’t aware of our existence. The whole of Christendom doesn’t necessarily meet in buildings with Church of Christ written on the door.

    In the early days of the Restoration Movement the individual congregations were known as Churches of Christ and the members were called DIsciples. Following the conservative/progressive split we took the name Church of Christ and the progressives took the name Disciples of Christ. We picked the name ourselves, it was not a name given to us by God.

    • Richard S

      When you google the word denomination the first definition given is “a recognized autonomous branch of the Christian Church”. The true Church is not a branch of anything but is the one body of Christ.That is why we don’t call ourselves a denomination.
      The term “Christendom” refers to all followers of Christ including the denominational world so you will find all kinds of names on buildings in “the whole of Christendom”.
      The christians of the Reformation Movement did use one of the names that God, through inspiration, gave for the Church. I’m sure they wanted to “call Bible things by Bible names”.

  9. Richard S

    Randal,
    Why would the churches of Christ not want to use Christ’s name in their title or on their signs? This kind of movement is not good for the Church for several reasons.
    First off, why don’t they want to use the Lord’s name in their title when He bought the Church with His own blood? Are they afraid to be identified as a follower of Christ?
    Secondly, how will anyone know what church the name is referring to? The members will know but the general public will not.
    Thirdly, it sounds like a modernist type movement to change things around to help cause more division in the Church. We need to stay together not try to separate.
    I want to relate a story to you about the congregation where I attend. Around 2005 two men bought some land about 1/4 mile down the road from us. They got support from several churches of Christ across the US to help them start a church, which they did. They called it “The Church in _______” at the top of their sign in big letters and at the bottom in small letters they put “a church of Christ”. Last year they put up a new sign that said “The Church in ________” with nothing at the bottom. I don’t know why they would take the Lord’s name off their sign. But what else would you expect from someone who since 2005 sent out a letter saying that our congregation was not the true Church, lured about 1/3 of our members over to them, lost most of their support, sing with their arms raised & swaying, and has a minister that believes God talks to him.
    I just don’t see how leaving the Lord’s name off a sign or title can lead to any good thing.

  10. Dennis Sumpter

    What about what the inspired Paul said in Romans 16:16, “…The churches of Christ salute you.”

    • Joseph Wheatley

      Paul didn’t use “churches of Christ” as a formal name or title. He was saying the “assemblies (ekklesia) of people who follow Christ send greetings to you.” Other names for the church are found in scripture such as The Way and the Church of God. Other descriptive names found in scripture are churches of Galatia, churches of Macedonia, and churches of Asia. Following that reasoning we could call ourself the Church of DesMoines or the Church on Second Street and still be Biblical. We use Church of Christ so we can identify each other and so we can deal with the government and utility companies.
      Don’t get so caught up in thinking about what name we use that forget our mission. Our name is not a salvation issue or we wouldn’t see so many variations in scripture.

      • Richard S

        Ekklesia can be translated as assembly or congregation according to the NASB lexicon that I looked at.
        When Paul said “churches of Galatia” he wasn’t worried about anyone misunderstanding what group of believers he was referring to since there was only the true church around. However, today the average person would think he was referring to all the different kinds of churches in Galatia.
        If a congregation decided to call themselves the Church on Second Street, the public might think they are a community church or some other denomination. So it’s better to use a more descriptive name for a congregation like “the Church of Christ” rather than just “the Church” especially since the Church is the bride of Christ and should have His name like a bride does.

  11. kenneth peters

    In Matt, 16:18 Jesus said `upon this rock I will build ” MY CHURCH,” not a church, but `MY CHURCH`,He invites us into his church, dose that give us the right to take the name away from his church. of course not;To say `The Church` in the first century was correct. but now there are thousands who claim to be The church,that its even more important now than ever. that the church is identified by its owner, who is Christ, he paid for it with his blood. Let us just honour Christ, and be very proud to wear his name ,just like the deciples of old. Obey Christ,and ignore the opinions of men.One other closeing remark, If you invite me to stay in your house, then I start going about making claims that it is my house. How will those who advocate the removal of Christ name from the church feel about that. We had an old saying at home; it goes likes this “do so na like so” it simply means they like to do it to someone else but dose not like it beign done to them,God bless the church of Christ, the greatest name ever. Amen.

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