Are There Any Official Titles For The Lord's Church?
No. Each designation in the New Testament concerning the relationship Jesus has with His church are descriptions and not official titles.
The Bible uses many descriptive terms for the church such as: (1) the church - people who are "called out" of darkness into the marvelous light via obeying the gospel (Matthew 16:18; 1 Peter 2:9,10; 2 Thessalonians 2:14), (2) the temple of God - people who obey the gospel and are added as spiritual stones to the spiritual building - Jesus (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4-8), (3) the body of Christ - people who are purchased by the blood of Jesus and are added as members to the spiritual body (Ephesians 1:7,22,23; Acts 20:28), (4) the vine - people who become disciples and are attached to the true vine - Jesus (John 15:1-9); (5) the citizens of the kingdom of God - people who obey Jesus as King (Matthew 16:18; 28:18; Colossians 1:13); etc.
We also understand that the New Testament teaches that people who become Christians are to gather with other Christians in a certain locality in order to stir up love and good works by assembling together to worship Him (Hebrews 10:25; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34). A historical example of this: the Christians in the Roman province of Galatia gathered together in certain areas to meet together (Galatians 1:1,2).
The New Testament never uses an official designation. It always uses descriptions, such as:
- Acts 20:28 - "church of God" - shows that Jesus is Divine and is Owner of the group of people He has called out through His precious blood ("God" here refers to God the Son)
- . 1 Corinthians 1:2 - "church of God" - shows ownership or possession that Jesus (God) owns
- 1 Corinthians 11:16 - "churches of God" - local congregations that make up the one universal body whose Head is Jesus who is Divine
- 1 Corinthians 14:33 - "churches of the saints" - local congregations composed of those who have been sanctified by the blood of Jesus through washing (1 Corinthians 6:19-21)
- 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 - "churches of Galatia" - local congregations located in the geographical vicinity of Galatia
- 1 Corinthians 16:19 - "churches of Asia" - local congregations located in the geographical vicinity of Asia
- 1 Thessalonians 1:1 - "churches of the Thessalonians" - Christians related to the local congregations found in the geographical vicinity of Thessalonica
- Romans 16:4 - "churches of the Gentiles" - local congregations primarily made up of Gentiles
- Romans 16:16 - "churches of Christ" - local congregations related to Jesus the Messiah (Christ) who was foretold in the Old Testament
Without doubt, there is only one true church, which is the church Jesus established (Matthew 16:18-19; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4; etc.). Jesus chose many descriptions to describe His church; but He never intended for these descriptions to turn into titles or different denominations (Romans 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 1:10). Nor does He want His church to wear His name, yet teach another gospel or worship another way than His way (Matthew 15:8-9; Galatians 1:6-9).
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