Q: In our congregation, we are having a discussion about the name "Church of Christ". After doing a Bible search, I do not find the phrase "church of Christ" any where in the New Testament. I find "church of God", "assembly of God", "the church at (town name", etc. I understand that Christ is head of the church, we are Christ's body, etc. Where did the name "Church of Christ" orginate? We have people that want a scriptural reference for "Church of Christ" and I can't give it to them.
Here is the reference you need:
"Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you"
Here the conception of the church is a collection of congregations, all of them constituting "the churches of Christ." These were congregations with whom Paul had been associated and who desired to send greetings to the brethren at Rome. The church is set forth in two senses in the New Testament, in the aggregate, or collective sense, and in the local sense. Jesus had reference to the church in an aggregate (collective) sense when he said:
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”
The church is an institution containing all of the Lord's people everywhere. The church in a local sense may be seen in 1 Cor. 1:2 where Paul addresses "the church of God which is at Corinth," that is, the church located in that city. The expression, "the churches of Christ," means simply a collection of local congregations, each of which is a church in Christ, a number taken together being "churches of Christ." Paul calls the church "the church of God" (Acts 20:28), Christ referred to it as "my church," therefore Christ's church is one in the same and therefore they are called collectively "churches of Christ." If someone objects on the basis that nowhere in Scripture does it say "church of Christ", then why, we must ask, does the Holy Spirit refer to "churches" of Christ (plural) ? How could there be a plurality of them without there being one? There was a time (Acts 2) when there was but one, if several taken together constitute "the churches of Christ," what should one by itself be called?