By Greg Gwin
There are some folks in the Lord’s church who have a problem about attaching any sign to the meeting place or erecting any sign on the church owned property which reads “Church of Christ.” Their contention is that the church is not the building, rather it is the people. Such signs, they argue give the wrong impression – even teach a false doctrine – to the community. They maintain that the sign must read, “Church of Christ meets here.” Think about that for a moment.
Yes, we certainly agree that the church is not the building; it is the people. If you have any doubt about that, read what Peter said (1 Pet. 2:5,9) or see what Paul taught (Eph. 1:22-23). The church may own a building and meet in a building, but the church is not a building. The church is the people.
The question, however, is whether putting a sign on a building which reads “Church of Christ” gives the wrong impression to those who may pass by and see it. We think not! On a trip downtown one might see a sign on a building which says “U.S. Federal Court.” What does that mean? Is the building the court? No! It means that the court meets there – and we all understand it. At the mall one reads on a building, “J.C. Penny.” Does anyone think for a moment that J.C. Penny is (or was) a building? Obviously not! All such signs are used to convey a message about what takes place in those buildings – and the meaning is clear. Why then is it any different when the sign reads, “Church of Christ”? The meaning is clear to all observers – this is a place where a church of Christ meets.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 24, p. 740
December 21, 1989