Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Church vs. Churches

It is interesting to note the names of denominations and how their names reflect their ecclesiology. Reformed and Presbyterian denominations tend to be singular; Orthodox Presbyterian Church, The Presbyterian Church in America, The Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America. Even the liberal denominations follow the same pattern, Presbyterian Church (USA), The Episcopal Church. A similar pattern can be observed with Lutheranism, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

However, on the other side are the churches whose denomination's names are plural; The General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, Reformed Baptist churches in North America. Other names they apply denote a similar phenomenon; Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Baptist General Conference. This is not even to mention the myriads of independent Baptistic churches which do not even make an effort to associate with any other congregations.

The question is this, without examining the explicit theology of tradition and in spite of the obvious failings on both sides, which side better displays the basic Christian confession of "one holy, catholic church" by its name?

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