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To speak with ‘a biblical vocabulary’

Minister Hugh Fulford questions Christian Chronicle's usage of the term 'Church of Christ'

The Christian Chronicle uses the capitalized “Churches of Christ,” in keeping with the Associated Press’ style for news reporting.

Big C or little c? (Are Churches of Christ a denomination?) Part 2 of 5. Click the logo for the full list.

Some readers object to the practice, expressing concern that capitalizing “Church” and using the fellowship’s name as a modifier (“Church of Christ preacher”) is tantamount to identifying the fellowship as a denomination.

When capitalizing “Church,” “Is the Chronicle referring to something more than, less than, or other than the churches of Christ of which we read in the New Testament?” asked Hugh Fulford, a longtime minister for congregations in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Texas.

“By such a usage, is the Chronicle setting forth the ‘Churches of Christ’ as a denomination?” Fulford asked. “If you are setting forth the ‘Churches of Christ’ as a denomination, why are you doing so? If it is not your intention to set forth the ‘Churches of Christ’ as a denomination by capitalizing the C in ‘Churches,’ then why do you NOT capitalize the c when you speak of the ‘church of God’ (the same church, biblically, as the church of Christ)? Why do you not capitalize the b in the ‘body of Christ’ (the same spiritual entity, biblically, as the church of Christ)?

Hugh Fulford

“Is the Chronicle itself contributing to the notion that the churches of Christ are a denomination by the capitalization of the C in “Churches of Christ” and by its persistent use of “Church of Christ” as an adjective — as in preachers, colleges, publications, etc.? The Chronicle staff has been doing this for some time now.

“In the mind of the Chronicle, is there a difference between a Church of Christ preacher, college or publication and a church of God or a body of Christ preacher, college or publication, and would the Chronicle staff ever use ‘church of God’ or ‘body of Christ’ to describe a preacher, college or publication? If not, why not?

“Too, can you cite any English version of the Scriptures that capitalizes the word ‘church?’ Why did the publishers of these versions not capitalize the word ‘church?’ …

“I look forward to the day when those of us who are committed to being the one, undenominational church of the New Testament will have a clearer concept and view of the church,” Fulford said, “when we can and will speak of it with a biblical vocabulary, and when we can again unashamedly set forth the clear and distinctive plea for a return to the New Testament in all things religious.”

NEXT: Defining ‘denomination’ — In many ways, Churches of Christ fit the definition, minister says.

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