© 2010 • Hillcrest Church of Christ
by Danny Boggs
AM radio. Regular coffee. Snail mail. What do these phrases have in common? They are retronyms. Radio was once just radio, not “AM,” “FM” or “satellite.” Coffee was plainly coffee before decaf and cappuccino appeared. The postman brought all our mail before there was e-mail. Retronyms signal the arrival of something new and usually better.
“New Testament church” is a retronym, too. Had men not multiplied religious bodies and called them “Christian,” the phrase would be needless. Jesus built only one church (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:4). The day of Pentecost depicted in Acts 2 marked its beginning. Those who gladly received the gospel that day repented and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38,41). Simultaneously the Lord saved them and added them to His church (Acts 2:47).
To which church did He add them? To the only church pictured in the New Testament, the one bought by the blood of the Savior (Acts 20:28)! The same church sprang up in Jerusalem, Antioch and Ephesus. The same gospel was its seed. The same doctrine, structure, worship and lifestyle resulted.
We plead for the restoration and resurgence of the New Testament church! This retronym is different. Two thousand years have bred no upgrade to God’s perfect plan. Two thousand more will not. Regress, not progress, results when we go beyond the teaching of Christ (2 John 9). Spiritual progress means going back to the New Testament. Will you go with us?