It's good to hear from you!
I hope and pray things are going well for you in your studies as you seek to draw closer to the Lord.
In the New Testament, churches only cooperated directly (i.e., sent funds to each other), when one church was overburdened with benevolent needs to its own
its own ability (Acts 11:27-30; I Corinthians 16:1; Romans 15:25-27; II Corinthians 8-9
). In evangelism, each church sent funds directly to her supported evangelist (for example, the Philippian church to Paul via her messenger, Epaphroditus, Philippians 4:15-18
). We never
find NT churches using one congregation to collect funds from other congregations to send it to evangelists or needy saints. Neither do we find NT churches using an independent organization, like a missionary society. Since the NT exemplifies a consistent pattern, do we have the right to alter it? Furthermore, the scope of elders' authority is limited to the "flock among them"
(I Peter 5:1-2; Acts 20:28
). What right do they have to collect and judge the way to spend other churches' money, except in the single case of benevolence upon their own insolvent membership? Where is the authority?
The pivot point boils down to 3 three questions: congregational autonomy, the authority of examples, and the silence of Scriptures. Any organization beyond the independent local church is a violation of both
church autonomy and
the prohibitive power of the NT pattern (i.e., a consistent, exclusive set of examples for church organization). Someone must eliminate at least two of these three Bible points to open the door to a larger, cooperative organization.
In many ways, this is related to your original question on instrumental music, since the silence of Scriptures is key to understanding that issue also, although it pertains to the prohibitive power to a uniform command instead of a uniform set of examples.
We have several more detailed articles on the subject of church cooperation and Bible authority, including a newer article on silence of the Scriptures, which I did not have last time:
Please take a look at these, and let me know what you think. (I know. It's a LOT of reading, which is why I gave a summary. These would be good for more study.) I would still recommend the same books that I mentioned last time, if you are looking for even more (better
additional study material.
About church names, we have an article on that too!
http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles ... hurch.html
But, specifically about the geographic designation, there are several Bible examples of churches being designated by their locale, although some designations are more compact than others (Acts 8:1; 11:22; 13:1; Romans 16:1, 5; I Corinthians 1:2; II Corinthians 1:1; Colossians 4:15-16; I Thessalonians 1:1; II Thessalonians 1:1; Philemon 2; Revelation 1:11-12; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14
If you feel that I have overlooked some aspect or could explain some part more clearly, I would value your feedback. I pray you will find these thoughts helpful. I look forward to hearing your response.
May God help us to have a sincere love of the truth (II Thessalonians 2:9-12