Why the "Firsts"?


:hmmm:As I drive through new towns I like to look at the churches. I notice a lot of “firsts”! Why do so many protestant churches have “Firtst” in front of their name? (ie. First Baptist Church or The First Congregational Church or First Church of Christ?). I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that says “The Second” or even “The Third” Church of fill in the blank. I’m kind of thinking out loud I guess, but feel free to comment.

God Bless,
Josh from Ohio


In many cases it’s because they were the first church of that denomination built in that town. I don’t think that most of the time it has anything to do with doctrine or where they place themselves in tradition.


[quote=Cade_One;2064744I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that says “The Second” or even “The Third” Church of *fill in the blank


On the contrary, I grew up at Second Presbyterian Church–it was begun as a mission church from the First Presbyterian Church in our town a very long time ago. There is a Second Presbyterian and Second Baptist in a neighboring town as well as a Second Baptist and Third Presbyterian Church in the neighboring city.

I’ve even found reference to a Fourth Presbyterian Church in several cities (google “fourth Presbyterian Church”) and here’s one to a Fifth Baptist virtualnewarknj.com/churches/denoms/baptist/fifthbap.htm

Sixth Baptist sixthbaptistchurch.org/
Seventh Baptist seventhbaptist.org/
Eighth Church of Christ, Scientist ci.chi.il.us/Landmarks/E/EighthChurch.html
Ninth Church of Christ, Scientist christiansciencehouston.com/ninth.htm
Tenth Presbyterian tenth.org/
Portland has an Eleventh Church of Christ, Scientist
Twelfth Baptist tbcboston.org/

The Christian Science site has listings of up to at least a “Twentieth Church”

It is certainly a less common practice to name a church “Second” or “Third” rather than pick a different designation like “Allen St. Baptist” or “Emmanuel Lutheran” or some such, but it is not unknown. It is, as far as I know, entirely time-dependent as was stated, not anything to do with doctrine, etc. I would hazard a guess, based on the fact that it appears more common in Presbyterian and Baptist, that it may have to do with the feelings of the denomination, at least early on, of naming practices–for instance not choosing to name after a saint. Not sure what Christian Science teaches about that.


Hey Thanks! :slight_smile: I wasn’t sure if it was the order in which they were built in a certain town or if it had to do with the different types of their denomination. You have answered my ponderings…

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