Are the names we use in religion really that important

Published 1:24 pm Thursday, April 16, 2020

Often time individuals from differing religious organizations ask, “Are the names we use to refer to ourselves (religiously) really that important?” I recall as a young student of the Bible, one teacher posed the same question to our Sunday morning Bible class. In that discussion the teacher challenged us by referring to our mothers by their first names and then he added his last name. This example made a lasting impression on me. I soon understood that my mother carrying the last name of my father was of great importance. It showed the relationship of my parents, one to the other. It showed that my mother belonged as a wife to my father and no other. It was a matter of respect and love that my mother used the last name of my father. And in no way would he ever be comfortable with her carrying the name of another man. Her decision gave honor and glory to my father and his house.
The question immediately comes to mind, does God deserve any less? There is no doubt that it is a lack of respect to place another name in the place of the names that God has given to His people or His church. Such would give the honor that God deserves to another. We should never add any other name to the name God has given or to replace the names given by God. In the New Testament we find that Disciples of Christ are called Christians. The Greek word is (Christianos), and according to both Thayer’s Greek Definitions and Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionary, Christians are followers of Christ. There is then no doubt why they were called Christians and Christians only. Consider the following:(Acts 11:26 KJV)– “… And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” These were followers of Christ and Him alone. To replace or attach another name to a Disciple of Christ (Christian) is un-needed. Peter said, “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf”(1 Peter 4:16KJV). Notice that the scripture never places with the name Christian a denominational designation which would distract from the goal of Christians; that is to bring honor and glory to God and Him alone. In Acts 26:28, King Agrippa said, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Not a Christian with some prefix attached to the name.
Certainly there are other names that the scripture give that refer to Christians. The following is a list of some of those names: Saints (Colossians 1:2); God’s elect (Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12); Disciples (Acts 6:1); Dear Children (Ephesians 5:1); children of light (Ephesians 5:8); People of God (I Peter 2:10); Children of God (Romans 8:16, 21); brethren (Colossians 1:2), (I Thessalonians 1:4); Sheep/Flock (John 10:14-16; Acts 20:28-29); Soldiers of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3); and the Light of the world and Salt of the Earth (Matthew 5:13-14) to name a few.
Today many groups who claim to be children of God use different designations. Consider with all respect the following names of people who claim to be a child of God today: Baptist, Mormon, Adventist, Jehovah Witness, Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic, Muslim, Lutheran, Nazarene, etc. None of these give Jesus total glory as the Head of His church, rather they show divisiveness, as well as taking the glory of God and giving it to man. Consider the following (1 Corinthians 1:10-13, Ephesians 5:23, Colossians 1:16-18). We would do well to remember that Jesus alone purchased the church with His own blood. Names are important; in the case of the church, it belongs to Christ and him alone (Acts 20:28, Rom. 16:16). No other man purchased nor do they own the church.
What name are you wearing? I encourage all men to put on the name of Christ! His name is the only one that can save your soul! See (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 3:6, 16, Galatians 3:26-29, Ephesians 5:20, Philippians 2:10, 1 John 5:13). Why not obey the Lord today (Acts 22:16)? Be baptized in His name; determine to wear the name of Christ only as the first century church did. Why follow a church that has been corrupted by man? Wear the name of Christ and His name only! (Acts 4:10-12). Then He will save you.
(Tony Hoss is minister of the Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton.)

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