SCRIPTURAL IN NAME
As we look about the religious world of our day we will discover hundreds of names that supposedly represent the church which Jesus purchased with His own blood. At the same time, as we look into holy writ we become aware of the fact that God clearly instructs that most of these names are not biblical – thus, having no scriptural authority. Since these names are without biblical authority – it is unbiblical and disrespectful to adopt them as followers of Christ.
Man-made names are condemned in the New Testament. The apostle Paul declared that we all are “speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment” and “Now this I mean, that each one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos: and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized into the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:10). To give honor to a person such as “Luther” over the name of Christ is to divert honor belonging only to Christ. To exalt an ordinance such as “baptism” is to lift it higher than the name that is above every name – Christ. Paul warned the early church against doing such evils – and the same warning holds true for us today.
The church that Jesus built has no one exclusive name, but has several designations giving us proof of ownership. Jesus refers to His church as “My church” (Matthew 16:18) – therefore, it is the Lord’s church – not man’s. God refers to His church as the “church of God” (1 Corinthians 1:2). This, of course, shows ownership. The Lord’s church is called “the church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23). Paul said, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18). The Almighty refers to His church as the “churches of Christ’ (Romans 16:16). Paul is referring to various local congregations, designating them as belonging to Christ. Christ is the owner of the church – therefore, His name should be on the title. The church is also referred to as the “body of Christ” (Colossians 1:24). It is the body which belongs to Christ. The church is also describes as the “bride of Christ” (Revelation 21:2), the “church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15), and the “house of God” (1 Timothy 3:15).
These names are not denominational names, and they do not refer to different churches. These are names referring to the one true church we read about in the New Testament. These names glorify the Father and the Son. These are the names God has chosen for His church.
Marshall Keeble, once commenting on the importance of a name, related this illustration that a check is no good without a name. Brother Keeble told of a preacher who was conducting a meeting in a certain city. There was a lady who attended every night and heard him assert that there was nothing in a name. He said that they were to work out their salvation, and the name had nothing to do with it. He made this point over and over in his sermon. One night the lady told him that she would like to make a contribution to his ministry. The next day the preacher went to her house to pick up the money. She gave him a check and he went directly to the bank to cash it. The cashier returned the check to him saying that there was no name signed to it. “She must have forgotten to sign it,” exclaimed the preacher, so he returned to the lady’s house to get her to sign the check. To his surprise, she informed him that she had not forgotten to sign the check but was only doing as he had preached and did not put her name on the check. The lady made her point, and taught him never to preach that again.
Remember, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; But the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Our faith is to be based on the facts of God’s word (Romans 10:17). Our feelings, our think so, and what others say is not to be our authority in religion. The church of our Lord must not wear man-made names such as Baptist, Mormon, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Methodist, or Catholic.
Jesus is the means of our salvation. “He is the stone which was set at nought of you the builders, which was made the head of the corner. And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12). It is “in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Colossians 2:10-11). This is true because “God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name” (Colossians 2:9). The church is the bride of Christ – therefore we must wear the name of Christ. We are the family of God. Should we not, then, wear the family name? Should we not honor the one who purchased the church with His own blood?