The Names We Wear

February 1, 1987 Issue
Jimmy Smith

F. D. Srygley once wrote: "A writer in a certain denominational paper complains because 'Campbellism has actually about captured the exclusive right to be called Christian. The reason for this is that other people who claim to be Christians contend more earnestly for the right to be called 'Christians. Every Christian has the same right of any other Christian to be called 'Christian; but those who waive that right and call themselves, or consent for others to call them, something else, have no one to blame but themselves."

"It should be observed, however, that the word 'Christian, in its New Testament sense, is not the name of a religious party or denomination, but of a disciple. To speak of any religious body larger than a local worshiping assembly, or smaller than the body of Christ which includes and consists of all Christians, as the Christian Church, is an unscriptural use of the word. If the word 'Christian can be scripturally applied to a church at all, it cannot be so applied to a church that is larger than a local worshiping assembly but smaller than the total body of Christ, for the reason that there is no such church in the New Testament."

"All this trouble about names and churches and such like grows out of the efforts of different kinds of professed Christians to distinguish themselves from each other. The remedy is to return to New Testament preaching and practice, and then there will be but one kind of Christians, and they will all belong to the same church, which is the body of Christ. No one will want to be called anything but 'Christian, because there will be no reason why any Christian should distinguish himself from other Christians. So long as it is necessary for different sorts of denominations to distinguish themselves from each other, it will be necessary to use unscriptural terms (or spiritual terms in an unscriptural sense) to do it."

Historically, the children of God have either worn His name or one which He gave them. Gen 5:2 "Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and gave them one name Adam, in the day when they were created." The significance God attaches to names is evident in his changing of names; Abram to Abraham (Gen 17:5); Sarai to Sarah (Gen 17:15); Jacob to Israel (Gen 32:28) and consequently the descendants were known as Israelites. In being called "Israel" they were called by the name of God, "Thy people are called by thy name." (Dan 9:19) "Israel", according to the etymology of the word, means "He who prevails with God." The suffix "El" is an abbreviation or contraction of the Hebrew word for Lord "Elohim". Jerusalem, the Holy City and the place where Israel worshiped God, was called by the name of God. "The city which is called by thy name" (Dan 9:18). Jerusalem means "Jehovah send peace." The prefix "Je" is a contraction of the Hebrew word for God "Jehovah." If Gods people and His holy city wore His name then, is it a wonder that the people of Christ and His church are required to wear His name today?

Acts 11:26 says, "And the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." No person who is not a "disciple" has a right to wear the name "Christian." "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is NONE OTHER NAME under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12).

It is then impossible for people to be saved under other names. CATHOLIC means universal and the church of Christ is a universal church, but we cannot be saved under this name. CONGREGATIONALIST as a name, signifies that the people who wear that name believe in the autonomy of the congregation. We believe in that, the Bible teaches it, but this name was not given us. BAPTIST means one who baptizes. We believe in baptizing people, but we cannot be saved under that name because God gave us another one. HOLINESS is a virtue of all Christians, but where did God authorize us to wear that name? We cannot be a NAZARENE unless we live in Nazareth like Jesus did. The Bible teaches a FULL GOSPEL, but not that we should wear that name. The church was established on Pentecost, but its members were never in the Bible called PENTECOSTALS. etc. etc.

Paul reproved the Corinthians for wearing different names, "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ," (1 Cor 1:12). Paul propounded a question that needs no answer, "Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Cor 1:13). Paul, although he was an inspired apostle, did not want any one to wear his name! Why? -- (1) To wear different names is carnality. 1 Cor 3:4 "For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?" (2) Carnality is death, Rom 8:6 "For to be carnally minded is death." (3) Therefore, to wear different names is death. The only way then to have LIFE is to wear the name Christian only!

"And whosoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Col 3:17).

"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above every name." Phil 2:9.

" baptized every one of you in the NAME of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." Acts 2:38.

"Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."

We are blessed when we meet in His name. (Matt 18:20).

We are happy to be reproached for His name. (1 Pet 4:14).

We are not ashamed to suffer as a Christian. (1 Pet 4:16).

The whole family in heaven and earth is named after him. (Eph 3:14-15).

Christ blesses a church for wearing His name. (Rev 3:8; 2:13).

A king was almost persuaded to wear His name. (Acts 26:28).

The disciples wore it. (Acts 11:26).

His name is one. (Zech 14:9).

There is safety in His name. (Prov 18:10)

Some blasphemed this name. (Jas 2:6-7).


Will you blaspheme the name of Christ by saying that there is nothing in a name? If there is nothing in a name, why does a man want his name on his car title; bank account; deed to property? One cannot excuse himself by saying, "We are all Christians, anyway, but we call ourselves something else."

One may call himself a Christian and not be a Christian, but if he calls himself SOMETHING ELSE he certainly is not a Christian.

You can help us have unity by wearing the only scriptural name and being a member of the "body of Christ" (1 Cor 12:27) which is the "Church of Christ" (Eph 1:18, Matt 16:18; Acts 20:28; Rom 16:16) .--OPA.

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Christian Name

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