Does A Name Matter?
Author: Mike Schroeder
Posted By: Rick Billings
On: Jan 29, 2019
Without any malice or ill intent, does your name matter? What about the name identifying those Jesus died for? What was the first century church called or how were the early disciples designated?
There are several common words used to describe 1st century believers; e.g., disciples, saints, brethren, etc. But beginning in Acts 11, the early disciples were formally called Christians (Acts 11:26; cf. 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16). In the context of Acts 11, God is the source of that identity. Disciples were known as following Christ or as those adhering to Christ teachings.
In todays world, adherents of Christianity have chosen to self name different assemblies after heroes of faith, like Lutheran. Or to name themselves after some form of organization, like Presbyterian. Or adopt a name after some form of doctrine, like Baptist. But such names are not found in Scripture or recognized by God through the Holy Spirit. There is no scriptural basis for such.
If we wished to be a Bible people, why not simply wear the name Christian? Why are they not known as just “churches of Christ” (Rom. 16:16) or “churches of God” (I Cor. 1:2)? It is interesting that God, thru His Word, didn’t designate a solitary, exclusive name for the church. Yet, He acknowledged in Scripture acceptable designations/names for those who adhered to Christ’s teachings and were saved according to His plan. The church is the church of God because He planned it. Assemblies/congregations are the church of Christ (Rom. 16:16), because Christ gave his life in order to bring them into existence. Doesn’t it make sense that we ought honor biblical names to identify Christ’s church?