By Donald Willis
Paul commanded that we should all speak the same thing, and that no divisions should exist among us (1 Cor. 1:10f). Jesus had said that we should all be one that the world might believe (Jn. 17:20-21). Division exists in the religious world but not by the authority of God!
Salvation is in the name of Jesus Christ, and none other (Acts 4:12). The wearing of human names elevates one to the honor belonging to Christ. Human names can be destructive and divisive. Note the following news article taken from The Houston Post (June 27, 1987, p. 7-13):
SAN FRANCISCO – The president of Golden Gate Southern Baptist Seminary said many new churches in the western United States are not using Southern Baptist as part of their names. “These churches don’t want their witness hindered by any title,” said the Rev. William O. Crews. “Most dropped ‘Southern’ from their names years ago and some have deleted ‘Baptist’ from their signs.
It would appear that these folk see the divisiveness of human names, and are willing to drop the appellative for economic reasons.
The plea of Bible preachers has been to “speak where the Bible speaks, and be silent where the Bible is silent. To call Bible things by Bible names, and do Bible things in Bible ways.” This will establish and support a unity that cannot be wrong. Peter said, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God. . . ” (1 Pet. 4:11). One is condemned when he transgresses by going beyond divine revelation (Gal. 1:6-10). Besides that, changing the divine word of God, and inserting the laws of man will cost one his eternal home (Rev. 22:18-19).
What should the church be called? Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church” (Mt. 16:18). Question, who’s church? Christ said the church was his; by what name should his people be called? Paul referred to the “. . . church of the Lord, which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). Later, Paul referred thusly, “The churches of Christ salute you” (Rom. 16:16). Be content to speak as the word of God speaks.
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 15, p. 461
August 6, 1987