Monday, December 28, 2015

NamesJesus said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18).  In the KJV we are told, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47). From that point on inspiration uses several singular and plural terms to describe it, such as “church of God”  8 times, “churches of God,” 3 times, “churches” 27 times, “churches of Galatia” 2 times, “church of the Thessalonians” 2 times, “body of Christ” 7 times, and 78 times as, “the church.”  The following are used 1 time each, “churches of the saints,” “churches of Christ,” “churches of the Gentiles,” “churches of Asia,” “churches of Macedonia,” “churches of Judaea,” “church at Jerusalem,” “church of the Laodiceans,” “the church of Ephesus,” “church of the living God,” “body of Jesus Christ” and “church of the firstborn.”  The church of God at Corinth tried to create four denominations but Paul nipped it in the bud (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).  When writing to them, he refused to honor them by addressing them as “the church of God in Paul,” “the church of God in Apollos,” “the church of God in Cephas,” or “the church of God in Christ.”  I know of no other inspired descriptions than these.  Those which are utilized today, that are not found in God’s word are given by man, not inspiration (1 Peter 4:11).

There are 175 names given to describe those who followed and believed in Jesus.  The most common are “disciples,” “saints,” “brethren,” “members,” or “Christians.”  When Paul wrote to the brethren in Corinth to correct their denominating, he did not refer to them as Pauline Christians, Apollosian Christians, Cephasite Christians, or Jesus Christ Christians.

Some believe the expression Christian was given to the disciples at Antioch by enemies of the church.  However, the expression “called” in Acts 11:26 is a special Greek word.  It means, “Deity does the calling.”  Also, notice Isaiah’s prophesy,

The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.”  (Isaiah 62:2).

Peter later gave this admonition to the church,

However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”  (1 Peter 4:16).

The saved in the first century were satisfied to be Christians, members of the body of Christ.  Only the four denominated groups at Corinth were dissatisfied with inspiration’s designations.  What is our tradition?  From man or God?