Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What's In a Name?

I seen this video which pits a Christian against a Christ-Follower which is quite obviously meant to be-little the so called Christian for studying his Bible and books too much and it has become clear that historical Christianity is headed into a time of severe persecutions. I have noticed a growing trend within the seeker sensitive movement and the emerging church movement to banish the name "Christian" from their vocabulary altogether. At first glance this seem totally harmless, but let's take a closer look as we let H. A. Iroside weigh in on what's so important about the name "Christian" and why it's trying to be removed from our vocabulary today.

The name "Christian" is not found very often in the New Testament, but is the distinctive title of those who belong to Christ. We read of it in Acts 11:26 where it was conferred upon the Gentile believers at Antioch by divine authority; for the word "called" there literally means "oracularly called," and therefore it was not the Antiochians alone who bestowed this name upon the believers, but God Himself who so designated them. That it has become their well-known appellation is evident from Acts 26:28, where we read that King Agrippa exclaimed, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian!" When Peter wrote his letter some years later he uses it as the commonly recognized name of the pilgrim company, and he tells us that it is praiseworthy to suffer as a Christian.

1 Peter 4:16 "but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name." None needs to be ashamed to suffer because of his faithfulness to the hallowed name he bears. The disciples, as we have noticed already, where called Christians first at Antioch (Acts 11:26). and this name has clung to them ever since, It signifies their union with Christ, and therefore is a name in which to glory, however the world may despise it! Let us therefore never be ashamed of this name and all that it implies, but be prepared to suffer because of it, knowing that we may thus glorify the God who has drawn us to Himself and saves us through His blessed Son, who bore our sins in His own body on the tree.
Let us not be-little the title which the Lord Himself has given us or diminish it with a new catch phrase that won't offend the seeker, but rather let us stand firm for the name in which some of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ has suffered and died for in the past.

Excerpt taken from "Expository Notes on The Epistles of James and Peter" by H. A. Ironside, Loizeaux Brothers, Inc. 1947

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