It’s The Name!

Is There Anything to a Name?

National columnist Marilyn vos Savant has a claim-to-fame from a worldly prospective that is quite impressive—the Guinness Book of World Records listed her for five years as having the highest IQ. Yet, she has also an interesting quirk—she refused to take the surname of her father and decided to take the surname of her mother. In responding to such years ago, she commented,


Is a Name that Important?

Men have long had the psychologi­cal advantage of unbroken identities. By contrast, women usually change their surnames when they get married. This practice deals a subtle—yet tre­mendous—blow to their sense of self. And even when women do keep their names, they seldom pass them on to their daughters. So the female heritage disappears. When enough women keep their surnames throughout life and pass them on to their daughters for life, we will witness an improvement in the stature and independence of women the likes of which has not been seen since women got the vote. [PARADE Maga­zine, March 25, 2007]

By reading such, one can see the not-so-subtle un­dertones of an equality of women that contradicts the role God prescribed for them. In Genesis 5:2, we find concerning God with Adam and Eve: “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.” I believe that this shows the bride should take the name of the groom, and I do not feel that this is demeaning to the self-esteem of women, but portrays a submissive virtue that should characterize all wives to their husbands.

Nevertheless, this hinges on the greater subject of the above title—is there anything to a name? Paul evidently thought so (1 Cor. 1:13-15). If there is nothing to a name, then why can we not take the name of Paul or any name of any other man? If there is nothing in a name, then why could we not become baptized in the name of Paul? However, Paul argues against such.

For this reason, we should identify ourselves as the church that bears the name of the one who built it (Matt. 16:18). For this reason, we should identify ourselves as the ones who belong to our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16). In other words, people of God are to call themselves by His name (cf. 2 Chron. 7:14), “…for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Consider the following:

– I know that we should use method in the work of our Lord, but I am not a Methodist.

– I know that we should have bishops (Greek word episcopos) or elders (Greek word presbuteros) to oversee the work of the church, but I am neither an Episcopalian nor a Presbyterian.

– I know that each congregation is independent, but I am not a Congregationalist.

– I know that immersion constitutes the act of bap­tism, but I am not a Baptist.

–  I know that God has called us to be holy, but I am not a Holiness.

– I know that Christ will come again (Advent), but I am not an Adventist.

– I know that the church is universal (Latin, catho­lic), but I am not a Catholic.

– Therefore, I prefer to stick closely to the word of God and identify myself simply as a Christian.

Even the recognized and talented Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, stated in a sermon of his (May 27, 1855), “I say of the Baptist name, let it perish, but let Christ’s name last forever. I look forward with pleasure, to the day when there will not be a Baptist living… I hope the Baptist name will soon perish, but let Christ’s name endure forever.” Is there anything to a name? I believe that there is!

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