SOUND WORDS, JAN. 14, 2024

SOUND WORDS, JAN. 14, 2024


God places great emphasis on names. He changed Abram’s name to Abraham (Gen. 17:5), Sarai’s name to Sarah (Gen. 17:15), and Jacob’s name to Israel (Gen. 32:38). He gave to John and Jesus their names before they were born (Luke 1:13,31). He has given to His people of this age the name “Christian” (Acts 11:261 Peter 4:16). He has given no sectarian or denominational names, but rather condemns them (1 Cor. 1:10-13). The great need of our day is for men and women to forsake their denominational ties, be nothing but Christians, and call themselves “Christians,” with no other religious names.

It is of interest to note that leaders in the prominent denominations, including some of their founders, recognized and preached this truth. N. B. Hardeman, in his Tabernacle Sermons (Volume IV, pages 216, 217), gives quotes from Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, and John Wesley in which they plead for unity.

Charles Spurgeon, a prominent Baptist preacher, is quoted as saying: “I look forward, with pleasure, to the day when there will not be a Baptist living. I hope they will soon be gone. I hope the Baptist name will soon perish; but let Christ’s name endure forever.” (Spurgeon’s Memorial Library, Vol. I, page 168).

The quote from Martin Luther: “I pray you to leave my name alone, and call not yourselves Lutherans, but Christians. Who is Luther? My doctrine is not mine. I have not been crucified for anyone. St. Paul would not let any call themselves after Paul, nor of Peter, but of Christ. How then, does it befit me, a miserable bag of dust and ashes, to give my name to the children of God? Cease, my dear friends, to cling to these party names and distinctions: away with them all; and let us call ourselves only Christians after Him from whom our doctrine comes.” (The Life of Luther, by Stork, page 289).

Brother Hardeman’s quote from John Wesley, founder of the Methodist church: “Would to God that all party names and unscriptural phrases and forms which have divided the Christian world were forgot; that we might all agree to sit down together as humble, loving disciples at the feet of a common Master, to hear His words, to imbibe His spirit, and to transcribe His life into ours.”

We cannot help but wonder what changes would have taken place in religious history had the followers of these men heeded their pleas. The pleas, however, went unheeded.

Denominationalism with its religious division exists and will continue to exist until our Lord comes to “root it up” (Matt. 15:13). But meanwhile, no one has to be a part of the denominational system; no one should be a part of it. Today, one can be just a Christian—as was Paul, or Peter, or James, or John with membership in nothing but a local church made up of other Christians. Faithful churches of Christ, with no denominational affiliations, meet throughout the world.


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