THE DIVINE NAME

(Acts 11:26.) 

THE questions dividing the religious world of to-day 
are not questions of interpretation, but questions 
of authority. No one objects to a name that is Scrip- 
tural; neither should any one wear a religious desig- 
nation that is not found in the Book. All human 
names are unscriptural and should be discarded. 

1. The church belongs to Jesus Christ (Matt. 16: 
18). He purchased it with His own precious blood 
(Acts 20:28). Those who are in Christ — and to be in 
Christ is to be in the church — are a purchased people, 
bought with the price of the blood of Christ (1 Pet. 
2:9). Therefore, they should wear His name exclu- 
sively. 

2. The church is the body of Christ (Rom. 12: 
4, 5). He is the Head (Eph. 1:22, 23). He is the 
true Vine, and individual members of His body are 
the branches (John 15:5). Therefore the members 
of the body should wear the name of the Head of 
the body. 

3. The church is the bride of the Redeemer (Rev. 
21:2; 22:17). The bride should always wear the 
name of the bridegroom. Therefore the church should 
be ''Christ's church'' or "the church of Christ," and 
all members should be "Christians." To take any 
other name would be to dishonor the Bridegroom. 

4. The name "Christian" is divinely authorized 
(Acts 11:26). This narrates what occurred within 
the church at Antioch, under the inspired teachings 
of Paul and Barnabas. Consider also Acts 26 : 28, and 
1 Pet. 4 : 16. 

5. Significance of various Scriptural terms. 

a. A "disciple" is a learner or a follower. A 
person might be a disciple and not be a Christian. 
To be a Christian he must be in Christ. 

b. All Christians are called "saints" because they 
have been saved from past sins, sanctified by the 
blood of Christ (Rom. 1:7). 

c. They are called "priests" or "a royal priest- 
hood," in view of the fact that they can offer up 
spiritual sacrifices of prayer and service (1 Pet. 2:9). 
Jesus is the High Priest who makes intercession for 
the saints (Heb. 8:1, 2). 

d. They are called "brethren" in view of their 
relationship to each other (Gal. 3:28; 6:1). 

e. They are called "Christians" in view of their 
relationship to Christ (Gal. 3:27, 29). 

6. Various applications of the term "Christian." 

a. A man may be "Christian" in nationality. 
America is known abroad as a Christian nation. Robert 
Ingersoll would have been known as a "Christian" 
in Turkey because he came from a so-called "Chris- 
tian" nation. But Robert Ingersoll, in fact, was a 
rank infidel. 

b. A man may be "Christian" in character, Cor- 
nelius was a moral man, a prayerful man and an alms- 
giving man. Yet he had to be saved by the blood of 
Christ in obedience to the gospel. He was not a 
Christian, in fact, until he had obeyed the commands 
of the gospel. 

c. To be a Christian in fact — in the light of the 
New Testament — a person must be in Christ. Faith, 
repentance and confession lead unto Christ; and bap- 
tism, into Christ (Gal. 3:27). Nowhere in the New 
Testament do we read of an unbaptized person being 
addressed as a ''Christian." 

7. The New Testament teaches that partyism and 
party names are sinful. 

a. The prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ was that 
we might be one, as He and the Father are one (John 
17:20, 21). 

b. The Spirit teaches, through Paul, that party 
names are carnal; and that it is wrong for a body of 
Christians to assume a human designation (1 Cor. 
3:3-5; 1:10-13). Carnal is the opposite of spiritual 
(Jude 19). 

c. Party names are schismatic. They are the 
greatest walls of division between followers of God. 
To illustrate: A Christian minister was holding a 
meeting in a small town over in Illinois. An old 
Free Methodist brother attended the meeting every 
night, seating himself very near the front. Although 
he did not agree with what the minister said in regard 
to many things, yet he was always there. One even- 
ing, the preacher, leaning out over the pulpit, put 
the question directly to the old man, "Brother, are 
you a Christian?" 

"No, sir," was the instantaneous reply; "I am a 
Free Methodist," Of course the crowd laughed. 
The old brother spoke innocently; but his answer 
merely shows how people cling to party names. 

8. We think very little of " hyphenated" Amer- 
icans. We would to God that there were no "hyphen- 
ated" Christians, but that all followers of God were 
Christians only. How much more quickly the world 
would be won to Christ! 

9. Luther has said: "Do not call yourselves 'Luther- 
ans' but 'Christians.' " Wesley has said: "Would to 
God that all party names were forgotten." Campbell 
has said: "Abandon all party names and take the name 
"Christian" When we accept a human name we 
dishonor Christ. 

10. Some years ago Mr. Talmage immersed a man 
in the Jordan River. No denomination was responsible. 
What was the man? Merely a Christian— nothing 
more nor less. 

11. Some say that there is nothing in a name. 
Yet people call their boys "Peter" and "Paul," and 
their dogs "Nero." Sign another man's name to a 
thousand-dollar check and see what the consequences 
will be. Back of names have been some of the blood- 
iest wars in history. 

12. The name "Christian" is common ground. It 
is the name upon which all religious bodies can unite. 
We make no sacrifice in taking the name of Christ — 
we are merely doing our duty to Christ. 

13. To be a Christian a person must be in Christ. 
He must be adopted. A man may possess the Amer- 
ican spirit and not be an American citizen. He must 
become naturalized before he can be an American 
citizen. A person may possess the spirit of Christ 
and not be a Christian. He can not be a Christian 
outside of Christ. He must be adopted by compliance 
with the terms of the gospel. 

I might secure an orphan from the Benevolent 
Home at St. Louis, and let him grow up with my 
children without having him legally adopted. At my 
death he would not be entitled to any portion of 
the estate. On the other hand, if I were to have him 
adopted by the legal process, he would be entitled to 
an equal share of the estate at my death. 

When we are adopted into the family of God by 
obedience to the gospel, we are heirs of God and 
joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God 
by birth. We are children of God by adoption (Rom. 
8:16, 17; Gal. 3:26-29; 4:3-5; Eph. 1:5). 

Jesus Christ was crucified for us; we were baptized 
into the name of Christ. Therefore, we should be 
Christians only (1 Cor. 1:13). We do not maintain 
that we are the only Christians, but w r e are just 
"Christians" only. There is salvation in no other 
name than that of Christ; hence the folly of human 
designations (Acts 4:12). Let us lay aside party 
names and exalt the name of Christ; be Christians 
only, members of the body of Christ, which is His 
church.