Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What's In A Name - Part 2

Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Mormon, Pentecostal, etc., etc., etc., etc. So, what's in a name, and does it matter?

To some people in some groups it does. It clearly doesn't mean much to the First United Methodist Church in _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _, since they are apparently comfortable doing joint ministry projects with the Mormons. By the way, the name does matter to Mormons. While they want orthodox Christianity to accept them as Christian, they do not accept the orthodox doctrines of Christianity.

Does it matter what you call yourself? If you say you're a Baptist, what does that mean? If you say you're a Catholic, what does that mean? I know Baptists who think like Calvinistic Presbyterians and Baptists who think like Armenian Methodists. I know Catholics who think like agnostics, and Catholics who pray the Rosary daily.

Some will fight for the name. One pastor told me, "If I wasn't Baptist, I'd be ashamed." Another Pentecostal lady said, "You can pray for me, but you ain't Pentecostal." One guy told me, "Oh, yes, I'm a Christian. I was Baptized when I was a kid, but I do what I want now."

So, bottom line, there's not much in name, at least not the names we call ourselves. There is, however, something in one name. What you call yourself is a virtual non-issue in the grand scheme of things. What you do with Him, His commands, and His life is the only thing that matters when all is said and done.

His name is Jesus. He is not the Jesus defined by men, whether they call themselves Christian or not. He is not the brother of Satan named by the Mormons, or the prophet Isa named by the Muslims, or the still-suffering Christ re-sacrificed at each Catholic mass, or the systematized Jesus explained by the hyperCalvinists, or the legalistic political Jesus campaigned by right wing Baptists, or the culturally inclined approver of all sinners oozed from liberal pulpits.

He is the Jesus named by the Father, the only Son. He is self-defined, self-sufficient, and glorious. And, all that will matter in the end is not what we have called ourselves, but what He calls us on the day we each stand before Him. And, that will depend, not on what we called ourselves, but what we did with Him, with the one named Jesus. And, the intent of His heart, expressed in His own Words, is that He is "not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."


Tammie said...

The Shack has been a well written read for me, but there is the 'same God of all' hinted at in the book. Did you read it?