Brother Ed has put together something quite thought provoking and I wanted to share it with you. Here it is:
I’d like to ask the members here, current and/or past Jehovah’s Witnesses, whether they believe that the name God gave his Chosen people was “Christians” as opposed to any other name, including Jehovah’s Witnesses? Acts 11:26 states:
“And, after he found him, he brought him to Antioch. It thus came about that for a whole year they gathered together with them in the congregation and taught quite a crowd, and it was first in Antioch that the disciples were by divine providence called Christians.” (NWT)
I ask this because the word used for ‘called’ in Greek is chrēmatisai which Strong’s Concordance (G5537) refers to as “(a) act. of God: I warn; pass: I am warned by God (probably in response to an inquiry as to one’s duty), (b) (I take a name from my public business, hence) I receive a name, am publicly called.”
Here, in Acts 11:26, we have the divine proclamation of the name “Christians” and nowhere in the bible is there any other name given by divine authority to the disciples of Christ, his Body, his Church.
People may ask, “So why are there so many names that Christians go by?” The answer I think is simple; it’s because humans are human and they are by nature divisive. Let me explain this by way of the teaching of the Apostle Paul.
In 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, we read that Paul was appalled by the divisions among the Christians of the congregation at Corinth (I’ve no doubt this was not unique to Corinth). Within a short period of time the Christians at Corinth had started dividing the Body of Christ; in essence they were following the Apostles, some by saying “I follow Paul”, “I follow Apollos”, and others “I follow Peter”. These followers of Paul, Apollos and Peter were all Christians but they had started separating themselves by way of names. They had forgotten that they were Christians! So Paul admonished them by writing, “Christ has been divided into Groups! Was it Paul who died on the cross for you? Were you baptised as Paul’s disciples?” (Good News Bible). These words still apply to us today, or have the scriptures somehow been superseded by human wisdom? Every denomination feels compelled to relegate the name Jehovah God called the followers of his Son, to a secondary place (if any place at all) and thereby have divided the body of Christ.
Now I know some may respond to this by saying that the name “Christian” has been misused, abused, misrepresented, confused and tarnished, so how can we possibly just call ourselves Christians? How will people recognize us? The answer is in Christ’s own words found in John 13:34-35: ”A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Yes, the only thing that should distinguish true Christians from false Christians is the love they have for one another (John 13:34-35), not a man-made name.
Let’s read what the early founders, of what is now the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Inc. (Jehovah’s Witnesses), back then unnamed said:
“It was an evidence that those Corinthians, who took the party names, had never really appreciated the oneness of the Body of Christ; that they did not really appreciate that Christ is the only head, leader and standard; and that his is the only name by which his followers should recognize themselves and each other. Where scoffers apply a name in derision, it is not the fault of the faithful. But the true, loyal soldiers of the cross, should never own or recognize such a name. Instances of names so originating are Methodists and Baptists, both of which were first given in derision, but were afterwards adopted as party names, representing sects, factions, or divisions in the body of Christ. All true teachers are not only sent by Christ but receive their instructions from him; and any man who attempts to put his own or any other name upon all or any portion of the church is an opponent, an adversary to the true and only Lord and Head of the church.” Zion’s Watch Tower October 1888 p.3
What went wrong? We can only presume that those who followed fell into the very trap First Corinthians warns us about. If we are Christians then we must not be divided in name. We must not fall for the wisdom of men and divide the Body of Christ by choosing names other than the one name God ordained. If God and Christ did not accept any other name in the first century do you think they will accept any other today?
Thanks Brother Ed for that great point!