Friday, August 3, 2012

What's in a Name?

During the years that I was at Saint Matthias Church, I often chided my colleague amos acree for the way that his denomination had captured two of the titles which might well be claimed by all Christians - The Christian Church and The Disciples of Christ. amos did not mind the chiding at all, as he does not take himself all that seriously. He told me once that when people see his habit of putting his name in lower case as a sign of his humility, he corrects that misperception. Using lower case gets him noticed and remembered.

Names are important and, in spite of my chiding, I understand how his church came by its two names. But some names can be a little off putting. A lot of Episcopalians get irritated when Roman Catholics refer the their church as simply the Catholic Church, as if Anglicans didn't belong to a catholic church. We also hear stories, many of them apocryphal, about how there was a schism in the Church of God and those who left are calling themselves the True Church of God. But a true story about a church plant near me made me wonder how the planters chose the name, Next Level Church. I read the article to see if there was an explanation, but couldn't find one. That left me with the uneasy feeling that these brothers and sisters in Christ might imagine that their church is a level higher than other churches. That is very dangerous thinking for any Christian. All of us are, as Luther pointed out, at the same time sinners and justified by grace and grace alone. All of us are called to walk humbly with God, because that is how God walks with us.

I pray that this new church plant will reach unchurched and dechurched people with the Good News of God's love. And I pray that if they are imagining that theirs is a church a level above others God would forgive them.

1 comment:

Michael Hartney said...

Just so you know ... I am still reading your blog.