|By Vince and Lori Williams
What's In A Name? Largest Protestant Denomination in America
Talking Considering A New Name
By Vince and Lori Williams
The Southern Baptist Convention is going through a time of
transition it appears with the proposal of a name addition,
it being Great Commission Baptists. What are we to do with
this idea of name changes?
Just changing a name doesn't fix an image-this can apply
across the board to many names that have a stigma attached
to them. Take for example, The Walt Disney name…..when Walt
was alive, there was a family oriented sense to it and the
theme parks were geared around that concept. Now Disney is
synonymous with putting out films, even cartoon ones,
questionable material at best. The Little Mermaid, Hunchback
of Notre Dame, Hercules…is all examples of risqué dress of
the characters, and promoting mythological figures for our
kids to look towards. If Walt Disney saw that his theme
parks were turned into a money marketing plethora of these
types of characters, we dare say he would not agree. They
now support gay pride day at the parks in which his original
innocent characters such as Chip and Dale are now paired up
in a jaw dropping event.
Name changes have been both successful and non-successful.
The only ones we can think of that were a positive name
change were when they were given by God. It was to give that
person a new identity. For example, Saul to Paul. Simon to
Peter. Jacob to Israel. Abram to Abraham. Sarai to Sarah.
God changed their names most often for a new purpose for
that person, for their converted state, and if you notice
when they are being disciplined, He refers to their old
name, Peter being the most obvious example of this
As far as unsuccessful name changes, the following is a very
good example. Some people change their name so they become
more relevant. Campus Crusade for Christ changed their name
to Cru. This is from their own words, "Our surveys show
that, in the U.S., twenty percent of the people willing to
consider the gospel are less interested in talking with us
after they hear the name. We are changing the name for the
sake of more effective ministry."
If we keep changing our name to become more relevant to the
world (whether they want to admit it or not), we are just
appealing to the seeker generation and trying not to be
offensive to them. But the Gospel is offensive. Jesus said
it Himself; I did not come to bring peace but to bring a
sword Matthew 10:34.
So if we are catering to the felt needs of a generation so
we don't offend them or turn them off truth, we are not
obeying the Scriptures.
The name change does not change an impaired image of a
grouping. Especially as a ministry, you have to hold true to
the Word, and as long as you are doing that, there should
not be an issue. There are no denominations in the Bible.
People identified their names to where they came from, not
the denomination they belong to. Jesus of Nazareth was not a
member of the Nazarene church, he just happened to come from
Nazareth. So we believe denominations are not of God, but
rather they are in place to create division quite honestly.
Too many have gotten away from preaching Christ crucified as
Paul said we are to do in 1 Corinthians 1:23.
If all of the Christians were holding under this umbrella,
there would be no problem, but unfortunately we have gotten
away from that principle and added man made doctrines and
then filtered them under a denominational heading.
Fortunately for the Southern Baptists, they have held onto
the conservative values throughout the years to some degree,
but there will be hypocrisy in any sect or denomination
within a denomination. By this statement we refer to the
Protestant umbrella….we are not lumping in Catholics,
Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Hindus, etc…that preach
another Jesus therefore preach another Gospel. Do the best
we can to following the commands the Lord has given us and
live those out. Denominations in the Protestant world are
not going to evaporate, so until the Lord comes and creates
His Kingdom, I think we do the best we can within the local
biblical church and share the Gospel with any who would show
interest and be careful not to cast pearls before swine.
Thankfully we have some very good pastors within the
Southern Baptist denomination that are holding true to the
Word and are well known like Al Mohler Jr. and Steve Lawson
that we can trust and see that just because they are under a
denominational umbrella does not mean the preaching and
teaching is bad.