The What’s in a Name post (January 2011) has attracted quite a bit of traffic and some thought-provoking discussion, and so I was inspired to dedicate my weekly newspaper column to the topic:
Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus … to the church of God that is in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 1:1-2
In the city of Toronto there is a church with the name The St. Francis National Evangelical Spiritual Baptist Faith Archdiocese of Canada. And no, it is not the longest church name in the world. Ever heard of The House of God which is the Church of the Living God the Pillar and Ground of the Truth without Controversy, Inc? It’s in Ansonia, Connecticut, in case you want to pop in for a morning service.
If you don’t feel comfortable going to a church where the sign outside takes more space than the parking lot, you can always go to one of the trendy “emergent churches”. They have short hip names like Apex, Liquid, Quest and so on. Or, if you want something really unpretentious, you can pay a visit to the Scum of the Earth church in Denver, Colorado. These guys are not only humble; they want everyone to know it.
Can you imagine if Paul had to write Colossians 4:15-16 in our day and age? “Give my greetings to The True Holiness Divine Revelation Church of the Apostolic Succession and to Nympha and The Church of Our Lady Of Perpetual Succour. And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in Touch Not My Anointed; and see that you also read the letter from Touch Not My Anointed” (No disrespect intended; these are all actual church names!)
Perhaps we can learn something from the churches of the New Testament. They had no names but were named according to locality, loudly proclaiming that their only identity was to be found in Christ and Christ alone.
(Bloemnuus 4 February 2011)