Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Darren Russell: What's In A Name?

This is a continuation of last Sunday’s blog, by Darren Russell. The Followers of Christ, in Oregon City, claim that the Church of the First Born is not the same church and theology. That is not what the history of the church tells, as Darren so aptly explained in his last post.

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

 It's an oft repeated phrase from one Shakespeare's tragedies, the words of Juliet to the thought of Romeo who may have to give up his family name to be with her. Stripped of his name and family fortune, he still would have been the man she loved.

So what does the Bible say about names?

When God created Adam, he left it to him to name all the animals of the garden. God knew each and every one but had no need to name them to distinguish them. There were times when he gave people names, and they were always significant. He named Abram Abraham, Jacob Israel and gave the words of the prophecy to Isaiah that the messiah would be called Immanuel. In fact he gave his Son a better name than any of the angels. (Heb. 1:4) Before his birth he sent an angel to name him Jesus, a name meaning savior, a name he lived up to.

He has also promised a name to his people and to Jerusalem:

Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.
Isaiah 62:11-12

Jesus established his Church while here, and simply called them “my disciples” (John 13:35). Luke said in Acts that the disciples were first called “Christians” at Antioch. Apostle John in his vision referred to the church as “New Jerusalem” (Rev. 3:12; 21:2,10) and this is confirmed by Paul (Heb. 12:22) and is a direct fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. Paul goes on to describe the “city of the living God” as a “general assembly and church of the first born...” (Heb. 12:23). Of course the first born is none other than Christ (Col. 1:15), and so it is just a flowery way for Paul to say the “Church of Christ” (Rom. 16:16).

The most common way for Paul to address believers was as “The Church of God” which he uses a dozen times with slight variations. He also referred to this same group as “the churches of the saints” (I Cor. 14:33) but for the most part he simply said “the church”, and all the believers who read his letters or heard his voice new which church he was referring to, there is only one, that of “The Redeemed of the Lord”.

So many names to choose from, so many good names, and people like to hold on to one, as if it had a magical charm to it that will save you in itself. God gave his Son a multiplicity of names (Isaiah 9:6) to describe him more fully, and we should not be surprised that the church, his “New Jerusalem”, the “Bride of Christ” is known by as many different names. As followers of Christ we just need to keep in mind the reputation he earned with God, the name he inherited, and “the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” ( II Tim. 2:19)


  1. The man knows his bible. Thanks for sharing. Now back to Suzi...

  2. They say its not the same because its not the same!

  3. Darren, recently 2 different cotfb families have been charged in the death of their teenage son. One in Washington the other in Oregon. Do you know these families? And Do you have any thoughts on the case's.

  4. I do not know them personally, but know of them from mutual acquaintances and family. What I do know is both of these cases involve older children, 16 and 17 years. It is rare for parents of this age group to be prosecuted. It is becoming the norm in these northern states. the times they are a changin'.

  5. I love your attitude Darren, did you visit the FOC in Oregon city? I heard that some preachers did. Also that they were received politely, strange for the FOC but promising.

    1. No I have not, I would like to, but that will not happen in the too near future. I have met some who have been there in the recent past, and they actually speak very well of the group. There are some concerns, but I believe they can be worked out with faith, hope and above all charity.

  6. No. His name was "Yeshua." Not "Jesus."


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