A Prayer
of Jesus
I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise
and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will


By Edgar Jones
Here is an examination of the name Christian and its implications.
Christian 1 -- Etymology: Latin christianus, adjective & n., from Greek christianos, from Christos
Date: 1526
1 a : one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Christ 1 -- Etymology: Middle English Crist, from Old English, from Latin Christus, from Greek Christos, literally, anointed, from chriein
Date: before 12th century
Christian is a lovely name.  It has a crisp, clean sound to it.  More than that, Christendom has always claimed the high moral ground in the world and overtly applies this name to all that is good, right, and true so that it has wonderful associations within Christendom. Thus people boast of their native land as being a Christian nation.  It is their highest praise. There is no more coveted personal appellative than to be called a good Christian man, as in the Christmas hymn:

Good Christian men, rejoice with heart and soul, and voice;
Give ye heed to what we say: News! News! Jesus Christ is born today;
Ox and ass before Him bow; and He is in the manger now.
Christ is born today! Christ is born today

It was therefore with a sense of joy and satisfaction that I stood up from my prayer of commitment -- there under the tree on the creek bank in 1947 -- and went quickly to the house where I announced to all, "I have become a Christian."   I went eagerly to the evangelistic service at the Walnut Grove Baptist Church that evening, where again I stood before the congregation to announce those victorious words, "I have become a Christian."  
Long I gloried in that name.  I do so no longer.

The Origin

Most Christians know where the name originated, because the Bible states:


    [25] So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul;
    [26] and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church, and taught a large company of people; and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians.
There is also general agreement that the pagans of Antioch first applied the name and did so derisively. It did not originate with the early disciples gathered there.  The New Testament applies it to disciples only twice more, both times by non disciples.  The first, also from Acts, has King Agrippa responding to Paul's testimony:


    [28] And Agrippa said to Paul, "In a short time, you think to make me a Christian!"
The second, in context, is also derisive.


    [14] If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
    [15] But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a wrongdoer, or a mischief-maker;
    [16] yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God.
It was a term of reproach that the pagan world applied to a persecuted and despised minority. Tacitus, the Roman historian, leaves no doubt that it was a name of derision in Rome at the time of the burning of that city in 64 A.D.  The rumor spread that Nero was responsible for the fire:
"Therefore, to put an end to the rumor Nero created a diversion and subjected to the most extra-ordinary tortures those hated for their abominations by the common people called Christians. The originator of this name (was) Christ, who, during the reign of Tiberius had been executed by sentence of the procurator Pontinus Pilate. Repressed for the time being, the deadly superstition broke out again not only in Judea, the original source of the evil, but also in the city (Rome), where all things horrible or shameful in the world collect and become popular. So an arrest was made of all who confessed; then on the basis of their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of arson as for hatred of the human race." (Tacitus, Annales, 15, 44)
Jesus was not the originator of the name, as Tacitus states.  The disciples had other descriptions for themselves: the elect, the brothers, the believers, the saints, the poor, the disciples and people of the Way are among the most common ones.  There is no indication in the Gospels that they referred to themselves as Christians.  However, they soon  accepted the name and, in the letter of Ignatius of Antioch to the Romans, written during the first decade of the Second Century, we find one of the first uses of the term by a disciple to apply to himself. He wrote while being transported a prisoner to Rome, where he was to suffer a martyr's death:
(3.2)  Only pray that I may have power within and without, so that I may not 
only say it but also desire it; that I may not only be called a Christian,
but also be found one. For if I shall be found so, then can I also be called
one, and be faithful then, when I am no more visible to the world.
We agree, then, with the general scholarly opinion that the name Christian was first applied to the disciples at Antioch by their pagan neighbors in a hostile environment, and that the disciples soon accepted it and wore it gladly.  They were not named such, either by Jesus, the Father or anyone from among themselves.

But who was most instrumental in accomplishing the acceptance of this name among the early disciples? We begin by examining a passage from Acts:


    [19] Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoeni'cia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to none except Jews.
    20] But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyre'ne, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus.
    21] And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number that believed turned to the Lord.
    22] News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
    23] When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad; and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose;
    24] for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a large company was added to the Lord.
    25] So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul;
    26] and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church, and taught a large company of people; and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians.
The name Christian was first applied here at Antioch, as already stated, but look at the relevant details.  It was applied to a body of Greek (Gentile) disciples as distinct from the Jewish ones, and it was applied, we can surmise, about a year after Barnabus brought Saul (Paul) there to assist.  Now if we examine another of the three appearances of this name in the NT, we find that it was in association with Saul as he testified before Agrippa. What I am going to suggest is that Saul/Paul is the agent that the enemy utilized to gain acceptance of the name among disciples worldwide.

But the other incident of the occurrence of Christian in the NT is in I Peter.  Doesn't that rule out any association of that reference with Saul?

Perhaps, but there are nevertheless good reasons for thinking that Saul/Paul also promoted the name there.  Look at I Peter 4:11.  Do you see that it concludes with the word, "Amen?"  And compare this verse with 5:11, that also has an "Amen" to follow:


    [11] whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.


    [11] To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Now do you see what I am getting at here?  If not,  examine 5:10 and see its similarity in ideas and terms to the first portion of 4:11?  I suggest that this similarity is the mark of an insertion by someone not the original writer -- in this case, not Peter.

I have shown elsewhere that the reference to "our beloved brother Paul" in II Peter 3:15 is an insertion at the end of that epistle, made by Paul or one of his disciples, specifically to claim acceptance of Paul by Peter.  Now what I am further suggesting is that the Pauline wing of the movement made insertions at the end of both epistles!  In the case of II Peter, it was to secure the acceptance of the name of Paul in the Petrine wing of the movement; in the case of I Peter, it was to secure the use of the associated name Christian within the Petrine wing of the movement!

Need more evidence?  Here it is: The reference to Silva'nus at I Peter 5:12 was also tacked onto the end of that document to give Silva'nus acceptance to Peter -- Silva'nus, who only shows up elswhere in the NT as an associate of Paul and Timothy.  We find this in Paul's epistles to the Corinthians and Thessalonians:


[19] For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, Silva'nus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No; but in him it is always Yes.


[1] Paul, Silva'nus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalo'nians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.


[1] Paul, Silva'nus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalo'nians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
The name Christian therefore has a close association with Paul in each case where it pops up in the NT. This is not certain, of course, but when we consider the real character of Paul that I have elsewhere described, it begins to make a strong case that he was the man used by Satan to establish the name Christian among early disciples.

Before you object, citing the part that Barnabus played in bringing Paul to Antioch, permit me to remind you that the association of Barnabus with Paul was short lived, and ended with a sharp contention (Acts 15:39).  So they parted, never to reunite.  I propose that Barnabus was indeed, as Luke described him, a good man full of the Holy Spirit and of faith (Acts 11:24).  Paul was able to deceive him for some time, but not forever.

The parent names the child.

The Problem

    Christians are now so thoroughly attached to this name and so utterly blind to its implication that they continue to this day to bear it gladly as I once did, and so it will continue.   Just what is the implication?

    Always, it is the parent that names the child.  It is the one controlling who names what is controlled, even as Adam named the animals and then Eve (Genesis 2:18-24), as Jesus applied the name Peter to Simon and as our progenitors gave our names to each of us.  It necessarily follows that, by accepting this name, the Christians through the centuries have unwittingly acknowledged their true paternity. It is the prince of that utter darkness that enveloped the pagan world and that yet hovers over the earth.  It must therefore be identical to that of those enemies of Jesus whose paternity he defined so explicitly:


[38] I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.
[41] You do what your father did. They said to him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God."
[42] Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.
[44] You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
In the context of John 8, we discover that these words were specifically stated as having been addressed to the Jews who had believed in him. (John 8:31)  So likewise the Christians will identify themselves as those who have believed in him.  There are deep similarities here!

Apart from some troubled (and also blessed) souls among them, as I once was, the two billion Christians who inhabit the earth will never deny the name.  They cannot, for in so doing they would deny their paternity.  It is a problem that they can never so much as acknowledge.

The parent names the child.  If the Christians were children of God, they would never accept a name applied by the servants of Satan.

The Confirmation

A Christian man or woman, a Christian home, a Christian family, a Christian nation, a Christian church, a Christian soldier -- these expressions mean little in themselves, for the servants of Satan apply whatever names they please.  They only become significant when the man, the woman, the home, the family, the nation, the church and the soldier accept the name, thereby acknowledging paternity. The multitudes gladly bear the name Christian, as I once did, and that is
their tragic self condemnation -- not the name itself, but the fact that they gladly bear it.

The confirmation of this comes when we focus on the works of these Christians.  If they are the children of Satan, they will be found doing the works of Satan.  If they are the children of God, the works of God. We take it that Jesus was the representative of God the Father who defines and manifests the works of God in the world.  Therefore we need only compare the works of Christians during their history and today with the works of God as defined and exemplified by Jesus to confirm paternity.  We will make this comparison in these areas:
1. Unity
2. Obedience
3. Conformity
4. Deeds
5. Goals
6. Values
These are not independent markers.  Because all spring from the  intrinsicnature of the human heart, they will all be found to come from what resides in the hearts of human beings who comprise Christendom.  These markers are really redundant since accepting the name is the critical and decisive indicator. But they add strength to the conception.  Any one of them is devastating; altogether they present powerful evidence of the paternity of self professed Christians.

1. Unity

Jesus strongly asserted the unity that the children of the Father exhibit to the world.  First, he added a new commandment that powers this unity of believers:


[34] A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
This love is the adhesive that binds the children of the Father into a single whole throughout the world. Its consequence is to be absolute unity, as Jesus foretold:


[16] And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.
It is a flat and simple assertion by the Lord: So there shall be one flock, one shepherd. We should also acknowledge that this is the immediate consequence of heeding the voice of the one shepherd, which is the voice of Jesus of Nazareth; they will heed my voice.

Unity is the desire of Jesus as he earnestly petitioned the Father:


[20] I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word,
21] that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22] The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
23] I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.
On can add nothing to what the Lord has said, nor petition the Father for more.  We should note that this is an evident unity, not a secret and hidden one, for it is a unity that the world will see and by which the world may believe that the Father sent Jesus into the world.  

But what does the world see when it looks at Christians?

From the earliest days there have been divisions and schisms due to doctrine, personality conflicts, politics, apostolic and papal successions, ethnic prejudices and institutional structures and authority.  Hatred, not love, has ruled. It has ruled so powerfully that at times the world has seen Christians torturing and killing Christians in the name of Jesus!  And this has been a practice often repeated throughout the history of Christianity.  It has been policy and not isolated incidents.  In our times we have seen the Christian states of Europe and America warring against each other repeatedly, most recently in the Balkan upheavals.

Today, there is an astonishing 33,830 different Christian sects and denominations worldwide!  These distinguish themselves by names, administrations, real estate, doctrines and personalities.  Most communities within Christendom provide many different denominational congregations, each competing with the others in their appeal to the local citizenry.

Those who accept the name Christian fail miserably to display unity to the world that must characterized the disciples of Jesus.

The parent names the child.

2. Obedience

Do Christians obey Jesus?  We have already identified one commandment that they have continually broken, the new one to love one another
.   Love for the Lord himself also dictates that his disciples obey his commandments.  He said:


[15] If you love me, you will keep my commandments.


[10] If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.
The Gospel of Matthew lists many of his commandments in the Sermon on the Mount.  Here is a selection therefrom:


    [34] But I say to you, Do not swear at all . . ..


[39] But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil.


[44] But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,..


[3] But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing . . ..


[6] But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret . . ..


[39] You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Enough said?  Christians repeatedly exposed their hatred of Jesus through a consistent, religion-wide failure to keep his commandments.

The parent names the child.

3. Conformity (to the World)

We have this from the lips of Jesus concerning his disciples:


[16] They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
But when the world goes to war, the Christians go to war; when the world promotes slavery, so do the Christians, as they did in the American South prior to the Civil War. When the world segregates the races, so do the Christians -- until the world outlaws segregation; then the Christians ever so slowly conform, although the Sunday morning worship hour remains probably the the most segregated of the week in the U.S.  Here the Christians are in a Catch 22 situation, for they display hatred to their neighbors of other races if they remain segregated but, if they integrate, they conform to the world as they did during slavery and segregation or apartheid!  

As I indicated above, these criteria are redundant, for we see in this racial division the further evidence of disunity, contrary to the doctrine of Jesus.
 The world has never exhibited unity, so that the Christians, conforming to the world contrary to the Word, are subject to all the divisions characteristic of the world, in addition to the thousands of unique divisions characteristic of Christianity.

The parent names the child!.

4. Deeds

When the Christians of the First Crusade entered Jerusalem on July 15, 1099, following their long atrocity - laden march through Central and Southeastern Europe, Byzantium
and Islam they crowned their trail of merciless deeds with the most horrendous massacre of its inhabitants.  Will Durant describes their action as follows:
Then, reports the priestly eyewitness Raymond of Agiles,
.. . . wonderful things were to be seen.  Numbers of the Saracens were beheaded . . . others were shot with arrows, or forced to jump from the towers; others were tortured for several days and then burned in flames.  In the streets were seen piles of heads and hands and feet.  One rode aboout everywhere amid the corpses of men and horses.
Other contemporaries contribute details: women were stabbed to death, suckling babes were snatched by the leg from their mother's breasts and flung over the walls, or had their necks broken by being dashed against posts; and 70,000 Moslems remaining in the city were slaughtered.  The surviving Jews were herded into a synagogue and burned alive.  The victors flocked to the church of the Holy Sepulcher, whose grotto, they believed, had once held the crucified Christ. there, embracing one another, they wept with joy and release, and thanked the God of Mercies for their victory. (The Age of Faith, pp 591,592)
This is but one link in the endless chain of atrocities committed by Christians.  One could never exhaust the list of incidents that would include early acts of violence committed against Jews, the atrocities sanctioned by the Catholic hierarchy during the Inquisition, the violent record of early Christian explorers in the New World, and on down to modern times when a Christian nation obliterated Japanese cities by means of atomic bombs and laid waste the Christian cities of Europe by means of conventional explosives.  As I write this, a Christian president and the administration of a Christian nation, the United States, is violently attacking a Moslem nation, Iraq.  The perpetrators of this violence are proudly describing it as Shock and Awe.

Most Christians like to think that such deeds as the Christian Crusader's pillage of Jerusalem belong to a dark past -- that things are different now.  But things are not different, and the evidence is clear. Most tellingly, the murderous word "crusade" is one of the most respected in Christendom today. Evangelical Christians honor it such that they characterize their evangelistic campaigns as crusades and advertise them as such.

Whenever Christians embrace the word, they embrace all that it means and bind themselves to the spirit of the Crusaders, for all know that the Crusades were violent military campaigns committed to destroying the enemies -- the Islamic defenders of Palestine.

The parent names the child!

5. Goals

Jesus commissioned his followers to evangelize the world by these words, spoken immediately prior to his ascension:


[18] All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
[19] Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, . . ..
All of the successful Christian denominations see themselves as vigorously fulfilling this commission as they compete in their efforts to, as they often say, Win the world for Christ.  It seems to them to be the obvious goal of the carrying out of the Great Commission.  So, many of them envision a utopian future for the earth and all its inhabitants as they complete the process they believe necessary to establish God's kingdom on the earth. Every week they join in the prayer, commonly called the Lord's Prayer, petitioning the Father that His kingdom come and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

This is not a valid goal, and Jesus has made this perfectly clear to all who can hear him. Look again at Matthew 28:18 above, introducing the Great Commission:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Can we hear him?  Do you hear the past tense of this sentence? The coming of the kingdom, and the doing of the Father's will, on earth as in heaven was fulfilled by Jesus himself.  Do you note that he said, All authority has been given to him? This, the coming of the kingdom, cannot therefore be a valid goal for his followers, having long ago been attained by Jesus. But his goal is specified in v. 19; it is to make and baptize disciples of all nations such that they become, as he said,


[45] so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven;
The investigation of other goals here would be superfluous, because this is the single, universal and primary goal of Jesus and the Christians have botched it!  Any subsidiary goals must also be botched.

The parent names the child!

6. Values

Values spring from the dispositions of love and hate.  The bottom line is this Word spoken by Jesus (The Great Principle):


    [25] He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
The critical issue with respect to values, then, is life itself.  The nations of the world, founded on love of life and valuing it greatly, value and seek those things that support and sustain that life.  Jesus both characterized them and the distinction to be made by his disciples as follows:


[29] And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind.
[30] For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them.
[31] Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well.
The word treasure defines that which has value.  One values one's treasure.  Jesus defined the treasure, and hence also the values, of his disciples in saying:


[19] Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal,
[20] but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.
[21] For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
You see, then do you not, that the Christians establish their treasures as things that pertain to life in this world?  It has ever been so, and so it continues to this day and will continue.

The parent names the child!

We have briefly examined six markers of Christian paternity, which represent different categories of their works.  These are major areas that cast the entire Christian endeavor as contrary to the ways and will of the Lord and the Father.  Let us view the list again so that you can establish in your mind that they are indeed major.
1. Unity
2. Obedience
3. Conformity to the world
4. Deeds
5. Goals
6. Values

The works of Christians in every category are not the works of the Father or of Jesus his Son.  They must therefore be the works of that other father of whom Jesus spoke when he said:


[44] You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires.
It is a maxim of Jesus that the child does the works of its father, and in the spirit realm Jesus has identified only two fathers -- the devil and the Father in heaven.  From all of this we must, reluctant though we be, draw the only reasonable conclusion, which is that the Father in heaven is not the Father of the Christians.

The parent names the child!

The Question

What name has the Father given to his children in the world?  If not Christian, what?

If the Father has given a distinctive and unique name to the aggregate of his children in the world, Jesus, as the Father's spokesperson, would have been the one to apply it.  Has he done so?

Search the gospels, and you will see that he has not named them.  Yes, he has provided many descriptive terms to his disciples but none of them qualify as a distinctive name for the aggregate of his children on the earth.  

There is "disciple."  And yes, Jesus did speak of his disciples as "disciples."  But he never once spoke to any of them saying, You are to be named disciples.  Nor is there in the record any incidence in which he directly addressed his disciples as disciples.  Besides this, John had disciples, the Pharisees had disciples, every teacher had, and has disciples.  This term standing alone would never designate his disciples in particular.  It is only a descriptive term.

There is "friend."  And Jesus did say to those who followed him and heard his words,


[15] No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
This is also only a descriptive term.  It promotes his disciples from "servants" to "friends" but this cannot be a name for the aggregate because, again, everyone has those whom they call their friends.

He spoke of them as his "sheep."  This is clearly a metaphorical designation, another descriptive term that does not qualify as a unique name.  He is the "Shepherd" in the same context, yet this is not his name.  

Likewise, he spoke of them as "branches" in another metaphor:


[5] I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
But "Vine" is not his name, nor is "Branches" the name of the aggregate of his disciples. Do you see now where this leads?  Jesus applied many descriptive and metaphorical terms to his disciples, but they are all that and only that.  What we must have, to qualify as a name for the aggregate of God's children in this world, must be something unique, like "Christian" (which is invalidated) or "Jew" or "Buddhist" or "Hindu" or "Muslim" or "Mormon."  

Why not "Jesusian" or "Jesusite" or "Jesudan" or Jesuist, taken from the name of Jesus, as "Buddhist" comes from "Buddha" and as "Christian" comes from "Christ?"

Why not?  Simply because the Father has never applied any such name.

What of the "new name" that Isaiah said would be announced by the mouth of the Lord?


[2] The nations shall see your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
which the mouth of the LORD will give.
The prophet immediately proceeded to reveal this name.  Let's look at it:


[4] You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;
but you shall be called My delight is in her, (Hephzibah)
and your land Married;
for the LORD delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
Hephzibah?  "My delight is in her" would be a fitting name for a kings wife or the mother of a king, for this was the name of the mother of the evil and idolatrous King of Judah, Manasseh. This was a name the prophet expected to be applied to a restored Jerusalem in a golden age that never came.  It certainly has never been applied to God's children on this earth. We do have one thing from this, which is that the name should be from the mouth of God.

I conclude that the Father has given no distinctive, collective name to his children on the earth, either directly, through a prophet, Jesus or any other agent.

The Reasons
This gives rise to another question: Why has the Father not provided a corporate name for his children on the earth?

I know of no scripture that specifies an answer to this question, but it is not difficult, in the light of the utterances of Jesus, to surmise good reasons.  First, consider that the process of naming is essentially divisive as stated above.  Why does any gathering of religious devotees, or any other grouping, seek out and apply a distinctive name to themselves?  

It is surely for one primary purpose, which is to set them apart from others who do not belong to their group.  Even so small and basic a group as the nuclear family requires its distinctive family name so as to distinguish it from other families.  Additionally, it serves the purpose of identification of each individual.  In identifying the individual as a member of a specific family, it also establishes that one is not a member of any other family.  The act of naming, or denominating, is therefore essentially divisive at its very root.  Now let us look to a relevant utterance:


[21] that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Jesus prays for unity the world can see and by which people in the world will believe that Jesus is indeed the messenger of God.  Any division that splits it into different groups having different members and different names destroys the testimony.  This is precisely what has taken place in Christendom with its 33, 830 different denominated and named sects scattered across the globe, the implications of which are set forth above.

One can argue that this is precisely why God's children in the world need a distinctive name -- to identify them and set them apart from the nations of the world.  If that were as far as it went, then the Father would surely give them a name.  Knowing beforehand, however, that Satan would busy himself populating the earth with these thousands of different denominations in which each lays claim to being a child of the Father, it was surely evident to Him that the world would not distinguish between his children and all the other denominations that were to come, except as just another denomination.  To name them under these conditions would be to play Satan's game, and have them counted among the many failed religions at the end.  It is far better to give them no collective name, and so he has not.

Additionally, to provide them with a name would inevitably subject them to powerful and destructive temptations.  It seems that when humans join together in a named entity, they then require a constitution to define their administrative functions and specify certain individuals to have certain special responsibilities.  The individuals must then be granted the authority within the group to perform their functions.  They then feel they must establish offices and select individuals to fill then.  The result? Not one shepherd, but many.  Look at Christendom with its millions of shepherds!

More yet, as a distinct named entity in the world, they would then be subject to attack as such, and attacks would surely come.  They then are forced to assume a defensive posture that further isolates them from other denominations.  Issues arise from within the group, and the group finds itself dividing just as do the corporations of the world and defending themselves from . . . one another!

We are not speaking here of mere suppositions.  This is precisely the process that dominates Christendom as the Christians mount ever new named organizations and fracture into ever new factions. This is a kind of nuclear fission, a chain reaction that began in the dark past and continues to explode rapidly throughout Christendom.

These are good reasons, any one of which is sufficient to explain why the Father has never named the entity that comprises his children in the world.  Yes, but there is another, more fundamental reason that explains all and needs no other reasons.  Consider only that there is a single over-arching purpose to all things in creation, which is that God in heaven desires of the earth only children by which to populate his Eternal Glory.  It is only through Jesus, by the sowing of his Logos in the hearts of human beings, that humans are given eternal life as his children.  So we have to look at the entire process and consider the significance of not naming and in particular seek to see the issue from the point of view of the Father.

This requires only that we examine the ordinary human family with its parents and children and attend to the working of parental love.  This is the exemplary pattern that the Father has provided for our enlightenment.
 So, let us ask:

Does the parent name the child?

Absolutely!  But this is of first importance: the parent names the children individually, and only individually.  The parent never sorts the kids into subgroups and distinguishes them by giving them different group names.  The only group name is the family name that comes automatically with their birth to particular parents.  What the parents then give to each is the name of the individual, such that the parent can hold them individually accountable, responsible and recognizable.  If there is anything that would upset a parent,  it would be to find the children subdividing into small named cliques for influence and dominance among themselves.  Therefore the Father only provides individual names for his children, which is precisely in accord with what Jesus has said:


[3] To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
And yes, the parent names the child.


Within Christendom, one finds the name Christian attached to many good institutions, good works, good people and good aspirations.  But we are deceived if we let that fact blind us to its intrinsic character. There is nothing unique within the Christian culture that produces these good people and things.  If one only looks dispassionately within any culture on the earth, be it Eastern or Western, theistic or atheistic, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or whatever, one finds there the same manifestations of goodness, both corporate and individual.  People know how to befriend those of their own politic, creed, kind and anyone else who does not threaten.  And in every culture, they also permit this to blind them both to the nature of their own faith and the faith of believers in other religions. History has shown again and again the consequences when people in any culture allow their one sided exposures to prejudice them in favor of their own fellow believers and against others.  It is a tragic "we are better than you" game that plunges humans repeatedly into violence against one another.  It is a game the Father and the Lord Jesus are not playing.  It is a game His children on the earth are not playing because, through Jesus of Nazareth they have received the Truth, and the Truth has made them free.

Twenty-five years have passed since I renounced the name American in 1978.  The name Christian was much more firmly attached.  Only in recent years has the significance of bearing it become known to me, so that at last I can renounce it also, not as one saying good bye to a beloved old friend, but as one saying good riddance to a bad name.  

Bad habits die slowly!
 Bad names, slower yet.
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