Christian Personal Names
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13. Christian Personal Names

Solemn Vows

X-Ray BrainJesus Christ lives in me! What is true of the Virgin Mary, who knew the Son of God physically in her womb, is true spiritually of every Christian saint. God's son is born into you and me through the direct act of God. Personal Christian names indicate the characteristic of Jesus' presence in us. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582 AD) was a prominent Spanish mystic and theologian who wrote, "Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he is to look with compassion on the world. Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good, and yours the hands with which he is to bless us now." She wrote these words in her book called "El Castillo Interior" or "Interior Castle" or "the Mansions." Dr. F. B. Meyer, (1847-1929 AD) a Baptist pastor in England adds,

"In all, He is present.
In some, He is not only present but prominent.
In others, He is not only present and prominent but also pre-eminent."

Present, Prominent Pre-eminent?

A horse and CartBecoming a Christian is like getting married. Being a Christian is like being married. At the wedding, the bride and groom make solemn vows that they will love and care for each other, "till death parts us." Over the months and years of a developing union, their relationship is better summed up not by a marriage certificate signed years before but in their day-to-day love. So it is with the relationship between the Christian and Christ. Christian names are the "wedding bands" that indicate this sacred union.

Christian Commitment

Groom and BrideThe initial commitment to faith in Christ is how the Christian begins in the Body of Christ. Both initial Christian commitment and daily love combine to make a good partnership. In the same way, my daily walk and discipleship in Jesus Christ speak more eloquently of my Christian faith than the intensity of my initial Christian commitment, though that is also important. Like a horse and a carriage, belief and belonging are always hitched together in the genuine member of the Body of Christ. Is a Christian someone who merely makes an initial Christian commitment to Jesus Christ, or does there need to be more? Some cradle Christians, devoted to Jesus for as long as they can remember, do not remember a specific initial Christian commitment point. Yet, others cannot refuse them the title of Christian. An initial decision is of no consequence to them. It is their present faith that is all-important. Saint Paul describes this current commitment in Galatians 4.19-20 as, "My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone because I am perplexed about you!." Christ needs to be part of all of us!

Discover Christian Faith

The Body of Christ is essential for those who discover the Christian faith. Here are some illuminating suggestions. The Body of Christ is the ministry model for Christians in the New Testament church and is also the same for Christians today. She is also God's choice for you, and I living out the Christian faith at the beginning of the Twenty-First Century. This Body of Christ model, when rediscovered, provides what we now call "the church" with a dedicated and focused workforce for the future. To flesh out a definition of "Christian faith today," Dr. C. Peter Wagner (1930-2016 AD) became a key leader in the Church Growth Movement. This movement within evangelical Christianity aims to grow churches based on research, sociology, analysis, etc. The Church Growth Movement starts with a passion for the Great Commission and seeing people come to Christ. Matthew 28.18-20 reads, "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'"

Missiology Movement

The missiology movement presents us with some illuminating suggestions. Missiology is the area of practical theology that investigates the mandate, message, and mission of the Christian church, especially the nature of missionary work. Missiology is a multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural field of study incorporating theology. Dr. Wagner said, "Church planting is the most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven." I heard Dr. Peter Wagner speak at several conferences in the Toronto area. Peter loved a good joke, especially at the expense of another denomination. He was a Presbyterian but joked that the Chrystal Cathedral had more water than any Baptist church because of the fountains either side of the central aisle. Dr. Wagner teased Anglicans and Episcopalians as to why the Charismatics had an elbows rule and only raised their hands that high! On one occasion, he was waiting to go into a large church to preach, and a Deacon prayed at the door. "Dear Lord," he said, "please let something happen today that's not on the bulletin!" Dr. Wagner was a gracious, dynamic, and knowledgeable man of God, whom the church sorely misses. Mark 16.15 summarizes his views in the words of Jesus, "He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'"

"Christian Personal Names"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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