Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 12, 1956

It Isn't In The Book

Roy E. Cogdill

Have you ever heard anyone say, "There isn't anything in a name" or "One name is as good as another"? Where do you suppose they would be willing to apply such teaching? Surely no one would say "There isn't anything in a name" concerning the family relationship... A father is particular as to the name his children wear. A husband is particular as to the name of his wife. A name is surely important in family relationships.

Then what about financial matters? Is there anything in the name that is signed to a check? People are sent to prison for signing the wrong name to a check. Manufactured products bear registered trademarks and are given copyrighted trade names which are protected by law. Severe penalties are inflicted for violating these regulations governing the use of trade names in the financial world. If some one else should make a car and put the name of Ford on it, would it make any difference?

There is no realm but religion where people would be willing to accept such a doctrine. It isn't any more sensible in religion than it is elsewhere. Names are one of the essential and primary marks of identification. God had every beast of the field and every bird of the air named by Adam. Gen. (2:19-20.) God changed Abram's name to Abraham and gave the reason for the change. (Gen. 117:5.) God changed the name of Jacob to Israel and gave the reason for the change. (Gen. 32:28.) In that name was incorporated the name of Jehovah — EL — for His people to wear. The religious name we wear is likewise significant. It is a mark of identity for a Christian. God has designated the name His people are to wear and it is disrespectful to God to wear any other name.

The Old Testament prophets prophesied that a new name would be given to His people when the "Gentiles see thy righteousness and all kings thy glory" and that New Name was to be named by the mouth of Jehovah. (Isaiah 62:2.) Saul of Tarsus was a chosen emissary to bear that new name — the name of Christ — specified by the mouth of the Lord himself — before the Gentiles and kings of the earth. (Acts 9:15.) This prophecy in all of its elements was fulfilled and Saul served that mission while preaching Christ in Antioch of Syria. "The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." (Acts 11:26.) For the first time Gentiles and Jews were brought together in Antioch into a common fellowship upon common terms. Thus the new name was given.

This name was not given by the multitude as some careless students seem to think. The word translated "were called" is the Greek "Chrematizdo" and it occurs nine times in the New Testament Greek text and in every instance where the word is used by inspiration God did the calling. It never has any other significance in the New Testament.

Other passages bear witness to the significance of the name to be worn religiously.

  1. Do nothing in any other name but the Lord's. (Col. 3:17.)
  2. Glorify God in the name of Christ. (1 Peter 4:16.)
  3. No other name as good as the name of Christ. (Phil. 2:9.)
  4. Salvation is in no other name but the name of Christ. (Acts 4:111-12.)
  5. Human names are condemned. We should wear the name of Him who died for us and into whose name we have been baptized. (1 Cor. 1:10-15.)

All of these passages and many others eliminate the name of John, The Baptist, Martin Luther, Wesley, Campbell or any other man. They also eliminate calling ourselves after religious ordinances, forms of church government (Methodists, Presbyterians, or Episcopal) or deriving our names from particular doctrines instead of from Christ — (Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Holiness, Pentecostals, etc.).

We should be content to wear the name of Christ. Why would anyone want to wear a name in religion that cannot be found in the Bible, that God did not give, in preference to the name of Christ? The idea that "there is nothing in a name" just isn't true anywhere and especially is it false in religion. The doctrine that is so widespread, "One name is just as good as another" just ISN'T IN THE BOOK. The Bible teaches exactly the opposite.