Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 29, 1951

A Baptist Preacher Writes On The Name "Christian"

M. F. Manchester, Comanche, Texas

In the October 18th issue of the Baptist Standard, Mr. Earl Anderson of Dallas, writes on the name "Christian," as follows on page six.

"Christian is another dubious and confusing term. In our day, those who believe in any sort of plan of salvation call themselves Christians. It is confusing to an honest seeker. The term occurs only three times in the Bible. The Disciples were called Christians, first in Antioch. (Acts 11:26). Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. (Acts 26:28) and if any man suffers as a Christian. (1 Peter 4:16). In each of these cases it is questionable whether God intended His children be denominated Christian. Everywhere throughout the scriptures God's children are called by the simple and expressive title "believers." Think of how it would clarify our preaching of salvation; how it would simplify our message of soul-redemption, and how substantial it would make our testimony if all Baptists should cease calling themselves and each other Christians, and go to calling themselves and each other believers. Millions have been deluded by this term Christian."

We would ask Mr. Anderson if Peter was deluding the believers in Christ when he wrote to them after this fashion: "Yet if any man suffer as a "Christian" let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this name." (1 Peter 4:16 R.V.).

1) We wonder if he would object if the scriptures said the disciples were called Baptists, first in Antioch. 2) If it did read that way would he say the term "Baptist," was dubious? 3) If it read like this: Almost thou persuadest me to be a "Baptist," would he object? 4) Would he say that the term "Baptist" had deluded millions? Baptist preachers have been trying in vain for many years to find where the term "Baptist" was applied to the children of God by His authority, but they will never find it, and we may rest assured that if they could they would not object, or say that the name was dubious. He says: "The name "Christian" is a dubious and confusing term." To this we reply that it is much more confusing to many of our Baptist friends to try to find the term "Baptist" applied to believers in Christ, in the word of God. Many have tried it but it has never been found, and it never will, because it is not there.

Let us see if the name "Christian," is dubious as charged by the Pastor. The word "dubious" means doubtful. He offered no proof, scriptural or otherwise that the term "Christian" is dubious, and we are not quite ready to take his word for it; especially when we know that the word of God abundantly teaches that the name is of divine origin. Here is the proof.

"For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name." (Isa. 62:1-2). These passages teach that when God's salvation had gone forth not only to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles, that his people would be called by a NEW NAME, that He himself would bestow upon them. Notice that this new name was not to be given until the Gentiles had been brought in, or seen the righteousness of God. The church was established on the day of Pentecost, and we find that they were called believers, brethren, saints, and disciples but none of these were new names, as they were all applied to God's people under the Old Testament.

In the tenth chapter of the book of Acts we find where God opened the door of faith to the Gentiles, at the household of Cornelius. Remember that the new name was to be given after the Gentiles had seen his righteousness. Now let us look at Acts 11:25, 26: "Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul (Paul) and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." Here is a brand new name given to the people of God, by the mouth of God. Pastor Anderson to the contrary not-with-standing.

Let us hear him again: "In our day those who believe in any sort of plan of salvation call themselves "Christian." About all the denominations that we know anything about, the Baptist included subscribe to the FAITH ONLY plan of salvation, which is as unknown to the Bible, as calling one's self a "Baptist." Why should the Pastor object to others using the title, when they claim to have been saved by faith only in Christ? Could it be that he doubts if there are any children of God except those who wear the name "Baptist"?

Again he says: "The term (Christian) occurs only three times in the Bible." Why use the word "only"? If it did not occur but once, and the Bible taught that it was given by the mouth of God, that would be sufficient to those who believe the word of the Lord. If the followers of Christ were called "Baptist" not three times, but just once, would he call that one passage in question?

Of course they were not different kinds of "Christians" in New Testament times, because there was only one plan of salvation for all men, and all who accepted that plan by faith and obedience became "Christians." It is the same today. "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. (Mark 16:15, 16).

"Then Peter said unto them; repent and be baptized everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38). "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized." (Acts 2:41). When anyone does these things they are given the name "Christian," and they are not members of any denomination; not even the "Baptist" denomination.


Rufus R. Clifford, Box 282, Lawrenceburg, Tenn., Nov. 17, 1951: "We are now with the Downtown Church, Lawrenceburg, Tenn., after eight years in Old Hickory, Tenn. There were 701 responses during our stay in Old Hickory, 476 baptized and 225 restored. The Bible Study averaged 617 for the eight years. The church here started a new congregation across town last month, and the results have been inspiring. E. Ray Jerkins is the faithful preacher. We are expecting a pleasant and profitable work with these saints."