How To Identify The New Testament Church (Part 4) {By the names the members wear}

In our last discussion concerning the identification of the New Testament church, we discussed the importance of the name of the church. In this discussion, we want to consider the importance of the names that the members wore. To begin with, the preacher should wear a Biblical name. Consider some of the names which are worn by many who would identify themselves as ministers of the gospel. There is the title “reverend.” The word reverend is found only one time in the English translation of the Bible. “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name” (Psa. 111:9). The word “reverend” means to be feared or to tremble at. As used by the Psalmist, it refers to someone who is to be held in awe, or to be worshiped. The Bible is clear that man can not be worshiped (Acts 10:25-26). God, however, can be worshiped and is worthy of our worship (Jn. 4:24; Rev. 19:10). There is not one example in the Bible of a respected minister who referred to himself as a reverend. One never reads of “Reverend Paul, “Reverend James,” or “Reverend Peter.” They referred to themselves as servants of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:1; Jam. 1:1; II Pet. 1:1). Preachers should not and must not be referred to as “Reverend.” There is the title “pastor.” Though many ministers refer to themselves as a pastor, the Bible places a very clear distinction between the word pastor and preacher, implying that they are two different works. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” (Eph 4:11). The term “pastor” comes from a Greek word which means shepherd. The Bible teaches that “elders” are pastors. Consider the resemblance of their work. In Jeremiah 23:1-2, the “pastors” were given the responsibility to take care of the “sheep” or “flock.” In Acts 20:17, 28, the “elders” were given the same responsibility. Such reasoning reveals that the titles “elders” and “pastors” are referring to the same class of individuals. The minister or evangelist of the church is not a pastor unless he has been appointed to the office of an elder. Then there is the title “father.” The audacity of a mere man wearing the name “father” is indeed repulsive. For Jesus himself clearly warned, “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven” (Matt. 23:9). According to the Bible a preacher is identified as a minister, a preacher or an evangelist (Eph. 4:11). The only other permissible name that he could wear would be elder or pastor, if and only if, he is qualified and he has been appointed to that office. Not only is the name of the minster an important identify characteristic, the names which Christians wore in the first century, is likewise important. How were they identified? They were called “disciples” (Acts 20:7), “saints” (I Cor. 1:2), “Beloved of God” (Rom. 1:7), “brethren” (I Cor. 15:6), “Sons of God” (Rom. 8:14), “children of God” (I Jn. 3:1), “heirs of God” (Rom. 8:17), “royal priesthood” or “priest” (I Pet. 2:9), and finally, they were called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). These are the names Christians wore in order to identify themselves as members of the New Testament church. Notice if you will, that one will not find an example in the pages of God’s where there was a hyphenated Christian (Christian-Baptist, Christian-Methodist, Christian-Episcopalian, Christian-Presbyterian, etc…) While these thoughts may seem fruitless to many, they are of utmost importance when it comes to identifying the New Testament church. In the words of the apostle Peter, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Pet. 4:11).


Wait on the Lord

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen tine heart: ...

Daily Verse

Proverbs 21:31

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD. While preparation is necessary as we enter into battle against Satan and his evil forces, let us always remember that our victories belong to the Lord. It is through His strength and power that we are able to conquer and overcome. Do you have the Lord’s strength and power in your life?