Preached by Victor Tey[youtube http://youtu.be/qPqN7nVhE8c]
Why is our church named, The Church in Punchbowl? Why didn’t we keep “Baptist” in our church name? Are we trying to hide what we believe?
Let’s look at 3 reasons why people do keep “Baptist” in their church name:
1. Man’s opinion – the association/impression that “Baptist” has to “most” people
- Won’t it help people get an idea of what we believe? – yes and no…
- What does it even mean to be a “Baptist” these days?
- Dependent on where you live/culture.
- Most people I’ve spoken to think it’s a denomination.
- I wanted a name that sounded independent
- It makes people ask, what denomination are you a part of?
- Not hiding it like some churches, eg. Assemblies of God
- We can take that opportunity to educate them.
- ill. Neighbour asking what denomination we are, once he found out we were sent from an Independent Baptist church he assumed that we were from the Baptist denomination.
- Are we trying to hide what we believe? – no
- If people want to know what we believe we have a website with all the information.
- To me, that’s safer than any preconceived ideas about an associated name whether good or bad.
- People make a big deal about the church name.
- What’s more important is who you actually are, not what you’re called.
- We live in a day of qualifications/certifications
- I would like, what we do, to define us. Not the name that we are known by.
- Won’t keeping the name “Baptist” work in our favour? – possibly
- If people have a good association with the name.
- If they Google search for a “Baptist” church.
- We rank pretty high on the search engines because our church is regularly updated and “Lighthouse Baptist Church” does appear on our website.
- Some bad associations with the “Baptist” name:
- Lip service to the King James Bible
- “Repent of sins” works salvation heresy
- American traditions and culture
- Preacher worship
- Beating up on God’s people in the name of “hard preaching”
- Pre-tribulation Rapture false doctrine
- Worship of the false Israel
- Altar calls
- Cursing if you don’t keep the law, eg. tithing
- A formal, sit-through presentation
- Splitting up the church, eg. kids church, creche, Sunday schools, bible-study groups.
- Rules and standards of men preached as commandments of God.
- Baptist Union / Reformed
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it
2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment.
The problem with going with what a “majority” of people think is that eventually that majority opinion is wrong.
2. After a man – John the Baptist
- He was the greatest man to live – but he’s still a man.
- John was not from a church that went by the name “Baptist” – he was a baptist.
- I’m a baptist, I’m also kjv only, soulwinning, bread breaking, hymn singing, independent etc. Do I include all these in the church name?
- If baptism by immersion makes you a “Baptist”, then a pentecostal church is a “Baptist” church.
- Why name a church after a man?
- Don’t ever name yourselves after me. Teyans? Victorinos?
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: I besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
If preaching the gospel is the main thing, wouldn’t “Punchbowl Soulwinning Church” be a better emphasis in a church name?
3. After traditions of man – “Baptist” History
- Church history – Trail of Blood (book)
- Catholic vs Protestant vs “Baptist” line of churches.
- Why go with the name, Baptist?
- Why not Mennonites, Hutterites or Ana-baptists?
- “Christian” was a name given by the world, but at least it’s named after Jesus Christ.
These 3 reasons should not be the basis for ANY decision or position in life, let alone the name of a church.
I’m not going to take a position based on
- man’s opinion
- a man
- or man’s traditions
when we have a scriptural pattern we could adopt.
Based on the word of God – how are churches referred to in the word of God?
Isn’t “Baptist” a bible word? – so is presbyterian and pentecostal… I’m not going to use a word just because it’s in the bible.
Churches were referred to by their location
Revelation 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
Revelation 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
Revelation 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
Revelation 2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;
Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
- Preachers go on and on about
- “follow the bible’s example”
- “where do you see that in the bible?”
- I’m just trying to apply that thinking in every area of our church.
- If church names aren’t by location, doesn’t it just show that God doesn’t care for “church names”?
- Maybe they did have a “name” (eg. the church in Sardis was called “Living Faith” Baptist Church) but that’s not what Jesus referred to them as. So I just want our name to line up with what Jesus said.
- I wanted a name that people would look at and think, they are trying to do everything exactly as they see it in scripture – people familiar with the word of God immediately realise why we named it the way we did.
- It makes the decision easy – I’m bad at making small decisions, but big decisions come easy if God’s word has clear direction.
- But what if our church moves suburbs? – then the name will change, I’m not trying to build a brand, I’m trying to follow the word of God!
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
- Do I think it’s a sin for a church to have a bible-word name? – no
- A church name is more for branding or recognition than anything else. If you don’t have a name how can you even have a website?
- I do think it’s wrong for preachers to teach for doctrines the commandments of men. And if a preacher insists on believers keeping a tradition of a church name that is not commanded in the word of God, that’s exactly what they’re doing.
- I have no doubt that many believers have come to the same conclusions… but
- People are going to criticise it
- People aren’t going to like it
- People are going to take a while to get used to it – even you and me.
- No man having drunk old wine straightway desireth new – but it doesn’t mean we keep drinking the old wine.
- I have comfort knowing that even our church name is seeking to follow the example set in God’s word and not based on man or man’s opinion.
The wise man built his house upon the rock of Jesus Christ, not on the shifting sands of man, and that’s what I’m striving to do in EVERY area of life.