Sunday, December 02, 2007

My Christian Name

Are some names more Christian than others? An anonymous commenter thinks so:
It is clear that Obama purposefully wants to preserve ambiguity about his religious preferences. If he wanted to clearly indicate that he is a Christian, he would have adopted a *CHRISTIAN* name instead of the overtly *MUSLIM* "Barack Hussein". There is a long biblically sanctioned tradition of heathens changing their names upon becoming followers of Christ (particularly if their original names are offensive), for example Simon->Peter, Saul->Paul. So there is a lot of legitimacy in questioning Obama's religious proclivities.
Does the Christian faith require new members to change their name upon becoming members? Most churches do not.
My Christian name is Thomas. It was given to me when I was baptized. But how Christian is the name Thomas? We read of an Apostle Thomas, so that should settle it right?
Not so fast. Thomas is an English version of a much older name. (Keep in mind that the English language arose centuries after New Testament times.) The name Thomas in Greek, the language in which the Gospels were written, is Didymus. Thomas in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus and his disciples, is Te'oma.
So is Te'oma a more Christian name than Thomas? Is my baptism into the church less legitimate because of the way I spell and pronounce my name? I don't think so. The assertion that a western European name is more Christian than a Middle Eastern name is not supported by the historical record of the growth of the Christian church.
There are many reasons why a citizen may like or dislike a particular candidate. A citizen is free to vote against a candidate based on the sound of his or her name. But a look at the history and breadth of Christianity over the last two millennia does not support the assertion that a person with a non western name can't be considered a legitimate Christian.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it was determined early on that you did not have to get a circumcision or change your name to be a follower of Christ.

These Christians who would claim to know about others Christian legitimacy need to check out. Matthew 7:3-5

12:01 AM, December 04, 2007  

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