The wearing of party names has become so common in the denominations that people generally accept it as the norm. In fact, in the current pluralistic society it is not politically correct to speak disparagingly of any party name.
This, however, has not always been the case. In fact, some well-known religious leaders of the past spoke vehemently against all party names. For example, Martin Luther, the recognized leader of the Protestant Reformation, said this: “I pray you to leave my name alone, and call not yourselves Lutherans, but Christians.” (Life of Luther; Stork, page 289) John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, said, “Would to God that all party names and unscriptural phrases and forms which have divided the Christian world were forgot; that we might all agree to sit down together as humble, loving disciples at the feet of the common Master, to hear His word, to imbibe His spirit, and to transcribe His life into our own.” Charles Spurgeon, the famous Baptist preacher of London, England, said, “I hope the Baptist name will soon perish; and let Christ name last forever.” (Spurgeon Memorial Library, page 168) Unfortunately, the voices of these men have not been heard.
But far more important is what the Bible itself says: “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. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:11-13)
At Corinth the apostle Paul had very successful and rewarding work. As his usual custom was, he began in the synagogue and each Sabbath reasoned and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. In keeping with God’s special instructions he remained working in that city for a year and a half. The narrative in Acts summarizes the Corinthians reception of the word: “And many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” (Acts 18:8) This corresponds to Jesus’ departing instruction to His disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16)
Please note that there is no mention of a Sinner’s Prayer – not by Jesus and not by the apostle Paul. The Sinner’s Prayer model for salvation is not found anywhere in the Bible. It is not from God but an invention of man.
The Syrians came up to besiege Israel. Benhadad king of Syria had with him thirty-two other kings along with horses and chariots – a great multitude. But they suffered defeat at the hands Ahab king of Israel. The servants of Benhadad explained their defeat saying, “Their gods are the gods of the hills…let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.” (1 Kings 20:23) But they were wrong and suffered an even more disastrous defeat at the hands of Israel.
The LORD is God everywhere. He is the God of the hills but of the valleys also. He is God wherever we are – at home, at school, at work, at play. God is there when we are well and happy but also when we are sick or bereaved or sad for any reason. Christians have the wonderful promise: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
The apostle Paul in the Book of Ephesians emphasized the importance of children respecting and obeying their parents. He wrote: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first com- mandment with promise;) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3) Paul offered two solid reasons for what he said: First, It is the right thing to do; and Second, it is best for you.
The correctness and wisdom of Paul’s teaching is confirmed by history and in particularly American history in the last half of the twentieth century. I know. I lived through it. When I grew up children were taught to respect authority. The whole gen- eral social atmosphere was one of respect for au- thority. And it began in the home with “Children obey your parents.” Then in the 1960s attitudes began to change. The new prevailing attitude was concisely expressed in a bumper sticker which read: “Question Authority.” Many of the problems in our society today grows out of a general atti- tude of disrespect for authority.