Over the last few weeks, our church planting team has been working and praying hard to come up with a name for the new church. What follows is the first of two notes that announce the name, and explain why we chose it.
Brothers & Sisters,
Thank you for your input on the name of our new church, and especially for the humility with which you have given that input. This is not a small decision, and thus it calls for maturity and humility and, in the end, submission. I see these things in you as a people, and it truly makes me glad that God has called me to be your pastor.
Originally, I had planned to send out a list of names about which to receive feedback, but to my surprise—though it is something I had hoped and prayed for—one name was suggested a number of times: Glory of Christ Christian Church. This name comes from 2 Corinthians 4:4, which is within the larger context of 2 Corinthians 3:7 – 4:6. Let me give you several reasons, stated briefly, why I think this ought to be the name of our church:
1. As we’ve been learning in more depth together, the glory of God is the ultimate end of God in all things, and thus it is appropriate and biblical for our name to reflect this fact (Ephesians 1:6,12,14, and many other places).
2. The law had a measure of glory, as did Moses, but the “ministry of the Spirit” has a surpassing glory. And, of course, the mediator of this surpassing glory is Christ, or put another way, what we see of the glory of God we see only in the face of Christ (3:7-11, 14, 16-18, 4:4, 6). Thus, it is appropriate and biblical, and not at all contradictory to the first point, to specifically highlight the glory of Christ in the name of our church.
3. As believers behold the glory of God in the face of Christ, we are transformed by it from one degree of glory to another. And in that final day, we will all be like him for we will see him as he is (3:18, 4:6, 1 John 3:2-3). Thus, it is appropriate and biblical to refer to the church itself as the “glory of Christ” because, by grace, we do share in and reflect his glory (this is, I think, what Jesus meant when he said, “I am the light of the world” [John 8:12] and “You are the light of the world” [Matthew 5:14]).
4. The only label given to believers in the Bible is “Christian” (Acts 11:26, 26:28, 1 Peter 4:16). It literally means “little Christs,” and was at first a pejorative term. But isn’t it interesting how the enemies of the Lord, when they mean to curse his people, end up blessing them? For while we will never be Jesus Christ, we will, by grace, be like Jesus Christ, and this from prolonged and direct contact with his glory. Thus, it is appropriate and biblical to include the label “Christian” in the name of the church.
5. The word “church” is used over 100 times in the New Testament, most often referring to a local assembly of believers and sometimes referring to the church universal, that is, the assembly of believers from all times and places. Thus, it is appropriate and biblical to refer to ourselves as a church.
6. In this day and age we need to be as explicit as we can about the fact that we believe in and promote Jesus Christ—Glory of Christ Christian Church is very explicit. “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor 4:5).
7. Finally, the name is poetic and rhythmic, and it will fit well on our logo, cards, letterhead, signs, and the like.
Beloved, thank you again for your input on this matter—I weighed it all carefully, and do not take it for granted. Please, now, think over what I’ve written, pray about it, and send me your feedback before we meet on January 7. My hope is that we can agree on this name via e-mail, but if there are enough legitimate issues that cannot be solved via e-mail, we will discuss the matter at our meeting.
It feels more meaningful to me now to sign this note as I often do:
For the glory of Christ,