Daily Meditations

from the book -

The Daily Devotional

for the 21st Century!


Today's subject: DOCTRINES


Titles under this subject-

Left or Right?-Jan 12

Full Gospel-Feb 7

Forgotten Father-Feb 17

Abba, Father!-Mar 2

Inexcusable Iniquity-Mar 19

Make not your Maker!-Mar 31

The Law's Claws-Apr 2

Ceremony or Celebration?-Apr 8

Abba, Alleluia!-May 7

What is the Address?-May 14

In Christ, with Him!-May 21

Why Oil?-Jun 28

One Baptism-Jul 15

"My Father's Business"-Jul 17

Sweet `n' Sour-Aug 5

Spurious Spirits-Aug 8

Bible the Boundary-Aug 9

The Steering Spirit-Aug 10

Shepherds as Safeguards-Aug 11

Common-sense & Counterfeit-Aug 12

Latest Photo!-Aug 21

Abba in Adversity!-Aug 25

What's in a Name?-Sep 17

Hero Worship-Sep 29

In site or Inside?-Oct 22

Butterfly-Oct 27

Diwali Sweets-Nov 4

Is pill His will?-Nov 30


(General Index of  Subjects)


Previous Day

September 17

Next Day

What's in a Name?

Reading: Isaiah 43:1-7

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by your name; you are Mine" (Isa 43:1)


When people are converted from non-Christian background, the question arises at water baptism whether their original names should be changed. In India, especially among Hindus, most names are associated with deities. Therefore some preachers of the Gospel insist a name change for the baptismal candidates. Is it a must?

We Indian Christians often think that all Indian names are Hindu, and all Western names are Christian. To us Western names appear superior to Indian. "Blackstone" in English sounds to us better than the same name in an Indian vernacular. "Murugan" is the Tamil name of a Hindu deity, but it just means "Beautiful!" We will not accept this name, whereas we will name our son as "Apollo" and our daughter as "Diana." Both these are actually names of Greek deities! (Acts 19:27,28). "Apollos" means a "destroyer" and it is the name of a youthful god of music. One of the apostles had this name and he didn't change it! I regret for dropping the name, Jeyachandran, given to me by my aunt.

Those who insist on changing names quote Exodus 23:13 and Joshua 23:7 where we are commanded not to make "mention" of the name of other gods. This simply means that we should steer clear off idolatry. If we take the above commandment literally, how can we read so many passages of the Bible where the names like Ashtaroth and Baal are repeatedly mentioned? And how can we call or address people with such names? The apostles did not change the name of the first gentile convert (Cornelius) or that of the first European convert (Lydia). We commonly say that Saul became Paul. He already had both these names given by his parents. This was not a name change.

It may be advisable to drop community names like Nadar, Pillai, Mudaliar and Achary. Otherwise change of names causes unnecessary problems in society and government records, especially in rural and tribal areas. Non-Christian parents feel that they are disrespected when the names lovingly given by them to their sons and daughters are changed when the latter believe on Christ. This may lead to unnecessary alienation and antagonism. The furtherance of the Gospel is stopped. If the candidates themselves strongly request a name change, we can comply with. Even here, we must help them choose names in the local vernacular and cultural style. What is promised under the New Covenant is only a new "heart" and a new "spirit" (Jer 31:31-34; Ezek 36:25-28). But if we wait, we all will be given a new "name" in New Jerusalem! (Rev 3:12).


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Doctrines: NextSEPT 29