What’s In A Name – AN Vol 3 No 1
I was at my office the other day (Starbucks) and an acquaintance of mine introduced me as a pastor to one of their friends. Another individual working there overheard this and initiated a conversation.
I was asked the typical, “What church?” “Where is it located?” “Are you non-denominational or a particular denomination?” When I responded with the name of the organization I am ordained by, there was an immediate reaction of “Oh, I understand, I have studied all those types.” My response to them was; “Because you heard a certain word, you assume you know about me and have put me in a particular box that you think I fit in.” I spent the next 10-15 minuets giving them non-traditional answers to their traditional questions: which they using in an attempt to place me in a box of their design.
The point I am attempting to make is that when we label something we define it. When we define it, we usually limit it.
In the creation process, God brought the animals to Adam to see what he would call them (Gen. 2:19) The Word says; “whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” The original word here for “the name thereof” means to “put” and carries with it the idea of a definite and conspicuous position. When Adam named the animals he put them in their place. He was defining them. How we use words to label is powerful in creating our perceptions of truth.
Unfortunately, today in regards to church, we usually use terms to define or limit something. For example, if I say Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, etc. we all have an opinion about those names. We will respond or react based on what we believe we know about them. Taking this a step further, if we use biblical terminology such as apostle, prophet, pastor, elder etc. we have our box or paradigm of understanding, which we have created around this term. The origin of these thoughts many times is derived from our experiences with traditional religion.
We should be cautious when we are dealing with the terminology of the things of God. When God names something, it has a purpose and a power to it. Take for instance the term church. Today, many have a negative association with that term. It has devolved to an association with religion and deadness. Yet by looking at the original word ekklesia, we see the original intent was to be something of power and authority. (see AN Vol 3 No 1).
If we stop and take the time to objectively dig into the word of God, I believe we will find a true liberation from the limitations of a religious paradigm. We must have the courage to take a fresh unbiased look at man’s doctrines and giftings such as apostle, prophet, teacher, pastor, elder and deacon, allowing the truth of the Word of God to tear down our limiting beliefs. We can be enlightened as to the true power and manifestations of Jesus thru these giftings.
Food for thought –
When you hear words like apostle, prophet, apostolic, authority etc., what is your paradigm? Do you see them in a negative, limited way? Do you see them in a biblical empowering way?