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What’s in a name? part 3

September 15, 2014

Grace to you! So far we have looked at how Adam’s original command to name the animals (Genesis 2:19) is still carried on today. People label and name things either for the good of others or as a way to control others. We’ve seen that the modern mental health professionals are the ones calling the shots and ‘labeling’ people. With the power to label, comes the power to control society and individuals. Society now accepts homosexuality as mainstream in part because the mental health professionals who once called it a ‘sociopathic personality disorder’ have now convinced society it is normal and healthy. Now the pedophiles are working on the same strategy.

But as Christians, we are called to name and label things the way God has revealed them. By giving over the naming and labeling to those who oppose God, we functionally come under their control of society. So where do we go from here? In regards to the former two articles, I want to offer a few clarifications to help us along the way.

First, to say we shouldn’t accept the mental health professionals’ labels or naming is not the same to say that the issues people are facing aren’t real. They are. As Christians, the biblical alternative is that we should reclaim the dominion mandate given by God over our problems and start naming them from a biblical standpoint.

Second, we must remember the dominion mandate includes the authority to name things, and to give this over to renaming things contrary to what God says is to fail to honor God with the task of subduing the world for Jesus Christ.

Third, when the world uses labels it eventually uses them to control, manipulate, and sometimes even exterminate people. When we use God’s labels like ‘redeemed, hopeful, restored, sinful, broken, forgiven, sanctified, etc.,’ God uses these labels to bring men freedom. 36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

The way forward is to recognize that all of life is to be thought of in terms of the biblical worldview. For example, we should call ‘alcoholism’ by its biblical name of ‘drunkenness.’ (1 Peter 4:30) The biblical label emphasizes the person’s responsibility in deciding to drink the alcohol rather than the alcoholism label which implies the person is a mere victim of the alcohol and therefore not responsible. By rightfully labeling something as it really is before God, we can then give the hope that God offers in His Son and the gospel. If we redefine things as the world says to, there soon becomes a defining out of the need for Christ and His gospel. No wonder the world sees the church as largely irrelevant. We have, along with the world, helped redefine life and its issues in such a way that we no longer see our need for Christ.

It is no small thing to give or accept labels. All things need to be taken captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) But the issue of love and care for our neighbors will be decided by those who get to exercise dominion over these things. And who gets to exercise dominion is in large part determined by who gets to label and name reality.

Looking for a church home? Come visit South Whitwell Baptist, 133 South Oak Street, Whitwell. Sunday Service: 10:45 AM. Visit our web page:

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