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What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

The names and titles for God found in the Bible are carefully brushed strokes on the canvas of God’s most awesome work: The revelation of Himself.

Shakespeare’s Juliet asked, “What’s in a name?” 

The irony of the question lies in the fact that her name was her biggest problem! The reason she could not be with her Romeo was precisely because her name was Capulet and his was Montague. Capulets didn’t love Montagues — they hated them. But Juliet protested:

“That which we call a rose, by any other word would smell as sweet. So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called, retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title.”

Juliet didn’t think his name mattered at all — what mattered was the person. And perhaps in that case, she was right. And perhaps in many cases, the name or title of something makes no difference whatsoever.

Ask for the whatchmacallit or the doohickey or the thingamajig and you’ll probably get what you want. Call him Santa Claus, Father Christmas or Saint Nick — it doesn’t matter. Name your son Austin, Peter or Max — it probably makes no difference. 

But not so with God. 

If Juliet was speaking of God and said, “What’s in a name? Call Him whatever you like,” she would be dead wrong. It’s true that this “Rose” — the true and living God — would “retain that dear perfection which He owes without (the Biblical) titles.” But, the names and titles of God found in the Bible were not given to us in a random and pointless way. They are not incidental. 

The names and titles for God found in the Bible are carefully brushed strokes on the canvas of God’s most awesome work: The revelation of Himself.

Each time we come across a name or title of God in the Bible, we learn another great truth about the God who created us. 

“YHWH” tells us He is eternal and personal. 

“Father” tells us He is the perfection of love and discipline.

“Shepherd” tells us He is our protector and provider and guide.

On and on it goes. The more we encounter these one-word revelations, the more we know Him, the more we appreciate Him, the more we — along with the psalm writers — see that “His name alone is exalted” (Psalm 148:13) and we want to “sing praises to His name for it is lovely” (Psalm 135:3). 

When we come to the stories of the birth of Jesus, we find them rich with names and titles for the newborn King. He is…

“The Messiah…son of David, son of Abraham…Jesus Christ…Immanuel…King of the Jews…a Ruler who will shepherd…son of Mary” in Matthew 1-2. 

“Jesus…great…Son of the Most High…the Holy Child…the Son of God…A Savior…Christ the Lord…her (Mary’s) firstborn son…a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” in Luke 1-2.

“The Word…light…life…the Only Begotten God (God the One and Only, NIV), who is in the bosom of the Father” in John 1.

“Jesus” is just one example of how each of these names is like a blast from God’s trumpet of revelation. The “angel of the Lord” told Joseph to give this name to the Boy because “He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). “Jesus” is a Hebrew name that means “Jehovah is salvation.”

Notice the word “son” popping up several times: “Son of David…Abraham…the Most High God.” He is called Mary’s “firstborn son”. All the “Son” references add up to tell us that He alone was qualified to fulfill two of the greatest covenants God ever made with humans — the Davidic and Abrahamic covenants (see the very first verse of the New Testament). As Mary’s Son, He not only took on human flesh that He might bleed human blood for the sins of the world, but He also became Heir to the promises God made to David and Abraham. 

“Son of the Most High…God” tells us His life did not begin in Bethlehem — He has always existed in an eternal relationship with the Father. This explains what kind of King can have a kingdom that will last forever: the Eternal King, God’s only, unique Son.

Or what about “Word”. What is a “word” for? Communication! What did this “Word” do, according to John? He wasn’t just another self-proclaimed guru speculating about things he didn’t understand. His perspective is like no other: “No one has ever seen God. But the one and only Son is himself God and is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us” (John 1:18, NLT).

With all this in mind, read the Birth Narratives as part of your Christmas celebration. And when you do, let God’s Self-revelation — through His names and titles — renew your mind as you celebrate Christmas. Stop and enjoy every name. Underline every title. Each one is a delicate brush stroke deserving of close examination. But when seen together, they are a jaw-dropping revelation that should result in nothing less than what the Magi did when they saw the Child in His mother’s arms: “They fell to the ground and worshipped Him (Matthew 2:11).”

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Shaun LePage is the Ministry Studies Department Chair and Assistant Professor in Ministry Studies and Bible and Theology. He also serves as Associate Vice President of the CU Marketing and Communications Department. 

 

Join Calvary in the Philippines next Summer!

Join Calvary in the Philippines next Summer!

Serving orphans and “street kids” growing up in poverty

Calvary University’s Intercultural Studies, Education, and TESOL studies programs are teaming up to provide a conversational English program at Cuatro Christian Academy in the Philippines in the summer of 2020!

Cuatro is part of Kids International Ministry (KIM), a dynamic, Gospel-centered ministry that has specialized in serving orphans and “street kids” growing up in the poverty stricken areas around Manila.  Orphans, street-kids, and the children of Philippine believers study together in this unique environment nurtured by a committed Christian community.

Calvary faculty and staff recently visited KIM, stayed in their guest housing, and had the joy of interacting with Cuatro students at KIM’s orphan home.   We are EXCITED to take KIM up on this opportunity to serve.

We will be working primarily with students in the upper grades.  These students are taught in a dual-language environment, but need to have their conversation and pronunciation skills sharpened.  Your involvement could be a step in helping these students have opportunities outside of high school that can lift them out of poverty.  You will also have plenty of opportunity to interact with the children at the orphanage itself, as our group will provide devotionals and activities for these children as part of our service.

Our TESOL studies program at Calvary will be working with Cuatro to design the curriculum.   If you are willing to be trained in how to effectively lead a conversation group, and to raise the necessary support, we would love to have you apply!  Space will be limited to 12 total, with priority given to Education, TESOL studies and Intercultural Studies students.  

Calvary University’s Intercultural Studies, Education, and TESOL studies programs are teaming up to provide a conversational English program at Cuatro Christian Academy in the Philippines in the summer of 2020!

Click for Info about all the trips Calvary is offering this summer.

Dates: July 9-26, 2020
Location: Philippines
Cost: $2,500 (covers airfare, housing and meals)
Contact Tim Hange (below) to apply!

Contact Tim Hange

7 + 10 =

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

The names and titles for God found in the Bible are carefully brushed strokes on the canvas of God’s most awesome work: The revelation of Himself. Shakespeare’s Juliet asked, “What’s in a name?”  The irony of the question lies in the fact that her name was her biggest...

Warriors Seize Opportunity against Moody

Warriors Seize Opportunity against Moody

By Samuel Tschetter In a hotly contested game, Calvary pulled out a win against their regional opponent, beating the Archers 68-63. Calvary opened the scoring in this one with Ques Harris stealing the ball and getting an easy layup. The teams then went back-and-forth...

Calvary Announces Strategic New Partnership with Child Evangelism Fellowship

Calvary Announces Strategic New Partnership with Child Evangelism Fellowship

Dr. Christopher Cone (seated, left), President of Calvary University, and Reese Kauffman (seated, right), President of Child Evangelism Fellowship®, signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement this week giving CEF’s workers in the St. Louis area, and around the world, even greater opportunity to further their education through Calvary University. Dr. Allan Henderson (back row, center), Vice President of Eastern Initiatives, Eastern Missouri Site Director, and Professor of Education and Bible at CU, looks on with (from left to right) Ron York, CEF Executive Director of Support Services; Linda Pongracz, CEF Director of Education; Ron Tant, CEF Vice-President of USA Ministries; and Moises Esteves, CEF Vice-President of International Ministries. 

“We can accomplish great things because we join together.”

 

Warrenton MO, August 12, 2019 — Child Evangelism Fellowship® and Calvary University (CU) signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement at the International Headquarters for CEF® in Warrenton.

Students in the greater St. Louis area can now more easily attend CU by attending classes offered at convenient times at the International Headquarters facilities for CEF. Likewise, CU will make their facilities in Kansas City, MO, and Fort Morgan, CO, available for CEF ministry training. Credits for attending CEF Children’s Ministries Institute® will be awarded by CU and CMI students are encouraged to further their education through Calvary. Tuition discounts and financial cooperation are part of the agreement.

Dr. Christopher Cone, President of CU, said, “Over the years I’ve had a lot of opportunity to teach church history. I have assessed many different ministries, to see how God has worked. I’m so thankful for the ministry of CEF because it’s so impactful … around the world. I have seen no greater ministry in the history of the church, that has had the impact CEF has had.”

Child Evangelism Fellowship reached well over 25 million children with face-to-face teaching around the world in 2018. Ninety-six percent of its 3,500+ full-time workers are nationals, strategically equipped and supported by CEF to effectively reach boys and girls in their nations with the Gospel. More workers are needed for the great harvest, so CEF is pleased to partner with quality institutions to help students gain a vision for the world’s children.

CU continues to be recognized for excellence in Christian education. CU’s graduate Ministry and Pastoral Leadership programs were recognized among the nation’s best ministry degrees by BestSchools.org this year. In addition, CU was awarded the #2 ranking in the “Best Online Christian College” category by BestSchools.org.

Reese Kauffman, President of CEF, said regarding the partnership with CU, “A partnership matters when both sides can accomplish something they cannot do separately. We can train children’s workers, but we need to attract them to this ministry. Calvary University can further educate and attract students. We spent much time together and have a kindred spirit. We both realize that without God and His Word and His Spirit working in our midst and in our lives, nothing can be accomplished. In that spirit we can accomplish great things because we join together.”

Dr. Allan Henderson of CU will be the new site director. He said, “Ministries overall need to come together instead of being isolated. I see this partnership as giving Calvary more global impact through CEF, learning how to be more equipped in teaching children, and giving our students ministry opportunities.”

Child Evangelism Fellowship is an international, nonprofit, Christian ministry that has been teaching the Bible to children since 1937. CEF has 400 offices in the USA and is organized in most nations of the world, with over 3,500 paid staff and hundreds of thousands of volunteers. In its last ministry year, CEF ministered to over 25 million children in its face-to-face teaching ministries.

Special thanks to Lydia Kaiser of CEF for writing this press release.

Dr. Christopher Cone (right) and Dr. Allan Henderson (center) of Calvary met with Reese Kauffman, President of Child Evangelism Fellowship® this week in Warrenton, Missouri, at the International Headquarters for CEF®, to sign a Strategic Partnership Agreement. 

Calvary Ranked in the Top 15 Bachelor’s Ministry Online Programs in the Nation

Calvary Ranked in the Top 15 Bachelor’s Ministry Online Programs in the Nation

CU ranks in the top 15 online ministry degrees in the nation

Calvary University’s graduate Ministry and Pastoral Leadership programs have once again been recognized among the nation’s best.

“Like other BDC rankings,” according to BDC, “editors began by researching accredited ministry, religion, and bible degree online programs in the US. This process included schools with regional accreditation and accreditation by the Association for Biblical Higher Education. From our initial list, all schools were ranked according to five equally-weighted criteria: Cost, Reputation, Graduation Rate, Employment Rate, and Alumni Salary. Data was taken from College Scorecard, IPEDS, and Niche.

With these parameters, readers can trust that BDC has ranked programs that will have a real return on investment, providing opportunity to grow in leadership and faith while enhancing a career with meaning.”

Calvary Student to Spend Semester in Greece

Calvary Student to Spend Semester in Greece

Almost a year ago, Calvary entered into a partnership with Greek Bible College in Athens to allow our students the opportunity to spend up to year studying abroad in Greece. This partnership came on the heels of recent opportunities that Calvary has had to take students on tours of the biblical sites of Greece and walk in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul. For the Fall semester of 2019, Elise Godsey (Intercultural Studies/ELL major) will be stepping out to take advantage of this opportunity and spending a semester in Greece, these are her thoughts...

“My name is Elise Godsey and I am a sophomore here at Calvary University majoring in Intercultural Studies and English Language Learner. I just started attending Calvary in January, for the Spring 2019 semester, and I already am beyond blessed by this college! I learned about Calvary at the beginning of Fall 2018, while I was attending my community college, and I was encouraged by Calvary staff to go ahead and apply to start attending right in January instead of waiting until the next year, and I am very glad I did because I have already had so many wonderful opportunities and experiences here.

Elise is second from the left.

While I was exploring the Calvary website last Fall to learn more about it I also learned about the opportunity to study abroad at the Greek Bible College in Athens, Greece. This really caught my attention and I instantly knew that I would love to have that opportunity. When I came to visit the school at the end of September, I was told that this study abroad opportunity was brand new and no one had done it yet, and this just made me all the more excited to pioneer this new program at Calvary!

I will be attending the Greek Bible College for the Fall 2019 semester, and I will be taking 3 classes that will directly transfer into the biblical studies part of my planner. The fourth class I take will be New Testament Greek, and that will count as an elective. It is so wonderful that I am getting to complete these Bible class requirements in a land of the Bible!

This chance to go attend college in Greece is one of the many reasons that I chose to attend Calvary, and I am so thankful that I will get to do it and for all the help I am receiving as I get ready! I am beyond excited to see what the Lord has planned for me to learn as I study there and for the ministry opportunities I may get as well! I appreciate your prayers as I embark on this new adventure in my life!” – Elise Godsey

More Information on this opportunity can be found here: Burnham Center for Global Engagement

The Theological Significance of a Literal Creation Account, Part 4

The Theological Significance of a Literal Creation Account, Part 4

How important is a literal creation account for one’s theology? If the creation account were not literally true, it was either just Moses’ conjecture or it was a myth he repeated. If what we read in Genesis 1–11 were not literally true, what difference would it make for us a Bible-believing Christians?

 

Other Doctrines 

Other doctrines under assault today, either through denial or distortion, are mentioned in the Creation account. For example, a literal Creation account is essential for an orthodox understanding of Angelology/Demonology – what we understand about Satan and his influence on people today.

  • Genesis 3:1a – “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said . . . ?”

Is there a literal enemy of our souls? The creation account says there is. He was a deceiver then and the other Scriptural authors and orthodox Christianity acknowledge the Creation account that “Satan is [still] alive and well on planet earth”—to use the title of a book by Hal Lindsey (Lindsey 1972).

  • John 8:44a – [Speaking to the Jewish religious leaders, Jesus says,] “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. . . .”
  • 2 Corinthians 11:3a – “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness . . . .”
  • Revelation 12:9a – “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world . . . .”

While there are many today who claim to be Christians but their actions demonstrate that they most likely are not, there are many who will fall to Satan’s deceptions today—true believers being deceived by Satan or people thinking they are practicing true Christianity but are merely following “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). For example, an Australia-based group, Christalignment, was in the news this year because of its marketing of “Destiny Cards”—tarot-like cards for “Christians.” On a website advertising their events they say . . . .

  • The Christalignment team, based in Melbourne, Australia are trained spiritual consultants, gifted in various modalities. We practice [sic] a form of supernatural healing that flows from the universal presence of the Christ spirit. We draw from the same divine energy of Christ, as ancient followers did and operate only out of the Third Heaven realm to gain insight and revelation (Christalignment 2019).

We must also acknowledge that a literal Creation account is essential for an orthodox understanding of three doctrines essential to our understanding of the Gospel: Hamartiology, Christology, and Soteriology – what we understand about Sin, the Savior, and Salvation—the Gospel message.

  • Genesis 3:4 – “The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”
  • Genesis 3:7 – “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.”
  • Genesis 3:15 – To the Serpent God said, “‘And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.’”
  • Genesis 3:21 – “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.”

With these three doctrines we have definitely moved beyond the 6-Days account of Creation, but we must briefly affirm that our conclusions concerning these areas of truth are grounded in a literal understanding of the Genesis record.

What Christianity has taught in these areas has been built upon the Genesis account. First, sin is real and a real person, Adam, committed the first sin which has forever poisoned all people from him on.

  • Romans 5:12–15 – “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.”

Not only does Genesis teach us about sin and its consequences, it also points us to the solution: a “seed” of the woman who will defeat Satan and the effect brought about by Satan’s deception of the humans. Throughout Scripture the emphasis upon the necessity for and the prophecy about another, literal “man” who will provide the solution to the human condition is affirmed with Creation account wording.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:21–22 – “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:45 – “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”

In the last verse Paul is quoting from Gen 2:7. Man, people, have a problem which only another man, a perfect man—Jesus—can solve! Time hinders us from looking at the many other passages which quote and allude to the Creation account when speaking of these issues. And the discussion of these passages are predicated upon a literal understanding of Genesis.

There is so much more we could talk about but do not have the time. For example, we must include the Creation account when we seek to understand Pneumatology: what we understand about the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2 – the “Spirit God moving over the surface of the deep”).

We must study the Creation account when we want to think more fully about Soteriology/Sanctification specifically: what it means to “rest in the Lord” with a “Sabbath Rest” principle.

  • Exodus 20:8–11 – “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God . . . . For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.”
  • Hebrews 4:1, 5 – “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. . . . For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works’”). 

And that leads us to a final area of doctrine to which the Creation account speaks: Eschatology—what we believe about what is to happen in the future.

  • Revelation 22:1–3 – “Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him.”

The “new heaven and new earth” in eternity will be an Eden-like existence. But should this all be understood to be figurative or literal? Will the “tree of life” be literal? Will the “healing of the nations” be literal? Will our eternal bodies and Jesus all be literal? How we understand the Genesis account—literal or figurative—influences our conclusions about Eschatology.

Conclusion

So what’s the problem, theologically speaking, if the creation account were not literally true? Orthodox theological beliefs are predicated on a literal creation account.

I believe that Christians must ask and have a good answer for why they so readily believe and hold to a literal Creation account in some areas of their theology yet hesitate or totally disregard a literal account in other areas? And if the rejection of a literal Creation account has led us to some significant problems in other doctrines, when and how long will it take for a move away from a literal understanding affect all areas of theology? We are constantly being pressured by the enemies of our souls with the deception he used in the beginning: “Indeed, has God said . . . ?” (Genesis 3:1).

A literal Genesis needs to be preached—and all the theology it contains.

The younger generations especially are not believing in a literal Genesis, and this has great implications for the Church! May we preach and teach the Creation account as God communicated it to us—as a literal account of truth.

(This is a 4-Part series. See Parts 1, 2, & 3 here and here and here.)

Reference List

  • Christalignment. 2019. “Christalignment Readings.” Spiritual Events & Directory. Accessed February 7, 2019. https://spiritualeventsdirectory.com/listing/christalignment/.
  • Lindsey, Hal and Carole C. Carlson. 1972. Satan Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.