Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Naming Churches

Inspired by a letter a friend sent in to the local newspaper about a certain Baptist church’s choice of name, I began noticing the names of churches. They may seem similar at first glance, but upon comparison, they’re about as similar as eggs and rocks. More often that not, the name of the church can tell you its theological stand and beliefs. I have selected some churches in Singapore as samples:

Most fundamentalist churches tend to be named after places mentioned in the Bible:
• Bethany Presbyterian Church
• Bethlehem Bible-Presbyterian Church
• Calvary Baptist Church
• Mount Carmel Bible-Presbyterian Church

Either that, or have a Jewish-sounding name:
• Shalom Bible-Presbyterian Church
• Zion Presbyterian Church

Or Greek, if you'd like:
• Agape Presbyterian Church
• Oikos Christian Church

The Assemblies of God has been following suit:
• Shekinah Assembly of God
• Smyrna Assembly of God

Relative newcomers “non-denominational” churches choose names based on the theological virtues:
• Grace Fellowship
• Grace Church
• Hope Church Singapore

Some churches, on the other hand, sound more like business organizations:
• International Baptist Church
• Marine Parade Christian Centre

Typical of Protestant sects, many tend to emphasize on a particular teaching:
• Bread of Life Church
• Foursquare Gospel Church
• Full Gospel Assembly
• Tabernacle of Christ
• Trinity Presbyterian Centre
• True Jesus Church
• The Bible Church
• World Revival Prayer Fellowship

Many others seem to be screaming for attention:
• His Sanctuary
• Pearly Gates Evangelical Free Church
• True Way Presbyterian Church

And some have names that seem to bear no relation to Christ or his teachings:
• Central Christian Church
• City Harvest Church
• New Creation Church

Catholic churches, on the other hand, are typically named after the saints or sacred objects they are consecrated to:
• Church of the Sacred Heart
• Church of St. Francis of Assisi
• Church of St. Mary of the Angels
An exception to this would be the Catholic cathedral in Singapore, which has been consecrated to the Good Shepherd.

Nowadays, it seems churches choose easy to pronounce, memorable names that have positive associations and can be easily shortened to one or two words. Many churches have dropped the once popular “Community” in their name since they want to have a regional appeal rather than to appear focusing only on the surrounding community. So many churches used “Community” in the past in their names that many in the past thought it was the name of a denomination. Modern churches prefer names that are unique and memorable.

What are the words that I see here – appeal, memorable and unique? Are you choosing the name of a boutique or a church?

6 Comments:

Blogger cybeRanger said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tue Oct 25, 10:11:00 pm 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you very sure that New Creation Church bears no relation to Christ? Please read
2Corinthians 5:17

Tue Oct 25, 10:21:00 pm 2005  
Anonymous mr malcoom matthew b said...

Can you define what a "relation to Christ" means? Do you know who wrote the book 'Corinthians'? Why & for whom it was written for? I don't like it when one quotes a verse solely for a refrence without referring to its background or situation.

Wed Oct 26, 09:31:00 am 2005  
Blogger Constantine said...

For that particular statement, I forgot to mention that it was not so much the name of the church but what the good people of New Creation who call themselves Christians believe

"that a particular phrase in the Bible tells us directly and authoritatively that Harry Potter books are evil... Not so much of believing that God intercedes for us, but being convinced that he is actively working on OUR SIDE when we're trying to fight our way to the train, earning our first million, protesting for a pay rise... That we almost tripped while coming down the staircase but didn't, is a miracle, an intervention from the very Hand of God..."

It has come to my attention, however, that such nutjobs really exist in Singapore - read what they believe here.

Among other things, these "Christians" believe that God caused their property prices to increase, that their ascension to the Million-Dollar Table was divinely inspired, that because God saved a certain parishioner's father when he "rightly" did nothing (When I bo chup, God saved my dad!).

Ah yes, one more thing - these people take Holy Communion everywhere: in their cars, at home, some 3 times a day after lunch, and usually without the administration of any clergy. New Creation church people celebrate the Eucharist in cars and at home, using coca cola for wine.

There is only one word for these people: HERETICS

I long for the good old days where the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would defrock and burn heretics like these at the stake. Okay, so the New Creation Church of Singapore and City Harvest are Protestant non-denominational branches? Fine, in the good old days of the Reformation, the Protestants (see John Calvin's reign in Geneva) tortured and drowned heretics like these too.

Wed Oct 26, 10:21:00 am 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beware of your comments..
Finding fault and being critical are some of the easiest things to do. They seem to come naturally to us. But Jesus told us not to judge "lest you be judged" (Matt. 7:1).

Wed Oct 26, 01:47:00 pm 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear catechumen, your attempts to differentiate Orthodoxy from non-orthodoxy is good but be careful lest we slipped into Pharisiacal spirit.

What about defining Orthodoxy on its own ground rather than 'how' it differs from other christian groups? i believe Orthodoxy that is lived, experienced and suffered in one's being will bring true Christlike-ness.

i wonder if making our vocation critical analysts of everybody else is what the Fathers and Saints of Orthodoxy has shown us?

Speak, but listen more.
Write, but pray even more.

In Christ.

Thu Nov 03, 08:58:00 pm 2005  

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